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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
22 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Radwan: 'Abbas’ forces kidnapped 40 Hamas supporters in 24 hours'
23 Jun 2009 - Dr. Ismail Radwan, a political leader of the Hamas movement in Gaza, reported that the security forces of president Mahmoud Abbas arrested 40 Hamas members and supporters in 24 hours, and demanded a real decision to stop all political arrests. 

Mashal to deliver a speech Thursday
23 Jun 2009 - Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, declared that its political bureau head in Syria, Khalid Mashal, would deliver an important political speech on this coming Thursday at 5 P.M.  

Qassam fighter sentenced to 19 years
23 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Be’er Sheva Court sentenced on Monday a Palestinian from Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, to 19 years imprisonment after convicting him of membership with the Al Qassam brigades of Hamas, and of manufacturing and firing homemade shells. 

Hamas denies reports on progress in Shalit talks
23 Jun 2009 - Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, stated Monday that it did not change its conditions regarding the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and denied reports on progress in the case. 

Israeli Navy kidnaps four fishermen
23 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Navy kidnapped on Monday four Palestinians fishermen, including two brothers, as they were fishing in Palestinian territorial waters in Gaza. 

Israel sets more millions for settlements expansion
22 Jun 2009 - Israel plans to allocate 250 million dollars over the next two years for settlements in the occupied West Bank despite US pressure to halt settlement activity, army radio said on Sunday.

Israel hand over 65 demolition orders to Palestinian families in Jerusalem
22 Jun 2009 - The Israeli municipality of Jerusalem handed out on Sunday evening more demolition orders to 65 Palestinian families all over east Jerusalem.

Adalah: Israeli illegally selling Palestinian Refugee Property
22 Jun 2009 - In a press conference held in Jerusalem on Monday, Adalah, The Legal Center for the Arab Minority in Israel, announced that the Israeli government is selling Palestinian refugee property to the private sector.

Sources: President Abbas orders the release of Hamas detainees
22 Jun 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah ordered Monday release of all Hamas detainees by reconsidering each single case, the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported

Palestinian fighters fire two shells, Israeli forces invade central Gaza
21 Jun 2009 - Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza fired two homemade shells toward an Israel military base Sunday morning, causing no injuries or damage. Following that incident, dozens of Israeli forces armed with tanks, armored jeeps and heavy armaments invaded deep into Al Boreij refugee camp, in the Central Gaza Strip. 

Israeli human rights group lawsuit exposes government complicity in settlement expansion
21 Jun 2009 - As the lawsuit filed by several Israeli human rights groups, including Yesh Din, continues its proceedings in the Israeli High court, the documents that continue to be exposed show a wide swath of support for Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank by the Israeli government, in violation of both international law and Israel law. 

Another Palestinian in Old Jerusalem forced by Israeli troops to demolish own home
21 Jun 2009 - Muhammad Najib Al-Ju’ba, who has lived with his family for generations on Virgin Street near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, was forced by Israeli troops to demolish his own home this weekend, making the third home demolished in this way this week alone. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Mossad chief kept on for another year to monitor Iran
21 Jun 2009 - Security source says Dagan given mandate to sabotage Iran's nukes program before any full-scale Israeli strike. 

Truck bomb kills more than 70 in northern Iraq
21 Jun 2009 - Blast came hours after Iraqi PM warned of more violence as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraqi cities. 

Israel allows first shipment of cattle into Gaza for 9 months
20 Jun 2009 - Sources: Israel bowed to U.S. pressure to end ban, which didn't prevent cattle from being smuggled by the thousands. 

Protesters at Paris Airshow call for Israel boycott
20 Jun 2009 - Police disperse around 20 protesters who blocked entrance to Israeli pavilion. 

A settlement road trip after Netanyahu, Obama speeches
20 Jun 2009 - A visit to the West Bank shows that settlers have not changed their determination to keep building. 

Israeli troops humiliate Palestinians - and put it on YouTube
19 Jun 2009 - Border Police 'tradition' has Palestinians slapping themselves, singing songs of praise to troops. 

Ma'an News

Israeli navy seizes fishermen, boats off Gaza shore
6/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Israeli navy seized four Gazan fishermen on Monday morning after stopping their boats off the Gaza City coast. They were taken to Israel’s Ashdod port, north of the Gaza Strip. Head of the Palestinian fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash told Ma’an that Israeli warships obstructed two fishing boats, taking four fishermen, all members of the As-Sultan family, while they were sailing in the As-Sudaniyya area. He said Israeli navy officers beat the fishermen and also confiscated their boats. Ayyash identified the detained fishermen as Uday As-Sultan, Saddam As-Sultan, Hasan As-Sultan, and Muhammad As-Sultan. The Israeli navy prohibits Gazan fishermen from sailing more than three miles from the coast. If fishermen attempt to sail farther, they are pursued, shot at, detained, and often asked to become informers for Israeli intelligence. 

Israeli police hand over 65 demolition orders in Jerusalem
6/22/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli police, along with municipal workers, on Sunday evening carried out a large campaign against Palestinian homeowners in Jerusalem, ransacking 65 houses in different neighborhoods to hand families demolition orders. Residents told Ma’an’s correspondent that some of these families had received the same notices before, such as the owner of the As-Sunbula building in the Nusaiba neighborhood, which consists of 24 apartments, and a building owned by Thamin Abu Qabalah in Beit Hanina, north of Jerusalem, which has 15 apartments. New demolition orders were handed over to Muhammad Abu Khdeir related to a 12-apartment building he owns in Shu’fat, north of Jerusalem. Another 12-room block known as the Ghayth building was also served in Beit Hanina. Two new demolition orders were also handed over to two families living in the Wadi Qaddoum neighborhood in Silwan, south of Jerusalem. 

Israeli forces apprehend 12 Palestinians near Hebron
6/22/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized 12 Palestinians from the villages of Safa, north of Hebron in the southern West Bank, and Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa in the south after ransacking several homes. A local Palestinian security source told Ma’an’s correspondent that an Israeli military force stormed Safa nad ransacked several homes before apprehending the men. They were identified as: 28-year-old Abdul-Fattah Khlayyil, 24-year-old Alaa At-Teit, 20-year-old Eid Shweiki, 24-year-old Isam Aadi, 20-yerar-old Mahmoud Khlayyil, 22-year-old Layth Addi, and 19-year-old Omar Di’mis. The source added that Israeli forces stormed Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa and seized Samir Shawamra, Luay Shawamra, Iyad Dardoun, Uday Shawamra, and Badawi Shawamra. 

Bat Ayin settlers uproot trees from Palestinian land
6/22/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli settlers uprooted more than 150 olive and grape trees from Palestinian-owned land in Wadi Abu Ar-Rish, near the settlement of Bat Ayin, south of Bethlehem, on Monday, witnesses said. Settlers from Bat Ayin also set fires in the same area. Witnesses said that the settlers carried out these attacks under the protection of Israeli soldiers. The municipal government of the town of Beit Ummar, under whose jurisdiction the land lies, issued a condemnation of the assault, and also called for an investigation. Last Friday, Israeli soldiers assaulted Palestinian and Israeli peace activists who held a demonstration in the same area. Seven protesters were arrested. Bat Ayin is known as one of the more militant settlements in the West Bank, and has been a flashpoint for recent violence. 

Israeli troops overrun coffee shop, workshops in Jenin
6/22/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers overran a coffee shop and a number of stone workshops at the Ash-Shuhada area of southern Jenin on Monday. Soldiers checked the identities of a number of workers and residents, but no one was detained, according to local sources. Witnesses reported that five Israeli patrols, accompanied by an Israeli intelligence unit, broke into the coffee shop and demanded that people there identify themselves. Meanwhile, others checked IDs and erected a military checkpoint in Ash-Shuhada but soon removed it, detaining no one. [end] 

Gaza demonstration to demand end of siege
6/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Popular Committee Against the Siege of Gaza plans to stage a demonstration and press conference at the Erez border crossing in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Committee spokesperson Ali An-Nazli said the event is organized in cooperation with Wa’ed association and trade unions, in a joint call for an end to the siege and the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. He said the event is a response to demonstrations held by on the other side of the border urging Israel to continue the blockade until Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is released from Gaza. An-Nazli also said that Gaza deserves to live freely, like any place in the world, and Palestinian prisoners deserve to be released. 

PFLP’s Sa’adat urges unity in message from prison
6/22/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Imprisoned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Sa’adat is in better condition after ending his hunger strike a little more than a week ago, according to Knesset member Muhammad Barakeh, who visited the leftist official in prison on Monday. Sa’adat was on hunger strike for nine days earlier this months after prison authorities put him in solitary confinement. In a message relayed through Barakeh, Sa’adat said that there is no need for detainees to be remanded to solitary confinement, and are already isolated from the outside world by virtue of being in prison. Sa’adat also said he is worried about the internal Palestinian political situation. Informed by Barakeh about the upcoming round of talks between Hamas and Fatah, Sa’adat said that all factions should be included in the dialogue on the formation of the next government. 

Israeli forces re-erect checkpoint evacuated earlier in June
6/22/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Monday morning re-erected the Atara checkpoint north of Ramallah in the central West Bank, which was removed earlier this month. Earlier in June, Israeli forces evacuated the checkpoint, but did not remove the cement blocks. Regardless, Palestinians were free to cross the checkpoint in both directions. Israel had insisted that the semi-evacuation was part of a wider effort of easing restrictions on the free movement of Palestinians in the West Bank. [end] 

Gaza man given 19-year jail term for armed action against Israel
6/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man from Gaza to 19 years in prison for manufacturing pipe bombs and projectiles and firing them at Israel, the Israeli news site Ynet reported on Monday. The Beersheba District Court also convicted the man of laying pipe bombs, one of them 15 kilograms in weight, in various places in the Gaza Strip with the intention of injuring or killing Israeli soldiers. According to the report the man was a member of Hamas’ armed wing from the city of Khan Younis. The report did not say when or how he was arrested. During its invasion of Gaza in January, the Israeli military detained dozens of men and women, bringing many of them to the Negev (Naqab in Arabic) prison camp. 

Three Gaza crossing points open
6/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Monday to open the three crossing points into the Gaza Strip, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official. Fattouh said that 60-79 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods would pass through Kerem Shalom; limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s only power will plant be shipped through Nahal Oz. Fattouh added that another limited load of feed and wheat will pass through Karni. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. 

Rafah crossing to open for three days next week
6/22/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Gaza's sole border with Egypt will open next week for three days to enable thousands of Palestinians to exit the besieged Strip, a crossings official told Ma'an on Monday. In a statement received, the staff member said that the Rafah crossing will open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (27-29 June). Travel will be allowed for people who have been registered with the de facto Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza, in addition to coordination tables received from the Egyptian side. The sources added that the border staff have coordinated with the de facto Interior Ministry to facilitate the processing of traveling citizens, affirming their concern for applying regulations so as to ensure transparency and impartiality. Traveling Palestinians will be taken through assembly points and busses only, and it will not be permitted for anyone to gather at the Rafah crossing itself, the statement noted. 

PFLP leader: Resistance as long as the occupation exists
6/22/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – A senior leader in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that Palestinians will continue their “resistance” as long as the Israeli occupation continues. Abdul Rahim Mallouh, the PFLP’s deputy Secretary-General, made this remark in his capacity as a representative of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during a Fatah movement event in honor of Fakhri Asfour Al-Barghouthi, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner, who has now spend 32 years in an Israeli jail. “As long as there is occupation there is resistance, as long as there is resistance there are sacrifices and we are ready to sacrifice to protect our national rights and to end the occupation,” said Mallouh, himself a former prisoner. He also said that the final status issues in negotiations with Israel cannot be separated from one another, including the issue of the 11,000 Palestinians jailed by Israel. 

Progress reported in Hamas-Israel prisoner talks
6/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Progress has been made toward a prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday. Quoting unnamed Palestinian sources, the newspaper said that Hamas has begun to show flexibility on the issue of marooning Palestinian prisoners from West Bank in Gaza upon their release. Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for freeing Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured by Palestinian fighters in a raid near Gaza three years ago. Egyptian-brokered negotiations toward a prisoner swap have been frozen since Benjamin Netanyahu took over as Israel’s prime minister. Meanwhile on Monday Egyptian Intelligence Chief Oman Sulaiman, the official in charge of the indirect talks, told a visiting Israeli official that he has not yet met with Israel’s. . . 

Fayyad: Palestinian state possible within two years
6/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that a Palestinian state is possible within the next two years on Monday. "I call on all our people to unite around the project of establishing a state and to strengthen its institutions. . . so that the Palestinian state becomes, by the end of next year or within two years at most, a reality," he said. "Achieving this goal within two years is possible. " He made these remarks in a speech aat Al-Quds University, in the town of Abu Dis, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Fayyad’s speech was billed in part as a rebuttal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv last week. In the address Netanyahu laid down harsh conditions for renewed peace talks, including a rejection of Palestinian claims in Jerusalem. 

EU funds double allowances for the poor in Gaza
6/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The European Union announced on Monday that it will double social allowances for some of the poorest families in war-torn Gaza, beginning with a payment on Tuesday. The European Commission and the governments of Austria and Italy donated 75 million Israeli shekels (nearly 19 million US dollars), to the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs based in Ramallah. The payments will help 49,600 families, including 24,834 in the West Bank, and 24,811 in the Gaza Strip. In a statement Minister Majida Al-Masri said that these allowances are part of the Palestinian Authority's efforts, in cooperation with the EU, to meet the needs of vulnerable families. She said that this payment would be doubled for Gaza beneficiaries due to the special situation faced by vulnerable families in Gaza. The assistance takes the form of an allowance of 1,000 shekels (253 US dollars) per household. 

Fayyad to deliver major address
6/22/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet held its weekly session on Monday and discussed a speech Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is to deliver later at Al-Quds University in the town of Abu Dis. In his speech, Fayyad is expected to focus on the performance and vision of the PA, the need to end Palestinian infighting and strengthen the home front as a step toward ending occupation and establishing an independent state. The speech is expected to be, in part, a response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech last week in which he called for peace talks but laid down harsh conditions for renewed negotiations. The speech is expected at 4:30pm local time. Hamas leader Khalid Mash'al is also expected to deliver a political address on Thursday, according to his office. Fayyad is also expected to stress that Israel implements its part of already. . . 

The National

Riot police use tear gas to disperse protesters
22 Jun 2009 - Security forces disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to hold a rally at Tehran's 7-Tir square yesterday in remembrance of those killed in earlier protests.

Debating Ahmadinejad
22 Jun 2009 - Jonathan Spollen makes the argument for both sides as the controversy over the Iran elections continue to grip Tehran.

The scars that will never fully heal
22 Jun 2009 - Israel is resisting any independent inquiry into the Gaza invasion in January in which one family lost 27 relatives in a missile attack.

Tel Aviv changes tone on Iran election
22 Jun 2009 - Just after the bitterly disputed presidential vote in Iran on June 12, Israel appeared pleased at the re-election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Opposition supporters in Dubai insist struggle must continue
21 Jun 2009 - Iranian residents in Dubai are feeling shocked and helpless in the aftermath of bloody protests in Tehran, which have left approximately 19 dead and several hundred injured.

Iran lashes out at media coverage
21 Jun 2009 - Confusion surrounds the Tehran demonstrations death toll as media ordered to leave the country and the daughter of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani is arrested.

Obama calls on Iran to stop unjust' actions 
21 Jun 2009 - The US President condemns Tehran's post-election response as reports reveal 13 people had been killed in clashes.

Aljazeera

Abbas orders Hamas prisoner release
22 Jun 2009 - The gesture comes ahead of reconciliation talks to be held in Egypt next month.

'Jewish state' recognition urged
21 Jun 2009 - Israel's Barak says Arab acceptance a pre-condition for creation of Palestinian state.

'Suicide bomber' hits Tehran shrine
20 Jun 2009 - Bomber reported to have blown himself up near former leader's shrine.

IRIN

EGYPT: Needle sharing rife among drug users
DUBAI Sunday, June 21, 2009 (IRIN) - The prevalence of HIV among intravenous drug users (IDUs) in Egypt is relatively low, but needle sharing is rife among this group, putting them at risk of contracting the virus, experts say. 

IRAQ: Call to protect, support Iraqi refugees worldwide 
BAGHDAD Sunday, June 21, 2009 (IRIN) - Marking World Refugee Day on 20 June, Iraqi non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies working in Iraq appealed for support for Iraqi refugees and called for assistance in creating the right conditions for voluntary, dignified and sustainable returns.

ISRAEL: Still a destination for human trafficking 
TEL AVIV Thursday, June 18, 2009 (IRIN) - The latest US State Department report on trafficked persons, released on 16 June, says Israel is still a destination for men and women trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Inter Press Service

US-IRAQ: Fate of Withdrawal Pact to be Decided at the Polls 
WASHINGTON, Jun 22 (IPS) - As Iraqis witness a spike in violence after a months-long relative lull, the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has decided to put its security agreement with the U.S. to a public referendum, although the move appears to be only heightening a sense of uncertainty...

EXCLUSIVE-PART1: Al Qaeda Excluded from the Suspects List 
WASHINGTON, Jun 22 (IPS) - On Jun. 25, 1996, a massive truck bomb exploded at a building in the Khobar Towers complex in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, which housed U.S. Air Force personnel, killing 19 U.S. airmen and wounding 372.

EGYPT: Unquiet Flows the Nile 
CAIRO, Jun 21 (IPS) - Differences over sharing of Nile waters may have deepened following the failure among the nine countries along the Nile to come to an agreement.

MIDEAST: Aid Agencies Slam Gaza Blockade 
RAMALLAH, Jun 20 (IPS) - Forty international aid agencies and NGOs have released a joint statement condemning Israel's blockade of Gaza, to mark the second anniversary of the coastal territory being hermetically sealed off from the outside world.

Stop The Wall

Open Letter to Palestine solidarity activists and human rights defenders
19 Jun 2009 - Dear friends,

304 Palestinians face demolition, 20 displaced in June
21 Jun 2009 - Last month, Occupation forces distributed demolition orders to 32 families in the Jordan Valley. The demolitions, if carried out in total, are set to affect 304 people. Demolitions began in June, and on the 17th bulldozers leveled structures in Jiftlik and Wadi Malih, displacing 20 people. For years, the people of the Jordan Valley have faced these types of attacks, which aim to drive them from their lands and clear the land for settlement expansion. [

PCHR Latest

(21 June) PCHR and Spanish Civil Society Organize Conferences in Madrid In Defense of Universal Jurisdiction
PCHR

PCHR and Spanish Civil Society Organize Conferences in Madrid In Defense of Universal Jurisdiction
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(11- 17 June  2008)
During During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 26 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 11 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

International Solidarity Movement

Bat Ayin settlers uproot trees from Palestinian land
International Solidarity Movement - Ma'an News, 22 June 2009 - Israeli settlers uprooted more than 150 olive and grape trees from Palestinian-owned land in Wadi Abu Ar-Rish, near the settlement of Bat Ayin, south of Bethlehem, on Monday, witnesses said. Settlers from Bat Ayin also set fires in the same area. Witnesses said that the settlers carried out these attacks under the protection of Israeli soldiers. The municipal government of the town of Beit Ummar, under whose jurisdiction the land lies, issued a condemnation of the assault, and also called for an investigation. Last Friday, Israeli soldiers assaulted Palestinian and Israeli peace activists who held a demonstration in the same area. Seven protesters were arrested. Bat Ayin is known as one of the more militant settlements in the West Bank, and has been a flashpoint for recent violence. 

Nonviolent resistance in the south Hebron hills
International Solidarity Movement - Electronic Intifada, 18 June 2009 - A couple of months ago I had the great pleasure of watching Palestinians successfully graze their sheep near Avigail settlement, on land where they are regularly attacked and harassed. The joy I felt in watching my friends and partners grazing their sheep on their ancestral lands was overwhelming. Sitting on the hill and eating lunch together felt like having a party. As the day drew to an end, Mahmoud, one of the Palestinian elders, excitedly explained to me the strategy he had used in dealing with the Israeli army and settlers that morning. He told me how, even though the army had declared the area a closed military zone, he firmly stood up for his rights. He explained how he pretended to slowly begin to comply with the military order, all the while challenging the soldiers and insisting on his right to graze his sheep. 

Over 50 bullets shot towards a fishing boat
International Solidarity Movement - Fishing Under Fire - 21 June 2009 - This video shows a Palestinian fishing boat attacked by the Israeli Navy BEFORE the recent massacres (December 2009, January 2009), that means during the 6 month "CEASEFIRE" (June – December 2008). Finally we counted more than 50 bulletholes! During the interview gunboats of the Israeli Navy were continuing to patrol in Palestinian territorial waters, very close to the shore (for sure closer than the 3 miles "limit" that they suppose to impose) and harassing Palestinian fishing boats. Updated on June 22, 2009 [end] 

Israeli forces demolish Aqraba area homes
International Solidarity Movement - On Wednesday, June 17, 2009, the Israeli Army demolished seven houses of shepherds in the small village Qurusdyia in the Aqraba district, southeast of Nablus. About two months ago, the affected families had received eviction orders in Hebrew which they did not understand. Once the deadline had passed for the families to leave the area, the Army moved in with bulldozers and tore everything down. The families now live in tents in Aqraba and moved their livestock to fields nearby. The demolished houses consisted of three family houses and four farm houses. They were simple structures such as large tents, and three separate kitchens built with sheets of corrugated iron. According to the Mayor of Aqraba, about two months ago, the three families that were all related (3 brothers) had received eviction orders in Hebrew. They did not understand the content of these documents and did not inform the Municipality. 

Israel to investigate IndyMedia over photo with 'Murderer'¯ accusation
International Solidarity Movement - The Media Line, 22 June 2009 - Israel's Deputy State Prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation into a website that allegedly published a picture of an Israeli soldier with the word "Murderer"¯ over his photograph. Indymedia Israel, a leftist news outlet, accused the soldier of killing a Palestinian protester with a gas canister during a clash in the West Bank village of Bilin in April. The website told its readers to forward the photograph, and asked if anyone knew more information about the soldier. The caption on the site reads, "The soldier in the picture had murdered Abdallah Abu Rahma by direct shooting of a gas canister in Bilin on April 17. Do you know his name or any other details? " ¯However, the Israeli Deputy State Prosecutor claims that the soldier in the photograph was not responsible for the man's death, and released a statement saying, "It seems that. . . 

Hearing begins over Palestinian lawsuit against Quebec builders
International Solidarity Movement - CBC News, 22 June 2009 - A Palestinian village in the West Bank will argue Monday that a Quebec court should hear its lawsuit against two Canadian construction companies that it alleges illegally constructed buildings on Israeli-occupied territory. Bil'in, a community of about 1,700 inhabitants located northwest of Ramallah, is suing the Quebec-based companies for $2 million. "They know it's a legal long shot, but if the Quebec Superior Court even agrees just to hear their case, it would be a partial victory, set an international legal precedent, and it would be a public relations coup for the small village," said the CBC's Dan Halton, reporting from Montreal. Beginning Monday, the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal will hear arguments from both sides on whether it should hear the suit. The village's claim was filed July 9, 2008, against sister companies Green Park International and Green Mount International. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

UN slams Iran for civil rights violations
22 Jun 2009 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged an immediate stop on Monday to use of force against civilians in Iran and urged authorities to respect civil rights in dealing with protests over presidential election results. ...

ANALYSIS / Twitter won't make Iran protesters bulletproof
22 Jun 2009 - Outside of Iran, it's easy being green these days. The streets of major cities worldwide host swirling masses of light-emerald protestors on a semi-daily basis, the throngs blending into a peaceful mix of nationalities hoisting V signs to the sky. ...

Iran riots resume despite Revolutionary Guard warning 
21 Jun 2009 - Riot police attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired live bullets in the air to disperse a rally in central Tehran Monday, carrying out a threat by the country's most powerful security force to crush any further opposition protests over the disputed presidential election. ...

Netanyahu: I will make Gilad Shalit's return a personal responsibility
21 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he will make the return of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit a personal responsibility. ...

Gay-lesbian synagogue turns hate rally into fundraising event
21 Jun 2009 - When a predominantly gay synagogue in Manhattan learned that a group of ultra-Evangelical Christians were planning a protest outside their building, the congregation decided to turn the hate rally into a fundraising event. ...

The Guardian

A phoney war on Israel's soldiers | Seth Freedman
22 Jun 2009 - A Tel Aviv bar's illogical ban on uniformed soldiers tars all IDF personnel with the same dismissive brush It's one thing for a bar or club to employ a dress code for sartorial reasons, quite another...

Dispatches: Cameras for action | Funding the truth | Too much reality?
21 Jun 2009 - Media awards Cameras for action A pioneering Israeli human rights project in which Palestinians have been given cameras to film human rights abuses is tipped as the favourite to win the Special Award at tonight's One...

Doctors demand Yoram Blachar resign as ethics chief for ignoring Israeli torture | Sarah Boseley, health editor
21 Jun 2009 - More than 700 doctors from 43 countries have written a letter of protest to their governing ethical body, the World Medical Association, alleging that its recently appointed Israeli president has turned a blind eye to the...

The Middle East in motion| Joschka Fischer
20 Jun 2009 - Since Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo things in the Middle East have been in flux Great speeches are all too often underestimated as being mere words. In fact, they can have powerful...

Ha'aretz National page

Crime boss Abutbul sentenced to 13 years behind bars
21 Jun 2009 - Tel Aviv District Court on Monday sentenced the head of the Abutbul crime syndicate, Asi Abutbul, to 13 years in prison. ...

Health Ministry may test all Maccabiah athletes for swine flu
21 Jun 2009 - The Health Ministry has suggested that all participants in the upcoming Maccabiah sports games be tested for swine flu before allowed entrance into Israel next month. ...

Israeli woman denied social benefits for visiting Palestinian husband 
21 Jun 2009 - S. was born in Lod, where she lived all her life and is raising her four children. Her only sin, apparently, was in marrying a resident of the territories. ... 

Father killed in road crash hours after son's wedding
21 Jun 2009 - A man who was driving home following the wedding of his son was killed in a road accident late Sunday night. Four other sons who were in the car with him were injured. ...

Health Ministry: HMOs, not hospitals, will treat swine flu patients 
21 Jun 2009 - The Health Ministry announced Sunday that swine flu patients will from now on be treated by the four health maintenance organizations instead of the hospitals. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: New online film marking two years of Gaza closure
22 Jun 2009 - Source: Gisha, Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Physicians for Human Rights

Increasing pressure on the humanitarian space worldwide: Louis Michel and John Holmes sound the alarm
22 Jun 2009 - Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department

OPT: European Union funds double social allowance for vulnerable families in Gaza
22 Jun 2009 - Source: European Commission, Palestinian National Authority

Israel ups sales of Palestinian refugee property: watchdog
22 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: A child protection assessment - Palestinian camps and gatherings, Tyre, South Lebanon
22 Jun 2009 - Source: Terre des hommes

OPT: Helping the deaf in the Gaza Strip to communicate with the community
22 Jun 2009 - Source: Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children

OPT: Epidemiological bulletin for Gaza Strip vol 1, issue 9
22 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: The Organization of the Islamic Conference opens the first specialized eye hospital in Gaza
22 Jun 2009 - Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference

YNet News

Lieberman: World must respond to 'mad' Iranian regime
22 Jun 2009 - During visit to Canada, FM calls for urgent Security Council meeting on situation in Islamic Republic, says 'danger of such a regime being in possession of nuclear arms must be clear to everyone' 

Fianc? of slain Iranian protestor: Neda wanted freedom
22 Jun 2009 - Two days after video depicting death of Iranian protestor in Tehran who has become symbol of reformist struggle, young woman's fianc? speaks to press, saying she was not politically affiliated. Iranian exile who uploaded footage to Web: I knew world would be shocked

Families of UK diplomats leave Iran
22 Jun 2009 - After day of relative quiet, hundreds of supporters of Iranian reformist camp not deterred by Revolutionary Guard threats, mourn in Tehran center. Security forces reportedly use tear gas, live bullets to disperse rally. Meanwhile, UK says withdrawing families of embassy staff in Iran due to violence; Syrian FM: Regime won't fall

HRW urges Syria to charge or free Hariri case detainee 
22 Jun 2009 - Human Rights Watch calls for release of Ziad Ramadan, held without charge since 2005 in connection with the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri

Fayyad: Palestinian state in 2 years
22 Jun 2009 - Palestinian PM says Netanyahu's recent policy speech attempt to dodge international agreements, calls for end to settlement building, Gaza blockade 

Minister Shalom to EU: Press PA to return to negotiating table
22 Jun 2009 - Regional cooperation minister tells 20 European ambassadors to Israel 'you cannot accept 100 percent of the Palestinians' complaints and demands and not hear Israel's positions'; adds nothing standing in way of resuming peace process after PM accepted 'two-states for two peoples' paradigm 

B'tselem

Prohibit use of live ammunition to disperse demonstrators
17 Jun 2009 - B'Tselem reiterates its demand to prohibit use of 0.22 bullets to disperse demonstrators. Despite the prohibition on using this lethal weapon since 2001, two persons have been killed by it recently, one of them a 14-year-old boy.

Lift the closure on Gaza
16 Jun 2009 - To mark the two years of closure that Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip, Israeli human rights organizations have released a new online film with the message "Lift the closure - give life a chance".

Daily Star

Israel ratchets up sales of properties of Palestinians who fled in 1948 
22 Jun 2009 - Israel has stepped up sales of the properties of Palestinians who in 1948 fled or were driven out of what is now Israel, a human rights group said on Monday, adding that the move went against both Israeli and international law. "Selling these properties constitutes the final expropriation of the right to property of Palestinian refugees.

Amateur video turns woman into icon of Iran election unrest 
22 Jun 2009 - Amateur video of a young Iranian woman lying in the street - blood streaming from her nose and mouth - has quickly become an iconic image of the country's opposition movement and unleashed outrage at the regime's crackdown. The footage, less than a minute long, appears to capture the woman's death moments after she was shot at a protest.

Iran's Guards threaten to 'firmly confront' protests 
22 Jun 2009 - Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards threatened on Monday to crush demonstrations, after opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi urged supporters to pursue their protests over a disputed presidential election. Shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) again reverberated around Tehran at nightfall.

Preliminary analysis of voting figures in Iran's 2009 presidential polls 
22 Jun 2009 - Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Interior Ministry, and from the 2006 census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.

Palestinian Information Center

Conference of Palestinians in Europe: Israel is waging a silent war on Jerusalem
22 Jun 2009 - The conference of Palestinians in Europe said that the escalating campaigns waged by Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a “silent and slow war” that needs to be confronted quickly.

Hamas: It is too early to judge Abbas’s decision to release political prisoners
22 Jun 2009 - Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated that it is premature to judge the decision issued by Mahmoud Abbas on the release of all political prisoners affiliated with Hamas in West Bank jails.

Palestinians stage sit-in at Erez to demand end of siege, release of prisoners
22 Jun 2009 - The popular committee against the siege is to organize a press conference at noon Tuesday in front of the Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing in northern Gaza Strip that would be coupled with as a sit-in.

Rafah crossing to open for three days starting next Saturday
22 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian crossings and borders department has announced that the Rafah border terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt would open for three days starting next Saturday 27/6/2009.

IOF troops storm home of MP, kidnap her son
22 Jun 2009 - Israeli occupation forces after midnight Sunday stormed the home of MP Dr. Mariam Saleh in El-Bireh city and took away her son Salah Musleh, a computer engineering student.

Islamic-Christian committee: Israel translates Netanyahu’s speech in J'lem
22 Jun 2009 - The Islamic-Christian committee warned that Israel started to carry out big settlement projects in occupied Jerusalem as a practical translation of its premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech.

IOF troops round up 12 Palestinians
22 Jun 2009 - Israeli occupation forces at dawn Monday rounded up 12 Palestinians from the West bank districts of Al-Khalil, Bethlehem and Qalqilia, the IOF command announced.

British researcher: Israel used dirty bombs during its war on Gaza
22 Jun 2009 - Peter Eyre, a British researcher in the usage of uranium during wars, revealed that the laboratory tests showed that Israel had used dirty bombs which have devastating results in the long run.

Taha: Fatah leaders justify the PA immoral practices in West Bank
22 Jun 2009 - Ayman Taha said that Fatah is not serious about the Egyptian-sponsored national dialog, adding that its leaders cover up and justify the PA security apparatuses’ immoral practices in the West Bank.

Hamas MP denounces IOA refusal to release Fatah MP after completing his sentence
22 Jun 2009 - Hamas MP Dr. Salem Salama has condemned the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) for refusing to release Fatah MP Jamal Huwail after completing his sentence.

Los Angeles Times

Mir-Hossein Mousavi's unusual career arc 
22 Jun 2009 - Some wonder how far Iran's opposition leader is willing to go. They note that as premier, he was sidelined by his inability to play factional politics. Backers say he is an open-minded technocrat. Iran's economy stood in shambles and its international status was at a nadir. Disturbed by the leadership of then-President Ali Khamenei, Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi wrote him a letter and threatened to resign from his high-ranking post, according to news accounts at the time. 

Split deepens among top clerics in Iran 
22 Jun 2009 - The Guardian Council questions 3 million votes but says they won't change the outcome. Relatives of opposition figure Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani are briefly detained. Western officials say the death toll could be as high as 100. As the power struggle inside Iran's political class appeared to intensify, with reformist and conservative leaders exchanging sharp statements that blamed one another for last week's deadly street violence, authorities announced irregularities that could affect 3 million votes in 50 cities. 

Israel's top leaders voice support for Iran demonstrators 
22 Jun 2009 - They are asking whether the theocratic regime may be crumbling. The new outspokenness appears to reflect a belief that reaching out to moderates in Iran would be in Israel's long-term interest. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been a convenient bogeyman for Israel. So the early claim of his reelection as Iran's president brought quiet sighs of relief to many Israeli leaders, who figured it would be easier to rally Western pressure against Iran as long as the Holocaust-denying hard-liner remained in power. 

New York Times

Iranian Rally Is Dispersed as Voting Errors Are Admitted
22 Jun 2009 - The police broke up a group of about a thousand protesters in Tehran as officials acknowledged voting discrepancies in at least 50 cities. 

U.S. Scrambles for Information on Iran
22 Jun 2009 - Without a direct connection, American officials rely on allies’ embassies, a Dubai listening post, YouTube and spies. 

News Analysis: In Iran, Both Sides Seek to Carry Islam’s Banner
21 Jun 2009 - Both the government and the opposition are portraying themselves as pursing the ideal of a just Islamic state. 


Articles

Electronic Intifada
Africa-Israel under scrutiny for settlement construction
22 Jun 2009 - Africa-Israel is the latest target of a boycott campaign by Palestine solidarity activists because of the company's involvement in the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. American and European financial institutions hold a substantial stake in Africa-Israel Investment, investigations reveal. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

Aid agencies slam Gaza blockade
22 Jun 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Forty international aid agencies and non-governmental organizations have released a joint statement condemning Israel's blockade of Gaza, to mark the second anniversary of the coastal territory being hermetically sealed off from the outside world. "We, United Nations and non-governmental humanitarian organizations, express deepening concern over Israel's continued blockade of the Gaza Strip which has now been in force for two years." 

Attack on water brings sanitation crisis
22 Jun 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - " Biddun mey, fish heyya ," they say in Arabic for a universal truth: "Without water, there is no life." While diminishing water resources are a global concern, in Palestine the struggle for water is not against global warming or multinational corporations, but for access to water, and against contamination of what precious resources there are. 

Nahr al-Bared's future remains unclear as army holds on to neighborhoods
19 Jun 2009 - The three-month-long war between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam militants in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon ended on 2 September 2007. While the Lebanese army has allowed displaced residents to return to some parts of the camp, the fate of other parts of the camp still under the army's control remains unclear. Ray Smith reports for Electronic Lebanon. 

In Gaza
Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis
18 Jun 2009 - Wadi Gaza, collection site of central Gaza’s untreated waste, which then pours into the sea . [photo: Emad Badwan ] First Published (IPS) – ‘Biddun mey, fish heyya’, they say in Arabic for a universal truth: ‘Without water, there is no life’. While diminishing water resources are a global concern, in Palestine the struggle for water is not against global warming or multinational corporations, but for access to water, and against contamination of what precious resources there are. Mohamed Ahmed, director of the Water Control Department in the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), says “there continues to be a very rapid depletion and deterioration of ground water.” The main source of water is...

Palestine Chronicle
Long on Rhetoric, Short on Memory
22 Jun 2009 - By Jim Miles Having watched the situation in Iran now for several years through to the current protests by the dissident citizens of the country unsatisfied with the election results, I remain as perplexed as ever. Not the perplexity of not understanding what is actually going on as there are enough news sources available outside the control of western corporate media, but the perplexity of a world that ignores the larger context and the longer history of the peoples involved. Iran is about as democratic as most Middle East countries are. While they do have an autocratic Supreme Ruler based on an Islamic model, their elections demonstrate the passions of the people and their beliefs. Iran is not perfect and does sink into the atrocities of arresting and abusing its own citizens. The current election by most accounts was delivered fairly with pre-election polls from accepted international sources indicating that Ahmadinejad would win with an impressive two to one majority. Official government reports indicate this is what happened. The election perhaps was not as democratic as the one that elected Hamas to office in Palestine, but it was certainly more democratic and open than the fake elections that Egypt holds. Iraq has a democratically elected government, but only at the insistence of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2004-2005 who outmaneuvered the U.S. occupation administration in demanding it under conditions suitable to the Shia majority. Afghanistan pretends to have a democratic government, duly elected, but consisting of warlords, drug lords, and profiteers...

Friedman Warms His Heart in Brummana, Lebanon
22 Jun 2009 - By Belen Fernandez In a June 16 Op-Ed column in the New York Times entitled 'The Virtual Mosque,' Thomas Friedman declares that events in Iran have raised 'three intriguing questions' for him: "Is Facebook to Iran's Moderate Revolution what the mosque was to Iran's Islamic Revolution? Is Twitter to Iranian moderates what muezzins were to Iranian mullahs? And, finally, is any of this good for the Jews — particularly Israel's Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu?" Friedman goes on to explain that, over the past 8 years in certain parts of the Middle East, “spaces were opened for more democratic elections,” but that “[u]nfortunately, the groups that had the most grass-roots support and mobilization capabilities — and the most energized supporters — to take advantage of this new space were the Islamists.” Leaving aside the issue of why Friedman thinks it is up to him to decide which manifestations of democracy are fortunate and which are not, we are informed that the reason the Islamists have been able to exploit the opening of democratic spaces is that they have mosques, places where they “were able to covertly organize and mobilize… outside the total control of the state.” Over the next few paragraphs Friedman appears to arrive at the conclusion that people who attend mosques are less entitled to rights as citizens than, for example, the more than 50,000 fans that Mir Hossein Mousavi is reported to have on Facebook. Friedman points out that 50,000 exceeds the capacity of a mosque, although he...

The Iron Cage – Book Excerpt
22 Jun 2009 - Introduction The following is an excerpt from Rashid Khalidi's book, 'The Iron Cage', which discusses the April 2004 letter from US President George Bush to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Though written in 2006, this letter has taken on new significance of late because of US president Obama’s demand that Israel desists in further settlement expansions and the Israeli governments claim that this letter legitimizes continued expansion and provides the American government’s imprimatur for what Israel calls “natural growth” of the settlements. However, what Israel calls “natural growth”, is what looks to those who have studied the maps like the continued populating with Jewish settlers of large swaths of land mapped out in the West Bank and called ”settlement blocks.” George Bush’s letter to Sharon was the result of limited discussion between the Israeli government and the Bush White House without any input from the Palestinians or their representatives and without any consideration of legal precedent, either from international law or from this history of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Bush’s right to give away land ends at the boundaries of his ranch in Crawford, Texas. This letter cannot be considered legitimate and should not constrain the Obama administration. William James Martin The Iron Cage – Book Excerpt Excerpt from Rashid Khalidi’s book, “The Iron Cage” - Beacon Press 2006, (pp 212-216) A far more important step in terms of whether there will ever be a state of a Palestine – and for the standing of the United States in the Middle...

Obama's Double-Talk
22 Jun 2009 - By Tammy Obeidallah Congratulations to President Barack Obama for duping the Arab and Muslim community in America yet again with another hollow speech. He became the darling of many by opening his recent Cairo address with “Assalamu Aleikum.” So he is better at languages and public relations than G.W. Bush. Other than that, there is little difference between the two administrations. First, there is the matter of closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Obama has backpedaled on the issue of releasing photos of prisoner abuse citing it would “enflame anti-American sentiment.” Sound familiar? Then there is the manufactured red tape regarding which country will take the detainees once they are released. Common sense dictates they should be dropped off wherever U.S. soldiers captured them before unlawfully whisking them away to an overseas limbo. If Obama supporters can stop fist-bumping long enough at their success in bringing hope and change to the masses, they might have time to raise these points and also question the status of detainees at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, America’s new Guantanamo. If they get around to it, maybe they can also ask why Obama (like Bush in the beginning of his first term) pay lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state without holding the Israelis accountable for their actions. In Cairo, Obama stood lamenting how “terrorists” could fire rockets at sleeping children in Sderot without one word as to the utter devastation and carnage visited on Gaza by Israeli Occupation Forces...

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