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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
23 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Ad Dameer demands Abbas to declare a clear stance regarding political arrests
24 Jun 2009 - The Ad Dameer Society for Human Rights demanded a clear stance from president Mahmoud Abbas regarding political arrests in the West Bank especially since the number of political prisoners from the Hamas movement is on the rise.  

Palestinian woman diagnosed with swine-flu
24 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday evening that a Palestinian woman from Ramallah was diagnosed with swine flu. 

Israeli minister visits Al Aqsa mosque, Palestinians consider it a provocative act
23 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday.

The Israeli military releases the Palestinian Legislative Council head
23 Jun 2009 - Dr. Aziz Dweik, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), was released on Tuesday from an Israeli military detention facility after three years imprisonment. 

The Israeli military invades Bil'in village and kidnap four civilians
23 Jun 2009 - Israeli troops kidnapped two children and two adults during an invasion targeting the village of Bil'in in the central West Bank on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

304 Palestinians face house demolition
23 Jun 2009 - Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign said 304 Palestinians face house demolition in the Jordan Valley in June.

700 doctors demand the removal of WMA president for involvement in torture
23 Jun 2009 - 700 doctors from 43 countries sent a letter of protest to the Word Medical Association (WMA), which is considered the WMA’s governing body, demanding the removal of the newly appointed president, an Israeli doctor, for ignoring the participation of medical staff in the torture of Palestinian prisoners, the Guardian reported. 

Israel Prevents a 7 year old from Gaza from seeing his only parent in the West Bank
23 Jun 2009 - A young boy from Gaza that lost his mother and wants to rejoin his father in Hebron in the southern West Bank, is not allowed to do so by the Israeli authorities, Israeli media reported. 

King Abdullah II: 'Failure to achieve peace threatens the region, international stability
23 Jun 2009 - King Abdullah of Jordan stated Monday that failing to achieve peace in the Middle East, and the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, threatens Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab World and the international stability and security. 

Israeli soldier imprisoned for refusing to continue to serve in the West Bank
23 Jun 2009 - Israeli media reported on Tuesday that the Israeli army has sentenced a soldier to 30 days in military prison. The soldier refused to keep performing his duties as a combat soldier after his unit abused and humiliated Palestinians during an operation in the West Bank. 

Israel withholds social security benefits from Israeli woman for visiting her Palestinian husband
23 Jun 2009 - Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that an Israeli woman from Lod, raising four children, was denied her social benefits for marrying a Palestinian man from the Palestinian Territories.  

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. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Barak authorizes construction of 300 new homes in West Bank
23 Jun 2009 - Construction in Talmon defies U.S. call for total settlement freeze; 60 of the 300 homes already built. 

Israel removes roadblocks across the West Bank
23 Jun 2009 - Change in policy follows PA security forces actions against Hamas, Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Israeli demonstrators block aid deliveries to Gaza
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli demonstrators blocked the roads leading to the border crossings into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning in a protest demanding the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. According to the website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the demonstrators blocked roads leading to the Karni, Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings. Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official, said that the demonstrators managed to force most of the trucks to turn back from the crossing. Only four truckloads of goods were delivered through the Kerem Shalom crossing, out of more than 60 that were scheduled to arrive. The demonstrators were apparently objecting to their government’s policy of allowing a trickle of humanitarian aid into Gaza, where Palestinian militiamen have been holding Shalit prisoner since June 2006. 

PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik freed from Israeli prison; Calls for unity in Ramallah
6/23/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – “Unity, conciliation, and dialogue are my message on behalf of all Palestinian prisoners” released PLC speaker Aziz Dweik said in his first major public address since his release Tuesday morning. Dweik said the message came from the other Palestinian lawmakers in Israeli custody, as well as Nael Barghouthi, the longest serving prisoner detained more than 30 years ago. “Detained Palestinian lawmakers are currently exerting efforts to make a clear path for healing the rift between the Palestinian rivals and restore Palestinian unity,” Dweik said on the steps of the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah. Another initiative of the detained lawmakers was to find a way to get the PLC functioning again. “I extend my hand to any party planning to unite the Palestinian people,” he said. 

Israel may prevent Palestinian prisoners from writing high school exams
6/23/2009 - Ramallah - Ma’an - Israeli prison authorities have yet to give the go ahead for Palestinian prisoners to write the high school matriculation exams, the Tawjihi, said Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi’a on Tuesday. High schoolers across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem began writing their matriculation exams three weeks ago, and will finish the tests, which determine university eligibility, next week. In past years prisoners have started the tests two weeks following the close of testing in schools. This year there are 1,821 Palestinian prisoners registered to take the exams, and officials from the Ministry of Prisoners Affairs have requested permission to have the tests administered. Israeli officials, however, have given no answer to requests, saying they are awaiting approval from Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch. 

Israeli army seizes two Bil’in boys
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers seized two fifteen-year-old Palestinian boys from their homes in the West Bank village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah, on Tuesday morning. Bil’in is known for its tenacious weekly demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall, which is being built on the village’s land. Iyad Burnat of Bil’in’s Popular Committee identified the two boys as Khalil Yassin and Kamil Al-Khatib. He said Israeli soldiers invaded the village at 3am and conducted house to house searches. The Israeli military confirmed that it arrested two people during an overnight raid in the village. Burnat told Ma’an he did not know why the two were arrested, though he said, that like many people the village, they were known to attend the weekly demonstration, suggesting that the raid was intended to discourage protest. 

Israeli minister makes ’provocative’ Al-Aqsa visit
6/23/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israel’s Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City under heavy guard on Tuesday morning in what Palestinian officials condemned as a provocation. Aharonovitch, a member of the ultra-right-wing Israel Beitenu Party, toured the compound accompanied by Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen and Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and also a major symbol of Palestinian nationalism. A visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 sparked the second Palestinian uprising, the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Israeli officials entered the compound at 8:20am surrounded by security guards. They walked to the eastern wall of the mosque, and then stopped to listen to a report about the situation at the holy site. 

Israel delays release of Palestinian woman prisoner
6/23/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israel refused to release a Palestinian political prisoner, Sana Atef Amro, from the village of Dura, near Hebron on Monday, although she was scheduled to be released. According to Sima Anbas, herself a former prisoner, the 23-year-old was expected to be released at the end of a six and a half year prison term on Monday. Her family members have been waiting since the early morning at the Al-Jalama checkpoint near Jenin. Amro is the sister of Abir Amro, who is serving a 16-year prison term. 

Prisoners Society: Israel to release two PLC lawmakers on Tuesday
6/23/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israel has decided to release Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) speaker Aziz Dweik and lawmaker Jamal Hwiel later on Tuesday, according to Qaddura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society. Dweik, a Hamas member, was due to be released on 6 August at the end of a three year sentence, according to a court decision handed down last week. Hwiel, a Fatah member, finished his jail term on 20 June. Fares said that the Israeli military court in the settlement of Ofer, near Ramallah, issued the decision to release the two on Tuesday. He also called for the release of all of the PLC lawmakers still held by Israel. 

Free Gaza ships to set sail Thursday
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Free Gaza movement will sail two ships from Cyprus to Gaza on Thursday, carrying, according to organizers, “ tons of cement, and suitcases full of toys, crayons and coloring books for the children, all items banned by Israel’s government. ”Last summer and fall the group sailed three successful voyages to Gaza, but a fourth and fifth were thwarted by the Israeli navy. Organizers said they hope to buy a cargo boat to ship in more supplies, as the small ships used by the movement can only carry symbolic amounts of goods given their small size. The group emphasized that what they are taking is only a token of what the people of Gaza need. They are hoping to buy a cargo boat , to bring in larger amounts of building supplies via the sea route they aim to open. They ask for the financial support of people around the world to purchase this ship. 

Second PLC member released after seven years in Israeli detention
6/23/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Under the shadow of the freed PLC speaker, a second lawmaker, Jamal Hweil, made his way to his home city of Hebron Tuesday evening after serving a seven year prison sentence. Hweil was detained in 2002 following the Israeli invasion of Jenin, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council while in Israeli custody. He was received in Hebron by Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi’a, Governor of Hebron Hussein Al-A’raj, and a number of Fatah leaders. Fatah Spokesperson Fahmi Za’arir congratulated Hweil on being released and called on the government to prioritize the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s custody. He reminded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to remain adamant about not returning for Peace talks until the prisoners were free. 

Israeli forces seize six Palestinians overnight
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said on Tuesday morning that it detained six Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank overnight. In a statement the army said the “suspects” were seized from the Qalqiliya area and from the village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah, which is known for its weekly nonviolent demonstration against Israel’s separation wall. The Palestinians are being held at an unknown location. [end] 

Israeli forces open fire on knifemen fleeing scene after injuring Hebronite
6/23/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – A Hebron man was stabbed by unidentified assailants who were then detained by Israeli forces near the illegal settlement of Otni’el on Monday evening. Palestinian security sources identified the knife attack victim as Aziz Jum’a Abu Sheikha, and said an Israeli patrol had opened fire in the direction of the attackers, seemingly injuring them and taking them into custody. The Palestinian man was taken to Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron for treatment, while the identities and fates of the attackers remain unknown. [end] 

US: Settlement freeze includes Jerusalem
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US demand that Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank must cease includes East Jerusalem, a State Department spokesperson said on Monday. In response to a question from Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper, State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said, “We’re talking about all settlement activity, yeah, in the area across the line,” he said, referring to the 1948 armistice line, or Green Line. Speaking at a Washington press briefing, Kelly had no immediate response to the proposed Israeli government 2009-2010 budget that allocates 250 million dollars over the next two years for settlements in the occupied West Bank. Tens of millions of dollars are specifically earmarked for settlements like Har Homa, which, while they are built on occupied Palestinian land, are within Israel’s expanded municipal boundaries for Jerusalem. 

Two Gaza border crossings partially open
6/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Tuesday to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points into the Gaza Strip, while the Karni crossing will remain closed, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official. Fattouh said that 60 to 67 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods will pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s sole power plant will be shipped through Nahal Oz. He added that Israel decided to keep Karni crossing closed on Tuesday. [end] 

Report: Egypt proposing comprehensive Gaza-Shalit deal
6/23/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Egypt is preparing a comprehensive initiative involving a ceasefire in Gaza, a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange, and a Hamas-Fatah power sharing agreement, an Israeli magazine reported on Monday. The magazine Central Issues sought to answer why Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Cairo with such apparent urgency on Sunday. The Hebrew-language journal said that the reason for Barak’s trip was that progress has been made toward a prisoner exchange involving the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by fighters from Gaza three years ago. According to the same report, the Palestinian Authority’s decision to release Hamas-affiliated prisoners on Monday was a fulfillment of the requirements of the same Egyptian initiative. The magazine said that an Egyptian delegation will travel to Gaza through the Rafah crossing and return with Shalit. 

Gaza police: Suspicious callers could be Israeli agents
6/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian police in Gaza urged locals to ignore calls from international numbers they may receive on their mobile phones, suspecting that they are from Israeli intelligence agents. The de facto government police said that they have received several complaints of international callers “speaking in a strange way. ” In a statement the police said that these calls are intended to “disrupt” security. Israel has been known to gather intelligence and recruit collaborators using mobile phones in the past. [end] 

Israeli company shuts off Ramallah water supply for one day
6/23/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, told the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) that it plans to stop pumping water into the Ramallah area of the West Bank due to maintenance work. The PWA said it was informed that the shutdown started at 8am Tuesday morning and will continue until 4pm the same evening. Small amounts of reserve water will be available for residents, though it is expected to run out before water service resumes. The PWA said that it has contacted Mekorot, asking them to supply the amount of water it agreed to previously. The Water Authority is also coordinating with the Jerusalem Governorate water company to take special measures to counteract the shortage in Ramallah. The PWA also urged Ramallah and Al-Bireh residents to use water sparingly. 

Top Egyptian official in Tel Aviv for Shalit talks
6/23/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an Exclusive – Senior Egyptian intelligence official Major General Muhammad Ibrahim travelled to Tel Aviv for urgent and unannounced talks on Tuesday regarding a Hamas-Israel prisoner swap and the Rafah border. On Monday, the Israeli magazine Central Issues reported that Egypt has propmoted a comprehensive initiative involving a ceasefire in Gaza, a Hamas-Israel prisoner exchange, and a Hamas-Fatah power sharing agreement. The day after the report surfaced Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak travelled to Cairo for talks with senior officials regarding a proposed prisoner exchange involving the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by fighters from Gaza three years ago. Hamas is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for freeing Shalit. According to news reports, Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Sulaiman, who. . . 

Barak defies Obama, okays construction of 240 settler homes
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Israel approved the construction of 240 homes in the illegal West Bank settlement of Talmon, east of Ni’lin, in defiance of an American demand that settlement expansion halt. The decision, made by Israeli Army Minister Ehud Batrak, was announced on Israel Radio Tuesday. It will see 240 homes added to the 60 already constructed this year in the Talmon settlement in the West Bank. The move is in accordance with the policy of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right wing government, which refuses to halt settlement construction as a precondition for peace talks with Palestinians. Following the Israeli war on Gaza in December and January in which 1,475 Gazans were killed, Palestinians cut off peace talks started under the Annapolis conference in 2007. Negotiators said they would not resume talks until Israel demonstrated its seriousness around the issue of peace,. . . 

Netanyahu denies rumor of imminent Shalit return
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an Exclusive – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports leaked by Egyptian sources to Ma’an that captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit would be in Cairo before nightfall Tuesday. Confidential sources had said earlier Tuesday that Egyptian Brigadier General Jamal Imbabi was on the borders between Egypt and Gaza early the same day to facilitate the transfer of the Israeli soldier, following the arrival in Tel Aviv of Head of Egyptian security Major General Muhammad Ibrahim this week to discuss a prisoner swap deal. Sources believed the secret visits foreshadowed an imminent swap deal, and added security precautions around Rafah crossing seemed to confirm the rumors. The deal was said to encompass three elements of controversy; the prisoner swap issue, a truce between Hamas and Israel, and a power-sharing deal between Fatah and Hamas to ensure the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip. 

Hamas withdraws from Conciliation Committee; announces names of 64 detained by PA overnight
6/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas delegation announced that it would suspend participation in Conciliation Committee talks as its Gaza member released a list detailing the arrest of 64 party members by PA forces over the past 24 hours. The Tuesday announcement by the Conciliation Committee, the group charged by Egypt to smooth out issues around political arrests, was made by committee member and Omar Abdul Raziq who was the former Palestinian finance minister and is a member of Hamas. Abdul Raziq said Fatah members of the committee refused a request by Hamas members to free all their affiliates from Palestinian Authority (PA) facilities. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas okayed the release of 20 Hamas members last week, but members called the move “meaningless” as those released represented a mere 2% of those detained for political reasons. 

Government journalists demand pay raise
6/23/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Journalists in the Union of Civil Servants demanded a pay raise and cost-of-living increase after claims they are “suffering from very dire living conditions. ”Head of the Palestinian Union of Civil Servants Bassam Zakarna made an official demand to the government Tuesday, on behalf of journalists from the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), employees of the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, and employees of official Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. The union is demanding salaries of journalists be brought up to the level of foreign ministry workers, “because their job is special. ” The raises would also include calculations for increased cost of living for journalists living abroad. “It is unbelievable that a reporter in Europe receives the same salary as his counterparts in Palestine because there is a huge difference in the purchase value of their salaries,” Zakarna said. 

Pedagogies of Hope conference examines early childhood education
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation is hosting the 17th International Re-conceptualizing Early Childhood Education (RECE) Conference in Palestine. RECE said in a statement that it is convening the conference at Dar Annadwa in Bethlehem, June 22 to 25. The conference provides a forum for the international early childhood scholars to rethink early childhood education in the context of Pedagogy of Hope. RECE participants are arriving from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Jordan , Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and Palestine to carry on the discussions on psychology and child development education that started with RECE's inception in 1991. The conference schedule consists of academic presentations and discussions, enriched by various cultural awareness and peace-building activities. 

Governor declares Bethlehem free of H1N1 flu
6/23/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Bethlehem Governor Abdul Fatah Hamayl declared his region free of H1N1 swine flu on Tuesday after two diagnosed cases were successfully treated. Hamayl, who is also the chair of an emergency task force to deal with H1N1, said that medics at the Department of Health of Bethlehem, led by Dr. Mohamed Rezaq informed him formally that the two cases had been treated and the province can now be considered clear of the virus. Hamayl praised the efforts of the health workers who these patients. He stressed that all Palestinian institutions are totally prepared to deal with any potential outbreak, and that his emergency committee has been working “day and night” on the H1N1 issue. “Citizens should not listen to rumors regarding this flu and should take information from formal sources,” said the governor. 

'A new beginning': First movie theatre in 22 years opens in Nablus
6/23/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an - Nablus businessmen Marwan Masri and Bashir Sheka opened Cinema City, the first movie theatre in the city to open its doors in 22 years, amid much fanfare on Saturday. Sheka’s family opened a cinema in 1921 in the city, but it closed after the first Intifadah in 1987. According to Sheka the theatre’s projectors from 1935 remain in working order, but the 1,300 seats are moth-eaten and empty. The new one-screen cinema is in the heart of the downtown area of Nablus, just outside of the Old City. On Saturday night the theatre screened an Egyptian film, titled Ramadan Mabrouk Abu Al-Aalamen Hamoda and directed by Wael Ihsan, to a packed house of 200. Opening the new theatre was no easy task, its owners said. “Nablus,” Sheka noted, “has been a closed city surrounded by checkpoints for so long…We open this [theater] for a new beginning. 

The National

Protests resonate with émigrés
23 Jun 2009 - Many members of the Iranian diaspora in Australia have expressed solidarity with those protesting in Tehran and elsewhere.

Hamas parliament speaker released 
23 Jun 2009 - Israel releases Aziz Dweik, the Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament, after nearly three years in prison.

Tragic icon an 'innocent bystander'
23 Jun 2009 - The fiance of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose shooting during protests in Tehran was captured on video and turned her into a symbol for the opposition

Medvedev to address Arab League
23 Jun 2009 - Russian president heading to Egypt to boost his country's diplomatic clout in the Middle East.

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.

Aljazeera

Iran's Mousavi calls new protest
23 Jun 2009 - Opposition leader tells supporters to gather outside parliament in defiance of crackdown.

Israel releases senior Hamas MP
23 Jun 2009 - After nearly three years, Abdul Aziz Dweik is released as dozens remain imprisoned.

Russia plans Middle East summit
23 Jun 2009 - Russian president on visit to Egypt says he wants to host peace conference this year.

Israel denies settlement report
23 Jun 2009 - Report on allowing 300 more homes to be built at Talmon settlement is refuted.

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

IRIN

IRAQ: Timeline of violence in 2009 
DUBAI Tuesday, June 23, 2009 (IRIN) - With just a week left until all US forces must leave Iraq’s major cities, violence in the war-battered country appears to be on the rise once again. More than 100 people have been killed in bombings and shootings in Iraq in the past three days. 

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.

Inter Press Service

MOROCCO: African Refugees Targeted 
RABAT, Jun 23 (IPS) - More than 300 African refugees are gathered at the gates of the Moroccan United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), asking to be moved to another country because their rights are not respected in Morocco. Several refugees say they have been beaten up by Moroccan UN personnel.

MIDEAST: Bloody Showdown Looming if Unity Talks Fail 
RAMALLAH, Jun 23 (IPS) - Egyptian mediators have set Jul. 7 as deadline for final Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo. The Egyptians say time is running out, and if there is no progress in July, they will no longer be prepared to arbitrate.

EXCLUSIVE-PART 2: Saudi Account of Khobar Bore Telltale Signs of Fraud 
WASHINGTON, Jun 23 (IPS) - In the last week of October 1996, the Saudi secret police, the Mabahith, gave David Williams, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge of counter-terrorism issues, what they said were summaries of the confessions obtained from some 40 Shi’a detainees.

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...

Stop The Wall

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

Imbedded journalists in Ni’lin and Bil’in
23 Jun 2009 - This past Friday, the weekly demonstrations in Ni’lin and Bil’in were uncharacteristically quiet. Occupation forces in both locations did not prematurely attack the demonstrations, invade villages, or did they fire live ammunition and barrages of tear gas. Instead, in an attempt to create an image of restraint, soldiers invited Israeli journalists to report on protests and refrained from their typical attacks. [

PCHR Latest

(23 June) Defense of Universal Jurisdiction Speech Presented to Conference in Madrid on Behalf of PCHR Director, Raji Sourani
PCHR

(23 June) PLC Speaker, Dr. Aziz al-Dwaik, Released from Israeli Detention
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

West Bank village sues developers in Montreal court
International Solidarity Movement - Anglican Journal, 22 June 2009 - The Israeli-Palestinian dispute over land in the occupied territories has come to a Montreal courtroom this week. Lawyers for the West Bank village of Bil'in are suing developers Green Park International and Green Mount International, which are registered in Quebec, for building settlements on land that was confiscated from the village by Israel. Prior to the start of the hearings, Mohammed Al-Khatib, who serves on the village council and is one of a committee of people who organizes weekly non-violent protests against the occupation, and Emily Schaeffer, a lawyer with the Israeli law firm that has taken on Bil'in's case, traveled across Canada to explain why the village was suing the developers. Their tour was supported in part by Kairos, an ecumenical social justice organization of which the Anglican Church of Canada is a member, and numerous other organizations. 

Barak authorizes construction of 300 new homes in West Bank
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 23 June 2009 - Defense Minister Ehud Barak has authorized the building of 300 new homes in the West Bank, defying U. S. calls for a halt to settlement growth. According to Army Radio said 60 of the 300 homes slated for the Talmon settlement in the West Bank have already been built and that Barak had approved plans to construct another 240 units there. U. S. President Barack Obama has pressed Israel to halt settlement activity as part of a bid to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Half a million Jews live in settlement blocs and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. The World Court has ruled all settlements illegal under international law. The United States and European Union regard them as obstacles to peace. 

Defense of universal jurisdiction speech presented to conference in Madrid
International Solidarity Movement - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - 22 June 2009 - Dear friends, comrades, partners in civil society, and national and international human rights organizations, thank you all for coming, and for joining us here today. Today, the Gaza Strip lies in ruins. Five months after Israel's criminal offensive, which cost the lives of 1,414 Palestinians - 83% of whom were civilians - and injured 5,300 others, recovery is impossible. The siege of the Gaza Strip, an illegal form of collective punishment imposed on Gaza's 1. 5 million inhabitants, has now been in place for over two continuous years. Individuals are denied their rights to freedom of movement, people and goods cannot enter or leave. Israel has systematically suffocated the economic and social life of the Strip, and created a humanitarian crisis. In Gaza today there is not even the concrete with which to build a tombstone. 

On World Refugee Day: Trader Joe’s consumers take action for Palestinian rights
International Solidarity Movement - Indy Media, 20 June 2009 - On Saturday, June 20, activists gathered at Trader Joe's in Oakland and San Francisco to demand that the company stop carrying Israeli goods. Protesters removed Israeli products from the shelves in order to show customers which products they should not buy. They also met with the store managers and asked them to notify their headquarters that they no longer wanted to carry Israeli herbs, couscous and cheese. Similar actions were held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Seattle, Washington, and Sacramento, California. The activists were inspired by campaigns to deshelve Israeli products in Wales and France. "Trader Joe's is a company with an excellent reputation for bringing a diverse array of high-quality foods from around the world to U. S. consumers. As Trader Joe's consumers we are part of a growing movement of people globally who are calling on businesses. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Leave the settlers there 
23 Jun 2009 - When diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians resume, the question of the settlers' place in any agreement will once again come up. In recent years, the Israeli left has repeatedly compared them to Hamas, based on the following logic: The Israeli majority is the equivalent of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which recognized Israel and is willing to make peace with it, while the settlers are equivalent to Hamas in their refusal. ... 

Obama takes tougher stance on Iran violence
23 Jun 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared the United States and the entire world are appalled and outraged by Iran's violent efforts to crush dissent, a clear toughening of his rhetoric as Republican critics at home pounded him for being too passive. ...

Swine flu crashes an otherwise kosher wedding
23 Jun 2009 - Everything at the wedding seemed perfectly normal: numbered tables laden with fine china, floral centerpieces, prayer books - and of course, the hand sanitizer Purell. ... 

Israeli dancers inaugurate orphan village in Rwanda
23 Jun 2009 - The Batsheva Ensemble of young dancers from the Batsheva Dance Company inaugurated a youth village in Rwanda Tuesday for orphans of the civil war that took place there 15 years ago. ... 

Netanyahu may resume talks with Hamas for Shalit deal 
23 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he would not rule out the renewal of negotiations with Hamas in an attempt to secure the release of captured Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. ... 

The Guardian

Israel defies US with plan for 240 new homes on Palestinian land
23 Jun 2009 - • Ehud Barak approved construction in West Bank • Scheme cuts farmers' access to land, say critics Israel's defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Six bits of advice
23 Jun 2009 - To Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Your skills as a statesman remain unproven against Barack Obama, but as a politician you have your brilliant moments. The Bar-Ilan speech cornered Tzipi Livni, pilfering her positions. For years Livni has demanded that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that a future Palestine be demilitarized. From now on, these demands are registered to your name, and Livni is neutralized in the opposition, finding it hard to attack you. She will not dare call for a freeze to the settlements, after Obama made his views clear, fearing she will appear too far on the left. ...

Don't report sexual harassment, many female soldiers seem to think
23 Jun 2009 - Some 37 percent of female Israel Defense Forces soldiers who report they were sexually attacked or harassed refuse to pursue the complaint, according to an IDF report. ... 

J'lem bracing for more Haredi riots as mayor vows Shabbat opening 
23 Jun 2009 - The Jerusalem municipality's parking lot will be open to cars this Shabbat if a nearby lot does not receive court permission to open, Mayor Nir Barkat announced Tuesday. The decision is expected to lead to renewed ultra-Orthodox rioting. ... 

Madonna to take new daughter to Western Wall 
23 Jun 2009 - Madonna plans to bring her newly adopted 3-year-old daughter with her to Israel this September, when she is slated to give two concerts here as part of her Sticky & Sweet Tour, the British newspaper The Sun reported Tuesday. ...

Officials hope 'Jewish hero' will heal rift between PM, Diaspora
23 Jun 2009 - After weeks of passionate debate, the Jewish Agency for Israel Tuesday passed controversial reforms that strip the Israeli prime minister of the power to recommend its chairman. That role will instead be passed to an internal Agency committee. ... 

Relief Web

Middle East: Gaza's fishermen struggling
23 Jun 2009 - Source: World Vision

UNHCR Iraq Fact Sheet May 2009
23 Jun 2009 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

OPT: Commissioner-General's opening statement at the UNRWA Gaza Women's Committee Workshop
23 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Official: Israeli demonstrators prevent humanitarian aids' entrance into Gaza
23 Jun 2009 - Source: Xinhua

OPT: Daily press briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President
23 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

OPT: Eight Jenin schools renovated with support from USAID
23 Jun 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

OPT: What we're doing in Gaza
22 Jun 2009 - Source: Mercy Corps

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

YNet News

Netanyahu: Iranians want regime change
23 Jun 2009 - Prime minister says world must put pressure on Iran, Peres says ayatollah regime is 'pathetic and rotten'; meanwhile, Britain expels two Iranian diplomats in retaliation for similar move by Tehran

Senior operative: Major progress on Shalit
23 Jun 2009 - Source linked to Hamas denies reports that abducted soldier Shalit to be transferred to Egypt shortly, but confirms significant progress in talks

Barkat considers alternative to Safra
23 Jun 2009 - Jerusalem mayor may sidestep haredi dissent by opening parking lot under charge of official receiver

Bibi: Preoccupation with settlements waste of time
23 Jun 2009 - Italian foreign minister says his country would appreciate moratorium on expanding existing settlements; however, visiting PM Netanyahu says intensive preoccupation with settlement issue hinders progress towards peace

Israel releases Hamas parliament speaker from prison 
23 Jun 2009 - Military court refuses to extend detainment of high-ranking Palestinian politician Aziz Duwaik, Hamas quick to deny move any form of diplomatic overture on Israel's part ahead of possible deal for Gilad Shalit's release 

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

'Racist' Israeli minister's visit to Al-Aqsa sparks outrage 
23 Jun 2009 - An Israeli Cabinet minister who made headlines last week for racist remarks about Arabs paid a rare visit to Occupied Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque Tuesday, prompting condemnation from Palestinian religious leaders. Nine years ago, a similar visit sparked a bloody uprising.

Netanyahu praises courage of Iran demonstrators 
23 Jun 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday praised Iranians protesting against the election results and said Tehran's "aggressive and violent" behavior made it the greatest threat to peace. "I believe that the courage shown by the people of Iran in facing bullets in the streets for the sake of freedom is something.

Obama condemns Tehran's crackdown on dissent 
23 Jun 2009 - President Barack Obama condemned Iran's crackdown on anti-government protesters on Tuesday in his strongest comments yet, declaring the United States "appalled and outraged" by the violence in Tehran. At his fourth White House news conference, Obama also said he was still optimistic about the prospects in Congress.

Iranian authorities vow to teach 'exemplary lesson' to protesters 
23 Jun 2009 - Iranian authorities said they would teach an exemplary lesson to "rioters" held in the worst unrest since the birth of the Islamic Republic and accused Western powers of inciting the violence. Riot police and Basij militia on Tehran's main squares warded off the mass protests that have marked the week since disputed elections.

Hamas speaker released from Israeli prison after nearly three years 
23 Jun 2009 - The most senior Hamas leader being held by Israel was freed Tuesday after serving the bulk of his three-year sentence. The Hamas-affiliated speaker of the Palestinian Parliament, Abdel Aziz Duweik, is one of dozens of Hamas politicians arrested after Gaza Strip fighters loyal to the group captured an Israeli soldier in June 2006.

Absurdities prevail in Gaza two years after Hamas takeover 
23 Jun 2009 - Two years after Hamas seized power, the Gaza Strip is a jumble of absurdities: an economy sustained by smuggling through tunnels, a civil service that gets paid on condition it doesn't work, and a population no longer fearful of gangs but feeling muzzled under the thumb of Hamas.

Yemeni relatives of murdered Jews leave Sanaa for Israel 
23 Jun 2009 - Sixteen Yemeni Jews including relatives of a man murdered last year have left for Israel, a member of the Arabian Peninsula state's Jewish community said on Tuesday. The three Jewish families left on Sunday, the same day a Yemeni appeals court handed a death sentence to Abdel-Aziz al-Abdi for shooting dead Mashaa Yaeesh al-Nahari in December.

Russia to host peace summit 'by year-end' 
23 Jun 2009 - Russia's president said in Cairo on Tuesday that Moscow aimed to hold a Middle East peace conference before the end of 2009, a move backed by Egypt. Russia, which has proposed such a conference in the past, is a member of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators, along with the European Union, the United States and the United Nations.

Palestinian Information Center

Duweik: all political prisoners must be freed immediately
23 Jun 2009 - Just released from an Israeli jail, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Dr. Aziz Duweik called for the immediate release of all political detainees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas: Aharonovitch's tour of Aqsa ominous
23 Jun 2009 - Hamas on Tuesday lashed out at Israeli internal security minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch's step of storming and touring the holy Aqsa Mosque.

Barak endorses construction of 300 housing units in WB
23 Jun 2009 - Ehud Barak has sanctioned the construction of 300 housing units in a settlement bloc west of Ramallah city in a clear challenge to international demands for an end to settlement building.

Hamas suspends its participation in reconciliation meetings with Fatah
23 Jun 2009 - Dr. Omar Abdelrazek said that Hamas suspended its participation in the meetings of the security reconciliation committee due to Fatah's failure to end the political arrest file in the West Bank.

Ruqub: Violating Aqsa sanctity might spark new intifada
23 Jun 2009 - Hammad Al-Ruqub, the Hamas spokesman, south of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday warned that the repeated Zionist attempts to storm the Aqsa Mosque's plazas in occupied Jerusalem might spark a new intifada.

IOA hands 65 orders for demolition of apartment buildings and homes in J’lem
23 Jun 2009 - The IOA police handed Sunday evening Palestinian families 65 orders for the demolition of apartment buildings and homes in different areas of occupied Jerusalem.

IOA to release PLC speaker, MP
23 Jun 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority has decided to release the Palestinian legislative council speaker Dr. Aziz Dwaik and Fatah MP Jamal Huwail, the Palestinian prisoner's club announced on Tuesday.

Israeli navy abducts 4 Palestinian fishermen at sea
23 Jun 2009 - Israeli navy on Monday intercepted and abducted four Palestinian fishermen of one family including two brothers off the coasts of Gaza Strip while fishing, local sources reported.

Hamas: The situation in WB clashes with the PA decision to free prisoners
23 Jun 2009 - Hamas stated that what is happening on the ground in the West Bank is completely contrary to the statements of Azzam Al-Ahmad about Abbas’s decision to release all political prisoners from PA jails.

New Israeli proposal on prisoners' exchange deal
23 Jun 2009 - A new Israeli proposal on the prisoners' exchange deal with the Palestinian resistance movements holding the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, would be tabled with the Egyptians soon.

Los Angeles Times

Family, friends mourn 'Neda,' Iranian woman who died on video 
23 Jun 2009 - Neda Agha-Soltan, 26, 'was a beam of light' and not an activist, friends say. The video footage of her bleeding on the street has turned her into an international symbol of the protest movement. The first word came from abroad. An aunt in the United States called her Saturday in a panic. "Don't go out into the streets, Golshad," she told her. "They're killing people." 

Palestinian premier seeks stronger institutions 
23 Jun 2009 - Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, responding to a speech by Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, also calls for an independent state within two years. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Monday that Palestinians can make a stronger case for ending Israel's occupation by building up self-governing institutions that would strengthen global support for a Palestinian state. He set a goal of establishing an independent state within two years. 

Tuesday's Talk Shows 
23 Jun 2009 - Jason Jones continues his reports from Iran on 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.' The Early Show Abigail Breslin ("My Sister's Keeper"); chef Bobby Flay prepares a meal. (N) 7 a.m. KCBS 

New York Times

Crackdowns on Protesters Drape Tehran in Silence
23 Jun 2009 - Iran’s government continued to move aggressively to crush protests, setting up a special court for demonstrators and detaining hundreds. 

Obama Assails Iron Fist in Iran Against Protesters
23 Jun 2009 - The president hardened his tone toward the Iranian government, but he has limited tools for bringing pressure to bear on it. 

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. 

Misc

Israel defies US with plan for 240 new homes on Palestinian land 
The Guardian - Rory McCarthy, Jerusalem, The Guardian, 23 June - Ehud Barak approved construction in West Bank • Scheme cuts farmers' access to land, say critics - Israel's defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and building another 240 homes at the site, despite US calls for a halt to settlement growth. Construction at the outpost, known as Water Reservoir Hill, near the Talmon settlement, north of Ramallah, would "greatly damage" the freedom of movement of Palestinian farmers in the area, according to Bimkom, an Israeli planning rights group. It said the construction plan was put forward for public inspection shortly after the Israeli government was formed this spring and was first approved by Ehud Barak, the defence minister. It was now awaiting final approval. But Bimkom added: "In virtually all cases, plans deposited for Israeli settlements were subsequently approved. " 

Doctors demand Yoram Blachar resign as ethics chief over Israeli torture 
The Guardian - Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, 21 June - 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 involvement of medical staff in torture, and calling for his removal. Dr Yoram Blachar, leader of the Israeli Medical Association since 1995, assumed the helm of the WMA in November. The signatories to the letter, who include senior doctors and professors from the UK, Europe and the US, claim he has failed to answer charges that some Israeli doctors condone or collaborate with a regime that uses torture against Palestinian prisoners. As long ago as 1996, the letter says, Amnesty International concluded that doctors in Israel working with the security services "formed part of a system in which detainees are tortured, ill-treated and 

Israel, US bridge gaps over fighter jet 
Jerusalem Post - Jeruslame Post, Jun 24 - A deal is close to completion for the purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter jet after the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon recently reached understandings on a number of IAF demands to integrate Israeli technology into the plane. The apparent breakthrough was made following a series of visits to Washington recently by OC Air Force Maj. -Gen. Ido Nehushtan and IAF Equipment and Procurement head Brig. -Gen. Kobi Bortman. Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with top officials from Lockheed Martin - the F-35 manufacturer - on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show. Also known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the F-35 will be one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world and will enable Israel to phase out some of its older F-15 and F-16 models. According to senior IDF officers, the Defense Ministry and Pentagon have reached understandings on most of the major issues at the core of disagreement between the parties. " There is understanding today on the main basic issues," explained one top officer. 

’US, Israel behind Pakistan sectarian violence’ 
PressTV - PressTV, 22 Jun - A senior Pakistani politician says that the US and Israel are fomenting sectarian strife in the country in order to destabilize the nuclear-armed state. Liaqat Baloch, General Secretary of the Jamat-e- Islami (JI) party, told reporters in the southern port city of Karachi that extremist groups were pursuing a US-Israeli agenda across the country. His comments come after a string of sectarian attacks on Shia Muslims in recent months undermined the already deteriorating security of the insurgency-hit country. Countless incidents of massacres took place in Dera Ismail Khan and Kurram Agency over the past few months. This is while the Taliban-linked Wahhabi groups in Parachinar, Hangu district and much of the Kurram tribal agency have embarked on a series of fatal attacks on Shia Muslims. Some local sources say more than 2,000 Shia community members have been killed in the region since 2007. 

Articles

Seeing Through Israeli Delay Tactics 
Yousef Munayyer, CounterPunch 6/23/2009
      Raising the Stakes on the Settlements
     The growing divide between the Obama administration and the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel’s expansion of its West Bank settlements has led to delay tactics by Israel. President Obama must see through them and press his criticism or risk losing credibility among Arabs.
     The first delay tactic was an attempt to place the onus for the problems in the region on Iran. This idea was pitched by Netanyahu when he traveled to Washington. It was dismissed by President Obama in Cairo.
     The second delay tactic, which seems to have gained more traction than the first, is a plea for sympathy for Israeli settlers. They must be allowed settlement expansion to accommodate for "natural growth,’’ the argument goes. If not, we would be asking settlers not to have babies. And how can anyone be against babies? This argument was repeated again in Netanyahu’s speech June 14.
     But the fact of the matter is, anyone with a basic understanding of three-dimensional construction could tell you that you do not need to usurp more Palestinian land to accommodate the growth of families. You simply should build up.
     If the Israelis need any tips on dealing with the rapid growth of population in confined space, they should observe how Gazans have been living for the past 42 years under occupation. Consider that in Israel’s largest West Bank settlement, Ma’ale Adummim, the population density is 673 persons per square kilometer. In Gaza, there are 4,118 Palestinians living per square kilometer.

Africa-Israel under scrutiny for settlement construction 
Adri Nieuwhof, Electronic Intifada 6/23/2009
      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.
     Africa-Israel Investment is an international holding and investment company based in Israel whose subsidiary, Danya Cebus, has been deeply involved in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). According to research by the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, the company executed construction projects in the Israeli settlements of Modi’in Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, Har Homa and Adam. In addition, Africa-Israel offers apartments and houses in various settlements in the West Bank through the Israeli franchise of its real estate agency, Anglo Saxon, which has a branch in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
     Diamond mogul Lev Leviev is Chairman of the Africa-Israel Investment Board of Directors, and holds roughly 75 percent of the company. On 8 March, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Lev Leviev does not have a problem with building in the OPT "if the State of Israel grants permits legally."
     Leviev and his brother-in-law Daviv Eliashov own the company Leader Management and Development (LMD). According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, LMD requested and was granted approval to expand the Zufim settlement with approximately 1,400 housing units. The company has begun construction and in the process, orchards and agricultural lands belonging to the Palestinian village of Jayyus have been bulldozed, and their water wells and greenhouses confiscated.


Electronic Intifada
US activists de-shelve Israeli products from national grocer
23 Jun 2009 - On Saturday, 20 June, activists gathered at Trader Joe's in Oakland and San Francisco, US to demand that the company stop carrying Israeli goods. Protesters removed Israeli products from the shelves in order to show customers which products they should not buy. They also met with the store managers and asked them to notify their headquarters that they no longer wanted to carry Israeli herbs, couscous and cheese. Similar actions were held throughout the US. 

The Western media and Iran
23 Jun 2009 - One would think that the role of the media is to cover issues like conflict or rights abuses as they happen around the world. Although, it seems this isn't the case. Most Western media appear to follow their government's lead when focusing on different issues and then cover them in a way fitting with the government's position, hence the complete domination of events in Iran in nearly every single Western media outlet and the overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the protestors and the opposition as just. Matthew Cassel comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

The necessity of cultural boycott
23 Jun 2009 - It is bewildering that the shift of public opinion in the UK regarding the Israeli occupation has had no impact so far on policy; but again we are reminded of the tortuous way the campaign against apartheid had to go before it became a policy. It is also worth remembering that two brave women in Dublin, toiling on the cashiers in a local supermarket, were the ones who began a huge movement of change by refusing to sell South African goods. Ilan Pappe comments. 

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. 

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
Obama: Walking the Tightrope on Iran
23 Jun 2009 - By Ivan Eland When massive turmoil occurs in an important country, U.S. policymakers struggle to make heads or tails of it and arrive at an appropriate reaction. Kibitzers and pundits, however, have no trouble reaching immediate and sweeping conclusions and egging on the policymakers to further their own agendas. So far, President Obama has done a reasonably good job in resisting such on-the-spot analyses and advice on the massive protests over the election in Iran. Hawks on the right have criticized Obama’s engagement policy with a country they nostalgically remember in the “Axis of Evil” and have urged him to speak out forcefully about alleged election fraud by the Iranian government. Senator John McCain fumed on the Today show, “He should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election.” Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh of the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute argued that you don’t have to be paranoid to wonder if the crude vote rigging was done on purpose to trigger massive protests so that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard could launch a military coup against the theocratic regime. Really? Sounds kinda paranoid to me. And the kind of paranoia that turns the theocratic regime into something even worse—a military dictatorship—thus, casting doubt on Obama’s engagement policy and supporting an AEI-style “get tough” policy on a nefarious country. On the other end of the political spectrum, Joseph Cirincione of the Plowshares Fund, an avid liberal advocate of negotiating with Iran to convince it to abandon nuclear ambitions, foresees...

We 'Dirty Arabs' Have Had Enough
23 Jun 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem What unwritten law is out there that allows Israelis to sling racist insults at Palestinians with impunity? After all my years in this country and the absurdities that come along with it, this is one absurdity I still find hard to digest. Obviously, my outrage has been most recently rekindled by Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who during a tour of the old central bus station in Tel Aviv called a Palestinian-Israeli policeman a "real dirty Arab." Once the words were out, the minister was forced to apologize, saying his remarks did not reflect his worldview. A spokesman for the ministry also issued a statement saying that, "in a moment of jest, and using common slang, the minister said what he said, not intending to hurt anyone." If this were an isolated incident or if it were not an Israeli right-wing minister who said it, we might, just might, be inclined to believe this sorry excuse for an explanation. But in Israel's history with the Palestinians, this can hardly be considered slip-of-the-tongue. Instead, such slurs are embedded in a historically-rooted relationship between Israeli Jews and their perceived Palestinian-Arab subordinates, a relationship that is so lopsided it allows room for those who wish to be verbally abusive against Palestinians to thrive. This is certainly not the first time an Israeli political or religious figure insults Palestinians or calls them some degrading name. In 2001, the spiritual leader of Shas, Ovadia Yosef called Palestinians snakes and...

Iran's 'Most Treacherous' Enemy, Britain
23 Jun 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London In the turmoil following Iran's presidential election, the country's Supreme Leader has denounced Britain as the "most treacherous" of Iran's enemies. Western diplomats, he said, "are displaying their enmity against the Islamic state, and the most evil of them is the British government". I hope he doesn't include ordinary British people in his condemnation. However, he's welcome to hammer our politicians. During the Iran-Iraq war my company was among hundreds of British firms happily doing business with the Iranian government and building good relations the proper way - through trade. Our efforts were suddenly torpedoed by British government busybodies, who declared they were supporting Saddam. Further exports to Iran were banned and those carefully developed relationships wrecked. No British foreign secretary had set foot in Iran since the 1979 Revolution, and that remained the case until Jack Straw’s one-day visit in 2001, prompted by 9/11. It was an appalling dereliction of duty considering what a friend Iran (Persia) had once been. In 1901 Persia granted William Knox D’Arcy a 60-year oil concession covering half-a-million square miles. When D’Arcy struck oil in 1908 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was formed, a vital asset to Britain in World War One. From this sprang Anglo-Iranian Oil and subsequently the mighty BP. We repaid Iran with corporate greed and diplomatic double-cross. America and Britain are still smarting from the time when Iran democratically elected Dr. Mossadeq, who sensibly nationalized her vast oil resources. Up till then the grasping British were...

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...

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