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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
25 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Netanyahu says Palestinian state must be disarmed, settlements to continue
26 Jun 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reiterated his demands that the future Palestinian State should be disarmed, and that Israel has the right to continue construction and expansion of existing settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Jewish youth indicted over the murder of a man, just because he is an Arab
26 Jun 2009 - A Jewish youth from the Upper Nazareth was indicted Thursday by the Nazareth District Court for killing Samah Karuwani three weeks ago just because he is an Arab. 

Shalit might be transferred to Egypt soon
25 Jun 2009 - A European diplomatic source reported Thursday that the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who also holds a French citizenship, might be transferred to Egypt very soon.  

Israel states it will limit incursions in West Bank cities, PA sources say they are doubtful
25 Jun 2009 - Israel made known on Thursday that it will largely keep its military forces out of four West Bank cities, to try to boost a Palestinian security campaign. The cities involved are Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and Qalqilya and the campaign is supported by the US. 

Cyprus prevents Free Gaza boats from leaving its port to sail to Gaza
25 Jun 2009 - The US-based Free Gaza Movement that in the past has successfully sailed to Gaza to break the siege of the Strip, was stopped by Cypriot shipping officials from leaving the sea port on Thursday. The officials stated that it was for inspection requirements. 

Palestinians stop settler attempt to take over a house in East-Jerusalem
25 Jun 2009 - Palestinian residents of East-Jerusalem, managed twice to stop a group of Israeli settlers from taking over a house in the night of Wednesday on Thursday, a Palestinian Authority official told local media. 

Upper Nazareth to build orthodox neighborhood on former Arab land to counter number of Arabs
25 Jun 2009 - The mayor of Upper Nazareth is planning to build 3,050 housing units in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood out of concern for the growing Palestinian-Arab population in his town. The initiative has received the support of Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who publicly urged ultra-orthodox haredim to settle in the new neighborhood. 

Israeli army kidnaps at least 7 Palestinian civilians during invasions of the West Bank
25 Jun 2009 - Israeli forces detained between 7 and 9 Palestinians during pre-dawn invasions in the West Bank on Thursday. 

Palestinian detainee enters his 32nd year in detention
25 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees reported that detainee Fakhri Al Barghouthi, 56, from the Central West Bank city of Ramallah, entered his 32nd year in Israeli prisons, and became the second oldest detainees after Na'el Al Barghouthi. 

American-Jewish Professor 'cleared' over comparing Gaza war to Holocaust
25 Jun 2009 - A special committee at the California University, in the United States, has cleared Jewish professor who allegedly compared the illegal Israeli policies and war against the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust. 

Two former Israeli ministers jailed for corruption
25 Jun 2009 - Israeli courts handed down prison terms against two former ministers after convicting them of committing fraud, theft and several counts of corruption. 

Israel plans to demolish homes of over 300 people in Jordan Valley this month
25 Jun 2009 - The Israeli military has issued demolition orders to thirty two different family housing groups this month, saying that they will demolish the homes of 304 Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, in the eastern West Bank, before the end of June. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

'Decision makers must grant my son's only wish - his freedom'
25 Jun 2009 - Noam Shalit gives keynote address at Tel Aviv rally to mark three years since Gilad Shalit fell into captivity. 

Israeli sources: IDF to limit West Bank raids
25 Jun 2009 - Israeli and Western sources say IDF to refain from entering Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and Qalqilya. 

Hamas fears Shalit deal would be seen as surrender
24 Jun 2009 - The one who really controls Shalit's fate is Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas' military wing in Gaza. 

IN PICTURES / Gilad Shalit - three years in captivity
25 Jun 2009 - The IDF corporal was snatched in a raid by Gaza militants that left two of his comrades dead. 

Cyprus prevents activists from sailing to Gaza
25 Jun 2009 - Cyprus says ship still needs to undergo safety inspection; Free Gaza spokeswoman 'absolutely outraged.' 

Gaza militants open fire on IDF patrol; no casualties
25 Jun 2009 - Nobody was hurt as Palestinian gunmen open fire on troops near Nahal Oz border crossing into Strip. 

IDF was warned of kidnap plots day before Shalit seized
24 Jun 2009 - The details of the intelligence warning appear in debriefings that were done by the GOC Southern Command. 

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

Ma'an News

Siege-breaking Gaza voyage delayed
6/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A team of international rights advocates who had planned to set sail to Gaza postponed their journey on Thursday after Cypriot authorities did not give them permission to leave. According to Reuters, Cypriot shipping officials cited inspection requirements for stopping the two vessels, a small ferry and a sailing boat, from leaving port two hours before their scheduled departure. Two ships carrying teams the Free Gaza activists, construction materials, and toys for children said they planned to set sail from Cyprus on Thursday determined to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney were onboard the ships, which were organized by the Free Gaza Movement. This is the group's first attempt to break the siege of the Gaza Strip since late December and January, when. . . 

CPT: Israeli settlers call soldiers, police to arrest young shepherds
6/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Christian Peacemaker Teams in the south Hebron hills reported the arrest of two children by Israeli forces and the youngsters grazed their family sheep Thursday morning. The youth, identified as 15-year-old Ahmed Omar Jundyye and his 16-year-old cousin Redwan Ibrahim Jundyye were grazing their flocks near their village of Tuba, located in the South Hebron Hills near the illegal Israeli Havat Ma’on outpost. A militarized vehicle approached the young boys, who were accompanied by international observers and informed the group they were in a closed military area. CPT members confirmed that the soldiers visited a group of settlers on the hilltop who were observing the boys and their sheep, and later police conference with the on looking settlers before detaining the boys and taking them to the Kiryat Arba police station. 

Palestinians block settler takeover attempt in Jerusalem
6/25/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinians managed to block Israeli settlers’ attempts to take control a house in East Jerusalem Wednesday night and Thursday morning, a top Palestinian Authority (PA) official said. Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdul Qader said that he and a group of local residents, including a Fatah youth group, stood vigil in a house owned by Darwish Hjazi in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. He said settlers attempted to overrun the house twice, once on Wednesday night and again early on Thursday. Both times the Palestinians stood their ground and managed to block the settlers from entering. He said that the settlers, who were not accompanied by police, were “surprised” to find the group in the house. Fatah spokesman in Jerusalem Dimitry Delyani said that the movement intends to block any settler attempt to take over Palestinian homes. 

PA releases nine of a promised 40 Hamas members in West Bank
6/25/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an special – The Palestinian Authority authorized the release of nine Hamas affiliates, eight from Tulkarem, following orders from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday. The men, who were detained by PA forces during raids over the past several months, were home by noon the day of their release. Fatah leader Azzam Al-Ahmad had announced Wednesday that Abbas authorized the release of 40 Hamas members from PA prisons. He promised Abbas was working on putting an end to politically-motivated arrests by PA forces in the West Bank. The arrests are a sticking point in talks between Fatah and Hamas, the latter going as far as to withdraw from the Egyptian-made Conciliation Committee charged with smoothing over the issue of arrests before talks continue on unity. On Tuesday and Wednesday Hamas alleged that PA forces detained more than 100 members, and. . . 

Prisoners in Israel refuse to don orange coveralls
6/25/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian prisoners at the Ramon facility in Israel signed an “accord of honor” in which they pledged to reject the "Israeli decision of wearing the orange costume that negatively affects the prisoners. " The Ramon prison is in Israel's southern Negev. As of 2008 the prison was a camp of tents next to the Nafah, or Negev, Prison, which is known for its harsh treatment of prisoners. The declaration, delivered to the public via an official from the Palestinian Prisoners Society in Nablus, also detailed the poor living conditions in the prison from the account of detained leader with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Wajdi Joudeh. Director of the prisoner society Raed Amer noted that the prisoners in the facility are united, and have expressed the wish that internal division come to an end. 

Israel: Seven detained from Nablus, Bil’in
6/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Israeli troops invaded Palestinian areas of the West Bank overnight Wednesday and detained between seven and nine Palestinians Israeli news sources described as “wanted. ”According to one source the arrests were made in Nablus and the village of Bil'in, near Ramallah. Bil'in is one of the sites of the long-running anti-wall protests, held weekly in three villages. Israeli soldiers often enter the area and arrest youth who took part in the demonstrations, in an effort to deter participation. Palestinian security services confirmed the detention of four young men by Israeli forces in Nablus, all from the Balata Refugee Camp. They said troops invaded and toured the camp at 2am. The four detained were identified as: Mahdi Muhammad Fayyoumi, 17, Mahmoud Jamil Abu Asab, 25, Abdullah Samir Hashash, 17, Ahmad Salim Abu Maryam, 17. 

Three Gaza crossing points open
6/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel opened three crossing points into the besieged Gaza Strip for limited shipments of goods and fuel, according to Palestinian border coordination official Raed Fattouh on Thursday. The crossings official said approximately 117 truckloads of supplies would be allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing, as well as an unspecified amount of cooking gas and industrial fuel, which were transferred through the Nahal Oz crossing. Truckloads of wheat and animal feed will also be allowed through the Karni crossing, he said. [end] 

Arab foreign ministers back Obama plan for peace
6/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - The meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers in Cairo elected to support US President Barack Obama’s push for Middle East peace on Wednesday. The ministers agreed to back the plan outlined by Obama in his 4 June speech in Cairo, saying peace talks should not be resumed until a complete freeze in settlement building has been established. The ministers also noted in a statement following the meeting that they continued to back peace and a two-state solution according to the Arab Peace Initiative set out in 2002. The statement said the ministers preferred a comprehensive regional peace deal including a broad Arab acceptance of Israel in exchange for an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders. They added that comprehensive peace would not be possible without a complete withdrawal of the occupation from Palestinian and other Arab areas. 

PA official: Israeli promise to limit incursions 'meaningless'
6/25/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official said news reports on Thursday that Israel plans to limit military incursions in four West Bank cities are “meaningless from security perspective. ”The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was responding to reports that Israel agreed to limit military activity in Qalqiliya, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho in order to allow US-backed PA security forces to operate freely. The source said that a meeting between senior Palestinian and Israeli security officials was held on Wednesday but no guarantees of Israeli withdrawals were made. He went on to say that the reported decision was meant to satisfy the administration of US President Barack Obama, which he said is “angry” at Israel about Israeli military checkpoints and incursions. “The US administration is upset about [Israel] invading the cities every night,” he said. 

Hamas leader Mash’al: Obama changed US rhetoric only
6/25/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Senior Hamas leader Khalid Mash’al on Thursday criticized US President Barack Obama’s historic speech to the Muslim world as insufficient. In a televised speech in response to Obama’s 4 June address in Cairo, Mesh’al said that Obama had changed US rhetoric toward the Palestinians, but not the situation on the ground. “What Obama said wasn’t new and wasn’t enough,” said Mash’al, speaking from Damascus where he resides in exile. While Obama called for the creation of a Palestinian state, Mash’al criticized the US leader for failing to specify the boundaries and nature of that state. He also said Obama had rejected the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in what is now Israel. The Hamas leader also noted that years of negotiations with successive Israeli governments had failed to yield an agreement. 

Report: Shalit to be transferred to Egypt within hours or days
6/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be moved from Gaza within hours or days, according to Israeli news reports on Thursday. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz quoted European diplomatic sources that Shalit will soon be moved to Egypt to begin the swap, which will occur in phases. The report also noted that Egypt, Syria and the United States have all apparently offered support to the exchange, which was first reported by Ma'an on Tuesday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports leaked by Egyptian sources to Ma’an that the soldier 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 Shalit, following the arrival in Tel Aviv of head of Egyptian. . . 

PA minister denounces Israeli actions in East Jerusalem
6/25/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing Mohammad Ishteiyah on Thursday denounced “the systematic policy Israel is carrying out inside Jerusalem, including expelling its Palestinian residents. " The minister also condemned "the latest of which, home demolition orders in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan" in a statement sent to Ma'an. He added, "We as Palestinians are facing Israel's dangerous policies carried out inside Jerusalem and expressing denunciation for this escalation against the city by getting rid of the Arab neighborhoods. ”The Palestinian official explained that “this comes as a continuous policy carried out against the city since its occupation in 1967, in contravention to the Fourth Geneva Convention in 1949. ”He added that “this issue is a political one, more than legal as claimed by the Israeli municipality of the city,. . . 

Landmark Fatah leadership conference set for 4 August in Bethlehem
6/25/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an - After 37 rounds of talks Fatah leaders pegged 4 August as the date for the sixth Revolutionary Council meeting to be held in Bethlehem. It will be the first Fatah leadership meeting in twenty years. The decision was made at the government headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday, in a two-day long meeting that set out the final details for the conference. There will be 1,550 active Fatah members attending the conference, and organizers asked Palestinian President and Fatah’s leader Mahmoud Abbas to ensure that members from abroad were included in the conference. Those attending will include members of Fatah from Gaza, as organizers asserted their attendance would be essential. The meeting will be held under the title: The Sixth General Conference: The Conference of Founder Yasser ArafatThe conference has been years in the planning stages, and. . . 

Hamas: PA arrested 7 members from across West Bank
6/25/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Hamas officials alleged that PA forces arrested seven of its members from across the West Bank overnight Wednesday. Those detained were identified, by region, as:In Nablus: Dr Hafeth Qadri Shahin, Yahya Fathallah. In Qalqiliya: Hikmat Sabry, Ashraf Ash-Sha’erIn Ramallah: Iskandar AbdoStatements from the movement said 64 were arrested overnight Tuesday, and another 40 overnight Wednesday. [end] 

Hamas leaders to hold preliminary Cairo talks
6/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Egypt has invited Hamas leaders from Gaza and Damascus to Cairo for talks toward ending an ongoing rift with the rival Fatah movement, leader Salah Bardawil said on Thursday. Bardawil said in a statement that the talks are to focus on “recent events in the West Bank,” a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation committee, and politically-motivated arrests by both Hamas in Gaza and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA). He said that Hamas leaders Musa Abu Marzouq, Mahmoud Az-Zahhar, Khalil Al-Hayyeh, Nizar Awad Allah, Muhammad Nasser and Imad Al-Alami would attend. “We will be in Cairo on the 28th in preparation for the 7th of July assuring that they will make all efforts to put an end for the political arrest file,” said Bardawil. Hamas has said that the PA arrested dozens more of its members in the West Bank in the last three days, including the deputy mayor of the West Bank city of Nablus. 

PA: 5,500 Palestinians to attend Hajj
6/25/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – More than 5,500 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza will be allowed official slots for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca this year, according to the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs. The ministry held a workshop for its employees at its offices in the West Bank town of Al-Ezariya, east of Jerusalem, to further the registration process for the once-in-a-lifetime trip. The ministry assistant Hussam Abu Ar-Rab said, “The aim of the workshop was to put in place all the means and the measures to facilitate the registration of Palestinians to the Hajj. ”Registration is from 1 to 9 July, Ar-Rab said. He also said that the ministry has hired 600 employees, up from 500 last year, to facilitate travel to Saudi Arabia and other arrangements for the pilgrims. 

Tenth West Bank case of H1N1 diagnosed
6/25/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian woman from the city of Tulkarem has been diagnosed with H1N1 flu, bringing the total number of cases in the West Bank to 10, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Director of health care in the ministry Asa’ad Ar-Ramlawi said that the 50-year-old woman returned three days ago from the Umrah spring pilgrimage to Mecca with flu symptoms. After laboratory tests, doctors confirmed that she was infected with the potentially fatal virus. Nine other cases of H1N1 were diagnosed in Ramallah and Bethlehem, mostly among people who returned from foreign travel. The Ministry of Health said that those diagnosed in Bethlehem were cured. Dozens of cases of H1N1 have also been diagnosed in Israel. 

Hormone medications and illegal pills seized at Rafah
6/25/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto government drug squads seized illegal pills and hormone medications being smuggled into the Gaza Strip and arrested those transporting the contraband Thursday afternoon. The police, charged with monitoring the Gaza border zone at Rafah seized 25,900 pills as well as a liquid hormone medication and transported the goods to investigation centers. The police sent out a statement following the incident saying they will continue monitoring the borders and route any smuggling attempts. [end] 

Eleventh H1N1 case diagnosed in Nablus
6/25/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an - The Palestinian Ministry of Heath announced on Thursday that a child from the West Bank city of Nablus was diagnosed with H1N1, increase the number of those infected to 11 in the West Bank. Head of the health care department in the ministry, As’ad Ar-Ramlawi, said, "A three-year-old Palestinian child from the district of Nablus returned from US had it was determined that he was infected with H1N1 virus after some needed medical tests. " Ar-Ramlawi reassured the public that “the boy’s condition is stable and is recovering,” adding that “he is at home - not in the hospital. ”The official concluded by noting that "the ministry is expecting an increase in the number of those infected with H1N1 virus in the Palestinian territories, particularly after the announcement of a Tulkarem woman earlier. " 

The National

Berri re-elected as parliament speaker
25 Jun 2009 - Nabih Berri is re-elected to a fifth consecutive term as Lebanon's parliament speaker.

US to appoint ambassador to Syria
25 Jun 2009 - An ambassador from the US will be dispatched to Syria for the first time in four years, as part of increased US diplomatic engagement in the Middle East.

Khamenei rules out results annulment
24 Jun 2009 - Iran's supreme leader says he will not give in to pressure from the opposition as protests in downtown Tehran are brutally suppressed by state security.

Palestinian groups round up rivals
24 Jun 2009 - Tit-for-tat arrests as Hamas and Fatah ignore earlier agreement to swap prisoners, and put the prospects of reconciliation and future statehood in doubt.

US ambassador 'to return to Syria'
24 Jun 2009 - US media reports say President Barack Obama will reinstate an American diplomatic presence in Syria after a four-year hiatus.

Aljazeera

Iran 'buries victims of violence'
25 Jun 2009 - Pro-government Basij members reportedly died in unrest over disputed June 12 poll results.

Hamas rejects 'Jewish state' demand
25 Jun 2009 - Palestinian group's chief backs two-state solution and hails Obama's "new language".

Egypt tycoon death verdict ratified
25 Jun 2009 - Confirmation in Lebanese singer's murder case follows grand mufti's approval of sentence.

Netanyahu rejects settlements plea
24 Jun 2009 - Israeli PM dismisses call by French president for "total freeze" on settlements.

Berri re-elected as Lebanon speaker
25 Jun 2009 - Amal leader to serve fifth term after backing from politicians of rival coalition.

IRIN

YEMEN: Major new water source discovered in parched Hadhramaut 
MUKALLA Thursday, June 25, 2009 (IRIN) - A water company in Hadhramaut Governorate, southern Yemen, has discovered an important new source of water near the provincial capital, Mukalla, after four months of exploration.

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. 

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Prisoners Shackled, and Hidden Away 
RAMALLAH, Jun 25 (IPS) - The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel has accused the Israeli security forces of deliberately shackling Palestinian prisoners in a painful and dangerous manner, amounting to a form of torture.

LEBANON: How Not to Oppose an Opposition 
BEIRUT, Jun 25 (IPS) - Christian heads of both the majority and the opposition have raised their stakes ahead of the imminent formation of the Lebanese government headed by Sunni leader Saad Hariri.

EXCLUSIVE-PART 4: FBI Ignored Compelling Evidence of bin Laden Role 
WASHINGTON, Jun 25 (IPS) - Osama Bin Laden had made no secret of his intention to attack the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia. He had been calling for such attacks to drive it from the country since his first fatwa calling for jihad against Western "occupation" of Islamic lands...

POLITICS: U.S. to Name Ambassador to Damascus after Four Years 
WASHINGTON, Jun 24 (IPS) - After informing the Syrian embassy in Washington on Tuesday night, the U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday that President Barack Obama will be sending an ambassador to Damascus for the first time since 2005.

Stop The Wall

International Conference: “Experiences of unification and rejuvenation of the left in Palestine and worldwide”
25 Jun 2009 - On June 26 – 28, the Palestinian National Democratic Progressive Movement (PNDM - Tayyar) will hold a three-day-conference on `Experiences of uniting the left in Palestine and the world` at the meeting hall of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Al-Bireh (Ramallah) and in Gaza. See 

Occupation forces raid Bil'in, kidnap youth
24 Jun 2009 - Soldiers stormed into the village of Bil'in at three in the morning on Tuesday. They conducted house to house searches and kidnapped fifteen-year-old Khalil Yassin and Kamil al-Katib, also fifteen. They also arrested Hassanain Mansour and Kefah Mansour, who were going to their isolated land, and brought them to an unknown location. [

PCHR Latest

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

PLC Speaker, Dr. Aziz al-Dwaik, Released from Israeli Detention
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(18- 24 June  2008)
PCHR Position Paper:PCHR has Reservations about Regulations Adopted in the Context of Ongoing Political Fragmentation

International Solidarity Movement

Children ‘very scared’ in Israeli incursion
International Solidarity Movement - 25 June 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu's government hopes the move will help defuse growing tensions with the Obama Administration in America. A rift between the two countries appears to be widening over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building. A meeting between Mr Netanyahu and US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell has been put off, reportedly because of growing frictions. Israel has already lifted a number of checkpoints, and now says its military will refrain from entering Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem and Qalqilya except in cases where they believe attacks on Israelis are imminent. Two nights ago in the Nablus village of Awata, a Palestinian family experienced one such Israeli military incursion. Salah Awad told Sky News his sister-in-law was at home alone with seven of her children, aged two-and-a-half to 10. 

8216;Free Gaza’ boats stopped in Cyprus
International Solidarity Movement - The Jerusalem Post, 25 June 2009 - Cyprus' Merchant Shipping Department on Thursday prevented international activists from sailing to the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian aid in defiance of Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory. Department chief Sergios Sergiou said that a fishing boat and a small ferry that the Free Gaza Group were to use for the trip from Cyprus to Gaza had not undergone safety inspections which would take "at least a few days" to complete. "It's a dangerous trip," Sergiou told the Associated Press. "The vessels must undergo a general inspection before they are allowed to go. "But Free Gaza Group spokesman Ramzi Kysia said that both vessels were allowed to sail from Cyprus during the group's previous attempts to reach Gaza. The Free Gaza Group has already made five successful boat trips from Cyprus to Gaza since August 2008. 

We did not leave Cyprus today
International Solidarity Movement - Free Gaza Movement, 25 June 2009 - This is not the statement we in the Free Gaza Movement intended to release today. We had hoped to announce that our two ships, the Free Gaza and the Spirit of Humanity, departed from Larnaca Port on a 30-hour voyage to besieged Gaza, carrying human rights activists who have travelled to Cyprus from all across the world for this journey, and a cargo of 3 tons of medical supplies, and 15 tons of badly needed concrete and reconstruction supplies. Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, returning for her second trip to Gaza aboard one of our ships, said "[The people of Gaza] must know that we have not and will not forget them. " That was our hope, but that is not what happened. Instead, our ships were not given permission to leave today due to concerns about our welfare and safety. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

IDF agrees to expanded activity by PA forces in W. Bank towns 
25 Jun 2009 - Israel agreed on Wednesday to expanded activity by Palestinian Authority security forces in four West Bank towns, for a trial period of one week followed by an assessment. ... 

'King of Pop' Michael Jackson dies in L.A.
25 Jun 2009 - Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to exuberant rhythms for decades, died on Thursday after being taken ill at his home, the Los Angeles Times said. He was 50. ...

U.S. praises Israel for easing West Bank restrictions
24 Jun 2009 - In an apparent effort to ease tensions that have been aired publicly through the press, the U.S. State Department on Thursday praised Israel's lifting of restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank. ...

Ahmadinejad: Obama like Bush, must apologize for Iran comments
24 Jun 2009 - Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday accused U.S. President Barack Obama of behaving like his predecessor toward Iran, and said there was not much point in talking to Washington unless the U.S. president apologised. ...

Hamas chief welcomes Obama approach to Mideast, but wants to see action
24 Jun 2009 - The leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas said Thursday he welcomes President Barack Obama's new approach to the Middle East, but is waiting to see action. ...

The Guardian

Europe must respond to Obama on Middle East | Letters
25 Jun 2009 - President Obama is setting forth on an entirely new path in the Middle East with great courage (Leaders, 25 June). He has broken with the previous policies and is engaging in an effort to build for...

Palestinian woman gets 20 years' hard labour for helping Israel
25 Jun 2009 - Agents used sexual entrapment to force 21-year-old into spying Dressed in jeans and a tight headscarf, she stood in a makeshift courtroom with plastic chairs and tables and a television set hanging from the wall. She...

Arabs ponder implications of Iran's unrest
25 Jun 2009 - Response to the crackdown has been muted but ranges from fear of an assertive neighbour in the UAE to private criticism from Sunni Saudi Arabia Arabs – governments and people – are reacting to Iran's post-election...

Israel and America: stopping the settlements | Editorial
24 Jun 2009 - Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu gave speeches earlier this month in Egypt and Israel which used the same vocabulary of peace and hope, but were otherwise about as opposed as two accounts of reality can be....

Ha'aretz National page

Diamond mogul quizzed over alleged bribes to Lieberman 
25 Jun 2009 - Millionaire diamond trader Dan Gertler has been questioned by Israeli police twice under caution in connection with criminal allegations against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Haaretz has learned. At the beginning of the year, Israeli police investigators surprised Gertler by meeting him as he got off his private plane. He was informed that he was suspected of giving Lieberman a bribe. Under interrogation, Gertler was asked if he had joint business dealings with Lieberman and whether he had transferred funds to companies allegedly controlled by Lieberman. Gertler flatly denied the allegations and said he had neither transferred funds to Lieberman nor had joint business dealings with the him. ... 

Thousands marched in peaceful Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem
24 Jun 2009 - Police believe previously contentious parade will this year avoid violent protests. 

18-year-old charged with killing man just for being an Arab
24 Jun 2009 - Eighteen-year-old Vitaly Sayenko was indicted in the Nazareth District Court Thursday over the murder of Samah Karuwani three weeks ago. ...

Sharansky sworn in as Jewish Agency chief
24 Jun 2009 - Former minister Natan Sharansky was sworn in as the new chairman of the Jewish Agency Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem. ...

230 Israeli lecturers vow not to obey law banning Nakba commemoration
24 Jun 2009 - Two hundred and thirty lecturers from Israeli universities and academic institutions signed a declaration this week to "publicly violate" the proposed Nakba and Citizenship laws, should they pass through the Knesset. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Upcoming hearings enable victims to speak directly to UN Gaza rights probe
25 Jun 2009 - Source: UN News Service

OPT: On six month anniversary of Gaza bombardment ActionAid calls for lifting of Israel's blockade
25 Jun 2009 - Source: ActionAid

OPT: UN to broadcast live testimonies of Gazans, Israelis
25 Jun 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 18 - 24 Jun 2009
25 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Israel to limit incursions in four WBank cities
25 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

UN Secretary-General's report on protection of civilians: Explosive weapons
25 Jun 2009 - Source: Landmine Action

Sixteenth diplomatic briefing: Statement of Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
24 Jun 2009 - Source: International Criminal Court

OPT: Working under fire - Secretary-General Ban commends UNRWA workers for bravery
24 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

YNet News

France claims diplomat assaulted by Israeli policeman 
25 Jun 2009 - Paris files formal complaint with Foreign Ministry alleging member of French Consulate in Jerusalem was assaulted by local police officer. Police say case under review 

US welcomes easing of restrictions in West Bank
25 Jun 2009 - State department spokesman says administration 'appreciates' recent Israeli steps to limit IDF presence in Palestinian cities, remove checkpoints. Dennis Ross joins National Security Council staff, to oversee nearly all Middle East affairs 

IDF chief: Ahmadinejad victory means IDF must stay vigilant 
25 Jun 2009 - Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Barak and President Peres take podium at IAF Flight School graduation ceremony. Ashkenazi tells cadets IDF is able to win any war, Barak speaks of chance for peace, Peres revels in diversity of new pilots

Nixon administration pressured Israel on nukes
25 Jun 2009 - Documents released by Nixon Library show US tried to pressure Israel to sign Nonproliferation Treaty. 'If Israel elects to go the nuclear route it would cause a fundamental change in the US-Israeli relationship,' says unsigned memo, including 'our long-standing concern for Israel's security'

Mashaal rejects idea of demilitarized Palestine as 'pathetic' 
25 Jun 2009 - Exiled Hamas politburo chief responds to Obama, Netanyahu speeches, says Palestinians 'reject Israel's position on the refugees, Jerusalem, and the Jewish state.' Gilad Shalit will only be released as part of 'a serious deal' 

Thousands take part in Jerusalem Pride 2009
25 Jun 2009 - March draws considerably less ultra-Orthodox, right-wing activists than in previous years, although small number still stage protest near parade's route. Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz: 'This is a march for the character of Israel's capital as a free pluralist city, not Tehran'

Court orders J'lem's Karta parking lot be open on Shabbat 
25 Jun 2009 - District Court orders Old City's Karta parking lot remain open over the weekend instead of disputed Safra lot. Decision meant to solve parking distress without sparking more ultra-Orthodox riots

Top Bush advisor validates Israeli claim there was agreement on settlements 
25 Jun 2009 - Elliot Abrams, former deputy national security advisor, says Obama administration 'is wrong' to deny existence of understanding between Sharon, Bush on natural growth in settlements

Shas newspaper: System can't stand successful Moroccans 
25 Jun 2009 - Stiffened punishment for Benizri arouses resentment within Sephardic haredi community. 'Why is Olmert still free?' asks front-page article of Shas newspaper, which claims discrimination. Former MK Maya: We are still in exile. They are deathly afraid of us

B'tselem

Hamas must release Gilad Shalit immediately and unconditionally
24 Jun 2009 - B’Tselem repeats its demand that Hamas release Gilad Shalit immediately. The circumstances of Shalit's capture three years ago and the behavior of his captors clearly indicate that he is legally a hostage. Hostage taking is absolutely prohibited under int

B'Tselem's video camera distribution project wins British award 
22 Jun 2009 - On 22 June 2009 B'Tselem won a prestigious British prize for its groundbreaking work in the field of citizen journalism. The One World Media award was given to the organization for its camera distribution project.

Daily Star

Ahmadinejad takes issue with Obama's tone, wants apology 
25 Jun 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Barack Obama on Thursday of behaving like his predecessor toward Iran and said there was not much point in talking to Washington unless the US president apologized. Obama said Tuesday he was "appalled and outraged" by a post-election crackdown.

Iran's women protesters: headscarves and rocks 
25 Jun 2009 - For years, women's defiance in Iran came in carefully planned flashes of hair under their head scarves, brightly painted fingernails and trendy clothing that could be glimpsed under bulky coats and cloaks. But these small acts of rebellion against the theocratic government have been quickly eclipsed in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential polls.

Obama holds out for Iran dialogue despite turmoil 
25 Jun 2009 - Iran's political turmoil has dimmed immediate prospects for US dialogue with Tehran but US President Barack Obama's hopes for engagement have by no means been snuffed out, US officials and analysts said. Officials acknowledge that the Iranian authorities bloody crackdown on street protests sparked by Iran's disputed June 12 election.

Netanyahu, French officials meet to discuss peace effort 
25 Jun 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met France's prime minister Nicolas Sarkozy and foreign minister Thursday, wrapping up a trip marked by differences with Washington and Paris over Jewish settlements. Netanyahu has been pressing his bid for a demilitarized Palestinian state in his meetings in Italy and Paris, and says the idea is gaining international ground.

Israel army to curtail operations in 4 Occupied West Bank cities 
25 Jun 2009 - Israel said on Thursday it would curtail its military activities in four Occupied West Bank cities to help a US-backed move to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The announcement, that will give Palestinian security forces a free hand to operate in the cities, coincided with efforts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Turkey reports decline in Israeli tourists after Davos spat 
25 Jun 2009 - The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey has plunged by a record 60.5 percent in the first five months of the year, following Ankara's fierce criticism of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, official data showed Wednesday. Turkey attracted only 64,200 tourists from Israel from January to May, compared to 162,600 in the same period last year, the tourism ministry said.

Palestinian Information Center

Error in running event chain
25 Jun 2009 - Error occurred while trying to run the event chain.

Los Angeles Times

In Iran, family members wait and worry outside Evin Prison 
25 Jun 2009 - Iranians seeking the release of relatives and friends arrested during election protests must contend with a lack of information and conflicting instructions. The mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters wait. 

Nike, Hall of Fame sued over Michael Jordan line 
24 Jun 2009 - BOSTON -- A Massachusetts company has sued Nike and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, claiming it has been cut out of the sportswear business related to Michael Jordan's upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame. 

Obama condemns Iran violence, singles out shooting of woman seen on video 
23 Jun 2009 - Iranian protests are among hot topics at the president's news conference today, which also covered his push for healthcare reform, 'clean energy' jobs and the president's efforts to quit smoking. President Obama today condemned the ongoing government crackdown on Iranian demonstrators, using his strongest language yet, but declined to spell out consequences for the violence, saying there is still time for officials in that country to respect universal "norms and principles" of freedom. 

New York Times

Arab States Aligned With U.S. Savor Turmoil in Iran
25 Jun 2009 - Arab nations suspicious and resentful of Iran believe that the current turmoil will work to their benefit. 

White House Memo: Bit by Careful Bit, Obama Toughens Stance on Iran
25 Jun 2009 - Throughout the crisis, the president has tried to strike a balance between national interests and support for the democracy movement. 

Come Celebrate! No, Maybe Not
25 Jun 2009 - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had authorized diplomatic posts this month to invite Iranians to their Independence Day parties, sent out a cable rescinding the invitations. 

Misc

Palestinian woman gets 20 years’ hard labour for helping Israel 
The Guardian - Rory McCarthy in Jenin, 6/25/2009 - Agents used sexual entrapment to force 21-year-old into spying - Dressed in jeans and a tight headscarf, she stood in a makeshift courtroom with plastic chairs and tables and a television set hanging from the wall. She barely said a word. At the moment of sentencing, when the chief military judge in the Palestinian city of Jenin jailed her for 20 years' hard labour, Taghrid al-Tibi held one hand to her face in shock and sadness. Then she was led away. Divorced, unemployed and only 21 years old, she was one of the few Palestinian women convicted of treason. Her crime: collaboration with the Israeli security services. Hers is a grim story of an unhappy life and naivety. Enticed out of the occupied West Bank and into Israel, then plunged into a high-risk spying effort that lasted for five months until her capture, Tibi was lucky to escape with her life: 

ADL seeks probe of group linked to Hamas 
JTA - June 23, 2009 - WASHINGTON (JTA) --The Anti-Defamation League is urging the Justice Department to investigate whether a U. S. -based group is raising money for Hamas. Viva Palestina U. S. is a campaign modeled after a similar European initiative, led by British Parliament member George Galloway, that delivered money and a convoy of vehicles to Hamas representatives in Gaza in March. Galloway plans to lead a similar Viva Palestina U. S. -sponsored convoy next month, and he has been visiting the United States recently to publicize and raise funds for it. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, ADL said “it is not verifiable that this ‘committee’ will function independently of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, and Galloway -- who plans to lead the American convoy -- has already demonstrated his willingness to directly support Hamas.

CARTOON - Israel’s Two State Solution As Seen By Palestinians 
Desert Peace - June 25, 2009 - Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff - 'Peace in our time on our terms'. [end] 

Articles

Israeli firms accused of profiting from the Holocaust: families battle in court to reclaim assets 
Jonathan Cook in Nazareth, Redress 6/26/2009
      “My grandfather died because he was a Jew, and it is shameful that other Jews are exploiting his death… We need to wake people up about this." – David Hillinger, grandson of Auschwitz victim
     Israel’s second largest bank will be forced to defend itself in court in the coming weeks over claims it is withholding tens of millions of dollars in “lost” accounts belonging to Jews who died in the Nazi death camps.
     Bank Leumi has denied it holds any such funds despite a parliamentary committee revealing in 2004 that the bank owes at least 75 million US dollars to the families of several thousand Holocaust victims. Analysts said the bank’s role is only the tip of an iceberg in which Israeli companies and state bodies could be found to have withheld billions of dollars invested by Holocaust victims in the country – dwarfing the high-profile reparations payouts from such European countries as Switzerland. “All I want is justice,” said David Hillinger, 73, whose grandfather, Aaron, died in Auschwitz, a Nazi camp in Poland. Lawyers are demanding reparations of 100,000 dollars for Bank Leumi accounts held by his father and grandfather. The allegations against Bank Leumi surfaced more than a decade ago following research by Yossi Katz, an Israeli historian. He uncovered bank correspondence in the immediate wake of the World War II in which it cited “commercial secrecy” as grounds for refusing to divulge the names of account holders who had been killed in the Holocaust.

Israel’s Crimes, America’s Silence 
John Dugard, Uruknet 6/24/2009
      President Obama’s recent speech to the Muslim World failed to address allegations that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. Palestinians and people throughout the region were shocked at the firepower Israel brought to bear against Gaza’s civilians and do not want Palestinians’ ongoing misery to be further ignored. Many were surely waiting to hear from President Obama that the way to peace does not lie through the devastation of civilian life and infrastructure in Gaza.
     To date, too little mention has been made of investigations that show there is sufficient evidence to bring charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Israel’s political and military leadership for their actions in Gaza. Recently, two comprehensive independent reports have been published on Gaza, and earlier this month a mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, and chaired by South African Richard Goldstone, visited Gaza to conduct a further investigation into Israel’s offensive.
     On May 4 the United Nations published the findings of an investigation into attacks carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on UN premises in Gaza. Led by Ian Martin, formerly head of Amnesty International, this investigation found Israel responsible for wrongfully killing and injuring Palestinians on UN premises and destroying property amounting to over $10 million in value. Although this investigation did not address the question of individual criminal responsibility, it is clear that the identified wrongful acts by Israel constituted serious war crimes.
     On May 7 the Arab League published the 254-page report of an Independent Fact Finding Committee (IFFC) it had established to examine the legal implications of Israel’s Gaza offensive. This committee, comprising six experts in international law, criminal law and forensic medicine from non-Arab countries, visited Gaza in February. We concluded that the IDF had committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Electronic Intifada
Video: Nahr al-Bared "Two Years Under Siege"
25 Jun 2009 - Two years after it was destroyed in the wake of fighting between the Lebanese army and a militant group, the fate of the Palestinian refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared remains unclear. This 10-minute film, the co-owner of an ice cream factory, the president of the local traders committee and the imam of the al-Quds Mosque, all Palestinian refugees, speak about the siege and its economic consequences. 

Hamas' political immaturity
25 Jun 2009 - Instead of coming up with an alternative program to that of the Palestinian Authority, and all the organizations belonging to it, and instead of building on the unprecedented, growing solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza, the leadership of Hamas, in statements made by its leaders and -- more importantly -- letters sent to the US president, have begun a process of deterioration like that of their predecessors who sold out Palestinian rights at Oslo. Haidar Eid comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Political arrests may derail unity talks
24 Jun 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Egyptian mediators have set 7 July 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. Continued political detention and abuse of Palestinian prisoners by Hamas in Gaza and by the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank could, however, derail the talks before they even begin. 

Audio: A reporter tries to buy new equipment in Gaza
24 Jun 2009 - In late 2008, I needed to replace my old recording equipment that had poor sound quality and purchase a new audio recorder. Unfortunately, with the ongoing Israeli siege, this simple task of obtaining a new recorder was nearly impossible. The following audio diary tells the story of my efforts to receive a new audio recorder from the US so that I could continue documenting the many untold stories of the people of Gaza. Rami Almeghari writes from the Gaza Strip. 

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
Israeli Firms Accused of Profiting from Holocaust
25 Jun 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Israel's second largest bank will be forced to defend itself in court in the coming weeks over claims it is withholding tens of millions of dollars in 'lost' accounts belonging to Jews who died in the Nazi death camps. Bank Leumi has denied it holds any such funds despite a parliamentary committee revealing in 2004 that the bank owes at least $75 million to the families of several thousand Holocaust victims. Analysts said the bank’s role is only the tip of an iceberg in which Israeli companies and state bodies could be found to have withheld billions of dollars invested by Holocaust victims in the country -- dwarfing the high-profile reparations payouts from such European countries as Switzerland. “All I want is justice,” said David Hillinger, 73, whose grandfather, Aaron, died in Auschwitz, a Nazi camp in Poland. Lawyers are demanding reparations of $100,000 for Bank Leumi accounts held by his father and grandfather. The allegations against Bank Leumi surfaced more than a decade ago following research by Yossi Katz, an Israeli historian. He uncovered bank correspondence in the immediate wake of the Second World War in which it cited “commercial secrecy” as grounds for refusing to divulge the names of account holders who had been killed in the Holocaust. “I was shocked,” said Dr Katz, from Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv. “My first reaction was: ‘My God, this isn’t Switzerland!’ ” In 1998, following widespread censure, Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion...

Beyond Politics: People for Sale in Hungry World
25 Jun 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud One might be tempted to dismiss the recent findings of the US State Department on human trafficking as largely political. But do not be too hasty. Criticism of the State Department's report on trafficked persons, issued on 16 June, should be rife. The language describing US allies' efforts to combat the problem seems undeserved, especially when one examines the nearly 320- page report and observes the minuscule efforts of these governments. Also, it was hardly surprising to find that Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria -- Washington's foremost foes -- languish in the report's Tier 3 category, i.e. countries where the problem is most grave and least combated. Offenders in Tier 3 are subject to US sanctions, while governments of countries in Tier 1 are perceived as vigilant in fighting human trafficking. One could also question the US government's own moral legitimacy; classifying the world into watch lists, congratulating some and reprimanding and sanctioning others, while the US itself has thus far (and for nine consecutive reports starting 2000) been immune to self-criticism. Undoubtedly, the political hubris and self- righteous underpinnings of the report are disturbing, but that hardly represents an end to the argument. The fact remains that the report's rating of over 170 countries is thorough and largely consistent with facts as observed, reported by the media and examined in other comprehensive reports on the same issue. Indeed, the UN's own Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs...

Arab-Americans Must Get Involved
25 Jun 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh A few months after arriving in the US in 1968 and joining the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times, I was invited to speak at an Arab-American community gala dinner. My punchline that evening was an appeal to the community that their children study journalism and get more involved in the political process there. Knowing that many did not trust their English or shied away because of the prevalent stereotyping, I recommended two things: Instead of writing long-winded letters to the newspapers, as some I know have done, limit them to two or three paragraphs. Better still, cut out negative news items or commentaries and mail them to the paper with the words "erroneous" or "nonsense" written on them in red ink and follow this up with a request for a meeting with the editors. A large number of such letters would at least be impressive, if not persuasive. I have also urged Arab-Americans to volunteer in political and election campaigns or, better still, seek internships in the offices of congressmen. Graduating college students should sit for the Foreign Service entrance exam in the hope of gaining a position at the State Department. I have no idea how many have done so, but I note that there are several Arab-American journalists nowadays. One of them, Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post, won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2004. Of course, there is also the Lebanese-American media icon Helen Thomas, who has been present at the...

America's 'Bases of Empire'
25 Jun 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago Besides waging perpetual wars, nothing better reveals America's imperial agenda than its hundreds of global bases - for offense, not defense at a time the US hasn't had an enemy since the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. So when they don't exist, they're invented as former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., suggested in a May 24, 2007 speech to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs: "When our descendants look back on the end of the 20th century and the beginning of this one, they will be puzzled. The end of the Cold War relieved Americans of almost all international anxieties." As the world's sole remaining superpower, "We did not rise to the occasion." "We are engaged in a war, a global war on terror, a long war, we are told....How can a war with no defined ends beyond the avoidance of retreat ever reach a convenient stopping point? How can we win (any war let alone the hearts and minds of millions) with an enemy so ill-understood that we must invent a nonexistent ideology" for justification. In his 2006 book, "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic," Chalmers Johnson discussed the known number of foreign US bases by size and branch of service. According to the Department of Defense's Base Structure Report (BSR) through 2005, it totaled 737 but likely exceeds 1000 today with so many new ones built since then - some known, others secret and always others planned....

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