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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
17 May , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Police attacks, kidnaps students marking the Nakba in Jerusalem
17 May 2009 - The Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem attacked dozens of protestors who were peacefully marching in commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, in which some 750.000 Palestinians were displaced as the State of Israel was being created on their land. 

Obama, Netanyahu, to met Monday; Obama has no new plan for peace
17 May 2009 - Sources at the White House reported Saturday that US President Barack Obama, will be meeting the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Monday, but will not present any new initiatives on Middle East peace. 

Thousands commemorate the Nakba in Gaza
17 May 2009 - Thousands of Palestinians commemorated the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad organized massive protests in various parts of the Gaza Strip. 

Zionist group planning to build homes on top of demolished Palestinian homes in Jerusalem
16 May 2009 - Hatim Abdul-Qader, Jerusalem Affairs advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister, stated that the Ateret Cohanim Zionist group is planning, in collaboration with the Jerusalem Municipality, to build homes for Jewish settlers on top of Palestinians homes demolished by the municipality. 

Jews, Palestinians and Americans mark the Nakba in New York
16 May 2009 - As the Palestinian nation marks the Nakba day, hundreds of protesters, including Jews, Palestinians and Americans, led by a young Jewish Rabbi, marked the Nakba day on Thursday at night at the Union Square in New York. 

As Palestinians mark the Nakba, Occupation places the West Bank under siege
16 May 2009 - The Israeli Authorities imposed a strict siege on the Palestinian territories as the Palestinians are marking their 61 anniversary of Diaspora, disposition and Nakba, as they were displaced and force out of their homeland during the creation of Israel on historic Palestinian land. 

Bardaweel: “Hamas does not confirm or deny accepting a government that won’t be approved by PLC”
16 May 2009 - Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas political leader and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), refused to confirm or deny that the movement accepted a government that would be appointed by President Abbas without being approved by the PLC. 

Six injured by the military attack on Nil'in weekly protest
15 May 2009 - Israeli soldiers on Friday attacked Palestinian and international peace activists holding the weekly non-violent protest against the Wall in Ni'lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. 

Bil'in: Nine injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation
15 May 2009 - Residents of Bil'in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah marched on Friday after midday prayer in the weekly protest. They were joined by international and Israelis activists. 

Israel rejects a Vatican request to grant to Jerusalem Palestinian couple residency in the city
15 May 2009 - Israel Minister of Interior, Ely Yishai, refused a request from the Vatican to grant a Palestinian couple residency in Jerusalem, although it is their birthplace, and their residency rights were taken away by an Israeli decision. 

Fateh accuses Hamas of barring its members from commemorating the Nakba in Gaza
15 May 2009 - Fateh movement accused Hamas of barring its members from commemorating the 61st anniversary of the Nakba in different districts of the Gaza Strip. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 5 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces this week
15 May 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 07 - 13 May 2009, five Palestinian civilians, including two children and one woman, were wounded by Israeli forces. Israeli forces conducted 15 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and abducted 12 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, and four in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces also abducted the mother of an allegedly wanted Palestinian. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Palestinian killed as Gaza smuggling tunnel collapses
17 May 2009 - Egyptian police use heavy machinery to recover body; several other smugglers survive accident. 

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu is capable of reaching peace
17 May 2009 - It doesn't matter what Netanyahu says during his White House visit, but what he does when he returns to Israel. 

ElBaradei: Israel strike on Iran would be 'insane'
16 May 2009 - Head of UN nuclear watchdog says attack on nuclear facilities would turn Mideast into 'one big fireball.' 

Noam Shalit to Netanyahu: Tie Gaza gestures to progress on Gilad
16 May 2009 - Abductee's father urges Netanyahu not to agree to U.S. requests on Gaza until Hamas gives something in return. 

Here's how Israel would destroy Iran's nuclear program
15 May 2009 - U.S. study maps out 'complex and high-risk' possibilities for an IAF strike on Iran's facilities. 

Only 2,000 turn out for Gaza Nakba Day march held by Hamas
15 May 2009 - Gaza commentators believe poor showing due to Fatah-Hamas divide, Israel's recent offensive. 

Egypt finds massive arms cache along Israel border
15 May 2009 - Weapons include at least 266 rockets, 50 mortar shells and three anti-aircraft missiles, according to report. 

Amira Hass / Life among the ruins in Gaza
15 May 2009 - Despite 4,000 homes destroyed in the war, Israel won't let building materials be brought into the Strip. 

Ma'an News

Egypt finds corpse of Gaza man reported lost in tunnel system
5/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Egyptian police found the body of a Gaza man lost for four days in the tunnel network beneath the Gaza-Egypt border. The man was identified as 27-year-old Ahmad Yousif Majdalawi, who had been reported missing by his family days earlier. Ahmad Majdalawi’s father, Mekhemer Majdalawi, told Ma’an in a telephone call that his son’s body had been discovered, but has not been returned. "Egyptian security is holding the body, and we ask the authorities there to return it as to arrange a funeral for our son. " An elaborate network of tunnels in Rafah is currently the only reliable means of moving goods into the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Israeli-led land and sea blockade for nearly two years. 

Patients remain stranded as Rafah crossing opens for second day
5/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Five buses carrying about 250 Gazans crossed into Egypt through Rafah on Sunday morning, while 400 others crossed into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, said the de facto government’s Interior Ministry. The ministry asserted that efforts are ongoing to convince the Egyptians to open the crossing one more day to enable more patients to travel for treatment. On Saturday, 567 Gaza residents left the Strip to Egypt, and 540 crossed from Egypt to Gaza. Egyptian authorities returned 113 to Gaza, not allowing them to pass. Some 2,500 students and holders of foreign visas, in addition to 700 patients, are on the waiting list expecting to pass through on Sunday. Meanwhile, it was announced on Sunday that Israel plans to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into the Gaza Strip, according to crossings official Raed Fattuh. 

Israel opens Kerem Shalom, Nahal Oz crossings into Gaza
5/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Israel will open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, according to crossings official Raed Fattuh. Fattuh told Ma’an that the Israeli side will allow the transfer of100 to 109 truckloads of aid and goods for the commercial and agriculture sectors through the Kerem Shalom crossing in southeast Gaza. Limited amounts of cooking gas and diesel fuel will be allowed through Nahal Oz in the eastern Gaza Strip, he added. Meanwhile, five buses carrying about 250 Gazans crossed into Egypt through the Rafah crossing on Sunday morning, while 400 others crossed into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, said the de facto government’s Interior Ministry. The ministry asserted that efforts are ongoing to convince the Egyptians to open the crossing one more day to enable more patients to travel for treatment. 

Israel’s Barak approves settler tour of Hebron for Monday
5/17/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday approved an application by the right-wing National Union party to organize a tour inside occupied Hebron. During the visit scheduled for Monday, delegates also plan to visit areas designated as H1, which are supposedly controlled by the Palestinian Authority. According to Israel's Army Radio station, members of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) are expected to take part in the tour, along with their staff and settler leaders in the southern West Bank city that Israel occupied in 1967. Palestinian political factions, including the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) have called for a general strike and demonstrations in protest of the decision. A top Islamic official, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi condemned the decision, saying it came "within a systematic series of arbitrary actions, carried out by Israeli occupation. . . 

Israelis storm town, camp; summon residents for questioning
5/17/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Sunday stormed the northern West Bank town of Anabta, east of Tulkarem, firing stun grenades and bullets into the air. Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that invading Israeli forces handed out 20 warrants to local residents, informing them they must appear for questioning by Israeli intelligence. Meanwhile, Israeli troops stormed the Tulkarem Refugee Camp and handed out five similar notices. [end] 

Report: Small explosive device detonates in Tel Aviv
5/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A small explosive device detonated near a home in northern Tel Aviv on Sunday, according to Israeli news reports. No casualties or damages were reported, according to Israeli news agency Ynet. Israeli police are investigating the incident. There was no immediate indication if the explosion was politically motivated, nor were there any claims of responsibility by Palestinian factions. [end] 

Jordan king: US set to announce new plan for Mideast peace
5/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The new administration in the United States will soon announce a plan to restart talks between Israel and Palestine, according to Jordan's King Abdullah II in an interview with AFP on Saturday. "We expect an announcement from the US administration. . . of its plan to restart negotiations to achieve a comprehensive solution," the king reportedly said. "And we hope that [Washington] will announce this plan as soon as possible, because lost time undermines the chances for peace. There is a tremendous need to move quickly, seriously and effectively," he added. Abdullah warned that "the possibilities of a new round of violence, a new war, will increase and the region and the world will pay the price. " "We believe that progress towards a solution requires a leading American role and European, Arab and international support," he said, urging US. . . 

Arab League: Conflict with Israel destabilizing entire region
5/17/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The situation in the region is not just unstable, but rather dangerous, and the key for stability lies in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, in general, and the question of Palestine, in particular, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa said on Sunday. In his remarks during the Davos economic conference being held at the Dead Sea in Jordan, Mousa explained that a remedy for the Middle East would be the establishment of a sustainable Palestinian state, and reaching a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel that includes Syria and Lebanon. In order to achieve that, added Mousa, Israel must stop settlement activities and evacuate outposts. He highlighted that the Israeli judiciary had ruled that outposts are illegal. Mousa also admitted that Arab countries had made a mistake when they agreed to negotiate with the Israelis without a guarantee to halt settlement expansion. 

Source: Saudi residents in Gaza to receive exit visas soon
5/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an Exclusive – Gazans with residency status in Saudi Arabia will be permitted to leave the besieged coastal strip soon, Ma'an learned from a reliable source on Sunday. Some 200 Palestinians typically living in Saudi Arabic ended up stranded when Israel launched its massive assault on the Gaza Strip in late December 2008. However, Ma'an has been told that former Palestinian holders of Saudi visas will be permitted to travel back to the Gulf nation within an undetermined but reportedly short amount of time. Meanwhile, a representative for a visa committee, Fisal As-Safady, said that the Palestinian embassy in Cairo confirmed that they would be in contact with the Saudis in an effort to facilitate the visas. As-Safady added that the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo, Dr Barakat Al-Farra, assured him on Sunday morning that these people’s names will be sent to the Riyadh embassy for processing. 

Gaza Tourism Ministry workers appeal for salary increase
5/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian workers within the Gaza Strip's Tourism Ministry appealed on Sunday for an increase in worker salaries, as well as life insurance. Nour Al-Khatib, an employee at the ministry, appealed to de facto Tourism Minister Kholoud D'eibes to provide employees with stable salaries, telling Ma'an that employees "have been working at the ministry for more than 15 years and our salaries are the same. " He added that "it is not enough to provide for a family, so we call on the ministry to raise our salaries. " Al-Khatib said that there are about 500 employees at the ministry, and most are not calling for higher salaries due to "such terrible living conditions in Gaza" since the Israeli and Egyptian blockade began in 2007. 

PA in West Bank sends dialysis solution to Gaza
5/17/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Dialysis solution shipped to the blockaded Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah have been distributed to hospitals there, the ministry said on Sunday. The ministry announced on Tuesday that the solution would be allowed into Gaza after negotiations with Israeli authorities. Israel’s blockade means that most medicine and medical equipment is not allowed into the Strip, making this week’s delivery and exceptional event. The Hamas-Fatah rivalry has also caused the Health Ministry to split into two, causing further bureaucratic hassles for Palestinians in Gaza. According to Ministry of Health Spokesperson Dr Omar An-Nasr, an initial 40 packages of dialysis solution and other medical supplies were delivered. Another 13 truckloads sent by the Ramallah-based government are scheduled to arrive soon. 

Tulkarem customs agents seize, destroy rotten meat
5/17/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Customs agents in Tulkarem and Jenin seized four tons of expired frozen meat on Sunday, according to the head of the Consumer and Taxes office in the West Bank. Officer Ghaleb Diwan told Ma'an that "after many investigations into this case, our team was able to seize a truck near the At-Taybeh crossing in Tulkarem loaded with four tons of expired meat, which was not suitable for human use. ”He added, "After experts examined the meat, they decided to destroy it because these quantities were transferred under unhealthy circumstances, where there was no refrigerator in the truck transferring the meat. ” [end] 

Netanyahu in Washington for Obama meeting
5/17/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel’s right-wing new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington on Sunday where US president Barack Obama will likely ask him to accept a Palestinian state as the basis of peace talks. Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party, has so far rejected Palestinian statehood, preferring the creation of a demilitarized ‘Palestinian entity’ with limited sovereignty. The Washington visit is a highly anticipated step in a series of diplomatic moves engineered by the US, UN, and other international actors to renew the currently comatose Middle East negotiation process. Netanyahu is meeting on Sunday with officials from the US’ largest pro-Israeli lobby group, AIPAC, and will meet Obama on Monday. The Palestinian Authority (PA) led by President Mahmoud Abbas, currently only holding power in the West Bank, currently refuses to negotiate with Netanyahu unless he agrees to the two-state formula. 

Israeli parliament members to visit hotspot East Jerusalem site
5/17/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma'an – Israeli members of parliament are staging an official visit a controversial archaeological site in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, drawing criticism from Palestinians. The Members of the Knesset (MKs) will visit the City of David, which is operated as a tourist attraction by an Israeli settler group. The site runs beneath the streets of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Israeli authorities plan to raze large swaths of the area in order, they say, to create a park. A Palestinian member of the Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, the head of the United Arab List – Ta’al, said in a statement that he would boycott the visit, which he called “totally provocative for Palestinians living in Silwan. ”At-Tibi confirmed that Silwan is an occupied area, and said he “rejects any statements that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. 

Egypt to Hamas and Fatah: Rafah will open if you unite
5/17/2009 - Cairo – Ma'an – Egypt informed Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah that it will permanently open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza if they reach a power-sharing agreement. Lawmaker Azzam Al-Ahmad, who is leading the Fatah delegation, told reporters in Cairo: "Egypt informed both factions in Cairo that they will open the Rafah crossing for Gaza Strip residents following the signing of an agreement to end the Palestinian division. " “Minister Omar Suleiman the head of the Egyptian intelligence service informed us last night during the meeting with both delegations that there will be serious steps taken and Egypt will start the process following the signing of the final agreement on the Palestinian factions,” Al-Ahmad added. Egypt closed the Rafah crossing to normal traffic in June 2007, following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza. 

Israeli forces open fire on northern Gaza Strip
5/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli forces unleashed heavy machine gun fire in the town of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday evening. Witnesses told Ma’an that the Israeli fire was concentrated on a local agricultural school and the Al-Amal neighborhood, in the east of Beit Hanoun. Artillery shells were also seen exploding south and east of the Erez border crossing. Muawiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Health Ministry in Gaza said there were no reports of injuries from the shelling. The military wings of Islamic Jihad, Al-Quds Brigades, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, claimed to have exploded roadside bombs against two Israeli military jeeps in the Al-Ersal area, north of Beit Hanoun, causing the Israeli troops to open fire. 

Fatah youth leader released by Gaza authorities
5/17/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas-led de facto government released Mahmoud Qanan, the leader of Fatah’s youth branch in Gaza, after holding him in prison after detaining him in April. Qanan has returned to his family in the city of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. According to Fatah, Qanan was seized from his house by Hamas-affiliated security forces on 25 April. The Ramallah-based Fatah spokesperson Fahmi Az-Za’arir said that Qanan was taken from to the An-Naser hospital in Gaza City, where he was interrogated for hours and then moved again to an unknown location in Gaza City. Qanan’s release comes as Hamas and Fatah are meeting in Cairo in an attempt to reach a unity deal after nearly two years of infighting. 

Returning from Holy Land, pope calls for peace
5/17/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma'an – Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians, Muslims, and Jews to cooperate for peace in his Sunday message after returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Speaking in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, the pontiff said he hoped that “goodwill and peace will spread” in the Middle East. Benedict left Israel at the end of a weeklong visit to the region that also brought him to Jordan and the West Bank. Speaking at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday, the pope said the "Palestinian people have a right to a sovereign state. " 

The National

Netanyahu flies to US for Obama talks
17 May 2009 - Commentators say the meeting will be a crucial indication on the way Israel will approach Palestine and Iran's nuclear ambition.

Netanyahu 'may endorse' Palestinian state
17 May 2009 - The Israeli prime minister might endorse Palestinian statehood when he visits the US this week, his defence minister says.

Egypt arrests 33 members of Muslim Brotherhood
16 May 2009 - Banned organisation claims the government is trying to prevent the possibility of talks with Barack Obama during his stay in Cairo in June.

Top Hizbollah official glorifies bloody attacks last May
16 May 2009 - Hizbollah's secretary general stuns Lebanon's political class with the assessment that last year's bloody near-coup was a glorious day for the Lebanese resistance. 

Freed journalist leaves Iran
15 May 2009 - The US-born reporter Roxana Saberi flies into Vienna from Tehran, only days after her release from an Iranian prison.

Abbas visit to Syria boycotted by Hamas
14 May 2009 - The snubbing of the president while in Damascus says much about the deep rivalries that continue to divide the Palestinian people.


Israeli PM in US for talks
17 May 2009 - Netanyahu to hold talks with Obama over Middle East peace negotiations and Iran.

Palestinians resume talks in Cairo 
16 May 2009 - Hamas and Fatah will try to reach a deal to share power.

Pope ends Middle East pilgrimage
15 May 2009 - Benedict XVI criticises Israel's separation wall and calls for a Palestinian state.

Gazans remember 1948 exodus
15 May 2009 - Huge rallies mark the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians as Israel was created.

Jordan hosts economic crisis talks
15 May 2009 - Leaders gather to discuss implications of global slowdown on the region.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: U.S.-Israel Balance Echoes Tensions of 1991 
LONDON, May 15 (IPS) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Pres. Barack Obama in Washington next Monday, amid speculation that their two administrations may be heading for a confrontation worse than any they have known since 1991-92.

ENVIRONMENT: West Bank Becomes Waste Land 
RAMALLAH, May 15 (IPS/IFEJ) - Israel has found a cheap and easy way to get rid of its waste, much of it hazardous: dump it into the West Bank. A few Palestinians can be bought, the rest are in no position to complain.

US-MIDEAST: Lobbies Gear Up Ahead of Bibi-Barack Meet 
WASHINGTON, May 15 (IPS) - In the months since U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have taken office, there has been lots of noise made about the relationship between the two men and their respective countries.

EGYPT: Fears Rise Over Spate of Missing Children 
CAIRO, May 15 (IPS) - A surge in reports of missing children has set off alarm across the Egyptian countryside. The fears are being fed both by reports and rumour.

Stop The Wall

Remembering 61 years of Nakba
16 May 2009 - On May 15, Palestinians officially commemorated 61 years of the Nakba. From May 14 – 16, activities and demonstrations were organized across historic Palestine. This photo story features images from the '48 and the West Bank, including the central demonstrations, anti-Wall protests, and other activities. [

Two new BDS resources
16 May 2009 - Two separate briefings have been released addressing the Norwegian Pension Fund’s investment in Israeli companies. One looks at IEC, Nesher, and Emblaze, while the second is a detailed report about on Israeli arms supplier Elbit Systems. Both demonstrate that the actions of the above firms run contrary to the Fund’s ethical guidelines and demand divestment. [

PCHR Latest

(14-05-2009) War Crimes Against Children: new report on the 313 children killed during Gaza offensive

PCHR Director Delivers Human Rights Lecture in Madrid, Spain

PCHR Weekly Report

(07 - 13 May  2008)
During the reporting period, five Palestinian civilians, including two children and one woman, were wounded in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Campaign to release the Palestinian activist arrested in al-Ma’sara
International Solidarity Movement - 15 May 2009 - The Al-Ma'sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements has been organizing and participating in demonstrations against the confiscation of their land for the past two and a half years. Participants and committee members are known for their strict adherence to non-violent tactics in demonstrations. While the protesters maintained their usual tactics on 1 May 2009, Israeli forces escalated their attempt to suppress the non-violent resistance by arresting several demonstrators. A new military commander, stationed in the area two months prior, had announced his intentions to end the resistance and implemented tactics such as night invasions of organizer's homes, destruction of property and threats. During the demonstration on 1 May 2009, the Israeli army arrested three members of the Al-Ma'sara Committee against the Wall and Settlements; Hasan Bergia, Mohammad Bergia and Mahmoud Sawahre. 

Balata Camp commemorates the Nakba
International Solidarity Movement - 14 May 2009 - The Nakba Committee of Nablus organized a commemoration ceremonyin Balata village. About 500 people from the area gathered to attend the event where various speeches were given by community officials such as the Mayor of Nablus and others. Some 500 Palestinians with flags and banners gathered in Balata village at the outskirts of Nablus to observe the 61st memorial day of the Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians where expelled from their homeland and became refugees. The mayor of Nablus, Dr. Jamal Mhezen, held a speech about the Nakba and the political situation today. He pointed out that the Palestinian government did everything Israel was asking for, and rhetorically he asked, "What did Israel do for the Palestinians? " He talked about the rights of return, and emphasized that Palestinians want peace, but that there are more than one ways to achieve it. 

Nakba commemoration: protesters carry a 5 meter long key in Bil’in
International Solidarity Movement - 15 May 2009 - Residents of Bil'in marched today after the Friday prayer in a protest joined by international and Israelis activists. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and posters of the martyr, Bassem Abu Rahmah, and also banners commemorating 61 years of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). A 5 meter long key was carried as a symbol to the right of return which a lot o Palestinians still have keys of their original homes and land ownership documents. Protesters marched towards the wall calling for the end of the occupation, and to stop construction of the Wall. What the Palestinians are facing by the Israeli occupation did not stop with one Nakba, but the aggression is still continuous especially the most recent offense on Gaza. Settlement building, home demolishing, and the ethic cleansing of the Palestinians in Jerusalem are all Nakbas. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Peres: If Assad wants peace, why is he shy?
16 May 2009 - President Shimon Peres on Sunday urged his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, to agree to engage in direct peace negotiations with Israel. ...

Netanyahu in U.S.: AIPAC on Sunday and Obama on Monday
16 May 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived on Sunday in Washington, where he is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and propose that joint teams draft a new road map for the Palestinian peace process and a new strategy on Iran. ...

Obama: I can't tell Israel not to fear Iran
16 May 2009 - United States President Barack Obama has said he cannot tell Israel not to fear Iran's nuclear ambitions, in comments published Saturday ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ...

Upon return from Holy Land, pope repeats call for Mideast peace
16 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land to work together for peace and justice, as he reflected on his recent visit to the region during his traditional Sunday blessing in St. Peter's Square. ...

IN PICTURES / When Israeli premiers meet American presidents
16 May 2009 - To mark the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, Haaretz takes a look at previous meetings between Israeli prime ministers and American presidents. ...

The Guardian

Barack Obama to push Israel for two-state pledge at talks
17 May 2009 - President Barack Obama is to press the hardline Israeli prime minster, Binyamin Netanyahu, to make an explicit commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state when the two meet for the first time in Washington tomorrow...

Pressing the right buttons | Editorial
15 May 2009 - Barack Obama has made no secret of his ambition to reset US foreign policy, but none of the buttons he has pressed on Russia or Iran will be nearly as electrifying as the one he is...

Israel's Eurovision song for peace | Rachel Shabi
15 May 2009 - Israel's Eurovision entry is sung by two friends, one Jewish, one Palestinian. It may be idealistic, but shouldn't we support them? The timing was doomed. Just as the Israel-inflicted death toll in Gaza reached 900, a...

Hate kills the soul, says pope in Nazareth mass
14 May 2009 - Mixed crowd of faiths and nationalities approaching 50,000 people hears pontiff emphasise tolerance and family values Pope Benedict XVI stood on a mountaintop in Nazareth today to say the largest mass of his visit to the...

Ha'aretz National page

It's official: Israel's economy is in recession
16 May 2009 - Israel is officially in recession after growth slumped for a second consecutive quarter at the beginning of 2009, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. ...

Peace Now: 'Natural growth' - Israel's trick for West Bank expansion
16 May 2009 - Figures released recently by the Central Bureau of Statistics cast doubt on government officials' claims of housing shortages for young couples living in West Bank settlements - the central argument Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to present to U.S. President Barack Obama against freezing settlement construction. ... 

Haifa court orders rapist to pay victims NIS 2m in damages
16 May 2009 - The Haifa District Court on Sunday ordered a man convicted of raping two of his nieces to pay his victims NIS 2 million in damages. ...

Israel's Jewish-Arab duo finishes 16th in Eurovision final
16 May 2009 - Israel's Jewish-Arab singing duo, Achinoam Nini and Mira Awad, came up short Saturday in their bid to bring Israel its fourth Eurovision victory, finishing in 16th place. ...

Bank of Israel chief gives Hapoalim chairman an ultimatum
16 May 2009 - Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer wants to end the saga of Bank Hapoalim chairman Danny Dankner this week. Fischer would prefer an agreed-upon, honorable resignation by Dankner, but if that's not in the offing, then the central bank is ready to give Dankner his walking papers. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: US - Ask Israel to cooperate with Goldstone inquiry
17 May 2009 - Source: Human Rights Watch

OPT: Creative solutions needed for Gaza recovery
17 May 2009 - Source: British Red Cross

Activities of Secretary-General in Belgium, 22-24 Apr
17 May 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 02 - 15 May 2009
16 May 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

UN workers end Jordan strike
16 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Factbox - Main issues in Middle East peace
16 May 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Egypt opens Gaza border
16 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Palestinian factions to resume unity talks in Cairo
16 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

YNet News

Barak: Shalit's release holy duty
17 May 2009 - IDF officers, reserve troops meet with defense minister in fight to bring kidnapped soldier home

Lawsuit filed over death of Gaza children
17 May 2009 - Relatives seek NIS 16 million over killing of two children during IDF Operation Cast Lead

Peres to Assad: Don't be shy
17 May 2009 - Syrian President Assad should not by 'shy,' embark on direct talks with Israel if he truly wants peace, Peres says Sunday; president meets with Jordan's King Abdullah, says Israel willing to resume talks with Palestinians immediately 

Netanyahu entourage tense on flight to Washington
17 May 2009 - Israel will 'maintain demands' on identity as Jewish state and importance of security, know the US will focus on settlement issue, officials say

Smuggling tunnel collapses, killing Palestinian
17 May 2009 - Egyptian police say victim suffocated after tunnel beneath border with Gaza caves in; others smugglers survive 

Palestinian minister: Israel gov't opposed to peace
17 May 2009 - Minister of Prisoner Affairs claims Netanyahu attempting to scam US, Palestinians and stymie existing agreements by trying change parameters of negotiations


Testimony: Settlers throw stones with soldiers present
9 May 2009 - According to a testimony given to B'Tselem by a resident of the Wadi a-Nasara neighborhood of Hebron, on 3 April 2009, dozens of settlers, accompanied by soldiers, entered the neighborhood. The soldiers allowed the settlers to throw stones at homes and pa

Settler youngsters attack ambulance in Hebron
6 May 2009 - On 11 April, a Palestinian ambulance was transporting a patient to her home in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron. According to testimonies, children and youths from nearby settlements threw rocks at the ambulance and soldiers at the scene did not inte

Daily Star

Turkey's Gul visits Syria for Middle East peace talks 
15 May 2009 - Turkish President Abdullah Gul flew to neighboring Syria Friday for a three-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral ties and discussing prospects of peace in the Middle East. "We aim to develop our ties with Syria on the basis of friendship and mutual interest in a way that will benefit the entire region," Gul said at Ankara airport before his departure.

Palestinians in Gaza mark anniversary of Nakba 
15 May 2009 - Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Friday marked the 61st anniversary of the Nakba, the "catastrophe" of the 1948 creation of Israel, which made refugees out of around 700,000 Palestinians. They have been prevented from returning to their homes by Israel ever since - instead, they have lived dispersed around the Arab world.

Jordan's king lauds renewed US commitment to Mideast peace 
15 May 2009 - Jordan's king praised the renewed US commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East on Friday and urged Israel to work toward that goal. King Abdullah II spoke a day after he pressed Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately commit to the establishment of a Palestinian state, a step he has been reluctant to take despite pressure from the US.

Fears rise over spate of missing children in Egypt 
15 May 2009 - A surge in reports of missing children has set off alarm across the Egyptian countryside. The fears are being fed both by reports and rumor. "Provinces on fire with kidnapping rumors; every day more stories of missing children," read the May 1 headline of independent daily Al-Dustour.

Obama revives military trials for terrorism suspects 
15 May 2009 - President Barack Obama will restart military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees, reviving a Bush-era trial system he once assailed as flawed but with new legal protections for terror suspects, US officials said. The changes to the system, which will affect a small number of detainees, was announced on Friday.

Palestinian Information Center

Khudari asks Obama to pressure Netanyahu into lifting Gaza siege
17 May 2009 - The popular committee against the siege has asked American president Barack Obama to pressure Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu into ending the "unjust siege" imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas: It is early to talk about the final results of the current dialog round
17 May 2009 - The Hamas Movement said it is premature to talk about the final results of the current round of the inter-Palestinian dialog in Cairo, pointing out that it might be followed by other rounds.

82 Fatah leaders accuse Abbas of declaring coup against their Movement
17 May 2009 - The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper said that 82 senior Fatah leaders issued a statement accusing Mahmoud Abbas of declaring a coup against the leadership of the Fatah Movement.

1,107 passengers in both ways on first day of Rafah border opening
17 May 2009 - The Palestinian interior ministry announced that only 1,107 passengers were able to cross the Rafah border terminal with Egypt on Saturday on the first day of a two-day opening of the vital crossing.

Report: Israel killed 313 children in its war on Gaza
17 May 2009 - The Palestinian center for human rights reported that the last Israeli war on Gaza was the largest, adding that 1,414 Palestinians including 313 children were killed during this war.

UNICEF: IOA humiliates, neglects Palestinian children
17 May 2009 - The United Nation Children's Fund (UNICEF) organization has accused Friday the Israeli occupation authority of deliberately humiliating and neglecting the Palestinian children.

Abu Zaid: UNRWA deficit surpassed $30m
17 May 2009 - The general commissioner of UNRWA Karen Abu Zayd has urged donors to expedite sending financial assistance to her agency, which is currently suffering more than 30 million dollars deficit.

Human Rights Organizations Warn of Obstacles to Gaza Reconstruction (Report)
17 May 2009 - After more than a hundred days since the end of the Zionist war on the Gaza Strip, human rights organizations are warning of the consequences of an alarming humanitarian situation in the Strip.

Wa’ed: Israel practices the ugliest torture methods in secret prisons
17 May 2009 - The Wa’ed society for detainees reported that all information available indicates that Israel practices the most heinous methods of torture against Palestinian prisoners in secret jails.

Hamas: We’ll discuss all options on the dialog table except the US terms
17 May 2009 - Hamas stated that its delegation to the fifth round of the national dialog will discuss with Fatah all options on the table except the American conditions.

Los Angeles Times

Iran president's denial of Holocaust becomes campaign issue 
17 May 2009 - A reformist challenger says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stance has isolated Iran internationally. A reformist challenger to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the hard-liner's denial of the Holocaust, saying it has served Israel's interests and pushed Iran deeper into international isolation, a newspaper reported Saturday. 

Pope Benedict's farewell remarks please both Israelis, Palestinians 
16 May 2009 - Pope Benedict condemns anti-Semitism and makes his strongest appeal for a Palestinian state. But no one expects his message of peace to move the Mideast conflict toward resolution. Pope Benedict XVI ended a politically charged visit to Israel and the West Bank on Friday with new condemnations of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and his strongest appeal yet for the creation of a Palestinian state. 

Stephen McEveety produces 'The Stoning of Soraya M.' 
16 May 2009 - Producer Stephen McEveety's new film depicts a modern stoning in Iran. As a producer of "The Passion of the Christ," Stephen McEveety knows how difficult (and also satisfying) it can be to make a controversial, sometimes brutal movie about religion and faithfulness. 

New York Times

Oman Navigates Between Iran and Arab Nations
16 May 2009 - Mindful of not antagonizing a powerful neighbor, Oman’s rulers have defied the appeals of others in the Middle East for it to draw away from Tehran. 

Citing Auschwitz, Pope Assails Hatred
15 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI wound up a sometimes fraught trip to Israel and the West Bank on Friday with a plea that the Holocaust must “never be forgotten or denied.” 

Jordan Tells Israel to Accept Two-State Solution
14 May 2009 - Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who urged the Israeli leader to commit to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. 


A peace process that has been obsessed with 1967 needs to refocus on 1948 
Adam Horowitz, Mondoweiss 5/17/2009
      We’re only hours from the Obama-Netanyahu meeting and the advice is coming fast and furious. The New York Times is all over the place today with commentary from Ali Abunimah, Chas Freeman, Daniel Levy and Jeffrey Goldberg. The discourse is truly opening up . Now it’s essential to bring 1948 into the conversation.
     Hussein Agha and Robert Malley begin to do this over at the New York Review of Books. Their article "Obama and the Middle East," takes stock of the current moment and offers some advice forward. In it, they repeat an idea that has been shared on this site - the peace process needs to be less concerned with the mechanics of two states and more focused on principles that can lead to peace. Agha and Malley:
     Its starting point would be less of an immediate effort to achieve a two-state agreement or propose US ideas to that effect. Rather, it would be an attempt to transform the political atmosphere and reformulate the diplomatic process. This would entail, first, identifying and recognizing fundamental Israeli and Palestinian concerns and aspirations and then placing them at the core of the process.
     Towards this end they take on the elephant in the room: 1948 and the Nakba. Writing on the day the Nakba was commemorated in Palestine, Agha and Malley explain, "The Israeli–Palestinian conflict will have to be tackled within the 1967 boundaries. But it can be resolved only if it deals candidly with its 1948 genesis."

VIDEO - Did CBC Ombudsman cave to Israel lobby pressure? 
The Real 5/17/2009
      Sut Jhally responds to CBC Radio-Canada Ombudsman attack on his film as one sided propaganda 
     Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land was broadcast on the French CBC on October 23, 2008, provoking a flood of complaints to the Canadian network. These complaints overwhelmingly took the network to task for running what they deemed to be a "pro-Palestinian" film, largely sidestepping the critically acclaimed 2004 documentary’s explicit focus on how pro-Israeli pressure groups methodically influence American media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
     CBC management asked the network’s Ombudsman to launch a full-scale investigation into the substance of the complaints and the central charge that the film was unduly biased.
     On December 8, 2008, the Ombudsman released her findings. She issued a report concluding that Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land should not have been shown on French CBC at all.
     In response to the Ombudsman report, Sut Jhally, the executive director of the Media Education Foundation, the producer and distributor of the film, drafted and sent a detailed letter to the president of the CBC challenging the accuracy and professionalism of the Ombudsman report, and criticizing how CBC management handled the pressure they faced.

Electronic Intifada
Hamas under scrutiny while Lieberman embraced
14 May 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - A founding member of Hamas says he hates all weapons and insists that his organization is not anti-Jewish. In an interview with IPS, Sayed Abu Musameh described frequent claims in the European and US press that Hamas's charter is based on enmity towards Jews as a "big lie." Speaking in the remains of the Palestinian Legislative Council headquarters in Gaza City, Husameh drew a distinction between followers of Judaism and the Zionist ideology to which most politicians in Israel's main political parties subscribe. 

Pope's visit overlooks Palestinians
14 May 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI upset the schedule on his first day in Israel by leaving an interfaith meeting in Jerusalem early on Monday night after a leading Muslim cleric called on him to condemn the "slaughter" of women and children in the recent assault on Gaza. The pontiff walked out, a spokesman noted, because Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi's speech was a "direct negation" of dialogue and damaged the Pope's efforts at "promoting peace." 

Israeli orgs call on Norway to divest from occupation
14 May 2009 - In an unprecedented way, a wide array of Israeli civil society and grassroots organizations has sent a letter to the Norwegian Pension Fund, addressed to its Council on Ethics, urging it to support their efforts for a just peace and equality in Israel/Palestine by divesting from all companies involved in the Israeli occupation. 

EU obligated to prosecute war crime suspects
14 May 2009 - Fair criminal trials in EU member states, especially if they result in convictions, could provide genuine deterrence and begin to provide justice for Palestinian victims of Israeli actions. The EU has a massive role in that regard. Instead of paying lip service to injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people by issuing statements "deploring the loss of life" and promises to "follow closely investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law," EU countries would achieve much more by applying the rule of law to Israel, starting with making their laws match their obligations under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Daniel Machover and Adri Nieuwhof comment for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
bombing the lifelines
15 May 2009 - I wake to the thud of bombings which I’d incorporated into my dreams, dividing the thuds into small and bigger explosions.  In consciousness I hear more bombing and realize it’s probably the tunnels region, where people still live very close by, being bombed again. A friend will try to leave Gaza today via Rafah crossing, and among the myriad of legitimate worries a Palestinian must have when trying to leave Gaza, having the area where you hope to cross over bombed is a fairly large one. Her father, our host, and brother walk through the room where we’d been sleeping, asking whether we’d heard the bombing. “It’s either from the...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel and Palestinian Unity: Quarrel on the Titanic
16 May 2009 - By Uri Avnery – Israel One of the happiest moments in my life occurred in a restaurant. It happened before the second Intifada. I had invited Rachel to celebrate her birthday with dinner at a famous restaurant in Ramallah. We were sitting in the garden under strings of colorful lights, the air was fragrant with the perfume of flowers and the waiters were hurrying back and forth with laden trays. We ate Mussakhan, the Palestinian national dish (chicken with tahini baked on pita bread), and I drank arak. Our waiter, who had overheard us talking, took our order in Hebrew. We were the only Israelis there. At the nearby tables, Arab families with the children in their best clothes, as well as a bride and groom with their wedding guests. Bursts of laughter punctuated the murmur of Arabic conversations, and spirits were high. I was happy, and a sigh escaped me: “How wonderful this country could be, if only we had peace!” I think of that moment every time I hear sad news from Ramallah. The news is depressing, but the memory helps me to keep alive my hope that things could be different. The most depressing news concerns the split between the Palestinians themselves. This split is a disaster for them, and, I believe, also for Israel and the world at large. That’s why I dare to comment on a matter that seemingly does not concern us Israelis. It does. It is easy to blame Israel. Easy and also...

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine 
16 May 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago After two years of 'underground' work, it was launched with a 'successful press conference' and announcement that: "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Its work will focus on "the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its opinion on the (Separation Wall in Occupied Palestine, addressed relevant) "International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, as well as dozens of international resolutions concerning Palestine." ( Watch video, Part I , Part II ) This Tribunal will "address the failure of application of law even though it has been so clearly identified." It begins where the ICJ "stopped: highlighting the responsibilities arising from the enunciation of law, including those of the international community, which cannot continue to shirk its obligations." The Russell Tribunal is part of the larger BRussell Tribunal, named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell. Established in 1967 to investigate Vietnam war crimes, it's a hearing committee, most recently on the Iraq war and Bush administration imperialism. Its work continues as "the only game in town for the anti-war movement in America, Britain and Europe" - to unite non-violently for peace on various world's hot spots, now for Occupied Palestine to expose decades of injustice against a defenseless civilian population. National committees will be formed globally, including expert ones composed of jurists, lawyers, human rights and international law experts, weapons experts, and others...

Arab-Latin American Cooperation: Shared Interests
16 May 2009 - By Martin Saatdjian - Venezuela The recently held summit of Arab and South American leaders in Doha, Qatar, took place during a very critical historical moment for humankind. Social, environmental, food, and economic crises have grown in their intensity in the past few years, making it harder for developing countries to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of overcoming poverty, eradicating hunger, preventing diseases, avoiding military conflicts, and the like. In addition to this dull view of world affairs, major international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), predict a sharp decline in economic activity in the entire world because of the financial crisis that has affected the most industrialized and developing countries. The meeting of the Arab and Latin American countries could be interpreted that both regions have found a common ground on where to discuss and make agreements to increase their economic ties, and to boost mutual cooperation. Furthermore, Arab and South American countries hope to create a united front against the foreign powers that have always had a grip in the socioeconomic order of Arab and South American countries. Even though it is premature to observe concrete results, the summit is the first step of establishing political dialogue between Arab and South American countries. The Arab-South-American cooperation could eventually breed a solid understanding between both regions and real cooperation that would allow the possibility to complement each other's economic growth. They could share technological and industrial knowledge, create financial tools to weather the...

'There is Still Time to Separate'?
16 May 2009 - By Terry Lacey - Jakarta The mythological Ousalam bird became extinct because its mating dance was so complicated that it forgot the reason for doing it. Now we enter a new phase in the Middle East Peace talks in which the objective will be to dance as beautifully as possible, for as long as possible. We start to see what we long suspected, that it may be too late for the twin state. What an interesting quotation on Al Jazeera, from Michael Williams the new UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East. Did he not say the words “There is still time to separate”? But it may be too late to separate. The walls, barriers and balkanization, apparent evidence of separation between Israelis and Palestinians, partly justified by security, may mean its impossible to create a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon just told the UN Security Council that Briton Michael Williams was named as new UN special coordinator for the Middle East. He will be the UN envoy to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization as well as the quartet of Middle East advisers, which includes the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. But the power of the Palestinian Authority and PLO based in Ramallah is limited to the balkanized West Bank and it lacks electoral legitimacy. Hamas has the political initiative and was elected. Ban, in a letter to the council, also said Williams would coordinate "all UN...

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