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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
30 June , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Red Cross: 'Gazans still living in despair, unable to rebuild their homes'
1 Jul 2009 - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that six months after the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, the besieged coastal region is still under siege and the residents living in despair, poverty, and are unable to reconstruct their homes. 

Abbas meets Dweik in Ramallah
1 Jul 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held on Tuesday a meeting with the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Aziz Dweik of the rival Hamas movement, and discussed the means of reactivating the PLC. 

Abu Zuhri: 'Sixth round of talks ends with no progress in sight'
1 Jul 2009 - Sami Abu Zuhri, media spokesperson of Hamas movement, stated Tuesday that the sixth round on unity talks had ended in Cairo without achieving any progress due to what he described as 'Fateh's rejection to end the file of political prisoners'. 

Human Rights Watch: Israeli drone-launched missiles indiscriminately killed civilians in Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - A new report brought out by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday reveals that Israel violated international laws of war during the recent Gaza war, by carrying out attacks on civilians with guided missiles from aerial drones. 

The Israeli military hands over demolition orders to six families in Bethlehem area
30 Jun 2009 - Israeli military civil administration officers handed over demolition orders on Tuesday  for six homes, four water aquifers and one green house owned by Palestinians south of Bethlehem city, in the southern west Bank.  

The Israeli military kidnaps 23 Palestinians from the West Bank
30 Jun 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped 23 Palestinian civilians during pre-dawn invasions on Tuesday targeting a number of West Bank communities.  

Israeli Naval forces attack the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY aid boat heading for Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - On Tuesday afternoon Israeli Naval Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, 23 miles off the coast of Gaza, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries.  

9 injured as Israel demolishes Palestinian house in East-Jerusalem
30 Jun 2009 - Two women were taken to the hospital and seven others were wounded as they clashed with Israeli police, trying to prevent their house from getting demolished. 

ICAHD: 'Policy change needed in Jerusalem'
30 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and the Rabbis for Human Rights- Shomrei Mishpat, issued a press release welcoming the Jerusalem Municipality's announcement to freeze home demolitions in Jerusalem, but demanded a real policy change. 

Progress reported in Unity Talks
30 Jun 2009 - Palestinian officials involved in Hamas-Fateh reconciliation talks hosted and mediated by Egypt reported that a progress was reached on the political prisoners file and other important files, and that finalizing the points of agreement would be conducted Tuesday. 

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians in northern West Bank
30 Jun 2009 - Crowds of Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian villages Asira Al-Qibliya and Far'ata, southwest of the city of Nablus, on Monday evening. During the attacks at least two Palestinians got injured. According to Israeli media one Palestinian got shot by settler gunfire. 

Egypt seals the Rafah terminal
30 Jun 2009 - Three days after opening the Rafah Border Terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Egyptian Authorities decided on Tuesday morning to close the terminal. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

PA: Israel planning to expropriate another 2% of West Bank land
30 Jun 2009 - Defense establishment rejects claim, says land in question had been under Dead Sea waters now receded. 

Activist on boat seized by IDF laments world apathy to Gaza
29 Jun 2009 - IDF seizes control of Free Gaza Movement's boat after it enters Gaza waters; boat taken to Ashdod. 

Egypt extends deadline for Palestinian unity talks to July 28
30 Jun 2009 - A deal would aim to end divisions by setting up a joint committee to handle the reconstruction of Gaza. 

Rights group: IDF didn't verify air strike targets in Gaza conflict
30 Jun 2009 - Human Rights Watch says IDF 'failed to take all feasible precautions to verify that the targets were combatants.' 

Kadima MK: Restrict Mossad chief's tenure to four years
29 Jun 2009 - Edery's bill comes in wake of controversial extension of Meir Dagan's tenure, resignation of deputy. 

Red Cross: Israel trapping 1.5m Gazans in despair
29 Jun 2009 - Organization says Israel-led blockade 'strangling' economy, preventing reconstruction efforts. 

Israel to build 50 West Bank homes for outpost evacuees
29 Jun 2009 - Move part of wider plan for construction of 1,450 homes in settlement of Adam to absorb evicted outpost residents. 

Netanyahu to Putin: Stop selling missiles to Iran
28 Jun 2009 - Tension escalating between Israel and Russia over possible sale of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran. 

Ma'an News

Farmers prevented from accessing fallow land near Hebron
6/30/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian farmers from Khirbet Salama village south of Hebron from accessing fallow agricultural lands in an effort to annex the area to a nearby settlement. Khirbit Samala is 400 meters away from the Israeli settlement Nahal Negohot, deep in the West Bank. Settlers and soldiers routinely attack farmers from the village, deterring many from farming areas abutting the settlement. Local land owners banded together and made an attempt to enter the fallow-land to re-plant crops and prune fruit trees, however Israeli soldiers denied the group entry into the area saying they had to seek permission from the Israeli Civil Administration before entering the area. Head of the local village council Ayman Uda said Israeli soldiers handed the farmers warrants demanding they appear before Civil Administration officers, saying their attempt to re-access their land following a fallow period was illegal. 

UN Commission: Gazan testimonies show 'face of human suffering'
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Two days of testiminoes from Gazans over the Israeli war on the area "let the face of human suffering be seen,” said head of the UN mission investigating Israel's war on Gaza Tuesday. His comments came after two days of live-to-air testimony from Gazans trapped in the besieged coastal region who suffered from Israel’s devastating war on the area over December and January. The war resulted in the death of 1,475 Gazans. "As fellow human beings we would like to put on record how deeply moved we were by many of the accounts of profound suffering and grief we have heard in the last two days," Goldstone was quoted as saying. The commission will now move to Geneva, Switzerland, to collect statements from Israeli residents of border-towns near Gaza, as Israeli authorities refused to allow the commission collect the testimonies on Israeli soil. 

Israel demolishes Palestinian house on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives
6/30/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Two women were hospitalized after Israel's Jerusalem Municipality demolished a house on the Mount of Olives in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday morning. During the demolition Israeli police clashed with inhabitants of the house, bruising nine of them. The destruction came a day after the municipality declared that it would freeze 70% of demolition orders. Owner of the house Samir Jum’a said the home was 150 square meters in size and housed 15 people. Israeli police who came to protect bulldozers during the demolition attacked the family and as a result nine people, including four women, were bruised, Jum’a said. Two women were evacuated to the nearby Al-Maqasid Hospital. The injured family members were identified as 61-year-old Jamila Abu Jum’a, 65-year-old Huda Abu Jum’a, 38-year-old Ikhlas Abu Jum’a, 29-year-old Rwan Abu Jum’a, 27-year-old. . . 

Spain drops probe into 2002 Gaza bombing
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Spain’s highest criminal court shelved an investigation of alleged crimes against humanity over a 2002 Israeli airstrike in Gaza that killed 14 civilians, judicial sources said. The National Audience, the country's top criminal court, decided to close the investigation on the recommendation of prosecutors, who argued that Israel’s internal investigation of the matter was sufficient. In the attack, an Israeli warplane dropped a one-ton bomb on an apartment block in Gaza City, killing Hamas member Salah Shehadeh and 13 others. Judge Fernando Andreu had named former Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six current or former military officers and officials. The decision follows a preliminary move by Spain’s parliament to curb the ability of judges to try potential war criminals under the country’s universal jurisdiction statute. 

UK court ends Palestinian case seeking to reveal protocol on arms sales to Israel
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - An attempt to stem the tide of weapons into Israel was thwarted as a UK court denied Saleh Hasan permission to appeal a decision declining to reveal justifications for UK arms sales to Israel. The case, Saleh Hasan v UK Secretary for Trade and Industry, requested the UK government clarify its position on arms-related licensing agreements with Israel. The court case hoped to compel the British government to make public its methods in satisfying its own legal criteria that material sold under the licensing agreements not be used in the commission of human rights abuses in occupied Palestinian areas. The case was being tried by UK Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) in cooperation with Al-Haq, a Palestinian Human Rights organization. It was initiated in November 2007 and rejected, but heard by the Court of Appeal in February 2008. 

Israel’s navy seizes ’Humanity’ ship off Gaza
6/30/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli naval forces intercepted, boarded, and took control of a converted ferry bound for Gaza, towing its passengers, crew, and cargo to Israel’s port of Ashdod on Tuesday afternoon. Activists aboard the ship, christened the Spirit of Humanity denounced the action as a violation of international law. Once in Ashdod they will be “handed over to the appropriate authorities,” and goods will be transferred to Gaza, “subject to authorization,” the Israeli navy said in a statement. “This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former US Congresswoman on board, according to a statement relayed through Cyprus. The Israeli Navy confirmed that its forces seized the ship, claiming that it “contacted the boat while at sea, clarifying. . . 

Domestic violence shelters open in Hebron
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hebron Governor Hussein Al-Araj and other senior Palestinian officials attended an opening ceremony for three domestic violence shelters in the West Bank city of Hebron. The “Venus” shelters for women and children were sponsored by the Italian organization Deferenza Donna and funded by the Italian Cooperation department. Speaking at the ceremony Al-Araj, welcomed the project to Hebron, particularly “due to the difficult situation that residents are living in, because of the Israeli occupation that prevents the schoolchildren from going to their school located on Ash-Shuhada Street in the old city of Hebron instead they are force go through a cemetery to be able to reach their school. ”The Palestinian official stressed out the urgent need such centers as a counter measure to the negative effects of social and economic pressures. 

Israeli settlers attack two Nablus villages; soldiers disperse clash with teargas
6/30/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Two Palestinians were injured Monday evening when crowds of Israeli settlers attacked villages of Asira Al-Qibliya and Far’ata southwest of Nablus. According to Ghassan Dughlus, the Palestinian official in charge of monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank, dozens of settlers attacked several Palestinian homes in both villages near Israeli settlement of Yitzhar and destroyed agricultural fields. Settlers also closed the main road between Far’ata, Nablus and Qalqiliya. They fired several gunshots from handguns into the air. Israeli soldiers arrived shortly after the clashes began and fired tear gas canisters towards Palestinian citizens. At least two residents suffered severe effects of inhalation. They were identified as 22-year-old Hani Sabbah, and 24-year-old Samir Hamdan, who also sustained bruises at the hands of Israeli settlers. 

Israeli soldiers seize 16-year-old in Bil’in
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers seized a 16-year-old boy from his home in the West Bank village of Bil’in on Tuesday in the latest of a series of raids in a community known for its political activism. According to Iyad Burnat of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall, Israeli soldiers entered the village on foot and took 16-year-old Suleiman Sif from his home to an unknown location. Bil’in residents say the Israeli army has invaded the village nearly every night for the last two weeks. Sif was the eighth person to be arrested in these raids. Burnat alleged that the latest invasion was “part of a broad campaign over the last two weeks by the army to strike terror on the village of Bil'in. ”Burnat is one of the organizers of a weekly demonstration against Israel’s separation wall, which is being built in the village’s, cutting the residents off from nearly. . . 

Israeli forces seize Fatah man in Qalqiliya, security man from Tulkarem
6/30/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained a member of the local Fatah committee inthe northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya, Raed Jbara, after ransacking his home on Tuesday morning. The Fatah committee in Qalqiliya released a statement condemning the apprehension of Jbara. “This crazy campaign by Israeli forces against Fatah supporters in the West Bank is continuation of Israeli policies aimed at subduing the Palestinian people and forcibly displacing them from their lands,” said Murad Shteiwi, spokesperson of Fatah committee in Qalqiliya. Meanwhile, on Monday evening, Israeli forces apprehended a member of the Palestinian Preventive Security, 28-year-old Raafat Asa'sa from the village of Illar in Tulkarem district. The detention took place at At-Tanib checkpoint between Nablus and Tulkarem while Asa'sa was going back home after work. 

Israeli forces detain six Palestinians near Jenin
6/30/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized on Tuesday morning six Palestinians during a raid on the village of Al-Araqa, west of Jenin in the northern West Bank. Palestinian security sources identified the detainees as Sa’id Yahya, Mu’taz Hammad, Thaer Hammad, Muhammad Al-Qaysi, Wajdi Al-Qaysi, and Awad Nasr. They were taken to unidentified locations. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers ransacked several homes and forced residents to evacuate them for inspection. They also handed over warrants summoning some residents to nearby Salem military base for interrogation. In a different regard, local residents of Al-Malih neighborhood in the Jordan Valley said Israeli forces conducted large-scale maneuvers and drills in the Jordan valley at dawn. 

Three detained in villages west of Hebron
6/30/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli troops took three locals, two from Nuba village west Hebron and a third from Beit Kahil to the west of the city overnight Sunday and Monday, local sources said. Citizens identified the young men as 20-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ash-Shuruf and Wajih Othman Ad-Dabbas from Nuba, and 17-year-old Abdel Majid Oteish Al-Atawna from Beit Kahil. The Al-Atawna home was surrounded and its family members forced outside as troops stormed the building and took captive the teen. He was taken to an unknown destination. [end] 

Egypt closes Rafah crossing after three days
6/30/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Egypt closed the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning after a three-day opening, according to the Hamas-run de facto government’s Interior Ministry. “The Egyptians promised to reopen the Rafah crossing soon," the Interior Ministry said. The opening, a statement added, brings optimism to Gazans that a permanent agreement to keep the crossing open is not long off. Palestinians report discrimination at Rafah - Reports from the International Movement to Open the Rafah Border (IMORB), which has dozens of Palestinian and international delegates camped out for at least 18 days at the Egyptian-Rafah border protesting its closure, said they witnessed hundreds of Gazans being turned away from the crossing despite holding proper paperwork. A statement from the group said the “Rafah border policy is arbitrary and discriminates against Palestinians. 

Palestinian Ambassador to Kuwait dies during surgery
6/30/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Palestinian ambassador to Kuwait died on Monday during cardiac surgery in the Jordanian capital, Amman. Sources told Ma’an’s reporter in Tulkarem that 68-year-old Muhammad Abdul Qadir died. He was born in the West Bank village of Kafr Jmal, south of Tulkarem. [end] 

Israel allows some food, fuel into besieged Gaza
6/30/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Monday to partially open two border crossings into Gaza for limited shipments of food and fuel, while a third crossing will be closed. According to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official, 100 to 111 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for commercial and agricultural sectors would pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing. In addition, limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s only power plant will be shipped through Nahal Oz, he said. Meanwhile, the Karni crossing in the northern Gaza Strip will remain closed, according to Fattouh. [end] 

US launches scholarship program for Palestinian students
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – US Consul General Jake Walles formally announced a new 300,000 US dollar scholarship program Monday that will assist 100 Palestinian students study at American universities over the next five years. Walles launched the Abraham Lincoln Incentive Grants during a visit to Amideast in Ramallah. The funding was initially announced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her March visit to the West Bank. While at Amideast, Walles visited young Palestinians attending a "Study in the USA" information session in Ramallah. Gaza students were also participating in the session via videoconference. Addressing the students in Ramallah and Gaza, Walles spoke about the great value Palestinians place on education. He said the US will support Palestinians in achieving their academic goals through the Lincoln grants and other educational exchange programs, in the. . . 

PA: ’Not aware’ of World Bank contacts on Red-Dead canal deal
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Water Authority Chairman Shadad Al-Atili said the Palestinian Authority (PA) was not made aware that Israel was approaching the World Bank for funding a project for a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. Al-Atili was responding to a report in the mass-selling Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, that said Israel had secured a pledge of World Bank funding for the tripartite Israel-PA-Jordan canal project. The newspaper said Israel’s Vice Premier Silvan Shalom had received this assurance during a Washington meeting with World Bank officials. Al-Atili told Ma’an’s radio network that Shalom does not have a right to make decisions in this regard without contacting all the concerned parties. He pointed out that a feasibility study was signed in 2005, and was given to the World Bank to examine it and fund it in case concerned parties decided to carry out the project. 

Marcel Khalife to sing in Vienna at UNRWA benefit concert
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Renowned Lebanese singer Marcel Khalife will perform in front of thousands Tuesday at an UNRWA benefit concert in Vienna set to begin with an official address from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The “Concert for Peace and Humanity” will be held in Vienna’s historic City Hall under the patronage of the Austrian Government and the OPEC Fund for International Development. Ban will deliver a taped message to the concert-goers, and will be attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and UNRWA Commissioner General Karen AbuZayd. According to Khalife, who will play alongside the Al-Mayadine Ensemble, the event is poised to “create a dialogue between Eastern and Western instruments symbolizing the common humanity and thirst for peace that unites all people. " Khalife is best known in Palestine for putting the early poems of the late preeminent Palestinian. . . 

USAID security snafu sees confusion at Ramallah development meeting
6/30/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – A delegation representing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) walked away from a Ramallah meeting with the Minister of Social Affairs after being told their security guards would have to check their weapons at the door Tuesday. The USAID delegation was set to meet with delegations from the European Union, World Bank, International Labor Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization as well as a number of Palestinian ministries over donor projects. It was the only delegation that refused to participate in the meeting. Minister of Social Affairs Magida Al-Masri set a protocol for the ministry building wherein no arms are permitted on the premises without express permission from the minister herself. She indicated that she could be held personally responsible for any incidents but refused to allow the delegation’s security guards into the building while they carried weapons. 

Barghouthi condemns Israeli attack on Free Gaza ship
6/30/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an – Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Dr Mustafa Al-Barghouthi condemned Israeli decision to abduct the crew of the siege-breaking Free Gaza ship and bring the boat and its cargo to Ashdod against their will. Speaking following the incident Barghouthi called it a “pirate attack” where internationals were illegally captured in international waters and prevented from showing solidarity with Gazans. He expressed shock that Israeli forces would treat crew members which included a former US Congresswoman and Nobel Peace Prize winner as criminals. He said he hoped the mission would not be deterred from continuing their mission, which is scheduled to run two more missions to Gaza this summer. 

PPP: Fatah, Hamas achieve progress in Cairo talks
6/30/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Bilateral dialogue between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo has achieved progress on most issues, according to Walid Al-Awad, an official in the Palestinian People’s Party. Al-Awad told Sawt An-Najah (Voice of Success) radio in the West Bank city of Nablus that the rival Palestinian factions had agreed on an electoral formula of 75% proportional representation system and 25% constituencies. He said however that disagreement remains over the distribution of electoral constituencies, noting that Fatah suggested four districts in the West Bank, three in Gaza. They also agreed on a joint security force of 3,000-5,000 officers, and on a committee to take the place of a national consensus government, whose tasks were determined by the Egyptians on Monday. Both sides also agreed to release political detainees before 5 July, and then further steps will be announced. 

Hamas: Fatah agreed to committee on political detainees
6/30/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed to form a committee to follow up on the issue of politicized arrests, Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri said on Tuesday. The committee will be formed of officials from both factions who have been negotiating a unity deal in Cairo. The new committee is scheduled to meet later on Tuesday, Abu Zuhri said. He said Hamas’ demands a halt to motivated detentions and the release of political detainees before signing any unity agreement. He said Hamas also wants a committee to examine the cases of detainees whose cases are controversial. This announcement comes a day after Fatah accused Hamas of a major sweep of Fatah leaders in Gaza, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to release 100 Hamas detainees. Hamas also alleges that the Palestinian Authority has arrested dozens of its members in the West Bank in the last several days. 

PA Minister of Jerusalem Affairs resigns; Legal Affairs office to shut down
6/30/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem affairs Hatem Abdul Qader submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday, high-ranking Palestinian sources told Ma’an. Staff at the Legal Affairs office under Abdul Qader, who head up 600 files protesting home demolitions in East Jerusalem, have not been paid in more than a year, Director of legal affairs in Abdul Qader’s office Khalid Al-Amouri said. Abdul Qader himself had 4,000 shekels (1,025 US dollars) deducted from his salary last month allegedly to cover an advance payment to set up the Jerusalem Affairs office, Al-Amouri said, calling the Finance Ministry move the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and pushed Abdul Qader to resign. Ma’an was unable to contact Abdul Qader to confirm the news. Sources close to Abdul Qader quoted him saying he resigned because the Palestinian government could not financially cover Jerusalem’s needs. 

Abbas sits with Dweik in highest level Hamas-Fatah meeting in years
6/30/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Aziz Dweik in Ramallah at noon on Tuesday, making him the highest-ranking Hamas official he publicly met with since the 2007 takeover of Gaza. Israel released Dweik from prison last week after holding him prisoner for three years. Dweik, who is thought to be a member of Hamas’ moderate wing, has stressed a message of unity since he gained his freedom. He told reporters on Sunday that he “stands between” Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah movement. According to the Palestinian Authority official news agency WAFA, Abbas congratulated Dweik on his release, inquired about his health, and stressed that the 11,000 Palestinians remaining in Israel’s jails are a top priority. Abbas’ office released no other details about the talks, which took place in the presidential compound. 

Four new H1N1 cases in Ramallah brings West Bank total to 30
6/30/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Four new cases of H1N1 flu were diagnosed in the city of Ramallah in the central West Bank on Monday bringing the total number in the West Bank to 30. According to Dr As’ad Ramlawi, director of the Medical Care department in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, two of the new cases discovered in Ramallah are Palestinians living in the US who came to visit their families. The other two received the virus from other people in the West Bank. [end] 

The National

Big screen returns to West Bank town
30 Jun 2009 - Two local businessmen open a brand new cinema in the centre of the city to compete with satellite TV and create genuine excitement.

Israel and US hold settlement discussions
29 Jun 2009 - The crucial meeting comes as the rift between the US and Israel grows over West Bank occupation.

New houses approved for West Bank
29 Jun 2009 - Israel approves construction of 50 new housing units as part of larger expansion in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Aljazeera

Israel blamed over drone attacks
30 Jun 2009 - Rights group says missiles were fired during Gaza war without always verifying targets.

Israel stops aid ship to Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - Vessel carrying aid to Gaza intercepted by Israeli navy.

Iran recount gives Ahmadinejad win
29 Jun 2009 - Guardian Council confirms Iranian president's re-election after partial recount of votes.

Israel permits new settlement homes
30 Jun 2009 - New units approved and more land taken as Ehud Barak visits US in bid to defuse tensions.

UN assesses trauma of Gaza conflict
29 Jun 2009 - Experts tell panel of psychological damage of residents trapped in Israel's war.

IRIN

ISRAEL-OPT: By the numbers 
TEL AVIV Tuesday, June 30, 2009 (IRIN) - A new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) paints a grim picture of life in the Gaza Strip: insufficient housing, damaged infrastructure, limited access to clean water and the discharge of raw sewage into the sea. 

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.

MIDDLE EAST: Swine flu cases on the rise
DUBAI Thursday, June 25, 2009 (IRIN) - The number of cases of the A(H1N1) virus, otherwise known as swine flu, is growing in the Middle East, with many new suspected and confirmed cases in the past few days, but so far no one has died of the disease.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: When Drones Become Indiscriminate 
JERUSALEM, Jun 30 (IPS) - The concerted effort of international human rights activists to rein in violations of laws of war was given a major impetus when Human Rights Watch researchers presented a report Tuesday on the unbridled use by the Israeli military of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCLAV), commonly...

US-IRAQ: Troops Leave Cities, as Questions Remain 
WASHINGTON, Jun 30 (IPS) - U.S. combat troops pulled out of most Iraqi cities Monday, a day before the Jun. 30 deadline for their withdrawal in accordance with the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) ratified by the Iraqi parliament in November 2008.

MIDEAST: Not Correct Soccer, But Better 
SAKHNIN, Israel, Jun 30 (IPS) - In this Arab town in northern Israel, Michael Zantovsky, the Czech Republic ambassador, is throwing an end-of-term party, an event markedly different from customary diplomatic bashes.

MIDEAST: Lest We Don't Forget 
GAZA CITY, Jun 29 (IPS) - They are little white, yellow or green pills and are available almost anywhere. At the pharmacies or in the market, they are accessible, addictive and cheap.

Stop The Wall

Massive Bil'in raids aimed at breaking protest
30 Jun 2009 - Over the past several weeks, the village of Bil'in has been targeted by near-nightly raids. Occupation forces have abducted children and threatened activists in the most systematic campaign of arrests against the village in some time. A total of eight people, most of them youth, have been kidnapped since these raids began. [

Settlers bulldoze 40 dunums in Nahalin
30 Jun 2009 - Last Monday settlers, under the protection of Occupation forces, bulldozed 40 dunums of land belonging to the village of Nahalin, west of Bethlehem. Villagers had planted olives, grapevines, fig and other fruit trees on the land, which is a source of livelihood for many families in this village of over 10,000 people. [

PCHR Latest

(30 June)  PCHR will Appeal to Supreme Court against Spanish Appeals Court’s Decision
PCHR

(30 June)  PCHR Calls for an end to political arrests and for measures to ensure the success of unity dialogue ..::..
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

A fierce attack on the village of Bil’in
International Solidarity Movement - At around 4am soldiers from the Israeli military stormed the village of Bil'in by foot. They abducted Suleiman Sif, aged 16 years, from his home and dragged him to an unknown destination. This raid is part of a broad campaign over the last two weeks by the army to strike terror into the villagers of Bil'in. It is meant to stop the people from continuing their peaceful, non violent resistance at a time when a major court case against nearby settlement builders is pending in Canada. It is yet another case of collective punishment by the Israeli government which fears that the resistance in Bil'in is achieving results. Updated on June 30, 2009 [end] 

UN assesses trauma of Gaza conflict
International Solidarity Movement - Al Jazeera, 29 June 2009 - A UN human rights mission on the Gaza conflict is hearing from a range of experts on the social and the psychological effect of Israel's 22-day war on Gaza. On the second of the two-day inquiry on Monday, a child psychologist told the panel that an estimated 20 per cent of children in Gaza suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of witnessing violence. Dr Iyad Sarraj said: "The amount of killing and blood that they have seen or that their relatives have suffered from … is a huge amount, and this leads to negative psychological feelings, to radicalism and a cycle of violence. " Lost livelihoods - Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros in Gaza, where more than half of the population of 1. 5 million people is under 18-years of age, said Sarraj told the panel that six months after the war the trauma is still present among children. 

Israel demolishes Palestinian house on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives
International Solidarity Movement - Ma'an News, 30 June 2009 - Two women were hospitalized after Israel's Jerusalem Municipality demolished a house on the Mount of Olives in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday morning. During the demolition Israeli police clashed with inhabitants of the house, bruising nine of them. The destruction came a day after the municipality declared that it would freeze 70% of demolition orders. Owner of the house Samir Jum'a said the home was 150 square meters in size and housed 15 people. Israeli police who came to protect bulldozers during the demolition attacked the family and as a result nine people, including four women, were bruised, Jum'a said. Two women were evacuated to the nearby Al-Maqasid Hospital. The injured family members were identified as 61-year-old Jamila Abu Jum'a, 65-year-old Huda Abu Jum'a, 38-year-old Ikhlas Abu Jum'a, 29-year-old Rwan Abu Jum'a, 27-year-old. . . 

YNet News: ‘Palestinians: IDF sanctions land theft’
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 30 June 2009 - Two residents of the West Bank Palestinian village of Qadum filed a High Court petition against the Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday asking that it overturn a military appellate board decision and order a Kedumim settler who they claim invaded their land to return it to them. The petition was filed with the assistance of the Yesh Din human rights organization. According to the brief, the two realized the settler invaded their property in May 2007, fencing off some of their agricultural land as his own, planting hundreds of plants and setting up irrigation devices. In letter to defense administration heads Yesh Din reports of alarming increase in number of attempts to uproot or damage Palestinian farmers' trees as part of settlers' efforts to ‘achieve political goals through terrorists acts'In August 2007, the Civil Administration issued an. . . 

Israeli Navy takes control of aid boat headed for Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 30 June 2009 - At around noon Tuesday the Israeli Navy intercepted and took control of a boat that had set sail for the Gaza Strip with three tons of medical supplies, Palestinian sources said, adding that the Navy jammed the boat's radio signals. The IDF Spokesperson's Office confirmed the report. Israeli military sources said there was no violence after the small ferry, sailing from Cyprus with activists from the US-based Free Gaza Movement, was intercepted off Gaza. Earlier Tuesday, "Free Gaza" founder Greta Berlin told Ynet that at around 11:00 am six Navy vessels approached the boat and ordered it to stop some 50 kilometers off Gaza's coastline. Despite the order, the boat continued to sail towards the Hamas-ruled territory, said Berlin, who is currently in Cyprus. Berlin said that the communication with the boat had been disrupted from 1:40-6:00 am, adding. . . 

Israeli navy arrests passengers on Free Gaza Movement boat
International Solidarity Movement - Free Gaza Movement, 30 June 2009 - [23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] – Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U. S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel. "This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U. S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. 

Inhumane treatment of Palestinian prisoner
International Solidarity Movement - The 23 year old Palestinian women, Somod from Nablus, was recently released after having been imprisoned in Israel for four and a half years. Despite her young age, she suffered from inhumane treatment such as rape-threats, isolation, and denial of access to basic sanitation facilities. She went to court as many as 18 times before she was released. The treatment in jail - Regardless of any crime that Somod might have been accused of, the treatment that she faced in the Israeli prisons cannot be legitimated. "In jail they beat me badly, and I suffered under inhumane interrogation techniques. They threatened me by saying that they would ‘make me a woman' if I refused to give them information. It was horrible. I was sent to many different places for interrogation, in many different prisons. Many times they did not even tell me where I was, or where I was going. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

'Settlement freeze could lead to normalization with Arabs'
30 Jun 2009 - Normalization with Arab countries cannot take place without a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process told Haaretz on Tuesday in an exclusive interview. ... 

Editorial / Sarkozy is right - Lieberman must go
30 Jun 2009 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy's request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he replace Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman exposes a sad truth: At present Israel does not have a functioning foreign minister. The international community refuses to speak to a politician who is considered racist in the wake of the campaign conducted by his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, against Arab citizens during the recent Knesset election campaign. There is not and cannot be any other way to interpret Sarkozy's comparison between Lieberman and far-right French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen. ... 

Arab world bloggers fear their leaders more than Israel
30 Jun 2009 - Ordinarily, we in Israel examine the Arab world from the political and ...

Was Michael Jackson a friend of the Jews?
30 Jun 2009 - Pop legend Michael Jackson's life was full of contradictions, and his relationship to Jews and the Jewish community was no exception. ...

Israel, U.S. inch toward deal on settlements
30 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell will meet in two weeks to reach a final agreement on settlement construction in the West Bank. ...

The Guardian

The settlement freeze fraud | Richard Silverstein
30 Jun 2009 - The Obama administration should make it clear that Israel's new settlement expansion proposal is unacceptable Ehud Barak arrives in Washington bearing a new Israeli proposal to bridge the differences over a settlement freeze that have arisen...

Israeli peace activist faces jail over homes demolition protest
30 Jun 2009 - Ezra Nawi expects sentence of up to 18 months for resisting 'dehumanisation' of Palestinians A prominent Israeli peace activist is expected to be sentenced to several months in jail tomorrow in a high-profile prosecution which began...

Israel expected to propose a temporary and partial freeze on the construction of new homes in the West Bank
29 Jun 2009 - • Plan falls short of Obama's demands • Ehud Barak admits to authorising new construction • Israeli defence minister to meet Obama's special envoy Israel has despatched its defence minister, Ehud Barak, to the US as...

The settlers defying Obama | Seth Freedman
29 Jun 2009 - Despite Obama's anti-settlement stance, the West Bank settlers' determination to go on with their land-grabs is palpable At first glance, the dusty dunes of the South Hebron hills appear splendidly frozen in time. Small encampments of...

Ha'aretz National page

What do Bibi, Tzipi, Buji and Arik have in common?
30 Jun 2009 - What do the names Roni, Tzipi, Yuli, Buji, Avi, Rafi and Ami have in common? No, they're not characters in a children's book. They're nicknames for ministers in the previous cabinet. Their parents named them Aharon, Tzipora, Yael, Isaac, Abraham, Raphael and Amichai, but their nicknames are so familiar that no one uses their given names, sometimes even in official documents. ... 

Jews and Muslims unite against Museum of Tolerance
30 Jun 2009 - A new Jewish-Muslim initiative is seeking to derail the planned Museum of Tolerance, which is currently being built in Jerusalem on the site of a former Muslim cemetery. ... 

Haaretz Group launches international travel guide for Israelis
29 Jun 2009 - The Haaretz Group unveiled on Tuesday a guide to international travel, which tells Israelis everything they want to know for trips abroad. ...

Knesset legal adviser accuses Rivlin of personal attack
29 Jun 2009 - Knesset legal adviser Nurit Elstein on Tuesday accused Knesset Chairman Reuven Rivlin of personally attacking her in a dispute over public expenditure. ...

IN PICTURES / Gay Pride, Israel and worldwide
29 Jun 2009 - The summer months are traditionally the season for Gay Pride parades around the world, with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender groups organizing flamboyant and colorful parades through city streets. Here is a look at some of the events of 2009. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Fatah, Hamas to miss unity deadline set by Cairo
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Israeli navy boards activist ship to Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: UN Human Rights mission collects gruesome testimonies from Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestine Monitor

OPT: Finding new life through wood carving in Bethlehem
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Mennonite Central Committee

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 262, 22 - 28 Jun 2009
30 Jun 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

Palestinian "survivors" in no-man's land
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

France unblocks €10 million in food aid (June 26, 2009)
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Government of France

OPT: Israel intercepts Gaza aid boat-activists
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

YNet News

Barak, Mitchell remain disputed on settlements 
30 Jun 2009 - After long meeting in Washington between defense minister, US Mideast envoy, two fail to agree on settlement freeze. Issue to be debated again when Mitchell meets PM Netanyahu in two weeks' time 

Israel to deport peace activists sailing to Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - After aid boat from Cyprus en route to Gaza Strip intercepted by Israeli Navy, 21 peace activist passengers will be deported in coming days 

UK deplores Israeli decision to allow new settler homes 
30 Jun 2009 - British foreign secretary tells parliament, 'Settlements are illegal under international law and they are a major blockage to peace in the Middle East on the basis of a two-state solution' 

Testimony: Olmert's bureau chief listened in on his phone calls
30 Jun 2009 - Secretary at former PM's office tells police Shula Zaken used to eavesdrop on Olmert's calls with senior state officials

UN probe in Gaza: Especially painful testimonies
30 Jun 2009 - Richard Goldstone and UN delegates hear testimonies of Gaza Strip residents as part of UN Human Rights Council's investigation of Operation Cast Lead. According to Goldstone, goal of hearing is to bring story of victims to world

Barak tells Mitchell Israel ready to help peace efforts 
30 Jun 2009 - Defense minister meets US special envoy to Middle East in Washington to discuss settlement freeze, Obama's regional peace plan. Barak says meeting was good, although there are still differences with administration

Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs resigns 
30 Jun 2009 - Hatem Abdel-Qader blamed Palestinian government of neglecting city, failing to uphold its commitments to residents 

B'tselem

New report: Foul Play
27 Jun 2009 - In its new report B'Tselem warns about the danger inherent in neglecting wastewater treatment in the West Bank. The report criticizes both Israel and the Palestinian Authority for their failures, which have harmed the health and future water supply of all

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

Daily Star

Ahmadinejad calls his election victory defeat for Iran foes 
30 Jun 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday hailed his disputed re-election as a victory for the Iranian people and a defeat for the Islamic Republic's enemies. The June 12 poll sparked Iran's most vigorous internal unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but hardliners have regained the upper hand in Iran, whose nuclear program has alarmed the West.

Spanish court ends probe into Israel's Gaza assault 
30 Jun 2009 - A Spanish court on Tuesday shelved a judge's investigation of an Israeli air force bombing in Gaza in 2002 that killed a suspected Hamas fighter and 14 civilians, siding with prosecutors who said Spain lacks jurisdiction. A panel of 18 judges at the National Court decided by a wide majority to support prosecutors who opposed.

Israeli navy commandeers Gaza humanitarian aid boat 
30 Jun 2009 - The Israeli navy intercepted and boarded a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in defiance of an Israeli blockade. "No shots were fired during the boarding of the boat," the Israeli military said in a statement, adding the vessel was being taken to the Israeli Mediterranean port of Ashdod.

Rights group accuses Israel over drones that killed 29 in Gaza war 
30 Jun 2009 - Missile-firing Israeli drones unlawfully killed at least 29 Palestinian civilians during the Gaza Strip war, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. Despite having advanced surveillance equipment, drone operators failed to exercise proper caution "as required by the laws of war" in verifying their targets were combatants.

Palestinian Information Center

Int’l Palestinian campaign slams Israel for hijacking spirit of humanity boat
30 Jun 2009 - The international Palestinian campaign against the siege on Tuesday strongly denounced the IOF troops for attacking the spirit of humanity boat and towing it to an Israeli port.

Speaker Dweik meets with Abbas to discus Palestinian files
30 Jun 2009 - Dr. Aziz Dweik held Tuesday a meeting with ex-PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during which they explored ways of re-activating the PLC’s work and discussed the national reconciliation file.

Abu Zuhri: Joint drafting committee to lay down basis for agreement
30 Jun 2009 - A joint drafting committee grouping representatives of Hamas and Fatah movements is to meet on Tuesday to lay down a draft agreement on ending political detention.

Hamas: PA claims about intentions to target its leaders are pure fabrications
30 Jun 2009 - The Hamas Movement said Monday that the PA leadership’s allegations about the intention of Hamas elements to target Fatah leaders in the West Bank are pure fabrications and media heresy against it.

IOA extends administrative detention of Nablus municipality member
30 Jun 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority on Tuesday extended the administrative detention, without charge or trial, of Dr. Majeda Fidda for the third consecutive time.

Khudari appeals for saving Free Gaza activists from Israeli harassment
30 Jun 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari issued an urgent appeal to the international community to hasten to save human rights activists traveling aboard the "spirit of humanity" boat from Israeli threats.

Nazzal to speak out on latest hot Palestinian topics
30 Jun 2009 - The Aqsa satellite TV station on Wednesday is to host Mohammed Nazzal, political bureau member of Hamas Movement, to speak about a number of hot issues in the Palestinian arena.

Radwan warns of Israeli infiltration into Arab, Islamic countries
30 Jun 2009 - Ismail Radwan, a leading political figure in Hamas Movement, has warned of the Israeli attempts to expand its normalization of relations with Arab and Islamic countries.

Red Cross: 1.5 million Gazans are still unable to rebuild their lives
30 Jun 2009 - The Red Cross reported that six months after the Israeli war 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza are still living in poverty, despair and unable to rebuild their lives and reconstruct their homes.

Jewish settlers burn Palestinian crops
30 Jun 2009 - Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian homes in Assira Qabalia village, south of Nablus city, and set fire to their crops on Monday night, local sources reported.

Los Angeles Times

Iran council certifies election result 
30 Jun 2009 - The Guardian Council, after a recount of 10% of the vote, deems President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection valid. Contender Mir-Hossein Mousavi's supporters vow to continue struggle. Reporting from Tehran and Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- After quickly finishing a partial vote count it said confirmed the initial tally of ballots, Iran's Guardian Council on Monday pronounced as valid President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's June 12 reelection, which opponents say was marred by massive vote fraud. 

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner orders insurers to reveal Iran investments 
30 Jun 2009 - Poizner says he wants to identify whether any insurance company doing business in the state is funneling money into a nation 'that poses a serious national security threat.' State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner thrust California further into foreign policy areas usually left to Washington by ordering insurance companies to tell him whether they've invested money in Iran, a nation identified by the U.S. government as a sponsor of state terrorism. 

U.N. fact-finding commission faces skepticism in Gaza 
29 Jun 2009 - The panel opens a hearing on allegations of war crimes during Israel's winter assault on the Gaza Strip. Israel refuses to participate, and many Palestinians have doubts. A novel approach toward injecting international justice into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict got underway Sunday in this embattled enclave, but it left neither side particularly satisfied. 

New York Times

Report Criticizes Israeli Drone Strikes
30 Jun 2009 - A report released by Human Rights Watch questions whether Israeli forces had taken “all feasible precautions” to avoid civilian casualties in strikes by drones in Gaza. 

Sarkozy Comments on Israeli Minister Make Waves
30 Jun 2009 - The French president Nicolas Sarkozy in private meetings last week called for the replacement of Israel’s ultra-nationalist foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. 

Iran Council Certifies Ahmadinejad Victory
29 Jun 2009 - The unexpectedly rapid decision by the Guardian Council set off angry screaming in Tehran. 

Misc

Sarkozy Presses Netanyahu to Oust Lieberman 
Antiwar.com - Antiwar. com, June 29 - Israeli Foreign Minister Condemns "Intolerable Intervention in Internal Israeli Affairs" - The Israeli Foreign Ministry publicly condemned the French government for “intolerable intervention in internal Israeli affairs” today, after it was reported that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to oust Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and replace him with opposition leader Tzipi Livni. French media outlets reported that Sarkozy said he wanted to schedule talks with Israel’s top envoys during visits of Paris but was uncomfortable with scheduling such a meeting with the hawkish Lieberman, urging Netanyahu to “fire” Lieberman and bring Livni’s Kadima Party into the coalition. Netanyahu reportedly told Sarkozy that Lieberman was a much nicer person in private than his public persona would suggest, to which Sarkozy retorted 

Israel Attacks Gaza Aid Ship; former US Congresswoman Kidnapped 
Charting Stocks - Charting Stocks, June 30 - A humanitarian aid ship which set sail for the Gaza strip has been seized by occupying Israeli forces today. The Israeli military abducted 21 human rights workers from 11 countries including former U. S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Noble laureate Mairead Maguire. The passengers and crew, though traveling in international waters, were forcibly dragged toward Israel. Members of the crew are being detained. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was planning to free the crew and passengers. “Nobody wants to keep them here,” he said. “They will be released as soon as they are checked. ” From the FreeGaza press release: “This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U. 

At least 29 killed unlawfully by Israeli drones in Gaza, report says 
Times of London - The Times, June 30, 2009 - At least 29 Palestinian civilians were unlawfully killed by missile-firing Israeli drones during its offensive in the Gaza Strip, a US human rights group said. A report by Human Rights Watch, published six months after the operation, said that Israel had failed to exercise proper caution “as required by the laws of war” in their use of drones. Mrac Galasco, a senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch, said that although 29 cases had been highlighted in the report, as many as 87 civilians could have been killed in drone attacks. " It is absolutely unacceptable, clearly unlawful, and not what we expect from the world's most moral military," he said. Israel heavily relies on a fleet of drones — unmanned aerial vehicles — to patrol the Gaza Strip. Their technology is among the most sophisticated in the world, Mr Garlasco said, so it was all the more surprising that so many civilians could have been targeted. 

FEMA Administrator Fugate Meets Top Israeli Official To Discuss Emergency Management Issues
FEMA - FEMA, June 30 - WASHINGTON, D. C. -- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate met today with Maj. Gen. Yair Golan of the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command (IDF/HFC), continuing to foster a working relationship with Israel and bolstering the exchange of information on common emergency management practices. Administrator Fugate and Maj. General Golan will serve as co-chairs of an emergency management work group designed to discuss problems and issues and to exchange information on a variety of topics such as long-term community recovery, exercise programs, policies and procedures. " I look forward to working with my Israeli counterpart as co-chair of an emergency management work group to improve emergency management practices in both countries," said Fugate. "These partnerships are critical in ensuring that we are incorporating best practices and also working towards greater public preparedness. " 

Israel attempts to stop S-300 air defense supplies to Iran 
RIA Novosti - MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Israel has intensified its efforts to prevent deliveries of Russian S-300 air defense systems to Iran under a 2007 contract, an Israeli newspaper said on Monday. According to the Haaretz daily, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and asked him to prevent the arms deal from going through. " Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met a week ago at the Paris Airshow with Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and reportedly "asked that he also intervene to prevent the arms sale. " Israel and the U. S. insist that the delivery of advanced air defense systems to Iran would undermine the military balance in the region, and Russia has until recently delayed the implementation of the deal. Although Russian sources said in March that Iran had not yet received any S-300 air defense systems 

Israeli defense minister, US envoy meet in New York 
The Raw Story - The Raw Story, June 30 - US envoy George Mitchell held low-key talks here Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as Washington seeks to breathe new life into the ailing Middle East peace talks. The meeting began around 1205 GMT at the Hotel Intercontinental in Manhattan, and kicked off with a photo call for news photographers. But the two men refused to answer any questions, except when Barak was asked if he was optimistic about the talks as he was smiling. " It means a smile doesn't cost too much," Barak shot back. "We are naturally positive, every day. " Ties between Israel and its major ally the United States have strained in recent weeks over the US administration's insistence that the Jewish state must halt settlement building in the West Bank. On Monday the State Department said it was not ruling out the possibility of a compromise with Israel on a settlement freeze, amid 


Articles

Israel’s Man of Conscience 
Ezra Nawi, The Nation 6/29/2009
      My name is Ezra Nawi. I am a Jewish citizen of Israel.
     I will be sentenced on the first of July after being found guilty of assaulting two police officers in 2007 while struggling against the demolition of a Palestinian house in Um El Hir, located in the southern part of the West Bank.
     Of course the policemen who accused me of assaulting them are lying. Indeed, lying has become common within the Israeli police force, military and among the Jewish settlers.
     After close to 140,000 letters were sent to Israeli officials in support of my activities in the occupied West Bank, the Ministry of Justice responded that I "provoke local residents."
     This response reflects the culture of deceit that has taken over all official discourse relating to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
     After all, was I the one who poisoned and destroyed Palestinian water wells?
     Was I the one who beat young Palestinian children?
     Did I hit the elderly?
     Did I poison the Palestinian residents’ sheep?
     Did I demolish homes and destroy tractors?
     Did I block roads and restrict movement?
     Was I the one who prevented people from connecting their homes to running water and electricity?....

Israel’s settlements are on shaky ground 
Sarah Leah Whitson, Los Angeles Times 6/28/2009
      International law mandates that they must be removed and that the Palestinians should be compensated for their losses.
     The debate over Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is often framed in terms of whether they should be "frozen" or allowed to grow "naturally." But that is akin to asking whether a thief should be allowed merely to keep his ill-gotten gains or steal some more. It misses the most fundamental point: Under international law, all settlements on occupied territory are unlawful. And there is only one remedy: Israel should dismantle them, relocate the settlers within its recognized 1967 borders and compensate Palestinians for the losses the settlements have caused.
     Removing the settlements is mandated by the laws of the Geneva Convention, which state that military occupations are to be a temporary state of affairs and prohibit occupying powers from moving their populations into conquered territory. The intent is to foreclose an occupying power from later citing its population as "facts on the ground" to claim the territory, something Israel has done in East Jerusalem and appears to want to do with much of the West Bank.
     The legal principles were reaffirmed in 2004 by the International Court of Justice, which cited a U.N. Security Council statement that the settlements were "a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention." The International Committee of the Red Cross and an overwhelming number of institutions concerned with the enforcement of international humanitarian law have concurred in that view.


Electronic Intifada
Israeli gunboats seize Gaza aid ship
30 Jun 2009 - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the Spirit of Humanity, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel. 

"Embers and Ashes:" An intellectual's exile, struggle and success 
30 Jun 2009 - In his autobiography, Embers and Ashes: Memoirs of an Arab Intellectual, the late Hisham Sharabi transports the reader seamlessly from his early life in Palestine, where he was born in 1927, to his studies at the American University of Beirut, and finally his own American experience and life as a university professor at Georgetown. While it occasionally lacks cohesion, the book is unmistakably personal and insightful. Atef Alshaer reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

Israeli doctors colluding in torture of Palestinian detainees
30 Jun 2009 - Israel's watchdog body on medical ethics has failed to investigate evidence that doctors working in detention facilities are turning a blind eye to cases of torture, according to Israeli human rights groups. The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has ignored repeated requests to examine such evidence, the rights groups say, even though it has been presented with examples of Israeli doctors who have broken their legal and ethical duty towards Palestinians in their care. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Casualties rising in Gaza's "buffer zone"
30 Jun 2009 - This is not an unusual situation in Gaza, where Israel has repeatedly used the dart bombs. Due to their design, flechettes dig deeply into their target -- flesh, cement and metal alike -- with their "tails" frequently breaking off, leaving multiple injuries and rendering them nearly impossible to extract without inflicting more injury in the surgical search. In most cases, doctors opt against surgery, leaving the darts inside the victim's body. Eva Bartlett reports from the Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza
“They’re about to come on board, they’re about to come on board”: Israeli navy kidnaps humanitarian and solidarity workers en route to Gaza. Again.
30 Jun 2009 - The sea provides no relief today. I sit on a tattered plastic chair at the seaside, close enough that the waves’ mist brushes my face. But there’s no relishing this water. I’m acutely aware of the sewage and pollution in it, and shudder at the sight of kids diving in headfirst. There’s no other option for them, and perhaps luckily for them they don’t know what diseases they will quite possibly contract. Out of school and with little else but kites to amuse them, the sea is one of the blessings of Gaza. But it’s not just the kids exposed to these waters the sea today. Families, women in long...

Palestine Chronicle
Israeli Doctors Colluding in Torture
30 Jun 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Israel's watchdog body on medical ethics has failed to investigate evidence that doctors working in detention facilities are turning a blind eye to cases of torture, according to Israeli human rights groups. The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has ignored repeated requests to examine such evidence, the rights groups say, even though it has been presented with examples of Israeli doctors who have broken their legal and ethical duty towards Palestinians in their care. The accusations will add fuel to a campaign backed by hundreds of doctors from around the world to force Yoram Blachar, who heads the IMA, to step down from his recent appointment as president of the World Medical Association (WMA). More than 700 doctors have signed a petition arguing that Dr Blachar has disqualified himself from leadership of the WMA, the profession’s governing ethical body, by effectively condoning torture in Israel. The campaign against Dr Blachar has gained ground rapidly since his appointment as president in November. Critics said his alleged complicity in the use of torture in Israeli detention facilities can be traced to 1995, when he became chairman of the IMA. Until 1999, when Israel’s Supreme Court restricted torture, Israeli doctors routinely supervised the medical treatment of abused detainees, mostly Palestinians from the occupied territories. During that period Dr Blachar surprised many colleagues by expressing support for Israeli interrogators’ use of “moderate physical pressure” in a letter to The Lancet, the British medical journal. The phrase covers a wide range...

A United Opposition: Hezbollah after the Elections
30 Jun 2009 - By Franklin Lamb – Dahiyeh, Lebanon While on the surface the pro-US team here did preserve its 'majority', the Hezbollah led opposition actually won the election by nearly ten percent of the popular vote. Of approximately 1,495,000 votes cast on June 7, 815,000 voted for the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah while 680,000 voted for the March 14 government parties. As Lebanon’s new Prime Minister, Saad Hariri labors to put together a coalition Cabinet, Hezbollah is currently stronger politically in Lebanon than it has ever been. The Party can largely determine the construction of the next Lebanese government and insist on key cabinet posts going to its allies, as it prefers keep a low profile and influence policy through quiet consultation rather than threats and muscle flexing. As one Hezbollah friend explained, “If Hezbollah has just one member sitting in Parliament, the Majority understands that the whole Resistance is there. We don’t need to be flashy, rather we need to collaborate and make this new government work. Our supporters are demanding this.” Post election popular support for Hezbollah appears to have increased due to its post-election sportsmanlike acceptance of the results and its conduct ad efforts at accommodation with its political adversaries despite ongoing misgivings about the “US Team.” This stance is illustrated by a Hezbollah joke that is currently bouncing around Dahiyeh, a major Resistance area where there is not massive support for the US March 14 team. A Hezbollah member writes to Ayatollah Ali Khameini, Iran’s Supreme...

Demonizing Iranian Democracy
30 Jun 2009 - By Dr. Elias Akleh For the last three weeks the Western media had bombarded us with what they called the Iranian stolen election. They allege that the election was fraudulent and that the masses went into the streets of Tehran protesting the results and demanding new election. The Iranian government is described as fascist and oppressive and is responsible for the chaos in the streets. The opposition is described as reformists and democratic, who are peacefully demonstrating in the streets demanding justice and freedom. This brings memories of similar previous Western media campaigns about elections in different countries around the world such as 2004 Georgia’s election, 2002 Venezuela’s election, 1992 Mongolias’s election, 1991 Albania’s election, and 1990 Bulgarian election just to name a few, where elections were described as stolen and the winning parties as oppressive of the, usually pro-American, alleged peaceful demonstrators in the streets demanding freedom and justice. What is worth noting is the fact that none of the entire Western so-called Iran experts, who had strongly claimed that there was an obvious wide scale electoral fraud , had never provided any shred of evidence of such fraud. The lack of any evidence leads one to believe that such fraud accusations are only unsubstantiated accusations based on wishful thinking. They based their evaluation on what they claim the highly unlikely statistical probability that Ahmadinejad would have surpassed his opponents with almost 11 million votes (32%) margin. They denied the possibility of Ahmadinejad’s wide popularity and successful campaigning. Many had...

The Devil is in the Details
29 Jun 2009 - By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem Israeli political tactics are based on a fundamental premise. Disregard the core and delve into the minutest of details. This way, the basis of any given argument is easily lost in details, a pinch here, a dash there. By the end of the hypothetical argument, you are nowhere near your original goal and now, ironically, have ten items more to negotiate than when you first started. This is nothing new. In order to stall a final agreement and permanent solution, Israel creates facts on the ground, which then must be negotiated. While this has probably been Israel's tactic from as early on as the occupation of 1967 (or even earlier), it has become the most apparent since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. By then, of course, the bulk of Israeli settlements had been built on confiscated Palestinian land, thus solidifying the occupation in more ways than one. Since then, any bilateral or multilateral talks between Israel, the Palestinians and the world, have been a flurry of details about issues secondary to the root cause of the problem, which most would agree was the Israeli occupation. Instead, Palestinians (who are partially at fault) found themselves engaged in numbers, kilometers and patches of land for an ostensible "land swap." There has been negotiation upon negotiation over the number of prisoners to be released and the long list of criteria they must meet. We have all heard the numerous and partial proposals for Jerusalem, about...

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