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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
4 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Obama’s speech made Israel happy, not good enough for settlers
5 Jun 2009 - The Israeli government did not hide its joy over the speech of the US president, Barack Obama, as he addressed the Arab and Muslim worlds from Cairo on Thursday. Yet, leaders of settlements in the occupied West Bank said that his speech was “pandering to Islam”, and “was more of a Hussein than Obama” 

Israel’s siege on Gaza claims the life of another infant
4 Jun 2009 - The Al Mezan Center for Human Right reported Thursday that a seven-month old infant died on Wednesday evening at the Gaza European hospital in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He was at the Intensive Care Unit suffering from a heart failure and respiratory issues. 

In his Cairo Speech, Obama confirms strong relations with Israel
4 Jun 2009 - The much anticipated speech of US president, Barack Obama, which was delivered in Cairo Wednesday, was met with disappointment by the Palestinians and with praise by Israel, as he called for recognizing Israel and its “right to a homeland”, and ignored the 60 years of suffering of the refugees, and the suffering of the Palestinians living under siege in Gaza. 

Bedouins facing further evictions in the Jordan Valley
4 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers invaded two villages in the Salfit district on Friday, and started preparing to demolish homes and structures in the area. Currently some 300 Palestinians are facing evictions and displacement. 

Four dead as internal clashes end in Qalqilia
4 Jun 2009 - Four Palestinians were reported dead and numbers injured as Palestinian security forces announced that clashes with Hamas fighters ended in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia on Thursday midday. 

Troops kidnap 18 Palestinians in the West Bank
4 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Thursday morning 18 Palestinians in a number of invasions that targeted Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron. 

Israeli army applauds itself with the removal of two checkpoints, UN discover these claims are false
4 Jun 2009 - The Israeli army proudly declares on its website the removal of two checkpoints inside the West Bank to "further ease the daily life of the Palestinian population". One day later UN workers have found the checkpoints still to be in place. 

Army demolishes homes in Tubas
4 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers invaded the Northern Plaines area in the West Bank and started demolishing homes and forcing the residents out. Local sources reported that dozens of military vehicles are currently surrounded three inhibited areas used by Palestinian shepherds in Al Bqei’a area, in the Tubas district. 

Palestinian security officer killed, another injured in clashes with Hamas gunmen in Qalqilia
4 Jun 2009 - Palestinian sources reported on Thursday morning that one Palestinian security officer was killed and another was injured during clashes that took place between the security forces and Hamas fighters in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank. 

Report: Nine Palestinians killed in May, 260 kidnapped
4 Jun 2009 - The International Solidarity Institution for Human Rights published a report on the Israeli violations against the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories in the month of May, and revealed that Israeli soldiers shot and killed nine Palestinians, and kidnapped 260. 

Israeli army top general received death threats for removing outposts in the West Bank
4 Jun 2009 - The top general of the Israeli forces in the West Bank has received death threats from what seem to be right-wing settlers that are upset over the removal of a few small outposts in the West Bank, Israeli army radio reported on Thursday. 

Israeli army kidnaps 18 Palestinians from the West Bank
4 Jun 2009 - During pre-dawn raids on Thursday 18 Palestinians were kidnapped by Israeli forces, according to the militarys own statements. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Report: Far-rightists threaten top IDF general
4 Jun 2009 - Army Radio reports GOC Central Command received death threats over removal of West Bank outposts. 

Three dead as Palestinian police, Hamas clash in West Bank
4 Jun 2009 - Gunbattle ensues as Palestinian police raid hideout of Islamic group in West Bank city. 

Settlers set fire to Palestinian field in West Bank
3 Jun 2009 - IDF lifts West Bank roadblocks, razes rebuilt settler outpost; Settlers: We won't yield to security forces. 

IDF declares Nablus area a closed military zone to keep out left-wing activists
3 Jun 2009 - Human rights organization slams 'totalitarian' decision, says ban meant to cover-up illegal actions. 

'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. 

Ma'an News

Israeli forces seize 18 Palestinians overnight
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem/Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized 18 Palestinians during overnight raids across the West Bank, the military said on Thursday. According to the Israeli army, four were detained in the Nablus area, one in the Ramallah area, three in the Bethlehem area and four near Hebron. The Palestinians are being held in unknown locations. Ma’an identified three of those taken from the Nablus area. The three were from the villages of Aqraba and Qasra, south of Nablus, among them a young man who was only released from prison the previous day. Anwar Odeh from the village of Qasra told Ma’an: “Israeli troops detained my brother Akram Dawood Odeh, 36. He is a father of five children and he was detained after eight hours of his release and after paying an 8,000 shekel penalty. ”Odeh also said that the troops invaded their house at 1:30am and abducted Akram Dawood Odeh. 

Goldstone: Israeli refusal will not stop Gaza probe
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The head of a UN fact-finding mission to Gaza said on Thursday that he would continue his investigation into alleged war crimes in spite of Israeli noncompliance. Speaking at a news conference in Gaza, Justice Richard Goldstone said Israel was approached a number of times seeking its cooperation in the inquiry into the three-week attack on Gaza in December and January. “The response,” he said, “was a complete refusal. ”“But we will not let that stop us from carrying out our mission,” Goldstone said, “… the refusal of cooperation will not in any way decrease the weight of our investigation,” adding that his team would also probe Israel’s own allegations of war crimes committed by its opponents. Goldstone also said that while he could not disclose any information about the events his team is investigating during its weeklong visit to Gaza, the commission’s report will be made public by the first week of September. 

Israeli settlers left fuming after Obama’s Cairo speech
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli settlers were incensed on Thursday following US President Barack Obama's address in Cairo to the Muslim world. "Only time will tell if the US president is Barak or Hussein," Yesha Council Director-General Pinchas Wallerstein said in response to the speech, according to the Israeli news agency Ynet. "In many respects the speech pandered to Islam; it emphasized 'Hussein' more than it did 'Barak,' and proved that we must not allow the Obama administration" to impose its will over the settler movement, said Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan. "He will eventually cause us to divide Jerusalem and cede the Temple Mount," Dayan added. "However, we must keep in mind that the decisions are made in Jerusalem. " In a statement issued by the Shomron Settlers' Committee, the group warned that "[t]he State of Israel is paying the price for its leaders' defeatism. 

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority react to Obama’s speech
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority said it considered US President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo "a new and different American beginning and a new message to the Israelis," while Hamas said the remarks contained a number of good points. PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement that "President Obama’s readiness for partnership, listening, building confidence and confronting tension" ought to be celebrated, and applauded the US leader's remarks on Palestinian suffering. He added that "the time has come to establish a Palestinian state," which he called "the first basic step necessary to build a just and comprehensive peace in the region. " Abu Rudeinah went on to say that "President Obama’s speech is encouraging beginnings that should be built on and we will be ready to go forward with the peace process in accordance with the Arab Peace. . . 

Hamas: PA arrested 12 members in the West Bank
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas said that Palestinian Authority security forces seized 12 Hamas members in the West Bank on Wednesday morning. Hamas said in a statement received by Ma’an that the security forces arrested, in Nablus Abeer Al-Hadiri and Ghoufran Az-Zamil in the city of Nablus. In Hebron, Hamas said Younis Hasassneh, a correspondent at the Iqra television channel, Shadi Halaiqa, his brother Yousef Halaiqa and his cousin Muhammad Halaiqa were arrested. In Tulkarem, Hamas said Muhammad Shtewi, the director of Al-Aqsa television channel, Iyad As-Sa’bi and Muhammad Hassan from Deir Al-Ghusun northeast of Tulkarem, and Ahmad Damiri from Tulkarem Refugee Camp were all arrested. 

Palestinian officials say latest Qalqiliya incident dangerous
6/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A representative for independents in the conciliation talks, Yaser Al-Wadieyah, noted on Thursday that events in Qalqiliya are dangerous and demonstrate the necessity of intervention. A daylong standoff between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas gunmen ended with three people dead in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya earlier on Thursday. Al-Wadieyah added that “the independents are seriously considering the stance of Fatah and Hamas and their unacceptable disputes that should end. " "We continue to demand an end to political arrests, whether in the West Bank or Gaza and ending all forms of media tension," he added. Concerning the latest events in Qalqiliya, Al-Wadieyah noted that "what is happening needs the intervention of wise Palestinians and in cooperation with wise parties from both sides. 

Hamas vows to fight PA security forces as if they were Israelis
6/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – In a major rhetorical escalation, a spokesperson for Hamas' armed wing on Thursday urged its fighters to attack the Palestinian Authority as they would Israeli soldiers. Abu U’beidah, the spokesperson for the Hamas-aligned Ezz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, announcedthat "from today, PA security forces in the West Bank will be dealt with as occupying forces. " The Hamas spokesperson was responding to the aftermath of a daylong standoff between the PA and Hamas gunmen that ended with three people dead in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Thursday. Earlier a Palestinian Authority (PA) security officer was killed by a grenade thrown by the Hamas men, who were holed up in a building in the vicinity of the local Bank of Palestine branch. Abu U’beidah added in a news conference in Gaza City that "as from today, all of the security forces who participated in the Qalqiliya operation are now wanted by the Al-Qassam Brigades. 

Gaza fishing boats surrounded by Israeli warships
6/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli warships surrounded two fishing boats off the coast north of Gaza City on Thursday morning. The boats belong to Omar Al-Habil and Omar Al-Hissi, according to sources in Gaza. No arrests or injuries have been reported. There have been frequent reports of Israeli gunboats harassing Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza coast in recent weeks. In February Israel imposed a three-mile limit for Gaza fishermen, far short of the 20 miles guaranteed by the Oslo peace agreement. [end] 

At Egypt border, Gaza children rally against Israeli blockade
6/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian children rallied in protest of the siege of Gaza at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as US President Barack Obama spoke in Cairo on Thursday. The demonstration, under the banner “A message from Palestine children to Obama” was organized by the High National Committee to celebrate Jerusalem as Capital of the Arab Culture for 2009 and the local Ata’a society. The director of the committee that organized the protest Izz Ad-Din Al-Masri said the demonstration “coincides with the speech that US President Obama is expected to deliver in Cairo, so that we will be able to deliver a messageto the new world regime that the children of Palestine are still under Israeli siege and killing. ”Palestinian children carried banners in English and Arabic urging Obama to work to lift the Israeli-Egyptian siege of Gaza. 

Bulgaria donates 100,000 euros for Gaza hospitals
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Bulgarian diplomatic mission to the Palestinian territories donated 100,000 euros to the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday for projects in support of Palestinians. The donation fulfilled a pledge made at the Sharm Ash-Sheikh, Egypt donor conference in early March, where European, Arab and other states pledged millions to rebuild war-torn Gaza. The Bulgarian donation is earmarked to purchase medical equipment for Gaza hospitals. [end] 

Israel considering removing Nablus-area checkpoint
6/4/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – The Israeli government is considering completely removing the Asira Ash-Shamaliya military checkpoint north of the West Bank city of Nablus, a Palestinian official told Ma’an. The official said that Israel informed the Palestinian Authority that this measure would be taken as a part of an overall easing of restrictions around Nablus. The Israeli military said in a statement on Wednesday that it would open the checkpoint, known as Checkpoint 17, to 24-hour a day traffic. Israel also pledged to removed two other checkpoints, in the Ramallah area on Wednesday, but United Nations monitors observed that the infrastructure of these roadblocks remained in place as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Israel to allow food, fuel into besieged Gaza
6/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel will open two crossings into the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday and keep a third closed, allowing shipments of food, fuel and other goods. Palestinian border crossings official Raed Fattouh told Ma'an that the Israeli military agreed to allow 98 truckloads of humanitarian aid, including goods for the agricultural and commercial sectors, through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Nahal Oz crossing will be open for limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial-grade diesel fuel, used by Gaza’s only power plant. The Karni grain terminal will be closed, Fattouh said. [end] 

Obama: Israel cannot deny Palestine’s right to exist
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – US President Barack Obama called the 60-year suffering of Palestinians undeniable and their demand for an independent state legitimate in a landmark speech in Cairo on Thursday. While first saying that the US’bond with Israel is unbreakable, Obama said, "Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. " While Obama first spoke about the historic plight of the Jews and the legacy of the Holocaust as a justification of Israel’s founding, he also said that Palestinian suffering over 60 years has been undeniable. “It is also undeniable that the Palestinian people, Muslims and Christians, have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation,” he said in the address delivered at Cairo University. 

PLO negotiations chief applauds Obama’s Cairo speech
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Chief Palestine Liberation Organization negotiator Dr Saeb Erakat on Thursday welcomed US President Obama’s Cairo speech, and applauded his strong commitment to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. "This was a very important speech, in which President Obama reinforced the message that ending the occupation and establishing a viable and independent Palestinian state was in the mutual interest of Palestinians, Israelis and indeed the entire world," Erakat said in a statement to Ma'an. "Progress towards peace hinges on both parties implementing their obligations under existing agreements," he insisted on Thursday, going on to reiterate Israel and Palestine's obligations. "For Palestinians, that means continuing with the progress we have made in the areas of governance, security and financial sector reforms. 

Three Palestinians killed in renewed Hamas-PA clashes in Qalqiliya
6/4/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – A daylong standoff between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas gunmen has ended with three people dead in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Thursday. PA security officials said they moved into the building where the clashes took place to find the dead bodies of two men, and a third injured, believed to be members of Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. The two were apparently gunned down. Earlier a Palestinian Authority (PA) security officer was killed by a grenade thrown by the Hamas men, who were holed up in a building in the vicinity of the local Bank of Palestine branch. Two other PA officers were lightly injured after coming under fire. Qalqiliya Governor Rabih Al-Khandaqji said that the armed men had hid in a bunker inside the building, confirming that the PA officer was killed. 

Hebron health department destroys expired bottled water
6/4/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an - The health department in the West Bank city of Hebron destroyed large amounts of expired bottled water on Thursday, according to a statement. These quantities were discovered around a month ago and tons of which were collected from the local market and destroyed on Thursday. Meanwhile, a half ton of various kinds of expired food stuffs, including candies, juices, soft drinks, dairies, pickles, chocolate and others were also destroyed in Hebron. Khaled Seder, head of the health department in Hebron, urged the residents to pay attention to the expiry dates for any food they are about to purchase, and to inform his department about any expired food that they find about on the market. 

PA military court sentences Hamas men to three years
6/4/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Hamas movement said that a Palestinian Authority military court in the West Bank city of Ramallah sentenced three Hamas affiliates to three yearsimprisonment on Thursday. The head of the PA military court, Abed Al-Aziz Wadi, confirmed the sentence to Ma’an, yet denied that this decision was taken due to the defendants' affiliation with Hamas, instead for what he called illegal acts, including incitement against the PA. For its part, the Hamas movement that the sentences that were issued against Abbas Fawaz, Ali Qur’an and Tayseer Farouq Mohammad Khalil from the West Bank city of Al-Bireh, and Hamza Mas’ud Abdu from Nablus, were for their affliation with Hamas and owning illegal arms. Hamas added that the three were detained at the PA military intelligence department and will soon be moved to Jericho's central prison. 

West Bank Hamas lawmakers denounce Qalqiliya events
6/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Several Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members denounced the latest bloodshed in Qalqiliya on Thursday, according to a joint letter sent to Ma'an. In the message, the Hamas officials "strongly denounced" the events in Qalqiliya, which claimed the lives of two Hamas fighters and one Palestinian Authority police officer, among others who were injured. The PLC members said they consider the latest bloodshed "a dangerous violation," urging influential figures and political and human rights organizations to "confront such acts against the Palestinians. " A daylong standoff between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas gunmen ended with three people dead in the West Bank city on Thursday. PA security officials said they moved into the building where the clashes took place to find the dead bodies of two men, and a third injured,. . . 

The National

Preparing to put pressure on' 
4 Jun 2009 - Palestinians are pleased with support for statehood while an Israeli observer sees Obama's speech as a signal to get tough on settlements.

Buying votes just a part of the price of democracy
4 Jun 2009 - Those tasked with ensuring Sunday's elections in Lebanon are fair are fighting against a tradition of dirty tactics.

Lebanon dismisses fears of outside influence in electoral result
3 Jun 2009 - Sunday's election in Lebanon will be fairly democratic and free from undue Syrian interference, according to Rami Mortada, a senior Lebanese official in Damascus.

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.

Aljazeera

West Bank raid sparks deadly clash
4 Jun 2009 - Policeman killed in clash sparked by police raid on suspected Hamas hideout.

Iran rivals spar in live debate
3 Jun 2009 - Presidential candidates trade insults in televised broadcast.

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.

IRIN

OPT: Gaza building project experiments with clay, rubble 
GAZA CITY Thursday, June 04, 2009 (IRIN) - In the face of the ongoing Israeli ban on imports of building materials Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are looking at new building methods, and one project is using clay and rubble. 

EGYPT-OPT: Gaza aid inefficiencies, bottlenecks
AL-ARISH Tuesday, June 02, 2009 (IRIN) - The lack of proper warehousing facilities in the northeastern Egyptian cities of Al-Arish and Rafah is partly to blame for bottlenecks and inefficiencies in delivering food and other aid to the Gaza Strip, a former senior Egyptian aid official has said.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-US: Hawks Push "Jordanian Option" for Palestine 
WASHINGTON, Jun 3 (IPS) - As U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver a major foreign policy speech in Cairo and his administration pushes aggressively for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, neoconservatives and other foreign policy hawks back home are calling on him to scrap the two-state solution altogether and...

US-MIDEAST: Obama Overture Fraught With Stumbling Blocks 
WASHINGTON, Jun 3 (IPS) - In his most widely anticipated speech to date, U.S. President Barack Obama will reach out directly to the Muslim world Thursday morning at Cairo University.

POLITICS-US: Report Ties Dubious Iran Nuclear Docs to Israel 
WASHINGTON, Jun 3 (IPS) - A report on Iran’s nuclear programme issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month generated news stories publicising an incendiary charge that U.S. intelligence is underestimating Iran’s progress in designing a "nuclear warhead" before the halt in nuclear weapons-related research in 2003.

MIDEAST: Obama Turns the Screws on Israel 
JERUSALEM, Jun 3 (IPS) - Air raid sirens wailed out on Tuesday morning and Israelis were asked to go down into bomb shelters as the country engaged in its largest-ever civil defence drill. Israelis remain deeply worried by what they perceive as an existential threat of a possible future all-out...

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

PCHR Condemns Arrests of Hamas' Members and Supporters in the West Bank; Director of the Office of PLC Members from the Change and Reform Bloc Continues to be Detained
PCHR

PCHR Welcomes Arrival of Human Rights Council Mandated Independent Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(28 May- 03 June  2008)


International Solidarity Movement

Israeli forces kidnap 4 Palestinian residents of Ni’lin
International Solidarity Movement - Israeli forces invaded the town of Ni'lin at 2 am on Wednesday,  2nd of June. The army forcefully entered five homes and siezed four residents, Sa'dat Ibrahim Mustafa Ameerah (19), Mahmod Abdallah Ameerah (26), Ibrahim Khalil Ad-Dik Srour (18) and Hamada Abdel Raziq Khawaja (28). All of them are suspected in taking part of the popular resistance against the Annexation Wall. The arrested were taken to Ofer Prisoner Camp, a tent prison. A fifth person the army was looking for, Hassan Nimer Khawaja (22), was not captured since he was not at home when the Israeli army came. His family was given a paper ordering Hassan and his father to come to Ofer Prison Camp on 2 June at 2pm. More than 100 soldiers came by foot, entering the village through the fields and surrounding the homes of the five persons they were aiming to arrest. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Great expectations met 
4 Jun 2009 - Neither Tel Aviv nor Ramallah held their breaths Thursday as the American president gave a speech in Cairo; the traffic in both crowded cities continued normally. Tel Aviv was indifferent, Ramallah sunk in desperation: Both cities have already had their fill of nice, historic speeches. ... 

Netanyahu caught 
4 Jun 2009 - During long, personal conversations with his inner circle over the past week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that he had no idea what U.S. President Barack Obama would say in his speech in Cairo. "We have no information," he said. He does now. ... 

World Bank: Aid isn't enough to spark Palestinian growth 
4 Jun 2009 - The massive aid for the Gaza Strip and West Bank has had little effect, as economic growth and development continues to be stymied by Israeli restrictions on Palestinian trade and movement, the World Bank said Thursday. ... 

Future of Mideast is a domestic American issue
4 Jun 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu can keep pretending it's just rain and Interior Minister Eli Yishai can continue berating the Obama administration for its "unacceptable" policies. National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari can keep shouting hysterically about our soldiers, and the settlers can keep putting us all in danger. But the issue has been settled in Washington. ... 

U.S. moves to ease tensions with Israel after Obama's Cairo speech 
4 Jun 2009 - Following President Barack Obama's address in Cairo Thursday, the U.S. administration is now trying to lower tensions with Israel. ... 

The Guardian

Steve Bell: Barack Obama woos Muslim world with call for a new understanding
4 Jun 2009 - US president makes impassioned plea for a two-state solution to resolve Israel and the Palestinians conflict

Hamas reaction to Obama
4 Jun 2009 - Joe Klein has a very interesting post up at Swampland. About an hour after the speech, Joe sat down with Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader, in Damascus. His review? Not positive, but not wholly negative: "Undoubtedly...

Barack Obama in Cairo: the speech no other president could make | Jonathan Freedland
4 Jun 2009 - In an ancient city, America's still-new president aimed to heal a rift that has endured for decades, if not centuries. Barack Obama stood before a crowd of 3,000 in the great hall of Cairo University to...

Barack Obama woos Muslim world with call for a new understanding
4 Jun 2009 - President urges 'mutual respect' in landmark address, and strongly backs two-state solution to Palestinian conflict Barack Obama used his long-heralded speech to the Muslim world today to call for a new beginning in relations and made...

Ha'aretz National page

Olmert's prostate surgery in New York deemed a success 
3 Jun 2009 - Former prime minister Ehud Olmert underwent surgery in the United States yesterday to remove a cancerous growth from his prostate. ...

TV personality Dudu Topaz attempts suicide in prison 
3 Jun 2009 - Television personality Dudu Topaz attempted to commit suicide in his Abu Kabir detention facility cell overnight by injecting himself with insulin, an Israel Prison Service spokesperson said early Thursday. ...

Are teachers introducing Nakba to students against state's wishes?
3 Jun 2009 - An educational kit on the Nakba [catastrophe] - the Palestinian term for what happened to them after 1948 - is being disseminated among teachers throughout the country. It was developed by Zochrot, a non-government organization, and is meant to serve the Jewish educational system for pupils aged 15 and above, and includes history plus literary and personal views on the Nakba, as well as discussion of the ways the issue has been sidelined in public discourse. ... 

Tnuva workers say managers cut their salaries for bonuses 
3 Jun 2009 - Minimum wage of 19.28 shekels an hour, with compensation for transportation. That was the salary for S., a supermarket stocker for the giant Tnuva food cooperative. Now, it seems that even her modest salary was deliberately cut by Tnuva's sales managers, lest the country's largest food concern "deviate from the work-hour regulations" for its stockers. ... 

Shulamit Aloni / Israel is controlled by religious fanaticism 
3 Jun 2009 - Not very long ago, during Rabbi Meir Kahane's racist rantings, the late writer and journalist Amos Elon gave me a copy of a letter Lord Rothschild sent to Herzl in August 1902. In the letter, Rothschild explains why he refuses to support the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. He writes that he "should view with horror the establishment of a Jewish colony pure and simple; such a colony would be Imperium Imperio; it would be a Ghetto with the prejudice of the Ghetto; it would be a small petty Jewish state, orthodox and illiberal, excluding the Gentile and the Christian." ... 

YNet News

Rivlin dedicates museum in West Bank
4 Jun 2009 - Knesset speaker, in speech at 'Good Samaritan' museum, talks of growing threat to settlements and importance of Jewish history in West Bank

Olmert prostate surgery successful
4 Jun 2009 - Prostate tumor successfully removed from body of former PM, who asked for Rabbi Ovadia's blessing prior to operation 

UN committee chief 'shocked' by Gaza destruction
4 Jun 2009 - Head of team investigating recent war between Israel and Hamas says will hold two days of public hearings in Strip, claims Israel not cooperating with probe 

Hamas: We will avenge Qalqilya deaths
4 Jun 2009 - Islamist group vows retaliation against Palestinian Authority for the killing of its operatives in two separate clashed in West Bank city

Yesha Council: Obama 'more Hussein than Barack' 
4 Jun 2009 - Settler leaders slam US president's historic Cairo address as 'pandering to Islam'; Marzel: We will continue to settle the Land of Israel whether Obama likes it or not

Israel says shares Obama's hopes for peace
4 Jun 2009 - Gov't releases official response statement saying US president's speech in Cairo heralds 'new era of reconciliation' with Arab world 

Israel warns Belarus against ties with Iran
4 Jun 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warns Minsk against forging diplomatic, trade ties with Tehran

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

Daily Star

Three killed as Abbas forces, Hamas clash in West Bank 
4 Jun 2009 - Palestinian police killed two Hamas fighters on Thursday after the men opened fire at security forces who had surrounded their underground hideout, officials said. One officer was also killed in the operation, part of an intensifying crackdown on Islamist fighters in this Israeli-occupied West Bank town.

Iranian leader: Obama's 'sweet talk' not enough for Muslims 
4 Jun 2009 - Iran's supreme leader said on Thursday the United States was deeply hated in the Middle East and told US President Barack Obama that "beautiful" speeches alone would not improve its image in the Muslim world. Speaking on the same day Obama gave a major speech to the Islamic world in Cairo, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Obama: 'I have come to seek a new beginning' 
4 Jun 2009 - "I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.

Iran's Ebadi says election may help human rights 
4 Jun 2009 - Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi says Iran's human-rights situation has worsened under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but that moderate rivals in this month's election offer hope for improvement. Rights groups and Western diplomats say the Islamic Republic has stepped up a crackdown on dissenting voices since Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad and Mousavi butt heads during rare and raucous election debate 
4 Jun 2009 - The main pro-reform candidate accused hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of driving Iran toward "dictatorship" and hurting its standing in the world by questioning the Holocaust, during a rare and unprecedentedly raucous election debate Wednesday. During the 90-minute debate, televised live, Ahmadinejad.

China deploys heavy security to stifle mention of Tiananmen 
4 Jun 2009 - Chinese police aggressively deterred dissent on Thursday's 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, ignoring calls from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and even Taiwan's China-friendly president for Beijing to face up to the 1989 violence.

Palestinian Information Center

Gov't committee against siege invites Obama to visit Gaza
4 Jun 2009 - The government committee against the siege on Thursday invited US president Barack Obama to visit Gaza Strip to see for himself the amount of suffering of one and a half million besieged Palestinians.

Gaza children stage sit-in at Rafah crossing asking Obama to lift the siege
4 Jun 2009 - Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip on Thursday staged a sit-in at the Rafah border crossing under the slogan of a message from Palestinian children to US president Barack Obama.

Hamas warns of harming Qassam members, asks Egypt to intervene
4 Jun 2009 - Hamas on Thursday warned the PA security forces loyal to former PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and American general Keith Dayton of harming the besieged Qassam commanders in Qalqilia.

Abu Zuhri asks Palestinian factions to urgently stop the crime in Qalqilia
4 Jun 2009 - Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman, on Thursday asked all Palestinian factions to immediately act to stop the PA security apparatuses' crime against Qassam Brigades members in Qalqilia.

Israeli navy detains two Palestinian fishing boats
4 Jun 2009 - Israeli navy forces on Thursday detained two Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza as part of the daily piracy against those fishermen, local sources reported.

Historic edict prohibiting internationalizing Jerusalem, Aqsa
4 Jun 2009 - Tens of Muslim scholars on Wednesday issued a religious edict prohibiting the internationalization of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque and normalization of relations with Israel.

Abbas's security besieges Qassam members, Hamas warns of another assassination
4 Jun 2009 - Around 1000 elements of the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank are encircling a building in Qalqilia on Thursday claiming that Qassam Brigades activists were entrenched inside.

Muslims want actions, not words, from Obama
4 Jun 2009 - I sincerely believe that the vast majority of Muslims, including this writer, profoundly appreciate President Obama’s decision to address the Muslim world from Cairo.

Hamas: Obama’s address to the Muslim world will be judged through his sincerity
4 Jun 2009 - Hamas stated that the speech which Obama intends to deliver to the Muslim world in Cairo would be judged through his seriousness about supporting the justice of the Palestinian cause.

Hamas: PA security intensified arrest campaigns in search of a new Qassam cell
4 Jun 2009 - Hamas said that the PA security apparatuses intensified in the past few days the arrest campaigns in search of Al-Qassam commander in Tulkarem Mohamed Karyoush and members of his cell.

Los Angeles Times

Some in Congress uneasy with Obama's Mideast policy 
4 Jun 2009 - Democrats say they strongly support the peace initiative, but some have voiced anxiety about the president's call for a freeze on Jewish settlement growth in the West Bank. Key U.S. lawmakers whose support is crucial to the Obama administration's Middle East peace effort are showing signs of unease with the administration's aggressive approach to Israel. 

Iranian president, rival spar in debate 
4 Jun 2009 - Leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tangles with Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister and one of his opponents in the presidential race. The hard-hitting encounter is part of a series of debates. Iran's president waved an apparent intelligence file on his challenger's wife in the air Wednesday night, accusing her of violating government rules in an explosive televised debate that laid bare the rifts within the country's establishment. 

Obama's trip may strengthen U.S.-Egypt ties 
4 Jun 2009 - Fostering bilateral trade and investment could benefit both nations and help stabilize political relations, experts say. As President Obama arrives in Egypt today to deliver a much-anticipated speech on U.S.-Middle East relations, businesspeople on both sides of the world are hoping his trip will pave the way for increased commerce. 

New York Times

Iran President and Challenger Clash in Debate
4 Jun 2009 - In a televised debate ahead of next week’s elections, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Mir Hussein Moussavi, a rival for power, accused each other of radicalism and undermining the nation’s interests. 

Israelis Say Bush Agreed to West Bank Growth
3 Jun 2009 - President Obama has not acknowledged what Israeli officials said were clear understandings on settlements. 

Ephraim Katzir, Former Israeli President, Dies at 93
4 Jun 2009 - Dr. Katzir was Israel’s fourth president and one of his nation’s pre-eminent scientists. 


Articles

Electronic Intifada
Despite Israel's efforts, Palestinian festival celebrates literature
4 Jun 2009 - For many Palestinians, the month of May is associated with the commemoration of the Nakba. But with the increasing popularity of the arts in Palestine, the second annual Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest) harmoniously unfolded to the final days of spring, a time also for lavender and lilies. The Electronic Intifada contributor Sousan Hammad reports on PalFest, and how it was shut down by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. 

Palestinian farmers use permaculture to challenge occupation
4 Jun 2009 - A groundbreaking permaculture project in the West Bank is under threat -- for the second time. Sarah Irving finds out how an alternative agriculture movement is trying to find solutions to some of the problems caused by Israeli military occupation and colonization. 

Media agencies annex 200,000 settlers 
3 Jun 2009 - Given their influence on world opinion and the vital importance of the settlement issue in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can readers depend on the news agencies to provide fair coverage? The answer, sadly, is: no. Even on the most basic fact about the settlers -- the number living on occupied Palestinian territory -- the agencies regularly get it wrong. Jonathan Cook analyzes. 

Obama should visit Gaza
3 Jun 2009 - The Obama administration has said almost nothing about the devastating Israeli invasion of Gaza that left more than 1,400 dead, including some 400 children. To many in the Middle East, this is an unfortunate continuation of past policies that condemn the loss of innocent Israeli lives, but refuse to speak out against the disproportionately greater loss of Palestinian lives at the hands of the Israeli military. Medea Benjamin comments for EI. 

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
Oslo Redux: Fool's Gold in Israel/Palestine
4 Jun 2009 - By Remi Kanazi Who doesn't want to blame all the problems Israel/Palestine is currently facing on newly appointed Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu? He refuses to endorse the internationally recognized two-state solution, he is far more combative on settlements than his predecessors, and he has formed a coalition with right wing racist and advocate of forced transfer, Avigdor Lieberman. Listening to the chatter in “liberal” circles, it seems that the stagnation of the peace process is reinforced, not only by Palestinian extremists in Gaza, but by Israeli extremists as well. This current stagnation plays perfectly into the argument that if so-called moderates were in power (i.e. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni), newly elected US President Barack Obama could make the desert bloom with new handshakes and peace processes. Once Israelis and Palestinians see how serious Obama is, they will trade in their current devils for the angels of old. This supposed “liberal” framework dangerously dismisses significant realities. Mahmoud Abbas’ mandate as Palestinian Authority President ended on January 9, and he is increasingly seen among Palestinians as a Western and Israeli quisling willing to do anything necessary to maintain power. Secondly, Netanyahu and Lieberman didn’t just stumble upon the 42 Knesset seats their respective parties accrued in last February’s election. Both men represent a considerable and rapidly expanding sector of Israeli society. Moreover, the tone of the Israeli mainstream has shifted further to the right: 94 percent of Israeli Jews supported the war on Gaza; the...

Convenient Crutch: Forget 'Negotiations, Mr. Obama
4 Jun 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London Whenever western leaders lecture us about a solution to the Israel-Palestine problem, they rely on those comfortable, woolly words "negotiation" and “peace process”… it’s a convenient crutch. Kick away the crutch and they’d finally have to grasp the nettle of justice, something they have always avoided. Justice is underpinned by law, but the operation of law in the Holy Land is conspicuously absent. The Arabs, I believe, want plain, simple justice. Why is this such a problem to a western alliance that claims to itself sweeping moral authority? President Obama, speaking the other day in a BBC interview, said he believed the US was "going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track" between Israel and the Palestinians. Asked about Israel's defiance of his call for a halt to illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Obama urged patience, saying it was early in the conversation. "Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It's never a matter of quick results." Diplomacy hasn’t produced a result in 61 years, and he made no mention of implementing international law and enforcing UN resolutions. Like others, he much prefers the soft and fluffy option of negotiations that go nowhere and a “process” that is doomed to fail, enabling Israel to pursue its evil designs indefinitely. In their minds, and for some unexplained reason, Israel is exempt from laws, conventions, codes of conduct and respect for human rights that other nations of the civilised...

Time to Look Past Obama's Words
4 Jun 2009 - By Kevin Zeese There is long-time saying about politicians: you cannot trust their words, but must judge them by their actions. President Obama is very good with words, perhaps the best communicator we have seen in the White House in a generation. But now he has been in office long enough that he should be judged on his actions. The direction of U.S. foreign policy is moving rapidly in the wrong direction on many fronts. It is time for the peace movement to step up its activities throughout the country and demand a change in course. The U.S. passed the 5,000th death of a U.S. service member in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This death seemed to be barely noticed by a peace movement that during the Bush years highlighted every major milestone. This sad body count is the tip of the iceberg of the dire effects of these wars – mass deaths and maiming of civilians, millions forced to flee their homes described as “an exodus that is beyond biblical.” Wars are raging. Indeed, the deadline for U.S. troops to leave Iraqi cities is being met, not by U.S. troops actually leaving the cities but by Iraq redrawing city boundaries. General Casey, the Army chief of staff, said the Pentagon must plan for extended U.S. combat and stability operations in two wars – up to ten more years in Iraq. And, General McChrystal testified before the Congress this week that Afghanistan is likely to cost American taxpayers and...

Friedman and Obama Trade Jokes
4 Jun 2009 - By Belen Fernandez Thomas Friedman's June 3 Op-Ed column on the New York Times website begins with the retelling of Friedman's "favorite Middle East joke," which he declares has just given President Obama "a good laugh" during a phone interview concerning Obama’s upcoming speech in Egypt. The joke goes as follows: There is this very pious Jew named Goldberg who always dreamed of winning the lottery. Every Sabbath, he’d go to synagogue and pray: ‘God, I have been such a pious Jew all my life. What would be so bad if I won the lottery?’ But the lottery would come and Goldberg wouldn’t win. Week after week, Goldberg would pray to win the lottery, but the lottery would come and Goldberg wouldn’t win. Finally, one Sabbath, Goldberg wails to the heavens and says: ‘God, I have been so pious for so long, what do I have to do to win the lottery?’ And the heavens parted and the voice of God came down: ‘Goldberg, give me a chance! Buy a ticket!’” Friedman applies the moral of his joke to the Arab and Israeli press, in which “everyone seemed to be telling [Obama] what he needed to do and say in Cairo, but nobody was indicating how they were going to step up and do something different.” The upshot according to Friedman is that “[e]veryone wants peace, but nobody wants to buy a ticket”—which sounds compelling if we ignore the fact that there is only one character in the joke, and...

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