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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
2 June , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Soldier who killed British Peace activist denied parole
3 Jun 2009 - Israeli sources reported Tuesday that the soldier who shot and killed British Peace Activist, Tom Hurndall, in Gaza in 2003, was found ineligible for parole and therefore would remain in prison. He filed for parole after serving two-thirds of his jail term. 

Zawahri calls on Egyptians to reject Obama’s visit
3 Jun 2009 - Ayman Al Zawahri, the second man in command of the Al Qaida terrorist network, called on the Egyptians not to welcome the visit of Barack Obama, and said that Obama is a criminal and carries a bloody message. 

Obama joins a meeting between Barak and Jones at the White House
3 Jun 2009 - US President, Barack Obama, took part in a meeting between the US National Security Advisor, James Jones, and the Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, at the White House on Tuesday. 

Unknown gunmen burn a coffee shop in the Gaza Strip and attack the owner
2 Jun 2009 - A group of unknown gunmen attacked and burned, on Tuesday at dawn, a coffee shop located in down town Dier Al Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Hamas: Fatah forces arrest 22 members of the movement from the West Bank
2 Jun 2009 - The Hamas movement announced on Tuesday that the Fatah-run security forces in the West Bank arrested 22 members of the movement on Monday late at night and on Tuesday at dawn.

War sirens heard all over the country, Israel continues 'Turning Point 3' military exercise
2 Jun 2009 - War sirens, were aired today all over Israel and the areas it control as part of a military exercise called 'Turning Point 3'.

A UN fact-finding mission begins investigating war crimes in Gaza
2 Jun 2009 - A 15-member UN fact-finding mission began Tuesday investigating possible war crimes in the Gaza Strip, five months following Israel's three-week-long attacks on the region.

Soldier stabbed at the Huwwara roadblock
2 Jun 2009 - Israeli sources reported Tuesday that one soldier was moderately wounded after he was stabbed by a Palestinian youth at the Huwwara roadblock, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. 

Egyptian border officer kills an African man, injures another, and arrests six women
2 Jun 2009 - One African man was shot and killed by the Egyptian border police on Tuesday morning after attempting to infiltrate into Israel. A second man was seriously wounded by Egyptian border police gunfire, and six women were arrested. 

US Rabbi calls on Israel to kill Palestinian 'women, children and cattle'
2 Jun 2009 - Hasidic Jewish Rabbi Manis Friedman, from St. Paul, Minnesota, has issued a statement that Israel should destroy Palestinian holy sites and kill civilians in what he calls “the Jewish way” to fight a “moral war”. 

Settler kills one Palestinian, seriously wounds a Jewish man in Jerusalem
2 Jun 2009 - An Israeli settler shot and killed one Palestinian, on Tuesday at dawn, and seriously wounded a Jewish man near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Israeli police described the attack as a “random shooting spree”. 

Israeli army kidnaps 13 Palestinians in the West Bank over night
2 Jun 2009 - The Israeli military reports that it detained 13 Palestinians during pre-dawn raids in the West Bank on Tuesday. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

'Shas won't let government dry out West Bank settlements'
2 Jun 2009 - Interior Minister to meet with settler leaders, who seek his help in revoking construction freeze. 

Al-Qaida No. 2 urges Egyptians to reject 'criminal' Obama
2 Jun 2009 - Terrorist accuses Obama of waging 'bloody campaign against Muslims' in Pakistan's Swat valley. 

Sarkozy to meet Iran's foreign minister for nuclear talks
2 Jun 2009 - Rare high-level meeting to proceed Sarkozy-Obama meet Saturday, where they are expected to discuss Iran. 

Despite Gaza probe, Israeli firms vying for lucrative UN tenders
2 Jun 2009 - 15 prominent firms currently vying for tenders in communication, energy, engineering, and security. 

Likud minister: Free terrorists with 'blood on their hands' for Shalit
2 Jun 2009 - Gilad Erdan says issue of abductee's release shouldn't be politicized; Shalit talks broke down under Olmert. 

Shi'ite politician challenging Hezbollah in Lebanon
2 Jun 2009 - Ahmad El-Assaad receives death threats, arson attacks after calls to break Hezbollah monopoly on Shi'ite votes. 

U.S.: We will continue to support Israel at UN
1 Jun 2009 - Comment comes in the wake of reports that the U.S. was mulling limiting support of Israel. 

Settlers attack Palestinians, disrupt traffic over outpost evacuations
1 Jun 2009 - One Palestinian seriously hurt; settlers blocked West Bank roads, burnt tires during protest. 

Ma'an News

Israeli troops seize 13 West Bank Palestinians
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it detained 13 Palestinians during early morning raids in the West Bank on Tuesday. According to Israel, the so-called “wanted” Palestinians were taken from the Ramallah and Tulkarem areas, and were “taken to investigation centers. ”Local Palestinain sources in the village of Ni’lin, near Ramallah, said that Israeli troops seized, during a dawn raid, Sa’dat Ibrahim Mustafa Amira, Hamada Abdel Raziq Khawaja, Ibrahim Khalil Ad-Dik Srour and Mahmoud Abdul Allah Amir. Ni’lin is known for its political activism, particularly a weekly demonstration against Israel’s separation wall, which is being build on the village’s land. Eleven Palestinians were detained on Monday morning. 

Hebron firefighters barred from containing Old City blaze
6/2/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Palestinian firefighters said that Israeli soldiers blocked them from putting out a fire in two houses in Hebron’s Old City on Tuesday morning. One of the firemen told Ma’an that a Palestinian resident called them to put out a fire in the Abdel Khaleq Seder house, near the Israeli settlement of Ad-Diboya. ”When we reached the location, the troops banned us from approaching the area and took our identity cards,” the fireman said. He also said Israeli soldiers attacked two men from the Abdel Khaleq family when they protested, demanding that the firefighters be given access. Barred from entering the area, the firefighters were unable to contain the fire, which they suspected had been set deliberately. Israeli settlers have taken up residence in Hebron’s Old City, much of which is still under direct Israeli military control. 

West Bank gunfire and stabbing in reaction to settler attacks
6/2/2009 - Nablus/Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers and settlers in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, a day after settlers brutally beat six Palestinians near the city of Nablus. Israeli forces closed the Huwwara checkpoint, the main entrance into Nablus, after a Palestinian teenager stabbed a soldier stationed there, wounding him moderately. Witnesses told Ma’an that they saw a boy, estimated to be 15 years old, stabbing a soldier in the left shoulder. Ambulances rushed to the scene and removed the injured soldier, while troops locked down the checkpoint, denying passage to waiting Palestinians. Eyewitnesses and Israeli sources said the boy was arrested and taken for questioning. The Israeli military said he is from a Nablus-area village, but withheld his name and other details. Earlier the military said a settler’s car came under gunfire from Palestinians in the village of Nabi Elias, east of the city of Qalqiliya. 

Settlers torch more Palestinian farmland near Nablus
6/2/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli settlers set fire to more than 50 dunums (50,000 square meters) of Palestinian-owned farmland south of the West Bank city of Nablus. Ghassan Dughlus, a Palestinian official monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank told Ma’an that settlers lit the fires in the Hariq area near the village of Sarra. “The Nablus fire brigade and the Palestinian Civil Defense arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire. The fire destroyed more than 50 dunums planted with fruitful olive trees,” Dughlus said. The arson comes a day after settlers set fire to large swaths of Palestinian land in the Nablus area, blocked roads, threw stones and assaulted Palestinian commuters, putting six men in the hospital with serious injuries. Dughlus said that those attacks torched 1350 olive trees in the villages of Asira Al-Qibliya, Tell, Huwwara, Habet and Burin, in addition to 280 dunums of wheat and barley. 

Settlers accuse US of 'terrorism' over calls for construction freeze
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli settler leaders accused the United States of “terrorism” on Monday because of calls for a freeze on construction in West Bank colonies. "The Americans are employing political terrorism against the State of Israel," said Danny Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council settler organization, according to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot. "Not only is the Obama administration renouncing the commitments made by President George W Bush in April 2004 – it's looking as if they regret President [Harry] Truman's decision on May 14th 1948 to recognize Israel's independence. " In an interview with National Public Radio on Monday, Obama reiterated his view that settlement construction should come to a complete stop. "Part of being a good friend is being honest," Obama said. "I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should. . . 

Hamas officials hand over documents to UN’s Gaza war crimes inquiry
6/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian de facto government officials in Gaza handed over documents, photos, and other materials to a UN fact-finding commission in cooperation with an investigation into allegations of war crimes on Monday. The Hamas officials met with the UN team, headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone, on Monday night at the end of the first day of the team’s field visit to Gaza. The officials said the materials were evidence of Israeli violations of the laws of war during the attack on Gaza in December and January, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead. Health Minister Bassem Na’im, Justice Minister Muhammad Faraj Al-Ghoul, and Foreign Ministry political advisor Ahmad Yousef, and government spokesman Taher An-Nunu held talks with Goldstone’s team in the Health Ministry building in Gaza City. 

Hamas: PA forces detained 21 members in the West Bank
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Fatah-allied Palestinian Authority (PA) forces detained 21 Hamas members in the West Bank on Monday night, the Islamic movement said. The movement said in a statement received by Ma’an that the PA arrested, in the city of Nablus, Hatem Ad-Damouni, Samah An-Nadi from Al-Ein Refugee Camp, brothers Muhammad and Firas Midhat At-Taher and Abdullah Abu Eisha, Ahmad Ash-Shashtari, and Bara Abu Ja’far from Al-Ma’ajin neighborhood. In Hebron, Hamas said Awad Al-Rujub and Riyad Al-Harbiyat, Abbas Na’im and Arafat Al-Qawasmeh were also arrested by PA. Hamas added that in Tulkarem the PA security arrested Imad Badir, Abdel Ghani Tayser, Muhammad Al-Jubdi, Muhammad Salit, Muhammad Hanoun, Khalil Tammouni and Muhammad Tawfiq. The PA, which strenuously denies that it arrests people for political reasons, has not commented on this report. 

Six Palestinians from Jenin arrested in Israel
6/2/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Police arrested six Palestinian workers from the West Bank city of Jenin on suspicion of robbing houses in the city of Hadera, in Israel. According to Israeli news reports, the six were caught inside a house and were holding suspected forged identity cards in addition to stolen goods. They were taken for questioning. [end] 

Egypt police shoot migrant dead along Israel border
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Egyptian police shot dead an African migrant who attempted to cross the border into Israel at dawn on Tuesday. AP quoted Egyptian security officials as saying that police first fired a warning shot in the air as the man tried to get across a barbed wire border fence. When the man continued to scramble over the fence, he was shot dead, according to the same report. Another African man was wounded in the incident and six women were arrested before they were able to reach the border, AP reported. [end] 

Israel to release Palestinian cancer patient from prison
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli prosecutors have agreed to release a Palestinian political prisoner who has been diagnosed with cancer, the Palestinian Prisoners' Society said on Tuesday. Prisoner Fayez Zeidat informed his attorney Amer Yassin of the decision. Yassin said he was on his way to Tel Aviv to obtain the order from Israeli authorities, according to the Prisoners' Society. Doctors told Zeidat that he has less than 180 days to live. In spite of his deteriorating health, the Israeli intelligence services cancelled calls for his release in the past. Zeidat has served most of a 12 year prison sentence. [end] 

Gunman kills Palestinian man in Jerusalem
6/2/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – An Israeli gunman shot a Palestinian man dead and wounded a Jewish man in central Jerusalem on Tuesday morning. Israeli police have told reporters that they are considering all possible motives, including that the killing could have been politically motivated. The wounded man was taken to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center where he was said to be in serious condition. The shooter was arrested and told police that he also shot at a third person who was apparently not harmed. The gunman told police he was "meditating" in a public square around 3:30 am when the Palestinian man approached him, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told reporters. Feeling threatened, the suspect opened fire, he told police. He also told police he shot the Jewish man after the latter asked him for a cigarette, Rosenfeld said, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. 

Two Gaza crossings open
6/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, allowing shipments of fuel, food, and a limited list of other goods. Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh told Ma’an that 73 trucks loaded with supplies for the agricultural and commercial sectors will bring goods to the Kerem Shalom crossing. He also said that limited but unspecified amounts of cooking gas and industrial-grade diesel, need to keep Gaza’s power plant running, will be shipped through Nahal Oz. The Karni grain terminal will be closed. On Monday 50 to 59 truckloads of goods passed through Kerem Shalom. [end] 

Obama vows to be more ’honest’ with Israel
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – US President Barack Obama said on Monday that he would be less hesitant to criticize Israel than previous presidents, and reiterated a call for Israel to freeze construction of illegal West Bank settlements. “Part of being a good friend is being honest,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR). “And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also US interests. “We do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace,” he added. “I’ve said that a freeze on settlements is part of that. ”The comments come on the eve of Obama’s first trip to the Middle East as president, and also appeared to be a rebuke to Israeli Prime. . . 

Pink Floyd rocker to Israel: Tear town the wall
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A British rock legend and co-founder of Pink Floyd said on Tuesday he would give a concert instantly if Israel’s illegal West Bank wall is torn down. Roger Waters made this pledge during a visit to Ayda Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The wall snakes around the camp, hemming it in with concrete. The 65-year-old bassist and singer co-wrote Pink Floyd's iconic album “The Wall” and performed its title song in 1990 on the site where the Berlin Wall stood. On Tuesday Waters called Israel’s wall, which cuts deep into the West Bank, a land grab, and said he hopes "this thing, this awful thing, is destroyed soon," according to AP. Speaking on Monday waters called the wall "an obscenity for other people in the world. It looks okay to Jews here and maybe in other places where they live, but people around the world see it as a weird way to live," according to the Jerusalem Post. 

Palestinian presidency criticizes Netanyahu, calls for Obama action on settlements
6/2/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israel’s ongoing expansion of West bank settlements is clear violation of the US-backed Road Map peace plan and international resolutions on the Middle East, the Palestinian presidency said on Tuesday. Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdeina slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to comply with US President Obama’s call for a total freeze on settlement activity. But, he told Ma’an, “The American president's actual actions would give an important opportunity for the success of the peace message that leads to return back to peace negotiations toward peace process. ”Netanyahu resisted US policy on settlements again on Monday, saying, "Freezing life would not be reasonable. " Also on Monday Israeli settlers went on a rampage through the northern West Bank, blocking roads, throwing stones, setting fire to farms and brutally beating six Palestinians. 

Lebanon charges nine more alleged Israel spies
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Lebanon has charged nine more people with spying for Israel, raising the number of formally accused collaborators to 35. Lebanon’s National News Agency reported on Tuesday that military prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged the nine with collaboration and giving information to Israel about military and civilian installations and political figures, according to AP. Separately, an Egyptian man and a Lebanese have been arrested for spying, security sources told AP. [end] 

Hamas dismisses Israeli military exercises
6/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma'an – Hamas dismissed a nationwide Israeli civil-military readiness drill as way of rebuilding their army’s confidence after their “defeats” in Lebanon and the recent war in Gaza. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement that the exercises were also an attempt to “frighten the Palestinian resistance”“What is needed from Arab and Islamic states is to unite against any Israeli plans, calling all Palestinians to unite and encourage the resistance to protect the land,” said Barhoum. Israel’s largest-ever preparedness drill began on Sunday. The ominously-named "Turning Point 3" exercise has alarmed some of Israel’s neighbors, who are concerned that it could be a cover for the start of an actual war. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah said as much in an address he gave two weeks. Both Hamas and Israel claimed victory in the most recent assault on Gaza. . . 

US envoy Mitchell expected in Mideast next week
6/2/2009 - in AprilBethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – US President Barack Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, is expected to return to the region as early as next Monday, officials said on Tuesday. Mitchell will expect to hear Israel's official response to its demand for a freeze on settlement construction, sources say. "Senator Mitchell plans to travel to the region in the near future," one senior US State Department official told Reuters, while declining to give details. The US and Israel are locked as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to resist Obama's demand for a halt to construction in illegal West Bank settlements. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports the trip would include visits to Israel and Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah. Other reports suggest that Syria is on the agenda. 

Report: Lieberman invited to Cairo
6/2/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israel’s right-wing foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, received an unprecedented invitation to Cairo recently, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday. The Hebrew-language report quoted an Israeli political source in Jerusalem who did not give further details. Lieberman, a settler and the leader of an ultranationalist political faction, is disdained by the Egyptian government. Lieberman once called for Israel to bomb Egypt’s Aswan Dam and also told President Hosni Mubarak to “drop dead. ” [end] 

Russia to send armored vehicles to PA
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Russia has offered the Palestinian Authority (PA) 50 armored troop carriers to be delivered in the next three months, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday. "The delivery of the armored troop transport vehicles has been negotiated with all the countries involved. They will be delivered by sea from July to September," a senior Russian military officer told the agency. The vehicles would be provided by the Russian defense ministry. Delivery of the vehicles would depend on Israel, which as the occupying power controls all viable border crossings into the Palestinian territories. The announcement comes as Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visits Moscow, where he held talks with Russian leaders. Israel is embroiled in a dispute with Russia, a member of a diplomatic Quartet of powers brokering Middle East peace negotiations, over its refusal to cut ties with Hamas. 

Fayyad’s administration expresses sorrow over Qalqiliya deaths
6/2/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Council of Ministers of the caretaker administration in the West Bank expressed “deep sorrow and regret” on Monday over the deaths of six people in a Hamas-PA shootout in the city of Qalqiliya the previous day. The ministers, however, said the deaths were the result of the actions of “armed men who tried to take the law into their own hands" by attacking "members of the security services who were performing their national duties and enforcing the law,” rather than any internecine or factional issues. The statement from the new PA cabinet came after the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said he felt “sorry” but would “not apologize” for the deadly shootout that resulted when PA men moved into arrest Hamas fighters. The ministers praised the security forces for “executing the instructions and decisions of the Palestinian National Authority in enforcing the rule of law and public order. 

Fatah leader visits Qalqiliya to mourn PA, Hamas men equally
6/2/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian former lawmaker Hussam Khader from Nablus visited the West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Monday to express condolences for all of the six people killed in a Hamas-PA shootout on Sunday. Speaking to Ma’an, Khader denied reports that he had been kicked out of the condolence reception area for three Palestinian Authority security officers who were killed. He said that as he was leaving the area one man reproached him for also mourning the deaths of the Hamas members. Fatah member Khader said he delivered condolences for both sides; PA security services and Al-Qassam Brigades fighters. He added that he views the six people (including one bystander) who were killed in the clash as “Palestinian people,” and that all their deaths should be mourned. The gunbattle, which was the worst case of internecine fighting in the West Bank in two years, took. . . 

PA official given three years hard labor for embezzlement
6/2/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A high-level Palestinian Authority (PA) official from the West Bank town of Yabad, near Jenin, has been sentenced to three years hard labor for embezzling funds. A PA court in Nablus originally sentenced the 41-year-old man to four years, then reduced the punishment to three years with a 100 Jordanian dinar (141 US dollar) fine on Tuesday. Prosecutors in Nablus brought charges against the man, who worked at an undisclosed PA agency, for embezzled 56,912 Israeli shekels (14,480 US dollars). The time the man spent in prison awaiting trial will count against his sentence. The PA official, according to the indictment, forged official tax vouchers in order to conceal the embezzlement. 

Two arrested in Bethlehem on drug charges
6/2/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian police said they arrested two drug dealers from Jerusalem in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday. The two are accused of leading an operation transporting and selling drugs in Bethlehem. Two days ago two other suspected drug dealers were also arrested in Bethlehem with 295 grams of drugs to be sold in Bethlehem. The police say they have now arrested the suspected leader of the drug-trafficking ring with another 190 grams of illegal drugs. [end] 

The National

Jordan has the jitters over Palestinian state proposal
2 Jun 2009 - A proposal in the Knesset that Jordan serves as a Palestinian state raises fears in the country.

Lebanon poll no threat to status quo
2 Jun 2009 - Despite government claims that an opposition win on Sunday would amount to a militant Shia takeover, little is likely to change.

Why the media is losing the Israeli numbers game
2 Jun 2009 - Comment: Even on the most basic fact about the settlers – the number living on occupied Palestinian territory – the agencies regularly get it wrong.

Shift in stance on settlements could end up dislodging Netanyahu government
2 Jun 2009 - Bowing to US pressure to change policy has a high political price.

Lawyers turn to Muslim Brotherhood for leadership
1 Jun 2009 - Egypt's largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is elected to run a professional syndicate.

Resentment grows towards Tehran
31 May 2009 - Karbala residents fail to reap benefits from growing tourism, and are growing increasingly resentful at what they see as creeping Iranian control.

Presidential trip gets the credit for the good news – and the not so good
31 May 2009 - All the recent news, good and bad, concerning the opposition in Egypt is attributed by some here to one thing: US President Barack Obama's visit to Egypt this week.

Israel rejects proposal
31 May 2009 - Israeli government rejects controversial law proposal that would have forced the country's Palestinian minority to formally recognise the state's Jewish character.


Israel steps up defence drill
2 Jun 2009 - Population heads to air-raid shelters as nation practices "doomsday" scenario.

Lebanon charges nine for spying
2 Jun 2009 - Number of people accused in past weeks of collaborating with Israel rises to 35.

Man killed in Jerusalem gun attack
2 Jun 2009 - Armed Jewish man kills one person and wounds another in attack near the Old City.

UN war investigators arrive in Gaza
1 Jun 2009 - United Nations team enters Gaza to investigate Israel war crimes claims.

'Arson attack' hits Iran's Zahedan
1 Jun 2009 - At least five dead in incident in mainly Sunni city, scene of a mosque bombing just days ago.


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

EGYPT: Cyber Insurgency Rattles Regime 
CAIRO, Jun 2 (IPS) - Egyptian cyber-dissidents are becoming increasing vocal in their online criticism of President Hosni Mubarak's regime, utilising a widening repertoire of Internet networking and publishing tools to expose government abuses.

RIGHTS: Greece Cannot Take Very Much More 
ATHENS, Jun 1 (IPS) - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has asked the European Commission to call a meeting between the agency and countries around the Mediterranean to work out a joint strategy to deal with irregular migration.

LEBANON: Legal Flaws Could Twist Election Result 
BEIRUT, Jun 1 (IPS) - When Lebanon heads to the polls Jun. 7 to decide whether the Hizbullah-led opposition alliance will unseat the ruling Western-backed coalition, voter anonymity could be compromised by shortcomings in the 2008 parliamentary election law.

FRANCE: Sharing a Recipe for Peace 
PARIS, Jun 1 (IPS) - Fourteen women are gathered in a Jewish kosher bakery on a sunny afternoon in Creteil, a multi-ethnic commune southeast of Paris. Bent over bowls of flour, tubs of butter and cartons of eggs, the women share jokes and anecdotes, speaking in both French and Arabic,...

Stop The Wall

April in Jerusalem
1 Jun 2009 - In the month of March, four homes were demolished in Jerusalem, displacing four families totaling 26 people. The residents of Jabl al-Mukabr, for instance, saw one house destroyed in the neighborhood as well as the issuing of several new demolition orders. Settlement work also continued in Jabl al-Mukabr, where Occupation forces are creating a new settlement in the heart of the community. To the east of Jerusalem, 12,000 dunums were confiscated to further tie major settlement blocs together. [

Two new videos online!
30 May 2009 - Two new video resources are online. The first is 

PCHR Latest

(02-06-2009) PCHR Welcomes Arrival of Human Rights Council Mandated Independent Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza

PCHR Condemns Attacks by Israeli Settlers in Northern West Bank and Warns of Escalation of Such Attacks under New Israeli Government

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 plans for East Jerusalem hotel raise U.S. ire
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - 2 June 2009 - Washington is furious over the Interior Ministry's anticipated approval of a plan to build a new hotel in East Jerusalem, just 100 meters from the Old City's walls. The plan, which would see the demolition of a wholesale market and kindergarten, is slated to be approved today. In conversations with Israeli officials, senior American officials have made it clear that they want Israel to freeze all plans for expanding the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, and especially in the Holy Basin - the area adjacent to the Old City. The regional planning and building committee for Jerusalem will discuss the plan today. It was submitted by the Jerusalem municipality, which owns the land on which the hotel is slated to be built, and the state-owned Jerusalem Economic Corporation, which will actually construct it. 

Open letter from Gaza to the government and people of Spain
International Solidarity Movement - 30 May 2009 - We write to you as Palestinians from Gaza to express our dismay at the proposal of the Spanish parliament to restrict the universal jurisdiction of Spain, particularly with regard to breaches of international humanitarian law. The proposal called for the existing legislation to be modified so that cases may only be pursued if they involve Spanish victims or if the accused is present on Spanish soil. At approximately midnight on 22 July 2002, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet dropped a 2,000 lb bomb on the densely populated Daraj neighborhood of Gaza city. The main target of the attack was the family home of Salah Shehada, Commander of the military wing of Hamas. The bomb killed Shehada and an additional seventeen civilians, including his wife, his daughter, eight children (including a 2-month old baby), two elderly men, and two women. 

Spanish organizations oppose a resolution that could end Spain’s universal jurisdiction
International Solidarity Movement - In support of Universal Jurisdiction - The social organizations, solidarity groups, development NGOs and human rights associations, as well as persons of the academic and legal sphere, listed below: WE EXPRESS our opposition to the approval by the Spanish Congress of Deputies of the Resolution that limits the exercise of the universal penal jurisdiction by the Spanish courts and restricts their jurisdiction to the cases in which those presumed responsible are found in Spain or to the fact that there are victims of Spanish nationality. WE RECALL, once again, that as a signatory of the Geneva Agreements of 1949 on Humanitarian International Law and the Additional Protocol I to these Agreements, related to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts, Spain is obliged to maintain the universal jurisdiction principle within its legislation in order to judge those responsible for war crimes. 

Spain to limit judges’ jurisdiction; includes probe against Israelis
International Solidarity Movement - The Jerusalem Post - 20 May 2009 - Spain's congress on Tuesday reportedly passed a resolution to limit the jurisdiction of investigative judges. The move follows pressure from foreign governments such as the US, China and Israel, which has strongly criticized Judge Fernando Andreu's ongoing investigation into the 2002 assassination of Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh in Gaza, in which 14 others were also killed. The resolution confines judges to cases with a clear Spanish connection and excludes them from probing investigations already under way in the country that allegedly committed the crime, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The move effectively reins in Spain's investigative judges from dealing with crimes against humanity allegedly committed around the world. The investigating judges of Spain's National Court have been employing the so-called principle. . . 

Spain signals end to war crimes, genocide hunting
International Solidarity Movement - Reuters - 20 May 2009 - Spanish judges who tried to extradite ex-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and investigate Bush administration officials over Guantanamo will likely be barred from doing so again after a parliamentary vote on Tuesday. Under pressure from foreign governments, members of Spain's congress almost unanimously passed a resolution which, if translated into law, would end the right of Spanish judges to investigate serious crimes like genocide anywhere in the world in cases where courts in the affected country do not act. The resolution would restrict Spain, which had been praised by international campaigners, to only investigating cases in which the accused is in Spain or Spaniards are victims. Spain's Socialist government said earlier this year it would change the law after protests from Israel over the High Court's decision in January to launch a. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Obama to tell Israel: Form new peace policy by July
2 Jun 2009 - United States President Barack Obama intends to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu four to six weeks to provide an "updated position" regarding construction in West Bank settlements and the two-state principle. ...

Poland and Ukraine resist restitution of heirless Holocaust property 
2 Jun 2009 - Just three weeks before an international conference on Holocaust assets, Jewish and Eastern European delegates are still debating whether countries like Poland and Ukraine should give back heirless property that belonged to murdered Jews. ... 

Climate change could prompt Israel to resist Golan pullout
2 Jun 2009 - DAMASCUS - Climate change could spark "environmental wars" in the Middle East over already scarce water supplies and dissuade Israel from pulling out of the Golan Heights, according to a Danish-funded study released this week. ... 

Is Lebanon ring sign of another Israeli espionage fiasco?
2 Jun 2009 - Watching the Arab television networks, which are extensively covering the uncovering of the "Israeli espionage network," is not a particularly heartwarming experience these days. One after another, Lebanese army and police officers, some of them high-ranking, are being brought in for detention and questioning. Advanced electronic equipment has been confiscated. The heads of Lebanon's counterintelligence are proud of their successes in breaking the Israeli code. ... 

Sonia Sotomayor - a poster child for Jewish-Hispanic relations
2 Jun 2009 - Jewish groups don't endorse U.S. Supreme Court nominees, at least in writing. ...

The Guardian

Will Obama be Netanyahu's downfall? | Simon Tisdall
2 Jun 2009 - Barack Obama's perceived tilt towards the Arab world has left Israel's fragile coalition government reeling Israeli alarm is growing over Barack Obama 's perceived tilt away from the Jewish state and towards its historic Arab foes....

Tony Blair flags 'way forward' in Middle East peace process
1 Jun 2009 - Former PM tells foreign affairs committee that efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are entering a 'critical' phase Tony Blair said today he expected the Middle East peace process to find "a way forward" in the...

Tony Blair faces questions over Middle East peace envoy work
1 Jun 2009 - Foreign Affairs Select Committee to ask former prime minister about recent developments in region Tony Blair's post Downing Street role as a Middle East peace envoy will today come under the spotlight when the former prime...

Obama's speech in Cairo: getting the right audience | Editorial
31 May 2009 - Cast a weary eye over the map of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and there are, on any one day, at least a dozen flashpoints. One erupted yesterday in the West Bank town of Qalqilya, when a local...

Ha'aretz National page

Secular Jews could be minority in Israeli schools by 2030 
2 Jun 2009 - Secular Jews are expected to become a minority in Israeli schools and among the draft-age population within 20 years, according to a recent study published in the current issue of U.S. magazine Foreign Policy. ... 

Jerusalem gunman may have suffered psychosis at time of shooting spree
2 Jun 2009 - Police are still investigating what prompted Yoel Almog Dzhanashvili, 48, of Jerusalem, to allegedly go on a shooting spree late Monday night, killing one man and critically wounding another. ... 

Entertainer Dudu Topaz admits orchestrating attacks on TV execs
2 Jun 2009 - Entertainer Dudu Topaz on Tuesday confessed to orchestrating a series of violent attacks on TV executives over the past year, after he reportedly broke down under police questioning. ...

Gunman kills Arab, wounds Jew in Jerusalem shootings
1 Jun 2009 - A gunman killed one person, seriously wounded a second and said he tried to hit a third in an apparent shooting spree in central Jerusalem early Tuesday morning, police said. ...

Will Be'er Sheva allow Muslims to use city's only mosque?
1 Jun 2009 - The Supreme Court will discuss on Wednesday a petition to reopen Be'er Sheva's only mosque for prayer. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Increased humanitarian aid to Gaza after IDF operation, 30 May 2009
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

OPT: Israel's Barak urges US to rethink settlement stand
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Gaza reconstruction project hit by Israeli sanctions
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

Palestinian human rights organizations deliver open letter to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon condemning his failure to uphold international law and his decision to allow political considerations take precedence over the protection of victims
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Breaking the siege, again and again
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestine Monitor

Egypt-OPT: Gaza aid inefficiencies, bottlenecks
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

OPT: Hamas welcomes UN war crimes investigators to Gaza 
2 Jun 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

OPT: Netanyahu defies Obama call for settlement freeze 
1 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

YNet News

Washington: Obama, Barak meet unexpectedly
2 Jun 2009 - US president unexpectedly joins meeting between Israeli defense minister, National Security Advisor Jones in Washington; Obama, Barak discuss American demand to halt West Bank settlement construction

Democrats to Obama: Ease pressure on Israel
2 Jun 2009 - Democrats express concern over Obama administration's pressure on Jewish State

Soldier who killed UK peace activist deemed ineligible for parole
2 Jun 2009 - Taysir Hayb, who was convicted of 2003 manslaughter of Tom Hurndall in Gaza, to remain in prison despite serving two-thirds of his sentence; parole board says based decision on severity of offenses after prosecution claims early release may harm Israel-UK ties

Jerusalem attack: Arab victim's family infuriated by 'injustice' 
2 Jun 2009 - Relatives of Arab man shot to death by a Jew in Jerusalem Tuesday upset after police say shooting apparently not a terror attack; 'when one of us kills a Jew, they immediately say he's a terrorist,' victim's relative says

Israeli FM in Russia amid discord over Hamas, Iran 
2 Jun 2009 - Lavrov says Obama administration's approach increases chances of resolving nuclear standoff with Iran diplomatically; Lieberman tells reporters Russia-Israel relations 'probably at their highest point'; military official says Moscow to deliver 50 armored personnel carriers to Palestinian Authority 


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

Barak lobbies US officials on settlements 
2 Jun 2009 - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was expected to lobby the United States on Tuesday to rethink its demand to curb settlement growth in the Occupied West Bank. A US-sponsored 2003 peace "road map" obligates Israel to stop settlement activity on occupied land that Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Obama vows to get Middle East peace talks back on track 
2 Jun 2009 - President Barack Obama voiced confidence Tuesday that the United States can help get serious Middle East peace talks back on track, as he prepared for a trip to the region.In an interview with the BBC before heading to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Europe, the US leader added that he hoped for progress in direct talks with Iran by the end of this year.

Israel plays down blunt criticism from Obama 
2 Jun 2009 - Israel tried to play down on Tuesday the latest blunt criticism from main ally Washington after US President Barack Obama vowed to adopt a more "honest" tone with Israel. While some Israeli officials glossed over the harsh remarks from the president, others said his administration should honor understandings struck with the preceding administration of President George W. Bush.

Lavrov cedes no ground on Iran during Lieberman visit 
2 Jun 2009 - Russia's foreign minister said the new US administration's approach to Iran has increased chances of resolving the standoff over its nuclear program, but gave no indication of whether Moscow would step up pressure on Tehran. Sergei Lavrov, speaking after a meeting with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman.

Sarkozy to meet Iran's foreign minister for nuclear talks 
2 Jun 2009 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday to discuss Tehran's nuclear program, in rare talks between a leader of a major power and a senior Iranian politician. "The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss talks which the six [world powers] wish to relaunch with Iran.

Iran arrests up to 30 over unrest in Zahedan - judiciary 
2 Jun 2009 - Iran has made many arrests in connection with deadly unrest in its southeast and planned violence elsewhere in the country, officials said on Tuesday, ten days before the Islamic Republic's presidential election. Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said 20-30 people had been detained over street disturbances in the southeastern city of Zahedan.

Syrian homosexuals edge gingerly out of the closet 
2 Jun 2009 - To come out as a homosexual in a vibrantly macho Arab nation cannot be the easiest of lifestyle choices. In Syria, where being gay is often regarded as sickness or perversity, changes may be afoot. Homosexuals there are beginning to step out of the shadows after a group of them joined together to launch an appeal on the Internet for tolerance.

UAE says territorial dispute with Iran won't hit trade ties 
2 Jun 2009 - The United Arab Emirates said on Monday a dispute with Iran over three Gulf islands will not hit strong trade ties between the two major oil exporters, and reiterated its call for a peaceful solution to the issue. Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum also said his country, a US ally.

Palestinian Information Center

Gov't provides UN fact-finding commitee with evidence for Israeli war crimes
2 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian government provided Tuesday the visiting UN fact-finding committee with photos, documents and evidence related to the Israeli war crimes committed during the last war on Gaza.

Agriculture ministry: Setters systematically ruin harvest season in WB
2 Jun 2009 - The ministry of agriculture in Gaza Strip has charged the Jewish settlers in the West Bank of systematically ruining the Palestinian harvest season in the West Bank.

Hamas deplores Abbas’s security for kidnapping wives of martyrs and prisoners
2 Jun 2009 - Hamas denounced the PA security apparatuses for kidnapping wives of martyr Abdelnasser Al-Basha and prisoner Ra’ed Al-Nadi just one day after the assassination of two Qassam leaders in Qalqilia.

Swafata calls for national decisive stands against IOA, settlers crimes
2 Jun 2009 - Hamas on Tuesday called on the Palestinian people and the active factions to adopt a responsible, national stance regarding the escalating Israeli occupation authority crimes in the West Bank.

Hamas: Zionist maneuvers muscle flexing
2 Jun 2009 - Hamas on Tuesday dismissed Israel's military maneuvers as muscle-flexing aimed at mending its soldiers' collapsed morale following the defeats in Lebanon and Gaza.

Hamas: IOF, PA security forces kill 10 Palestinians in W. Bank and Gaza
2 Jun 2009 - A report issued by Hamas revealed that the IOF and the PA security forces in the West Bank had killed at least ten Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the past month of May.

Palestinian factions denounce any attempt to disarm resistance
2 Jun 2009 - Four Palestinian major factions have agreed on the right of resisting occupation and considered resistance weapons a red line that could not be harmed or stripped.

Israeli shoots, kills Arab in occupied Jerusalem
2 Jun 2009 - An Israeli man on Tuesday shot and killed an Arab and shot and seriously wounded another man believed to be a Jew after fearing he was targeted, according to the Hebrew radio.

Hamas MPs call for restraint
2 Jun 2009 - Two Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank city of Tulkarem have condemned the large-scale arrest campaign launched by the PA security apparatuses especially in Tulkarem district.

Palestine international conference endorses Palestinian resistance
2 Jun 2009 - The Palestine international conference has declared support for Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Istanbul.

Los Angeles Times

'Censoring an Iranian Love Story' by Shahriar Mandanipour 
2 Jun 2009 - In the novel, a writer tries to tell a tale of romance in spite of, and sometimes with inspiration from, the censor. Censorship is an endlessly fascinating subject; a puzzle box, a Russian nesting doll in which the writer's truth is buried and often lost. Czeslaw Milosz's 1953 classic "The Captive Mind" revealed the insidious and creative ways that censorship enters and inhabits the mind of the artist. Shahriar Mandanipour, an Iranian film critic and the editor of a literary journal in Iran, was not allowed to publish fiction from 1992 to 1997. He came to the United States in 2006. "Censoring an Iranian Love Story" is his first book published in English. In this novel, a writer (also named Shahriar Mandanipour and the author's alter ego) tries to write the story of Sara and Dara, a young couple in love, and finds himself in a metaphorical burka. He is forced to change his story, characters and dialogue to comply with the restrictions of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in the person of a Dostoevskian character, Mr. Petrovich. 

Iran fire kills at least 5 during sectarian clashes in Zahedan 
2 Jun 2009 - The fire was allegedly set by militants during a rampage linked to a mosque attack last week. Dozens are reported injured. A fire allegedly set by militants during sectarian clashes in a restive Iranian city left at least five dead Monday, according to Iranian state media. Dozens were reported injured in the day's fighting. 

6 dead as Palestinian factions clash in West Bank 
1 Jun 2009 - Hamas says the clampdown on one of its armed cells will bring 'tough and harsh reprisal' against the Fatah-led administration in the West Bank. Tension between Palestinian factions exploded in their worst violence in nearly two years as a paramilitary police raid Sunday in the West Bank left six people dead. The clash underscored the risks for the Palestinian Authority as it moves forcefully, with fresh encouragement from President Obama, to disarm militants intent on attacking Israel. 

New York Times

Obama Plays Down Split Over Israeli Settlements
2 Jun 2009 - Ahead of a visit to the Middle East, President Obama played down a dispute with Israel over his demand for a suspension of further settlement in the West Bank. 

Israel and U.S. Can’t Close Split on Settlements
1 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing pressures in Israel and with the U.S. over West Bank settlements. 

A New Iran Overture, With Hot Dogs
1 Jun 2009 - The State Department notified embassies that “they may invite representatives from the government of Iran” to Independence Day celebrations. 


Electronic Intifada
Pushing for "normalization" of Israeli apartheid
2 Jun 2009 - The US and certain Arab states are pushing for normalization with Israel despite its ethnic cleansing and ghettoization of the Palestinians under a racist apartheid regime. Given this reality, how can we bring back into the equation principles of justice, equality and human rights? Ziyaad Lunat comments for EI. 

Auschwitz survivor: "I can identify with Palestinian youth"
2 Jun 2009 - Hajo Meyer, author of the book The End of Judaism , was born in Bielefeld, in Germany, in 1924. In 1939, he fled on his own at age 14 to the Netherlands to escape the Nazi regime, and was unable to attend school. Meyer was captured by the Gestapo in March 1944 and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp a week later. He is one of the last survivors of Auschwitz. Meyer spoke about his book and Palestine with The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof. 

Six killed in Palestinian Authority house raid
1 Jun 2009 - On Saturday evening, 30 May 2009, armed clashes occurred between members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and Palestinian security services. The incident took place in the northern West Bank town of Qalqiliya. The clashes continued until the early morning of Sunday, 31 May 2009, and resulted in six deaths (two members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the owner of a house in which the two members harbored and three security officers). A number of other persons were also wounded. 

In Gaza, women filmmakers find strength behind the camera
1 Jun 2009 - "My career has always been a challenge for me -- simply 'to be or not to be' -- especially under such very difficult circumstances," says Etimad Wshah. Wshah lives in the Jabaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, and is one of a small number of women filmmakers in Gaza. Since 1994 she has trained other women filmmakers at the Palestinian Women's Affairs Center in Gaza City. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
harvest challenges
1 Jun 2009 - photo story: Just after 7 am on May 30th, Palestinian farmers in Khoza’a, east of Khan Younis, returned to the land they’d been menaced off of 5 days earlier. “The same day the Israelis dropped papers saying they would shoot at us for being on our land they did shoot at us,” Ahmed, a 22 year old farmer explained.  It was around 10:30, he said. “They were shooting so much that the dirt rose in clouds of dust.” When we arrive on May 30th, the bales of wheat are ready, all neatly and compactly hand-bundled, covering 30 dunums (1 dunum=1000 square metres) of land belonging to Radi Abu Rayder.  He...

Palestine Chronicle
Nasrallah's Turn
1 Jun 2009 - Nicholas Noe - Beirut Over the last decade and a half, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanon's militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, has steadily moved front and center in the often vitriolic (and regularly under-informed) Western debate over the threat that 'radical Islam' is said to pose to the world at large. Now, as Nasrallah appears ready to lead what could be a new majority in the Lebanese Parliament, the steady stream of accusations and threats have, somewhat predictably, turned into a deluge – with Arab states, Arab media and prosecutorial offices far and wide at the forefront of efforts to paint him as public enemy Number One. A central reason for all the attention in the past, of course, has been that Nasrallah and Hezbollah have managed – for better or worse, depending on your perspective – to inflict a series of increasingly significant setbacks for US and especially Israeli interests: the ignominious, unilateral withdrawal from South Lebanon by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in May 2000, the failure of the Bush administration to vanquish Hezbollah and Syria in one go following the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, and, of course, the July 2006 war – vigorously encouraged by the Americans and lost by the Israelis. But Nasrallah has also become an object of particular focus and concern because, unlike many other Islamists, he has successfully staked a great deal of his power and prestige on a sustained appeal to reason in the all important battle...

'Racist for Democracy'
1 Jun 2009 - By Uri Avnery – Israel How lucky we are to have the extreme Right standing guard over our democracy. This week, the Knesset voted by a large majority (47 to 34) for a law that threatens imprisonment for anyone who dares to deny that Israel is a Jewish and Democratic State. The private member’s bill, proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev of the “Jewish Home” party, which sailed through its preliminary hearing, promises one year in prison to anyone who publishes “a call that negates the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State”, if the contents of the call might cause “actions of hate, contempt or disloyalty against the state or the institutions of government or the courts”. One can foresee the next steps. A million and a half Arab citizens cannot be expected to recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. They want it to be “a state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others. They also claim with reason that Israel discriminates against them, and therefore is not really democratic. And, in addition, there are also Jews who do not want Israel to be defined as a Jewish State in which non-Jews have the status, at best, of tolerated outsiders. The consequences are inevitable. The prisons will not be able to hold all those convicted of this crime. There will be a need for concentration camps all over the country to house all the deniers of Israeli democracy. The police will...

Lobby Connection: Japan and the 'War on Terror'
1 Jun 2009 - By Maidhc Ó Cathail – Japan Japan may be 'in the American Embrace,' as Gavan McCormack's Client State cogently argues, but in whose embrace is America? In Client State: Japan in the American Embrace, Gavan McCormack demonstrates how Japan’s apparent nationalist turn owes much to the need to conceal the country’s increasing subordination to American imperial designs. However, a closer examination of the driving forces behind the US Empire in the 21st century suggests that both countries may be serving a quite different agenda. Rightly described as a “masterful” analysis by fellow Japan expert Chalmers Johnson, McCormack’s 2007 book expertly documents how Japan’s postwar “peace constitution” has been steadily attenuated to the point of meaninglessness, as Tokyo has consistently bowed to pressure from Washington to become more active in its support of US hegemony, culminating in a “merger” of their military forces in the wake of 9/11. McCormack claims that this is “an agenda heavily in the American, rather than the Japanese national interest.” But in what sense could the extremely costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, now being expanded into Pakistan under the “antiwar” commander-in-chief Obama, be said to be in “the American interest”? These illegal wars of aggression have been costly to America not only in terms of the trillions of dollars added to its ballooning national debt, but also in terms of the incalculable loss of credibility that it has suffered in the eyes of world opinion, appalled by the shameless lies about WMDs, the lurid scenes...

Obama, Islam and Illusions
1 Jun 2009 - By Terry Lacey – Jakarta In Cairo President Barack Obama has to show if he can make a break with the illusions of the Bush legacy as far as the Muslim world is concerned. Arief Munandar, recently reviewed The Illusion of an Islamic State: Expansion of Transnational Islamist Movements to Indonesia, and concludes that its lumping together of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the Council of Indonesian Jihad Fighters (MMI) and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is “simplistic, unfocused and runs counter to historical fact.” (Jakarta Post 31.05.09). Arief rejects the simplistic categorization of Muslim ideas and organizations into two camps representing “Wahabism” or “moderation”. He argues the Muslim Brotherhood (IM) is not monolithic and you cannot simply equate IM with Sayyid Qutb. Hassan Al Banna, IM´s founder said his followers should be moderate and wise in accepting differences, since IM did not claim to be a group embracing all Muslims, but one among many striving to restore the glory of Islam. There is little evidence that modern political Islam is a systemic threat to the West. Political Islam in Egypt and the Gaza Strip is home grown, not made in Iran. In Egypt a growing parliamentary opposition is pro-economic and social reform, while in Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas won a democratic election in 2006 on a platform of reform, against corruption and resistance to Israeli occupation. In Turkey the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is in power, pro-Western, pro NATO, pro liberal economy,...

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