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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
28 May , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Abbas tells Obama Road Map and Arab Peace Plan should be implemented without changes
29 May 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met with the U.S President, Barack Obama, at the White House, and told him that the Road Map Peace Plan and the Arab peace Initiative should be implemented by Israel without any changes. 

Israel assassinates Palestinian in Hebron
28 May 2009 - The Israeli military said its forces assassinated a wanted Palestinian fighter in the West Bank town of Dura, south of Hebron, on Thursday. 

Amnesty International: Israel repeatedly violated the laws of war in Gaza
28 May 2009 - In its newest annual report Amnesty International condemns the behavior of the Israeli army during its three-week offensive war on the Gaza Strip that began on the 27th of December 2008. 

Israeli army kidnaps 12 Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank
28 May 2009 - The Israeli army has reported that it detained 12 men from several areas in the West Bank on Thursday. 

US rejects Israeli demand to back down on freezing settlements
28 May 2009 - Israeli sources reported that the United States administration insists that Israel should fully freeze settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories, and on its demand that Israel should open border terminals in the Gaza Strip in order to allow Gaza reconstruction. 

Settler Rabbis call for mutiny against eviction orders
28 May 2009 - While several Rabbis of settlements in the occupied West Bank gathered at anillegal outpost, slated for evacuation, several settler Rabbis called on the settlers to rebel against eviction orders and called on Israeli soldiers to refuse refrain from implementing such orders. 

Netanyahu says his government recognizes previous peace deal, demands Arab normalization
28 May 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated Wednesday that his government recognizes previously signed peace deals between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab countries, and demanded that the Arab states start symbolic moves towards normalization of relations with Israel without any delays. 

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 criminalizing anyone who denies Israel as a Jewish State
28 May 2009 - On Wednesday, the Israeli Knesset approved in the first reading a bill that would criminalize publically denying Israel as a Jewish State, and that such denial would be punished by 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 claims 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'ale Adumim settlement located near the city of Jerusalem. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Hamas gives fighters total freedom to avenge death of militant
28 May 2009 - Israeli commandos kill senior Hamas militant wanted in connection with several suicide attacks. 

U.S. men get 65-year terms for funneling millions to Hamas
27 May 2009 - Brother of Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Meshal among those sentenced for 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'. 

Ma'an News

Hebron prisoner loses eye due to medical neglect
5/28/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian has lost his eye due to medical neglect in an Israeli prison, according to the Detainees' Society in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday. Sa’dy Atiyeh An-Najjar, a 25-year-old Palestinian being held at Israel's Madedo Prison, lost his left eye following a condition that required prompt medical attention, but was not provided, according to the society. An-Najjar, who has been held without trial for a year and a half, is from Al-Fuwwar Refugee Camp south of Hebron. He is yet to be charged with a crime. The head of Detainees’ Society in Hebron said An-Najjar has suffered from the debilitating eye condition since before he was originally seized and still requires surgery that has yet to be provided. The society's lawyer, Loay Akka, who visited the Negev prison, reported that its administration had refused the prisoner access. . . 

Israel shuts down Palestine Festival of Literature final night
5/28/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities attempted to shut down the final night of the Palestine Festival of Literature at the Palestinian National Theater in East Jerusalem. The festival organizers were forced to move the event to the British Council when the Israeli Interior Ministry ordered the theater closed. Last Saturday night heavily-armed Israeli soldiers and police arrived at the theater to shut down its opening night, forcing a move to the French Cultural Center. Israel alleges that the festival was sponsored in part by the Palestinian Authority, which is banned from operating in Jerusalem, a charge the festival’s organizers deny. “The PA has nothing to do with PalFest,” said local organizer Omar Hamilton following the forcible eviction on Saturday. The weeklong festival, sponsored in part by the British Council, brought internationally renowned writers to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jenin, Hebron, and Bethlehem. 

Israel assassinates Hamas armed wing leader in Hebron
5/28/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – The Israeli military said its forces assassinated a wanted Palestinian fighter in the West Bank town of Dura, south of Hebron, on Thursday. According to Israel, 45-year-old Abd Al-Majid Doudin, a leader in Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, was killed during an invasion of the village. Israeli reports said he was killed in a gunfight that followed the incursion. Hamas confirmed the report, telling Ma'an in a faxed statement that Doudin "was martyred after Zionist forces stormed Hebron. " The statement went on to say that Al-Qassam reaffirms its "commitment and determination to continue the resistance against the belligerent occupation forces. " Doudin had been accused of planning suicide attacks in Israel in the 1990s. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that 16 Israeli military vehicles invaded the Deir Al-Asal, near Dura, and searched the area, bombing caves and water wells. 

Five US men jailed for allegedly funding Hamas
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A US court sentenced five employees of what was once the country’s largest Muslim charity to prison terms on Wednesday on charges of funneling more than 12 million US dollars to Hamas. Among the defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case was Mufid Abdulqader, 49, the half brother of exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding the group that the US deems a “terrorist” organization. Mohammad El-Mezain, 55, a relative of Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq, was also sentenced to prison in what is being called the largest terrorism financing case in US history. Shukri Abu Baker, 50, and Ghassan Elashi, 55, two founding members of the Texas-based foundation, were sentenced to 65 years in prison. Three of the defendants maintained their innocence, saying that the foundation was dedicated exclusively to aiding needy Palestinians. 

Fourteen Hamas members ’arrested by PA’
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas said that Palestinian Authority (PA) forces detained 14 Palestinians affiliated to the movement in the West Bank on Wednesday night. The movement said in a statement received by Ma’an that PA forces arrested in in the city of Qalqiliya Khaled Slim, Abdel Fattah Shrim, Mu’ayed J’edi, Ibrahim Al-Kharuf, Tareq Nofal, Mahmoud Jaber, Omar Al-Shanti, Muhammad Qanuni and Muhammad G’eidi. Hamas also said the PA arrested, in the city of Nablus, Ra’ef Salim Al-Aker, Hussein Abdel Lattif Ramadan,Nasser Jarar’a from the village of Asira. In Tulkarem the PA arrested Zakariyah Al-Hasry. The PA has not commented on these claims and, when pressed by journalists, has repeatedly denied that it holds political prisoners. 

Amnesty: Israel violated laws of war in Gaza
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel repeatedly violated the laws of war during its assault on Gaza last winter, a new report from Amnesty International charges. “Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians,” the group said in its annual report on the state of human rights worldwide. The report comes less than a week before a UN fact-finding mission arrives in Israel and Gaza to investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report notes, however, Israel’s stated rationale for the war, which was to stop Palestinian armed groups from launching “rockets,” actually home-made projectiles fashioned from sewer pipes, from Gaza. 

Israeli army seizes three from refugee camp near Jericho
5/28/2009 - Jericho - Ma’an - Israel's army seized three Palestinians from Aqbat Jaber refugee camp south of the West Bank city of Jericho on Thursday. Local sources said that “the Israeli forces arrested Khaled Mustafa Al-Akhras, Ashraf Yousef Nofal and Mohammad Fawaz Maharmeh, all residents of the camp, after breaking into their homes and taking them to unknown location. ”These latest three Palestinians are in addition to the previous total of 34 Palestinians who had been taken by the army from their homes in the last four days, according to Israel’s own count. [end] 

42 patients return from Egypt hospitals via Rafah crossing
5/28/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Some 42 Palestinian residents of Gaza returned to the Gaza Strip on Thursday after completing treatment at hospitals in Egypt, a crossings official said. A spokesperson for the Rafah crossing into Gaza,Adel Zu’rub, said that "42 patients and injured have returned, along with their companions, after completing their treatment at Egyptian hospitals. " Zu’rub told Ma’an that “a number ofmembers of the European Hope Convoy also left Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Thursday. ”[end] 

12 Palestinians seized by Israeli forces
5/28/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it detained 12 Palestinians in overnight raids in the West Bank on Thursday, including seven in Nablus and three in Jericho. A total of 34 Palestinians have been taken by the Israeli army from their homes in the last four days, according to Israel’s own count. Among those detained on Thursday morning was 20-year-old Muhammad Hussein Hashash from the Al-Hashashin area in the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus. Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers raided his house and abducted him. Witnesses also reported that three men were detained in a raid on the village of Al-Majd, northwest of Hebron: Ahmad Abdel Fattah Omar, 40, Mahmoud Abdel Fattah Omar, 47, and Hussein Ahmad Omar, 18. Residents said that Israeli soldiers raided several houses in the village. Palestinians also reported an Israeli raid in Jenin and the nearby town of Qabatiya, where Israeli soldiers patrolled the streets. 

Israeli forces raid Jenin
5/28/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin and the nearby towns of Qabatiya and Jab’a, on Thursday. Witnesses told Ma’an that an Israeli military force invaded Jenin from the West and conducted patrols in the streets of the city and in Jenin Refugee Camp. In Qabatiya, witnesses said that Israeli soldiers stopped pedestrians in the streets and later withdrew. No arrests were reported. [end] 

Islamic Jihad claims attack on Israeli forces at Nahal Oz, Gaza
5/28/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, said they fired at Israeli soldiers near the Nahal Oz terminal in eastern Gaza on Thursday. In a statement, the group claimed to have fired five homemade shells at the soldiers. "One of our groups managed to target Israeli soldiers who were about to gather near the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza City," the statement alleged. "The attack comes in response to Israel's continued aggression against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza," the group added, vowing to continue attacks against Israel. [end] 

Israel returns body of slain Hebron Hamas fighter
5/28/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – The Israeli army handed over the body of 45-year-old Abd Al-Majid Doudin, a Palestinian fighter affiliated with Hamas, in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday. The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its ambulances had transferred Doudin's body to a local hospital in Hebron to be handed over to the man's family for burial. Medical sources at the hospital told Ma’an that “Doudin was received by the emergency ward; while examining him, it was discovered that he sustained a number of live bullets in different sections of the body. ”Doudin, who had been accused of planning suicide attacks in Israel in the 1990s, was killed during an Israeli incursion into his village near Hebron earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Israel, the Al-Qassam Brigades fighter was killed in a gunfight at Deir Al-Asal, near Dura, a town close to Hebron. 

Israel declares state of alert after West Bank assassination
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli sources reported on Thursday that the country's military and civilian departments in the West Bank have declared a state of alert following the killing of a Hebron-area Hamas leader. Israeli military forces assassinated 45-year-old Abd Al-Majid Doudin, a leader in Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, in the West Bank town of Dura, south of Hebron, on Thursday. According to Israel, the "wanted" Palestinian fighter was killed during an invasion of the village. Israeli reports said he was killed in a gunfight that followed the incursion. Israel's army handed over his body on Thursday. The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its ambulances had transferred Doudin's body to a local hospital in Hebron to be handed over to the man's family for burial. 

PA denies slain Hebron Hamas leader was previously detained
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem –Ma’an – A spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority on Thursday denied that slain Hamas leader in Hebron Abed Al-Majid Doudin was previously imprisoned in the West Bank. The official, Adnan Ad-Dmeiri, insisted that Doudin, who was assassinated by the Israeli army on Thursday, had not been held in a PA prison, as was claimed by Hamas shortly after the killing. Ad-Dmeiri said that Doudin "was sick and the Palestinian Authority was working on getting him treatment abroad," rejecting claims that he was held against his will. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum on Thursday said the movement holds the PA responsible for Doudin's assassination, since the killing occurred in Hebron, most of which is supposedly under PA control. 

Clinton urges total settlement freeze
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israel on Wednesday to halt all construction in West Bank settlements including so-called “natural growth” which Israel wants to continue. “With respect to settlements, the President [Obama] was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. He wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions,” said Clinton speaking at a Washington news conference with the visiting Egyptian foreign minister. “We think it is in the best interests of the effort that we are engaged in that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis but to the Palestinians and others,” she said, “And we intend to press that point. ”Clinton was responding to a reporter’s question about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin. . . 

Report: Four Jordanians held for planning Israel attack
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Jordan has arrested four men accused of planning attacks on Israel in retaliation for its three-week war on the Gaza Strip, it was revealed on Wednesday. According to DPA, the four were detained in April and are likely to be charged with weapons offenses. It is not clear whether there will actually be prosecutions on the charge of plotting violent attacks. The suspects were identified as Sakhr Abu Zaid, Hassan Talaq, Mohammad Abu Ourah and Osama Abu Kabir. One of the men, Abu Kabir, was held at the US’ Guantanamo Bay prison camp for several years, according to news reports. Israel killed as many as 1,500 Palestinians during the assault on Gaza in December and January, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 

PA religious affairs chief in Saudi Arabia for Hajj talks
5/28/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash was in Saudi Arabia on Thursday for talks in preparation for the 2009 Hajj to Mecca. Al-Habbash, who was sworn in with the new Fatah-dominated government last week, will meet the Saudi Hajj Minister Fuad Abdel Salam Al-Farisi and other officials. PA officials said the meetings are part of an effort to “ensure the success” of the annual pilgrimage, which usually takes place in December. The Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all Muslims who can afford to make the journey to Mecca. In 2008 the Hamas-Fatah power struggle prevented thousands of Palestinian pilgrims from leaving Gaza, when Gaza officials demanded that Egyptian, Saudi, and PA authorities coordinate with Hamas authorities. 

Hamas downplays significance of Abbas-Obama meeting
5/28/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas movement downplayed the outcome of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' expected meeting with US President Barack Obama on Thursday. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said that the movement "does not rely much on the Abbas-Obma meeting, which will accomplish nothing except more pressure on Abbas. . . to make more compromises to Palestinian rights and requirements. " He added in statement sent to Ma’an that “President Abbas is too weak to achieve any accomplishments for the Palestinians,” adding that “particularly as the president’s term has ended, he no longer represents the Palestinians,” and noting that“We will not abide by any agreement with any party in the world. ”Barhoum accused Abbas of “not offering anything to the Palestinian cause, but will continue on his the policy of dealing with Israeli-American projects that destroyed the Palestinians. 

Obama reiterates call for settlement freeze after meeting Abbas
5/29/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – US President Barack Obama again pressed Israel to halt West Bank settlements following a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday in Washington. Obama said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “each side has obligations under the Road Map. On the Israeli side those obligations include stopping settlements. ”Sitting alongside Abbas at a White House news conference, Obama also said that he was confident Israel would eventually accept the two-state solution, language rejected by the current Israeli government led by Netanyahu, who visited the US last week. “I’m confident that if Israel looks long term, at its long-term strategic interests, it will recognize a two-state solution,” said Obama. By standing his ground on settlements, although in milder terms than his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did. . . 

Palestinian police receive new cars, transmitters from EU
5/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The European Commission has handed over the keys of 79 cars to the Palestinian Civil Police as part of an EU grant of equipment worth a total of 5 million euros. The 31 VW Passat and 48 VW Jetta cars were handed over in Ramallah, and will be assigned police stations throughout the West Bank. They are the second consignment of vehicles delivered under the grant, which covers three types of police vehicles and a radio communications tower. The donation is in line with the Palestinian Civil Police Development Plan and the specifications elaborated by the PCP for their vehicle fleet strategy. "By improving the PCP's capacity to travel quickly and safely in response to calls for police presence, the cars will assist the PCP in carrying out their duties in the West Bank in line with international standards," said a statement from the EU. 

De facto security forces release senior Fatah official
5/28/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Security forces in the Gaza Strip released a senior Fatah official, Ahmad Abu An-Nasser, on Thursday, after he was detained for 11 days. Abu An-Nasser, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, was released without charge. In a statement, An-Nasser said that "what happened is the latest in a continuous series of political arrests," adding sarcastically that "they dealt with me in a professional way - they beat me. " The Hamas-affiliated security forces had first arrested Abu An-Nasser upon his arrival to Gaza via the Beit Hanoun crossing 11 days earlier. He had been being held at a center inside what was once the presidential headquarters in Gaza. 

PA security forces dismantle two explosives in Jenin village
5/28/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority security forces dismantled two explosives in the town of Al-Mughier, near the West Bank city of Jenin, where Israeli forces had carried out a military exercise last week. A spokesperson for the media and public relations office of the Palestinian security forces said that “the operation room received information that there were two explosives near one of the homes in Al-Mugheir, so the forces moved to area, dismantled them and took them away from the area. ”He added that “it was discovered that they were left behind by the Israeli army. ”Head of the Jenin district police Radi A’seeda called for all residents to be cautious not to handle anything left behind by Israeli forces, urging them to call the operation room in any such event, so that it could be dealt with appropriately. 

The National

US stand on settlements could bolster Abbas's hand
28 May 2009 - AnalysisThe Palestinian president has failed in his fight against their expansion, but his policy now has the backing of the Obama administration.

Mother has court date to see her daughter
28 May 2009 - In the 12 years since Sarah El Gohary's father kidnapped her from the United States and brought her to Egypt, she has never once seen her mother.

Israel shrugs off US call to halt settlements
28 May 2009 - Israel shrugged off today a blunt US call for a halt to all Jewish settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.

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.

Aljazeera

US repeats settlement freeze demand
28 May 2009 - Obama also reiterates commitment to two-state solution after Israel's rebuff.

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. 

IRIN

OPT: Grim housing, water situation in Gaza 
TEL AVIV Thursday, May 28, 2009 (IRIN) - Reports published recently by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Israeli NGO B'Tselem and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) paint a grim picture of life in Gaza more than four months after the 23-day Israeli offensive ended on 18 January.

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. 

Inter Press Service

YEMEN: Qat Cultivation Draining Water Reserves 
SANA'A, May 28 (IPS) - The tall green shrubs on Yehia Abdullah's farm in the Haraz mountains produce the bitter-tasting leaves that feed the nation's number one addiction. More than seven million Yemenis chew qat, the mildly narcotic leaf of the Catha edulis tree. Expanding cultivation of qat to meet...

MIDEAST: Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in West Bank 
RAMALLAH, May 28 (IPS) - "I heard voices, I turned around to look, and saw a group of Israeli settlers assaulting my brother Hammad," says Abdallah Wahadin, 82, a Palestinian farmer from Beit Ummar near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

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.

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

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

PCHR Organizes Panel Discussion in Khan Yunis on the Right to Peaceful Assembly under PNA Rule
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(21 - 27 May  2008)
During the reporting period, IOF killed two Palestinian resistance activists in the Gaza Strip, and wounded 17 civilians, including four children and an old woman in the West Bank

International Solidarity Movement

Israeli Arab committee slams ‘racist, fascist’ bills
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - 28 May 2009 - The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee has scheduled an emergency meeting on Saturday in light of recent law proposals submitted by right wing Knesset members, in particular a bill proposing to outlaw the marking of the Nakba, or catastrophe, on Israel's Independence Day. The Nakba is observed by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who mourn the dispersal of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who were forced to leave their homes during the 1948 War of Independence. Palestinian refugees around the world and Israel's Arab citizens mark the Nakba on May 15, the day after the British mandate over Palestine ended in 1948. Nakba Day is often observed by the Arab population in Israel with marches through destroyed villages. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's ultranationalist party Yisrael Beiteinu has proposed legislation for a ban on the practice and a jail term of up to three years for violators. 

Israelis accused of settlement by stealth
International Solidarity Movement - Sky News - 24 May 2009 - The Israeli Government is being accused of a plot to transform East Jerusalem with Jewish settlements and drive out Palestinians by stealth. Ir Amim, a Jerusalem based NGO specialising in Israeli Palestinian issues, claims Israeli authorities in collusion with radical Jewish settlers are cementing their hold on occupied East Jerusalem. . "The policy of the government of Israel is to establish the supremacy if not the hegemony of an exclusionary Jewish narrative in Jerusalem," Ir Amim's Daniel Seidemann told Sky News. The British government also told us it is concerned by actions in East Jerusalem that threaten to "not only undermine the peace process but undermine the trust that will be needed to renew that process towards a two state solution". 

The Palestinian village of hope
International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian - Matt Kennard and Wilson Dizard - 27 May 2009 - Ramallah is tired. The feeling you get walking around the streets here is that the Palestinians are weary of the struggle against the incremental destruction of their homeland, happening right now while the world looks the other way. You hear things like, "Our struggle has been long and it has got us nowhere". And people ask how the world can stand by while the Israelis annex more land. It's a good question. In one village the flame of non-violent resistance still burns. Last week, we went to the weekly demonstration against the annexation wall in Bil'in, where it cuts deep into the farmland of this old Palestinian village and the Green Line (the internationally recognised border of Israel-Palestine). Since Israel started building the wall here in 2005 (stealing about 60% of the village's land) the people of Bil'in have been inventively and non-violently resisting. 

Gaza siege also hits disabled people
International Solidarity Movement - 15 May 2009 - Luisa Morgantini | Liberazione - They worked for years for Israeli companies. For years, they paid their taxes and social insurance contributions in Israel in compliance with Israeli labour and fiscal law. But they also had accidents at work suffering serious and invalidating injuries in Israel's factories, building sites or fields. Until the period following the Oslo agreements, more than 80,000 Palestinian workers left Gaza every morning, arriving at the Eretz border crossing at 4 a. m. in order to be on time for work in Israel; they returned to Gaza after 6 p. m. dead tired but ready to start again the next morning. Progressively during these years, Israel closed its border crossings for people and goods, including Gaza workers, who were in part replaced by new poor Jewish immigrants but above all by Asian and Romanian workers. 

Never Before Campaign: Palestine, what it’s all about
International Solidarity Movement - The Never Before Campaign has created videos as part of a larger communications campaign which was launched during the Gaza war. The campaign is based in Beirut and is expected to grow to encompass interested people and groups all over the world. The campaign is a promotion of the ideas that: Never before has an injustice been committed against a people for such an extent. The Palestinian people have maintained their resistance and resilience. The Palestinian people should not promote an apologetic attitude to garner international sympathy, it is the world who should apologize to the Palestinians. The Palestinian cause is not about humanitarian aid but about justice and rights. The multi-faceted resistance of the Palestinian people should be supported. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Blast at Shi'ite mosque in southeast Iran kills 30
28 May 2009 - An explosion at a prominent Shi'ite Muslim mosque in the southeast Iranian city of Zahedan on Thursday killed 30 people and wounded 60, the semi-official news agency ILNA reported. ...

Ahmadinejad: Holocaust is West's Achilles heel
27 May 2009 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday told a radio program in Tehran that "the Holocaust is the West's Achilles heel and its biggest weakness," Israel Radio reported. ...

Israel rebuffs U.S. call for total settlement freeze
27 May 2009 - Israel will press ahead with housing construction in its West Bank settlements despite a surprisingly blunt demand from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that all such building stop, an Israeli official said Thursday. ...

Abbas to urge Obama: Push pan-Arab peace plan
27 May 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be pushing United States President Barack Obama on Thursday to facilitate peace with Israel through a larger solution to the Middle East conflict. ...

Amnesty: Israel repeatedly breached rules of war in Gaza 
27 May 2009 - Amnesty International has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the rules of armed conflict during its recent offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. ...

The Guardian

US and Israel: areas of dispute
28 May 2009 - Settlements have been at the heart of previous diplomatic confrontations between the US and Israel. In 1990 President George Bush Sr blocked $10bn in loan guarantees to help Israel cope with an influx of Jewish immigrants...

Obama: halt to new Israeli settlements is in America's security interests
28 May 2009 - Increasingly fractious relations between the US and Israel hit a low unseen in nearly two decades yesterday after the Jewish state rejected President Obama's demand for an end to settlement construction in the West Bank, and...

US-Israel relations hit low after Jewish state rejects Obama demand
28 May 2009 - • Barack Obama set to meet Mahmoud Abbas today • Israel rejects demand to end settlement construction Increasingly fractious relations between the US and Israel hit a low unseen in nearly two decades today after the...

Hillary Clinton's 'tough' talk on Israel's settlements
28 May 2009 - You may have noticed that the secretary of state threw down at Israel yesterday on the settlement issue: Rebuffing Israel on a key Mideast negotiating issue, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the...

Ha'aretz National page

Israeli police shut Palestinian literature festival in East Jerusalem 
28 May 2009 - Israeli police shut down a Palestinian theatre in East Jerusalem on Thursday, forcing foreign writers taking part in an international literature festival to move elsewhere for the second time in a week. ...

Suspected killer of Israeli-American teen asserts his innocence
28 May 2009 - The suspected killer of Israeli-American teen Dana Bennett asserted his innocence at court on Thursday, in his first public response to the allegations since a gag order on the affair was lifted on Tuesday. ...

Israeli Arab committee slams 'racist, fascist' bills
27 May 2009 - The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee has scheduled an emergency meeting on Saturday in light of recent law proposals submitted by right wing Knesset members, in particular a bill proposing to outlaw the marking of the Nakba, or catastrophe, on Israel's Independence Day. ...

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. ...

Two men and a baby: Israel's gay community experiencing a baby boom
27 May 2009 - On Saturdays, the employees of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Community Center in Tel Aviv's Gan Meir put the basket of free condoms that normally sits near the entrance to the park out of sight. The six-color Gay Pride flag still flies over the building, but anyone sitting in a nearby cafe might think he'd stumbled upon the children's activity corner in the mall. Unlike similar sites in Berlin or Amsterdam, visitors here will not encounter mustachioed men in leather pants or chatty transgender women. Instead, they will see a lot of babies and little kids running around. The place's family feel is a manifestation of one of the unique characteristics of Israel's gay culture: the impressive insistence on fulfilling the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply." ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Disabled boy and Gaza family get help from LIFE and UAE Red Crescent 
28 May 2009 - Source: Life for Relief and Development

West Bank and Gaza: Gaza emergency response additional finance program
28 May 2009 - Source: World Bank

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report, 20 - 26 May 2009
28 May 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 21 - 27 May 2009
28 May 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Letter dated 19 May 2009 from the Chairman of the CEIRPP addressed to the UN SG (A/63/861–S/2009/265)
28 May 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly, UN Security Council

Middle East and North Africa Zone: Appeal No. MAA80003 - Annual Report 2008
28 May 2009 - Source: IFRC

Palestinian President to meet Obama to revive peace process
28 May 2009 - Source: Missionary International Service News Agency

OPT: Grim housing, water situation in Gaza
28 May 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

YNet News

Obama meets Abbas in Washington
28 May 2009 - Hillary Clinton says US president to 'press point' that Israel must halt all settlement activity, while Palestinian president plans to make case for tougher US approach towards PM Netanyahu

Hamas vows revenge after leader killed
28 May 2009 - Senior Hamas commander Abdel Majid Dudin, responsible for series of deadly terror attacks in Israel, killed in West Bank gunfight with police force attempting to arrest him; organization blames PA cooperation with 'Zionist enemy'

Assad welcomes Obama policy of dialogue
28 May 2009 - Syrian president tells US delegation of 'need to lift obstacles hampering Syrian-American relations'

IAF presents: Long arm via joystick
28 May 2009 - Israel Air Force plans to increase fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles used for operational missions by up to 50% in next two decades. 'We try to use drones wherever there's no need to use manned planes,' says squadron's deputy commander

Abbas pushing pan-Arab peace with Israel
28 May 2009 - Top officials traveling with Palestinian president to Washington say he is working to repackage 2002 Saudi Arabian plan that called for exchange of Arab land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war for normalized relations with Arab countries 

Amnesty: Israel war brought Gaza to brink of disaster
28 May 2009 - Israel's recent war on Gaza brought enclave to verge of catastrophe, international rights organization says in its annual report, also criticizing Palestinian factions for human rights violations 

B'tselem

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

Bombing at Shiite mosque in Iran kills 15 people 
28 May 2009 - A bombing at a Shiite mosque Thursday in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan killed 15 worshippers and wounded 50, the provincial governor general told state television. The evening explosion struck the Amir al-Momenin Mosque in Zahedan, the restive capital of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, which has a subtantial Sunni minority, the official IRNA agency reported.

Assad praises Obama's policy of dialogue during talks with US lawmakers 
28 May 2009 - Syrian President Bashar Assad welcomed on Thursday the policy of dialogue with his country initiated by his US counterpart Barack Obama. Assad said he "appreciates that President Obama has adopted dialogue as the way to deal with difficult issues," a reference to years of sour relations with George W. Bush.

Israel rejects US call to halt settlements 
28 May 2009 - Talks between President Barack Obama and the Palestinian president were hit with new complications Thursday as Israel flatly rejected a US and Palestinian demand that it stop settlement construction in the Occupied West Bank. An end to settlements was a top priority for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he sat down with Obama Thursday.

Israeli parliament moves toward outlawing denial of 'Jewish state' 
28 May 2009 - Israel's Parliament gave initial approval Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a "Jewish state," punishable by a sentence of up to a year in jail. The measure was the latest of several introduced in the past week by right-wing lawmakers and denounced by critics as an assault on free speech.

Ahmadinejad boasts of increased enrichment capacity 
28 May 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran has boosted its capacity to enrich uranium, another sign of anti-Western defiance by the leader seeking re-election in a vote next month. Ahmadinejad said last month that Iran had 7,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in central Iran.

US charity leaders get 65 years in jail over Hamas aid 
28 May 2009 - A US judge on Wednesday handed down 65-year prison sentences to two founders of a US Islamic charity convicted of illegally funneling $12.4 million to the Palestinian resistance group Hamas. The sentences came some six months after a grand jury convicted the Holy Land Foundation and five of its leaders.

Palestinians facing humanitarian crisis in Occupied West Bank 
28 May 2009 - "I heard voices, I turned around to look, and saw a group of Israeli settlers assaulting my brother Hammad," says Abdallah Wahadin, 82, a Palestinian farmer from Beit Ummar near the southern Occupied West Bank city of Hebron. "Three of them surrounded me, while a fourth threw a rock at the back of my head.

Amnesty calls Obama's record on combatting terror 'mixed' 
28 May 2009 - he record of US President Barack Obama's administration on changing the counter-terror policies of his predecessor has been "mixed," said a report by international human rights watchdog Amnesty International to be released on Thursday. Highlighting the "widespread expectation of change" brought by Obama's swearing-in in January.

Palestinian Information Center

IOF assassinates Abdul Majid Dudeen
28 May 2009 - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday murdered Abdul Majid Dudeen, a prominent guerilla leader affiliated with Hamas’ military wing, the Izzidin Al-Qassam Brigades.

Masri: Assassination of Dudin affirms "Zionist terrorist mentality"
28 May 2009 - Hamas MP Mushir Al-Masri held former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his premier Salam Fayyad responsible for the IOF assassination of Qassam commander Abdul Majid Dudin in Al-Khalil on Thursday.

PFLP: Knesset draft on Jewish nature of Israel racist par excellence
28 May 2009 - The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has described the Israeli Knesset's draft law incriminating anyone denying the Jewish nature of Israel as a "model practice for a racist state".

Palestinian prisoner denied family visitation for two years
28 May 2009 - The Palestinian prisoner in IOA jails Abdul Rahman Salah, 55, has been deprived of family visits for two years as part of penal measures against him, relatives of the internee reported.

AI: Israeli offensive pushed humanitarian conditions to the brink of disaster
28 May 2009 - The Amnesty International organization's annual report said that the IOF offensive on Gaza Strip late December 2008 had pushed the humanitarian conditions in the Strip to the brink of disaster.

Bardawil: Hamas does not accept imposing solutions
28 May 2009 - The Hamas Movement has underlined that conciliation was the only option acceptable for the sake of reaching an inter-Palestinian agreement to end the internal division.

Baraka: We refuse wiping out RoR in return for establishing state
28 May 2009 - Ali Baraka, the deputy representative of Hamas in Syria, said that his Movement refuses the cancellation of the Palestinian refugees' right of return as a price for a Palestinian state.

Israel's little Hitler
28 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
28 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
28 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.

Los Angeles Times

U.S. wants no more Jewish settlement growth, Clinton says 
28 May 2009 - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says President Obama is pressing Israel to stop all expansion of Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory. Rebuffing Israel on a key Mideast negotiating issue, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the Obama administration wants a complete halt in the growth of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, with no exceptions. 

Iran urges citizens to vote 
28 May 2009 - Officials think a high turnout in the June 12 presidential election would validate the nation's unique form of government. Putting their political rivalries aside, hundreds of Iranian television executives and government officials gathered recently to think up strategies to draw as many voters as possible to their country's June 12 presidential election . 

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? 

New York Times

Israel Insists on Some Construction in West Bank Settlements
28 May 2009 - After a blunt call by the Obama administration to completely freeze all work, an Israeli spokesman said that the status of settlements would be determined in negotiations. 

15 Reported Dead in Blast at Iran Mosque
28 May 2009 - An explosion hit a mosque in the southeast Iranian city of Zahedan Thursday, killing 15 people and wounding 50, the state news agency IRNA reported. 

An Ill-Kept Secret: The Site of Obama’s Egypt Speech
27 May 2009 - The United States Embassy remains coy about the president’s itinerary next week, but Cairo University has received a curious case of spit and polish.

Articles
Electronic Intifada
Israeli strikes threaten Egyptian border towns
28 May 2009 - CAIRO (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. "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 Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told IPS. "The situation, therefore, is complicated." 

US pressures Israel over settlements
28 May 2009 - JERUSALEM (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 US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What's becoming increasingly clear is that the 18 May encounter was no friendly "getting-to-know-you" meeting between a new president and a new prime minister of the Middle East's most enduring alliance. 

British universities union moves towards boycott
28 May 2009 - Once again, the membership of the University and College Union (UCU) has not let Palestinians down. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes our British colleagues for their steadfast and principled support for the cause of justice and peace in Palestine and for adopting, at the UCU's annual congress on 27 May 2009, significant steps in the direction of applying effective pressure on Israel and holding it accountable for its colonial and apartheid policies which violate international law and fundamental human rights. 

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. 

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

Spies, Lies, and Mr. Lebanon's Demise
28 May 2009 - By Rannie Amiri "There are agents, like Mahmoud Rafea, who confessed to have delivered bags with explosives. Other collaborators have confessed to have carried out field reconnaissance missions. Others have facilitated the entrance and exit of Israelis after accomplishing their missions. This is what is meant by executive agents. The door must be opened wide ... this Israeli path should be scrutinized so as to reach a place where we would find information about many crimes, particularly 2005 onwards." – Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, commenting on the recent spate of Israeli spy arrests during a rally marking the ninth anniversary of the removal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, 22 May 2009. Israel suffered two defeats in Lebanon, and both were by Hezbollah. The first occurred in May 2000 when Israeli troops were expelled (or withdrew, depending on which side of the border you are on) from southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation. The second was the premeditated yet disastrous 34-day war waged in the summer of 2006. It may have succeeded in ravaging Lebanon but it certainly did not vanquish Hezbollah. They fought the mighty Israel Defense Forces to a draw, and in the minds of many this itself constituted victory. Israel has neither forgiven nor forgotten these losses. For them, the war against Lebanon and Hezbollah did not end in 2000 or in 2006 but continues today, albeit in different form. And events of the past several weeks revealed exactly what Israel has been up to. Spies There have always been...

'Comrades, Your Enemy is Yourselves!'
27 May 2009 - By Mats Svensson It feels like a very long time ago. Between a then and a now walls have been built. Not just one but many. The walls have also become higher, uglier, thicker and today the walls seem impossible to destroy. Then, four years ago, we told each other that it couldn’t get worse. The suffering couldn’t become deeper. It was dark and bullets killed, young soldiers became murderers and family members disappeared. And during this time of constant darkness and humiliation the Palestinian fractions gathered in mid-December 2004 to discuss a common future. At a conference hotel in the ghetto of Gaza the political leaders sat lined up like school boys to listen to Yvette Lillian Myakayaka-Manzini (Mavivi), vice president of the ANC women’s department. Listen and discuss something important, the struggle against apartheid. They were all family fathers and Gaza residents. They were all confined behind high walls and accustomed to being humiliated by young boys and girls dressed in green from all the corners of the world. They met in the hotel lobby, hugged each other and kissed each other on the cheek. This particular morning they congratulated each other on having successfully blown up a guard tower at the border crossing to Egypt. But it soon became worse. What couldn’t happen, the impossible, was possible. The next time we arranged a similar meeting the different fractions could no longer meet, they had become enemies. The international community had said no. The coalition government had submerged...

Israel's 'Existential Threats'
27 May 2009 - By Dina Jadallah The last few days have witnessed an inflection point in the history of Israel. It has effectively shed its democratic veneer and blatantly embraced its racist, fascist and colonialist ideology. I am referring to the passage of three bills in the Knesset. One would require loyalty oaths to maintain citizenship. A second states that citizens must recognize Israel as a Jewish state or else face up to one year in prison. And the third makes commemoration of the Nakba (Catastrophe – referring to the creation of Israel in 1948) a crime. (1) These come on the heels of PM Netanyahu’s demands that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a State for the Jewish People in return for “economic development.” These steps were all taken ostensibly to counteract Israel’s “existential threats,” which include the “demographic time bomb,” being “surrounded by enemies,” “anti-Semitism,” and so forth. The “threat” to Israel is real. But not because of its proclaimed reasons. The central and unacknowledged “threat” is that it is natural and inevitable that there will be Resistance from the victims of Zionist praxis. Israel’s “existential” dilemma can only be resolved within universal ethical parameters. And yet, as outrageous and revolting as the above developments are, there is an underlying silver lining. Namely, the quality of Israel’s conduct has now reached a new low from which it will be hard to emerge. These developments cap a demonstrated weakening of its overwhelming regional military power, both in terms of deterrence capacity and...

One Nation under God
27 May 2009 - By Aijaz Zaka Syed – Dubai George W Bush and his overzealous friends might have signed off but their shenanigans during their eight years in power continue to emerge, fascinating the world. Last week, Robert Draper revealed in Gentleman’s Quarterly how Donald Rumsfeld sent top-secret, intelligence briefings to Bush covered with photographs of Americans at war abroad and ‘relevant’ Biblical verses. In one such briefing, above a huddle of US soldiers, appears the question famously put by God, “Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?” The answer is right here. This line from Isaiah appears over the photograph of a group of US soldiers apparently headed to Iraq: “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” And look at this promise from Proverbs to those promoting Bush’s mission of ‘freedom and human dignity’ around the world: “Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Another briefing cover, according to Draper, shows Isaiah-inspired US tanks with the command: “Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter.” One Nation Under God! The Righteous Nation on a divine mission from God! This wasn’t part of a Doomsday cult’s literature or something that appeared in a Dan Brown thriller. They had been part of the US government’s briefings and were exchanged at the highest level of chain of command of the world’s most powerful army. This is why all this is so disturbing. Many in the US media have tried to underplay these revelations as barmy manifestations of...

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