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

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
21 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

PCHR Weekly Report: 12 Palestinians, including 5 children, injured by Israeli forces this week
22 May 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 14 - 20 May 2009, 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and one woman, were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank. A Palestinian resistance fighter and a farmer were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces forced a Palestinian civilian to demolish his house. The Israeli judiciary ordered the evacuation of a number of Palestinian homes, which will render at least 70 civilians homeless. 

Hamas: “Statements of Netanyahu regarding Jerusalem, part of Israel’s aggression”
22 May 2009 - Yousef Farhat, media spokesperson of Hamas in the Central Gaza Strip, stated that the statements of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, regarding “the unified Jerusalem” as the eternal capital of Israel, as old news that are part of the ongoing Israeli aggression against Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa mosque. 

Two Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip
22 May 2009 - The Israeli army reported on Friday morning that its soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians near the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing, in the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli Air Force conducts drill simulating regional war
22 May 2009 - The Israeli Air Force concluded Thursday a three-day drill which simulates a comprehensive regional war; the drill included interception, attack aircraft, helicopters, refueling aircraft, in addition to testing the air force system and ground force readiness. 

Abbas demands preparing for new legislative and presidential elections
22 May 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated Thursday that he will not accept that his presidential term in office and the term of the legislative council would be renewed even for one day, and demanded preparations for new legislative and presidential elections before January 25 of next year. 

Netanyahu: “Jerusalem is ours, will never be divided again”
22 May 2009 - During what Israel describes as Jerusalem Day, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated Thursday that the unified Jerusalem will forever be the capital of Israel, and vowed “to respect religious freedom of the three faiths”. 

Israeli settlers uproot trees in northern West Bank
21 May 2009 - Israeli settlers backed by the military uprooted on Thursday olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank. 

Palestinian child injured after being rammed by an Israeli settler
21 May 2009 - A Palestinian child was injured on Wednesday night when an Israeli settler rammed her with a car in the old part of the southern west Bank city of Hebron. 

Six Palestinians injured as Egyptian military bombs a tunnel at Gaza border
21 May 2009 - Six Palestinian workers were injured on Thursday around midday when the Egyptian military bombed a tunnel located between the Egyptian-Gaza border. 

Army claims three Palestinian women attempted to stab soldiers in separate incidents
21 May 2009 - Israeli military sources claimed Friday that a Palestinian woman attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at Bir Zeit roadblock, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. In a related incident, the army detained two women after claiming that one of them threw a knife at a soldier in Hebron. 

Netanyahu says he is willing to resume talks Palestinians and Arabs
21 May 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated Thursday that he was willing to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, Syria, and other Arab countries, and called on the Arabs to provide concessions. 

Netanyahu vows to “dismantle some outposts”
21 May 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel’s Defense Minister reportedly agreed to dismantle some illegal settlement outposts built by settlers in private Palestinian lands. They said the evacuation would take place within a few weeks. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Bomb detonates near IDF patrol along Gaza border
22 May 2009 - Blast comes hours after IDF disrupted an attempt to plant an explosive device elsewhere on the border. 

'1 in 4 Israelis would consider leaving country if Iran gets nukes'
22 May 2009 - According to Tel Aviv University study, some 85 percent of Israelis are wary of an Iranian bomb. 

'Israeli assassination of Nasrallah would set region ablaze'
22 May 2009 - Hezbollah deputy tells 

ANALYSIS / New York bomb plot highlights threat from independent attackers
21 May 2009 - JTA quotes experts as saying people not formally connected with terror groups at center of recent attacks. 

Barak-Ashkenazi clash postpones IDF appointments
21 May 2009 - Clash reportedly over Barak, Ashkenazi's preferences for new head of GOC Northern Command. 

Defense Min. shuts down Iran unit
21 May 2009 - Iran unit set up 30 years ago to follow political and defense developments in Iran, Lebanon. 

'Spy' tried to track down Nasrallah
21 May 2009 - Paper says suspect, a supporter of Hezbollah rivals, admitted Israel paid him to try and meet Nasrallah. 

IAF drill simulates all-out regional war
21 May 2009 - Scenario tested involves fighting on multiple fronts, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. 

Ma'an News

Israeli troops detain five young Bethlehem-area men
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli troops detained five young men from Tuqu village southeast of Bethlehem and took them to an unknown destination before sunrise on Thursday. Witnesses reported that the troops overran the village and raided several houses. Those detained were identified as: Muhammad Sayel Kawazbeh, 20, Khalil Kawazbeh, 18, Fa’eq Amin Kawazbeh, 17, Samid Ali Kawazbeh, 17, Romel Tayseer Kawazbeh, 29. [end] 

Rights workers accompany Gaza farmers along Green Line
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Five international human right advocates planned to accompany 10 Palestinian farmers in Gaza fearing Israeli fire as they harvest crops several hundred meters from the Green Line. The volunteers with the International Solidarity Movement said they would join farmers from the village of Khuza’a working on land 300-350 meters from the borderline. On 9 May, farmers and international accompaniers were fired on by Israeli forces in the village of Letaemat, also in the Gaza Strip. Several farmers have been shot while working on their land along the eastern edgeof the 365 square kilometer Strip. The Israeli military has imposed what it calls a “buffer zone,” up to 500 meters in width that it enforces with gunfire. Four Palestinian farmers have been shot in the buffer zone since January. 

Six hospitalized after Gaza tunnel fuel spill
5/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Six Palestinians were hospitalized after a liquid fuel spill in a smuggling tunnel along the Egypt-Gaza border on Thursday. According to medics, the six arrived at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Two were later transferred to the European Hospital in nearby Khan Younis. Medics said the six suffered minor asphyxiation. Smugglers use a network of tunnels to import fuel and a wide variety of other goods made scarce in Gaza by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. [end] 

Two from Tubas suffer ’medical negligence’ in Israeli jails
5/21/2009 - Tubas – Ma’an – The head of the Prisoners’ Society in the West Bank town of Tubas, Mahmoud Sawaftah, appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday to intervene to help two prisoners who he said are at risk of dying in Israeli prisons due to medical negligence. Swaftah identified the two prisoners as Khaled Ash-Shawish, who is sentenced to ten life terms and is paralyzed, and Abdallah Hamed Bani Audah who has cancer. [end] 

Hundreds protest Israel’s 'Jerusalem Day' celebrations
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - At least 200 Palestinians demonstrated near Damascus Gate on Thursday, protesting Israel's "Jerusalem Day" holiday, which marks the country's occupation of the eastern half of the Palestinian capital. Israeli news sources reported that activists held signs reading "Jerusalem - not a celebration for everyone" and "Building in the west - demolishing in the east. "Other demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and called Jerusalem's so-called reunification a fantasy. "The city is not united. East Jerusalem had been annexed by Israel against the will of its residents, who have since been suffering discrimination, neglect and abuse in all walks of life," said a statement to Ma'an from the demonstration's organizers, a coalition of East Jerusalem neighborhood committees and residents. Israeli forces captured East Jerusalem from Jordanian control in 1967,. . . 

Hope Convoy continues to wait for access to Egyptian port
5/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The ship holding the European “Al-Amal” convoy of Gaza donations continues to wait for access to Port Sa’id harbor Thursday evening. Coordinator of the campaign Rami Abdo said the cargo would be transferred from Port Sa’id to the Rafah crossing directly, and could make it as early as Saturday if no obstacles are met. The convoy originated from Genoa, Italy, and will see 12 Parliamentarians, 160 activists and Italian Senator Fernando Rossi accompany 15 ambulances and equipment for Gazans with special needs including school curriculum and computers for the blind and dozens of wheelchairs. [end] 

Qalqiliya: Israeli soldiers, PA officer wounded in shootout
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Two undercover Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian Authority officer were injured in an overnight shootout in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Thursday. Palestinian sources told Ma’an that the officer was in fact a PA intelligence agent, who was shot by Israeli special forces who infiltrated Qalqiliya in a truck with Palestinian license plates. The sources said an intelligence unit approached the truck, on Al-Wad Street in the south of the city, for a routine security check. Then, the sources said, the Israeli operatives shot the Palestinian officer in the chest, causing the PA personnel to return fire. The PA officer, Ali Taysir Khleif, 24, was transferred in a Palestine Red Crescent Society Ambulance to Qalqiliya Hospital, where medical officials called his wounds “moderate". According to the Israeli military’s version of events, the soldiers, some 

Israeli soldiers seize five Palestinians from Nablus
5/21/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers seized five young Palestinians during an overnight raid on Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus and nearby villages on Thursday. Several military jeeps entered Balata Camp and took Mu’taz Muhammad Hashash, 15, Adham Khalil Abu Aba, 17, Taysir Muhammad As-Sayeh, 18, from their homes. In the nearby Al-Makhfiyeh area, Israeli soldiers seized Taysir Muhammad As-Sayeh, 18. Israeli soldiers also raided the villages of Beit Iba, Beit Furiq, and Qabalan, south of the city of Nablus. Abdel Aziz Khaled Hajj, 22, was arrested from the area. Israeli troops also confiscated four Jawwal mobile phones that were in his possession. [end] 

Israeli forces detain three Palestinians carrying knives
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli forces seized three Palestinians, including two teenage girls, at West Bank checkpoints on Thursday claiming they were carrying knives. Two teenagers were arrested for carrying eight centimeter knives near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Israeli military-controlled section of the city of Hebron. One woman reportedly threw a knife at Israeli border police. Ma’an learned that the two, Mahafel Hassan Ad-Dik, 18, and Maha Azzam Rifa’iya, 13, were released a few hours later. Another woman allegedly tried to stab a soldier at the checkpoint in the university town of Bir Zeit, outside of Ramallah, according to news reports. [end] 

Protected by Israeli army, settlers uproot olive trees near Salfit
5/21/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian agricultural area was declared a closed military zone as settlers infiltrated the area and uprooted olive trees as Israeli soldiers guarded the area Thursday afternoon. The Wadi Qana area of Dir Istiya, north of Salfit, is agricultural land owned by locals Haitahm Mansour, and Ali Sa’id Zaidan. A Ministry of Agriculture employee, Labib U’beid, said a large group of residents, farmers and officials headed to the area to protest the military order, but were forcibly turned away. Seventy-five-year-old farmer Mohammad Shheda who owns land in the valley said , “I’ve been farming this land for 60 years, and they just came in and ordered me off it. ”Local municipal council member Nathmi Salman explained the Wadi Qana area is already surrounded by five illegal Israeli settlements, and said the most recent military order was another attempt to. . . 

France pledges support for new PA government
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The French government “welcomes the new [Palestinian] government formed by President Mahmoud Abbas and would like to swiftly work with it,” a statement said Thursday. Issued by government spokesperson Eric Chevalier, the statement asserts “France’s full confidence in President Mahmoud Abbas and the Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for restarting peace negotiations with Israel without delay, complying with the commitments made under the Roadmap and implementing the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP) with a view to the creation of an independent, sovereign, viable, democratic and modern Palestinian State existing in peace and security alongside Israel. ”The new Palestinian Authority (PA) government was sworn in with 24 ministers in Ramallah on Tuesday, even as two political parties declared their non-participation in the move, alongside the Fatah bloc. . . 

Three Gaza crossings open; amount of supplies shrinks
5/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Three crossing points into the Gaza Strip will be open Thursday, said crossings official Raed Fattuh confirmed on Thursday. Between 110 to 121 truckloads of supplies to the commercial and agricultural sectors through Kerem Shalom are expected, and an unannounced amount of cooking gas and industrial fuel will be transferred at Nahal Oz. Through Karni, 45 truckloads of feed and wheat will be transferred in. A diminishing amount of supplies have been passing through the Israeli controlled crossing points since the re-opening of the crossings following the Israeli war on the besieged coastal area. [end] 

Mubarak cancels Washington visit after death of grandson
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Grieving over the death of his grandson, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has decided to cancel a planned trip to Washington, DC, where he was to hold talks with President Barack Obama on Middle East peacemaking. Muhammad Mubarak, 12, died on Tuesday in a Paris hospital. The cause of death was not disclosed. Mubarak’s visit to the White House, originally slated for Tuesday, was part of a series of diplomatic moves on Obama’s part to galvanize the now comatose peace process. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will hold talks with Obama next Thursday, as did Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week. Obama is expected to roll out a peace initiative in a major address in Cairo on 4 June. Mubarak’s Washington trip has been indefinitely postponed, sources in the Egyptian presidency told AFP. 

Israel evacuates youth from seven-hut outpost as 'gesture to Obama'
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - In what appears to be a gesture to US President Barack Obama Israeli forces evacuated a seven-hut settlement northeast of Ramallah Thursday morning. The tiny outpost was established in 2005 by residents of the nearby Kokhav HaShahar, and lately inhabited by youth from the settlement. Israeli police reported no violent reaction to the evacuation, the first forcible removal of Israeli settlers since the Ar-Rajabi house incident on 4 December in Hebron. The removal followed a Wednesday meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and West Bank settler leaders where sides agreed that illegal outposts would be evacuated. The settlers responsible for the outpost were quoted in the Israeli pres as saying, "The expulsion that is being carried out now is the first phase in Barak's policy to establish a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital that will later turn into a Hamas state. 

Palestinian ambassador meets Bulgarian Parliament VP
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Ambassador to Bulgaria Dr Ahmed Al-Madbouh met on Wednesday night with Dr. Peter Byron, the vice president of the Bulgarian Parliament, at Palestine's embassy. At the meeting Dr Al-Madbouh spoke about the Palestinian situation and the latest developments with the peace process in the Middle East, pointing out the continuation of Israeli settlement activities and the detention of young Palestinians, alleged to be "wanted," in addition to the separation wall that harms Palestinians' humanitarian situation. The ambassador assured the vice president that the Palestinian side is keen to ensure the success of the peace process on the basis of international legitimacy and the two-state solution. For his part, Vice President Byron assured that Bulgaria encourages the two-state solution and to urges both sides to move forward with peace talks and to avoid future obstacles. 

New PA minister to British counterpart: Occupation suffocating Palestinian economy
5/21/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Newly-appointed Palestinian Minister of Economy Basem Khoury met with UK Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Mervyn Davies on Thursday in Ramallah. Khoury, who was sworn in with the new government on Tuesday, presented a detailed explanation on the economic difficult situation resulting from the Israeli siege of Gaza, and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. He said Israeli checkpoints and other obstructions are suffocating economic activity. Khoury urged the UK in particular and the EU in general to supporting the Palestinian economy. The British minister pledged to continue British support for developing the Palestinian economy. "The growth of the Palestinian economy is essential for driving forward change for the better. It’s crucial that economic and political progress move in parallel and one of the key ways we can achieve this is to strengthen. . . 

Erekat meets with EU representative, Italian delegation
5/21/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an – Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's negotiations department, met Thursday with Christian Burger, the European Union's envoy to the region, as well as an Italian education delegation. Erekat hosted the two separate visiting groups in Jericho, where the Italian students and teachers discussed the prevention of armed conflicts. Meanwhile, Erekat praised aid donated by members of the EU for the Palestinian people, in the fields of politics, economy and security, urging them to continue making every effort to pressure Israel into agreeing to implement its commitments, namely ending settlement activities - including so-called natural growth - and stopping home demolitions, expelling residents of East Jerusalem, and lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip. Erekat went on to say that "the fastest route to peace and stability in the region is by ending the occupation. " 

Israel denies Canadian delegation entry to Gaza
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities at Erez crossing denied entry to a delegation of 17 Canadian civil society advocates on a mission to the Gaza Strip on Thursday afternoon. The group included representatives from Palestinian and Jewish peace groups as well as the Federation des Femmes du Quebec, the Quebec Teachers Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Union of Postal workers, all from Quebec. The groups were planning an educational and solidarity trip to Gaza. Spokesperson and organizer of the delegation Ihab Latif, from the Coalition for Peace and Justice in Palestine, said the delegation went to the crossing with letters of invitation from UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency) and was detained and questioned for an hour before being refused entry. The group then staged an impromptu protest calling for an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza. 

Netanyahu: Jerusalem will never be divided or partitioned
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on Thursday that all of Jerusalem will forever remain under Israeli control. Netanyahu made the comments during a speech marking the anniversary of the occupation of the eastern half of the Palestinian capital, according to Israeli news reports. "United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided," Netanyahu said at the state ceremony. The Israeli prime minister also noted that he made the same announcement during his latest visit to Washington, DC, although it had not been announced publicly. "Only under Israeli sovereignty will united Jerusalem ensure the freedom of religion and freedom of access for the three religions to the holy places," Netanyahu said in the ceremony at Ammunition Hill, which is located at an illegal settlement in East Jerusalem. 

Six Hamas members seized by PA
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Fatah-allied Palestinian Authority forces seized six Hamas members on Wednesday night, the Islamic movement said. Hamas listed the arrestees in a statement:Sheikh Riyad Nasser, 32, from Deir Qaddis village near Ramallah,Emam Sheikh Muhammad Hassan Ad-Dahleh, 32, from Beituniya near Ramallah,Tha’er Saba’nah, from Qabatiya village near Jenin,In Bethlehem the group said the PA detained Ahmad Mahmoud Eshtewi, 31, the imam of the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque in the village of Al-Ubediya. [end] 

Security forces confiscate hashish and pills in Gaza
5/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian anti-narcotics forces confiscated an amount of hashish and pills in Gaza City on Wednesday, sources said. Sources in the department said that after receiving information on narcotics in Gaza City, forces rushed to the area and searched the building. The department concluded by saying that they confiscated 12 packages of hashish, in addition to 9,400 drug pills, and seized a number of the alleged drug dealers who were at the scene. [end] 

Palestinian lawyers condemn politically motivated arrests
5/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The legal community in Palestine is up in arms about continuous political detentions on the part of Palestinian Authority and de facto government security forces. In a statement sent to Ma'an, the Palestinian Legal Society said that "continuous political detentions" are "humiliating to Palestinian rights and will lead to the failure of the national dialogue. " "All human beings have the right to live freely and be safe, and political affiliation is a right for any Palestinian," the statement went on to say. [Palestinians] shouldn’t be arrested for his or her affiliation," the group added, calling on both the de facto government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to release all those who were detained as a result of their political affiliation. 

Former planning minister takes over PA Ministry of Youth and Sport
5/21/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Former Palestinian Minister of Planning Hassan Abu Libdeh will take control of the Ministry of Youth and Sport in the West Bank caretaker administration, the ministry said on Thursday. Abu Libdeh was sworn in on Tuesday as the secretary-general of the new Palestinian cabinet which is led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Until Thursday the Youth and Sport portfolio was left vacant. Fayyad designated Abu Libdeh to fill the position last held by Tahani Abu Daqa. An official ceremony handing Abu Libdeh the ministry was attended by Musa Abu Zeid, an official in the ministry as well as other officials. A ministry statement said Fayyad “praised the important role Abu Daqa played while occupying the post thanking her for her significant efforts. ”A former head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Abu Libdeh was the driving force behind the 2008. . . 

Abbas rejects extension of PLC, presidential terms
5/21/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that he rejected a behind-the-scenes proposal to extend his term and that of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). He said in a speech at opening of the Fifth Conference of the General Union of the Palestinian Women in Ramallah, “I would say it openly that it was proposed to us to extend the dialogue … We will not accept an extension of the presidency, or of the PLC. We should seek the people’s judgment to go the ballot boxes. ”Abbas’ Fatah movement and the rival Hamas faction, which has an elected majority in the PLC and also physical control of the Gaza Strip, currently have no concrete plans in place for new elections, which the two agreed should take place in January 2010, when the PLC’s term expires. 

Senior PLO official denounces new Palestinian government
5/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's political department, Faruq Al-Qadumi, said on Thursday that he would not recognize the new government headed by Salam Fayyad. Al-Qadumi described the government's forming as "an absurd procedure" in an interview with the Tunisian online news agency As-Sawab, adding that "members of the Palestinian Legislative Council affiliated with Fatah have been ignored, despite their previous protest for not being consulted on this issue. " The official, who has resided in Tunisia since 1982 when the the PLO moved there from Beirut, criticized President Mahmoud Abbas for ignoring what he called the collective view of Fatah-affiliated PLC members, saying that "with deep regret, we say that this is a manipulation and ignorance of the basis of democracy. 

The National

Biden arrives in Beirut
22 May 2009 - The US vice president Joe Biden, carrying a message on military aid to Lebanon, arrives in Beirut.

US sanctions may curb Syria's recovery
21 May 2009 - Embargo disappoints reformists as critics claim Obama's decision allows Washington to exert diplomatic pressure on Damascus.

Fighting in Tripoli leaves both sides sorry
21 May 2009 - Poverty is the legacy of violence in Lebanon with business profits down 90 per cent because of clashes.

Rift deepens between Palestinian factions
21 May 2009 - Hamas rejects Fayyad government, calling the administration illegal and accusing Fatah of trying to undermine unity talks.

US to push Israel on Palestinian state
19 May 2009 - Commentators claim relations between countries are entering a new era as US president clarifies intentions to Netanyahu.

Lebanese arrest five accused of spying for Israelis, as two suspects flee
19 May 2009 - Lebanese authorities arrested at least five people accused of spying for Israel last weekend.

Cut off from their own land by Israel's wall
18 May 2009 - Residents in West Bank hope Obama will press Netanyahu to settle what they refer to as land theft or Palestinian state cannot emerge.

Aljazeera

Biden in pre-poll Lebanon trip
22 May 2009 - Visit by US vice-president is first by senior Washington official in three decades.

Israeli troops kill Gaza fighters
22 May 2009 - Soldiers shoot dead two men, allegedly carrying explosives, near crossing point.

Candidates begin Iran election race
21 May 2009 - Guardian Council approves four of the hundreds who applied to run for president.

Iran missile launch 'concerns' US
20 May 2009 - US expresses concern over test but refrains from tough talk amid diplomatic overtures.

Hamas condemns Palestinian cabinet
20 May 2009 - Rival says appointing Fatah-dominated government will "sabotage" unity talks.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Israel Slow to Recognise New U.S. Face 
JERUSALEM, May 22 (IPS) - A ballistic missile, an anti-missile defence system and the transfer of nuclear technology - three inter-related issues addressed on the same day this week highlight the radical re-adjustment in U.S. priorities as the Obama Administration demarcates a fresh strategic outlook for the Middle East.

POLITICS: At East-West Crossroads, Turkey Presses Ambitious Agenda 
ISTANBUL, May 21 (IPS) - Two soaring bridges link Asia and Europe in this historic city, which straddles the two continents.

Q&A: "Gaza Will Not Be Sidelined" 
UNITED NATIONS, May 21 (IPS) - Six months after Israel's devastating air and ground assault on the Gaza Strip, Ambassador Riyad Mansour of the Palestinian Observer Mission to the United Nations says he will "keep up the pressure on all fronts until the perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable...

POLITICS-US: UAE Torture Tape Complicates Nuclear Deal 
WASHINGTON, May 21 (IPS) - A U.S. agreement to exchange nuclear information and materials with an Arab country in the Persian Gulf is facing opposition because of a video of torture conducted by a member of a ruling family from one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Stop The Wall

Moving the Wall in Jayyus
21 May 2009 - On May 1, the Wall was moved in Jayyus. Villagers turned out to celebrate, finally able to walk on land that has been isolated for years. But with the Wall still standing, soldiers will maintain control over the majority of village land while movement, social ties and economic activity will continue to deteriorate. The struggle will continue until the Wall is destroyed and every stolen dunum returned. [

Two brothers from Ma’sara still imprisoned
18 May 2009 - Hasan and Muhammed Brajiya remain imprisoned following their arrest at a May Day demonstration in al-Ma’sara. The Ma'sara arrests, along with the killing of Basem Abu Rahma in Bil’in and the recent injury of dozens of other Palestinians at demonstrations, are part of a wider crackdown against Palestinian villages protesting against the Wall. Immediate pressure must be brought to secure the release of the Brajiya brothers and to scrap any further fines, which ultimately serve to fund this unjust legal system. [

PCHR Latest

(21-05-2009) PCHR Clarify Confusion Regarding Spanish Parliament Proposal Concerning Universal Jurisdiction Legislation
PCHR

PCHR Condemns Gaza Security Services' Prevention of Women's Rights Activists from Traveling to Ramallah
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(14 - 20 May  2008)
During the reporting period, 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were wounded by IOF in the West Bank, and a resistance activist and a farmer were wounded by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Hopes and dreams on the Gaza coast
International Solidarity Movement - Every day, as the sun sets on the coast of Gaza, people make their way to the coffee shop-lined beaches and the pot-holed streets that run parallel to its coastline. On the terrace of the famed Al Deira Hotel, patrons jostle for position, sipping sweet Arabic coffee as the sounds of legendary Arab musicians delicately waft through the air, mingling with the aroma of flavoured tobacco. They all share one aim - to gaze out into the Mediterranean Sea as its turquoise waters transform into blue, then purple and then disappear into the moonlit night. Another day has passed in Gaza. For the few minutes where the sun and water meet and the sky glows warm, people here are moved by a deep beauty and for those few minutes, the beaming smiles of children frolicking in the sand, the laughter of friends and the line of fishermen setting out into the horizon suspend Gaza's seemingly eternal suffering. It is that time of year again, when temperatures rise and where the coast of Gaza takes on a whole new different meaning. 

Beit Ommar farmers continue to challenge closed military zones in order to reach their lands
International Solidarity Movement - Palestine Solidarity Project - 16th May 2009 - On the morning of the 16th, Palestinian farmers from Beit Ommar village with lands in Saffa close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Bet Ayn, defied a closed military zone order issued by the army in order to work their lands. At around 7am, about a dozen farmers and their families accompanied by a large group of Israeli and international solidarity activists, went to their fields in a valley just below Bet Ayn settlement. Farming in this valley is often dangerous, as the villagers face harassment from settlers and the Israeli military. The farmers picked grape leaves and used tractors to work the fields for about three hours before settlers started to gather at the top of the hill screaming, "death to all arabs. " Within minutes, a jeep of Israeli soldiers and border police arrived and showed a paper declaring the lands a closed military zone. 

Mayor’s aide: new deal for Jerusalem Palestinians
International Solidarity Movement - The Israeli official put in charge of Jerusalem's Arabs said he believes treating them more fairly will strengthen Israeli claims to all the disputed city, and says he's seeking ways to legalize thousands of unlicensed Arab homes vulnerable to demolition. With Israeli control comes responsibility for all Jerusalem residents, including a quarter million Palestinians who suffered decades of neglect, said the official, 32-year-old Yakir Segev, in an interview this week. The former army commando was appointed six months ago by Mayor Nir Barkat to oversee east Jerusalem, the area captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by Palestinians as a future capital. The anniversary of the capture is marked Thursday, according to the Hebrew calendar, with parades and speeches. The mayor's critics say they're getting empty promises. Demolitions of Arab homes have picked up under Barkat, with more than 1,000 orders issued this year, they note, while city funds are still mostly spent in Jewish areas. 

UN moves on Gaza probe despite Israeli objections
International Solidarity Movement - Voice of America - 20 May 2009 - A U. N. human rights expert says he will proceed with a mission to the Gaza Strip to investigate possible war crimes during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict despite Israeli objections. The U. N. 's Richard Goldstone says Israel has not responded to his request to enter the country and cross into Gaza for his investigation of Israel's offensive against Hamas rulers. Speaking in Geneva Wednesday, he said his four-member team hopes to visit the southern Israeli town of Sderot, before crossing into Gaza. But, he says the team will enter Gaza through Egypt if necessary. Israel objects to the mission because, in its view, it is based on a biased mandate. The 47-nation U. N. Human Rights Council initially instructed the investigators to examine accusations of Israeli war crimes against Palestinians. It later broadened the mission's scope to look at the actions of both sides in the war. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Brazil police thwart neo-Nazi plot to bomb synagogues 
21 May 2009 - Police disrupted an alleged neo-Nazi plot to bomb at least two synagogues in southern Brazil and are looking into whether the group has international ties, officials said Thursday. ...

Brazil Supreme Court: Extradite head of child abusing sect 
21 May 2009 - Elior Chen, chief suspect in a severe case of child abuse will be extradited to Israel from Brazil, the South American country's Supreme Court ruled Thursday. ...

New York rabbi, imam denounce violence after bomb plot exposed 
21 May 2009 - New York-area religious leaders, Muslim cleric Shamsi Ali and Orthodox Rabbi Marc Schneier held a press conference Thursday, issuing a joint condemnation of the recently uncovered plot to bomb New York Jewish centers. ...

ANALYSIS / Evacuating outposts is easiest gesture
21 May 2009 - Neither the aggressive statements made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak in support of evacuating West Bank outposts, his growing agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the need to evacuate some of the illegal Jewish settlements, nor the evacuation of the Maoz Ester outpost on Thursday necessarily point to a fundamental change in the government's policy on the matter. ...

Yossi Melman / Obama quashed Israel military option against Iran
21 May 2009 - Israel's military option against Iran has died. The death warrant was issued courtesy of the new U.S. administration led by Barack Obama. ...

The Guardian

Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action | Ben White
21 May 2009 - A obsession with even-handedness is stopping Anglicans taking a firm stand on Israel's disregard for Palestinian rights At the 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting, held in Jamaica earlier this month, a resolution on the Middle...

Fatah is key to Palestinian polity | Karma Nabulsi
21 May 2009 - As Fatah prepares for its sixth congress, it must recapture the essence of its movement if it is to redeem Palestinian politics In September 1965, two years before Israel occupied the remainder of historic Palestine (Arab...

Diaspora Jews find their voice | Antony Lerman
20 May 2009 - If diaspora Jews can find the courage to speak critically to Israel, a tipping point may finally be reached Virtually anything can be said about Israel-Palestine, as Cif contributions and responses show only too clearly. Yet...

Obama and Netanyahu: Up close and personal | Editorial
19 May 2009 - We do not know what Barack Obama said to Binyamin Netanyahu for the two hours they spent alone in the Oval Office together. But we do know that it was alone. Mr Obama conducted the most...

Ha'aretz National page

Taking to the high seas 
21 May 2009 - Taking a cruise may not be the ideal vacation for adventurous nature lovers or museum mavens, but can be the perfect solution for anyone seeking a loosely structured getaway. It's really no wonder more and more Israelis are spending their vacations afloat. ... 

Crime boss demands millions from businessman for 'conflict resolution' 
21 May 2009 - Crime boss Asi Abutbul is demanding millions of shekels from businessman Nissan Khakhshouri, one of the owners of the Club Hotel chain. Khakhshouri has been involved in a stormy dispute with his business partner Moshe Bublil for a number of years. ...

Doctor gets 8 years after toddler dies of anesthesia overdose
21 May 2009 - A Tel Aviv court on Thursday sentenced an anesthesiologist convicted of manslaughter in the death of a toddler to a record eight years in prison. ... 

Hundreds attend funeral of American-Israeli teen, mourn their 'angel' 
21 May 2009 - Hundreds attended the Thursday funeral of Dana Bennet, the American-Israeli teen whose remains were discovered four weeks ago six years after her vanishing. ...

The long arc of Israeli politics bends toward Kadima 
21 May 2009 - When Barack Obama hosted Benjamin Netanyahu on his first visit to D.C. since his second term as prime minister began, the unstoppable force met a convincingly unmovable hairdo, and the world did not stand still. ...

Relief Web

Israel-OPT: Military are contaminating water sources - Environment Ministry
22 May 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

B'Tselem and ACRI demand investigation of officers who testified to a policy of routine use of violence against Palestinian civilians 
22 May 2009 - Source: Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

OPT: Military rejects horrific results of use of white phosphorus in Operation Cast Lead 
22 May 2009 - Source: Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

OPT: UNICEF and ECHO support play activities to help West Bank children cope
21 May 2009 - Source: UN Children's Fund

Syria: Valuable vocations and real opportunities
21 May 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Our shared future: building coalitions and winning consent
21 May 2009 - Source: Government of the United Kingdom

Health conditions in the oPt, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan - Report of the Director of Health, UNRWA, for 2008
21 May 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: UNEP completes fieldwork in the Gaza Strip
21 May 2009 - Source: UN Environment Programme

YNet News

Biden trip to Lebanon draws Hizbullah ire
22 May 2009 - Ahead of Lebanese elections, US vice president says in veiled reference to Iranian-backed Shiite group, 'I urge those who would think about standing with the spoilers of peace not to miss this opportunity to walk away from the spoilers'

France denounces Netanyahu's Jerusalem 'forever' vow
22 May 2009 - French Foreign Ministry spokesman accuses PM of prejudicing outcome of Middle East peace process by declaring that city would forever be Israel's undivided capital. 'Jerusalem should, within the framework of a negotiated peace deal, become the capital of two states,' he says

Report: 2 protestors badly injured in Naalin 
22 May 2009 - According to Palestinians, injuries caused by tear gas grenade, live ammunition. IDF says only two people lightly hurt in West Bank village. Soldier lightly wounded in anti-fence demonstration in Bilin

IDF kills 2 terrorists in Gaza
22 May 2009 - IDF forces spot two armed Palestinians near Kerem Shalom Crossing in Gaza Friday morning; troops cross fence into Strip, two terrorists killed in subsequent shootout

Egyptian police seize explosives in Sinai
22 May 2009 - Police suspect 200 kg of TNT found in village south of Suez Canal was destined for smuggling into Gaza Strip

Hizbullah: Israel plotting to kill Nasrallah
22 May 2009 - Hizbullah goes on high alert ahead of IDF drill, says Israel conspiring with other states

Settler acquitted in Nazi salute case
22 May 2009 - Hebron settler who chanted 'Heil Sharon' during Gaza pullout acquitted by Jerusalem court

B'tselem

Investigate officers for policy of routine use of violence
20 May 2009 - B'Tselem and ACRI have called on the chief of staff and the judge advocate general to order a Military Police investigation against Col. Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, and f Lt. Col. Shimon, commander of Shimshon Battalion, whose testimonies befor

Palestinians displaced by Operation Cast Lead living in tents
20 May 2009 - According to the UN, Israel destroyed 3,500 homes in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead. Some of the displaced persons now live in tents, in harsh conditions. B’Tselem’s video project has documented life in one encampment.

Daily Star

Gaza doctor looks to future despite tragic loss 
21 May 2009 - Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Gaza infertility specialist, is a familiar figure to Israelis - a Palestinian who years ago began to work in Israeli hospitals and became a frequent guest on Israeli TV and radio. But the interview he did on January 16, as Israeli forces waged war on Gaza's Hamas rulers, was horrifyingly different:

Israel demolishes small West Bank settlement 
21 May 2009 - Israeli police broke up a non-government-authorized settler outpost in the Occupied West Bank on Thursday, bulldozing makeshift cabins, police said. About 40 members of paramilitary border police evacuated five settler families from a hilltop camp called Maoz Esther where they were living in wooden huts with sheet metal roofs.

Israeli official: Treat Jerusalem Arabs better to strengthen Israel's hold on city 
21 May 2009 - The Israeli official put in charge of Jerusalem's Arabs said he believes treating them more fairly will strengthen Israeli claims to the entire disputed city, and says he's seeking ways to legalize thousands of unlicensed Arab homes vulnerable to demolition. With Israeli control comes responsibility for all Occupied Jerusalem residents.

Palestinian Information Center

Hamas: Statements of Netanyahu and Obama on Jerusalem, RoR old and rejected
22 May 2009 - The Hamas Movement has described Thursday the statements of Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu of considering occupied Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of "Israel" as "old" and rejected.

A misbegotten government
22 May 2009 - The new Palestinian Authority (PA) government which was sworn in Ramallah Tuesday, 19 May, is another prescription for failure.

Two IOF soldiers wounded in clash with resistance fighters
22 May 2009 - Two Israeli soldiers were wounded at dawn Thursday during a clash with Palestinian resistance fighters in Qalqilia, West Bank, during a raid to capture a number of wanted activists.

Gov't committee against siege implores WHO to save Gaza patients from death
22 May 2009 - The government committee against siege has implored WHO to save the Gaza patients from certain death due to the continued Israeli siege on the Strip that has been ongoing for almost three years.

Qaddoumi refuses to recognize new Fayyad gov't
22 May 2009 - Farouq Qaddoumi, the head of the PLO political department, has said that he did not recognize the new Ramallah government formed under Salam Fayyad, describing its formation as "meaningless".

Abu Marzouk: Egypt will not impose solutions
22 May 2009 - Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas, has opined that Egypt would not impose solutions on the Palestinian factions taking part in the national dialog in Cairo.

European relief workers start hunger strike at Rafah terminal
22 May 2009 - Nine European relief workers have started a hunger strike at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza Strip protesting the Egyptian authority's' refusal to allow them access.

Palestinian fishermen protest Zionist practices against them
22 May 2009 - Hundreds of Palestinian fishermen backed by tens of foreign supporters demonstrated on Wednesday at the Sea of Gaza, protesting the Israeli occupation's continued aggressions against them.

Hammad exposes plans to spread chaos in Gaza
22 May 2009 - The PA interior minister Fathi Hammad has exposed Wednesday plans "cooked" by the Ramallah-based PA with the aim to destabilize the Gaza Strip.

Roundtable to mark Nakba held at Karachi
22 May 2009 - Leaders and intellectuals, representing various shades of the political spectrum, haveurged the international community to end the illegitimate Israeli occupation of Palestine..

Los Angeles Times

Israel demolishes West Bank outpost -- sort of 
22 May 2009 - Police crush the structures in Maoz Esther, but right away rebuilding begins. The step by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu follows the prime minister's return from talks with President Obama. The Israeli border police waited till the morning Torah reading was over. Then, after six Jewish families were given time to remove their possessions, a pair of front-end loaders pounded their modest dwellings into twisted wrecks on a bare plateau overlooking the Jordan Valley. 

Iran leader announces successful missile test 
21 May 2009 - A campaigning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells a rally that the missile hit its target. The Sejil-2 reportedly has a range of 1,200 miles and incorporates advanced technology. Iran's president announced the successful test launch of an advanced surface-to-surface solid-fuel missile Wednesday that could reach Israel and other potential targets across the Middle East. 

New York Times

Biden Arrives in Beirut Ahead of Vote
22 May 2009 - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Lebanon ahead of a parliamentary election in June, in which the militant group Hezbollah is seeking to strengthen its position. 

Israel Removes Illegal Settler Outpost in West Bank
21 May 2009 - The move was a possible gesture by the Israeli government to President Obama after his first meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

American Journalist Freed in Iran Returns to U.S.
22 May 2009 - Roxana Saberi, who was convicted of spying in Iran, left Vienna Friday morning on a flight bound for Washington, D.C. 

Misc

US Promises to Fully Fund Israeli Missile Defense System, While Cutting Its Own 
Antiwar.com - Gates Defends Cuts to US Program - 5/20/2009 - Antiwar. com - Even as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was being raked over the coals in Congress for the decision to cut funding to America’s missile defense systems, Israeli defense officials have revealed that Israel’s own Arrow 3 missile defense system will be “fully funded” by the United States yet again this year. Israel has been working on the Arrow defense system for over 20 years with heavy US backing. It is reported that the costs for the upcoming year will be nearly $100 million. 

Senators sign AIPAC-backed letter on Mideast 
JTA - 5/20/2009 - WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Seventy-six senators have signed an AIPAC-backed letter to President Obama urging that "every effort should be made to realize" an Arab-Israeli peace and laying out certain "key principles" to achieve it. The letter states that while "the United States has an important role to play, the parties themselves are the ones who will need to negotiate and live with whatever agreement is reached" and "we must take into account the risks" Israel will face in any peace agreement. 

US Colonel Advocates US ’Military Attacks’ on ’Partisan Media’ in Essay for Neocon, Pro-Israel Group JINSA 
RebelReports - Jeremy Scahill - 5/21/2009 - The point of all this is simple: Win,” writes Col. Ralph Peters. “In warfare, nothing else matters. If you cannot win clean, win dirty. But win. ” - Calls the media, “The killers without guns. ” - A new report for a leading neoconservative group which pushes a belligerent “Israel first” agenda of conquest in the Middle East suggests that in future wars the US should make censorship of media official policy and advocates “military attacks on the partisan media. ” The report for JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, was authored by retired US Army Colonel Ralph Peters. 

Articles

Showing ’Cruel Racists’ Zero Tolerance 
Stuart Littlewood – London, Palestine Chronicle 5/20/2009
      "Lucky we’re not in Gaza," I said to my surgeon last week, "or you wouldn’t have been able to fix my problem."
     I was lying in a hospital bed in England, thinking how many Palestinians suffer a similar illness but are cruelly denied treatment. 
     Not because there aren’t the surgical skills - Gaza’s health professionals are very talented, I hear - but because the Zionists whom our political leaders call friends and allies have systematically blockaded medical supplies and equipment, especially these last 2 years, wiping out proper healthcare in the Strip and sentencing innocent men, women and children to death. Those they can’t vaporize or blow to bits with high explosives and phosphor they destroy slowly by starvation and untreated disease.
     The news this week that three British medics are on hunger strike in Egypt makes the cruelty point clear enough to those who have so far been blind and deaf to it. They are protesting against being refused entry into Gaza for a humanitarian mission to set up a cardiac surgery unit at the al-Shifa hospital and help train medical students and junior doctors there. But the team have been denied access through Rafah by Egypt since 4 May. "We are on hunger strike until they let us through," says Omar Mangoush, a cardiac surgeon from London. "There are loads of people with heart disease in Gaza. They can’t get out to Egypt and they can’t get out through Israel."

A Quarrel on the Titanic 
Uri Avnery, CounterPunch 5/21/2009
      On Palestinian Unity
     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.


Electronic Intifada
Israel destroying Gaza's farmlands 
22 May 2009 - On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza's eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees. Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Eva Bartlett reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

"The next generation must continue our struggle"
22 May 2009 - Dr. Abdullah al-Hourani (Rami Almeghari) Dr. Abdullah al-Hourani is a Palestinian politician and researcher based in the Gaza Strip. He is the director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for National Studies in Gaza and chairman of the Palestinian Popular Committee for the Defense of the Right to Return. On the occasion of the 61st aniversary of the disposession of Palestine, The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari interviewed Dr. al-Hourani at his Gaza City office. 

No hope or change from Obama-Netanyahu meeting
21 May 2009 - Seldom has an encounter between an American and Israeli leader been as hyped as this week's meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As expected, Obama committed himself to diplomacy with Iran and pledged an enormous effort to achieve a two-state solution. Netanyahu continued to incite confrontation with Iran and refused to commit himself to a Palestinian state. Ali Abunimah comments. 

Israel's choice, Obama's challenge
20 May 2009 - I cannot recall a more important meeting between an American president and an Israeli prime minister than today's meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Will the Obama administration have the courage to challenge Netanyahu, or will all the talk of change dissolve in the face of a concerted one-two punch from Netanyahu and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee? Mustafa Barghouthi comments. 

In Gaza
parental worries in poverty
18 May 2009 - “How do I explain to my children why we can’t buy them the clothes they need for school?” Aside from the pressing needs of food, heating in colder months, and daily necessities, the families I meet share the same worries that any parent anywhere has regarding their children: their safety, their education and future, but also their childhood and the things that go with it. The Mattah family in Beit Lahia, Gaza’s north, are in the same situation as the families which make up the over 40% unemployment, over 80% extreme poverty, rates. If he could, Amir, the father, would invest in a small coffee stand, to earn their daily...

Palestine Chronicle
Gaza Disowned: The Pope, Israel and 'Reconciliation'
21 May 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud "Gaza is not on the Pope's itinerary, nor will it be. There will be no change in these plans. But I'll say it very clearly, the Pope is absolutely not going to Gaza." Such were the astounding comments made by the Pope’s spokesman in Israel, Wadie Abunasser, prior to Pope Benedict XVI visiting Palestine and Israel. As if there was no massacre in Gaza, no families entirely slaughtered, no human rights violated to match the record of the most grisly of crimes in modern history. As if Gaza were a mere irritant in the annals of human suffering. More, as if there were no Catholic flock in Gaza. To clarify, there are actually nearly 2,000 Catholics in Gaza, apparently not important enough for the ‘cut’. Now, there are a lot of important religious sites to see around the Holy Land, lots of old churches, stones, ruins and the like…sites of much more significance, such as the Western Wall, the Holy Sepulcher and so on… far more important than visiting the site of a fresh massacre, where the stench of rotting bodies - laid to rest beneath a tomb consisting of the rubble of their own homes - has just faded. Such sites are apparently of little import to the Holy See. Rather, there are memorials to victims of greater standing, in shrines of superior grandeur, such as Yad Vashem…now, that’s something to see. On a trip that was apparently dedicated to promoting “reconciliation”, it is baffling that...

New Faces for an Old Struggle
21 May 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem Two major events took place this week, which will most definitely contribute to the shape and outcome of future events in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The first is the meeting that took place between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama on May 18, which in many senses, laid down the groundwork for US-Israel relations for at least the next four years. The second is, of course, the swearing in of the new Palestinian caretaker government, the 13th in 14 years, on May 19. Much can be said about both. In terms of the Netanyahu-Obama meeting, the Israeli prime minister didn't pull any surprises out of his hat – at least not any pleasant ones. His position vis-à-vis the Palestinians was more or less the same, falling far short of endorsing the two-state solution and remaining adamant about settlements. The most he would offer was to say Israel would work to dismantle illegal outposts and commit to not building any "new" settlements. Anyone who knows anything about Jewish settlements in the West Bank understands that this so-called commitment is nothing more than a brush-off and a whitewashing of any commitment to real progress. For one, according to international law, all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are deemed illegal, not just these wayward "outposts". Secondly, committing to not building any new settlements just means the ones already there will continue to expand at exponential rates. Netanyahu was sure he did not impinge...

Frames of War - Book Review
21 May 2009 - By Nathaniel Mehr – London Judith Butler, Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? (London: Verso, 2009) Frames of War is a searching examination of the intellectual frameworks informing the double-standards which pervade contemporary political, journalistic and academic discourses on the violence of the so-called ‘war on terror’. Butler assesses the ways in which a variety of methods of control – from ‘embedded’ journalism to immigration rules based on highly derivative notions of identity – have served to entrench a perception of a threatening and anti-modern ‘other’, whose torture and physical destruction is thus rationalized. Making a stand for the humanity of the victims of US aggressions, Butler devotes a fascinating chapter to a survey of the published poems of Guantanamo Bay detainees, ‘efforts to re-establish a social connection to the world, even where there is no concrete reason to think that any such connection is possible.’ An insightful section on the US army’s apparent obsession with homosexuality is of particular interest. Noting that, in both Gulf Wars, US soldiers wrote ‘up your ass’ on missiles that were launched into Iraq, Butler asks: ‘What does it inadvertently say about the bombers, those who “ejaculate” the missiles?’ Butler concludes that with such rhetoric the US soldiers ‘secure their place in the fantasized scene in the active and penetrating position, a position that makes them no less homosexual for being on top’. While there may be more than a little flippancy in this metaphor, the obsession with homosexuality on the part of...

Showing 'Cruel Racists' Zero Tolerance
21 May 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London "Lucky we're not in Gaza," I said to my surgeon last week, "or you wouldn’t have been able to fix my problem." I was lying in a hospital bed in England, thinking how many Palestinians suffer a similar illness but are cruelly denied treatment. Not because there aren't the surgical skills - Gaza’s health professionals are very talented, I hear - but because the Zionists whom our political leaders call friends and allies have systematically blockaded medical supplies and equipment, especially these last 2 years, wiping out proper healthcare in the Strip and sentencing innocent men, women and children to death. Those they can’t vaporize or blow to bits with high explosives and phosphor they destroy slowly by starvation and untreated disease. The news this week that three British medics are on hunger strike in Egypt makes the cruelty point clear enough to those who have so far been blind and deaf to it. They are protesting against being refused entry into Gaza for a humanitarian mission to set up a cardiac surgery unit at the al-Shifa hospital and help train medical students and junior doctors there. But the team have been denied access through Rafah by Egypt since 4 May. "We are on hunger strike until they let us through," says Omar Mangoush, a cardiac surgeon from London. "There are loads of people with heart disease in Gaza. They can't get out to Egypt and they can't get out through Israel." He took a...

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