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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
2 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Soldiers break into the Al Aqsa Mosque yard, kidnap three Palestinians
3 Jul 2009 - Local sources in Jerusalem reported on Thursday evening that Israeli soldiers and security men broke into the yard of the Al Aqsa Mosque and Al Marwani prayer area, and kidnapped three residents, including a reporter. 

Army admits Gaza girl was killed Thursday by soldiers' fire
3 Jul 2009 - The Israeli army admitted that the 17-year-old girl who was killed in the Gaza Strip on Thursday died of Israeli military fire, and that eleven other Palestinians were injured in the incident. 

Hamas denies it planned to assassinate P.A figures in the West Bank
3 Jul 2009 - Hamas media spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, denied statements made by president Mahmoud Abbas, in which he accused Hamas of planning to assassinate senior Palestinian Authority (P.A) officials in the West Bank. 

Israeli Army rejects AMNESTY report on Gaza
3 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Army rejected on Thursday a report which was published by the AMNESTY International regarding the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, and said that the report was unbalanced, and wrongly interprets the law of wars. 

Army shell kills a 17-year old young woman, wounds her brother in Gaza
3 Jul 2009 - Palestinian Medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Thursday that a 17-year-old girl was killed, and her 24-year-old brother was injured when the army fired an artillery shell at an area close to Juhr Ed Deek in Central Gaza. 

Free Gaza Movement’s Two Palestinian 48 organizers released from Israeli detention
2 Jul 2009 - Lubna Masarwa and Huwaida Arraf, both organisers of the Free Gaza Movement, have now been released from Ashdod Detention Facility, where military authorities had held them from 9.00 p.m. on 30th June until 1.00 p.m. on 1st July, 2009, having arrested and detained them while in Gazan territorial waters (approx. 20 nautical miles from Gaza Port) at 3.00 p.m. on 30th June. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 11 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, wounded by Israeli forces
2 Jul 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 25 June- 01 July 2009, 5 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were wounded by Israeli forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  6 Palestinian civilians, including a journalist, and an Israeli human rights defender, were wounded when Israeli forces used force against peaceful protest against the Annexation Wall. 

Hamas: PA forces killed three fighters, arrested 474 members of Hamas in the West Bank in June
2 Jul 2009 - The Hamas movement issued a statement on Thursday stating that the Palestinian Authority forces in the West Bank have killed three fighters and arrested 474 Hamas members from deferent parts of the West Bank during the month of June, 

Israeli army invades West Bank cities and breaks its own pledge
2 Jul 2009 - The Israeli army violated its own pledge that it would not invade four cities in the West Bank. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning the army entered two of these cities as well as three others during  incursions of the West Bank. 

Troops kidnap the head of Workers Union in Salfit
2 Jul 2009 - Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Thursday at dawn, Yasser Taha, the head of the Workers Union in the West Bank district of Salfit. 

AMNESTY: Israel carried out indiscriminate attacks during the Gaza war
2 Jul 2009 - AMNESTY International published on Wednesday a 117-page report on the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip, which started December 27, 2008, and stated that Israel breached the laws of war and carried out indiscriminate attacks against the Palestinian people. 

Druze Israeli army officer complains of bad treatment at Eilat airfield
2 Jul 2009 - An Arab Druze officer working with the Israeli occupation army complained Wednesday that he was humiliated by the security personnel at the Eilat airfield in southern Israel. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Palestinians: IDF tank fire kills Gaza teen
2 Jul 2009 - IDF says no tank shells were fired; army sources believe casualties may be result of Palestinian mortar fire. 

Hamas: Amnesty report accusing us of war crimes is 'unfair'
1 Jul 2009 - Israel also hits back at Amnesty International report accusing Israel, Hamas of war crimes in Gaza. 

FBI: Saddam told us he lied about having nukes to deter Iran
2 Jul 2009 - Iraqi ruler told U.S. captors he wanted to deter Iran, said he personally ordered Scuds against Israel in '91. 

ANALYSIS / Loud-mouthed rabbi reflects IDF's religious bent
1 Jul 2009 - A significant change is occurring within the IDF, and it has not yet been sufficiently analyzed. 

IDF chief rabbi says women shouldn't serve
1 Jul 2009 - Though shared by many Orthodox rabbis, Ronski's view said 'insensitive' when uttered by officer in uniform. 

IDF opens major West Bank checkpoint to Palestinian foot traffic
1 Jul 2009 - Hawara is one of the most heavily-used West Bank checkpoints; IDF to continue to man the roadblock. 

Court: IDF must toughen charges for shooting of bound Palestinian
1 Jul 2009 - High Court: 'Improper conduct' charge not appropriate for shooting of rubber bullet at man in West Bank. 

Ma'an News

De facto government: Rafah to be open three days a month
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - After a handful of successful openings over the past months it appears the Rafah crossing will be opened on a regular basis, a Gazan official announced Thursday. The UN information agency IRIN quoted Ghazi Hamad, the Gaza government's head of borders and crossings, as saying he was told by the Egyptians that from now on Rafah will open three days a month. Hamad also recalled de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s visit to the crossing when it was open on 25, 26 and 27 June, after which he announced his willingness to see the crossing function under the 2005 procedures agreed with the Egyptian authorities, the European Union, and Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard under the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. There was no indication as to whether Egypt has taken up the offer and moved on enacting the security measures proposed under the 2005. . . 

Gaza crossings: One week of supplies equal to daily delivery pre-siege
7/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli crossings authorities will allow 111 truckloads of goods and a limited amount of industrial fuel and cooking gas into the Gaza Strip Thursday, said Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian crossings official. Commercial goods will enter through Kerem Shalom, fuel through Nahal Oz and wheat through Karni. Over the past week Israel maintained its siege on the Strip, allowing only 463 truckloads of goods into the area, home to 1. 5 million Gazans. The six-day total equals the daily amount of goods that was transferred into the Strip before Israel imposed the blockade. Crossings are expected to be partially open Friday and closed Saturday. 27 June - Saturday - Closed, 28 June - Sunday - Two points open, 86 trucks and limited fuel, 29 June - Monday - Three points open, 50 trucks and limited fuel, 30 June - Tuesday - Two points open, 111 trucks and. . . 

Amnesty: Israel killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israel is guilty of committing atrocious war crimes during its operation in the Gaza Strip in December and January, a new Amnesty International report published Thursday found. As UN tribunals and committees continue to work or have their findings summarized and partially released, the Amnesty document is the first comprehensive report on the Israeli war on Gaza, termed Operation Case Lead. "Israel's failure to properly investigate its forces' conduct in Gaza, including war crimes, and its continuing refusal to cooperate with the UN international independent fact-finding mission headed by Richard Goldstone, is evidence of its intention to avoid public scrutiny and accountability," said Donatella Rovera, who headed an Amnesty field research mission to Gaza and southern Israel during and after the conflict. 

Israeli housing minister: Curb Arab population growth
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Atias on Thursday warned against the growth of the country's Palestinian minority, according to news reports. "I see [it] as a national duty to prevent the spread of a population that, to say the least, does not love the state of Israel," Atias said at an Israel Bar Association meeting, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The official, a member of the religious right-wing Shas Party, was warning specifically against Palestinian citizens' presence at a housing community built by Haredi Jews in northern Israel and in what he said should be Jewish-only neighborhoods and cities"[I]f we go on like we have until now, we will lose the Galilee. Populations that should not mix are spreading there. I don't think that it is appropriate [for them] to live together," Haaretz quoted the minister as saying. 

Violating own decree, Israel invades Bethlehem and Qalqiliya
7/2/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Following their announcement pledging to stay out of four city districts of the West Bank, Israeli troops overran two of the cities and three others in raids Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The raids saw the detention of at least six Palestinians from Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Qalqiliya, the latter two cities among the four Israeli officials said would be left completely under Palestinian Authority control except for "exceptional cases. "Several raids were also documented in the northern city of Jenin. According to Israel Radio troops entered the areas in order to detain "wanted" Palestinians. Five were reportedly taken to investigation centers for questioning. Three, detained from Hebron, were identified as Abdel Karim Issa Hassan Musa, 22, Issa Muhammad Issa Hassan Musa, 45, and Jalal Hassan Al-Atrash, 35. 

Soldiers detain head of the Workers Union in Salfit
7/2/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Israeli troops detained the head of the Palestinian Workers Union, Yasser Taha, near Salfit shortly after midnight Friday. Local sources said that the troops overran Taha's house in Biddya village, west of Salfit, at 2am and searched his house before detaining him. Yasser Taha is considered one of the most prominent Fatah leaders in Biddya and has run the Workers Union in Salfit for several years. [end] 

Two Free Gaza members released, others await deportation
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Two of the 21 Free Gaza ship crew members were released without charges Wednesday, both Palestinian citizens of Israel, following interrogation by intelligence officers. Nineteen other crew members, including a former US congresswoman and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, remain in prison cells at Israel’s Ashdod jail facility awaiting deportation. The group was overwhelmed by eight Israeli naval warships as they steered a small ferry carrying reporters and humanitarian supplies toward the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. According to the capturing officers the ship was in violation of the Israeli blockade of the area, which was a closed military area as a consequence. Free Gaza members on the Spirit of Humanity were threatened with live fire on two occasions, they said, and have pledged to continue their efforts to secure the safe release of the 19 remaining imprisoned. . . 

Both Israel and Hamas reject Amnesty’s Gaza findings
7/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The de facto Information Ministry in Gaza on Thursday rejected findings by Amnesty International that Hamas committed war crimes during the Israeli assault last winter. Responding to a report released on Thursday that termed projectile attacks on Israeli targets as unlawful, the ministry said Amnesty was "treating the victim and the perpetrator equally," according to a statement sent to Ma'an. "Ignoring the main reasons behind what is happening is providing a cover for killing and expelling, and justifies the [Gaza] siege, which is in violation of international law," the Hamas-run ministry added. Amnesty's report called Hamas' and other armed groups' attacks during the assault evidence that they had "no qualms about launching attacks against civilians and that they in fact carry out attacks intending to kill and injure israeli civilians. 

Israel’s military backtracks, admits to killing Gaza girl
7/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel's military just after midnight on Friday admitted responsibility for the death of a teenage girl in Gaza. The announcement came following its insistence Thursday that the girl's death was the result of Palestinian friendly fire. The teenager was killed and her brother injured by Israeli shelling in the area, medics had told Ma'an moments after the incident. Shortly thereafter, Israel's military insisted it had nothing to do with the girl's death, according to a spokesperson quoted in Israeli news reports, adding that its soldiers acted appropriately and professionally. Nevertheless, just after midnight on Friday the Israeli news agency Ynet, quoting army officials, reported that a probe into the clash ultimately showed that the 17-year-old Palestinian girl was killed by the country's military. 

Germany’s Merkel: Israel must stop settlement construction
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Germany’s chancellor added her voice to a growing international call to halt settlement construction in a speech Thursday, the AP reported. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the settlement construction is a clear threat to the hope of establishing a two-state solution agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. "I am convinced that there must be a stop to this. Otherwise we will not come to the two-state solution that is urgently needed," she said, according to Reuters. Her voice is thus added to those of French, Italian, British, Australian, Canadian, Czech, and half a dozen other state leaders in addition to US President Barack Obama and scores of calls for a construction halt across the West Bank. "I think it is now important to get commitments from all sides and that includes the issue of settlement building," Merkel added in her speech at Germany's parliament building. 

Fayyad meets Washington officials in push for settlement halt
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was in Washington this week meeting with high-level officials in an effort to push the American administration to act on its request that Israel halt settlement construction. Fayyad met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, National Security Advisor General James Jones, as well as Congressional leaders. His meeting with Clinton focused on the “importance of insisting that Israel implement its obligations, specifically a complete halt to settlement activity and incursions, as outlined in the Road Map,” the Prime Minister’s office in Ramallah said in a statement. Throughout his meetings Fayyad is said to have maintained his position that the halt to settlement construction is a “prelude to a serious and balanced political process which should lead to the end of the Israeli occupation. 

Gazans send a message to Cairo: Unity!
7/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A rally in Gaza City called for unity between rival factions Fatah and Hamas on Wednesday night, a call symbolized in the comic display of two costumed performers engaged in a unity pantomime in Gaza streets. The performers sported caricature masks of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and de facto Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh. According to organizers from the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution the leaders were played by a Hamas and Fatah activist, each donning the face of their rival faction leader. The cartoon-like Abbas and Haniyeh toured Gaza city streets holding hands and embracing, in an effort to send a message to Cairo that Palestinians are ready for an end to division. The scene was the pinnacle of the organized unity carnival, centered in a Gaza City park. 

Hamas denies alleged plot to kill West Bank PA officials
7/2/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas movement on Thursday rejected various media reports that it was planning to assassinate Palestinian Authority figures in the West Bank. Mahmoud Abbas, head the rival Fatah movement and Palestinian president, had earlier claimed that the PA had evidence Hamas was operating a cell in the West Bank intending to assassinate leaders. In a statement to Ma'an, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri categorically rejected the comments and accusations, charging instead that it was the PA that is "torturing our affiliates to get information," describing the West Bank government's tactics as "blackmail and threats. " PA leader Ahmad Abed Ar-Rahman had announced two days earlier that a group of Hamas affiliates had been been arrested while planning to assassinate PA officials. In an interview with a Russian television television station, Abbas commented on. . . 

Poll: Palestinians not optimistic on Obama’s Middle East program
7/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - An American-funded Middle East based research center found general Palestinian interest in the regional visit of US President Barack Obama, but little hope for positive change despite recognition of a progressive tone shift. The Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), funded by the American Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), carried out an opinion poll of 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip between 12-14 June. Results showed at least two-thirds of respondents stated followed the news of Obama’s visit to the region and 62% heard or read the speech the American president delivered on 4 June in Cairo, where he laid out his Middle East agenda. While Obama’s position is seen by many in North America and Europe as a step forward in Middle East policy, a majority of respondents in the AWRAD poll said Obama’s positions represent. . . 

Eleven more H1N1 cases diagnosed in Ramallah
7/2/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Ramallah doctors diagnosed three cases of H1N1 Wednesday night and another eight Thursday morning, bringing West Bank cases up to a staggering 40 for a population of three million. Dr Sa’id Ar-Ramlawi the head of health care at the health ministry said most of the new cases were the result of person-to-person transfer within the West Bank, whereas the initial cases were contracted mostly in the United States and victims were only diagnosed on arrival to Palestine for the summer. He warned families to take precautions, and said more education would be conducted with families of H1N1 victims to mitigate the spread of the virus, more commonly known as Swine Flu. 

Nablus: PWA and EU complete self-contained water network to serve village residents
7/2/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Two northern West Bank towns were connected to new and expanded local water systems, significantly reducing the threat of drought and crop failure with the help of the Palestinian Water Authority and a grant from the EU. The Nablus district towns of Beit Furik and Beit Dajan now offer municipal water services to residents, bringing the total number of West Bank residential areas having independent water services to 180, PWA officials said. The residents used to rely on water being transferred to the town system by Israeli water companies, and service was often interrupted by checkpoint closures. Residents were only allowed ten water tankers per day for all the needs of both towns. The PWA and the Red Cross began talks in 2007 around building a main water line to connect the residents to two water storage wells of 3100 and 3500 cubic meters. 

The National

Israeli settlements: an end to nods and winks?
2 Jul 2009 - The Obama administration is not the first to demand Israel halt its expansion into the West Bank: presidents since Jimmy Carter have been objecting, to varying degrees.

EU considers pulling ambassadors from Iran
2 Jul 2009 - The EU debates a British request to pull ambassadors of all 27 EU nations from Iran in protest over the detention of Iranian staff at the British Embassy in Tehran.

Amnesty says Israel wantonly' destroyed Gaza 
2 Jul 2009 - The rights group says Israel attacks often targeted Palestinians during the offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

The great – disgruntled – chefs of Egypt
1 Jul 2009 - At the old Egyptian Chefs' Club veterans lament the lost art of cooking and remember a time when prestigious families wouldn't eat outside.

A secret meeting with Lebanon's notorious drug war lord
1 Jul 2009 - Nawah Zoitar, who has been on the run from authorities over four months after a series of deadly clashes with authorities, pleads for amnesty.

Lebanon's drug barons vs the law: a battle for survival
1 Jul 2009 - The past year Lebanon has been unusually stable, but there have been a series of killings of drug traffickers linked to the large tribes of upper Beqaa.

Aljazeera

Israel 'wantonly destroyed Gaza'
2 Jul 2009 - Amnesty International report accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

Iran to investigate defiant Mousavi
1 Jul 2009 - Government militia accuses losing candidate of "disturbing the nation's security".

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.

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.

IRIN

OPT: Gaza-Egypt crossing to open three days a month 
GAZA CITY Thursday, July 02, 2009 (IRIN) - Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border opened briefly on 25, 26 and 27 June allowing Gaza patients in need of emergency care, students, and foreign visa holders to exit. 

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. 

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: Future of Fatah in Doubt 
RAMALLAH, Jul 2 (IPS) - The future of Palestinian unity talks is far more complex than the bitter rivalry, bloodshed and division which represent the yawning chasm separating Palestine's two main political factions, Hamas and Fatah.

MIDEAST: Nobel Laureate 'Abducted' by Israeli Navy 
RAMALLAH, Jul 1 (IPS) - Twenty-one international peace activists were seized by Israeli naval frigates in international waters Tuesday as their boat 'The Spirit of Humanity' tried to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza.

MIDEAST: Finding Fish, But Israelis Too 
GAZA CITY, Jul 1 (IPS) - "They told us 'go west or we will shoot you'," says Ashraf Sadallah. "Initially, we refused, so they began shooting very close all around our boat."

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...

Stop The Wall

Ni’lin sends eyewitnesses to UN to testify about Occupation assassination policy
2 Jul 2009 - The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza assault that investigates violations of human rights and international law committed in the context of the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 08/January 2009 will hear as well accounts of the repression meted out in the West Bank during this period. Two people were killed in Ni'lin demonstrating in solidarity with Gaza, and two eyewitnesses are set to testify representatives of the international community.

Arms trade and occupation economics fact sheets
2 Jul 2009 - Two new fact sheets have been released. The first, “The Palestinian economy – Occupation, de-development and normalisation,” gives a concise summary of Stop the Wall's economic analysis, within which we clarify how the dominant approach to investment and development in Palestine serves to strengthen the Wall, checkpoints and military closures, creating “sustainable” ghettos in the West Bank. The second, “Boycott Elbit Systems!” turns the spotlight to Elbit Systems, one of the largest Israeli security and defense firms. ll as security systems for the Wall and settlements. Elbit has major subsidiaries across the globe, and any BDS campaign against arms trade must take the company into account. [

PCHR Latest

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

(30 June)  PCHR Organizes Press Conference for Canadian Author Naomi Klein
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(25 June- 01 July  2008)
During the reporting period, 5 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were wounded by IOF gunfire in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Cynthia McKinney remains imprisoned in Israel after Gaza-bound boat is seized
International Solidarity Movement - Fox News, 2 July 2009 - Former U. S. lawmaker and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and several other human rights activists remained in an Israeli prison Thursday after refusing to sign a deportation form that they claim is self-incriminating. In a press release from the Green Party, McKinney said the form states that the Spirit of Humanity, a Greek-flagged relief boat carrying 21 activists, medical supplies, cement, olive trees and children's toys en route to Gaza, was violating the Israeli blockade and trespassing the country's territorial waters. "We were in international waters on a boat delivering humanitarian aid to people in Gaza when the Israeli Navy ships surrounded us and illegally threatened us, dismantled our navigation equipment, boarded and confiscated the ship," she said in a statement, adding that they were immediately taken into custody. 

Action Alert: protests in front of Israeli embassies tomorrow
International Solidarity Movement - London, 2 July, (ECESG) – The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza (ECESG) called today for international human rights organizations and lobbying groups to organize large protests in front of Israeli embassies across Europe in solidarity with activists of Free Gaza Movement. Activists onboard of the humanitarian boat were kidnapped by Israeli naval forces while they were sailing in a peaceful mission to end the siege. The call aims at creating factual movements on the ground to release "the spirit of humanity" activists. Additionally, head of ECESG, Dr. Arafat Madi contacted EU officials and MPs to urge on moving to release the activists immediately. British Baroness, Jenny Tonge, expressed her deep anger and concerns towards the Israeli doing. She said that, "I shall take up the matter with the Foreign office. 

Oppose the state, not the people
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 2 July 2009 - Ramallah's intellectual elite, foreigners and curious spectators gathered last Saturday at the Friends School in Ramallah to hear writer and political activist Naomi Klein lecture to a packed auditorium. Following a musical interlude by a string quintet, one of whose members is blind, Klein took the stage. She chose to speak – in Ramallah – about her Jewish roots. "There is a debate among Jews – I'm a Jew by the way," she said. The debate boils down to the question: "Never again to everyone, or never again to us? … [Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free card … There is another strain in the Jewish tradition that says, ‘Never again to anyone. '"It seems that during her brief visit, which began last Thursday night, Klein has not rested for a moment. 

Free Gaza Movement’s two Palestinian ‘48 organisers now released from Israeli prison and detention
International Solidarity Movement - 2 July 2009 - Lubna Masarwa and Huwaida Arraf, both organisers of the Free Gaza Movement, have now been released from Ashdod Detention Facility, where military authorities had held them from 9. 00 p. m. on 30th June until 1. 00 p. m. on 1st July, 2009, having arrested and detained them while in Gazan territorial waters (approx. 20 nautical miles from Gaza Port) at 3. 00 p. m. on 30th June. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mairead Maguire have given telephone interviews from their prison cells, where they await deportation. To arrange such interviews, contact Free Gaza Movement (either Greta Berlin or Caoimhe Butterly, at +357 99 081 767), who will also supply current news or information as to the whereabouts of those Free Gaza 21 who are awaiting deportation, or the current status of legal negotiations as to those deportations. 

Detained peace activist: we slept with cockroaches
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 2 July 2009 - An Israeli citizen who was among 21 peace activists apprehended by the IDF en route to the Gaza Strip says she was held under conditions resembling a "horror movie. " Houida Araf, who was released on Wednesday, told Ynet that she and a fellow Israeli peace activist were separated from the group and taken to the Ashdod Port. "They put us in a warehouse, where we slept on a cockroach-infested cement floor, as armed soldiers were monitoring us," she said. "They didn't say a word to us. They confiscated all our personal belongings and phones, and they didn't let us contact anyone. A day later they left us at the Ashdod central bus station without any money or belongings. " "What they did to us is unforgivable, but we're not the story here," Araf said. "The fact they threatened us with violence because we wanted to transfer medical supplies and drawing equipment for children is simply absurd. 

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire speaks from Israeli jail cell after arrest on boat delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - Democracy Now, 2 July 2009 - Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire speaks to us from her jail cell in Israel. She was taken into custody along with twenty others, including former US Congress member Cynthia McKinney, when the Israeli military boarded their ship in international waters as it tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. JUAN GONZALEZ: We begin today with the latest news of the ship that was seized by the Israeli military Tuesday as it tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israeli forces boarded the ship and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The twenty-one activists on board include former Congress member and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and the Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. Huwaida Arraf and Lubna Masarwa were released, while the other nineteen remain in detention. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

UN expert: Israeli seizure of Gaza-bound aid ship is 'criminal'
2 Jul 2009 - A UN human rights investigator on Thursday called Israel's seizure of a ship carrying relief aid for the Gaza Strip "unlawful" and said its blockade of the territory constituted a "continuing crime against humanity". ...

Our character is in our hands
2 Jul 2009 - We can offer several arguments for and against the demand to recognize ...

PA: Arrested Hamas activists planned to assassinate Abbas
2 Jul 2009 - Hamas activists arrested by the Palestinian Authority have admitted to tracking the movements of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to gathering intelligence on his security, PA sources told Haaretz. ...

Jordan's King Abdullah names teenage son as heir
1 Jul 2009 - Jordan's King Abdullah II named his eldest son as heir to the throne Thursday, ending five years of speculation over his successor. ...

Lieberman: Settlements issue blown out of proportion
1 Jul 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday responded to remarks made earlier by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that Israel's construction in West Bank settlements jeopardized the two-state solution, and said that the world has blown the settlements issue entirely out of proportion. ...

The Guardian

In praise of ... Ezra Nawi | Editorial
2 Jul 2009 - He is a rarity, even among that most endangered of species, the Israeli peace activist. Born in Basra to an Iraqi Jewish family, Ezra Nawi lives on the modest wages he earns as a plumber. As...

Obama's hardline stance on settlements could be a game changer for Israel
2 Jul 2009 - Israel is finding a resolve it has not recently encountered in a US administration as the White House refuses to play by the old rules, writes Chris McGreal Barack Obama chose his battleground carefully. Americans may...

Israel's courts are for all Israelis | Seth Freedman
2 Jul 2009 - Objecting to justice being dealt to a lynch mob endangers every member of Israeli society, whether Jewish, Arab or other While Israel's legal system has many flaws when it comes to dispensing justice to Palestinians either...

No change in Jerusalem, yet | Mick Dumper
1 Jul 2009 - The hints of hopeful developments in the Palestinian-Israeli situation have not yet reached the centre of the conflict Something is moving in the Middle East but it has not yet arrived in Jerusalem. A new chess...

Ha'aretz National page

For some Israeli Bedouin, border smuggling is a way of life
2 Jul 2009 - Early one morning A., a resident of one of the unrecognized Bedouin villages in the south realized that his older son was not in his bed. ...

Netanyahu has Israelis' approval after first 100 days
2 Jul 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu's second cabinet will complete its 100th day in power next week, ending what is known as its 'period of grace.' ...

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu acted wisely to preserve coalition
2 Jul 2009 - After 100 days in power, the polarized coalition which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put together seems solid - for now. ...

Summer's here and the gouging is easy
2 Jul 2009 - The pleasure of seeing Paul McCartney perform live in Tel Aviv last September would have set you back NIS 500, and that's just for one ticket. Yet that isn't the end of the cost. Adding a mug of beer to wet your whistle so you can sing along would have cost another NIS 25, for a third of a liter, which is a markup of dozens of percent compared with the local grocery. ...

The High Court as a straw man
2 Jul 2009 - When a thief is needed he is taken down from the hangman's noose; the ...

Relief Web

Palestinian girl killed in Gaza shelling-hospital 
2 Jul 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Activists vow to keep up Gaza trips despite Israel
2 Jul 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT/Gaza: UN Expert denounces seizure of aid boat by Israeli forces
2 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Human Rights Council

Israel/Gaza: Operation 'cast lead': 22 days of death and destruction
2 Jul 2009 - Source: Amnesty

Pandemic (H1N1) 2009: Eastern Mediterranean Region - WHO Information Bulletin 19
2 Jul 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 25 Jun - 01 Jul 2009
2 Jul 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Extra: Amnesty report "unbalanced" and "unprofessional", says Hamas
2 Jul 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

Gaza Strip (as of Jun 2009)
2 Jul 2009 - Source: HRW

YNet News

Palestinian holding toy gun shot at checkpoint
3 Jul 2009 - IDF soldiers at Bekaot checkpoint ask woman to stop after identifying suspicious object in her hand. She does not oblige, is shot and moderately wounded. After incident, clarified that she was holding toy gun

IDF, gunmen clash in Gaza; Palestinian teen killed
2 Jul 2009 - Gaza sources say a teenage girl killed, 11 people wounded by IDF fire during shootout between Israeli troops, gunmen in Strip

IDF assessment changes: Gaza girl killed by army
2 Jul 2009 - Army officials say teenager killed during Thursday's clash between IDF troops, Palestinian gunmen apparently hit by Israeli mortar shells; earlier, IDF said Palestinian fire killed girl 

Gaza: Hamas imposes 'Koran levy' 
2 Jul 2009 - Salaries of public officials in Strip to be cut in effort to reinforce Koran study centers

Lieberman: Settlement issue blown out of proportion 
2 Jul 2009 - Foreign minister slams settlement freeze demand, says Israeli-Palestinian conflict not the gravest global problem

Minister Atias: Stop Arab takeover in north 
2 Jul 2009 - Housing and construction minister expresses concern over expansion of Arab communities in northern Israel, says bringing haredim to area should be national mission

Gaza evacuees move into tents
2 Jul 2009 - Shameful reality: A total of 25 families who chose to evacuate voluntarily during Gaza Strip disengagement still have no home; 'After four years, the bureaucracy defeated us,' says one former Gaza resident

B'tselem

High Court orders harsher indictment in Ni'lin shooting
30 Jun 2009 - In July '08, a soldier shot a handcuffed detainee in the presence of his commander, yet the two were charged only with “unbecoming conduct”. Today, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favor of changing the indictments to reflect the gravity of the 

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

Daily Star

Ayalon says Israel will not halt settlement 
2 Jul 2009 - Israel will not impose a complete halt on settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land as demanded by the United States, a senior official said on Thursday. "Israel will not freeze natural growth and will not suffocate the life of 300,000 Israelis who live in settlements in all legality," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told public radio.

Iran announces more arrests over election unrest 
2 Jul 2009 - Iran on Thursday announced more arrests in the post-election turmoil, detaining seven alleged provocateurs of violence it says were linked to Iranian exiles, while a hardline lawmaker called for legal action against defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. The arrests continue a heavy crackdown that has squashed.

Israel rejects 'unbalanced' Amnesty report on Gaza war 
2 Jul 2009 - Israel on Thursday rejected an Amnesty International report that accused it of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip, and said the human rights group was manipulated by Hamas. "The slant of their report indicates that the organization succumbed to the manipulations of the Hamas terror organization," the Israeli military said in a statement.

Palestinian Information Center

Error in running event chain
3 Jul 2009 - Error occurred while trying to run the event chain.

Los Angeles Times

Iran book publisher recalls weeklong ordeal in prison 
2 Jul 2009 - The man, mistakenly detained, was crammed into a cell with hundreds of others seized in the election unrest. They were threatened by a pistol-wielding young man and interrogated. Some were beaten. The young man waved a pistol at them. 

Iran leader's foes to continue disputing election 
2 Jul 2009 - With President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad set to be sworn in for another term, his reformist opponents appear to have shifted tactics, seeking to tarnish the government's reputation and credibility. Opponents of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went on the offensive Wednesday, proclaiming his government "illegitimate." They vowed to continue disputing his reelection despite a violent crackdown on their protests and dire warnings against challenging the vote. 

Iran's president says enemies' 'soft overthrow' failed 
1 Jul 2009 - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says unspecified foes caused the turmoil in which hundreds of thousands of Iranians protested alleged election fraud. A reformist group calls for an end to demonstrations. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his controversial reelection affirmed by clerical allies a day earlier, on Tuesday hailed his victory as a triumph for the nation as opponents continued to question the legitimacy of the vote. 

New York Times

Britain Asks Allies for Help on Employees Held in Iran
2 Jul 2009 - Britain continued to push other European countries on Thursday to take a tough stance against Iran for detaining at least one employee of the British Embassy in Tehran. 

Activists Held by Israel for Trying to Break Gaza Blockade
2 Jul 2009 - Nineteen foreign activists of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement were being held in Israel awaiting deportation on Thursday, two days after the Israeli Navy seized control of their boat off Gaza. 

Amnesty International Accuses Israel and Hamas of War Crimes in Gaza
2 Jul 2009 - Amnesty International accused both Israel and the militant Hamas movement that controls Gaza of war crimes during the three weeks of fighting earlier this year. 

Misc

Amnesty: Israeli Troops Used Children as Human Shields in Gaza 
Antiwar.com - Antiwar. com, July 01, 2009 - Report Details War Crimes During 22-Day Gaza Offensive - Amnesty International issued a 105-page report today detailing war crimes committed by the Israeli military during its 22-day military offensive against the Gaza Strip. The attack killed over 1,400 Palestinians and wounded 5,000 others. It also destroyed over 3,000 homes. The report found that “much of the destruction was wanton and resulted from direct attacks on civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilian objects. ”Amnesty’s investigation also managed to produce no evidence to support repeated claims from the Israeli military that the Hamas government was using civilians as human shields during the war. On the other hand they did cite an instance in which Israeli troops forced multiple families of civilians, including 

British prisoners report ill treatment in Israeli jail 
Salford Online - Salford Online, 2nd July 2009 - A message smuggled out of the Ramla Givon prison in an email from members of the solidarity boat crew arrested earlier this week has accused the Israeli authorities of maltreatment and keeping them in poor conditions. Amongst those being held is Adie Mormech, 30, from Rusholme in Manchester. 21 solidarity activists on board the FreeGaza boat Spirit of Humanity were taken prisoner by the Israeli navy after they attempted to take humanitarian aid to Gaza from Cyprus on Monday. Their boat was surrounded by 6 Israeli warships and the crew and passengers forcibly removed. Information received by former USCongresswoman Cynthia McKinney suggests that two of the women prisoners have already been released. All of the prisoners have stressed that although their fate has become the subject of an international news story, that of the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails has not been given the same attention. 

Housing Minister: Spread of Arab population must be stopped 
Ha'aretz - Haaretz, 2/07/2009 - Housing Minister Ariel Atias on Thursday warned against the spread of Arab population into various parts of Israel, saying that preventing this phenomenon was no less than a national responsibility. "I see [it] as a national duty to prevent the spread of a population that, to say the least, does not love the state of Israel," Atias told a conference of the Israel Bar Association, which focused on a reforming Israel's Land Administration. The Shas minister referred to Harish, a housing project built for the Haredi community in northern Israel, saying that the Arab population from the nearby Wadi Ara was spreading into the Harish area. Atias went on to address the issue of the Galilee, saying that "if we go on like we have until now, we will lose the Galilee. Populations that should not mix are spreading there. I don't think that it is appropriate [for them] to live together. " 

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire Speaks from Israeli Jail Cell After Arrest on Boat Delivering Humanitarian Aid to Gaza
Democracy Now! - IDemocracy Now!, 7/2/2009 - rish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire speaks to us from her jail cell in Israel. She was taken into custody along with twenty others, including former US Congress member Cynthia McKinney, when the Israeli military boarded their ship in international waters as it tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. [includes rush transcript] - JUAN GONZALEZ: We begin today with the latest news of the ship that was seized by the Israeli military Tuesday as it tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israeli forces boarded the ship and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The twenty-one activists on board include former Congress member and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and the Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. Huwaida Arraf and Lubna Masarwa were released, while the other nineteen remain in detention. 

Activists vow to keep up Gaza trips despite Israel 
Reuters - NICOSIA, July 1 (Reuters) - Pro-Palestinian activists vowed on Wednesday to continue to defy an Israeli navy blockade around Gaza, a day after Israel seized their boat and detained 21 people taking aid to the territory. Israel boarded a small ferry carrying activists to Gaza on Tuesday, intercepting the vessel in Gaza's Israeli-controlled coastal waters. Those detained included an Irish peace laureate, a former member of the U. S. Congress and charity workers from Bahrain. The activists, called the Free Gaza Movement, first started sending aid directly into Gaza in August 2008, but had been intercepted by the Israeli navy on two previous occasions. The group would continue regardless of interceptions, said spokeswoman Greta Berlin. " We are definitely going to go (back) even if we have to paddle across," she told journalists in Cyprus. 

The Illustrated Palestinian Right Of Return 
Desert Peace - July 2, 2009 - The Right To Return Will Never Be Forgotten. . Palestinian Refugees. . Photos taken by Ayman Quader - The following is taken from United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194:Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations. 

Articles

How Israel’s naval blockade denies Gazans food, aid 
Mel Frykberg, Christian Science Monitor 6/30/2009
      RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - Bringing fresh attention to its blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israel on Tuesday turned back a boat attempting to deliver three tons of medical supplies to Gazans.
     After a radio message asking the small ferry to turn back was ignored, the Israeli Navy boarded the boat and redirected the vessel to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Reuters quoted a police source as saying that the activists aboard, members of the US-based Free Gaza movement, would "likely be deported."
     "Yesterday evening the Israeli Navy contacted the boat while at sea clarifying that it would not be permitted to enter Gaza coastal waters because of security risks in the area, and the existing naval blockade," the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that humanitarian aid would be sent to Gaza "subject to authorization."
     The naval blockade – part of a wider Israeli effort to seal off the tiny coastal strip controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas – not only prevents such shipments, it is also devastating a key Gazan industry and source of food: fishing.
     Citing security concerns and fears of arms smuggling, Israel has progressively tightened the blockade over the past 15 years. Once a thriving enterprise, Gaza’s fishing industry is now on the verge of collapse. Fishermen are cut off from the heavily populated shoals, and have seen total revenue drop by half in less than a decade.
     "We are witnessing a huge crisis where the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen, associated laborers, and their dependents have been decimated by Israel’s blockade and closure," says Erminio Sacco of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
     Following the Oslo peace accords, signed in 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel permitted the fishermen to go 20 nautical miles (NM) out to sea.
     This was restricted to 12 NM in 2002, after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000.

Ethnic Cleansing As A State Policy 
Nicola Nasser, CounterCurrents 7/2/2009
      In his speech at Bar Ilan University on June 14, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a new Israeli “peace plan,” with preconditions that a Palestinian negotiator must first meet before he would “promptly” engage in “unconditional” bilateral talks to meet an international consensus demanding the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. His preconditions added to the fourteen conditions the former Israeli government of comatose Ariel Sharon attached to Israel’s adoption in grudge of the 2003 Road Map blueprint for peace with the Palestinian side, on the basis of which the U.S. administration of President Barak Obama and his presidential envoy George Mitchell are now urging an early resumption of “immediate” Israeli – Palestinian peace talks, which Mitchell on June 26 hoped “very much to conclude this phase of the discussions and to be able to move into meaningful and productive negotiations in the near future."
     Sharon’s conditional approval of the Road Map has condemned the blueprint as a non-starter, led to the Israeli military reoccupation of the Palestinian autonomous areas, aborted former U.S. President George W. Bush’s promise to Palestinians to have their own state twice in 2005 and 2008, and doomed the twenty – year peace process since the Madrid conference in 1991 to its current impasse that Obama and Mitchell are trying to break through. It is a forgone conclusion that Netanyahu’s preconditions -- Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” “demilitarization” of the prospective Palestinian less-than-a-sovereign state and preserving Israel’s illegitimate “right” to expand its illegal colonial Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories -- will fare worse than Sharon’s conditions.
     Netanyahu demanded that the “Palestinian population,” and not the Palestinian people -- who live “in Judea and Samaria,” and not in the Israeli – occupied Palestinian territory, where there is an “Israeli presence,” and not an Israeli military occupation -- should first agree to a “public, binding and unequivocal” recognition that Israel is “the nation state of the Jewish people” worldwide, and not the nation state of the Israelis....


Electronic Intifada
Gaza's sea a "no-go zone" for fishermen
2 Jul 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - "They told us 'go west or we will shoot you,'" says Ashraf Sadallah. "Initially, we refused, so they began shooting very close all around our boat." At 6am on 16 June, Sadallah and his brother Abdel Hadi Sadallah, in their early twenties, went roughly 400 meters out to sea off the coast of Sudaniya in Gaza's northwest. "We wanted to bring in nets we had left out the night before," says Sadallah. 

Why Obama should fire General Dayton
2 Jul 2009 - The US-sponsored "security coordination" program headed by Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, which was launched by the Bush Administration in 2005 to allegedly help the Palestinians reform their security services, has done more harm than good. US President Barack Obama would do well to fire Dayton and put an end to US intrusion into internal Palestinian affairs. Mohammed J. Herzallah comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Gaza aid boat crew detained, threatened with deportation
2 Jul 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Twenty-one international peace activists were seized by Israeli naval frigates in international waters Tuesday as their boat The Spirit of Humanity tried to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza. The activists, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Irish Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire, and nationals from 11 other countries were part of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) efforts to break Israel's naval and border blockade of Gaza. 

Newsroom politics dramatized in "Oh Well Never Mind Bye"
2 Jul 2009 - The play Oh Well Never Mind Bye is set in the busy newsroom of an unnamed London-based newspaper -- probably a right-wing tabloid -- in the days before and after London police shot dead a Brazilian immigrant on an underground train. But in a genuinely brave piece of playwriting, Steven Lally has drawn on wider themes, including the "churnalism" that has turned much of the journalistic profession into a regurgitation of celebrity press releases, the way in which Palestine and related issues are reported in the mainstream media and the influence of the Zionist lobby on news coverage. Sarah Irving reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
Israeli naval abductions and shooting at Palestinian fishermen: it’s routine
1 Jul 2009 - *Palestinian fishing boats damaged by Israeli firing attacks. [photo: Emad Badwan ] GAZA CITY, Jul 1 (IPS) – “They told us ‘go west or we will shoot you’,” says Ashraf Sadallah. “Initially, we refused, so they began shooting very close all around our boat.” At 6am on Jun. 16, Sadallah and his brother Abdel Hadi Sadallah, in their early twenties, went roughly 400 metres out to sea off the coast of Sudaniya in Gaza’s northwest. “We wanted to bring in nets we had left out the night before,” says Sadallah. Their small fishing boat, known as a hassaka, was in Palestinian fishing waters when three Israeli navy boats approached the brothers....

Palestine Chronicle
Why Jerusalem? - Israel's Hidden Agenda
2 Jul 2009 - By Dan Lieberman – Jerusalem Three huge granite stones rest comfortably on the top of Midbar Sinai Street, in Givat Havatzim, Jerusalem's northernmost district. Cut to specification, the imposing stones represent one of several preparations by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement’s to erect a Third Temple on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. Since the Islamic Wafq owns and controls all the property on the Haram al-Sharif, by what means can these stones be transferred to the Temple Mount and how can a Temple be constructed there? Not by any legal means. The stones are a provocation, which the Israel government refuses to halt. Neglect and passivity lead to a belief that an eventual Muslim reaction to the increasing provocations will give Israel an excuse to seize total control of the Holy Basin – the ultimate of the properties that Israel intends to incorporate into a greater Jerusalem. For decades, Israeli authorities have spoken of a united Jerusalem - suggesting a spiritual quality to its message – as if Israel wants the home for the three monotheistic faiths to be solid and stable. By being guided from one central authority, a united Jerusalem also offers a preservation of a common and ancient heritage. However, by stressing the word ‘unification,’ Israel disguises the lack of a sufficiently supporting and verifiable historical narrative that could bolster its thrust to incorporate all of an artificially created greater Jerusalem into its boundaries. Coupled with inconsistencies and contradictions, Israel’s eagerness to create a...

Hamas' Political Impasse: Between Principal and Necessity 
2 Jul 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Much can be said to explain, or even justify Hamas' recent political concessions, where its top leaders in Gaza and Damascus agreed in principle with a political settlement on the basis of the two-state solution. On June 25, Damascus-based leader of the Islamic group’s political bureau, Khaled Meshaal reiterated Hamas’ rejection of recognizing Israel as a Jewish State, rightfully dubbing such a designation as “racist, no different from Nazis and other calls denounced by the international community.” However, he did endorse the idea of a two-state solution, which envisages the creation of an independent Palestinian state on roughly 22 percent of the land of historic Palestine. The announcement was hardly earth shattering, for other Hamas leaders have alluded, or straightforwardly agreed to the same notion in the past. But what was in fact altered is the language used by Hamas’ leaders to endorse the illusive and increasingly unfeasible possibility of two states. Meshaal’s language was largely secular, while past Hamas references to the same principle were engulfed in religious idiom. For example, in past years Hamas agreed to a Palestinian state in all of the occupied territories, conditioned on the removal of Jewish settlements, under the provision of a long-term ‘hunda’, or truce. The term ‘hudna’ is loaded with implicit religious inferences, and was used to present Hamas’ political views as both pragmatic, but also based on time-honored Islamic political tradition. Ahmed Yousef, chief advisor to the deposed Hamas government in Gaza alluded to the concept of...

Pro-Israel Lobby Alarmed by Growth of Boycott, Divestment Movement
1 Jul 2009 - By Art Young The movement to call Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people is growing, it is "invading the mainstream discourse, becoming part of the constant and unrelenting drumbeat against Israel." It could eventually threaten the existence of the Jewish state by undermining the support it receives from its strongest backer, the U. S. government. That was the message of alarm delivered by the Executive Director of the American Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Howard Kohr, to the AIPAC Policy Conference on May 3.[i] AIPAC is one of the principal organizations that lobby publicly on behalf of Israel in the United States, where it is an important influence on foreign policy. Among the 6,000 dignitaries who attended its policy conference were more than half of the members of the Senate and a third of the members of the House of Representatives. Featured speakers included Vice President Joe Biden, Senator John Kerry, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli President Shimon Peres. AIPAC and its allies are often alleged to act as a kind of shadow government in Washington, distorting policy in Israel's interest rather than that of the U.S. This stands reality on its head. The pro-Israel lobby carries real weight in the halls of power, but only because the U.S. and Israel share the same fundamental interests. The U.S. relies on Israel to keep the Arab states of the Middle East divided, weak, and under constant threat...

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...

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