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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
25 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Nasrallah: Death penalty must be imposed on Israeli spies
23 May 2009 - Lebanon must impose the death penalty on Lebanese suspects that are found guilty of spying for Israel, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared on Friday. 

Obama will not present his peace plan on June 4
23 May 2009 - Robert Gates, spokesperson of the White House, reported on Friday evening that the US President Barrack Obama will not present his new Middle East Peace Plan during his June 4 speech at the Egyptian Capital, Cairo. 

France criticizes Netanyahu for declaring Jerusalem Israel's undivided capital
23 May 2009 - France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Occupied Jerusalem would forever be Israel's undivided capital. 

“Hope” expected in Gaza Sunday morning
23 May 2009 - The Governmental Committee for Breaking the Siege in the Gaza Strip reported on Friday that the European Hope Aid Convoy is expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning. 

Independent UN Probe Committee slams Israel for lack of cooperation
23 May 2009 - The independent investigation committee appointed by the United Nations to investigate Israeli violations during the offensive against the Gaza Strip, slammed Israel for the lack of cooperation, and said that this issue is obstructing their investigation. 

Army: “Fighters detonate a bomb near military patrol at Gaza border”
23 May 2009 - Israeli military sources reported Friday that Palestinian fighters detonated a bomb near a military jeep patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip. 

Settler found dead near Nablus
23 May 2009 - Israeli military sources reported that an Israeli settler was found dead on Friday evening near Eli settlement, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. 

Eight injured in military attack on weekly protest in Nil'in
22 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: three injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation at weekly protest
22 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. 

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. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Netanyahu: We'll build in existing settlements
24 May 2009 - In reference to outposts, premier says his government committed to preserving law in territories. 

Hamas claiming IDF troops were 'cowards' during Gaza war
23 May 2009 - Gaza man: In 1967 Arabs were defeated in 6 days; in 2009, Hamas was undefeated for 21 days. 

Palestinians rescued after five days trapped in collapsed tunnel
23 May 2009 - Officials say smuggling tunnel was struck by IAF Tuesday; Two killed in collapsed tunnel nearby. 

MK Vilnai: Removing West Bank outposts a 'central issue'
23 May 2009 - Deputy Defense Minister says Labor will not set an ultimatum for Netanyahu to carry out policy. 

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

'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. 

2 Palestinians, 1 IDF soldier hurt in anti-separation fence protest
22 May 2009 - Some 400 protesters hurled firebombs and rocks and rolled burning tires at IDF troops. 

Bomb explodes near IDF patrol at Gaza border
22 May 2009 - Blast comes hours after IDF soldiers killed two Palestinian terrorists early Friday morning. 

Ma'an News

Insisting on Gaza access, Hope Convoy spends night at Rafah
5/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – European solidarity activists with the Hope Convoy to Gaza spent Sunday night in the entryway of the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing after Egypt refused to allow all of the participants to cross. Ma’an has learned that more than one hundred members of the convoy plan to wait at the crossing until Egypt agrees to allow the entire group to pass. On Sunday Egypt agreed to allow only part of the group enter the Palestinian territory. According to Rami Abdo, one of the convoy’s organizers, and member of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, the participants are “confident” that Egypt will eventually allow the whole group to pass into the Gaza Strip. “More than a hundred solidarity activists will not simply agree not to enter the Gaza Strip after more than two months preparing their convoy, especially since there are physicians and reconstruction experts amongst them,” said Abdo. 

200 US solidarity activists to camp near Rafah crossing in June
5/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Two hundred American solidarity activists and dozens of Europeans are expected to arrive in June to hold a major sit-in at the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, an official said on Monday. “Solidarity activities with Gaza are increasing, and the most prominent one after the European Hope Convoy is the US group of activists scheduled for June,” said Hamdi Sha’ath, head of the governmental anti-siege committee in the Gaza Strip. He explained that the activists would erect a large tent where they will stay protesting against the closure of the Rafah crossing by Egypt, and demand that it be opened permanently "in otder to ease the Gazan people's suffering. " 

Palestinian infant dies waiting for permission to leave Gaza
5/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The number of Palestinians to die as a result of the Israeli and Egyptian siege of Gaza reached 337 when an infant succumbed to illness on Monday. The child, 12-month-old Muhammad Rami Ibrahim Nofal, was not issued a permit for medical treatment abroad, despite his serious heart condition. He died at a Khan Younis hospital while doctors waited for the permit that never came. In a statement, the de facto Health Ministry said it had appealed to Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing for the movement of patients seeking treatment abroad. Both Israel and Egypt have blockaded the Gaza Strip since Hamas' takeover in 2007. [end] 

Settler boars destroy Palestinian fields near Salfit
5/25/2009 - Salfit - Ma’an - A herd of settler-owned wild boars were released onto Palestinian farmlands in western Salfit on Monday morning, damaging crops there. The chair of the Palestinian Agricultural Trade Union, Khalil Omran, said, "The boars broke into the fields at the Al-Najara and Al-Jaheer areas of western Salfit. They caused the destruction of wheat and barley fields and damaged fruit trees. ”“One of the attacked fields was planted with peach trees. All were broken and caused a big loss for the field’s owner, farmer Abo Ayman Oada,” Omran added. Omran reiterated his call that something be done about the wild boars that cause losses to farmers' livelihood each year, in addition to fears over the H1N1 flu virus, which some believe is carried by pigs. 

Mufti held by Israeli forces at checkpoint
5/25/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – The Israeli military held up Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Mufti of Palestine at the Qalandiya checkpoint in between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday. According to the Efta Council of muftis, Hussein refused to answer questions or subject his belongings to a search by Israeli officers. The council condemned the detention as a “dangerous and disrespectful action against all religious men. ” The Mufti himself has accused Israel of attempting to limit his movements, but vowed to continue travelling as he decides. [end] 

Two Gaza Strip border terminals partially open
5/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Monday to partially open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip, while the Karni crossing will remain closed, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossing official. Fattouh said that 75-82 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods will pass through Kerem Shalom, limited quantities of cooking gas, and industrial diesel for Gaza’s only power plant be shipped through the Nahal Oz. [end] 

Israelis detain two at checkpoints, two others from Ya’bad
5/25/2009 - Jenin - Ma’an – Israeli forces detained two civilians from Anin west of Nablus and from Tubas while they were crossing military checkpoints in the area. Meanwhile, soldiers also detained two young men from Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin. Palestinian security sources confirmed that the forces detained 21-year-old Sa’id Muhammad Khalil from Anin, near the eastern Barta’a gate, while he was en route to work. The sources added that soldiers also detained Ibrahim Faysal Mahasneh from Tubas at the Atara checkpoint near Ramallah, as well as 16-year-old boys Walid Mustapha Abu Baker and Muhammad Taleb Abu Bake, who were also detained near Ya’bad. ***Get breaking news from Palestine: Click here to follow Ma'an on Twitter. 

Marathon man banned from Gaza
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel turned away an Italian marathon runner at the Erez border crossing on Saturday, preventing him from completing the Gaza leg of his 540 kilometer “Run For Love” from Jerusalem, through Gaza, to the pinnacle of Mount Sinai in Egypt. “I am very disappointed because there is no politics, no religion, nothing controversial in my Run For Love,” runner Max Calderan told a news conference in Jerusalem. “I run simply in the name of peace. ”Calderan planned had planned to run the Gaza portion of the five-day mega marathon in coordination with the UN refugee agency UNRWA. Having been told by the Israeli authorities initially that he could go into Gaza, he said, and having been given assurances from the Israeli Ministry of Sport, he was still barred. Asked if the Gaza run posed any security risk, four-time marathon champion Calderan said, “security was guaranteed. . . 

Israeli forces detain Palestinian near Bethlehem
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it detained a Palestinian near the Gush Eztion settlement near Bethlehem on Monday evening. According to the army, the Palestinian was arrested for transporting three Molotov Cocktails in his car on the Gush Eztion road. [end] 

Israeli forces seize five Palestinians overnight
5/25/2009 - The Israeli military said it detained five Palestinians on Monday during overnight raids in West Bank cities overnight. According to the military, the Palestinians were “wanted” and were seized from Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron. It is not known where they are being held. [end]

Israeli exercise envisions total regional war
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel will launch a nationwide military readiness drill next Sunday simulating an all-out regional war in addition to an uprising by Palestinians in the interior of the country. The ominously-named "Turning Point 3" exercise has alarmed Israel’s neighbors, who are concerned that it could be a cover for the start of an actual war. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said as much in an address he gave last week. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to reassure neighboring Arab states during a cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying “this is a routine drill, which was planned several months ago and is held every year in order to coordinate between civil and military systems," according to the Ynet news agency. The five-day exercise will simulate a war in Gaza that expands into an all-out regional conflict involving Hizbullah, Syria, and even a domestic uprising by Palestinians living in Israel. 

Israel warns Palestinians to stay away from Gaza border wall
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's air force used helicopters to drop fliers warning Palestinians to stay away from the Gaza border wall on Monday, residents. "You have been warned. We urge residents of the Strip to keep a 300 meter distance from the fence," the fliers read. Commenting on the message, a Gazan citizen told Ma’an, “Israel is seeking a new immigration of the Palestinians especially that the warning is not to passersby, but to residents living near the borderline. There are homes which are less than tens of meters away from the borderline, and there are agricultural lands close to the border fence. ”Twelve-year-old Muhammad Dughmush from the Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City was injured by a box of fliers dropped by Israeli choppers. According to Muawiya Hassanein, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services at the Palestinian Health Ministry, the boy received. . . 

PA foreign minister meets Turkish, Jordanian, Iraqi counterparts
5/25/2009 - Damascus – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki met with Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Jordan and Iraq in Damascus on Sunday on the sidelines of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) foreign ministers’ meeintg. Reappointed as foreign minister last week, Al-Maliki reviewed recent developments in the Palestinian arena along with progress in politics and communications between Palestinian leaders in order to establish an independent state. He also tackled the Israeli government and its policies. Al-Maliki went over Israeli violations in Jerusalem in what he called an Israeli policy to falsify the identity of that city by expanding settlements and removing Christian and Muslim presence from that holy place. Besides, he discussed Israeli practices around the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 

PA rejects settlement ’agreements’ between US, Israel
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdeina on Monday described agreements between former Israeli and US governments on proceeding with settlement construction as illegal and non-binding. “Settlement activities should be halted completely to lay the ground for resuming serious negotiations, which could lead to a real outcome,” he said. Abu Rdeina asserted that the Israeli government would have to halt all settlement activity including so-called natural growth in all settlements including those in Jerusalem. He also maintained that all settlement outposts must be evacuated in accordance with the Road Map plan, regarding which the international community is in agreement. Abu Rdeina’s comments came in response to Israeli news reports that quoted the country's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he will seek US approval for enlarging. . . 

PA security chief: Palestinians tracked by foreign intelligence
5/25/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an – Palestinians are tracked by intelligence agencies in a discriminatory fashion, a top Palestinian Authority security official said on Monday. “Palestinians are experiencing a harsh situation and they are tracked by the intelligence services in several countries, [and] this issue should be solved,” said Brigadier Tawfiq Tirawi, speaking at a conference on security reform in Bethlehem. The two-day conference began on Monday with calls to create a core of Palestinian professionals able to lead reform efforts themselves. Tirawi hailed what he described as the PA’s “strong and talented security forces that can lead the Palestinian community and take care of security. ”Roland Friedrich, the director of the local branch of the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces, said the conference was a step toward Palestinians making decisions about their own security forces. 

Sarkozy: Palestinian state a 'legitimate right'
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – An independent state is a "legitimate right" for Palestinians and a precondition for Middle East peace and Israeli security, France’s President has told the Emerati official news agency WAM. "No one would think seriously about peace in the Middle East without giving the Palestinians a state they have been persevering for years. It is their legitimate right," said President Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of an official visit to the UAE. "The best guarantee for security of Israel is setting up an independent, democratic, modern and viable Palestinian state," he added, as quoted by AFP. Sarkozy also called on Israel to halt the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, a day after the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said he would refuse to do so. Netanyahu has also refused to back a Palestinian state, a step considered to be a key condition for renewed peace negotiations. 

PA’s Jerusalem minister wants to make presence felt in capital
5/25/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) new Minister of State for Jerusalem Affairs said his mission is to make the Palestinian official presence felt in the city on Monday. Hatem Abdul Qader, who was sworn in last week in the new Fatah-dominated West Bank administration, said at a press conference in Jerusalem, “Israel has attempted over the years to proscribe the PA out of Jerusalem. It is time for the PA to come back, in a strong and bright, and with an attitude such that Jerusalemites will feel there is an authority taking care of them. ”Abdul Qader said that the PA is considering the creation of a “Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs” to solidify the city’s position in its agenda. He said that such a ministry would be charged with following up on the concerns of ordinary Palestinians living in the city, where the PA is officially banned from operating by Israel. 

Muslim states link Israel ties to peace deal
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A 57-nation summit of Islamic countries adjourned on Monday with a statement that normalized ties with Israel must be conditioned on its acceptanceof a “just and comprehensive" peace agreement. "We must not reward Israel for its crimes," said a statement issued the three-day meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). "It should be affirmed that any progress on ties must be linked to how much the Israeli position represents a commitment to a just and comprehensive peace that guarantees the restoration of rights and occupied land," the statement said, according to Reuters. Israel enjoys diplomatic ties with only two Arab states – Egypt and Jordan – and few non-Arab majority-Muslim countries, Turkey being a notable exception. The Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative offers Israel normalized relations in exchange for a withdrawal to its 1967 boundaries. 

DFLP commemorates 40 days since leader’s death
5/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) in the central Gaza Strip commemorated on Sunday 40 days since the death of Jabar Al-Qreinawi, one of the DFLP’s top leaders. The commemoration was held in the Nusayrat Refugee Camp as a military march rallied from Nusayrat to Al-Bureij. Several DFLP and other Palestinian factions' high-profile leaders took part in the commemoration, along with large numbers of supporters. Member of the DFLP’s central committee Talal Abu Dharifa delivered a speech on behalf of the secretary-general, Nayif Hawatmah. He applauded Gaza's citizens for their steadfastness in the face of the Israeli “holocaust” during the last military offensive against the Strip. He also highlighted that the Palestinian people needed to end rivalry amongst themselves, and restore national unity in order to counter the major challenges. . . 

De facto gov.: Executions pending approval by committee
5/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A legal committee affiliated with the Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip is examining how to carry out death sentences against several convicts who were sentenced by Hamas courts, said Tahir An-Nunu, the de facto government’s spokesperson, on Monday. A Hamas military court in Gaza sentenced three men convicted of killing two journalists to death by firing squad on Sunday, prompting protest from Hamas’ opponent, Fatah. “This committee encompasses legal advisors and officials from the Ministry of Justice. A decision might be reached soon because several death sentences against collaborators and murderers are pending execution,” An-Nunu added. A three-judge panel handed the sentences to Shadi Khader Ahmad, 30, Shadi Abd Al-Karim Al-Madhoon and Raed Sabri Al-Maqousi, 29, for the kidnap and murder of journalists Muhammad Abdo and Suleiman Al-Ashi in May 2007. 

Abbas appoints new Bethlehem governor, adds advisor
5/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - By decree, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed a new governor of Bethlehem on Monday, naming Abed Al-Fatah Hamail to the position. The current deputy governor of Bethlehem, Marwan Khader, was transferred as deputy governor of Qalqiliya, in the northern West Bank. Abbas also appointed Salah Al-Tamari as a presidential advisor on settlements and the wall. Both presidential decrees will take effect this June. [end] 

Two policemen, three others injured in Hebron dispute
5/25/2009 - Hebron - Ma’an - Two Palestinian police officers and three other Palestinian residents were injured when clashes broke out between two families in a village west of Hebron on Sunday. The dispute in Taffuh village ended with three residents detained, all accused of participating in the altercation, during which 24 allegedly illegal vehicles were also confiscated. "The police asked joint patrols to intervene in a dispute between the two families, which they were ultimately able to control," said police public relations head Ahmad Al-Atawna. 

The National

Lebanon accuses Israel of violating ceasefire
23 May 2009 - Israeli units entered Lebanon to help accused spies avoid arrest, diplomats claim.

Gaza homeless count cost of siege
23 May 2009 - Five months after the end of Israel's assault that left 50,000 people displaced, wide-scale reconstruction has yet to start.

Egypt ministers to meet Obama
23 May 2009 - Egypt's foreign minister and intelligence chief will travel to the USto meet with Barack Obama according to Egypt's state news agency.

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.

Aljazeera

Hezbollah denies Hariri murder role
24 May 2009 - Lebanese group rejects reports it was involved in killing of former prime minister.

Palestinians rescued from tunnel
23 May 2009 - Three men found alive and two dead after five days trapped in collapsed Gaza tunnel.

Arrests over Cairo bomb attack
23 May 2009 - Egypt says members of al-Qaeda-linked group are suspects in February blast that killed tourist.

Iran 'blocks' access to Facebook 
23 May 2009 - Move allegedly made to prevent campaigning for an opposition candidate.

Assad reaffirms peace objective
23 May 2009 - Syrian president says new talks with Israel possible but questions leadership's sincerity.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-US: Iran Hawks Push Obama on Deadline for Diplomacy 
WASHINGTON, May 22 (IPS) - After an uneventful first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that seemed to produce no real breakthroughs, hawks in the U.S. and Israel are seizing upon what they claim is a significant concession by Obama: his setting a "timetable"...

KUWAIT: ‘Gender-Bender’ Election Raises Optimism 
DUBAI, May 22 (IPS) - Despite the reappointment of the Kuwaiti ruler’s nephew as premier, the results of last week’s elections - the historic victories of women candidates, and the decline of Islamist representation in parliament - are being perceived as a vote for change in the Gulf state.

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.

Stop The Wall

Homes destroyed while settlements expand in Nablus, Jordan Valley
24 May 2009 - In the past month, the expansion of settlements and related infrastructure has continued. Lands were confiscated in Nablus for the expansion of settler roads as well as for settlement expansion. Also in Nablus, five Palestinian homes were destroyed in the village of 'Aqraba. Most recently, Occupation authorities authorized the construction of a new settlement in the Jordan Valley. [

Third critical injury from tear gas canister in Ni’lin
23 May 2009 - Occupation forces have shown no change in their increasingly violent response to the weekly demonstrations in Ni'lin and Bil’in against the Apartheid Wall. 15 people were injured, among them Mustafa ‘Amira, who was critically wounded after being shot in the head with a tear gas canister. Soldiers also arrested another young man, who was beaten severely in custody. [

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

Israeli forces shoot at Gazan farmers and international accompaniers
International Solidarity Movement - 24 May 2009 - Israeli forces shot live ammunition at 5 international human rights workers and 10 farmers from Khoza'a as they harvested crops several hundred metres from the Green Line. In the morning, human rights workers joined Palestinian farmers in Khoza'a village, located east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, to farm land 300-350 meters from the "˜Green Line'. Israeli forces opened fire on the workers and they were forced to leave the area. Several farmers have been shot by Israeli forces while farming their lands. 20 May 2009, Beit Hanoun: Ziad Salem abu Hadayid, 23, was shot in his legs with live ammunition by Israeli forces. 7 May 2009, Rafah:Randa Shaloof, 32, was shot in her hand with live ammunition by Israeli forces. 3 May 2009, Beit Hanoun: Mohamed Harb Shamia, 12, was injured in his leg by Israeli forces. 2 May 2009,. . . 

Israeli planes drop warning pamphlets over Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - 25 May 2009 - Israel Air Force aircraft have scattered pamphlets over the Gaza Strip warning residents to stay away from the border, The Associated Press reported Monday. The heavily guarded border is the scene of sporadic fighting between militants and Israel Defense Forces troops. Israeli forces killed two Palestinian gunmen in a clash on Friday. The Arabic pamphlets warned Gazans to stay out of areas 300 meters to 500 meters from the border fence, saying they risk being shot. The IDF had no comment. The military has scattered similar warning pamphlets in the past. Gaza's Health Ministry said a 10-year-old boy was struck by a box of leaflets and moderately hurt during Monday's airdrop. Violence has largely subsided in Gaza following Israel's 3-week offensive against the coastal territory's Hamas rulers in January. Updated on May 25, 2009 

La Carrau cancels Israeli sponsored visit to Acre
International Solidarity Movement - Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) - 22 May 2009 - After having talks with the platforms promoting the boycott of Israel and with representatives of Catalan institutions and gathering as much information as possible about the events taking place on 24-25 May at Acre, Israel in which La Carrau has been invited to participate, we feel that we should make the following public statement: La Carrau is canceling its visit to Acre - First of all we would like to make very clear our total respect for the people of Israel and their different ethnic groups and cultures. We would also like to point out that we did not intend to take part for profit; we were invited to go, not hired. Our reward, rather than economic, was to be the chance to visit some wonderful places and get a close look at ways of life that are very different from our own,. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Syria denies deal with Russia over advanced aircraft fell through
23 May 2009 - Syria denied on Sunday a Russian media report that Moscow no longer wants to sell it eight advanced MiG-31 planes because of pressure from Israel. ...

Israel: Arrest Hezbollah chief over Hariri assassination
23 May 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Sunday called for an international arrest warrant for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to be issued over his militant group's reported role in the assassination of Lebanese former prime minister Rafik Hariri. ...

Israel furious over Russia FM's meeting with Hamas leader
23 May 2009 - Senior officials in the Foreign Ministry were furious on Sunday over the news that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus. ...

Hamas sentences Fatah security men to death over 2007 killings
23 May 2009 - A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced three former Fatah security men to death by firing squad for the 2007 killing of two journalists at a pro-Hamas newspaper. ...

Only settlers are taking Obama seriously in Israel
23 May 2009 - The acute shift in the United States' attitude toward Israel interrupted the public in the middle of its springtime nap. This nonstop sleep has continued for at least a decade. Sleep? Heck, this has been a coma. ... 

The Guardian

Armed Israeli police close theatre on first night of Palestinian festival
24 May 2009 - Officers walk in to Palestinian National Theatre in east Jerusalem and order it to be closed on opening night of literary event Armed Israeli police last night tried to halt the opening night of a prominent...

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...

Israeli tourist office withdraws ads after map complaints
22 May 2009 - Posters on London Underground made no distinction between Israel and occupied territories, sparking hundreds of complaints The Israel Government Tourism Office is withdrawing a series of posters displayed in London Underground stations featuring a map that...

Ha'aretz National page

WHO: Life expectancy in Israel among highest in the world
23 May 2009 - Israelis on average live long lives, among the highest in the Western world, yet there is still a gap to close with the Japanese, according to a World Health Organization study. ...

Court: No crime to shout 'Heil Sharon' while giving Nazi salute
23 May 2009 - A Jerusalem magistrate court ruled last week that a Hebron settler who shouted "Heil Sharon" - a reference to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon - at a police officer while making a stiff-armed Nazi salute should not be tried for insulting a public sector worker. ...

Police suspect Jaffa man murdered his elderly father
22 May 2009 - Police suspect a man stabbed his elderly father to death and lightly wounded his mother in their apartment in Jaffa on Saturday. ... 

Police find body of man in West Bank settlement of Eli
21 May 2009 - Police on Friday found the body of a man in his forties in the West Bank settlement of Eli. ...

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. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Ninety women prevented from travelling to West Bank
24 May 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

OPT: Israel plans to remove 26 settlement outposts in West Bank
24 May 2009 - Source: Voice of America

OPT: Attempt to plant explosive devices north of Kerem Shalom crossing thwarted
23 May 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

European aid convoy expected in Gaza Strip on Sunday
23 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

OPT: Health conditions worsening in Gaza as borders remain closed – UN agency
23 May 2009 - Source: UN News Service

WHO resolution: Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (WHA62.2)
23 May 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

CWS Hotline - 25 May 2009: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, OPT. Kenya
23 May 2009 - Source: Church World Service

OPT: Regular press briefing by the Information Service 22 May 2009
22 May 2009 - Source: United Nations

YNet News

Syria says MiG deal with Russia still on 
24 May 2009 - Damascus says report that Moscow wants to call off sale of eight advanced planes 'part of attempts to undermine friendly relations between Syria and Russia' 

PM says will not green-light new settlements
24 May 2009 - Nevertheless, Netanyahu says government will accommodate natural population growth in West Bank communities 

Iranian general: I can stop Israel with ‘one strike’
24 May 2009 - Former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai says Jewish state will not dare threaten Islamic republic if he is elected president

Post-op Gaza: Life in a tent city 
24 May 2009 - (Video) UNRWA, WHO report worrying deterioration in Gazans' living conditions following Israeli offensive and in light of ongoing blockade. B'Tselem volunteers document life in post-war Strip 

Settler leaders vow to renew West Bank construction 
24 May 2009 - Rightists infuriated by recent outpost evacuations, say: Bibi has turned out to be a hypocrite. He received the Right's votes, but is implementing the Left's policy 

Palestinian who plotted attack via Web gets 15 months
24 May 2009 - Military Court finds 21-year-old West Bank woman guilty of contacting Islamic Jihad operatives via chat room, planning suicide attack in Israel

Egypt and Hamas: No one to talk to on Shalit 
24 May 2009 - Gaza official says Egypt, Hamas ready to renew negotiations on kidnapped soldier's release, waiting for Netanyahu to appoint envoy to handle matter 

B'tselem

Investigate officers for policy of routine use of violence
20 May 2009 - B'Tselem and ACRI demand that a Military Police investigation be opened, following the publication of testimonies by the Kfir Brigade commander and the Shimshon Battalion commander, which indicate a policy of deliberate violence toward Palestinians.

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

Daily Star

Israeli troops kill two Gazans 'planting bombs' 
22 May 2009 - Israeli troops crossed into Gaza and killed two Palestinian militants who were planting a bomb along the border fence before dawn Friday, the Israeli military said. Violence has largely abated along the tense frontier since Israel's devastating offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers early this year, but sporadic border violence and rocket fire have continued.

France accuses Netanyahu of prejudicing final status agreement 
22 May 2009 - France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Occupied Jerusalem would forever be Israel's undivided capital. "The declaration made by the Israeli premier yesterday in Jerusalem prejudices the final status agreement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Frederic Desagneaux told reporters in Paris.

Palestinian Information Center

Assad: The peace process’ only positive side is its exposure of Israel’s reality
24 May 2009 - Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad said on Saturday that the only positive aspect of the peace process that it laid bare Israel before the whole world.

Lavrov: Hamas represents the majority of the Palestinian people
24 May 2009 - Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, stated, during his meeting with Khaled Mashaal that Russia finds itself right in its decision to establish a relationship with Hamas.

Haneyya's gov't urges Muslim FMs to declare Jerusalem capital of Palestine
24 May 2009 - The democratically elected PA caretaker government of Premier Ismael Haneyya has called on Muslim foreign ministers to declare the occupied city of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Hope arrives at the Rafah crossing, on way to Gaza
24 May 2009 - The European campaign for lifting the siege on Gaza Strip has announced Saturday that the Hope convoy has arrived at the Rafah crossing in preparation to enter into the besieged Gaza Strip.

11 injuries, dozens of suffocation cases in Ni’lin and Bil’in anti-wall protests
24 May 2009 - The IOF troops attacked Friday the weekly anti-wall protests in the Ramallah villages of Ni’lin and Bil’in which led to the injury of about 11 protesters and caused dozens of suffocation cases.

WHO demands Israel to immediately lift its blockade on Gaza
24 May 2009 - The world health organization (WHO) demanded, in a resolution approved by its general assembly on Friday, Israel to immediately lift its siege on the Gaza Strip.

Ihsanoglu: We strongly reject all Israel’s attempts to Judaize O. Jerusalem
24 May 2009 - Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary-general of the organization of the Islamic conference, strongly denounced the Israeli occupation’s escalations to Judaize occupied Jerusalem.

UN probe committee slams Israel for lack of cooperation
24 May 2009 - The independent investigation committee formed by the UN to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza castigated Israel for the lack of cooperation and not facilitating its mission.

Qaradawi: Muslims' support for Palestine is a must and not a favor
24 May 2009 - The prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi has urged Friday all those supporting the Palestinian rights to join their efforts together, and to unite in this course..

Two resistance fighters killed, resistance destroys Israeli occupation jeep
24 May 2009 - Quds Brigades announced that two of its fighters were killed Friday morning during a resistance mission east of the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip..

Los Angeles Times

Egypt's Ayman Nour reports attack 
24 May 2009 - The democracy activist says he suffered burns on his head when an assailant ignited a substance and a flame shot toward him. A prominent Egyptian dissident said Saturday that he was attacked by a man on a motorcycle who ignited a flammable substance in his face, burning his head. 

World Briefing 
24 May 2009 - Sri Lanka: U.N. seeks access for aid groups / Egypt : Seven terrorist suspects held / Serbia: Church shuts rehab center after apparent abuse video / Nepal: Madhav Kumar Nepal elected prime minister SRI LANKA 

New York Times

Egypt Arrests 7 in Bombing of Cairo Bazaar
23 May 2009 - The authorities said the bombing at the Khan al-Khalili bazaar was intended as the start of a campaign of terrorism aimed at destabilizing Egypt. 

Spies’ Roots Reach Deep in Lebanon
22 May 2009 - The extent of an Israeli spying network has mesmerized and infuriated Lebanese officials. 

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. 

Misc

Stay away from border, Israel warns Gazans 
The Guardian - 25 May 2009 - Israeli aircraft scattered pamphlets over the Gaza Strip warning residents to stay away from the border. The heavily guarded border is the scene of sporadic fighting between militants and Israeli troops. Israeli forces killed two Palestinian fighters in a clash on Friday. The Arabic pamphlets warned Gazans to stay out of areas between 300 and 500 metres from the border fence, saying they risked being shot. The military has scattered similar pamphlets in the past. Gaza's health ministry said a 10-year-old boy was struck by a box of leaflets and injured during the drop. "[end] 

Israel’s war effort gains religious imperative 
Times of London - May 26, 2009 - James Hider and Yonit Farrago - During the Gaza war this year, Schmuel Kaufman, a military rabbi from a West Bank settlement, used to stride between the Israeli soldiers’ tents and urge them to fight what he deemed an “obligatory war” ordained by ancient scripture. “It’s a holy war to protect women and children from the south of the country after a long period of endurance on our side,” he told The Times. “The commander of the battalion asked me to blow the shofar [a ram’s horn] every time before going into the fighting. I’m blowing the shofar while 500 soldiers stand behind me praying. They went in wrapped in holiness. ”Rabbi Kaufman and many other religious soldiers attributed Israel’s very low casualty rate in the month-long conflict to the newfound religiosity of its Armed Forces. In recent years, the army has become more devout, with an increasing number of recruits from religious and nationalist groups, including settlers. 

Israeli: Obama ’wasn’t empathetic to our needs’ 
World Tribune - JERUSALEM — Israel is bracing for what officials called a confrontational U. S. policy. - "From the banks of the Potomac in Washington it is not always clear what the real situation here is," Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon said. "This is where Israel must step in and help her ally understand the situation. " Officials said the May 18 meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not lead to any agreements or understandings regarding either the West Bank or Iran. They said Obama, encouraged by his Jewish advisers, stressed that the U. S. aim to establish a Palestinian state would determine Washington's relations with the Jewish state. " Obama listened and even smiled, but you could see he wasn't empathetic to our needs," an official said. Officials said the Netanyahu government has been bracing for heightened tension with the Obama administration. 

Articles

Obama must revisit the holy cow of military aid to Israel 
Josh Ruebner, Redress 5/24/2009
      Rethinking the costs of peace
     “The provision of US weapons to Israel at taxpayer expense has done nothing to bring Israelis and Palestinians closer to achieving a just and lasting peace. Rather, these weapons have had the exact opposite effect, as documented recently by Amnesty International, which pointed to US weapons as a prime factor “fueling” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
     In pledging to trim ineffective spending, President Obama declared that “there will be no sacred cows and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it’s time their government did the same.”
     By asking earlier this month for 2.775 billion US dollars in military aid to Israel in his financial year 2010 budget request, it would seem that on this important policy issue President Obama’s commitment is more rhetorical than substantive. Since 1949, according to the Congressional Research Service, the United States has provided to Israel more than 100 billion dollars in military and economic assistance. In 2007, the United States and Israel signed an agreement for 30 billion dollars in additional military aid up to FY2018.

An assessment of Obama’s first meeting with Netanyahu 
Uri Avnery, Redress 5/24/2009
      Calm voice, big stick
     Barack Obama is often compared to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but it is from the book of another Roosevelt that he has taken a leaf: President Theodore Roosevelt, who, 108 years ago, advised his successors: “Speak softly and carry a big stick!”
     This week, the whole world saw how this is done. Obama sat in the Oval Office side by side with Binyamin Netanyahu and spoke to the journalists. He was earnest, but relaxed. The body language spoke clearly: while Netanyahu leaned forward assiduously, like a travelling salesman peddling his merchandize, Obama leaned back, tranquil and self-assured.
     He spoke softly, very softly. But leaning against the wall behind him, hidden by the flag, was a very big stick indeed.
     The world wanted, of course, to know what went on between the two when they met alone.
     Coming home, Netanyahu strenuously tried to present the meeting as a great success. But after the spotlights turned off and the red carpet rolled up, we can examine what we have really seen and heard.


Electronic Intifada
Power struggle killing patients
23 May 2009 - *GAZA CITY (IPS) - The lives of hundreds of critically ill Gazans continue to be jeopardized by the power struggle between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, and political blackmail by Israel. Mohammed Zibdeh, 12, who has cancer of the brain is waiting in Gaza City for a permit to travel to Israel for advanced treatment. He is dependent on a ventilator connected to his throat for survival. Last year Mohammed was able to secure a permit to travel to an Israeli hospital where he received chemotherapy for his brain tumor, causing the tumor to shrink significantly. 

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. 

In Gaza
Israel destroying Gaza’s farmlands: arson in Johr ad Dik
22 May 2009 - A farmer holds crops destroyed by Israeli troops. Electronic Intifada : 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. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by...

Palestine Chronicle
Words that Start with L Are Confusing
23 May 2009 - By Belén Fernández According to Lebanon-based researcher Franklin Lamb , the opening words of US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Beirut yesterday consisted of: "I am happy to be in Libya… I mean Lebanon… this morning!" The confusion was not reported by other media outlets but is nonetheless plausible based on the fact that both nations contain a city called Tripoli. Lebanon-Libya mix-ups are by no means a novel occurrence. One such mix-up occurred in 2006 among a group of British tourists on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, where the information that I had just been traveling in Lebanon was met with the indignant rejoinder: “But they bombed our plane!” Following a frantic scan of mental archives, I finally determined that the plane in question was Pan Am flight 103, and that Lockerbie also started with L. Iran, however, did not—nor did the USS Vincennes, which had shot down an Iranian airliner with 290 civilians on board shortly before the Lockerbie bombing. Presumed Libyan motives for Lockerbie included US air strikes on civilians in Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, in which one of the civilians had been Muammar Gaddafi’s adopted daughter. The BBC News quotes then-White House spokesman Larry Speakes as proclaiming that “US forces have executed a series of carefully planned air strikes against terrorist targets in Libya” and that “[e]very effort has been made to avoid hitting civilian targets,” thus lending credence to the idea that Israel had also mistaken Lebanon for Libya in 2006. Hezbollah’s Al Manar news...

King Abdullah's '57-State Solution'
23 May 2009 - By Rannie Amiri "What we are talking about is not Israelis and Palestinians sitting at the table, but Israelis sitting with Palestinians, Israelis sitting with Syrians, Israelis sitting with Lebanese. And with the Arabs and the Muslim world lined up to open direct negotiations with Israelis at the same time. So it’s the work that needs to be done over the next couple of months that has a regional answer to this – that is not a two-state solution, it is a 57-state solution. "That is a very strong statement when we are offering a third of the world to meet them with open arms. The future is not the Jordan River or the Golan Heights or Sinai, the future is Morocco in the Atlantic to Indonesia in the Pacific. I think that’s the prize." -- Jordan’s King Abdullah in an interview with the Times of London, 11 May 2009. Seasoned analysts of the litany of Middle East “peace proposals” floated over the years inevitably stumble on one obstacle preventing their implementation: Israel always has another “problem” to deal with before it can resolve its dispute with the Palestinians. This manufactured excuse regularly cycles among the usual parties and countries – Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iraq, Iran etc. One or another invariably constitutes an “existential” threat jeopardizing the nuclear-armed country’s security. By convincing the United States it has more pressing issues to deal with, Israel has successfully managed to delay, postpone or suspend negotiations with the Palestinians for decades. Doing so...

Concrete Monster – A Poem
23 May 2009 - By Rassool Jibraeel Snyman It rises In all its brutality Inhumanity Bestiality A concrete monster Snaking through the land of Palestine Speaking gutturally of one people’s Hatred of another The exploitation of one by another The theft of land and lives And dreams And peace A monument of all that is ugly In human nature A badge of shame And dishonor A stain on the history of humanity Even the Gods blush And are shamed At what their hands have wrought (South Africa – January 03, 2009; "Tales of Extreme Sanity")

Sudan Airstrikes: How Contradiction Became Evidence
22 May 2009 - By Guy Gabriel When asked about the alleged Israeli involvement in airstrikes in north-east Sudan in early 2009, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded: "There is no point in going into detail, and everybody can use their imagination. Those who need to know, know." The Israeli leader was taken at his word; analyzing global media coverage of the story, it becomes clear that imaginations were used liberally by reports which felt it necessary to go into the details, despite Olmert's interdiction. In under a week, a story set in motion by the testimony of multiple unnamed sources in a new Egyptian newspaper, al-Shurooq, became a customized yet globally significant story that supposedly confirmed the long, clinical arm of Israel protecting itself from Iran. However, certainty was an afterthought to a finished product that appeared assuredly in the Sunday papers and weekly news magazines, when in fact the foundations were provided by a sizeable number of unnamed and openly contradictory sources. Furthermore, it would seem as though the lesson of the story - that Israel has a long, protective arm - was valedictory enough to credit obscure or fringe sources with enough substance to provide the central theme of the story in the absence of witnesses, or officially confirmed substantiation. The Event Piecing together information from various reports, this is a composite picture of what happened: The attackers were American, Israeli, or of unidentified origin, using perhaps gunships, F15s, F16s, or Hermes 450 drones and Eitan UAVs, taking off from Eritrea, Djibouti...

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