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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
11 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Carter: “Peace without Hamas is not possible”
12 Jun 2009 - Former US President, Jimmy carter, stated Thursday that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not possible without the involvement of Hamas. 

King Abdullah II: “Israel must stop settlement construction”
12 Jun 2009 - The Jordanian Monarch, Abdullah II, told the US Envoy George Mitchell, that Israel must stop the construction and expansion of settlements and should stop confiscating Arab property in East Jerusalem. 

Fayyad meets Solana in Ramallah
12 Jun 2009 - Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, met in Ramallah on Thursday with the European Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, and informed him that the success of peace talks depends on Israeli commitment, mainly halting its illegal settlement activities and the demolishing of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. 

Army shells homes in Beit Hanoun
12 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers fired on Thursday night several shells at a number of Palestinian homes, east of Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Saadat on hunger strike
11 Jun 2009 - Protesting his ongoing solitary confinement, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Saadat, has been on hunger strike since more than two weeks. 

Settlers, Palestinians clash in East Jerusalem
11 Jun 2009 - Clashes were reported on Thursday night between a group of settlers and Palestinians in Al Tour Neighborhood, in East Jerusalem; several injuries were reported. 

First case of swine flu reported in Palestine
11 Jun 2009 - A four year-old girl from Bethlehem is the first person infected with the H1N1 virus in the Palestinian areas, Health Ministry official reported on Wednesday. 

Residents foil Israeli settlers attempt to take over Palestinian land in East Jerusalem
11 Jun 2009 - A group of Palestinian residents managed on Thursday afternoon to stop Israeli settlers from taking over their land located east of Jerusalem's old city. 

Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian-owned farm lands in different parts of the West Bank
11 Jun 2009 - Israeli settlers attacked and destroyed Palestinian-owned farm lands on a number of locations in the West Bank on Thursday.

Journalists rights NGO condemns attacks
11 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) condemns the attack on Quds TV correspondent Mohammed Zuhdi Mashharawi (23 years), by Palestinian police in Gaza city, yesterday (10 June).

Right Wing Israeli settler not sentenced for praising murderer Goldstein that killed 29 Palestinians
11 Jun 2009 - An Israeli court decided on Thursday that right wing settler Michael Ben-Horin's comments, that were praising the murderer of 29 Palestinian civilians, didn't constitute incitement to violence. 

Shooting between Israeli and Palestinian forces at Gaza border
11 Jun 2009 - Palestinian fighters fired shots at Israeli forces at the northern Gaza border on Thursday morning. The Israeli troops responded to the incident with the shooting of mortar shells.

Ha'aretz Defense page

IAF pilot says 2nd in command stole glory in 1981 Iraq strike
11 Jun 2009 - 28 years after reactor bombing, Col. Ze'ev Raz accuses Amos Yadlin, today MI chief, of cutting in front of him. 

Two Israeli Arab sisters released from Lebanon arrest
10 Jun 2009 - Pair, both in their sixties, were arrested in Beirut airport en route to U.S., one voted in Lebanon election. 

Report: UN peacekeepers in Lebanon helped catch Israel spies
11 Jun 2009 - Commander of Spanish UNIFIL force tells minister his troops made a number of arrests recently. 

Palestinian police arrest 36 Hamas supporters in West Bank
11 Jun 2009 - PA police spokesman says all 36 were tied to crimes involving handling weapons or money for Hamas. 

IDF troops exchange fire with gunmen near Gaza border
11 Jun 2009 - No soldiers hurt in incident, which comes three days after militants tried to launch terror attack from Gaza. 

Netanyahu's speech: Yes to road map, no to settlement freeze
11 Jun 2009 - PM to demand future Palestinian state be demilitarized, recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Gaza woman found slain in most recent 'honor killing'
6/11/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - The body of a 21-year-old woman was uncovered in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in the Deir Al-Balah Refugee Camp in a murder that appeared to be an “honor killing. ”The Palestine Center for Human Rights investigated the case, which police would only say was a suspected honor killing, and identified the woman as Sahdia Abu Sa'ad. In their investigation, PCHR said police sources “revealed that the victim's father issued a confession to the police” that he had killed his daughter to “preserve family honor. ”According to PCHR's documentation, the number of people killed allegedly "to maintain family honor" since the beginning of 2009 has reached 8 (5 women, two men and a child) in 6 separate crimes. Seven of the crimes were committed in the Gaza Strip. 

PFLP leader Sa’adat on hunger strike protesting solitary confinement
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an – Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahamd Sa’adat has been on hunger strike for two weeks protesting his solitary confinement, a top Palestinian Authority (PA) official said on Thursday. PA Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said that he learned that Sa’adat, the PFLP’s secretary-general, is in poor health, and saying that prison guards are attempting to “provoke” him. Qaraqe told Ma’an in a phone interview that Israeli authorities are responsible for Sa’adat’s life, and called for him to be released from the isolation cell. Qaraqe visited Sa’adat’s family on Thursday. [end] 

Palestinian youth foil settler attempt to confiscate land on Mount of Olives
6/11/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma’an - Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem foiled an Israeli attempt to confiscate seven dunums of Palestinian land on the Mount of Olives during a brief confrontation with settlers early Thursday morning. At least a dozen settlers and development investors arrived shortly after sunrise with Israeli municipality workers and police, as well as a bulldozer and equipment. The group attempted to cordon off the land with barbed wire and were installing security cameras when local youth spotted them. As more than 30 young men rallied and made their way to the site, the bulldozer began plowing a path in the center of the land in the direction of Hebrew University. A brief scuffle erupted as the youth attempted to drive the settelrs and their guards out of the land, which abuts the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Orot. 

Salift-area farmers say crops destroyed by settler-organized wild pig attack
6/11/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Salfit farmers accused Israeli settlers in the West Bank of engineering a wild pig attack on Thursday that destroyed dozens of small fruit trees in the agricultural area. A heard of wild pigs attacked the An-Nijarah area west of Salfit splintering dozens of apple and plum trees newly planted on the tilled earth. Farmers fear they will also lose their grape crops after the pigs trampled the vines. The head of the farmers’ union in Salfit Khalil Omran said the attacks were the result of planned attacks by Israeli settlers who are using the wild pigs to prevent Palestinians from making use of their harvest and thus driving them off the land. “We will remain here despite the attacks,” he said, and called on the Ministry of Agriculture and human rights institutions to help protect them against further harm. 

PA: Israeli demolition orders in Jerusalem prove blasé Israeli attitude over US policy
6/11/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma’an - Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdul Qader told residents of the Al-Bustan Neighborhood they would be protected from the latest round of Israeli-issued demolition orders by a legal committee. The residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood were served another round of demolition orders Wednesday, as Israeli forces massed in the area and clashes erupted with angry home owners. Abdul Qader noted that the warnings were issued only one day after US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressed his commitment to the US policy of halting settlement construction and pushing forward a two-state solution. “The recent issuance of demolition orders to Al-Bustan and Silwan area residents,” Abdul Qader said, shows there “is no possibility for peace or for signing any agreement and that Israel will continue. . . 

Mash’al: Obama must drop conditions for Hamas talks
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Senior Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al urged US President Barack Obama to drop conditions for talks with his movement in an interview published in the newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat on Thursday. "Obama addressed Hamas with a new language, which we hope will be translated into views and a policy on the ground. We hope he will cancel the conditions set for holding talks with Hamas," Mash’al told the London-based Arabic-language newspaper. In a landmark speech in Cairo last week, Obama acknowledged that Hamas has the support of some Palestinians, but reiterated that Hamas should recognize Israel and renounce violence before it can be included in peace talks. Mash’al, who has been in Cairo himself for talks with Egyptian officials, said that Obama was applying a double standard in his approach to opponents of the US in the Middle East. 

Carter: Palestine-Israel peace impossible without Hamas
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Former US President Jimmy Carter said on Thursday that there can be no Palestinian-Israeli peace unless Hamas is directly involved. "I don't believe there is any possibility to have peace between Palestinians and Israel unless Hamas is involved directly, with Fatah," Carter said after meeting Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad in Damascus, according to AFP. Carter said he hoped Hamas would commit to the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normalized relations in exchange for a withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders. Carteralso said he expected current President Barack Obama would engage with Hamas if it forms a unity government with the rival Fatah movement under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, according to DPA. Damascus-based Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al will hold talks with Carter on Thursday evening after he returns from Egypt,. . . 

Hamas: PA arrested 19 affiliates in the West Bank
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority forces arrested 19 affiliated to Hamas in the West Bank overnight, party sources said Thursday. Hamas sent a statement detailing the arrests as follows: From Nablus: Dr Farid Abu Dheir, a professor at An-Najah National University, Ghassan Dawoud, an employee at the financial department of An-Najah National University, From Tulkarem: Qassem Rabah, Anas Kharyoush, From Hebron: Ghassan Hassan Jad Allah Karjah, Ashraf Al-Atrash, Samih Al-Atrash, Wajdy Al-Atrash, Mamdouh Abu Arkoub, Yousef Farres Abu Arkoub, FromRamallah: Tareq Hussam Muhammad Atiyeh, Professor at Bir Zeit University, Izz Ad-Din Fattash, From Bethlehem: Raja Hizrallah from the Aida refugee camp. 

Palestinian lawmaker denounces vigilante killings in West Bank
6/11/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Independent Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Member Husam At-Tawil denounced a number of unlawful killings, describing them as grotesque crimes that require harsh penalties. He added in a statement to Ma’an that "unlawful killings violate basic human rights, the first of which is the right of life, the right to have a fair trial in the event that a crime was committed or suspected to be committed. " In the event that the subject confesses or is convicted, it is "a gross violation for the juridical and executive authorities to allow these people to be punished by unlawful judges," he added, referring to a spate of murders across the West Bank in recent days. In one case, a teenaged Palestinian was murdered by relatives for allegedly spying for Israel. He concluded by saying that that "criminals" who take the law into their own hands should "stop. . . 

Gazan suffocated in underground smuggling tunnel
6/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A young Gazan was suffocated as he struggled to drag smuggled goods through an Egypt-Gaza border tunnel Thursday morning, medical sources said. The young man was identified as 25-year-old Rami Ziyad At-Tubasi, who worked in a tunnel at the As-Salam neighborhood in Rafah. Head of Emergency and Ambulance Services in the Gaza Strip Dr Muawiyah Hassanein said At-Tubasi was suffocated by a rope around his neck pulling supplies through a tunnel. His friends said they were unable to reach him in the tunnel as he struggled, and could only access his body after the incident. The tunnel industry is notoriously dangerous, and dozens of workers are killed each year in workplace accidents. Above the regular collapse of the sandy tunnels, Israeli and Egyptian border police routinely throw explosives into the access points for the tunnels, or flood the passages with water or fuel. 

Free Gaza plans July voyage for transport of books to Al-Aqsa University
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Free Gaza Campaign has partnered with the Strip’s Al-Aqsa University in its latest initiative that will see the transport of thousands of books to the university library in what the group has named the “Right to Read” campaign. After three successful siege-breaking missions in August, September and October 2008, the movement was able to deliver some medical supplies and bring dozens of observers and politicians into Gaza to document the effects of the Israeli siege. November and January missions were prevented from accessing the Strip, but the group is determined to continue with its awareness and “siege breaking” campaign, they said. The next mission is scheduled for July. Organizers contacted Al-Aqsa University, which prepared two “wish lists” for textbooks on Amazon UK and Amazon USA. 

Police: Hanged boy tortured and slain by own family members
6/11/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Fifteen-year-old Ra’ed Sawalha was tortured and hung by his family members who accused him of collaborating with Israeli forces, the Palestinian police reported Thursday. The young boy was found dead Wednesday, and police were not immediately able to determine whether his death was suicide, accident or something more sinister. Investigations revealed a terrifying incident justified by accusations of the boy spying for Israel. The accusations have not been proved. Brigadier General with the police forces Adnan Ad-Damiri said several arrests were made, all of them family members of the slain boy. The men and women apparently admitted their crimes under questioning, but justified their acts by explaining that Ra’ed was a “spy” for Israel. The family is from Hijjah village east of Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank. 

Hidden corpse of Hebron woman brings murder investigation count to three in 24 hours
6/11/2009 - Hebron - Ma’an - Police found the body of an unidentified 32-year-old woman hidden in a home just outside the city center; the body marks the third murder uncovered in less than 24 hours. The woman’s body was found early Thursday morning, hidden, police said, by the suspected murderers. The body of a Gazan woman was found later Thursday, though few details have been released around the case. The two murders were added to the now open investigation of a Qalqiliya-area family suspected of torturing and hanging their 15-year-old son. Brigadier General for the Hebron Police Ramadan Awad said police began looking for the missing woman and were tipped off to the place her body was stashed. Police at the scene found the woman’s body covered over. She was a wife and mother. Awad said an ambulance transferred her body to the local Al-Ahli Hospital where doctors will. . . 

Palestinian media team escapes death after Israeli shelling
6/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Five Palestinian media workers narrowly escaped death after being besieged by Israeli forces east of Gaza City on Thursday, they said in a statement. According to the Free Media, the group was shooting a documentary on Thursday, before themselves coming under fire on near Gaza City when the Israeli army fired on members of the crew, including company head and journalist Ahmad O'dah. O'dah said that he and the crew were surprised by the shooting, which occurred while they were filming in the Juhr Ad-Dik area east of Gaza City. He added that the firing lasted about two hours. [end] 

Gunfire, shelling in northern Gaza
6/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian fighters opened fire on Israeli forces operating along the northern border of the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, causing the Israelis to respond with shellfire. No injuries were reported from the Israeli or Palestinian side. The Israeli military said that its forces were fired on near Kibbutz Bi’iri, north of Gaza, confirming that it responded with shelling. Palestinian factions have not yet claimed responsibility for the shooting. On Monday four Palestinian fighters were killed when they attacked Israeli forces along the border east of Gaza City. On Wednesday morning Israel’s political-security cabinet convened to discuss international calls to ease the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and to consider other issues relating to the Palestinian territory. During their meeting, the cabinet agreed that the Israel military must “respond to. . . 

Israeli troops invade West Bank; detain three south of Nablus alleging weapons cache
6/11/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli troops detained three young men from Kfar Qalil, alleging the men were holding illegal arms in a warehouse south of Nablus. Palestinian security sources said Israeli troops invaded the village at 2am Thursday morning, and identified those detained as 23-year-old Fadi Muhammad Yousef, 20-year-old Rami Jamel Mansour, and 33-year-old Bashar Mahmoud Saleh Mansour. Israeli sources reported uncovering military supplies including bullets in a nearby warehouse. Israeli troops withdrew from the town after detaining the men. The Israeli miltary also said that it detained nine Palestinians during raids in the Ramallah, Nablus, Qalqilya and Jericho areas. 

Mubarak: Two-state solution is coming; Netanyahu will concede
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A two-state solution is coming sooner or later, said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Wednesday following a flurry of political activity in the region. Earlier the same day US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell affirmed US administration policy in the West Bank, saying he intends to stress a settlement freeze and push for a two-state solution. Mitchell expressed similar sentiments to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. During an interview on Egypt TV, Mubarak commented on the latest developments, noting that he had expressed his determination for a two-state solution to Netanyahu when they were in Sharm Ash-Sheikh earlier this year. Mubarak said Netanyahu had not refused the idea at the time. Mubarak explained his interest in achieving a just solution to the Palestinian case, saying stability and peace for Palestinians meant stability in the region, including Egyptians. 

Gaza: Kerem Shalom crossing closed for third day
6/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel decided to close the Gaza Strip’s principle entry point for humanitarian aid for the third day running on Thursday, citing maintenance work at the terminal. Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh told Ma’an that the Kerem Shalom crossing is closed due to maintenance work, according to the Israeli side. He added that the Nahal Oz terminal will open to allow cooking gas and industrial-grade diesel amounts into Gaza. The Karni crossing will open from 8am to 12pm to allow limited quantities of animal feed and wheat into Gaza. [end] 

Report: Netanyahu will adopt 'two-state' language in speech
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will proclaim support for the "two-state solution" to the Palestine-Israel conflict and adopt the US-backed Road Map peace plan in a speech next Sunday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Thursday. Quoting sources close to Netanyahu, the newspaper said that Netanyahu plans to demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the “homeland of the Jewish people” as a condition for negotiations, and that a future Palestinian state must be demilitarized. He will also ask Arab states to normalize relations with Israel during negotiations, rather than after Israel withdraws from occupied Arab land, as proposed in the 2002 Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative, according to the report. If Netanyahu verbally accepts the two-state solution, he will have fulfilled one condition put forward by the US, the Palestinian Authority, and others for renewed peace negotiations. 

Canada hosts Gaza anti-smuggling summit
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Canada is hosting a three-day, expert-level meeting on combating arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon announced on Wednesday. The meeting began in Ottowa on Wednesday and will continue until Friday. The meeting will address the Gaza Counter-Arms Smuggling Initiative (GCASI), which was established at another experts meeting in London in March. The GCASI members are Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. "Canada's participation in this initiative is a clear sign of our commitment to international efforts to bring about a durable ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, one consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1860," said Cannon in a statement. "By addressing arms smuggling and the continued threat of terrorism through. . . 

EU’s Solana urges Israel to accept two states
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – EU Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to commit to the “two-state solution” on a visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday. "I would like to hear a speech in which there's a commitment of the government to the two-state solution, a commitment of the government on the question of settlements and a commitment to re-initiate relations with the Palestinians," Solana told journalists, according to AFP. Netanyahu is expected to give a speech laying down his policy on peace negotiations on Sunday. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he is likely to use the language of “two states” but will reject calls for a halt to construction in illegal West Bank settlements. Solana is also due to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday. 

EU lawmakers to meet PNC in Amman after cutting Gaza visit short
6/11/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A delegation of 41 European parliament members that cut short a visit to Gaza will meet with officials from the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Amman on Saturday. PNC Speaker Salim Az-Za’noun said that the 15-nation group, led by Italian lawmaker Luisa Morgantini, will visit the assembly’s headquarters in the Jordanian capital. The meeting will tackle bilateral relations and also review the delegation’s brief visit to Gaza this week. The lawmakers left Gaza on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after they arrived via Egypt. The group visited the destroyed headquarters of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and that of the UN agency UNRWA, both of which were destroyed by Israel in January. 

Palestinian FM warns of binational country if two states fails
6/11/2009 - Ramallah - Ma’an - Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyadh Al-Maliki in Ramallah on Thursday warned that Israel will face a binational state if the two-state solution fails. "We are committed to the solution of two fully sovereign states, but if Israel does not respond then we will have a dual-national state. ""I promise that we [the Palestinians] will be a majority in such a state within 20 years," he added. Speaking with an EU parliamentary delegation in Ramallah on Thursday, Al-Maliki went on to say that "Israel cannot claim to be a democracy while continuing to occupy [the Palestinian territories]," reminding Israelis that "everyone has a right to gain their freedom just like you do, but you want it for yourselves while denying it to others. " The foreign minister went on to say that he and his government backs the two-state solution to the Palestinian struggle. . . 

De facto government announces closure of all unauthorized fuel sale points
6/11/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – All unauthorized points of sale for fuel in the Gaza Strip were closed Thursday after the de facto government declared them unsafe. Following an explosion at a Khan Younis fuel station that killed one and injured 25 others, three seriously, the de facto Ministry of Labor initiated a campaign to close all illegal fuel sale locations. As most of the fuel in the Strip comes from Egyptian smuggling tunnels, a huge percentage of fuel points of sale are illegal, and operate only while smuggled supplies last. The ministry noted the campaign to close the unauthorized points would continue through the week, and urged citizens to contact authorities and report any illegal activity. 

Official ’reveals’ Hamas plans to tunnel under PA buildings
6/11/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Interior Minister Sa’ed Abu Ali on Thursday revealed what he said were plans by Hamas to dig tunnels underneath security buildings in the West Bank city of Nablus. According to Abu Ali, Hamas intended to confiscate quantities of explosives and currency in Qalqiliya, as well, but was foiled by Palestinian Authority security services in advance. The PA official revealed the plans at a meeting of the Palestinian Ministerial Council that was held in Ramallah on Thursday over security concerns in Qalqiliya and elsewhere following recent clashes that have left a number of PA police and Hamas gunmen dead. A daylong standoff between the PA and Hamas gunmen ended with three people dead in Qalqiliya two weeks earlier, clashes that came just days after six people were killed in a Hamas-PA shootout in the same city. 

The National

Egypt's Al Azhar to launch moderate' TV channel 
11 Jun 2009 - A new television channel named after the Sunni Muslim world's most respected institute of learning is to be launched this summer.

Tension in Lebanon as factions vie for power
11 Jun 2009 - The governing allies are reaching out to Hizbollah to reduce tensions but will want to strip the group of its parliamentary veto.

Mitchell calls for peace' with Israel 
11 Jun 2009 - The US envoy George Mitchell calls for Arab states to take meaningful steps and important actions to make peace with Israel. 

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.

Aljazeera

Peres offers interim borders plan
11 Jun 2009 - Israeli president says a Palestinian state should exist with provisional borders.

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

U.S.: Congress Reviews Military Contracts, Kabul Embassy Scandal 
WASHINGTON, Jun 11 (IPS) - Private security guards abandoning their posts at the U.S. embassy in Kabul for up to three and a half hours.

POLITICS: Lebanon’s Election: An International Affair 
WASHINGTON, Jun 11 (IPS) - It was touted as an historic election, a vote to determine the future direction of Lebanon. But even with the winners declared, analysts say the Jun. 7 ballot was far from decisive, and did little to alter the fundamental balance of power in the country.

MIDEAST: Obama Speech Leaves a Heavy Hangover 
CAIRO, Jun 11 (IPS) - The historic speech U.S. President Barack Obama delivered in Cairo Jun. 4 continues to stir people around the Middle East. Questions are raised what it will mean on the ground in the region.

POLITICS: Syrian Foreign Minister Eager to Work with Obama 
WASHINGTON, Jun 10 (IPS) - Former U.S. senator George Mitchell is due to arrive in Syria’s capital, Damascus, Friday on his first visit there since being named Pres. Barack Obama’s special envoy for Arab-Israeli peace.

Stop The Wall

New report: Democratic South Africa’s complicity in Israel’s occupation, colonialism and apartheid
11 Jun 2009 - This report discusses South African economic relations with Israel as well as the related political and institutional framework. Analyzing dozens of cases of commercial ties and political initiatives, it proves once again that trade relations with Israel necessarily require involvement in or complicity with Israeli violations of human rights and international law, including assistance to Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid. [

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. [

PCHR Latest

PCHR Is Concerned Over Arrest Campaigns against Fatah Activists in Gaza and against Hamas Activists in the West Bank
PCHR

PCHR Organizes a Workshop on “Road Accidents Caused by Motorcycles”
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(04- 10 June  2008)
During the reporting period, one Palestinian was killed by IOF in the West Bank. Additionally, IOF wounded 13 Palestinian civilians, including four children and a paramedic, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Bound, blindfolded and beaten - by Israeli troops
International Solidarity Movement - The Independent - 9 June 2009 - Two Israeli officers have testified that troops in the West Bank beat, bound and blindfolded Palestinian civilians as young as 14. The damaging disclosures by two sergeants of the Kfir Brigade include descriptions of abuses they say they witnessed during a search-and-detain operation involving hundreds of troops in Hares village on 26 March. The testimonies have been seen by The Independent and are expected to add fuel to the controversy over recent remarks by Colonel Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, in which he said violence against detained Palestinians was justified in order to accomplish missions. Both the soldiers, from the Harub battalion, highlighted the tight tying of the plastic hand restraints placed on detainees. "There are people who think you need to tighten the restraints all the way, until no drop of blood will pass from here to there," one soldier said. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Iran votes on Ahmadinejad's future in bitterly-fought election
11 Jun 2009 - Iranians went the polls on Friday to vote in a bitterly-fought election on whether they want to keep hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power or replace him with a reformist more open to closer ties with the West. ...

Holocaust Museum gunman charged with murder
11 Jun 2009 - An 88-year-old white supremacist has been charged with murder for killing the security guard who had opened the door to let him into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum, officials said Thursday. ...

Obama envoy raises possibility of U.S. strike on Iran
11 Jun 2009 - U.S. envoy Dennis Ross, in a new book he co-authored, raises the possibility of the use of military force against Iran should negotiations fail to head off Tehran's nuclear ambitions. ...

Egypt to fund translations of Israeli authors Amos Oz, David Grossman 
11 Jun 2009 - Egyptian readers may be able to read government-funded Arabic translations of works by Israeli authors Amos Oz and David Grossman, after Egypt's culture minister okayed the translation project. ...

OPINION / Netanyahu turned Palestinian statehood into bargaining chip
11 Jun 2009 - WASHINGTON - If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had walked out of the White House on May 18 and announced that he accepted President Barack Obama's demands to freeze all settlement construction, he would merely have forced the president to demand some other significant concession from Israel. Obama was urged not only by Arab leaders, but also by many so-called progressive Jewish ones to show "even-handedness," to stop the U.S. tilt in favor of Israel in order to become a credible broker for peace in the Middle East. ... 

The Guardian

Female suicide bombers: Tamil Tiger teenage girl led the way
11 Jun 2009 - The sudden emergence of female suicide bombers in Iraq in 2007 shocked a country already inured to violence. From late 2007 to late 2008 there were 33 female suicide bombings. In the four preceding years there...

Hamas supporters held in crackdown by Mahmoud Abbas
11 Jun 2009 - Palestinian security forces arrested 36 Hamas supporters, many of them professors and students, the Islamist group said today. The sweep is part of an apparent effort by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to show he is...

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

Ha'aretz National page

Shai Golden / Million-dollar mattress story another sign Israel lost its mind 
11 Jun 2009 - Back in the 1990s, when the term "urban legend" was in vogue, a silly rumor made the rounds about a young bride from Herzliya who gave birth to a black baby after having sex with a stripper at her bachelorette party. Israel was divided into two kinds of people: Those who swore they personally knew the bride's family, and those who knew people who knew the bride's family. That division repeated itself when a new rumor spread about a bride who, to the amazement of the invitees, confessed under the huppa at her wedding that she had had an affair with the best man. Half the country claimed they attended that wedding, the other half knew someone who did. ... 

Tel Aviv police officers suspected of robbery, accepting bribes 
11 Jun 2009 - The Justice Ministry's department for the investigation of police officers suspects that the coordinator of police intelligence and the head of the Ayalon district's detective team were involved in a number of break-ins and accepted bribes from criminals. This emerged Thursday during deliberations on extending the officers' remand at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. The remand of the two officers, who were arrested on Wednesday, was extended for five days. ... 

Jerusalem braces for more Haredi riots over parking lot
11 Jun 2009 - Ultra-Orthodox activists hung posters throughout religious neighborhoods in Jerusalem Thursday announcing a demonstration Friday against the opening of a parking lot in the city center on the Sabbath. ... 

Study: Israeli gays coming out younger, mainly thanks to TV
11 Jun 2009 - Alon Elbakri, 15, came out of the closet about a year ago when he told his mother that he was gay. ...

Madonna announces second concert in Israel this summer
11 Jun 2009 - Madonna will perform an additional concert in Israel this summer, the day after her September 1st show. Both concerts will be held in Tel Aviv's Hayarkon park. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Israel says completes its fuel pipeline for Gaza
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories - Report of the Director-General
11 Jun 2009 - Source: International Labour Organization

PHR-Israel 2008 Annual Report
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Physicians for Human Rights

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 29 May - 11 Jun 2009
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

OPT: Two years of closure by the numbers
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Gisha

Peres calls for Palestinian state with temporary borders
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 04 - 10 Jun 2009
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Two years on, Hamas grip on Gaza stronger than ever
11 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

YNet News

Ban considering fining Israel for Gaza damage
11 Jun 2009 - UN chief says may charge Israel $11 million for damage done to its facilities during Gaza war, adds that it is 'critical' Israel freeze settlement activity. EU's Solana says he expects Netanyahu to endorse two-state solution 

Barkat considers giving in on parking issue
11 Jun 2009 - Haredim say police asked Jerusalem mayor to close Safra lot on Saturdays while considering alternatives

Former Gaza division commander demoted 
11 Jun 2009 - Military court judges sentence Brigadier-General Moshe Tamir to probation, demotion to colonel for letting his 14-year-old son drive army-issued ATV, covering up for him following accident. Military Advocate General orders probe into possible mishandling of original investigation by Military Police 

Lebanon releases Israeli sisters
11 Jun 2009 - Priest of women detained on Wednesday by Lebanese authorities after having participated in country's elections tells Ynet Georgette Nasser and Josefin Moussa's visit to Beirut was not politically motivated

Jordan king tells Mitchell Israel must end settlement building 
11 Jun 2009 - King Abdullah meets with US special envoy George Mitchell, says Obama's 'stances are creating a positive environment' but warns Israel must stop annexing land in east Jerusalem 

Palestinian FM: We'll have majority in 20 years
11 Jun 2009 - Ahead of PM Netanyahu's speech, Palestinian foreign minister warns only alternative to two-state vision is bi-national state where Arabs are the majority

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

Ex-US President Carter: Peace not possible without Hamas 
11 Jun 2009 - Former President Jimmy Carter Thursday reiterated that there can be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians without involving Hamas. His comments came shortly before he met with the group's Syrian-based leader, Khaled Meshaal. Carter met with Meshaal twice under the Bush administration, angering some in the US government who said.

Iran readies for high-stakes election 
11 Jun 2009 - Iran's raucous election campaign fell silent a day before the vote as rallies were barred Thursday to give the public time to reflect on whether they want to keep hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power or replace him with a reformist more open to closer ties with the West.

Solana sees good chance for reviving Mideast negotiations 
11 Jun 2009 - Recent events in the Middle East could revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sets the right tone in a speech on Sunday, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said. "A lot of important things are taking place," Solana told reporters on Thursday in Occupied Jerusalem.

Jordan king backs Obama's Palestinian-Israeli peace drive 
11 Jun 2009 - Jordan's King Abdullah urged Israel and Palestinians on Thursday to build on the momentum generated by US President Barack Obama's peace drive to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. "The US President's stances are creating a positive environment that needs to be built on by all the parties to reach a comprehensive.

PA security forces in West Bank arrest 36 Hamas supporters 
11 Jun 2009 - Palestinian security forces arrested 36 Hamas supporters, many of them professors and students, the Islamic resistance group said Thursday, widening a crackdown by the Western-backed Palestinian president. The sweep is part of an apparent effort by Mahmoud Abbas to show he is fulfilling his commitments.

Gadhafi likens US' 1986 strikes on Libya to bin Laden terror attacks 
11 Jun 2009 - Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday urged the world to understand what motivates terrorists, and likened the 1986 US strikes on Libya to Osama bin Laden's terror attacks. Gadhafi, who was long accused of sponsoring terrorism, received tepid applause from the Italian lawmakers he addressed on the second day of a trip to Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler.

Palestinian Information Center

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Los Angeles Times

Iran blossoms in this campaign season 
11 Jun 2009 - The race for the presidency has opened up public and political spaces into which Iranians, especially the young, have flowed with enthusiasm. One street rally turns into a disco. More on Iran's election The streets are clogged with traffic so we get on the highway, the windows down and music blaring. I am with two friends, driving through Tehran after midnight, enjoying the cool air with no particular destination. 

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. 

New York Times

News Analysis: In Iran, a Real Race, and Talk of a Sea Change
11 Jun 2009 - With President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad facing a strong challenger, some say new democratic energies could affect the country’s politics no matter who wins. 

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

Bound, blindfolded and beaten – by Israeli troops 
The Independent - Ben Lynfield in Hares, West Bank, 9 June 2009 - Children among Palestinian detainees abused during West Bank operation, according to soldiers' confessions - Two Israeli officers have testified that troops in the West Bank beat, bound and blindfolded Palestinian civilians as young as 14. The damaging disclosures by two sergeants of the Kfir Brigade include descriptions of abuses they say they witnessed during a search-and-detain operation involving hundreds of troops in Hares village on 26 March. The testimonies have been seen by The Independent and are expected to add fuel to the controversy over recent remarks by Colonel Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, in which he said violence against detained Palestinians was justified in order to accomplish missions. 

Gordon Brown puts Israel lobbyist in charge of Britain’s Middle East policy 
Redress - Redress Information & Analysis - 11 June 2009 - Britain’s prime minister has put a notorious pro-Israel lobbyist in charge of policy in the Middle East, Iraq and Iran, reaffirming his determination to continue with his Zionist policies even as his administration approaches the end of its life. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has appointed an Israeli agent of influence and proponent of genocide in Gaza to a key position at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Britain’s foreign ministry. On 9 June, Ivan Lewis was given a major promotion in Mr Brown’s government when he was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Middle East policy, Iraq, Iran, counterterrorism and Anglo-American relations. According to one source, he is now “just one step away from the cabinet”. 

Israel hints of broader war in region 
PressTV - 9 Jun 2009 - PressTV - Israel's Defense Minister says the flames of the next Israeli war would engulf a 'broader' region while admitting that Israelis must be ready to pay a higher price in terms of losses. "The IDF's future operations will be broader and more demanding in terms of their scope and pace, with more risks than Operation Cast Lead ( in the Gaza Strip). We in the political echelon will act so that the ordeal won't come to pass but, still, you must win every trial," The Jerusalem Post quoted Ehud Barak as saying on Tuesday. He made the remarks days after the Israeli military held its most extensive nationwide drill dubbed "Turning Point 3", preparing itself for a possible regional war by attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. 

Napolitano on DHS partnering with ADL; admits shift in enforcement focus; trying to repeal REAL ID; 'reform' is a 'mission'
24Ahead.com - 24Ahead. com - Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano gave a talk to the Anti Defamation League yesterday, and her remarks are at [link]. 1. The ADL has been "training" DHS personnel about "hate" groups and others, which is more than a bit worrisome because the ADL's definition of "hate" isn't trustworthy. Nevertheless, Napolitano said this:. . . the ADL and DHS have had some good partnerships. In recent years, the Department has placed our employees in your advanced training school to educate us on the tactics used by extremists and terrorists. . . 

Articles

The Peril of Forgetting Gaza 
Sara Roy, The Harvard Crimson 6/2/2009
      The recent meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu generated speculation over the future relationship between America and Israel, and a potentially changed U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Analysts on the right and left are commenting on a new, tougher American policy characterized by strengthened U.S. demands on Israel. However, beneath the diplomatic choreography lies an agonizing reality that received only brief comment from Obama and silence from Netanyahu: The ongoing devastation of the people of Gaza.
     Gaza is an example of a society that has been deliberately reduced to a state of abject destitution, its once productive population transformed into one of aid-dependent paupers. This context is undeniably one of mass suffering, created largely by Israel but with the active complicity of the international community, especially the U.S. and European Union, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
     Gaza’s subjection began long before Israel’s recent war against it.. The Israeli occupation—now largely forgotten or denied by the international community—has devastated Gaza’s economy and people, especially since 2006. Although economic restrictions actually increased before Hamas’ electoral victory in January 2006, the deepened sanction regime and siege subsequently imposed by Israel and the international community, and later intensified in June 2007 when Hamas seized control of Gaza, has all but destroyed the local economy. If there has been a pronounced theme among the many Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals who I have interviewed in the last three years, it was the fear of damage to Gaza’s society and economy so profound that billions of dollars and generations of people would be required to address it—a fear that has now been realized.

Cairo: a Post Mortem 
John V. Whitbeck, CounterPunch 6/5/2009
      Nothing Comes From Nothing
     President Barack Obama’s much anticipated speech in Cairo was truly astounding.
     After all the months of lead-up and hype, few could have imagined that this speech would contain nothing of substance. Surely Obama would feel the need to announce some new initiative on at least one of the major matters of concern to the Muslim world. Perhaps a decision to develop a fully fleshed-out plan for a two-state solution, unilaterally or with the Quartet and/or the Organization of the Islamic Conference (King Abdallah of Jordan’s "57 Muslim countries" willing to make peace with Israel), dealing with all the difficult issues, and to present it to Israelis and Palestinians as the last best chance for peace based on partition and the acceptance of Israel by the Muslim world. Or perhaps an international conference involving all concerned regional parties to seek solutions to the interlinked problems involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and/or Iran.
     Surely he had to have some hopeful surprise up his sleeve. Wrong. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
     There were, of course, many eloquent mood-music paragraphs and a smattering of quotes from the Holy Quran (as well as the Bible and the Talmud). Obama obviously believes that America’s unchanged objectives with respect to the Muslim world are more likely to be pursued successfully by being polite and complimentary than by being rude and intentionally insulting. But the mood-music paragraphs dealt with atmospherics or the past. When it came to the present and the future and to concrete matters of American objectives and policies, there was nothing new. Nothing hopeful. Nothing.


Electronic Intifada
No work in Nahr al-Bared camp
12 Jun 2009 - Mohammad and Mahmoud sat on an idle field on the edge of the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon. While Mahmoud sang to the songs being played on his mobile phone, Mohammad used his for gaming. Mohammad looked up and explained, "We spend our days doing nothing. We get up and sit at the cafe for a few hours. Then we go home and pray. We gather again and return to the cafe. There we sit until the evening. Every day passes like this." Ray Smith reports on the dire economic conditions in Nahr al-Bared. 

Village sues Canada companies cashing in on occupation
11 Jun 2009 - The small Palestinian village of Bilin will face-off this month against two Canadian corporations accused of aiding and abetting the colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Bilin has charged Green Park International and Green Mount International with illegally constructing residential buildings and other settlement infrastructure on village territory, and marketing such structures to the civilian population of the State of Israel. Deborah Guterman reports. 

Palestinian in Israeli parliament: "We resist politically"
11 Jun 2009 - "We don't live in the territories, we cannot throw stones and we cannot participate in the legitimate resistance against occupation," Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) told Stu Harrison of Green Left Weekly . "We participate in the struggle so our own position as citizens. Our unique role is a political resistance and not, for example, an armed resistance." 

Gaza's hospitals short of surgeons and supplies
11 Jun 2009 - One of the most densely populated places on earth only has two cardiac surgeons to serve its entire population. According to Dr. Nasser Tatter, head of Shifa hospital's cardiology unit, that only explains part of the medical crisis that exists in the Gaza Strip today. Eva Bartlett reports from the Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza
Gaza’s hospitals short of surgeons and supplies
11 Jun 2009 - The Electronic Intifada , 11 June 2009 Dr. Nasser Tatter in his office at Gaza’s Shifa hospital. (Eva Bartlett) One of the most densely populated places on earth only has two cardiac surgeons to serve its entire population. According to Dr. Nasser Tatter, head of Shifa hospital’s cardiology unit, that only explains part of the medical crisis that exists in the Gaza Strip today. “We are in bad need for cardiac surgeons,” said Dr. Tatter, further explaining that one of the two surgeons is ill and unable to perform surgeries. The second, Tatter added, isn’t able to work independently, rendering Gaza devoid of specialists able to perform open heart surgery. Dr....

Palestine Chronicle
Obama's Speech: Great Oratory, Wrong Message
11 Jun 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud If great oratory is a prerequisite to peace, justice, and human rights, then President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo, on June 4, shall be enough to cure every ill afflicting every Muslim nation. But since rhetoric never solved any real problem, one is left to question the wisdom behind Obama's touted speech, clear or vague language, and all other indicators. It was clear that Obama's speech was not aimed at delineating a clear US foreign policy towards Muslim nations. In fact, it was merely an image booster, not only to help the United States regain some of its tattered standing among Muslim nations, but also worldwide, for the US image is certainly tainted beyond the parameters of the "Muslim world". Misreading the Conflict Obama's words in Cairo were meant to reveal a clear divergence from the past. They did so, ever hesitantly. "We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world, tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate," he said. Untrue. The roots of the tension are crystal clear: imperial arrogance, occupation of Arab and Muslim land, violent policies against those who fail to comply with US interests, the unconditional support of Israel, and the backing of corrupt, undemocratic Arab regimes; the demonization of Islam and Muslim culture are but a few of the reasons behind the hatred of US foreign policy. Although Obama tried to address the relationship between "Islam and the West" in...

A Boy and an Artificial Leg: A Gaza Story
11 Jun 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud His room is ready; the walls have fresh paint and my kids prepared a basket of chocolates and other treats to place beside his bed. They hung a poster on his door that has been decorated with colored pens and glitter that says “Welcome Shobhi!” I have taught them that “Sobhi” actually means the “morning light”, and that during his visit, he will not be treated as a visitor, but as a brother. They have compiled a list of fun places to visit, parks, the beach and maybe a ferry ride. Two weeks ago, my family, after months of anticipation, were scheduled to be the host family for a very special and unusual exchange program for kids from Gaza to visit the US. Our host child, Sobhi was schedule to arrive on May 30th. My family was excited and a little nervous, I noticed my wife taking every opportunity to share the news of the arrival of our special visitor. We call Sobhi’s family from time to time, realizing that sending a child off to a foreign land to live with a strange family can be unsettling for a parent. But I think our occasional conversations are putting everyone at ease. As time has progressed, we have learned more news of Sobhi’s life and family in Gaza, and through the weeks, news has changed and altered. We first thought he was 11 years old, and then learned that he is actually fifteen. We originally thought his family...

'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....

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