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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
6 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israel summons EU ambassador over settlements
7 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Foreign Ministry held a meeting with the EU ambassador demanding an explanation to a statement by the European Commission in which it said that the Israeli settlement policy is strangling the Palestinian economy and forcing the Palestinian aid to depend on foreign aid. 

Fateh accuses Hamas forces of arresting members, leaders in Gaza
7 Jul 2009 - Sources within the Fateh movement accused the Internal Security Forces of Hamas in Gaza of arresting a group of Fateh members and leaders of the movement in Gaza City on Monday. 

Two soldiers accused of raping fellow female soldiers
7 Jul 2009 - Two Israeli soldiers, members of the Givati Brigade, are suspected of drugging and raping two female soldiers. The two soldiers claim that sex was consensual. 

Barak says Israel would dismantle 23 illegal outposts
7 Jul 2009 - During his meeting with the US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, stated that Israel would dismantle 23 illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in the coming weeks or months.  

Two more swine-flu cases diagnosed, 63 total
7 Jul 2009 - An official at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, stated Monday morning that two more Palestinians from Bethlehem were diagnosed with the swine-flu. 

Six 'Free Gaza' human rights activists deported by Israel
6 Jul 2009 - Israel deported six UK citizens on Monday afternoon. The six were part of a group of human rights workers that tried to deliver aid to the sealed off Gaza Strip last week. The six from the UK arrived at Heathrow airport around two o’clock in the afternoon. 

Israeli settlers set on fire Palestinian lands in northern West Bank
6 Jul 2009 - Groups of Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian owned farm lands in northern West Bank, on Monday afternoon. 

The Israeli military destroy five Acers of Palestinian owned lands in southern West Bank
6 Jul 2009 - The Israeli military destroyed, on Monday, five Acers of lands owned by villagers form Al Towani village in the southern West Bank

Qassam Fighter killed during training in Gaza
6 Jul 2009 - A fighter of the Al Qassam brigades the armed wing of the Hamas movement was killed on Monday during training in the Gaza Strip.

Israel allows transfer of 1,000 Kalashnikovs to PA
6 Jul 2009 - A report, published in the Jerusalem Post on Monday declares that Israel’s minister of defense has decided to allow the shipment of 1,000 rifles to the Palestinian Authority. 

First US Convoy of Gaza Aid lands in Egypt
5 Jul 2009 - The 'Viva Palestina' Movement reported Sunday that a plane carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip from US grassroots support groups landed in Egypt after a flight from New York.  The convoy will be heading to the Gaza Strip in two days. 

Israel: 'Saudi Arabia did not authorize us to use its air space'
5 Jul 2009 - The office of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, issued a statement on Sunday morning saying that the report regarding Saudi Arabia allowing Israel to use its air space in case of an attack against Iran, is baseless. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Hamas accuses Fatah of spying for Israel in Gaza
6 Jul 2009 - Ismail Haniyeh tells reporters that several Abbas-backed men arrested for channeling 'false information.' 

Al-Qaida suspected of plotting attack on Israel-Egypt gas lines
6 Jul 2009 - Same cell is believed to be behind a February bomb attack at Cairo's famous Khan el-Khalili market. 

Iran vows 'real and decisive' response if attacked by Israel
6 Jul 2009 - U.S. and Israel are aware of the consequence of an erroneous decision, says Tehran parliament official. 

U.S.: Letting Israel act freely on Iran isn't policy change
5 Jul 2009 - Vice President tells ABC: U.S. won't stop Israeli strike on Iran, regardless of what Obama does. 

Israel won't base submarines in Red Sea, says defense official
5 Jul 2009 - Speculations arose after Israeli Dolphin-class submarine took part in drill of Eilat last week. 

Israel charges Gaza man with plotting mass terror attack
5 Jul 2009 - Militant suspected of obtaining Shin Bet intelligence information, working to create network in Israel. 

Israel denies Saudis gave IDF airspace clearance for Iran strike
4 Jul 2009 - PMO: Report is fundamentally false; Sunday Times: Mossad chief held secret talks with Saudi officials. 

Egypt denies Israeli sub sailed Suez Canal
3 Jul 2009 - Defense sources reported Israeli submarine had sailed Suez in show of strategic reach in the face of Iran. 

Ma'an News

Israeli court convicts two women of attempted murder
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli court in Beersheva on Monday convicted two Palestinian women from Gaza of attempted murder. Israel Radio identified the women as Fatima Al-Zak and her niece Ruwayda Habib, who were found guilty of plotting suicide attacks. Prosecuters alleged the two women illegally entered Israel en route to Ramallah using falsified medical papers. They were arrested at the Erez crossing. Defense lawyers noted that the women had not specifically been accused of hurting anyone, and insisted that they had never planned to carry out the attacks inside Israel. Nevertheless, the court accepted prosecutors' claims that the women had attempted murder, were members of a "terror" organization, reportedly Islamic Jihad, as well as had received "illegal" military training and violated gun laws. 

Settlers set fire to lands south of Nablus
7/6/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A number of Israeli settlers burnt more than 10 donums of land south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Monday, an official said. Palestinian Authority settlers affairs director Ghassan Doughlas told Ma’an that the destroyed lands included olive crops in the Al-Wama'a area of the Iraq Bourin village. The official added that the land belongs to Ibrahim Hamid Hussam Ahid. Doughlas alleged that settlers are planning to take control of the land in the area, which is near the illegal Israeli settlement of Barakah. The PA director called on the United States and European Union to put pressure on the Israeli government to freeze its settlements and stop land confiscation. 

Report: PA to receive shipment of 1,000 Kalashnikovs
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's defense minister has decided to allow the transfer of some 1,000 Kalashnikov rifles from abroad to the Palestinian Authority, according to news reports. The report, which was published in the Jerusalem Post on Monday, comes just hours before a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and US envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell, who supports a strong PA. Commenting on the Post report, PA security spokesperson Adnan Ad-Dimeiri told Ma’an, "I have no idea about this story, and the Israeli press is not our source of information, since it tries to intervene in internal disagreement and stir it up. " The delivery of the automatic weapons was approved weeks ago, the newspaper reported, but was held up for what Israel's military called customary ballistic tests. 

European Commission: Settlements strangling Palestinian economy
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The executive arm of the European Union on Monday sharply rebuked Israeli settlement-building in the occupied West Bank, according to the AP. The European Commission said Israel's policy of refusing to dismantle settlements is strangling the Palestinian economy and forcing the Palestinian Authority to rely on foreign aid. "[I]t is the European taxpayers who pay most of the price of this dependence," including US 280 million dollars so far this year, because settlements prevent the PA from functioning normally, the commission said, according to the AP. Among its complaints included the expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land for illegal West Bank settlements and the existence of a network of roads open only to settlers and Israelis, as well as the hundreds of checkpoints throughout the territory. 

Three of six UK Free Gaza detainees deported
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three of the six UK nationals detained by Israel for attempting to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip will be deported on Monday, according to a statement. The Free Gaza movement said in a statement it had been informed the three nationals"are being put on a flight to London in the morning," due to arrive at Heathrow. The movement added that its officials "are currently unable to make contact with the group, who have been moved to cells at Ben Gurion airport detention center. " Reporters were expected to be waiting for the group when it lands at around 13:30 UK time, Free Gaza said, and announced it would be holding a London news conference later in the afternoon. 

Israel deports six Free Gaza activists to UK
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel on Monday afternoon deported six United Kingdom nationals detained for attempting to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip last week, according to a statement. "Confirmed. Six UK passengers on flight OV315, arriving Heathrow, 14:15 today," the announcement read, while another said a news conference was planned in London. "By tomorrow everyone bar two (whose deportation should happen within the next 2-3 days) will be home," said an earlier Monday statement. "They texted on their way to the airport to send their thanks to everyone who has supported them over the past days. " Free Gaza added that "[f]riends and family of the six are travelling to Heathrow airport to welcome them and to hear for the first time direct accounts of the forcible boarding by Israel" of the ship, which was carrying aid and reconstruction supplies from Cyprus. 

UN’s Goldstone collects evidence from Israeli victims
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli witnesses of the country's assault on Gaza last winter testified before UN human rights investigators on Monday in Geneva. South African Judge Richard Goldstone, a former war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, headed a panel that heard from victims of attacks on southern Israel. At one point, Goldstone comforted a woman who began crying during her testimony while describing injuries all over her body caused by a homemade projectile launched at Ashkelon during the assault, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Goldstone told her there was no need to apologize for breaking down during the investigation and added that his committee sympathized with her pain, calling her story important, the newspaper reported. Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin and a number of other Israeli residents and officials testified. . . 

Five Palestinians, two soldiers injured in car accident
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem/Hebron – Ma’an – Five Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were injured in a car accident near the Al-Hajnouneh military post in southern Hebron Sunday. Palestinian medical sources told Ma’an that Abdullah Ad-Da’ajneh, 40, Mahmoud An-Najjar, 49, Rizeq Ad-Darabee’, 49, and Ahmad An-Najjar, 43 and Azzam Shawabkeh, 44, were all transferred to a hospital for medical treatment, where their conditions were described as stable. Meanwhile, Israeli sources reported that an army major and his deputy were injured presumably in the same incident on Sunday evening when their car collided with a Palestinian vehicle, but reported just four Palestinians were injured. The same sources said that the initial Israeli investigation determined that the Palestinian car violated traffic regulations, struck the Israeli car, and flipped over. 

Allenby Bridge to open late on Monday
7/6/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an – The 7:30am opening of the Allenby Bridge will be delayed to 9:30am Monday for all West Bankers as officials make time for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship to cross the bridge border. There are dozens of busloads of pilgrims destined for Saudi Arabia and the Umrah pilgrimage expected to pass through the border crossing Monday, said the public relations department of the Jericho governorate. Head of the Department Major Iyad Daraghmeh said the move was an exceptional one and opening hours would go back to normal Tuesday. [end] 

Three Gaza crossing points open
7/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel opened three crossing points into the besieged Gaza Strip for limited shipments of goods and fuel Monday, according to a border official. Crossings official Raed Fattouh told Ma'an that the crossings will open for approximately 61 -71 truckloads of supplies for the Kerem Shalom crossing. For Nahal Oz, an unspecified amount of cooking gas and industrial fuel will be allowed through, Fattouh said. Truckloads of wheat and animal feed will be allowed through the Karni crossing, he added. [end] 

Official: Seventh round of Cairo talks won’t be on time
7/6/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - The Egypt-backed Palestinian unity talks scheduled for 25 July likely will not be held as scheduled, according to a senior official within the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Salah Zeidan, a member of the DFLP's politburo, said the seventh round of talks would probably fail, adding that Hamas, Fatah and the public have no confidence that the rounds will create a "viable solution" to the two-year Palestinian rivalry. "What is needed is to direct the dialogue the right way and to return to the composite dialogue," he added, pointing out that politically motivated arrests in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip were derailing the talks. In a strongly worded rebuke, the DFLP official blamed both Fatah and Hamas for the disunity plaguing Palestine since the 2006 elections, when Hamas won a plurality of votes but was boycotted, and eventually seized control of Gaza. 

Hamas: PA forces detained five West Bank members
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Palestinian Authority security forces seized five Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Monday, the movement said in a statement. According to Hamas, PA forces abducted the affiliates in Qalqiliya, Nablus and Tulkarem. Citing privacy concerns, Ma'an was asked not to release the detainees' identities. The PA has repeatedly denied arresting Hamas affiliates for their political views. In a separate statement to Ma’an on Sunday, Hamas said that the detentions took place in Qalqiliya, Tulkarem and Nablus, pointing out that a woman was among those arrested. [end] 

Haniyeh defends ’security cell’ arrests throughout Gaza
7/6/2009 - Gaza – Ma'an – De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Monday said recent detentions in the Gaza Strip against security "cells" were essential and successful. He did not elaborate on exactly when the suspects were arrested, but Fatah had on 26 June released a report on 210 members it said had been arrested by de facto security services in Gaza. Speaking at the graduation ceremony for Qur'an students, Haniyeh alleged that Palestinian Authority and Israeli forces had been obtaining "dangerous and false information" from the so-called cells. He also said his forces would continue its arrest campaign, and "never allow these cells to shake security and steadfastness," adding that the seized men had been receiving salaries from the PA government in Ramallah until the moment they were captured. In response to Haniyeh's speech, PA security forces spokesperson Adnan Ad-Damiry. . . 

Health Ministry: Two new cases of H1N1 diagnosed
7/6/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on Monday that a woman and a child were infected with the H1N1 virus in Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. Director General of the healthcare unit in the ministry Asa’ad Ar-Ramlawi told Ma’an that they were infected by others, bringing the toll to 63. Meanwhile, two more new cases of the H1N1 virus were diagnosed Sunday morning in Bethlehem and Ramallah, again according to the ministry. The victims were identified as a child and an elderly man, said Dr Asad Ramlawi, the director-general of health care at the Palestinian Authority-run ministry. "After special medical exams, an old man was diagnosed in Ramallah and a child in Bethlehem," which is the West Bank city most affected by the virus popularly known as swine flu, he said. Earlier in Nablus, 14 H1N1 cases successfully recovered after treatment from Ministry of Health workers, the office reported Saturday. 

Israel: Egyptians caught with 27 kilograms of heroin
7/6/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli troops said they stopped an attempt to smuggle 27 kilograms of heroin from Egypt on Monday. Border forces arrested two Egyptians and took them for investigation to the southern Israeli city of Dimona, they added. [end] 

The National

Israel strike threat on Iran back on table
6 Jul 2009 - Analysts are divided over whether the recent media noise indicates anything more than political posturing.

Minister calls for housing partition
5 Jul 2009 - Controversial plans to create an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town in the north of Israel are part of a plan to prevent an Arab takeover' of region. 

Saudi air space is not open' for attack on Iran 
5 Jul 2009 - Saudi analysts reject media reports the kingdom has given permission to Israel to use its air space for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Biden: US will not stand in Israel's way on Iran
5 Jul 2009 - The US vice president says America cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do . 

Music event puts global spotlight on Palestinians
4 Jul 2009 - The Palestine International Festival, which is held in venues across the West Bank, has attracted major artists from around the world since it began in 1996.

Settlers slowly kill Bedouin way of life
4 Jul 2009 - Jewish expansion in the West Bank is making it increasingly difficult for shepherds to earn a basic living.

Aljazeera

Egypt funeral for stabbing victim
6 Jul 2009 - Egyptian woman killed in a knife attack in a Dresden courtroom is laid to rest.

Iran official urges media crackdown
5 Jul 2009 - Judiciary head wants "anti-regime satellite channels and websites" to be confronted.

Gaza activists still in Israel jail
4 Jul 2009 - Activists seized by Israeli navy refuse to leave until all members of group are freed.

Saddam 'feared Iran more than US'
3 Jul 2009 - FBI tapes reveal ex-Iraqi leader bluffed over "weapons of mass destruction".

'No proof' Iran seeks nuclear arms
3 Jul 2009 - IAEA's incoming head says he has not seen evidence that Tehran wants nuclear weapons.

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

IRAQ: Is Another Conflict Inevitable? 
WASHINGTON, Jul 6 (IPS) - Relations between Iraq’s various Kurdish, Arab and Turkoman ethnicities are going through a new round of complications since a provision in the draft constitution of the country’s northern Kurdistan region declared a range of disputed areas part of the historical Kurdish homeland, infuriating non-Kurds in...

RIGHTS: Muslims Under Scrutiny Despite Waning of 'Terror War' 
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 6 (IPS) - When the administration of President Barack Obama formally abandoned the longstanding U.S. "war on terror" - perceived by some as a codeword for "war against Islam" - there were hopes of a new relationship between the United States and the Muslim world after eight...

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 before 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

(05 July)  PCHR condemns ban on Hizb-Ut-Tahreer peaceful conference in Ramallah
PCHR

PCHR condemns ban on Hizb-Ut-Tahreer peaceful conference in Ramallah
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

Nobel peace laureate jailed in Israel for Gaza activism
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 6 July 2009 - A Nobel Peace Prize winner and a former U. S. congresswoman are among eight people to be released today and expelled after having sailed on a protest ship heading to Gaza from Cyprus, the Israeli Interior Ministry says. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her peace campaign in Northern Ireland, has been in prison in Israel since Tuesday after being removed from the ship. Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, so the ship, which flew a Greek flag, was intercepted by the navy. Among the passengers detained was former U. S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. When the crew of the Greek ship failed to respond to the navy's order to stop, the vessel was boarded by Israeli forces, but no weapons were fired. The ship was taken to the port of Ashdod. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Report: Israel releases former U.S. congresswoman McKinney
6 Jul 2009 - Israel has allowed a former U.S. congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, to return home days after detaining her and other activists on board a ship carrying relief supplies for Gaza, a pro-Palestinian group said on Monday. ...

German Jews condemn slaying of pregnant Muslim woman
6 Jul 2009 - Jews in Germany joined their Muslim compatriots Monday condemnong the horrifying murder of a pregnant Muslim woman in a Dresden courthouse last week. ...

Israel summons EU envoy over settlements criticism
6 Jul 2009 - The Foreign Ministry on Monday said the EU ambassador to Israel was called in for explanations after the European Commission said Israel's settlement policy helps strangle the Palestinian economy and makes the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid. ...

Norway invites Israelis to debate Nazi sympathizer's legacy
6 Jul 2009 - Following angry reactions in Israel to Norway's honoring of novelist and Nazi-sympathizer Knut Hamsun, the institute commemorating him this year has invited Israeli campaigners against anti-Semitism to a debate next year. But the Israelis are demanding that the debate take place sooner, lest it become "irrelevant." ... 

Noam Shalit to UN: My son's abduction was a war crime 
6 Jul 2009 - Noam Shalit, the father of the soldier held by Hamas, testified Monday before the Goldstone Committee, which is investigating illegal conduct by combatants during Operation Cast Lead on behalf of the United Nations. ... 

The Guardian

Israel deports former US politician and Nobel laureate
6 Jul 2009 - Israel has deported a former US congresswoman, a Nobel peace prize laureate and six other activists who were trying to break the naval blockade of the Gaza strip, Israeli officials said. It was the latest in...

Religious dogma has no place in the IDF | Seth Freedman
6 Jul 2009 - Secular Israelis are increasingly concerned that the army is falling into the clutches of the national religious camp A storm is brewing in Israel over the Israel Defence Forces' (IDF) chief rabbi's opposition to women serving...

Raja Shehadeh | The blue velvet hills of my youth have been destroyed
5 Jul 2009 - Palestinians will never be able to undo the damage caused by these massive, illegal and politically motivated settlements I can remember the appearance of the hills around Ramallah in 1979, before any Jewish settlement came to...

Unreconstructed Gaza
4 Jul 2009 - Photographer Antonio Olmos catalogues war damage from Israel's new year attacks on Gaza

Ha'aretz National page

Report: Israel releases former U.S. congresswoman McKinney
6 Jul 2009 - Israel has allowed a former U.S. congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, to return home days after detaining her and other activists on board a ship carrying relief supplies for Gaza, a pro-Palestinian group said on Monday. ...

High Court extends Vanunu's travel ban by 6 months 
6 Jul 2009 - The High Court of Justice responded Monday to a petition by nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu that the order prohibiting him from leaving the country, speaking with foreigners or approaching foreign embassies would remain in force for another six months. The court told Vanunu that after the six months were up, he could petition the court again to annul the order. ... 

ANALYSIS / Netanyahu capitulates to pressure, again 
6 Jul 2009 - The celebration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first 100 days in office began Monday as Netanyahu again bowed to pressure and gave up his main electoral promise, to cut taxes. ... 

Relief Web

The role of the United Nations in Middle East conflict prevention
6 Jul 2009 - Source: Center on International Cooperation

OPT/Gaza: Members of UN fact-finding mission hear testimonies during Geneva hearings
6 Jul 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Occupied Palestinian Territories: Emergency support to small ruminant farmers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to maintain productivity of flocks
6 Jul 2009 - Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development

USAID West Bank/Gaza Mission Program Achievements - Week of 22 Jun 2009
6 Jul 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

Occupied Palestinian Territories: Distribution of food baskets to the most vulnerable families in the Governorates of Gaza-City and Gaza-North
6 Jul 2009 - Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development

OPT: The Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference condemns Israel's confiscation of large areas of West Bank land
6 Jul 2009 - Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference

OPT: Settlements, regional peace on Israel - U.S. agenda
5 Jul 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Minister for Foreign Affairs appeals for release of two Irish "Gaza boat" detainees
5 Jul 2009 - Source: Government of Ireland

YNet News

Minister Edelstein: Barak making rookie mistakes
6 Jul 2009 - Information minister says defense minister's promise to evacuate 23 outposts without consulting Yesha Council may lead to violence

Jerusalem Municipality 'at war' with Islamic summer camps
6 Jul 2009 - Funds for children's camps in east Jerusalem tripled as part of education battle against Hamas, Fatah

Drop in terror attacks continues, 38 in June from 580 in January
6 Jul 2009 - Shin Bet figures indicate volume of attacks is continuing to drop in months after Operation Cast Lead. Only 38 incidents recorded in June compared to 580 in January. Military acknowledges achievement, but warns against complacency 

Llieberman: Palestinians don't want real negotiations
6 Jul 2009 - Foreign minister meets with German counterpart, says the two still divided on issue of settlements

Barak: Israel will dismantle outposts within months 
6 Jul 2009 - Defense minister meets with US envoy Mitchell, sees 'progress' in talks although 'there's still a way to go. Mitchell assured by Barak that Israel will dismantle the 23 illegal outposts in space of weeks or months – not years

Livni: Gov't has failed in its first 100 days
6 Jul 2009 - Opposition chairwoman says Netanyahu has reneged on all election promises, slams his speech on two-state solution was 'height of hutzpah.' Erdan: PM felt obligated by world to speak of two states

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

Iran's top leader warns West over meddling 
6 Jul 2009 - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Western governments on Monday of a "negative impact" on relations over what he called their meddling in Iran's post-election riots. Meanwhile, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi on Monday made his first public appearance in a week.

Barak cites progress in London talks with US Mideast envoy 
6 Jul 2009 - Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday he and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell had made progress in their second session of talks within a week on encouraging regional peace. "I think there is progress. There's still a way to go," Barak told Reuters following the talks in London.

Egypt cries racism over woman's slaying in Germany 
6 Jul 2009 - Egyptians are horrified by the brutal slaying of a pregnant Muslim woman stabbed repeatedly inside a German courtroom, calling what they see as a lack of outrage in Germany evidence of racism and anti-Islamic sentiment. On Monday, thousands of mourners marched behind the coffin of Marwa al-Sherbini.

Saudi Arabia denies it would let Israeli jets pass for Iran attack 
6 Jul 2009 - Saudi Arabia denied on Monday a report that it has agreed to allow Israeli warplanes to fly through the kingdom's airspace to attack Iran's nuclear sites. "Of course this is not true. We don't have any kind of relationship with the Israelis," Osama Nugali, spokesman for the Saudi Foreign Ministry, told .

Obama still seeking engagement with Iran despite crackdown 
6 Jul 2009 - US President Barack Obama said the crackdown on opposition leaders in Iran would not deter his administration from seeking to engage the country's top leadership in direct negotiations, The New York Times reported late Sunday. In an interview with The Times before his departure for Moscow.

Gaza's 1.5 million people in trapped in despair - Red Cross 
6 Jul 2009 - Six months after the end of Israel's military operation in Gaza, the people living there find themselves unable to rebuild their lives and are sliding ever deeper into despair, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today. A new ICRC report on the situation in Gaza.

Israelis deliver testimony on war crimes to UN mission in Geneva 
6 Jul 2009 - Accounts of fear, fury, victimization and pent-up trauma from years of rocket attacks emerged from Israeli testimony on Monday to a United Nations human-rights mission investigating the recent war in the Gaza Strip. But a 53-year-old Romanian-born doctor from the Israeli town of Ashkelon brought across another feeling.

Palestinian Information Center

Hamas castigates PA for holding woman hostage in return for her husband
7 Jul 2009 - Hamas on Monday castigated the PA security apparatuses for kidnapping the wife of prisoner Omar Al-Hanbali one day before his release from Israeli jails in order to pressure him to turn himself in.

Hamas MPs discuss issue of detained colleagues in Swiss mission
7 Jul 2009 - A delegation of the Hamas lawmakers on Monday called on the Swiss diplomatic representation office in Ramallah for a discussion on the issue of their colleagues detained in IOA jails.

Israel deports most of Free Gaza activists
7 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian campaign for ending the siege reported that the IOA started Monday morning to deport most of Free Gaza activists who were on board the spirit of humanity boat last Tuesday.

Abu Zuhri: Fatah exploits PLO factions to evade national dialog
7 Jul 2009 - Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, on Monday said that statements by certain PLO factions on the forthcoming national dialog session in Cairo were meant to provide a cover for Fatah's absence.

Hamas MP: Fatah has taken a decision against reconciliation
7 Jul 2009 - Omar Abdul Razek, a former minister and member of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC) for Hamas Movement, has said that Fatah faction had taken a decision not to reconcile with Hamas.

Liberation party accuses PA militia of kidnapping 416 of its cadres
7 Jul 2009 - Dr. Musab Abu Arqoub, a senior official of the Islamic liberation party, said that the PA security apparatuses kidnapped 416 of its cadres in the West Bank.

Prisoners’ center: Adminstrative detention is against int'l law
7 Jul 2009 - The prisoners’ center for studies condemned the administrative sentences issued by Israel against two prisoners, saying that this policy is against international conventions and human rights.

IOA authorizes establishment of 20 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem
7 Jul 2009 - The IOA controlled municipality of Jerusalem has endorsed plans to construct 20 new housing units for Jewish settlers in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood north of occupied Jerusalem.

ICHR: Abbas's security unjustifiably retains detainees
7 Jul 2009 - The independent committee for human rights (ICHR) has said that security apparatuses in the West Bank were violating personal freedoms of citizens and slighting court decisions to release detainees.

Qassam denies intention to establish security apparatus in West Bank
7 Jul 2009 - Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, categorically denied it has intentions to establish a security apparatus in the West Bank as alleged by Adnan Al-Dameeri.

Los Angeles Times

Iran's Revolutionary Guard acknowledges taking a bigger role in nation's security 
6 Jul 2009 - Calling the move 'a new phase of the revolution,' leaders insist there is no room for compromise on President Ahmadinejad's reelection. The top leaders of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard publicly acknowledged they had taken over the nation's security during the post-election unrest and warned late Sunday, in a threat against a reformist wave led by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, that there was no middle ground in the ongoing dispute over the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

Key Iran cleric's party dismisses vote results 
6 Jul 2009 - The statement by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's party heightens the confrontation between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's camp and supporters of reformist challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi. A day after commanders of the Revolutionary Guard warned there was no middle ground in the dispute over the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the political party of one of Iran's most powerful clerics Monday defiantly issued a statement dismissing the vote. 

Israel's settlements in West Bank present a major hurdle 
6 Jul 2009 - The U.S. demand that construction and expansion of settlements be halted is something Israel has rejected, putting a strain on relations and hurting chances of rekindling talks with the Palestinians. This sprawling, well-manicured Israeli settlement -- with its rows of red-tile roofs, palm trees and air-conditioned shopping mall -- could almost pass for Orange County. Except the guards in this gated community sometimes pack automatic weapons. 

New York Times

Iran Warns West Against Interference
6 Jul 2009 - Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iranians would react as a “united fist” if foreign governments meddled in his country’s affairs. 

Israeli Official Meets With U.S. Envoy in London
6 Jul 2009 - The Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, and President Obama’s Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell, talked in London about settlement activity in the West Bank. 

Despite Crisis, Policy on Iran Is Engagement
6 Jul 2009 - The president and vice president said separately that the crackdown in Iran would not close the door on talks. 



Articles

The blue velvet hills of my youth have been destroyed 
Raja Shehadeh, The Guardian 7/6/2009
      Palestinians will never be able to undo the damage caused by these massive, illegal and politically motivated settlements.
     I can remember the appearance of the hills around Ramallah in 1979, before any Jewish settlement came to be established there. In the spring of that year I walked north from Ramallah, where I live, to the nearby village of A’yn Qenya and up the pine-forested hill. A gazelle leapt ahead of me. When I reached the top I could see hills spread below me like crumpled blue velvet, with the hamlets of Janiya and Deir Ammar huddled between its folds. On top of the highest hill in the distance stood the village of Ras Karkar with its centuries-old citadel that dominated the area during Ottoman times. I had been following the worrying developments of extensive settlement-building elsewhere in the West Bank and wondered how long it would be before these hills came under the merciless blades of the Israeli bulldozers.
     Now, more than 25 years later, Dolev has expanded and taken over the hills to its north for vineyards. Numerous highways for the exclusive use of its Jewish settlers connect it to the many other settlements in the area and to Israel’s coastline. Those settlers travelling to and from Israeli cities where they work can only see road signs indicating other Jewish settlements. They encounter no Palestinian traffic on the roads nor do they see any Palestinian villages. No wonder then that I was once stopped by an armed settler and interrogated as to why I was taking a walk in his hills. When I asked him what right he had to be there, he answered: “I live here.” He then pointedly added: “Unlike you, I really live here.”
     Not a single year has passed since Israel acquired the territories in 1967 in which Jewish settlements were not built. Had it pursued peace as assiduously, surely it would have achieved it by now. Instead, whenever the US pressed for a peace initiative, the “proper Zionist response” was the creation of new a settlement. The pattern of settling the Ramallah hills illustrates well the workings of this doomed policy. The Jewish settlement of Talmon was established in 1989 on the lands of the Palestinian village of Janiya, when the government of Yitzhak Shamir was being pressured to agree to start negotiations with the Palestinians. Talmon B was established, about two miles away, when the US secretary of state, James Baker, arrived in Israel two years later to broker the first ever peace conference between Israel and Arab countries.

The Elephant in the Room: Israel’s Nuclear Weapons 
David Morrison, Electronic Intifada, Common Dreams 7/6/2009
      At a White House press conference on 18 May 2009, US President Barack Obama expressed "deepening concern" about "the potential pursuit of a nuclear weapon by Iran." He continued:
     "Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon would not only be a threat to Israel and a threat to the United States, but would be profoundly destabilizing in the international community as a whole and could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East."
     By his side was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the room with them, there was an elephant, a large and formidably destructive elephant, which they and the assembled press pretended not to see.
     I am, of course, referring to Israel’s actual nuclear weapons systems, with which Netanyahu is capable of doing to numerous cities in the Middle East, including Tehran, what the US did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
     Iran, by contrast, has no nuclear weapons. The US President said so himself in Prague on 5 April 2009 in his major speech on nuclear disarmament. "Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon," he admitted.
     Obama’s remark that "Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon" would be "profoundly destabilizing" and "could set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East" is profoundly dishonest. In reality, the race started in the early 1950s when Israel launched its nuclear weapons program.
     Let us suppose for a moment that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, capable of producing effective nuclear warheads and the means of delivering them to Israel, within a few years. Would that make Iran a serious threat to Israel, as Obama said? Of course not.


Electronic Intifada
Hamas' choice: Recognition or resistance in the age of Obama
6 Jul 2009 - In a major policy speech on 25 June 2009, Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas' political bureau, tried to do what may be impossible: present the Islamist Palestinian resistance organization as a willing partner in a US-led peace process, while holding on to his movement's political principles and base. This is the dilemma that every Palestinian leadership, and perhaps almost every liberation movement, has eventually had to confront. It is a choice, as political scientist Tamim Barghouti has pointed out, between recognition and legitimacy. Ali Abunimah analyzes. 

Minister calls for Jewish takeover of Palestinian areas in Israel
6 Jul 2009 - Israel's housing minister called for strict segregation between the country's Jewish and Arab populations last week as he unveiled plans to move large numbers of fundamentalist religious Jews to Israel's north to prevent what he described as an "Arab takeover" of the region. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Book review: Lebanon's political posters as sites of struggle
6 Jul 2009 - The power of posters, as not merely symbolic weapons but also sites of hegemonic struggle during Lebanon's civil war, is a central theme of Zeina Maasri's new book Off the Wall: Political Posters of the Lebanese Civil War . A mix of text and image, the book is a rich and visually engaging work that tackles a dimension of war long-neglected by Lebanese historians. Hicham Safieddine reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

Hiyam, a Gaza teenager killed as she offered aid
5 Jul 2009 - "At 5:30 PM an Israeli shell landed on my brother's house," the father told visitors who had come to offer condolences for his daughter at the family's home on Friday. The shell injured a nephew and Salim Abu Ayish rushed to render aid. The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari reports from the occupied Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza
reflections on a siege that hasn’t stopped: June 8-14, 2009
6 Jul 2009 - * Palestinian youths from Deir al Balah clean fish just caught. Gaza’s fishing industry has all but stopped under violent Israeli restrictions on movement in the sea, limiting fishermen to much less than the ‘3 mile limit’ Israeli authorities arbitrarily and without jurisdiction imposed on Gazan fishermen, and abducting fishermen from within hundreds of metres of Gaza’s coast nonetheless. [photo: Emad Badwan ] First Published Monday In Um al Nasser, I meet 17-year old Saleh Ahmed al Madani who was injured in three places from Israeli ‘flechette’ shelling. The small, razor-sharp darts pierced and remain lodged in his neck, shoulder, and calf muscle. Tuesday A demonstration is being held on the...

Palestine Chronicle
Prisoner No. 88794 - Message from Israeli Jail
6 Jul 2009 - By Cynthia McKinney This is Cynthia McKinney and I'm speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies - and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children. While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. At the outbreak of Israel's Operation ‘Cast Lead' [in December 2008], I boarded a Free Gaza boat with one day's notice and tried, as the US representative in a multi-national delegation, to deliver 3 tons of medical supplies to an already besieged and ravaged Gaza. During Operation Cast Lead, U.S.-supplied F-16's rained hellfire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full scale outright genocide. U.S.-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs - new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel's onslaught that Gaza had become Israel's veritable weapons testing laboratory, people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons....

How Cynthia McKinney Honored America
6 Jul 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Beirut Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney returned home today after 6 days being held by the government of Israel while attempting with 21 colleagues to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza on the vessel, the Spirit of Humanity. "Don’t sign Miss Cynthia don’t sign!" So chanted a boisterous group of Palestinian teens and pre-teens in Beirut's Shatila Refugee Camp demonstrating support for the Freegaza Humanity boat abductees on the 4th of July. The students understood that those illegally arrested while in International waters had been offered a “get out of Jail Free” pass if they confessed in writing to violating Israel’s territorial waters. The Spirit of Humanity boat, trying to bring emergency humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, was the topic of a lively discussion during a Sabra Shatila Foundation summer school civics lesson on “International law and the Question of Palestine”. The students were interested in the plight of some of their relatives and countryman in Palestine and the continuing siege of Gaza. Some had just finished their Baccalaureate exams and were wondering how they could continue their education given the severe impediments the government of Lebanon places on Palestinian civil rights, and their post exam relief seemed to energize them for the discussion. A couple of the students had met Cynthia during her recent visits to Lebanon. When they learned that as a Congresswoman, she had introduced articles of impeachment against Bush, was a consistent anti-war voter during her twelve years in Congress, and that no...

Israel Calls on Jewish Fanatics to 'Save' Galilee
6 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Israel's housing minister called for strict segregation between the country's Jewish and Arab populations last week as he unveiled plans to move large numbers of fundamentalist religious Jews to Israel's north to prevent what he described as an 'Arab takeover' of the region. Ariel Atias said he considered it a “national mission” to bring ultra-Orthodox Jews -- or Haredim, distinctive for their formal black and white clothing -- into Arab areas, and announced that he would also create the north’s first exclusively Haredi town. The new settlement drive, according to Mr Atias, is intended to revive previous failed efforts by the state to “Judaise”, or create a Jewish majority in, the country’s heavily Arab north. Analysts say the announcement is a disturbing indication that the Haredim, who have traditionally been hostile to Zionism because of their strict reading of the Bible, are rapidly being recruited to the Judaisation project in both Israel and the occupied territories. Mr Atias, of the ultra-Orthodox party Shas, is drawing on a model already successfully developed over the past decade in the West Bank, where the Haredim, the group with the highest birth rate in Israel, have been encouraged to move into separate settlements that have rapidly eaten into large chunks of Palestinian territory. Several mayors of northern cities in Israel have appealed to Mr Atias to help them “save” the Jewishness of their communities in a similar manner by recruiting Haredim to swell the numbers of Jews in the...

France Risks Return to Old Europe
6 Jul 2009 - By Belen Fernandez A June 23 article in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera entitled "Berlusconi: 'Rapporti con Iran? Solo se condivisi con Usa e Israele'" registers the Italian premier's pledge to tailor his country's foreign relations to the needs of the US and Israel. The pledge came during a visit to Italy by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who then invited Berlusconi to Israel to address the Knesset and to inaugurate an annual incontro bilaterale between the two nations. In addition to gushing support for the demilitarization of any Palestinian state, Berlusconi gushed his appreciation for the invitation to visit friends in friendly realms whose friendliness showed no signs of abating: “Sarò molto lieto di visitare un amico, in un Paese amico che resterà amico per molti anni.” Berlusconi’s emphasis on comradeship may have minimized the worries of an Israeli official featured in a June 23 Jerusalem Post article, who “said it was just ‘bad luck’ that [Netanyahu’s] visit was taking place in the midst of a salacious sex scandal swirling around Berlusconi, a scandal that is eating away at his credibility and will detract from [said] visit and any gestures of Italian-Israeli friendship the Italian leader may have wanted to bestow on the prime minister.” Additional gestures were bestowed following Netanyahu’s departure when Rome granted honorary citizenship to Gilad Shalit, raising the issue of whether Iran might start adopting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The second stop on Netanyahu’s European tour was France, where President Nicolas Sarkozy was...

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