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

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
27 May , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Palestinian factions slam Israel’s new law
28 May 2009 - Several Palestinians factions strongly denounced the new Israeli bill that calls for punishing any citizen of Israel for not recognizing the country as a Jewish democratic state. The bill passed in the first reading at the Knesset on Wednesday. 

MK Zahalka: “New law, Racist and constitutes a thought crime”
28 May 2009 - As the Israeli Knesset was debating the new law, which punishes any citizen who does not recognize Israel as a Jewish Democratic State, Arab member of Knesset Jamal Zahalka, described the law as racist and a thought crime. 

Knesset approves initial bill incriminating denying Israel as a Jewish State
28 May 2009 - On Wednesday, the Israeli Knesset approved in the first reading a bill that would incriminate publically denying Israel as a Jewish State, and that such denial would be punished up to a year in prison. 

Soldiers kidnap 11 Palestinians in the West Bank
27 May 2009 - The Israeli military announced Wednesday that it kidnapped 11 Palestinians during night and dawn invasions in different parts of the occupied West Bank. 

Palestinian worker arrested over clamis of attacking security guards at a West Bank settlement
27 May 2009 - A Palestinian worker was arrested on Wednesday by the Israeli police at the entrance of Ma''eleh Adumim settlement located near the city of Jerusalem. 

Army dismantles two illegal setter outposts
27 May 2009 - The Israeli army demolished two illegal settlement outposts installed by extremist right-wing Jewish settlers, members of a Yeshiva School from Kiryat Arba’ illegal settlement, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. 

Hamas fighter killed in Gaza
27 May 2009 - Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, reported on Wednesday morning that one if its fighters died “in a mission” in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Code Pink Delegation enters the Gaza Strip
27 May 2009 - On Tuesday, May 26th, a delegation of 66 U.S., Canadian and Egyptian Peace activists with the women-led peace group 'Code Pink' were allowed to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border. Their entry follows closely the Hope Convoy of humanitarian aid from Europe, which arrived in Gaza early Tuesday morning after having camped out at the Rafah crossing for several days demanding entry. 

Critically-injured peace activist Tristan Anderson moved into Rehab
27 May 2009 - Tristan Anderson, who was critically wounded by a high-velocity tear gas canister fired at his head by Israeli forces in March, has been moved from the intensive care unit of the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv into a Rehabilitation Center at the hospital. 

Israel to demolish more homes in East Jerusalem
27 May 2009 - The Jerusalem Municipality handed on Tuesday orders to demolish 17 Palestinian homes in different parts of East Jerusalem under the pretext that they were constructed without a permit. 

Fateh bloc wins students elections in Abu Dis University
27 May 2009 - As different student blocs competed on 61 seats at the students’ senate in Abu Dis University in east Jerusalem, Fateh bloc garnered 39 seats, and the rest were won by different smaller groups. Hamas bloc refrained from participating in the election. 

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. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

U.S. Muslim charity founders get 65 years in prison for funneling millions to Hamas
27 May 2009 - Holy Land Foundation members convicted on 108 charges, including supporting a terror group. 

U.S. to freeze assets of two Hezbollah-linked men in Africa
27 May 2009 - Men reportedly ran international fraud, smuggling, and money laundering ring that aided Lebanon-based militia. 

Jordan to charge four with plotting Israel attack
27 May 2009 - Suspects detained in April for allegedly planning attack in retaliation for 'massacres' of Gaza war. 

Dozens killed in Pakistan suicide bombing
27 May 2009 - Suicide car bomber targets buildings housing police and intelligence agency offices in Lahore. 

'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. 

Ma'an News

Israeli lawmakers approve jail terms for ’Jewish state’ denial
5/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, gave preliminary approval to a bill that would mandate year jail term for anyone who speaks against Israel’s status as a Jewish state on Wednesday morning. The bill, which still needs final approval before coming law, passed after a heated debate with a vote of 47 to 34 and one abstention. The measure was originally introduced by Zevulun Orlev, a member of a right-wing religious nationalist party, Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home). The bill’s passage comes three days after lawmakers advanced a bill that would ban all commemorations of Nakba Day, on which Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, remember their expulsion of 1948. According to news reports, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, Jamal Zahalka, was removed from the auditorium during an argument after the vote. 

Israeli forces seize 11 Palestinians overnight
5/27/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it detained 11 Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank, bringing the total to 22 in the last three days. Among those detained on Wednesday morning were two Palestinians from the southern West Bank towns of Tarqumiya and Ash-Shyoukh. Israeli forces ransacked several homes in both towns. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Hebron, Firas Abu Haltam from Tarqumiya, and Muhammad Ababda from Ash-Shuyukh were seized from their homes. Separately, Israeli forces raided several houses in the southern West Bank town of Sa’ir east of Hebron. No detentions were reported there. [end] 

Israel seizes four Gaza fishermen
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel’s navy seized four Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian-International Campaign Against the Siege. A statement from the group said Israeli warships surrounded Palestinian fishing boats off the northern coast of Gaza and then arrested the four. The arrests come a day after two other fishermen were seized from their vessel off the coast of Rafah, at the southern end of the Strip. The statement denounced what it said were escalated attacks on Gazan fishermen and also called on Israel to return confiscated fishing boats. An Israeli military spokesperson said he had no information on the reported detentions. 

New Palestinian minister orders boycott of Israeli goods
5/27/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Newly-appointed Palestinian Minister of Social Affairs Majida Al-Masri has ordered a ministry-wide boycott of Israeli products as her first decision in her new role. The decision says Palestinian products must have the priority, but if a certain product is unavailable, priority goes to Arab countries, then foreign equivalent. Israeli products are to be boycotted altogether. The minister also held a meeting with its ministry’s employees and departments. She explained how the new Palestinian government led by Salam Fayyad was created. Al-Masri was sworn in last Tuesday along with a new cabinet dominated by the Fatah movement. She confirmed during the meeting that her ministry’s top priority would be supporting the besieged Gaza Strip, and segregated Jerusalem. “The relationship between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip should be one of unity, and neutrality. . . 

Haniyeh: External forces to blame for stalled Fatah talks
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a call for further dialogue with the rival Fatah movement on Tuesday, blaming “external intervention” for an impasse in talks. Haniyeh, the elected prime minister and currently the head of the de facto government in Gaza, said that the talks with Fatah had reached “a good point,” and that their success is necessary. “The challenges facing the Palestinian people and their cause are much greater than internal disagreements,” said Haniyeh speaking at a Gaza press conference. The press conference was held after Haniyeh hosted an international solidarity delegation in Gaza City. “Two problems are impeding Palestinian national dialogue; external intervention, and approaching dialogue having in mind that Gaza is the problem only,” Haniyeh explained. He pointed out that Hamas movement would be willing to reach a comprehensive. . . 

Hope Convoy participants tour Gaza
5/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an – A delegation of European parliament members and pro-Palestinian activists toured key sites in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after arriving with a shipment of medical supplies on Monday night. Twenty-two members of the Hope for Gaza Convoy entered through the Rafah crossing after Egypt turned dozens of other riders back at the border. The hundred-strong party travelled from Italy with ambulances and truckloads of wheelchairs and other supplies that have been made scarce in Gaza by Israel’s import restrictions. The delegation visited Gaza’s largest hospital, Ash-Shifa, delivering some of the medical supplies there. Doctors explained the conditions of treatment for the sick and wounded. Then the delegation went to the the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) building, which was destroyed by an Israeli air raid in January. 

Israel to release Nablus deputy mayor after two years
5/27/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israel decided to release the deputy mayor of the West Bank city of Nablus after holding him without trial for two years on Wednesday. According to Fares Abu Hassan, an attorney with the International Solidarity prisoners organization, 44-year-old Mahdi Shaker Al-Hanbali was arrested on 31 May 2007 when Israeli soldiers raided his home. He was remanded to administrative detention in Megido Prison for six months, and later to the Negev desert prison camp for a year and a half. The Israeli high court decided not to extend Al-Hanbali’s administrative detention on Wednesday, Abu Hassan said. Al -Hanbali told Abu -Hassan that “the prisoners are living in their worst stages of life” adding thatthey are “ suffering of bad treatment and imposing high finesand barring family visitations, in addition to solitary confinement for any simple reason. 

Israeli court orders continued imprisonment for three Hamas leaders
5/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli military tribunal sitting in the settlement of Ofer rejected a petition on Tuesday to release three Hamas lawmakers from prison, instead remanding them to six months administrative detention. Ma’an learned that AttorneyFadi Al-Qawasmi had petitioned for the release of Nizar Ramadan, Azzam Salhab and Ayman Daraghmah. The three were abducted by Israeli forces in a series of pre-dawn raids in the West Bank on 19 March. Israel seized 10 Hamas political leaders from the West Bank that morning in an apparent attempt to pressure the group to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza. Administrative detention is a practice in which Israel holds prisoners without formally charging them with any crime. Meanwhile sources said that Israel’s intelligence services transferred Hamas lawmaker Khaled Tafesh of Bethlehem from the Negev desert prison camp to a detention center in Ofer for interrogation. 

Israeli forces seize four Al-Aqsa Brigades men in Nablus
5/27/2009 - Nablus – Ma’anExclusive – Israeli forces seized evening four Palestinians affiliated to Fatah’s armed wing, Al-Aqsa Brigades, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday evening. Ma’an learned from Palestinian security sources that the activists were travelling in a blue Hyundai on Wadi Al-Badan road before they were overtaken by an Israeli patrol which surrounded the car and detained them. The source named the men as Muhammad Al-Mansi, Nasouh Abu Sa’da, Salah Rimawi, and Tariq Idris. [end] 

Hamas fighter killed in northern Gaza
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas’ armed wing said that one of its fighters was killed on a “Jihad mission” in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. According to an Al-Qassam Brigades communiqué, 25-year-old Muhammad Abed Al-Karim Al-Madhoun was killed. The statement did not specify the circumstances of the death or the details of the mission. Muawiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency services in the Gaza Health Ministry, a dead body arrived at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza. The body was recovered when a tunnel collapsed in the northern Gaza Strip. Sources at the hospital also said that a second body had arrived from the same incident. The Hamas military statement said that Al-Madhoun was killed "during his duty in a special task. "He had a bright history full of exploits in his Jihad against the Zionist occupation," the statement said. 

Hamas fighter killed in Gaza car accident
5/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas’ armed wing said that a member of its organization was killed in a car accident in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday. In a statement the Al-Qassam Brigades said that Adel Abdel Hakeem Al-Abdadela, 24, was killed. The statement said he was “Martyred after a long path of Jihad against the Zionist occupation. ”The announcement comes after another Hamas fighter was killed when a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip collapsed on him during what was reported to be a military operation. Medical officials confirmed the death of two people in tunnel collapses in the area. [end] 

Two Gaza crossings open
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel planned to allow limited amounts of humanitarian aid, fuel, and other supplies into the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said. Crossings official Raed Fattuh said that 65 to 75 truckloads of goods will be allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Unspecified quantities of cooking gas and industrial fuel for the Gaza power plant will be allowed through the Nahal Oz crossing. The Karni terminal, normally used to transfer grain and animal feed, will be closed. [end] 

UK foreign secretary acknowledges historic ’failure’ in Palestine
5/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, has acknowledged Britain’s historic responsibility for failure to resolve the political crisis in Palestine and Israel. “Lines drawn on maps by Colonial powers were succeeded, amongst other things, by the failure – it has to be said not just ours - to establish two states in Palestine,” said Miliband in a wide-ranging speech at Oxford’s Center for Islamic Studies on 21 May. “More recently, the invasion of Iraq, and its aftermath, aroused a sense of bitterness, distrust and resentment. When people hear about Britain, too often they think of these things,” he said. Critics have assailed the UK, the former colonial power in Mandate Palestine, for refusing to recognize its role in creating the conditions that lead the 1948 war at the creation of Israel and the expulsion of some 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland. 

Report: Egypt deploys additional forces along Rafah border
5/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egypt deployed additional security and intelligence personnel along its border with the Gaza Strip over the last three days, shutting down many of the smuggling routes into the besieged Palestinian territory, Israeli television reported on Wednesday evening. The televised report showed footage of intelligence officers wearing civilian clothes in the Rafah border area, searching and confiscating deliveries intended for the Gaza Strip. The report claimed that the normally active Gaza tunnel industry had been largely shut down over the last three days. Egyptian soldiers were also pictured occupying rooftops of homes in along the border in order to better survey the area. The report also said that Israel bombed the tunnels on Tuesday, causing the smugglers to take more precautions in relation to Egypt. 

Reconciliation committee urges Hamas to cancel death sentences
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A reconciliation committee of Palestinian factions met in Gaza City on Tuesday and to send a letter to Fatah and Hamas urging them to stop all actions that have a negative impact on national dialogue. The letter called on Hamas and the de facto government in Gaza to cancel the death sentences against three Palestinians which a Hamas military court ruled handed down on Sunday. The letter explained that the death sentences were related to the Hamas-Fatah rivalry and confrontations, and so should be addressed through the conciliation committee appointed during Hamas Fatah talks in Cairo. The letter also called on both movements to stop politically-motivated detentions in the West Bank and in Gaza, also calling for a national committee to follow up on that issue. Furthermore, the letter called for immediately halting all restrictions on public freedoms, namely. . . 

Hamas rejects joint Gaza force, urges further Fatah talks
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas confirmed that it rejected a proposed joint Gaza security force with Fatah on Wednesday, weighing in on one of the issues dividing the Palestinian rivals. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said that the Palestinian security forces should be reformed on “national, professional and legal bases” in the West Bank and Gaza simultaneously. However, he said Hamas would accept a joint force at the Rafah border crossing to administer it in the interest of ordinary Palestinians. Barhoum said these positions have been communicated to Egypt in the most recent step in what has developed into lurching four-month long dialogue with Fatah intended to restore unity to the Palestinian polity. Egypt suggested the joint Gaza force in an attempt to break an impasse in the talks. Since its takeover of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has consolidated control using security forces loyal to the movement. 

Fatah: July Hamas talks will be successful
5/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A senior Fatah leader predicted that an upcoming round of talks with Hamas would result in a unity agreement on Wednesday. Gaza-based leader Abdallah Abu Samahdanah, who represents Fatah on an official reconciliation committee, said that “the coming meetings of dialogue will be resolving and last ones. ”“The meeting which was held by the conciliation committee in Gaza on Tuesday aiming at overcoming the obstacles placed in the way of the meetings of the five committees that are slated to be held in Cairo on the fifth of July,” said Abu Samahdanah in a statement. Abu Samahdanah also denounced Hamas’ refusal to officially attend the meeting of the reconciliation committe on which he sits. One Hamas leader, Ismail Radwan had dismissed the presence of another leader, Ahmad Yousef, in the meeting as “personal attendance. 

Ramallah cemetery vandals arrested
5/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma'an – Palestinian Authority (PA) police say they have arrested the vandals who attacked a Christian cemetery in the village of Jiffna, near Ramallah last weekend. Security forces spokesperson Adnan Ad-Damiri told Ma’an that PA forces detained five suspects who have all admitted to damaging gravestones in the Jiffna church graveyard. Ad-Damiri said that interrogations revealed that there was no political motivation behind that attack, confirming that the five were arrested 48 hours after the incident. He confirmed that the security services opened an investigation in the area, and local residents provided information that helped in the case. PA prosecutors plan to proceed with the case. 

The National

Syrian envoy arrives in Lebanon
27 May 2009 - Damascus sends an ambassador to Beirut for first time to formally establish formal diplomatic ties.

Pressure on Abbas rises before visit to US
27 May 2009 - With frustration growing in Fatah and Israel adamant, the Palestinian leader is unlikely to see movement on peace with Obama's backing.

Smugglers loot Libya's ruins
27 May 2009 - Antiquities are being stolen and smuggled through Egypt to be sold to collectors in Europe and North America. 

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.


Israel debates 'loyalty' law
27 May 2009 - Bill to mandate jail for anyone who calls for end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

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.


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: Israel Prepares for North Korean Fallout 
JERUSALEM, May 27 (IPS) - The tremors of Monday's North Korean nuclear test have been felt all around the world, no more so in a country seemingly not directly affected by whether or not North Korea is a full-fledged nuclear power. In Israel, there is deep concern, an existential fear...

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...

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) Sourani Participates in an International Conference in Italy: Is There a Court for Gaza?

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

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

UN: Little change in problems with Palestinian movement in West Bank
International Solidarity Movement - The Jerusalem Post - 26 May 2009 - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said little had been done in the past nine months to ease movement and access for the Palestinians in the West Bank. According to a closure survey it completed in March 2009 and released on Tuesday, there are 634 obstacles blocking internal Palestinian movement and access in the West Bank. This is an increase of four obstacles compared with the last report in September 2008. The obstacles include 93 staffed checkpoints and 541 unstaffed obstacles such as roadblocks, earth mounds, earth walls, road barriers, and trenches. Of the 93 checkpoints, 20 so called "partial checkpoints" are only staffed part of the time, including some which are rarely staffed. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Is Abbas still relevant to the peace process?
27 May 2009 - WASHINGTON - If ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the analysts tried to assess the intensity of the confrontation with U.S. President Barack Obama, the president's meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House today is raising a completely different query: Is the 74-year old Palestinian leader still relevant? ... 

U.S. refuses to back down on settlement freeze demand
27 May 2009 - The American administration shows no signs of backing down from its demands that Israel totally freeze settlement growth in the West Bank and open the Gaza border terminals to allow the rebuilding of the Strip, a Jerusalem official said Wednesday. ... 

IMF denies reports it negotiated loans with Hezbollah
27 May 2009 - The International Monetary Fund denied media reports on Wednesday that it had discussed possible loans with Lebanon's Hezbollah before the country's parliamentary elections next month. ...

Clinton: U.S. working to jumpstart Israel-PA talks 
26 May 2009 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Washington was working toward bringing Israel and the Palestinians into peace negotiations, emphasizing that regardless of external assistance a solution is "up to the two parties." ...

Egypt minister up for UNESCO chief rues anti-Israel rhetoric
26 May 2009 - Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, a leading candidate to head UNESCO despite his vehement anti-Israeli rhetoric, has apologized for a number of his contentious statements claiming that they counter his own beliefs and devotion to culture. ...

The Guardian

Hay festival: Muslim-Jewish relations in the spotlight | Mark Vernon
27 May 2009 - Muslim-Jewish dialogue might be tricky, but, Ed Kessler explained, it's essential in tackling some of the most intractable problems of the age Dialogue between Jews and Christians has a long history and has reached a high...

Israelis get four times more water than Palestinians, says World Bank report
27 May 2009 - Palestinians losing out in access to vital shared aquifer in the occupied territories A deepening drought in the Middle East is aggravating a dispute over water resources after the World Bank found that Israel is taking...

Lecturers vote to boycott Israeli universities
27 May 2009 - Protest vote immediately declared void by university union Lecturers voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli universities and colleges today. Delegates said Israeli academics were complicit in their government's acts against Palestinians. But as soon as the vote...

Why the lecturers' union must oppose a boycott of Israeli universities
27 May 2009 - A UCU official argues that the boycott proposal amounts to discrimination It's not comfortable to respond to Dr Amjad Barham's argument for an academic boycott of Israel – he teaches and works in conditions much more...

Ha'aretz National page

Haredi ire delays plan to open Jerusalem parking lot on Shabbat
27 May 2009 - Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's plan to allow a public parking lot in the city to remain open during Shabbat was postponed by a week, due to fears of demonstrations by ultra-Orthodox, a municipal spokesperson said Wednesday. According to the statement, the mayor decided to postpone the move until next weekend, following a specific request by the police, which feared its forces would be spread too thin in the event of protests during an already busy holiday. ... 

Police ignored murder that could have cracked Dana Bennett case years ago 
27 May 2009 - Vitali Ashorov heard on the news earlier this week that his brother, found dead in his prison cell five years ago, had not committed suicide as the police had insisted, but was instead murdered by a suspected serial killer. ... 

Bringing back Sharon's formula 
27 May 2009 - The trend is clear. In a few weeks Israel will be asked to take the first steps in removing the outposts in the West Bank. The settlements are not necessarily topping the Obama administration's agenda, but the Americans have been insistent enough that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to show a willingness to act on the ground. ... 

Settler rabbis urge IDF soldiers to refuse evacuation orders 
27 May 2009 - Settler rabbis on Wednesday said it is inconceivable that Israel Defense Forces soldiers or Israel Police would participate in the "immoral" razing of settlement outposts. ...

Tel Aviv parties until dawn at annual 'White Night' event
27 May 2009 - Thousands of Israelis from far and wide flocked to Rothschild Boulevard in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, as the city held its annual "White Night" event, with parties, music and street theater lasting until the wee hours. ...

Relief Web

OPT: The aftermath of war in Gaza - Responding to compounded trauma
27 May 2009 - Source: Church World Service

OPT: Letters from Gaza (23)... Nakba ever after
27 May 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Poverty in the occupied Palestinian territory - 2007
27 May 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

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

Factbox - Israeli settlement policy
27 May 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

Feature - U.S., Israel square off over settlement expansion
27 May 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

EU-funded cars to help Palestinian Civil Police deliver better service
27 May 2009 - Source: European Commission

OPT: Homeless in Gaza and a feat of clay
27 May 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

YNet News

US calls for total settlement freeze ahead of Abbas meeting
27 May 2009 - Obama administration continues to demonstrate involvement in Mideast political process ahead of Palestinian President Abbas' visit to Washington, Secretary of State Clinton steps up rhetoric against Israeli settlements in West Bank

New York: Protestors call on Red Cross to help Shalit
27 May 2009 - More than a thousand attend rally outside Manhattan headquarters of Red Cross, demand rights of soldier held in Hamas captivity be equalized with those of Hamas prisoners held in Israel 

Settler rabbis: Don't evacuate outposts
27 May 2009 - Religious leaders gather at illegal outpost slated for evacuation, urge IDF troops to refuse orders

US: N. Korea's actions have consequences
27 May 2009 - Secretary of State Clinton slams North Korea for 'provocative, belligerent' conduct, says such behavior has consequences; White House: North Korea deepening its isolation from international community with saber-rattling

PM: We're handling economy better than rest of world 
27 May 2009 - In Knesset session on government's economic plans that 'harm weak populations', opposition leader Livni urges Netanyahu to 'be a man' and pull back from proposed VAT raise. Finance Minister Steinitz says 'budget super social, best in years' 

'No Jews, Armenians allowed'
27 May 2009 - Turkish man going to jail after putting up offensive banner to protest Israel's Gaza op

Settlers vow to rebuild outposts
27 May 2009 - Reconstruction efforts already underway in West Bank as settlers vow outposts dismantled overnight will not only return but also grow. 'This is 'expansion against expulsion,' says Kiryat Arba resident who plans to move family to Mitzpe Avichai after it is rebuilt 

Lieberman undergoes 5th interrogation 
27 May 2009 - Foreign minister questioned for more than five hours, faces claims that he interfered with probe


Testimony: Sixty laborers detained in refrigerator compartment
25 May 2009 - On 9 May, more than sixty Palestinians, in an attempt to enter Israel without a work permit, squeezed into a truck's refrigerator compartment. One of them related to B'Tselem that police stopped the truck, found the workers, and then made them remain insi

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.

Daily Star

Netanyahu calls for 'normalized' Arab-Israeli ties 
27 May 2009 - Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged Arab countries to make immediate moves toward normalizing ties with Israel and said he would offer "concrete" steps toward peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu made the plea during a debate in parliament that came as he tries to balance international.

SMS, Internet campaigns stir controversy in Iran elections 
27 May 2009 - "If you plan not to vote, just think about June 13 when you hear Ahmadinejad has been re-elected." Young, urban mobile phone users in Iran are being bombarded with this and similar text messages in run-up to the poll on June 12 when hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will seek a second term.

Tunisia says it will take in all of its Guantanamo nationals 
27 May 2009 - Tunisia's justice minister said Tuesday the North African country is ready to take back for legal examination all its nationals held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The call by Bechir Tekkari concerns 10 Tunisians still held in Cuba by the United States as President Barack Obama moves to close the "war on terror" prison camp by January despite domestic political opposition.

America, Israel square off over settlement expansion 
27 May 2009 - On a hillside neighborhood in the Occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat, workers construct a foundation that will expand a building toward a nearby playground. Such construction, which Israel terms "natural growth" to meet the needs of growing Jewish settler families, threatens to cloud relations with its main ally.

Palestinian Information Center

Israel's little Hitler
27 May 2009 - There is always fresh evidence justifying the Israeli-Nazi analogy. Recently a number of Israeli officials and lawmakers proposed "draft laws" that would effectively formalize Israel's de facto racism

Arab MKs accuse Israel of racial cleansing
27 May 2009 - Arab members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) accused Israel of pursuing racial cleansing and called for greater Arab and Islamic support to counter the growing Israeli extremism.

Palestinian prisoner blinded in Israeli jail
27 May 2009 - Saadi Al-Najar, a 25-year-old Palestinian held in administrative detention, without trial or charge, in Israeli occupation jails, has lost eyesight in his left eye due to deliberate medical neglect.

Radwan: Shalit would be released only in honorable deal
27 May 2009 - Gilad Shalit would be set free only in return for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli occupation jails in an honorable exchange deal, Ismail Radwan, a Hamas political leader, said.

Barhoum: Hamas handed its views on dialog issues to Cairo
27 May 2009 - Fawzi Barhoum, the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, on Wednesday said that his Movement had sent its views regarding the unresolved dialog issues to the Egyptian authority.

Haneyya: Palestinian dialog burdened with "foreign intervention"
27 May 2009 - PA premier Ismail Haneyya has opined that the inter-Palestinian dialog in Cairo had covered major strides but noted that foreign intervention was blocking the conclusion of an agreement.

Barghouthi: Netanyahu's talk about removing settlements misleading
27 May 2009 - Palestinian lawmaker MP Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi said that the Israeli talk on removing a number of scattered and small colonies was meant to divert the world's attention ..

Bahar hails Hope convoy, says Egypt should facilitate entry of sympathizers
27 May 2009 - Acting PLC speaker MP Dr. Ahmad Bahar has hailed Tuesday members of the European Hope convoy that arrived to the Gaza Strip Monday with assistance to the besieged Palestinian people.

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 ..

Los Angeles Times

Former diplomat: Iran won t stop nuclear work 
27 May 2009 - Former French envoy to Tehran offers solution to nuclear crisis Short of the tremendous cost and risk of war, what would it take to get Iran to stop producing the nuclear material that one day could be used to build weapons? 

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. 

New York Times

Hezbollah Says It Is Talking With European Union and I.M.F.
27 May 2009 - The discussions concerned continuing financial support to Lebanon in the event that the Shiite militant group’s political alliance wins the June 7 parliamentary elections. 

Israel Hopes for U.S. Settlement Shift
27 May 2009 - Israel wants to reach understandings with the Obama administration to allow new construction in West Bank settlements, an Israeli official said. 

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. 


Electronic Intifada
Finnish-Israeli arms trade flouts EU regulations
27 May 2009 - Contrary to the heavily-hyped image according to which the policy output of Finland is even-handed and neutral in the Israel/Palestine conflict, Finland is actually a major arms trading partner with Israel. Recent reports by the Committee of 100 in Finland, Amnesty International, as well as an article in Finland's biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat , all revealed Finland's deeply troubling attitude towards the actions of the State of Israel. Bruno Jäntti comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

The PA's small window of opportunity
27 May 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - While the US 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. For the first time in decades the US, under President Barack Obama's new administration, appears to be putting pressure on Israel through Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his new hard-line and far-right government. 

Gaza banking system on verge of collapse
27 May 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (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. This week Israel allowed the transfer of 50 million new Israeli shekels (NIS - equivalent to $12.7 million) to Gaza towards the payment of 65,000 employees of the Ramallah (West Bank)-based Palestinian Authority. 

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. 

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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