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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
26 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israel says Hezbollah has more rockets than before the second Lebanon war
27 May 2009 - Gabi Ashkenazi, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, stated during a meeting with a Knesset Committee on Tuesday, that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party has more rockets and military power than it had before the second Lebanon war, which was launched by Israel in 2006. 

Abbas concludes visit to Canada, heads to Washington
27 May 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, concluded Tuesday a two-day visit to Canada and headed to Washington for a meeting with the US President, Barack Obama, and a number of US officials. 

Jordan summons Israeli ambassador over bill calling for Palestinian state in Jordan
27 May 2009 - Jordan was angered by extreme statements made by right wing member of Knesset Arieh Eldad of the National Union Party, who presented a bill calling for a two-state solution based on a Palestinian State in Jordan living next to the state of Israel in Palestine. 

Troops kidnap four fighters near Nablus
27 May 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Tuesday that Israeli soldiers installed a temporary roadblock near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped four fighters of the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh movement. 

Israel deported prisoner from the West Bank to Gaza upon his release
26 May 2009 - A Palestinian prisoner from the Northern West Bank city of Jenin was deported to Gaza immediately upon his release from prison, Wa'ad prisoner organization informed local media. 

Israeli navy kidnaps Palestinian fishermen off Gaza shore
26 May 2009 - Israeli naval forces kidnapped on Tuesday morning two Palestinian fishermen off the Rafah shores, southern Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian woman beaten up by settlers in northern West Bank
26 May 2009 - A Palestinian woman sustained moderate wounds on Tuesday afternoon after she was attacked by an Israeli settler in northern West Bank.

Hamas: Three of our members detained by PA forces
26 May 2009 - Hamas said that Palestinian Authority forces seized three of Hamas members in different cities on the West Bank on Tuesday. 

Israeli forces kidnap six Palestinians in the West Bank
26 May 2009 - The Israeli army declared that it kidnapped six Palestinians during nightly invasions in different parts of the West Bank on Tuesday. 

Israel uproots 250 Olive trees belonging to Arabs in the Negev
26 May 2009 - The so-called Israel’s Land Authority uprooted on Monday nearly 250 olive trees and several fig trees and grapevines south of Shqeib Al Salaam Arab village in the Negev. 

Israel wants US approval to settlement construction and expansion
26 May 2009 - Israel is planning to offer dismantling 26 illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in exchange for American approval that Israel keeps all of its settlements and expands the existing settlement blocs though all settlements are illegal under the international law. 

Two French activists cycle to Palestine
26 May 2009 - Two French peace activists arrived in the Palestinian territories riding their bicycles after cycling from France to Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Palestine. The aim of their trip is to have a field tour in Palestine and to visit its historic sites. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

'Hezbollah has more rockets than before Lebanon war'
26 May 2009 - IDF Chief says group shoring up its power in south Lebanon, still looking to avenge Mughniyeh killing. 

Army chief: No more beating Palestinians
26 May 2009 - Statement follows testimony by IDF colonel who said ok to hit Palestinians in 'exceptional circumstances'. 

Barak: U.S. must learn - outposts and Iran are unrelated issues
26 May 2009 - IDF chief: I'm preparing all possible measures against Iran; Israel wants sanctions alongside U.S.-Iran talks. 

Elite IDF soldier returns money looted in Gaza war
26 May 2009 - Soldier confessed to stealing credit card and withdrawing NIS 1,600 in cash upon return to Israel. 

Lebanon detains three more in growing Israel spy probe
26 May 2009 - Lebanese colonel, two Palestinians arrested in separate sweeps; 21 of 30 suspects have been charged. 

Lieberman: World must thwart North Korea, Iran nuke ambitions
26 May 2009 - FM makes comments as North Korea reportedly launches testsof two more short-range missiles. 

Sudan: Strike on alleged Gaza-bound smugglers killed 119
25 May 2009 - Reports said Israel or U.S. carried out attack on Gaza-bound arms convoy; Sudan: Strike was near Egypt border. 

Nasrallah: Israel behind report blaming Hezbollah for Hariri killing
25 May 2009 - Hezbollah leader accuses Israel of attempting to foment strife between Sunnis, Shi'ites in Lebanon. 

Ma'an News

Israeli navy seizes two Gaza fishermen
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Israeli Navy seized two Palestinian fishermen from a small boat off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, according to witnesses. Fisherman Nizar Ayyash told Ma’an that an Israeli gunboat stopped the fishermen at sea and took three of them on board their own ship: Nahed Hassan Hassouneh and Muhammad Abdel Salam Hassouneh. Both are from the Tal As-Sultan area of the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses also said that Israeli navy ships fired on Palestinian fishing boats in the Rafah harbor early on Tuesday, causing no injuries. [end] 

Israel exiles Jenin prisoner to Gaza
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel released a Hamas member at the end of a 12-year prison term, but sent him into exile in Gaza on Tuesday, isolating him from his home and family in Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank. Speaking on arrival at Gaza’s Erez border crossing, Mahmoud Azzam said he does not see Gaza as exile, but rather new beginning on a journey toward the return of every Palestinian who was displaced from his land. Lawmakers representing Hamas' Change and Reform bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) later received Azzam near the PLC building which was leveled in an Israeli airstrike during the recent war on Gaza. “I wished to return to my hometown in Jenin, but unfortunately the Israeli occupation deprived me of that. I will use all possible legal means to return to Jenin, however, I still feel happy to gain my freedom again,” 52-year-old Azzam said. 

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian shepherds near Hebron
5/26/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli settlers attacked four Palestinian shepherds who were herding sheep on their landnear Israeli settlements of Ma’on and Beit Yatir, east of Yatta in the southern West Bank on Monday. Palestinian security sources named the shepherds who were assaulted as Isma’il Abu Qbeita, Issa Makhamra, Ibrahim Zein, and Ali Makhamra. The sources confirmed that all four shepherds sustained bruises after more than 20 Israeli settlers attacked them with clubs. [end] 

Settlers beat Palestinian woman near Nablus
5/26/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – An Israeli settler assaulted a Palestinian woman near the Tappuah (Za’atara) checkpoint south of the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday morning. According to Palestinian security sources, the settler stopped his car near the checkpoint, got out and beat Thamina Khalil Abed Al-Hak, 21, from the village of Qusra, south of Nablus. Al-Hak, a student at Al-Quds Open University, was treated at Yasser Arafat Hospital, where her condition was reported to be stable. Earlier on Tuesday a mob of more than 20 Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian shepherds with clubs south of the West Bank city of Hebron. The settler movement is reported to be mobilizing against the Israeli government’s decision to dismantle 26 unauthorized West Bank “outposts” in a gesture to the US. 

French cyclists bike to Palestine on solidarity mission
5/26/2009 - Jericho – Ma'an – Two French pro-Palestinian activists have arrived in the West after cycling through France, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus in a drive to raise the profile of the Palestine issue. After visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem the pair went to Jericho on Monday morning to meet Mayor Hassan Saleh, who welcomed them and encouraged them to continue their tour to witness Israel’s policies. The duo said they came bearing a message of solidarity, stressing that they wanted to “stand on the side of justice and peace. ”The two plan to spend several days in the Palestinian territories to gain an impression of daily Palestinian life. [end] 

Israeli forces seize six Palestinians in overnight raids
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli army said it seized six Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank, saying that they were “wanted. ”The Palestinians were taken from Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, and were “taken for questioning” according to the army. Ma’an has not yet identified the arrestees, who are being held in an unknown location. [end] 

Abbas in Canada: No peace talks without settlement freeze
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Monday his refusal to resume peace negotiations with Israel until West Bank settlement activity is stopped. Abbas said his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Thursday would focus on halting the expansion of Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land in the West Bank, he told reporters in Ottowa, Canada. Abbas said he was aware Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s views and would not deal with this major issue through media. "We are aware of Mr. Netanyahu's positions and I'm not going to engage on this subject through the media. This is one of the main issues I'll take with me to Washington," Abbas told reporters after talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon. “I really believe that we have a good opportunity to advance and make a comprehensive peace in the region. 

Three Gaza border terminals open
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Tuesday to open all three border terminals between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Kerem Shalom, Nahal Oz, and Karni, said Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian crossing point official. Fattouh said 80-85 trucks will enter through Kerem Shalom loaded with aid for the commercial and agricultural sectors. He added that limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel would be shipped through Nahal Oz terminal. Forty-five truckloads of wheat and feed will pass through Karni crossing. [end] 

Egyptian police bribed by Gaza smugglers
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an - Four Egyptian police officers stationed in the northern Sinai were arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes from Gazan smugglers, an Egyptian security source said on Tuesday. According to the source, the four officers are first lieutenants, and they were taken to north Sinai security department in Al-Arish city for questioning. The four, according to the source, received a sum exceeding 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($17,800) each. The source highlighted that Egyptian Minister of Interior Habib Al-Aadily ordered suspending the four officers and withdrawing their weapons. About two years ago, Israel distributed photos of Egyptian security soldiers from Sinai, claiming they were receiving bribes from smugglers. The smuggling business from northern Sinai to the Gaza Strip through underground tunnels is widespread, while Israel is adamant that the same tunnels. . . 

Hamas will not recognize outcomes of Abbas-Obama meeting
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas said on Monday that it will not commit to any agreements reached by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in upcoming his meeting with his US counterpart Barack Obama. “Abu Mazen [Abbas] will achieve nothing for Palestinians,” said Hamas Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum in a statement. “We will not commit to any agreements made by Abbas and Obama or anyone else, because the division is not resolved. Abbas couldn’t solve it …he failed to unite Palestinians,” he said. Barhoum said Obama would likely pressure Abbas into negotiating with Israel, which he said would provide cover for Israeli violations of Palestinian rights and other “crimes. ”Abbas is set to meet Obama on Thursday, the first such encounter since the US leader took office in January. 

Lebanese colonel arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Lebanon arrested one of its own army colonels on suspicion of spying for Israel, Reuters news agency reported. The agency quoted anonymous Lebanese security sources saying that the officer is being held and questioned about alleged links to Israeli intelligence agencies. As many as 30 people have now been jailed in Lebanon in a widening probe into Israeli spy networks. According to Reuters, 21 have already been charged with spying, and several have confessed. Claiming that they have dealt a major blow to Israel’s spy operation, Reuters reported, Lebanese officials have also displayed what they say is sophisticated communications equipment found in the homes and offices of some of the suspects. Some of the alleged spies are thought to have been involved in monitoring members of Hizbullah, the Shia resistance group credited with forcing Israel to end its two-decade occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000. 

Israeli military weighing ’all options’ toward Iran
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli military’s Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said he was preparing “all alternatives” in dealing with Iran, contributing to fears of a first strike. "As chief of staff, my position is to prepare all the alternatives for dealing with the Iranian nuclear problem, which is what I am doing," Ashkenazi told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The remarks came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of his right-wing Likud party that if Israel does not strike Iran, no one will. "Iran is continuing with its program," said Ashkenazi, according to Haaretz, "Nuclear weapons in Iran's hands could undermine the stability of the entire Middle East. " Iran currently does not possess nuclear weapons, while Israel is known to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, though it has not publically admitted this. 

Hamas: Israel should resume Shalit talks
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel should resume negotiations toward a prisoner exchange to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza, said Fathi Hammad, the Minister of Interior in the de facto government on Monday. Hammad said the indirect negotiations should resume from the point they reached, before the current Israeli government came to power. He said that progress had been made on the swap deal, but that Israel is currently standing in the way of it by not negotiating. Hamas, he said, had “finished the fine points” of the deal. At the end of the previous Israeli government in February, a prisoner exchange seemed imminent with each side blaming the other for its collapse. The negotiations have been frozen since then. Any swap is likely to involve the release of Shalit, who has been held since 2006, and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. 

Hamas: PA detains three members
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas said that Fatah-allied Palestinian Authority (PA) forces arrested three of its members in the West Bank early on Tuesday. The movement said in a statement that PA forces detained Abdel Ghanab Ayaseh, 24, from Jenin, Riyad Sab Laban, from Hebron, and Muhammad Hassan Ramadan, from Nablus. A week ago Hamas said the PA seized six other members. The PA itself has issued no comment on these reports. [end] 

Motorcycles banned on Gaza coast road on weekends
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian police in Gaza issued an order banning the use of motorcycles on the coast road on Thursdays and Fridays in order to prevent accidents. The police said the decision was a measure to “protect people’s lives” after a number of accidents took place on the Gaza coast road. The road is often crowded over the weekend, on Thursdays and Fridays. In a statement, the police of the Hamas-run government in Gaza urged Palestinians to obey the new rule for their own safety. [end] 

Gaza armed group says Hamas arrested seven fighters
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian armed group said Hamas security forces arrested seven of its members who were on a “Jihad mission” against Israeli forces in the southern Gaza Strip. The Jaysh Al-Umma (Army of the Nation) group said the men were detained near the city of Khan Younis. In a statement the group said it held Hamas’ Internal Security force accountable for the safety of its fighters and for any attempt to torture or interrogate them. “Our struggle is aimed against Israeli occupation only, and we will not be dragged towards inter-Palestinian rivalry which only serves our Israeli enemies,” the statement read. The statement concluded by calling on Muslim scholars to express their standpoint towards arrest of fighters and confiscation of their weapons. It also called on the Hamas de facto government to stop what it said was a campaign of arrests against the Jaysh Al-Umma. 

Gaza court jails Fatah security chiefs
5/26/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Hamas military court in Gaza sentenced two high-ranking former Palestinian Authority officials to jail terms for abuse of power and breaches of conduct on Tuesday. The commander of the Fatah-allied Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip Rashid Abu Shibak and former PA intelligence official Manhal Moussa Arafat Al-Qudweh were sentenced to three year prison terms. The two were also dismissed from service. Manhal Al-Qudweh is the son of Moussa Arafat Al-Qudweh, a relative of the late President Yasser Arafat, who held several positions in the PA, including presidential advisor on military affairs and chief of General Security Services and Military Intelligence before he was assassinated by gunmen at his house in in Gaza in 2005. The sentences, issued in abstentia, come two days after another military court sentenced three other men, including one security. . . 

Fatah youth win Al-Quds University election
5/26/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Fatah youth bloc won a student council election with 39 of 61 seats at Al-Quds University in the West Bank town of Abu Dis on Wednesday. In second place, a leftist coalition (At-Tali’a) of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Saddam Hussein Bloc won ten seats. The Islamic group affiliated to Islamic Jihad won three seats, the communist Palestinian People’s Party (PPP) three, and Fida also three. A Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc withdrew from the election a few days ago. [end] 

The National

Rival Livni is vital to Netanyahu, say analysts
26 May 2009 - The Israeli prime minister may invite the opposition leader into government following his difficult meeting with the US president.

Hamas: Gaza is self-sufficient
26 May 2009 - The Gaza Strip now produces enough potatoes, onions and watermelon to satisfy local demand, Hamas says.

Israel would forgo outposts to expand settlements
26 May 2009 - Israel is prepared to dismantle West Bank wildcat settlements if US drops objections to building in sanctioned settlements.

Palestinian fishermen hemmed in
25 May 2009 - Catches and incomes tumble as the Israeli navy, citing security concerns, restricts fishing to three nautical miles off the coast of Gaza.

Israel draft law would bar Nakba ceremonies
25 May 2009 - Legal experts say the bill that would forbid Arabs marking the day of mourning is likely to be thrown out.

Hamas official calls for new elections
24 May 2009 - The appointment of a new cabinet is dismissed as an illegal move by Hamas and deepens divisions between factions.

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.

Aljazeera

Hariri 'rejects any Hezbollah deal'
26 May 2009 - Son of murdered former PM says he would refuse to join a Hezbollah-led government.

Iran rejects nuclear dialogue
25 May 2009 - Ahmadinejad offers to debate Obama, but will will only meet the IAEA on nuclear issues. 

Netanyahu: Settlements to expand
24 May 2009 - Netanyahu says expansion will continue, despite US demands that all construction stops.

Iran: Foreign forces 'no help'
24 May 2009 - President tells Afghan and Pakistani leaders the region can resolve its own issues.

Russia urges dialogue with Hamas
24 May 2009 - Foreign minister says talks with Hamas necessary to achieve peace in Middle East.

IRIN

OPT: Gaza liquidity crisis having tangible humanitarian impact 
GAZA CITY Monday, May 25, 2009 (IRIN) - A banking and liquidity crisis is affecting the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: Civil servants are struggling to get their salaries, and humanitarian aid is being delayed. Thousands of welfare benefit recipients are not getting their dues. 

ISRAEL-OPT: Military are contaminating water sources - Environment Ministry
TEL AVIV Friday, May 22, 2009 (IRIN) - Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) bases in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and Israel are contaminating land and water sources, says a letter addressed to Maj-Gen Gadi Shamni, commander-in-chief of the central command in Israel.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Egyptians Too Hit by Israeli Strikes 
CAIRO, May 26 (IPS) - Residents along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip are still awaiting compensation for property damaged by air strikes during Israel's recent onslaught against the Hamas-run enclave.

MIDEAST: Palestinians Scoring Own Goals 
RAMALLAH, May 26 (IPS) - While the U.S. appears to be optimistic about Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, inter-Palestinian rivalry, a recalcitrant Israeli government, and an international community with its own agenda could well scuttle a settlement.

MIDEAST: Showdown Looming Over Settlements 
JERUSALEM, May 25 (IPS) - A showdown over Israeli settlements in the occupied West bank is looming between Israel and the United States barely a week after the encounter at the White House between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What's becoming increasingly clear is that...

EGYPT: Financial Crunch Squeezes Suez 
CAIRO, May 25 (IPS) - At the Suez Canal, one of Egypt's fiscal mainstays, the threat of Somali piracy pales in comparison with the potential knock-on effects of the global economic depression.

Stop The Wall

300 dunums confiscated west of Jenin
26 May 2009 - More land has been confiscated from the village of Ya'bad in the northern West Bank. Ya'bad and the surrounding communities have already lost thousands of dunums with the construction of the Wall around the Rehan, Shaqed and Hinnanit settlements, and the most recent confiscation will sever more residents from their livelihoods. [

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. [

PCHR Latest

(25-05-2009) PCHR Organizes Panel Discussion in Khan Yunis on the Right to Peaceful Assembly under PNA Rule
PCHR

Military Court in Gaza Sentences 3 Persons to Death; PCHR Urges President not to Ratify Sentence
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

Settlements contaminate Palestinian water supply in Hebron
International Solidarity Movement - 26 May 2009 - In between the illegal settlments of Kyriat Arba, Givat Harsina and 2 military bases, live Palestinian families that face many hardships. Sewer water from the settlements contaminates their supply of clean water, often overflowing from the sewers. The Palestinian families are in need of repairing or building new homes, but are not allowed by Israel. A woman living in one of the houses near the settlements explained that Palestinians are not allowed to build new houses on their land, while the surrounding settlements continue to expand. An elderly couple's house was demolished with a military bulldozer by Israeli occupation forces, and now they are forced to live in an old caravan. In the Palestinian land near the settlements and Israeli infrastructure, dirty water overspills with the waste from a military base. 

IAF planes drop intimidating pamphlets over Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - Farming Under Fire - 25 May 2009 - Translation of leaflet (both leaflets have the same message with different maps): To the people of the strip: The Israeli Defence Forces repeat their alert forbidding the coming close to the border fence at a distance less than 300 metres who gets close will subject himself to danger whererby the IDF will take necessary procedures to drive him away which will include shooting when necessary he who has alerted shall be excused! - The IDF. Israeli forces used similar tactics during the Gazan massacre in December 2009. By dropping leaflets with warnings, Israeli forces tried to intimidate Gazans and alleviate their responsibility to avoid civilian casualties. 

Why Palestinians are calling for a boycott of Israeli universities
International Solidarity Movement - Amjad Barham, The Guardian - 26 May 2009 - Palestinian academics have been heartened by the outpouring of solidarity with our people on the part of British academics and students - the latter attested to by the creative "student occupation movement" in the wake of the brutal Israeli war against the Palestinian people in Gaza last December and January. What does the Palestinian academic community expect from international colleagues? It has sometimes been suggested that solidarity with Palestinian academics is best expressed in fostering academic links between British and Palestinian universities, with the aim of strengthening the capacity of Palestinian academic institutions that have suffered from the long siege imposed by Israel's colonial regime. While we value academic and institutional forms of support, we feel that this is not sufficient. 

Codepink delegations allowed into Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - Rabble at the Rafah border - 26 May 2009 - We have some great news to report!!! The day started out with a 3am call from one of our delegations in Al Arish saying that secret police had contacted them at 2pm to intimidate them and say they would not get into Gaza. We, in Cairo, told them to go on to the border and see what happens. Then at 9am in the morning, when all three groups got in their buses to go to the border, they were stopped at the first checkpoint, surrounded by riot police, and not allowed to even get off the bus. They were told that there were military exercises going on in the area and that they could not move forward to the border. Meanwhile, they saw other cars going in and out. But they were forced to turn around to go back to Al Arish. Ann, Tighe and I were furious, planning all sorts of things"”press conferences to denounce the treatment of our delegations, protests, etc. 

A recipe for resentment
International Solidarity Movement - Ahmad Samih Khalidi, The Guardian - 26 May 2009 - The Obama administration is gearing up for its impending and possibly decisive moves towards relaunching the Middle East peace process, with a series of consultations with Arab leaders, including the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, later this week. After meeting with Barack Obama in Washington last week, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, pressed his demand that the Palestinians should recognise Israel as a Jewish state, posing it as the sine qua non for any future agreement. This demand seems to be gaining some traction in the US and in western capitals. But Washington and the international community should be very wary of progressing any further down this path; for behind what may appear an innocuous demand to accept Israel for what it deems itself to be lies an ideologically motivated attempt to force the Palestinians into an unprecedented repudiation of their history. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Dennis Ross vs. Obama: No link betwen Iran, Mideast peace 
26 May 2009 - Dennis Ross, the U.S. Secretary of State's special adviser on Iran, says in a new book that the United States will not make progress toward peace in the Middle East with the Obama administration's new plan. ... 

Israel disavows MK's proposal to turn West Bank over to Jordan
25 May 2009 - The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday distanced itself from a contentious proposal made by a right-wing lawmaker, who suggested Israel to turn Palestinian population centers in the West Bank to Jordanian jurisdiction. ...

Iran lifts Facebook block after cutting access for elections
25 May 2009 - Iran restored access to Facebook on Tuesday, after a block on the social networking Web site last week generated accusations that the government was trying to muzzle one of the main presidential campaign tools of the reformist opposition. ...

Oy vey! It's Yiddish culture day
25 May 2009 - Oy Gevalt! Yiddish has been uttered in the Knesset. ...

Bolivia denies Israel report it supplied Iran with uranium
25 May 2009 - Bolivia on Tuesday denied supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, saying it has never produced the metallic element, a key ingredient for nuclear energy and weapons. ...

The Guardian

A recipe for resentment | Ahmad Samih Khalidi
26 May 2009 - For Palestinians, to recognise Israel as a Jewish state would be to repudiate their history The Obama administration is gearing up for its impending and possibly decisive moves towards relaunching the Middle East peace process, with...

Why Palestinians are calling for a boycott of Israeli universities
26 May 2009 - A Palestinian academic union urges British colleagues to back a boycott in support of 'our struggle for justice' Palestinian academics have been heartened by the outpouring of solidarity with our people on the part of British...

Israel to propose removing some West Bank settlements
26 May 2009 - Barak hopes dismantling two dozen small outposts will win US support for more expansion in main areas Israel is to propose removing two dozen Jewish settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in the hope of...

Bursting bubbles on the Jesus Trail | Seth Freedman
26 May 2009 - A spot of sightseeing can be a great way of bringing together Israeli Jews and Arabs – but first you have to get out of Tel Aviv Prior to last weekend, I had spent a full...

Ha'aretz National page

Experts: Serial murder is rare in Israel - but could rise 
26 May 2009 - Two criminologists asked to comment on the murder of Dana Benett say the kind of attack presented by police is rare in Israel, but one believes the incidence is likely to rise. ... 

Mounting opposition 
26 May 2009 - The announcement by Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), to the effect that the PA is willing to transfer the holy places in Jerusalem to Islamic sovereignty in exchange for genuine Israeli compromises, was ostensibly supposed to constitute a breakthrough. ... 

Slain child's grandfather: I ended Rose's life in a split second
25 May 2009 - A man suspected of killing his 4-year-old granddaughter last September has told investigators he ended the girl's life in a split second and has regretted the decision ever since. ...

Mother of slain Israeli-American teen: Let Dana's killer rot in jail
25 May 2009 - The mother of murdered Israeli-American teenager Dana Bennett said Tuesday that she doesn't want the death penalty for the killer, preferring to see him rot in prison. ...

Swimmer rescued off Haifa coast by naval submarine crew 
25 May 2009 - A swimmer swept away off the Haifa coast was saved Tuesday by a naval submarine crew on routine patrol. ...

Relief Web

Annual Report: ICRC record expenditure reflects increasing vulnerability of and improved access to people affected by armed conflicts
26 May 2009 - Source: ICRC

WHO Specialized Health Mission to the Gaza strip - Extended report
26 May 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: West Bank movement and access update - May 2009
26 May 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

OPT: Blockaded Gaza aims to be self-sufficient in fruit and veg
26 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

No talks until barriers go, settlements frozen: Palestinians
26 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Supporting the most vulnerable Palestine refugees: EU funds guarantee UNRWA's social safety net programme in 2009 and 2010
26 May 2009 - Source: European Commission, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: Helping the deaf in the Gaza Strip to learn a trade
26 May 2009 - Source: Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children

OPT: Medical aid convoy enters Gaza from Rafah 
26 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

YNet News

Israeli teams to negotiate Iran, Palestinian issues with US
26 May 2009 - Israeli delegation to London determines two separate teams will handle state's interests regarding burning issues of security. Meanwhile Netanyahu delays visit to Europe, denies decision linked to international criticism following US trip

Internal struggles within Fatah over 'armed resistance'
26 May 2009 - Abbas spars with Barghouti over removal of militaristic clause from movement's platform ahead of upcoming faction summit

Bolivia denies supplying Iran with uranium
26 May 2009 - Mining Minister Echazu rejects reported Israeli intelligence assessments that his country has supplied Tehran with uranium for its nuclear program. Venezuela, also accused of providing Iran with uranium, has yet to respond

Jordan summons Israeli ambassador over rightist bill
26 May 2009 - Amman deeply angered by MK Eldad's bill proposing creation of Palestinian state in Hashemite Kingdom. 'Two states on the two banks of the Jordan River,' the bill says

Gay Palestinian requests Israeli visa
26 May 2009 - Plaintiff requests court allow him to live with his Israeli partner, says he fears for his life in the West Bank

Ya'alon: No discernible solution to Palestinian conflict 
26 May 2009 - Minister for strategic affairs upholds uncompromising stance at meeting of MKs who oppose two-state doctrine. Israel's approach should be one of 'long term crisis management,' he says

Barak: Don't tie outposts to Iran 
26 May 2009 - Defense minister rejects notion that Israeli dismantling of outposts in West Bank will have positive effect on Iran nuclear standoff, tells High Court he will not order demolition of nine homes in settlement of Ofra despite ruling

Looter returns cash to Palestinian
26 May 2009 - Combat soldier who stole credit card from Palestinian home during Gaza offensive returns money with interest

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

Sarkozy opens France's first Gulf military base, pledges to protect UAE 
26 May 2009 - President Nicolas Sarkozy formally opened a French military base in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, its first in the oil-rich Gulf, as Paris seeks to land lucrative military contracts and strengthen its foothold in a region just across from Iran. Sarkozy attended the inauguration ceremony alongside UAE Deputy Prime Minister.

Obama offers little new 
26 May 2009 - Seldom has an encounter between American and Israeli leaders been as hyped as this week's meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. As expected, Obama committed himself to diplomacy with Iran and pledged an enormous effort to achieve a two-state solution.

Muslim nations reject calls to 'reward Israel for its crimes' 
26 May 2009 - Muslim countries meeting in the Syrian capital criticized Israel on Monday but said they were open to better ties with Israel if it took steps toward a "just and comprehensive" Middle East peace deal. "We must not reward Israel for its crimes," said a statement issued at the end of the three-day meeting of foreign ministers of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Palestinians: No talks until settlements frozen 
26 May 2009 - Palestinians will not restart peace talks with Israel unless it removes all roadblocks and freezes settlement activity in the Occupied West Bank, top negotiator Ahmad Qorei said in an interview on Tuesday. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will present the conditions during his first official meeting.

Egyptians near Gaza still waiting for compensation for Israeli air strikes 
26 May 2009 - Residents along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip are still awaiting compensation for property damaged by air strikes during Israel's recent onslaught against the Hamas-run enclave. "The Egyptian government wasn't responsible for the damage, which came entirely as a result of Israel's assault on Gaza," Governor of North Sinai Mohammad Abdel-Fadil Shousha told IPS.

Mousavi accuses Ahmadinejad of ruining economy 
26 May 2009 - Iran's leading reformist presidential candidate attacked hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's handling of the economy, accusing him of mismanagement and driving a once rich Iran into poverty. Mir Hossein Mousavi and the two other candidates seeking to unseat the president in the June 12 election.

Iran's Ahmadinejad rejects Western nuclear proposal, rules out talks 
26 May 2009 - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday rejected a Western proposal for it to "freeze" its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue. The comments by the conservative president, who is seeking a second term in a June 12 election.

Jordan urged to stop detentions without trial 
26 May 2009 - Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Jordan on Tuesday to end its "widespread" use of administrative detention and to abolish a 1954 law which the watchdog says opens the way to abuse. "The government's widespread use of administrative detention fundamentally undermines the rule of law in Jordan," the New York-based group said in a 56-page report.

Palestinian Information Center

Occupation authorities issue new demolition orders in occupied Jerusalem
27 May 2009 - The Zionist occupation municipality of Jerusalem handed on Tuesday new demolition orders to Palestinian owners of homes that were built without a permit.

Hamas: Qurai's statements give legitimacy to Jewish settlements
27 May 2009 - Hamas considered statements made by Ahmad Qurai regarding giving Jewish settlers in the West Bank Palestinian nationality as an acceptance of the status quo ..

Italian senator condemns world silence towards Gaza siege
27 May 2009 - Italian senator Fernando Rossi, who is leading the “Hope” convoy to the Gaza Strip, has denounced the Israeli siege of Gaza and the world silence towards such a humanitarian crisis.

Salah: Netanyahu determined to build the alleged temple on the ruins of the Aqsa
27 May 2009 - Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has warned that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu was determined to demolish the Aqsa Mosque.

Masri: Israeli manoeuvres reflect uncertainty
27 May 2009 - Hamas MP Mushir Al-Masri has described the Israeli announcement of launching the biggest ever manoeuvre on the internal front as a reflection of Israel’s uncertainty about its future.

Arabs should learn from North Korea
27 May 2009 - North Korea’s successful nuclear test early Monday may not be good news for states like Israel and her guardian-ally, the United State. These countries wish to perpetuate their world hegemony..

The "Hope" convoy enters Gaza after reaching agreement with Egypt
27 May 2009 - The "Hope" convoy which has travelled from Italy to Egypt by sea has finally entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border after reaching an agreement with the Egyptian authorities.

Leaflets dropped on Gaza ordering citizens to stay away from border areas
27 May 2009 - Israeli helicopters dropped on Monday morning thousands of leaflets ordering the Palestinians to stay away from border areas in the Gaza Strip..

Moussa appeals to Egypt to allow hope convoy into besieged Gaza
27 May 2009 - Deputy head of Hamas parliamentary bloc Yahya Moussa on Monday appealed to the Egyptian authorities to facilitate the passage of the European hope convoy..

Israeli gov’t to ban commemoration of Nakba day
27 May 2009 - Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli government intends to enact a law proposed by a ministerial committee banning Palestinians living in 1948 occupied lands from commemorating the Nakba day.

Los Angeles Times

Israeli legislation raises issue of loyalty 
26 May 2009 - An ultranationalist party introduces a bill requiring an oath of allegiance to Israel, and another barring the traditional Arab day of mourning over the Jewish state's birth. The ultranationalist party led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has unveiled two bills targeting Israel's Arab minority, one that would outlaw the Arabs' traditional day of mourning over the birth of Israel and another that would require an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state. 

Hezbollah dismisses allegations in Hariri assassination 
25 May 2009 - The Shiite militant group denies any role in the former prime minister's slaying, saying a German news report appears aimed at affecting the outcome of Lebanon's parliamentary vote June 7. Hezbollah on Sunday rejected potentially explosive allegations in a German magazine that it was responsible for the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a leader of Lebanon's Sunni Muslim community. 

New York Times

Court Reverses Jail Sentence of Egypt Critic
25 May 2009 - An outspoken critic of President Hosni Mubarak has been in self-imposed exile for almost two years. 

Israel Ties 2 Nations to Iran’s Uranium
26 May 2009 - Venezuela and Bolivia are supplying Iran with uranium for its nuclear program, according to a secret Israeli government report. 

Amos Elon, Israeli Author, Dies at 82
25 May 2009 - Mr. Elon, whose work examined his society’s flaws and myths, was for many years Israel’s most renowned intellectual. 


Articles

Electronic Intifada
Back to the future with Netanyahu's subterfuge
26 May 2009 - As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared for his first meeting with US President Barack Obama earlier this week, preliminary construction began on the Maskiot settlement in the Jordan Valley, which forms the Eastern Bantu of the occupied West Bank. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz , it will be Israel's first new settlement in the northern West Bank in 27 years. Omar Yousef Shehabi comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

West Bank water access mired in politics
26 May 2009 - Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is calling for the replacement of committees, which control the West Bank's water, for having "failed both sides" with "catastrophic" consequences. "It is time to replace the failed mechanism of the Joint Water Committees established under Oslo [the peace accords of the mid-1990s], with an institution where Palestinians and Israelis are true partners in both water supply and management responsibilities," said Nader Khateeb, the Palestinian Director of FoEME. Arwa Aburawa reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

Israeli army contaminating water sources
25 May 2009 - TEL AVIV (IRIN) - Israeli army bases in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and Israel are contaminating land and water sources, says a letter addressed to Major General Gadi Shamni, commander-in-chief of the central command in Israel. According to the 12 May letter signed by Issac Ben David, deputy director at the Ministry of the Environment, and seen by IRIN, five bases in the OPT are a major source of contamination due to poor handling of diesel fuel and oil. 

A family lost in white phosphorous shelling
25 May 2009 - The Abu Halima family's agony began when the family was taking shelter from Israeli missiles in the foyer of their two-floor home on 11 January when two white phosphorous bombs struck. The father of the family, Saad Ala Abu Halima was instantly killed along with his three sons, Abed Raheem (14), Zaid (10) and Hamza (8), along with his only daughter, one-year-old Shahed. Eman Mohammed reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
Israeli forces attempts to legitimize pre-meditated murder and land annexation
26 May 2009 - “Life is hard for Palestinian farmers in the border region near Israel. The IOF shoot at us every day, any time. They shoot at the international volunteers (ISM) also.” This was Jaber Abu Rjila testifying some of what he has experienced in the last decade on his land less than 500m from the border with Israel. Yesterday, the day before Abu Rjila was interviewed, Israeli occupation forces dropped leaflets along the border area, from north to south, announcing Israel’s unilateral decision that the border area is off-limits and that, by dropping leaflets, Israeli soldiers have the right to shoot to kill anyone found within 500m of the fence. [see translation...

Palestine Chronicle
Obama and Bibi: Political Divergence, Strategic Symbiosis
26 May 2009 - By Yacov Ben Efrat From the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on May 18, 2009, no wide-ranging agreement was to be expected. To judge from the public news conference, the encounter was a porcupine tango. Netanyahu flew to Washington after steering the budget through his cabinet, an act that ensures the stability of his coalition for the time being. Obama, for his part, still enjoys huge popularity ratings. Netanyahu's agenda is clear: in American terms, he represents Republican-style positions on two fronts: he is politically right wing and economically neoliberal. Obama's agenda, by contrast, is for change: to break away from the conceptions and traditions of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Yet the differences that emerged in the meeting are dwarfed by common strategic interests. Israel cannot exist without American support. The US has no other stable strategic partner in the Middle East. It is within these parameters that the political game goes on. Amid their starkest differences, these two nations must remain "friends." The shared strategic interest will enchain Obama when he tries to change US policy in the region. He wants to do so, and fast. He wants to pull his army out of Iraq and shift it to Afghanistan. He wants to get Iran to desist from its nuclear program. To succeed in these tasks, however, he needs a new atmosphere, and he cannot hope to get that without first resolving the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This conflict threatens not only the...

Biden; A Wolf in a Sheep Clothing
26 May 2009 - By Dr. Elias Akleh The surprise quick visit of the American Vice President Joe Biden to Lebanon last Friday May 22 marked the 14th visit by an American official during the last six months. The American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton preceded Biden’s visit with her own brief stop in Beirut last month. This unprecedented American political activity in Lebanon reflects a concern over, and an attempt to meddle in the coming Lebanese parliamentary election in the 7th of June. The Americans, and the Israelis, are afraid that the Amal-Hezbollah Alliance might win a majority in the election. Such a win will be disastrous to Israel. The Amal-Hezbollah Alliance is calling for a strong, capable, brave and responsible state with its army, security forces and political authority to defend Lebanon, especially the southern towns, from the routine Israeli violations of Lebanese borders and airspace. This means involvement of the Lebanese army into the resistance against Israel. The Lebanese army stood passive during the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon. The Alliance wants to rebuild and to strengthen the infrastructures in the South, and is also promising to work on executing the Litani Project to protect and preserve the river’s water. Israel has always coveted the Litani water for itself, and had criticized Lebanon of wasting precious drinking water into the sea. Amal-Hezbollah victory would change the political face of the region. It would mean closer ties with Syria and Iran, would oppose any American influence, and might threaten to expose the...

Assorted Interpretations of May 25
26 May 2009 - By Belén Fernández - Buenos Aires In my parents’ living room in Buenos Aires this morning, I scanned the online version of the Argentine journal La Nación in an effort to determine the justification for the current national holiday. An article proclaiming the 199th anniversary of the Revolución de Mayo in the headline offered no further clarification of the celebration aside from the information that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner would be celebrating it at the Sheraton Hotel in Iguazú National Park, and that she would prefer not to talk about recent nationalizations by Hugo Chávez of steel companies belonging to Argentine-based multinationals. According to another article on the site, Chávez’ confiscaciones had already been talked about, and Argentine businessmen had been assured by the Kirchner administration that “no somos Chávez.” The online readership of La Nación did not appear convinced of such distinctions, however, and, of the 6,148 responses that had been registered as of 10 AM to a poll regarding whether the government would defend Argentine business interests in Venezuela, 4.47% were positive. I eventually resorted to a chart on Wikipedia in order to establish that the May 25 holiday commemorated the Buenos Aires revolution of 1810, milestone in Argentina’s independence from Spain. As for holidays commemorating the milestones of other anti-imperialist revolutions, I had witnessed two in the span of 3 days this past February in Venezuela, where it had been explained to me that excuses like “no somos Chávez” did not apply in the context of...

'Cry, the Beloved Country'
25 May 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem Jaffa. The word itself conjures up images of warmth, comfort, beautiful sandy beaches and miles of blue-green sea and the smell of oranges mingled with the misty sea breeze. These are the sights and smells I always look forward to whenever I visit Jaffa, the beautiful city by the Mediterranean. Yesterday, my family and I made our first trip this summer to Jaffa's shores. The ride from Jerusalem is about an hour, with long stretches of highway along beautiful green and brown plains. Amazing how no matter the number of times I have made this trip, I still get the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is not just me. The rest of my family expressed the same sentiments – appreciation for the beauty of this country and sadness over its loss. Jaffa, like all other Palestinian cities, towns and villages, fell to Jewish gangs and Israeli troops in the war of 1948. The majority of its Palestinian residents, under the bombardment and fighting and in fear of the massacres that had already swept the country, fled their homes for what they believed would be a few days. It has been 61 years since then. Hence, no Palestinian can make the trip to Jaffa without remembering its history along with the overall history of Palestine. As we looked out the window at the rolling hills and the patchwork of brown, green and beige plains, our hearts filled with sadness. To us,...

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