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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
12 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Shalit’s family hands Carter a letter to their son
13 Jun 2009 - The parents of Gild Shalit, Israeli corporal captured by the Palestinian resistance since 2006, held a meeting with the former US president, Jimmy Carter, and handed him a letter to their son before he headed to Syria for a meeting with Hamas political leaders. 

Hamdan: “Hamas-cater meeting, a western conviction the movement cannot be ignored”
13 Jun 2009 - Hamas representative in Syria, Osama Hamdan, stated that Hamas will not recognize the Israeli occupation in exchange for talks with the West. He said that the meeting between former US president, Jimmy Carter and Hamas leadership in Syria in a news western conviction that Hamas cannot be ignored. 

Patient dies due to the ongoing siege on Gaza
12 Jun 2009 - Medical sources in the Gaza reported that a patient from Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, died on Thursday after Israel obstructed his transfer to an Egyptian hospital. 

Crowds join Al-Ma'sara village peaceful protest against the Wall
12 Jun 2009 - Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers of Al-Ma'sara, near Bethlehem, on Friday; protested the illegal wall being built by Israel and the continued expansion of settlements on villagers lands. 

Israeli troops attack Nil'in's weekly protest, dozens injured
12 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian and international peace activists during the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday. 

Two injured at the Bil'in weekly protest
12 Jun 2009 - Two protesters were injured and dozens suffered from gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest in Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday afternoon.

Israel to impose curfew in Salfit area in expectation of the arrival of thousands of settlers
12 Jun 2009 - Thousands of settlers are expected to come to Salfit area, to pray at ancient shrines in the surroundings of the Ariel settlement. In anticipation to their arrival Israeli army troops have set up military posts at the southern entrance of the settlement. 

Free Gaza launches the Right to Read Campaign
12 Jun 2009 - The Free Gaza Movement (FGM), in partnership with the Al Aqsa University in Gaza, declared it is launching “The Right to Read Campaign” as it intends to sail to Gaza to deliver textbooks and educational supplies to universities in the Gaza Strip. 

UN Sec. General considering fining Israel for Gaza damage
12 Jun 2009 - United Nations Secretary-General, Ban ki-moon, stated that he was considering imposing an $11 million fine on Israel for shelling United Nations facilities during the war against the Gaza Strip. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 1 Palestinian killed, 13 injured by Israeli forces, child dies of earlier wounds
12 Jun 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 04 - 10 June 2009, a Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli troops during a non-violent protest against the Israeli Annexation wall. 13 Palestinian civilians, including four children and a paramedic, were wounded by Israeli gunfire. Israeli forces conducted 24 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and abducted 24 Palestinian civilians, including six children, in the West Bank. 

Netanyahu to declare approval to a "Palestinian state"
12 Jun 2009 - Israeli sources reported that Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, intends to declare his approval to the establishment of a Palestinian state during his anticipated speech at the Bar Ilan University on Sunday. 

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. 

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

One Gaza crossing open; 100 truckloads to sustain Strip until Sunday
6/12/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Israel will open one crossing for a part day on Friday for the expected transport of 100 truckloads of goods for Gaza’s 1. 5 million. The crossings will be sealed for Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. According to crossings official Raed Fattuh, the Kerem Shalom crossing will be the only open point for the transfer of goods into Gaza until Sunday. The crossing has been closed for three days, reportedly due to technical issues with the transport systems. Fattuh noted the goods are destined for the agricultural and commercial sectors. [end] 

Al-Ma’asara protesters address armed soldiers in peaceful rally
6/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Commemorating the death of non-violent protester Aqel Sroor one week ago in Ni’lin, tens of protesters walked carrying a giant Palestinian flag to the site of the separation fence in the West Bank village of Al-Ma’asara. “The protesters marched right up to the razor wire that the Israeli Occupying Forces use to block the exit road from the village,” a statement from organizers said, noting the group was about one meter away from at least 25 armed soldiers. An Israeli activist addressed soldiers directly in Hebrew. "Does this village look rich? "he asked. "These people need this land, these trees. Is it moral to take people's land? " A village woman, Umm Fatima, followed him with her own message: "We come in peace, we want to live in peace," she was reported to say. "We come empty-handed in front of armed men but we have no fear, because justice is on our side. 

Two injured at weekly anti-wall protest in Bil’in
6/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Two protesters were injured and dozens suffered from gas inhalation when Israeli troops attack the weekly protest in Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. Residents of Bil'in and their international and Israeli supporters marched from the village center after the Friday midday prayers, and were joined by 40 members of the American group Code Pink Women for Peace. The protesters demanded the halt of building in illegal Israeli settlements and the construction of the wall. As the protesters arrived at the wall, Israeli troops at the gate nearby fired a barrage of sound bombs, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, witnesses said. Two protesters were lightly injured, Mustafa Al Khateeb, 17, and a British activist. Meanwhile, scores were treated for the effects of tear-gas inhalation. 

Israeli warships open fire on Gazan fishermen; damage boats
6/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli warships damaged several fishing boats when they opened fire on Gazan fishermen off the coast of Khan Younis and the central Strip area Friday morning. Eyewitnesses said warships concentrated in the two areas and advanced on fishing boats then opened fire. Head of Emergency and Ambulance Services in the Strip Dr Muawiyah Hassanein confirmed there were no injuries, but noted that fishermen reported damage to their boats. [end] 

Thousands of settlers expected near Salfit; Israel to impose curfew
6/12/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Dozens of Israeli military troops set up camp at the southern entrance of the illegal Ariel settlement in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of settlers who will pray at ancient shrines in the area. Soldiers set up road barriers and blocked all but local residents from using the roads near the settlement. Vehicles were also being detained and identity cards checked in an effort to provide “security for settlers. ”Area native Amjad Na’im Abu Yaqub said he was stopped on the way home near the southern access road to Ariel. As he was detained troops told him a curfew will be imposed in the nearby villages starting at ten o’clock at night. Two months ago more than 7,000 Israeli settlers descended on the area under similar circumstances. The settlers ended up rioting in the villages, breaking glass and damaging grave sites in the village cemetery. 

Israeli settlers denounce Obama in poster campaign across occupied West Bank
6/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli settler bypass roads and checkpoint areas were plastered with large posters denouncing US President Barak Obama as a “Jew-hater” and anti-Semite. Palestinian drivers were surprised to see Obama sporting a black-and-white kuffeieh in the style of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, with messages denouncing the American leader written in English and Hebrew. Clearly indented for the West Bank settler drivers, the posters appear to be a response to Obama’s recent promise to Palestinians to have Israel halt settlement construction in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. Locals reported seeing settlers post the signs early Friday morning when there was little traffic on the roads. 

Israel decreases quantities of cooking gas allowed into Gaza
6/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Board member of the Society of Gas Station Owners in Gaza Mohammad Al-A’badlah said on Friday that Israeli authorities began decreasing the quantities of cooking gas allowed into the Strip five day ago. Al-A’badalah told Ma’an that "for five days the Israeli side is allowing 70-80 tons of gas every day into Gaza," adding that "Gaza needs 350 tons per day," and noting that "the reduction, as the Israeli side has claimed, is for security reasons. " Israel had previously allowed 200-250 tons of gas into Gaza, which was described as a reasonable supply for normal consumption by specialists. [end] 

Al-Mizan: De facto police confiscate, distribute aid to select recipients
6/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto government security forces reportedly confiscated aid being distributed by the international organization At-Ta’awon in the city of Beit Hanoun and attacked the organization director when she attempted to intervene on Friday, the Al-Mizan Center for Human Rights reported. Officials with Al-Mizan said police took the aid and distributed it to a list of recipients different from that prepared by At-Ta’awon, despite the charity;s previous coordination with the de facto Ministry of Social Affairs. The aid had been destined for the Bait Hanoun and Jabaliyah societies for the rehabilitation the handicapped. Director Ibtisam Az-Za’anin said she was attacked by de facto police when she attempted to halt the confiscation. Al-Mizan denounced the confiscation in a statement, saying the de facto police should not intervene in the workings of non-governmental organizations. 

Four injured Gazans travel to Israel for treatment
6/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Four Palestinians left Gaza for Israel through the Erez crossing on Friday after being badly burned when a gas canister exploded in Khan Younis two days earlier. The fourwill be treated in Israeli hospitals, and follow a fifth man who was injured in the same accident who left to receive treatment on Thursday. Head of Emergency and Ambulance services in the Gaza Strip Muawiyah Hassanein identified the five men as: Malek Al- A’moudi, Shahd Al-A’moudi, SalwaAl-A’moudi,Yousef Yousefand Mohammad Abu Hatab, who left a day earlier. The five had burns covering more than 75% of their bodies. The incident sparked a de facto government crackdown on unauthorized fuel sale points. 

Family of murdered boy says 15-year-old wasn’t a spy
6/12/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Palestinian society in the northern West Bank was up in arms Friday after the murder of a local teen following dubious claims that he was collaborating with the Israeli occupation, family members and residents told Ma'an. Fifteen-year-old Ra’ed Sawalha was found dead Wednesday, apparently tortured and hung by at least one family member who had accused him of collaborating with Israeli forces, Palestinian police reported Thursday. Several arrests were made immediately following the incident in the Hijjah village east of Qalqiliya, including several family members of the slain boy originally reported to have justified their acts by claiming that Ra'ed was a "spy" for Israel. On Friday, however, it became clear that the incident, which made headlines in Palestine, Israel and abroad, was actually a domestic violence assault on the part of a mentally disabled relative, according to shocked family members. 

Palestinians clash with settler hurling insults at elderly woman in Jerusalem
6/12/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Several were injured as Israeli settlers and Palestinian youth clashed in the At-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem late Thursday night. Locals reported the igniting incident to the clashes was a settler man who harassed an elderly Palestinian woman near her home. The harassment was met with violence as several Palestinian men turned against the settler and beat him for the damaging comments he was making against the woman. The scuffle turned into a brawl until Israeli police came to quell the scene. [end] 

Gaza: Two border clashes, one Israeli soldier injured
6/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – One Israeli soldier was injured in one of two clashes near the Gaza-Israel border overnight. Friday morning Israeli sources reported that troops clashed with Palestinian fighters beside the electrified fence near the abandoned Kibbutz Bari in eastern Gaza. One Israeli soldier was reported injured. No Palestinian faction has claimed involvement in the incident. On Thursday night a group calling itself the Palestinian Eagles Brigades said they launched a small attack on an Israeli patrol east of Bait Hanoun. The brigades said in a statement, “We attacked three Israeli jeeps [that] were touring the area east of Bait Hanoun and we opened heavy fire against them and their jeeps. ”The statement said the attack was a response to “all Israeli crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 

Top-level Egyptian efforts see two Al-Qassam fighters surrender to PA police in Tubas
6/12/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an exclusive – Two Al-Qassam members surrendered to Palestinian Authority intelligence forces in Tubas on Friday morning after Egyptian mediators insist men be interrogated and released. Police sources said Egypt’s Chief of Intelligence Amr Mousa stepped in on the case and spoke to both PA police and Hamas leaders. He had sides reach an agreement where the men are investigated and released as long as they promise to halt any further political activity. Brothers Faze’a Sawafta, 37, and Ala, 30, surrendered Friday morning, and police say Ala was released shortly after since he is not in fact wanted by police. The Al-Qassam Brigades is the armed wing of Hamas, and its fighters have been at the heart of recent clashes with PA police in Tulkarem and Qalqiliya. On 31 May two fighters, three police and one bystander were killed as PA police attempted to arrest the Al-Qassam men. 

Qalqiliya clashes top agenda of first PLC session in post-war Gaza
6/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian Legislative Council held its first public session in Gaza on Thursday, where members discussed the latest Hamas-Fatah clashes in Qalqiliya and demanded the Fatah PLC bloc take a stand on the violence. The meeting was the first since the Israeli war on Gaza last winter. The meeting was held in its ruined hall in the PLC of Rimal, Gaza. The meeting was attended by the majority of members of the Gaza PLC members. Top on the agenda was discussion of the latest events in Qalqiliya, the northern West Bank city where two gunbattles saw showdowns between Hamas fighters and Palestinian Authority police. The battles were the first large-scale example of internecine violence between Fatah and Hamas since the clashes in the summer and fall of 2007. Six were killed in the latest clashes, but PA officials maintain the Hamas men were wanted for breaches of the law, and not based on factional differences. 

Fatah in Gaza: This round of dialogue is opportunity not to be missed
6/12/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - “We have no choice but to find an agreement” Fatah leader in Gaza Ibrahim Abu An-Najah said of the upcoming round of unity talks in Cairo. In a statement released Friday, Abu An-Najah cautioned parties against being “careless” over the opportunity provided by what he described as an “earnest” Egyptian gesture. “Hamas announced that it sensed for the first time Egypt’s seriousness to achieve Palestinian reconciliation,” the Fatah leader noted. He expressed his own conviction that the Egyptian efforts have been in earnest from the start, but added that Hamas' willingness to take this round of talks seriously should be taken as an important sign as to how the talks should be approached. Abu An-Najah admitted he knew nothing of the outcome from Hamas leader in exile Khalid Mash’al’s landmark visit to Cairo last week, where he spoke with mediators regarding unity and dialogue, but said it could not but be a good omen. 

Hamas: PA arrests 21 affiliated to Hamas
6/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority forces arrested 21 Hamas members in the West Bank on Thursday night, the party said. In a statement Hamas detailed those detained by the West Bank police as: Dr Hassan As-Safarini, lecturer at the law department at An-Najah University, Khaled Sa’adeh, member of the Bethlehem municipal government, Ahmad As-Shanar, Hajawi Al-Bath, Majdy Sherif Nofal, Nabil Al-Sheikh, Samir Athbeh, Iyad Al-Far, Raby Arafah Ar-Raby, Mahmoud Az-Zamil, Nour Barakat Al-Atrash, Haytham Amr, Fawwaz Amr, Issa Jaradat, Aktham Abu Obeid, Sary Abdel Razeq, Anas Al-Hasry,[end] 

PLO official calls for solidarity with imprisoned PFLP leader
6/12/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A senior Palestine Liberation Organization official on Friday called for Palestinians and Arabs to show their solidarity for the imprisoned secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa'adat. The official, PLO Director of Expatriate Affairs, Tayseer Khaled, said that Arabs should support the imprisoned PFLP leader, who two weeks ago began a hunger strike over prison conditions at an Israeli jail in Beersheva. “The defense of the national prisoner movement at the Israeli collective arresting camps (especially the comrades; speaker of the Legislative Council, Aziz Dwek and Ahmad Sa’adat, Marwan Al-Barghouthy, the comrade, Ibrahim Abo-Hagla, and many others) is a priority on the list of tasks our communities decided to work on, as well as our refugees’ right to return,” Khaled said. 

Did Fatah book 2,000 hotel rooms for its sixth conference?
6/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an Exclusive - Organizers for Fatah's sixth conference have booked 2,000 hotel rooms in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to knowledgeable sources within the movement's preparatory committee on Friday. According to a hotel owner, Fatah booked 2,000 rooms for its participants, although the official movement denied the claim. Bethlehem only has the capacity of about 700 hotel rooms, anyway, a spokesperson added. However he said that other civil institutions and halls may assist the conference if it actually happens. The conference is expected to begin on 1 July, a date set after months of deliberation about where and when to hold the long-delayed meeting. The fifth Fatah conference was held in Tunis in 1989 and included 1,250 party members. However, a recent proposal for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suggested holding the conference in the presence. . . 

Second N1H1 case confirmed in Bethlehem
6/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Another case of the H1N1 virus, popularly referred to as swine flu, has surfaced in the central West Bank, according to Palestine's High National Committee on Friday. The committee said in a statement that the second case of the flu was confirmed in the mother of a four-year-old child who was previously found to be carrying the virus in Bethlehem. The two had reportedly just returned from Texas in the United States, which has seen thousands of confirmed cases of the deadly virus. The Palestinian Ministry of Health also confirmed that the two have the virus, but added that the mother and child's conditions were not life-threatening. The ministry said they would not be requiring hospitalization. Meanwhile, a symptomatic man in his 40s in the northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya was placed under quarantine after being tested in a hospital there. 

The National

Mitchell presses for Palestinian state
12 Jun 2009 - The US Middle East envoy George Mitchell says Washington supports the creation of a Palestinian state 'as soon as possible'.

Mitchell to promote Arab-Israeli peace
12 Jun 2009 - The US Middle East envoy George Mitchell arrives in Syria on today amid renewed efforts to revive stalled Middle East peace talks.

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

Ahmadinejad 'set for Iran victory'
12 Jun 2009 - The incumbent president has substantial lead with more than two-thirds of votes counted.

Lebanon 'key' to regional peace
12 Jun 2009 - US envoy to Middle East says Beirut will play important role in talks with Israel.

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.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Palestinians Begin to See Real Hope 
RAMALLAH, Jun 12 (IPS) - Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat believes Palestinians are politically in their strongest position ever in their decades-long conflict with the Israelis.

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.

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 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

8216;Tear gas is an emotional state’
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 11 June 2009 - The three days of mourning over the death of Yusuf "Akal" Srour, who was shot at close range on Friday during a demonstration against the separation fence in Na'alin, ended Tuesday. Srour was shot when he tried to help another demonstrator who had been hurt by the soldiers' fire. The condition of that demonstrator, a boy of 15 from the village of Na'alin, is still serious. He underwent surgery and one of his lungs was removed. In the past year there have demonstrations in Na'alin every Friday. In neighboring Bil'in, the residents have been demonstrating since 2005, when the construction of the barrier on their land began. In spite of a High Court of Justice ruling on September 4, 2007, which proposed that, within a reasonable period of time, a plan be considered to reroute existing and planned sections of the fence to reduce harm to the villagers,. . . 

Israeli navy shoots at Gazan fishermen, no injuries
International Solidarity Movement - Ramattan - 12 June 2009 - Israeli warships shot at Palestinian fishermen in the northern coast of the Gaza Strip on Friday, Palestinian security sources said. Sources reported that the Israeli navy opened heavy fire against a number of Gazan fishermen and their boats near Al-Sudaniya neighborhood north of Gaza, no injuries or damages were reported. The Israeli navy prevents Gazan fishermen to sail more than 3 miles into Gaza regional water, what makes it difficult to find the good fish. Yesterday, Israeli gunboats also opened heavy fire at Palestinian fishermen in the coast of Gaza without causing injuries or damages. Updated on June 12, 2009 [end] 

Israeli forces kidnap two Ni’lin residents
International Solidarity Movement - In the early hours of Thursday morning, at 2. 15am, the Israeli army invaded the village of Ni'lin and kidnapped two young men from their family homes. Mohammad Waed Khawaja (22), and Mohammad Ratib Khawaja (20), were each forcibly arrested, blindfolded, handcuffed, and taken away. The soldiers arrived on foot from the nearby fields and simultaneously surrounded the houses before entering. The army arrived at the house of Mohammad Waed Khawaja, with their faces painted black, and screamed his name ordering him to come out. Before the family could respond, the army smashed the windows and the entrance door of the house and 11 soldiers forcibly entered, with 30 remaining outside. The 13 members of the family were woken up, harassed and forced into one room of the house. The terrified family attempted to question why Mohammad was being arrested but the soldiers refused to respond. 

Ni’lin residents demonstrate against the Apartheid Wall
International Solidarity Movement - Approximately 100 Palestinian, Israeli and international solidarity activists gathered today in the village of Nil'in. The atmosphere was charged following last week's murder of Yousef Akil Srour, and demonstrators were unsure of the force that would meet them as they marched towards the Apartheid wall. 50 meters before reaching the razor wire fence that charts the intended route of the separation wall, which parts villagers from their fields, Israeli forces began firing tear gas. While those with children ran from the ensuing gas, others continued down towards the fence, yelling in Hebrew to the soldiers "˜Go home'. The group immediately dispersed and people fanned out along the ridge that runs alongside the road and razor wire. In one area youths were able to dismantle a section of the fence spanning four meters as others threw rocks onto the fence below. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Report: Ahmadinejad nearing landslide victory 
12 Jun 2009 - Hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was heading for a surprise landslide with nearly 80 percent of votes counted in Iran's stormy presidential elections, the Interior Ministry said Saturday. ...

U.S.: Netanyahu policy speech not adequate
12 Jun 2009 - The proposals to be outlined in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Sunday will not be enough to satisfy the Obama administration, a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying on Friday. ...

Lebanon's Hariri wants unity government including Hezbollah
12 Jun 2009 - The pro-Western politician favored to become Lebanon's next prime minister is setting aside the explosive issue of disarming the Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah, saying Friday he hopes for unity with his political foes in the sharply divided country. ...

UN approves wider sanctions against North Korea
11 Jun 2009 - The Security Council on Friday unanimously approved wider UN sanctions against North Korea over its May 25 nuclear test, a move which close ally China said showed firm opposition to Pyongyang's atomic ambitions. ...

Noam Shalit gives Jimmy Carter letter to son held by Hamas
11 Jun 2009 - Noam Shalit, father of abducted Israel Defense Force soldier Gilad Shalit, passed a letter to his son to former United States president during their meeting on Friday. ...

The Guardian

Video: Mahmoud Abu Rideh talks about his time at Belmarsh high-security prison
12 Jun 2009 - Palestinian refugee Mahmoud Abu Rideh talks about his control order, his time at Belmarsh prison and why he feels fully prepared to take his own life

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Five gay couples wed in ceremony on Tel Aviv beach
12 Jun 2009 - Five gay couples wed Friday in a ceremony held on the Tel Aviv beach at the end of the city's 11th annual Gay Pride Parade which saw thousands of people from all walks of life join in celebration on the city's streets. ...

J Street blasts 'distorted' poll that says Israelis against settlement freeze
11 Jun 2009 - The pro-Israel group J Street on Friday blasted a poll released earlier this week that said a majority of Israelis are against a settlement freeze, calling the poll 'politically motivated and distorted'. ...

Rightist MK: PM's policy speech won't cause 'earthquake'
11 Jun 2009 - Habayit Hayehudi chairman Zevulun Orlev said Friday, following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that he did not believe that the PM's upcoming address would signal significant changes in his policy. ...

Poll: 56% of Israelis back settlement construction
11 Jun 2009 - Nearly six of every 10 Israelis think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resist U.S. demands to completely freeze construction in Jewish West Bank settlements, according to a new poll released Friday. ...

Jerusalem mayor caves in to Haredi demands, closes parking lot
11 Jun 2009 - Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat decided Friday to comply with a demand issued by the city's District Police chief Aharon Franco to leave the contentious Safra parking lot closed for the next two Saturdays. ...

Relief Web

Press conference by President of sixty-fourth General Assembly session
12 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

OPT: New gas and fuel pipeline between Israel and Gaza Strip
12 Jun 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

OPT: Israel - Stop demolishing Palestinian homes
12 Jun 2009 - Source: Human Rights Watch

OPT: UN concern grows over Israeli blockade of Gaza crossings
12 Jun 2009 - Source: UN News Service

The Government of Sweden and UNDP sign a 6.24 million dollar agreement targeting rule of law in the oPt
12 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Development Programme

OPT: Commissioner-General's opening remarks at the 10th Conference of International Investigators
12 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Civil society makes voices heard during UN Public Forum in Support of Palestinian People
12 Jun 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

OPT: Mediators await Netanyahu speech, hoping for change
12 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

YNet News

Rivals in Iranian presidential race issue competing victory claims
12 Jun 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi both claim to have won Tehran election, despite votes not being tallied. Official results expected Saturday

Iran prolongs presidential vote 
12 Jun 2009 - Tehran says ballots to remain open for four hours longer due to massive turnout at country's 45,000 polling stations. Vote's deadline extended several time as presidential race becomes tight; Foreign Ministry says voter turnout expected to exceed 70%

US Mideast envoy presses for Palestinian state 
12 Jun 2009 - George Mitchell visits Lebanon, says President Obama committed to 'actively and aggressively seeking comprehensive peace in the Middle East'

Shalit family gives Carter letter for Gilad 
12 Jun 2009 - (Video) Captive soldier's father meets with former US president, asks him to pass on letter to son who was kidnapped by Hamas into Gaza Strip 1,083 days ago. Noam Shalit estimates letter to reach its destination within several days 

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

Mousavi claims victory in Iranian polls 
12 Jun 2009 - Former prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi said he was the "definite winner" in Iran's presidential election on Friday against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "I am the definite winner of this presidential election," he told a news conference in Tehran.He noted that many voters had not been able to cast their ballots even. 

'Israelis routinely abuse, torture Palestinian minors' 
12 Jun 2009 - Palestinian minors arrested by Israeli forces are routinely mistreated and at times tortured, and are denied a fair trial, an international children's-rights group said on Thursday. "From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen and interrogators," Defense for Children International said.

Netanyahu under pressure to resist US call for two states 
12 Jun 2009 - The heat is on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from within his own right-wing party to resist US pressure and not utter the words "Palestinian state" in a keenly awaited policy speech. "The expression Palestinian state should not be used," Likud MP Miri Regev said Thursday, echoing the sentiment of several.

Palestinian Information Center

Minefields in Obama's Cairo Speech
12 Jun 2009 - It is hard to treat with indifference President Obama's speech in Cairo on 4 June, 2009.

Israeli Knesset speaker warns Netanyahu not to accept roadmap plan
12 Jun 2009 - Israeli Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin has called Thursday for a peace deal that would enable the Zionists to settle anywhere in occupied Palestine..

Families of women imprisoned by Abbas's militia appeal for help
12 Jun 2009 - Families of Palestinian women imprisoned by Abbas's militia appealed to the Egyptian President, Husni Mubarak, and the Saudi Monarch, King Abdullah, to intervene to get their daughters released.

Hamas: Sawafta did not surrender to Abbas's militia
12 Jun 2009 - Hamas issued a statement on Friday saying that news reports claiming that Faze' Sawafta, a Hamas leader in the West Bank, surrendered himself to Abbas's militia were false.

Abbas's militia arrests university professor as campaign against Hamas in W.B.
12 Jun 2009 - The militia of former PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas have arrested Thursday scores of Palestinian citizens affiliated with Hamas Movement..

Hamdan: Hamas-Carter meet reflects West's conviction that Hamas can’t be ignored
12 Jun 2009 - Hamas's representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan has confirmed Thursday that his Movement won't recognize the Israeli occupation in exchange for talks with the West..

Ban Ki Moon: the Gaza blockade is devastating the population
12 Jun 2009 - The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said on Thursday "the Gaza blockade is devastating the population and achieving little in security and political terms," during his monthly press conference.

Palestinian resistance fighters clash with an IOF patrol
12 Jun 2009 - Palestinian resistance fighters clashed on Thursday with an IOF patrol near the memorial statue to the east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Nasr: Fate of national dialog depends on ending the PA escalations in WB
12 Jun 2009 - Hamas official Mohamed Nasr stated that the fate of the Palestinian national dialog is conditional on ending the PA security apparatuses’ practices against Hamas in the West Bank.

PFLP: Mitchell’s calls for a quick resumption of peace talks are suspicious
12 Jun 2009 - The popular front stated that the statements of US envoy George Mitchell calling for a rapid resumption of peace talks are suspicious and cast heavy doubts on the seriousness of the US administration.

Los Angeles Times

Iranians ready to decide presidency -- and maybe much more 
12 Jun 2009 - Incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is pitted against Mir-Hossein Mousavi and two other rivals. The winner will play a key role in possible talks over Iran's nuclear program and support for militant groups. After an exuberant campaign season, voters across Iran voted today in a fiercely contested presidential election with potentially broad domestic and international repercussions. 

Obama's resolve on Mideast facing a history of blunt reality 
12 Jun 2009 - As President Obama launches a bold new peace effort, like his predecessors he will be limited by regional leaders -- and especially now, with conditions unfavorable for a sweeping initiative. Infuriated by pressure from Washington, Israel's prime minister summoned the American ambassador. 

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. 

New York Times

Both Sides Claim Victory in Presidential Election in Iran
12 Jun 2009 - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent, and Mir Hussein Moussavi both claimed victory as officials were still counting ballots from a vote with extraordinary turnout. 

News Analysis: As Iran Votes, Talk of a Sea Change
11 Jun 2009 - With polls now open in Iran, some say new democratic energies could affect the country’s politics whether or not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is defeated. 

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. 


Articles

Can civil disobedience work if the media stays away? 
Bruce Wolman, Mondoweiss, International Solidarity Movement 6/11/2009
      What if Palestinians turned to non-violent protest and none of the media showed up to cover their actions?
     President Obama in his Cairo speech insisted the “Palestinians must abandon violence.” He exhorted them to imitate the methods of the Civil Rights movement in the United States:
     “Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding.”
     Obama went further and stated, “This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia, to Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: violence is a dead end.”
     But would the freedom rides and marches, lunch counter sit-ins and bus boycotts have succeeded if the media had not been on the story? Had the New York Times and other papers not sent reporters to witness the protests, or had the television networks not sent crews to film the events, had Americans heard only the explanations of the George Wallaces and the Bull Connors juxtaposed with the testimony of the protesters, would the non-violent approach of Martin Luther King Jr. had succeeded?

Obama’s Doublespeak on Iran 
Ismael Hossein-zadeh, CounterPunch 6/11/2009
      New Rhetoric, Same Translation
     On the US-Iran relationship, President Obama seems to be talking from both sides of his mouth. From one side we hear promising messages of dialogue and a “new beginning” with Iran; from the other side provocative words that seems to be coming right out of the mouth of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
     For example, on the occasion of the Iranian New Year in March, while the President expressed willingness for “engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect" he also warned Iran that it cannot "take its rightful place in the community of nations … through terror or arms.”
     Claims that Iran supports international terrorism or seeks to manufacture nuclear weapons were used by the Bush administration as excuses for not negotiating with Iran. President Obama’s occasional mimicking of those claims (which completely disregards the expert views of both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the National Intelligence Estimate) is likewise bound to serve as a major obstacle in the way of a meaningful conversation with Iran.
     In terms of actual policy measures, President Obama and his foreign policy team have not taken any steps to reverse or mitigate the hostile policies their predecessors put into effect against Iran.


Electronic Intifada
Some unclean drops to drink
12 Jun 2009 - FAQUA, occupied West Bank (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. Faqua's problems started in 1948 with the establishment of Israel, when 24,000 of Faqua's 36,000 dunams of land (a dunam is the equivalent of 1,000 square meters) and most of the underground springs were appropriated by the new Jewish state. 

"Security threat": An attempt to visit family in Ramallah
12 Jun 2009 - Taking the first bus of the day, my wife and I arrived on the Israeli side of the King Hussein bridge crossing into the West Bank from Jordan. We explained that we were heading to Ramallah to visit my wife's mother and brothers for three weeks. We performed the exact same procedure last year without incident. However, this year I was told to wait. Asa Winstanley writes from the UK. 

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. 

Palestine Chronicle
Netanyahu Beginning to Sweat
12 Jun 2009 - By Neve Gordon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning to sweat. Notwithstanding the agreement between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu on issues such as the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the insistence that the Palestinians renounce violence, there are currently points of serious contention between the two leaders. These include Obama’s position that the two-state solution is the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his demand that Israel stop building settlements and his intimation that all the settlements are illegal. Other points of strife include Obama’s call for regional nuclear non-proliferation (which, in effect, assumes that Israel’s nuclear capacity will be part of the negotiations with Iran), his recognition of the plight of Palestinians, including the refugees, and his claim that Hamas is a legitimate rather than a terrorist organization. So far Obama’s challenges to Israel have been theoretical, and the only substantive demand that Washington has made involves the 100 or so Jewish outposts in the West Bank. Reiterating President Bush’s directive, Obama recently asked Netanyahu to begin dismantling the outposts. Legally the outposts are just like the 121 settlements (namely, they are all illegal), only the outposts were built following the 1993 Oslo accords, and, as opposed to the settlements, which are now home to close to half a million Jews or about 7 percent of Israel’s citizenry, almost all the outposts are extremely sparsely populated with less than a dozen people in each one. Netanyahu did not refuse, but instead of carrying...

Carter Meets the Ayatollah the CIA Once Tried to Kill
12 Jun 2009 - By Franklin Lamb – Dahiyeh, Beirut "I will try to get you off the US Terrorism list if you can arrange a meeting for me with Hassan Nasrallah." - Jimmy Carter reportedly joking to Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah at their 6/9/09 meeting. Some readers may recall a December 15, 2008 Report in Counterpunch entitled "Why Hezbollah Stiffed Carter." The former American President was in Beirut at the time to announce the Center’s Election Monitoring project and was disappointed when Hezbollah’s Mohammad Raad told the media that the National Lebanese Resistance would not be meeting with him. Carter wrote in his December 19, 2008 Report to the Carter Center: "This (recent trip to Lebanon-ed.) was something like a presidential visit in that we had long conversations with top officials, cabinet members and delegations of the many political parties. Hezbollah refrained from meeting with us but expressed approval of our election monitoring". This observer was advised as Carter departed Lebanon last time, that “the Carter-Hezbollah problem” was not really serious, but rather that the very short notice did not allow for the necessary logistics and details to be worked out to Hezbollah’s standards. Dahiyeh was not off limits to the former US President and indeed Carter has plenty of Hezbollah admirers, despite the 1979 Camp David Accords, based partly on his human rights work his candid admissions of earlier US errors in Lebanon, the region, and even Iran. It was also learned that Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah would have welcomed a December...

Operation Cast Lead: War Crimes against Children
12 Jun 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented the toll on Gaza's children and published it in May. It did so "in response to the unprecedented number of children who were killed (and injured) by (the Israeli Defense Forces) during the offensive on Gaza." According to international standards, the Convention on the Rights of the Child's (CRC) definition was used to apply to anyone under age 18. PCHR reviewed IDF killing of Gaza's children since the beginning of the Second Intifada in September 2000, then focused on the 313 youth deaths during the recent conflict. Its evidence comes from eye-witness accounts of the willful targeting of civilians, including women and children. Also covered are the psychological scars and "alarming scale of physical injuries" leaving some children blind and many others (as well as adults) permanently disabled by the loss of limbs and psychological trauma. PCHR's report bears testimony to Israel's contempt for international laws, its imperial agenda, culture of violence, disdain for peace, genocidal intentions, disparagement of Arabs and Islam, and its scorn for Palestinian lives and welfare. PCHR presented 13 case studies in its report. Briefly discussed below, they represent a small fraction of the many hundreds killed and thousands more grievously harmed. Introduction Since the September 2000 Second Intifada, Israeli forces killed 1179 children, including 865 in Gaza as part of a decades-long policy of collectively punishing millions of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, mostly civilian men, women,...

Why March 14 Won Lebanon's Elections
12 Jun 2009 - By Rannie Amiri The results of Lebanon's June 7 parliamentary elections are in. And defying expectations, the U.S., Israel, and Saudi-backed "March 14" Alliance managed to maintain its majority in the Chamber of Deputies and claim victory. This came as a relative surprise since many had predicted the "March 8" Alliance of Hezbollah, Amal, and the Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun would ultimately triumph. Of parliament’s 128 seats, split evenly among Muslims and Christians, March 14 won 68 and March 8, 57. Three independent candidates will apparently be siding with the former giving them a total of 71; a net gain of one over the previous 70-58 distribution. Twenty-seven seats in parliament are allocated to Shia Muslims and as expected, all went to the March 8 Alliance. Similarly, of the 27 allotted to Sunni Muslims, all went to March 14. It was the Christian vote therefore – particularly the Maronite one – which ultimately tipped the balance in favor of the pro-Western coalition to the delight of the U.S. and their Arab allies. Lost in the jubilation among the supporters of Saad Hariri, head of the largest party in the March 14 Alliance and its de facto head, was that the Hezbollah-led opposition handily won the popular vote. It can be factually stated that the majority of Lebanese did not vote for the March 14 group. Although certainly not insignificant, due to the distribution of seats based on electoral district, this does not change the outcome of the contest....

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