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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
10 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Lebanese court charges ten with spying for Israel
11 Jun 2009 - The Lebanese military prosecutor filed charges against 10 suspects on Wednesday after they were accused of spying for Israel. The case is one of many recent cases against suspected collaborators. 

Lebanese security forces arrest two women with Israeli passports
11 Jun 2009 - The Al Manar TV, run by Hezbollah party, reported Wednesday that the Lebanese security forces arrested two women while leaving the Beirut Airport as they carried Israeli passports. 

Mubarak: “Two-state solution in the only solution”
11 Jun 2009 - Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, stated Wednesday that the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian is the only viable solution and would be implemented regardless of the current situation. 

Red Cross calls on Israel to allow visitations to Gaza detainees
11 Jun 2009 - The International Red Cross called on Israeli to allow the families of Palestinian detainees from Gaza to be able to leave the coastal region to visit their detained family members. 

Abbas meets Mitchell in Ramallah
11 Jun 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met on Wednesday at his Ramallah headquarters with the US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, and the two held talks on the two-state solution, the Road Map Peace Plan and other issues related to Middle East peace. 

Likud Minister rejects two-state solution, claims settlements do not obstruct peace
11 Jun 2009 - Likud Minister, Benny Begin, stated Wednesday that Israel does not accept the US-backed two-state solution, and claimed that the Palestinians “would not stop demanding to have Israel as part of their state”. 

The Israeli Cabinet orders the military to respond to any attack from Gaza
10 Jun 2009 - The Israeli cabinet's security and political committee on Wednesday ordered the military to respond to any Palestinian attacks from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military invades Hebron and kidnaps three civilians
10 Jun 2009 - Three Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by the Israeli military on Wednesday at dawn during an invasion targeting the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Two men killed in different incidents in Gaza
10 Jun 2009 - Two men were killed in the Gaza strip on Wednesday morning during two different incidents, Palestinian sources reported.

Tunnel collapse in Gaza, one killed, four others missing
10 Jun 2009 - One Palestinian man was killed on Wednesday midday and four others are still missing under the rubble as a tunnel collapsed at the southern Gaza-Egypt borders.

Settler violence on the rise
10 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Yesh Din human rights group stated that Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank are escalating their attacks against the Palestinians, and significantly increased their attempts to uproot and damage Palestinian farmlands. 

Mitchell: "US committed to Israel's security"
10 Jun 2009 - In all of his meetings with Israeli officials, US envoy George Mitchell, confirmed the American commitment to Israel's security while at the same time stated that the United States still believes that Israel should stop the construction and expansion of settlement. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Report: Two Israeli Arab sisters arrested in Lebanon
10 Jun 2009 - Hezbollah Web site: Pair, both in their sixties, were en route to U.S., one voted in Lebanon election. 

Cabinet to IDF: Respond to any attack from Gaza
10 Jun 2009 - Decision comes days after thwarted attack; ministers deem Hamas responsible for all Gaza militancy. 

Barak: U.S. arms likely to fall into Hezbollah hands
9 Jun 2009 - Defense Minister: New Lebanon government needs to be given chance, but must abide by resolution 1701. 

Did a Palestinian try to assassinate a top Abbas aide?
9 Jun 2009 - PA official's guards shoot, seriously wound driver they thought was going to ram his convoy in Ramallah. 

Barak: IDF faces more difficult wars than last Gaza op
9 Jun 2009 - Defense Minister warns cadets of chaotic nature of combat; Netanyahu: We fixed problems from Second Lebanon War. 

IDF kills four Gaza militants, thwarting apparent kidnap bid
8 Jun 2009 - Military sources say Palestinian militants trying to infiltrate Israel had planned terror attack as well. 

Knesset still without panel for top secret intelligence affairs
7 Jun 2009 - Source told Haaretz government has had to 'sweeten the pill' for MKs not asked to join committee. 

Defense officials to meet on easing Gaza blockade
7 Jun 2009 - Decision to reexamine policy follows Obama's recent criticism of 'continuing humanitarian crisis' in Gaza. 

Ma'an News

World’s oldest city still lacks sewage network
6/10/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an – The West Bank city of Jericho, located near the Dead Sea at the lowest elevation on earth is believed to be one of the oldest cities in the world. The city is preparing to mark its ten-thousandth anniversary, and yet it still lacks a sewage network. Over the past 15 years, mayors of Jericho have been asking donor states for the funds needed to install a modern sewage network which the town, reliant on tourism for much of its economy, badly needs. “It is funny in 2009 that a historic city like Jericho lacks a sewage network. Israeli occupation played a major role in depriving Jericho along with several other Palestinian cities of many basic needs of modern life,” says the mayor of Jericho Ahmad Salih. Salih added that a Japanese delegation would arrive in Jericho within weeks to complete preparations for a sewage network in Jericho which will be funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

ICRC urges Israel to allow Gaza families to visit relatives in prison
6/10/2009 - headquarters in GazaBethlehem – Ma’an – The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday that Israel must end a two-year policy of denying family visits for Palestinian prisoners from Gaza. Parents, spouses, siblings and children of about 900 detainees have been deprived of face-to-face contact since June 2007, when the Israel decided to suspend the ICRC-run family visit program, according to the organization. "Palestinian families must be allowed to visit their next of kin in Israeli prisons. This is a humanitarian issue of utmost importance," said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation in Israel and the occupied territories in a statement. The ICRC says the situation has been especially painful for the children, who have gone without precious contact with a parent. 

Paperless Palestinian refugee abandoned in Israeli Negev prison
6/10/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – After nine days of hunger strike the stateless Palestinian born refugee Subhi Abdullah Abu Loz appealed to Human Rights institutions from captivity in Israel’s Negev Prison. Abu Loz was detained in Gaza on 23 March 2006 because he had no official identity papers. He was set to be released on 11 August 2008, but has remained in Israeli custody and has received no answers to his repeated pleas for help and questions over his continued detention. The prisoner spoke to Ma’an Radio in Palestine via mobile phone snuck into the facility. He was born in Gaza and fled with his family in 1967 when Israel took control of the Strip from the Egyptians in 1967. Unlike Palestinians living in the West Bank before 1967 (when it was under Jordanian control) Gazans were not given passports or citizenship documents. 

Israeli police serve new demolition orders to Silwan families; clashes ensue
6/10/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Clashes erupted as massive forces of Israeli soldiers and border police descended on Jerusalem's Al-Bustan neighborhood to serve nearly a hundred demolition notices to Palestinian homeowners. The demolition orders were served to the owners of the 88 homes earlier threatened with destruction under Israeli law 212, which allows homes to be demolished or evacuated without any formal legal charges being brought forth or any party convicted of an alleged violation of the Israeli Planning and Building Law. This law was also used in 1967 to erase the Palestinian Al-Mugharbi neighborhood inside the Old City to form the plaza in front of the Western Wall, believed to be the site of the third temple in Judaism. The neighborhood was razed and is now an open compound for Jews to pray near the wall. Residents clashed fiercely with police, who are said to have been. . . 

An open letter to UN cars at Palestinian checkpoints: Wait your turn!
6/10/2009 - Dear all,I really want to register my dismay to all diplomatic and UN cars that overtake all other ordinary cars waiting to cross either from Ramallah to Jerusalem (afternoons) or from Jerusalem to Ramallah (mornings). I believe such disrespect to others will only serve the purpose that Israel wanted from these crossings, which is discrimination and demeaning to the ordinary Palestinian that is using the crossing day after day. Diplomatic Missions in Ramallah, who I believe have absolute understanding to the daily suffering of the Palestinians, should not be used as a tool to further inflect harm on the feelings and the emotions of the people whom they are supposed to be serving and assisting. If their countries were occupied, God forbid, and had similar crossings to Qalandia and a Palestine Diplomatic car did exactly what they are doing today, what their people would brand us as, I wonder. 

Israeli forces seize four Palestinian children
6/10/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma'an – Israeli forces seized four Palestinian children during a raid the West Bank village of Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem early on Wednesday morning. Witnesses in the village said Israeli soldiers stormed dozens of houses, detaining Dawood Mohammad Najeeb, 12, Abdullah Hassan Najeeb, Shararah Hassan Mahmood Najeeb, 11, and Mahmoud Kareem Najeeb, 12. Earlier the Israeli army said it detained nine Palestinians in raids in the West Bank. [end] 

Israeli forces seize nine Palestinians overnight
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said on Thursday morning that it detained nine Palestinians in overnight raids in the West Bank. The “wanted” Palestinians were taken for “interrogation,” according to Israel. They are being held in unknown locations. [end] 

Israeli injured near Hebron area settlement
6/10/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – An Israeli man arrived at the main gate to the Israeli settlement of Karma south of Hebron on Wednesday with wounds to his neck seemingly the result of a stone attack, Israeli sources said. Earlier reports said the man, who was given first aid on the scene and transfered to hospital, was in fact a Palestinian. The identity of the injured man and how he was injured remained unknown. Israeli media previously reported that a Palestinian was shot near the same settlement, but the report later turned out to be false. [end] 

Abu Ali Mustafa brigades target Israeli forces in eastern Gaza
6/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The military front for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, announced an attack on an Israeli military engineering unit fixing the wires on the border fence in eastern Gaza Wednesday afternoon. The brigades said in a statement that the attack came as a response to “all Israeli crimes and harassment committed against Palestinians. ” [end] 

Israeli military court sentences Al-Asqa leader to three back-to-back life sentences
6/10/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – An Israeli military court sentenced Al-Aqsa Brigades leader Kamal Jamil Abu Shanab from Tulkarem to three life sentences to be served back-to-back, during his court hearing on Wednesday. The 35-year-old Abu Shanab was detained during a3 March 2007 invasion of Ramallah. The brigades leader was in the Palestinian Authority military intelligence headquarters when he was seized. Abu Shanab is detained at the Ashkelon prison. [end] 

Israeli troops invade residential areas of Hebron, seize three
6/10/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli troops raided several housesand detained three from the Hebron area overnight Tuesday. Local sources said that the troops overran several areas in Hebron and raided a Al-Hashlamoun family home in the Wad Abu Katileh neighborhood, where they arrested 45-year-old Assem Al-Hashlamoun and 28-year-old Yousef Abdel Hadi Al-Hashlamoun. A second home raid saw the seizure of Zain Abdel Hafith Al-Qudsi from his house in the Al-Jildah neighborhood. His home was searched and ransacked. Security sources also noted that Israeli troops ransacked the home of recently released detainee Na’im Ismael Abu Turkey. His home is in the Old City of Hebron. 

Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing closed
6/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Wednesday to open the Nahal Oz and Karni crossings in the northern Gaza Strip, while the Kerem Shalom in the south will remain closed. According to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian crossings official, limited quantities of fuel and cooking gas will be shipped to the Gaza Strip through Nahal Oz terminal. Furthermore, truckloads of wheat and fodder will enter Gaza through Karni crossing. Kerem Shalom terminal, currently the main transfer point for humanitarian aid, will remain closed for a second consecutive day for maintenance. [end] 

Mitchell: Two states ’only viable solution’
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – US President Barack Obama’s envoy to the Middle East met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, assuring him that Washington will not abandon Palestinians’ aspirations for independence. "The only viable resolution to this conflict is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states," Mitchell said after meeting Abbas. "Israel and the Palestinians have a responsibility to meet their obligations under the roadmap. It is not just a responsibility; we believe it is in their interests as well," he said. "As President Obama said this week, 'America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own. '" he said, referencing the US' leader's leader's landmark address in Cairo last Thursday. Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat said that the meeting between. . . 

Forty-one European lawmakers leave Gaza early
6/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A delegation of 41 European parliament members left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on Wednesday less than a day after they arrived in the war torn territory. It is not known why the group led by Italian lawmaker Luisa Morgantini left so soon after their arrival. The 15-nation delegation was expected to spend several days visiting devastated areas and meeting survivors of Israel’s three-week assault last winter. During their brief stay, the parliament members visited the ruins of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) building in Gaza City, which was leveled by an Israeli airstrike. Arriving at the Egypt-controlled Rafah crossing point Tuesday amorning, Morgantini said the lawmakers had come to “express solidarity” with the people of Gaza and bear witness to the destruction. 

Erekat: Israel must honor prior commitment to two states
6/10/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an – The two-state solution and halting settlements are not Palestinian preconditions, but rather terms that Israel hadpreviously committed to, said Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Wednesday. These remarks come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes under pressure from the US to publicly commit to the creation of a Palestinian state, and halt all construction in West Bank settlements, as the basis for renewed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Erekat’s comments came during separate meetings he held with the Japanese foreign minister, Japanese ambassador to Palestine, US Consul General in Jerusalem Jake Walles, and representatives of Switzerland, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Chile. Erekat stressed that the Israeli government is attempting to evade. . . 

Barak: Israel must choose two states over apartheid
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the notion of an independent Palestinian state on Wednesday. "The current government was formed with the commitment to respect the deals reached by preceding governments," Barak told public radio, according to AFP. The remarks come ahead of a much-hyped speech in which Netanyahu says he will lay down his policy on peace negotiations. The speech will be delivered on Sunday. According to Barak, Israel’s prior commitments include "the roadmap which clearly states that the conflict must be resolved on the principle of two states for two peoples," said the head of the center-left Labor party, the most moderate member of Netanyahu's otherwise right-wing government, as quoted by AFP. "If such a solution fails,” said the former prime minister, “there will be. . . 

PFLP views new US policy as ’just like Bush’; skeptical over Mitchell statements
6/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine “doubts the seriousness of the new U. S. Administration and the new envoy for the Middle East,” the movement said in response to US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell’s comments Wednesday. Mitchell met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier in the day, and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday. He promised Israel that ties would remain strong, but insisted on a two-state solution and an end to Israeli settlement construction, as per US President Barack Obama’s official policy. To Abbas, Mitchell said, “"The only viable resolution to this conflict is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states. ”In a statement, however, the PFLF expressed scepticism:“The new American administration is using the same policy as Bush in dealing with the Arab and Islamic countries;. . . 

EU High Representative Javier Solana to make Mid-East tour
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana will visit Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt for four days from teh 10-14 June. Solana will meet the folowing officials at each stop: Israel: President Shimon Peres, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni. President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat. Head of EUBAM Rafahn Colonel Alain Faugeras, and Deputy Head of EUPOL COPPSLucien Vermeir. In Lebanon, President Michel Sleimane, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh. He will also meet representatives of different political forces. In Egypt: President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit. 

Fayyad receives Italian Deputy Foreign Minister in Ramallah
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad received Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Stefania Craxi at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday. During his meeting the caretaker represetnative for the Palestinian Authority thanked Craxi for her country's support for the area, and updated her on the situation in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Fayyad also reiterated the PA stance that settlement construction must come to a complete halt before peace talks with Israel can resume. [end] 

Hamas: PA arrest raids continue
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas said in a statement released on Wednesday that Palestinian Authority security forces detained 19 Hamas-affiliated people in the West Bank on Tuesday evening. In Hebron, in the southern West Bank, according to the statement, PA security detained head of the village council of Wadi Ash-Shajjana Azzam Abu Arqub, Ashraf Badr, Mahmoud Shahatit, Muhammad Ghannam, Salim Rajoub, Burhan Shreitih, and Nimir Shunnarat. In Beit Awwa village, west of Hebron, Hamas said PA security seized Samir Masalma. Ahmad Halayqa, and Nasr Halayqa from Ash-Shuyukh north of Hebron, both studying at Al-Arrub College, were also detained. In Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank, according to Hamas’ statement, Palestinian security nabbed Muhannad Abu Salah, Khalid Ash-Shaer, Eyhab Abu Lifa, Muhammad Shurbaji, Muhammad Samara, and Zakariyya Al-Husari. 

PA employee shot dead in Gaza
6/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian Authority employee was found dead in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, medics who received the body at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital said he sustained fatal gun wounds. Local residents found the body of the 30-year-old man, who was identified only by the initials MD, with two bullets in his neck, in his home in the central Gaza town of Deir Al-Balah. A machine gun was found beside the body. No other details were available about the incident. Separately, an Egyptian citizen, Sami As-Sawrka, was shot by Egyptian border guards when he scaled the border wall into the Gaza Strip. He was treated at the European Hospital in the city of Khan Younis. 

Tulkarem: PA forces launch arrest operation for Hamas man
6/10/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an Exclusive – Palestinian Authority security forces have been carrying out a raid in Tulkarem Refugee Camp in the northern West Bank since Wednesday morning in an operation believed to target a Hamas fighter. Misbah Al-Baba, director of the Tulkarem security forces told Ma’an’s reporter in the city that the target of the operation is a “fugitive” they have pursued for a long time. He said security officials decided to act when they learned the location of his hideout. Eyewitnesses said PA security men have completely surrounded the Balawnah neighborhood in the northern part of the camp. The target of the mission is believed to be a member of Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, but his identity has not been released. The operation has proceeded without incident so far, and locals report hearing no gunfire so far. 

Hamas: Success of dialogue linked to Fatah deeds in the West Bank
6/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The attempt by the Palestinian Authority to arrest Hamas leader Dr Muhammad Ghazal from his Nablus area home is a clear sign the government intends to spoil the Egyptian mediation efforts, said a party spokesman Wednesday. The statement came as dozens of PA forces surrounded the home of a suspected Hamas fighter in the Tulkarem refugee camp. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the PA’s attempt to seize Ghazal occurred earlier in the day, and called on Egypt to put an end to the PA-instigated political arrests in the West Bank. Without a stop to [political arrests, he said, there would not be a warm atmosphere for unity dialogue in July. The success of dialogue is linked to Fatah deeds in the West Bank, Barhoum concluded. 

Qatari artist to build monument to fallen fighters from latest Gaza war
6/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Qatari artists will build a monument to the martyrs of the Israeli war on Gaza in the Strip’s largest city in the coming months, to commemorate the latest battle fought by resistance forces against Israel. Director of the committee in charge of receiving delegations into Gaza Hamdy Sha’th, made the announcement on Wednesday, and said the artists were part of the Sheikha Hafsa Ath-Thany Delegation, who arrivedto Gaza the day before. Sha’th said the monument would not only commemorate the sacrifices of the martyrs, but also act as a bridge between Palestine and Qatar and a reminder of their brotherhood. [end] 

PA documents first case of Swine Flu in West Bank; victim 4-year-old Bethlehemite
6/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The first case of H1N1 Virus, better known as Swine Flu, was documented in Bethlehem Wednesday, said Health Ministry official Dr As’ad Ar-Ramlawi. The infected individual is said to be a 4-year-old Bethlehemite who returned to the region three days ago from a visit to Texas. The young girl was taken to hospital suffering flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with H1N1. Ar-Ramlawi said Palestinian medical staff were working tirelessly to secure the necessary medicines and vaccines to prevent the spread of the virus. [end] 

The National

Mitchell meets Palestinian president
10 Jun 2009 - George Mitchell meets Mahmoud Abbas after telling Israeli leaders the US wants Middle East peace talks to resume.

March 14 coalition wins in Lebanon
8 Jun 2009 - There is little optimism on the streets of Beirut that violence can be avoided following the defeat of the group's Hizbollah-led rivals.

Hizbollah chief congratulates winners
8 Jun 2009 - Lebanon's pro-Western coalition declares victory after fending off the Shiite militant group Hizbollah and its allies for the majority in parliament.

Aljazeera

Iran campaign enters final day
10 Jun 2009 - Rival presidential candidates in frantic push to woo voters ahead of Friday's vote.

Hamas: Fatah raids disrupting talks
9 Jun 2009 - West Bank raids by Fatah are hampering reconciliation, Hamas leader says in Cairo.

Nasrallah concedes election defeat
8 Jun 2009 - Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah congratulates March 14 bloc after it retained its majority.

Palestinian PM seeks aid money
8 Jun 2009 - Aid received over past five months amounts to less than half of the $1.5bn needed, IMF says.

Palestinians killed in border clash
8 Jun 2009 - Three fighters shot by Israeli forces near Nahal Oz crossing, Gaza hospital officials say.

IRIN

OPT: Sewage warning to swimmers, fishermen
GAZA CITY Friday, June 05, 2009 (IRIN) - The World Health Organization (WHO) in the Gaza Strip, in conjunction with the Gaza health ministry, began a public awareness campaign this week to warn swimmers and fishermen of raw sewage discharges, and the potential dangers.

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. 

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: Will Libyan Leader Make his Maiden U.N. Appearance? 
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 10 (IPS) - Every September, most of the world's political leaders make their annual pilgrimage to New York to address the General Assembly sessions of the United Nations.

MIDEAST: Some Unclean Drops to Drink 
FAQUA, Northern West Bank, Jun 10 (IPS) - Faqua village has found itself unfortunately named. Faqua in Arabic means spring water bubbles; the village was named after the abundant natural underground springs that were once found all around it.

MIDEAST: Long Way From 'Settlerland' to 'Palestineland' 
JERUSALEM, Jun 10 (IPS) - Has Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got the Obama message? To judge by his minimalist response to President Barack Obama's landmark Cairo University address and his continuing reluctance to meet Obama's demand for a total freeze on Israeli settlements, the answer would seem to be, '...

US: Washington Heaves Sigh of Relief After Allies Win in Lebanon 
WASHINGTON, Jun 9 (IPS) - The victory of the Western-backed coalition in Lebanon’s Sunday elections will likely allow the U.S. to avoid making tough decisions about how to deal with the country had the opposition, led by an armed Islamist militia, won.

Stop The Wall

http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/1975.shtml
10 Jun 2009 - Last Friday, the weekly popular protest at al-Ma'sara launched a call for support and solidarity with four of its members and one Palestinian from Hebron, whose trials are scheduled to start on June 9. [

Another killed in Ni'lin
5 Jun 2009 - Occupation forces shot and killed Yousef Sadiq Srour during a demonstration against the Wall this afternoon in Ni'lin. He was shot in the chest with a live bullet while he was trying to remove an injured person from the front lines of the demonstration. Soldiers attacked Ni'lin in the morning, shooting at villagers who were in the midst of praying with tear gas and live ammunition. Four other people were shot with live bullets today; three were hit in the leg and the fourth in the kidney. [

PCHR Latest

(08-06-2009) PCHR Is Concerned Over Arrest Campaigns against Fatah Activists in Gaza and against Hamas Activists in the West Bank
PCHR

Palestinian Security Officer and 2 Members of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades Killed in Qalqilya
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(28 May- 03 June  2008)


International Solidarity Movement

Rights group warns of growing settler violence
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News - 10 June 2009 - Palestinian farmers in the West Bank are paying the price for the government's efforts to evacuate illegal outpost in the region, data published by human rights group Yesh Din on Wednesday revealed. According to the organization, in recent weeks there has been an alarming rise in the number of attempts to uproot or damage trees in villages in the area, and the phenomenon is expected to expand if the security forces do not take action against the perpetrators. In a letter sent to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Central Command Chief Gadi Shamni and Judea and Samaria District Police Commander Hagai Dotan, Yesh Din wrote that since the end of April and throughout the month of May, some 300 trees - mostly olive trees - have been uprooted or sawed in four West Bank villages. According to the group no one has been questioned in relation to the incidents. 

Israeli forces demolish Hebron water reservoirs
International Solidarity Movement - On the 8th of June 2009, at 8 am, a bulldozer, escorted by 5 police and army cars, destroyed a Palestinian reservoirin Al Bueri, north of Hebron. Mohammed Radi Sultan, the owner, had built the reservoir three years ago in order to irrigate his vineyard, but he could not acquire a permit from the Israeli occupation authorities. Residents of Al Bueri are not allowed to build anything on their land, which is completely surrounded by settlements and an outpost. On Thursday, June 4th, Mohammed received a court order to demolish the reservoir but the order was not to be implemented for 10 days. Ten days were given to allow him the option of appealing the demolition decision. A bulldozer and police cars arrived to demolish the reservoir at 8am. Ten Palestinians tried to stop the demolition, but were beaten by the police. 

Free Gaza Movement launches its 'Right to Read' Campaign
International Solidarity Movement - Free Gaza Movement - 9 June 2009 - In partnership with Al-Aqsa University, the Free Gaza Movement (FG) is launching its "Right to Read" campaign which will use the FG fleet to deliver textbooks and other educational supplies to universities throughout the occupied Gaza Strip. "This is not a charitable endeavor," notes FG Chair Huwaida Arraf. " Rather it is an act of solidarity and resistance to Israel's chokehold on Gaza and attempt to deny Palestinians education. Dr. Haidar Eid, a professor at Al-Aqsa University and coordinator in Gaza for the campaign adds, "Education is a right. Yet throughout history, societies have used access to education as a weapon of oppression. We refuse to let Israel blockade our students' thirst for knowledge. We welcome working with Free Gaza and others to break this siege against our people's greatest resource. 

Veolia likely to abandon rail project
International Solidarity Movement - Gulf News - 9 June 2009 - Dubai: One of the two transport companies facing a lawsuit in France for their involvement in a controversial Israeli rail project in occupied East Jerusalem has reportedly planned to withdraw from the project. French company Veolia Transport is considering the sale of its five per cent stake in the Citypass consortium which is tasked with building the occupied Jerusalem rail link, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The other French company involved in the project is Alstom Transport. The paper cited observers attributing the move to pressure on the company in Europe and the loss of potential revenue due to its involvement in the occupied Palestinian Territories. When completed, the Jerusalem Light Rail is expected to link occupied Jerusalem to Jewish colonies in the occupied West Bank that are considered illegal under international law. 

Hundreds call for Erez to open, siege on Gaza to end
International Solidarity Movement - Upwards of 300 Palestinians, with a number of international supporters, rallied at the road to the Erez crossing in northern Gaza on Wednesday morning, calling for the crossing to be opened and an end to the 3 year long siege, in place since shortly after Hamas was elected in early 2006 and escalated dramatically following June 2007, when Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip. Women were a strong presence in the demonstration, as were elderly, and children. A number of ill and disabled Palestinians highlighted the importance of the crossings being opened. Nearly 340 Palestinians have died as a result of denied medical care, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Amidst the crowd of demonstrators, 5 year old Mohammed Nasser el Ghneim, a child with multiple ailments needing medical care outside. "He doesn't see well, cannot hear, cannot speak, doesn't walk yet, 

Court to decide if builders can be sued for settlements
International Solidarity Movement - The Canadian Jewish News - 10 June 2009 - A Quebec court will decide whether a lawsuit against two Canadian-based companies that are alleged to have illegally constructed residential buildings for Jewish settlers on disputed land in the West Bank can be heard here. On June 22, 23 and 25, Quebec Superior Court is scheduled to hear a motion from the firms' lawyer to dismiss the case. The lawsuit, filed last July by the municipal council of the Palestinian village of Bil'in and one of its residents, claims that the companies, Green Mount International and Green Park International, which are registered in Quebec, are violating international and Canadian law. If the motions to dismiss are rejected, it would be the first time that any foreign court has agreed to hear a suit against a corporation for construction of Jewish settlements on territory under dispute between Palestinians and Israelis. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Background / Holocaust museum shooting suspect's history of seething anger
10 Jun 2009 - A frustrated artist and an angry man, the suspect in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting once tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve board, a caper thwarted when a guard captured him outside ... 

Erekat: Palestinians in position of strength for first time
10 Jun 2009 - Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Wednesday the Palestinians are in a position of strength vis-a-vis Israel for the first time in their history. Speaking to the BBC, Erekat said American pressure on Israel would probably succeed and move the peace process forward. ... 

Obama to Mubarak: Netanyahu fears peace moves will ruin coalition
10 Jun 2009 - During his recent visit to Cairo, U.S. President Barack Obama relayed to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that any cessation of settlement construction and acknowledgment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders will result in the collapse of his coalition government. ... 

WATCH: Obama 'saddened' by attack at U.S. Holocaust Museum
10 Jun 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he was "shocked and saddened" by a fatal shooting attack at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in downtown Washington earlier in the day. ...

Neo-Nazi kills guard at U.S. Holocaust Museum 
10 Jun 2009 - An elderly white supremacist opened fire with a rifle inside the crowded U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum early Wednesday afternoon, fatally wounding a security guard before being shot himself by other officers. ...

The Guardian

Israel pushes out its own people | Dimi Reider
10 Jun 2009 - Netanyahu's insistence on the term 'Jewish state' signals a rejection of Israeli Palestinians as rightful citizens Whenever Barack Obama speaks of the Middle East these days, there's one thing that worries "senior Israeli officials" most. "He...

Video: Gaza: The destitute and the forgotten
9 Jun 2009 - Nearly six months since the devastating war in Gaza ended, Palestinians are still living amid the rubble

Israel's settlement setback | Seth Freedman
8 Jun 2009 - Obama's anti-settlement stance is giving the Israeli right a taste of its own medicine – and its howls of protest ring hollow President Obama's anti-settlement stance has, unsurprisingly, prompted an outpouring of wailing and teeth-gnashing among...

Letters: Obama's battle for Muslim hearts and minds
7 Jun 2009 - In his speech ( Barack Obama pledges new beginning between US and Muslims, 4 June ), President Obama preaches to the Palestinians living under a brutal military occupation that they "must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing...

Ha'aretz National page

Special ed teacher suspected of threatening students with rifle
10 Jun 2009 - A special education teacher has been arrested for allegedly threatening her students at gunpoint during their annual school trip, as well as beating a number of the children with a tree branch. ...

Yishai urges Netanyahu to cancel Tel Aviv gay parade 
9 Jun 2009 - Interior Minister Eli Yishai has called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai to cancel the city's upcoming Gay Pride Parade, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday. ...

Supreme Court chief: Why won't state demolish illegal outposts?
9 Jun 2009 - Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch on Wednesday lambasted the state for neglecting to enforce demolition orders of illegal West Bank outposts. ...

Woman mistakenly junks $1 million mattress
9 Jun 2009 - An Israeli woman mistakenly threw out a mattress with $1 million stuffed inside, setting off a frantic search through tons of garbage at a number of landfill sites, media sources reported Wednesday. ...

A.B. Yehoshua / Why do we insist on a 'Jewish' state?
9 Jun 2009 - Let's pretend that in May 1948, when David Ben Gurion and his friends announced the establishment of the state of Israel, there was not one person within the brand new sovereign Israeli territory who did not define him or herself as Jewish. No Palestinian Arabs, no Druze or Circassian. What would we have called this newborn state then? ...

Relief Web

OTP: Make them happy
10 Jun 2009 - Source: American Near East Refugee Aid

OPT: Breaking the silence
10 Jun 2009 - Source: American Near East Refugee Aid

OPT: Canada hosting meeting on Gaza counter-arms smuggling initiative
10 Jun 2009 - Source: Government of Canada

OPT: UNDP and Ministry of Health seminar concludes to establish a national body to manage medical waste
10 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Development Programme

OPT: U.S. Government contributes $55 million to UNRWA
10 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: Poland to host children from Gaza Strip
10 Jun 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

OPT/Gaza: Families should be allowed to resume visits to relatives detained in Israel
10 Jun 2009 - Source: ICRC

OPT: Coming to terms with grief in Nablus - Fatima helped me' 
9 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Children's Fund

YNet News

Report: 2 Israeli women detained in Beirut
10 Jun 2009 - Two sisters arrested at airport attempting to leave Lebanon after one had participated in elections

Begin: Palestinians only want one state
10 Jun 2009 - Likud minister rejects two-state solution on grounds Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as Jewish state

Beinish chides state on unexecuted demolition orders
10 Jun 2009 - Supreme Court president wants orders referring to structures in two West Bank outposts honored

B'tselem

Bring the shooter in Hebron to justice
7 Jun 2009 - In December '08, settler Ze'ev Braude was filmed shooting and wounding three Palestinians in Hebron. On 8 June '09, it was reported that, following a Supreme Court order that the state reveal privileged evidence in the case, the indictment against Braude 

Investigation closed in case of Susiya settler attack
6 Jun 2009 - On 8 June '08, four settlers clubbed Palestinian shepherds near Susiya. A relative of the victims documented the attack with a B'Tselem camera. Recently, the Hebron police closed the investigation on grounds of "offender unknown".

Daily Star

Ahmadinejad accuses election rivals of using Hitler's tactics 
10 Jun 2009 - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused his election rivals on Wednesday of adopting smear tactics used by Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler and said they could face jail for insulting him. Ahmadinejad was speaking at a rally in Tehran on the final day of an increasingly bitter and hard-fought election campaign.

US wants Israel to make peace with all neighbors - envoy 
10 Jun 2009 - US envoy George Mitchell assured the Palestinians on Wednesday of Washington's commitment to a state of their own, calling its establishment the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mitchell, speaking after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urged both sides to meet their obligations under a 2003 peace.

Abbas to chair talks on Fatah's first congress in two decades 
10 Jun 2009 - President Mahmoud Abbas will chair talks in Jordan on Thursday with factions of Fatah, seeking agreement to hold the first congress in 20 years of the fractured, weakened movement dominating Palestinian politics. Fatah needs to restore unity to overturn its shock 2006 election defeat by Islamist rival Hamas.

Egypt president pledges to help Nubian minority 
10 Jun 2009 - Egypt's president pledged Wednesday to promote development and care for the Nubians, as criticism to his government's treatment of Egypt's ancient but highly marginalized minority mounts. President Hosni Mubarak, in remarks made after touring Aswan Province where many Nubians live, said his government's plans to relocate many Nubians.

Hamas chief says West Bank arrests hinder Palestinian unity 
10 Jun 2009 - Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said on Tuesday that arrests in the Occupied West Bank of the group's fighters by forces loyal to President Mahmud Abbas were hindering efforts at reconciliation between the two sides. Meshaal, who arrived for unity talks in Cairo, said he perceived a "change in tone" from the United States toward the Palestinian question.

Palestinian Information Center

Salah: IOA plans to demolish 70% of Palestinian homes in O. Jerusalem
10 Jun 2009 - Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, has warned that the IOA was planning to demolish 70% of Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem.

Bahar: Europe should side with the victim in face of the criminal
10 Jun 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting PLC speaker, has called on Europe and the West in general to side by the Palestinian victims of the Zionist criminality when dealing with the Palestine cause.

Palestinians: It is about time for the international community to lift the siege
10 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian campaign for lifting the siege on Gaza Strip has called on the international community on Tuesday to pressure the IOA to open the crossing points of the Strip.

Qatari delegation arrives in Gaza to inspect conditions of the disabled
10 Jun 2009 - A Qatari delegation led by Sheikha Hussa Bint Khalifa Al-Thani arrived in Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing on Tuesday on a four-day visit to inspect the conditions of the disabled in the Strip.

Mishaal: WB events stumbling bloc before reconciliation
10 Jun 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas Movement, has stressed that his Movement was keen on achieving inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Israel forces Palestinian citizen to demolish his own home in O. Jerusalem
10 Jun 2009 - The IOA forced on Tuesday a Palestinian citizen called Mohamed Ghosheh to demolish his home located in Souk Khan Al-Zeit in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.

Batesh: Jihad refuses two-state solution
10 Jun 2009 - Khaled Al-Batesh, one of the Islamic Jihad leaders, has renewed his movement's rejection of the two-state solution, explaining that it was in the interest of Israel rather than the Palestinian people.

Hamas: The meetings in Cairo address the recent developments in W. Bank
10 Jun 2009 - Hamas said that the meetings held Tuesday in Cairo between its delegation led by political bureau head Khaled Mishaal and Egyptian officials would address the recent developments in the West Bank.

Hamas asks new Lebanese parliament to reconstruct Nahr El-Bared refugee camp
10 Jun 2009 - Hamas has asked the Lebanese parliament and its upcoming government to reconstruct the Nahr El-Bared refugee camp and to endorse the Palestinian refugees' civil and humanitarian rights in Lebanon.

Hamdan: West Bank incidents top Mishaal-Suleiman talks
10 Jun 2009 - Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, said that the Ramallah security apparatuses' practices in the West Bank would top the agenda of the talks between Mishaal and Omar Suleiman.

Los Angeles Times

Iranian presidential candidate's wife takes the spotlight 
10 Jun 2009 - Crowds go wild for Zahra Rahnavard, who has impressed female voters with her lengthy resume and seemingly modern relationship with her husband, reformist front-runner Mir-Hossein Mousavi. More on Iran's election Hundreds of young women in head scarves scream, stomp their feet and wave green flags and banners inside the Bahman Cultural Center, often a venue for pop bands performing in Tehran. 

U.S. envoy says ties with Israel 'unshakable' 
10 Jun 2009 - In Jerusalem, special Mideast envoy George Mitchell seeks to soothe relations with Israel but says the Obama administration remains committed to a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. Seeking to calm a public spat with Israel, U.S. envoy George J. Mitchell assured its leaders Tuesday that American support for the Jewish state was "unshakable." But he said the Obama administration stood by a goal the new Israeli government has yet to embrace: an independent Palestinian state. 

More political strife in Lebanon expected after victory of U.S.-backed coalition 
9 Jun 2009 - The March 14 coalition campaigned on a platform of disarming Hezbollah. A U.S.-backed coalition's election victory over an alliance led by the militant Hezbollah movement sets the stage for a new period of political discord in Lebanon, analysts and officials said Monday. 

New York Times

As Iran Gets Ready to Vote, Economy Dominates
9 Jun 2009 - Iran’s crippling inflation rate and the question of how its oil revenue is being spent are at the top of the agenda for most voters in Iran’s coming presidential election, analysts say. 

U.S. Envoy Reassures and Presses a Wary Israel
9 Jun 2009 - President Obama’s Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell, stressed America’s commitment to Israel’s security, while repeating its disagreement with settlement building. 

News Analysis: Hopeful Signs for U.S. in Lebanon Vote
8 Jun 2009 - Gains by the American-aligned coalition could mark a significant shift in regional dynamics, with another major election, in Iran, just four days away. 

Misc

Israel ministry wages settlement war against U.S.
Ha'aretz - 6/8/2009, Ha'aretz - Interior Minister Eli Yishai has begun to make good on a pledge to exploit all the resources of his ministry, "its branches and its influences over local government" to expand settlements in the territories. Yishai, who is also chairman of Shas, made the promise last Thursday to the heads of the Yesha Council of settlements. His party is concerned by the freeze on construction that has been in effect since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office, which Yishai said is "drying out" the settlements. [end] 

Israeli Minister Eyes Sanctions Against US 
Antiwar.com - Antiwar. com, Jason Ditz, June 09, 2009 - Outraged at Prospect of 'More Balanced Approach,' Peled Calls to Intervene in Congressional Races - Israeli news outlets are reporting the leak of a letter from Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Peled to the rest of the nation’s cabinet, cautioning that the Obama Administration was going to adopt “a more balanced approach to Israel, including intensive pressure to stop building in settlements, remove outposts and advance the formation of a Palestinian state. ”. . . Incredibly enough, Peled, a member of the ruling Likud Party, also proposes political actions which seem to amount to an attempt at regime change in the US. [end] 

Don’t discount Israel pre-emptive strike, Hillary Clinton warns Iran 
Times of London - June 8, 2009, Times of London - Hillary Clinton refused yesterday to rule out a pre-emptive Israeli military strike on Iran. It was the first time that a senior member of the Obama Administration had openly discussed such a possibility. The US Secretary Of State, speaking a few days before elections in Iran that will determine the fate of President Ahmadinejad, also warned that the country would face retaliation if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel. As President Obama extends “an open hand”, seeking direct talks with Tehran in his attempt to halt its nuclear programme, Mrs Clinton appeared ready to unnerve the Iranian leadership with talk of a pre-emptive strike “the way that we did attack Iraq”. 

Peled proposes Israeli sanctions on US 
Jerusalem Post - June 9, Jerusalem Post - In a sign of growing concern in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government over US President Barack Obama's Middle East policies, Minister-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled proposed Israeli sanctions on the US in a letter to cabinet ministers on Sunday. . . . In what may be his most controversial suggestion, Peled recommends intervening in American congressional races to weaken Obama and asking American Jewish donors not to contribute to Democratic congressional candidates. [end] 

Articles

Welcome to Gaza 
Emily Ratner, CounterPunch 6/10/2009
      Dreams of Flight
     Marhaba, Smell the jasmine and taste the olives. JAWWAL welcomes you to Palestine. For Customer Service Please dial 111 (chargeable) --text message received on May 30, upon entering Gaza
     My phone will not stop ringing. Earlier today I stood in the sun on a farm just 700 meters from the Gaza/Israeli border, photographing young Gazawians flying kites high above the armored Israeli trucks patrolling the barbed wire fence in the distance. As I attempted to leave the farm and young folk tried to pull me into their homes to meet their moms and peaked under my hijab to see the color of my hair, I gave my mobile number to some new friends. We have no common language, but still they repeatedly send a digital signal out into space, to be bounced back down to these borders and into my phone. They burn precious credit on their mobiles just to be heard, to feel a connection to someone who knows a world beyond the barbed wire and ships and trucks and bullets and bombs.
     A friend recently told me that the late Palestinian refugee poet Mahmoud Darwish once said that every night before he fell asleep he would walk the streets of his stolen city of al-Birwa in his mind. Each night he would remember the door to every home, every sign, every detail of his lost neighborhood. More than one Gazawian has told me that they have a similar nighttime routine, except when they close their eyes they float up from their beds, through their windows, beyond the lights of the patrolling Israeli ships and armored trucks, and out into the night sky, free to roam the world. The people of Gaza close their eyes to visit our great cities. And always Gazawians dream of flying.

As Obama Tries to Shift the Debate, Will Democrats Continue to Endorse Israel’s Colonization of the West Bank? 
Stephen Zunes, AlterNet 6/9/2009
      President Barack Obama has inherited a difficult challenge in pushing Israel to end the expansion of its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. With the right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically rejecting the idea of a freeze and with Democratic-controlled Congress ruling out using the billions of dollars of U.S. military aid to Israel as leverage, the situation remains deadlocked.
     Along with many Israelis and other supporters of Israel, Obama recognizes that these settlements are one of the chief obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Given that Israel cannot be secure unless the Palestinians are also given the right to a state of their own and that a viable Palestinian state cannot be created as long as Israel continues colonizing Palestinian land on the West Bank, Obama sees a settlement freeze as critical.
     Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan and other foreign policy dilemmas facing the new administration, however, the Democrats cannot blame Obama’s challenges primarily on the legacy of George W. Bush. In the case of the Israeli settlements, much of the blame belongs to former President Bill Clinton and other Democrats who helped facilitate Israel’s dramatic expansion of its West Bank settlements in the 1990s.


Electronic Intifada
Universal jurisdiction once again under threat
10 Jun 2009 - Currently, the fate of one of the only remaining venues that offers a redress mechanism for Palestinians is at stake. It is one that can bring accountability of Israeli officials and decision-makers who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Sharon Weill and Valentina Azarov comment on the recent moves to amend Spain's universal jurisdiction legislation. 

Palestinians in Israel protest indictments over attacker's death
10 Jun 2009 - The decision to prosecute 12 Israeli Arabs over what the local media have described as the "lynching" of an Israeli soldier on a bus shortly after he shot dead the driver and three passengers has been greeted with outrage from the country's Arab minority. The inhabitants of Shefa'amr, one of the largest Arab towns in the Galilee region and the location of the attack, are expected to stage a one-day strike today in protest against the indictments. Jonathan Cook reports from Nazareth. 

Month in pictures: May 2009
10 Jun 2009 - The below photographs are a selection of images from the month of May 2009. "The month in pictures" is an ongoing feature by The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net. 

Obama talks democracy, endorses dictatorship
9 Jun 2009 - CAIRO (IPS) - Egyptian officials are lining up to praise US President Barack Obama's address to the Islamic world delivered in Cairo last Thursday. But local campaigners for political reform say the speech was disappointingly light on the issues of democracy and human rights. "Obama spoke very briefly and in very general terms on these two subjects," opposition journalist and reform campaigner Abdel-Halim Kandil told IPS. "Despite the hype, Obama's speech was little more than an exercise in public relations." 

In Gaza
hundreds call for Erez to open, siege to end
9 Jun 2009 - Upwards of 300 Palestinians, with a number of international supporters, rallied at the road to the Erez crossing in northern Gaza on Wednesday morning, calling for the crossing to be opened and an end to the 3 year long siege, in place since shortly after Hamas was elected in early 2006 and escalated dramatically following June 2007, when Hamas gained control of the Gaza Strip. Women were a strong presence in the demonstration, as were elderly, and children. A number of ill and disabled Palestinians highlighted the importance of the crossings being opened. Nearly 340 Palestinians have died as a result of denied medical care, according to the Palestinian Ministry...

Palestine Chronicle
'Zionist' Brown Clings to Power by His Finger-nails
10 Jun 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London What does it take for Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to get the message? Having been deeply humiliated in the Euro elections and local government elections, he hangs on by his finger-nails. He simply will not do the decent thing and stand down. The verdict of the people was clear enough. They've had enough of Brown and his ghastly crew. Oliver Cromwell said it for us, when dismissing Parliament back in 1653, with an elegance that’s sadly lacking today: “Ye sordid prostitutes... you have sat here too long for the good you do. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” But the charmless Brown refuses the revolver on the silver tray. He will not do us the courtesy of retiring to the library and blowing his brains out. This is the same Gordon Brown who has presided over the ruination of our economy and the impoverishment of us all. The same Gordon Brown on whose watch parliamentary sleaze has blossomed into a national scandal, undermining the British political system and making us a laughing stock. This is the same Gordon Brown who voted enthusiastically for the Iraq war. This is the same Gordon Brown who appointed Friends of Israel to the chairs of our most important security bodies – the Intelligence & Security Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Defence Committee. This is the same Gordon Brown who declared himself a Zionist and told the Knesset that...

In Israel 'The Victim is the Guilty Party'
10 Jun 2009 - By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth The decision to prosecute 12 Israeli Arabs over what the local media have described as the “lynching” of an Israeli soldier on a bus shortly after he shot dead the driver and three passengers has been greeted with outrage from the country’s Arab minority. The inhabitants of Shefa’amr, one of the largest Arab towns in the Galilee region and the location of the attack, are expected to stage a one-day strike today in protest against the indictments. Seven of the 12 face charges of attempted murder. Jafar Farah, the head of Mossawa, an Arab political lobbying group, said the indictments, which follow a series of about-turns by state prosecutors, reflected “the current harsher political climate” for the Arab minority, one-fifth of the country’s population. A right-wing government, established this year, includes the party of Avigdor Lieberman, which is openly hostile to Arabs. Anger at the indictments has been compounded by a decision taken by the prosecution service a few days earlier to formally close an investigation into possible assistance the soldier, Eden Natan Zada, received from Jewish extremist groups. Nakad Nakad, a member of a Shefa’amr public committee set up after Zada’s attack, said that the prosecution had “decided in this case that the victim is the guilty party”. Zada, who was 19, carried out his attack in Aug 2005 in what was widely seen as an attempt to foil the government’s withdrawal of settlers from Gaza, which was due to take place days later....

Obama Spoke to Muslims for Oil, Not Humanity
9 Jun 2009 - By Kevin Gosztola Obama's speech to Muslims, which he made during his trip to the Middle East last week, may have seemed like it was made to show America shares "principles of justice and progress, tolerance and dignity of all human beings," but more precisely, this was a speech to the Muslim world that Obama made so America could ensure access to Muslim oil. Ask any foreign policymaker or analyst in America and you will likely get he or she to agree that typically, if you substitute one individual for another and if the setting remains the same, so too does the foreign policy. Additionally, foreign policy has always been about bargaining and compromise, a result of a political process. Obama, whose campaign slogan could have been “Continuity We Can Believe In,” is just the right statesman for guaranteeing future access to resources and cooperation with American interests. He has made his actions about finding middle ground on issues so that compromises and bargains which will satisfy as many as possible might be achieved. Giving a speech to the Muslim world was an act of power---Obama was using what Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye Jr. call “soft power” to get a desired outcome and to lay the foundation for the achievement of goals “through attraction rather than coercion.” Al-Azhar, the university where Obama gave his speech, claimed it was the “highest Sunni Muslim authority” and asserted that it was “a fortress of Islam” in a statement given to...

Lebanon's Election Results and the Age of Resistance
9 Jun 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Hezbollah Election HQ, Dahiyeh Hundreds of Muazzen called believers to Lebanon's Mosques at 3:35 AM this morning for the Al Fajr (the Dawn) prayer. The haunting and beautiful strains of "Allahu Akbar", (God is great) and "Ash-'hadu ana la elaha ella Allah", (I bear witness that there is no God by Allah) wafted from Minarets and flowed softly, pushed by the morning sea breezes, along Beirut's sandy, but trash strewn beaches at Ramlet al Baida. Drifting along the Corniche Mazzra and Raouche, below the American University of Beirut, they swirled around the silent and narrow streets and alleys of Lebanon’s Capitol and drifted east and up along her mountains. Caressing the mountain tops they embraced the majestic Basilica at Harrissa, high above Jounieh, topped by its 15-ton bronze statue of "Saydet Libnan" or Notre Dame du Liban. Proclaimed the “Queen of Lebanon,” by the Patriarch of Antioch at the beginning of the last Century, this Blessed Virgin is a shrine with claimed healing powers for Pilgrims, and the patron saint of Lebanon’s Christians. She is held in the highest esteem by Shia and Sunni Muslims, as well as Druze. The Koran contains 253 references to Mary, two hundred more than in the New Testament. On a personal note, it was inside L’Eglise de Notre Dame that this wretch and his true love had pledged to marry one day—now so very many years ago-- and yet not so-- more like yesterday-had fate not turned. When today’s predawn...

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