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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
7 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Al Ghoul: ‘Israel is still holding 36 legislators captive’
8 Jul 2009 - Palestinian Minister of Detainees and Freed Detainees at the dissolved government, Mohammad Al Ghoul, stated that there are 36 Palestinian Legislators and three Ministers of the tenth government, still imprisoned by Israel. 

Mousa: 'Settlements, negotiations cannot coexist'
8 Jul 2009 - Arab League Secretary General, Amro Mousa, stated Tuesday that the Arab League appreciates that US efforts to launch successful peace talks, but negotiations cannot resume amidst ongoing settlement construction. 

Israeli TV claims Hamas prepared a new list for prisoner-swap
8 Jul 2009 - The Israeli TV published a report claiming that the Hamas movement in Gaza published a new list of detainees to facilitate a prisoner-swap deal. 

Israeli settlers bulldoze Palestinian-owned land near Nablus
7 Jul 2009 - Israeli settlers bulldozed on Tuesday afternoon Palestinian owned land near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. 

The Israeli military kidnaps 11 civilians from the West Bank
7 Jul 2009 - Eleven Palestinians were kidnapped on Tuesday during Israeli military invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities. 

Israeli army kidnaps two Palestinian men from northern West Bank
7 Jul 2009 - Israeli forces invaded the northern West Bank villages of Atil and Ilar on Tuesday morning, detaining two young men after having raided their houses. 

Israel refuses to let 5-month old baby from Gaza leave the Strip with his mother and sister
7 Jul 2009 - Israeli forces at the Erez crossing stopped a 5-month old baby from crossing into Israel. His mother and five-year old sister both had a permission to leave the Strip, so the 5-year old girl could receive medical treatment in Israel. 

Fact-finding commission holds a hearing in Geneva
7 Jul 2009 - The UN Fact-finding Commission, headed by Richard Goldstone, held hearings on Monday in Geneva, similar to a previous hearing held in the Gaza Strip last week. 

Female detainee, her niece, convicted of planning a suicide bombing
7 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Radio reported on Monday evening that the Israeli Central Court in Be’er Sheva, convicted a female detainee and her niece of planning to commit a suicide bombing in Israel. 

Soldiers invade Bil'in
7 Jul 2009 - Israeli soldiers invaded Bil'in village on Tuesday at dawn, near the Central West Bank city of Ramallah, and broke into several homes with the intent to kidnap ten residents. The soldiers violently assaulted international peace activists who nonviolently attempted to stop the attack. 

US administration denies giving Israel the OK to attack Iran
7 Jul 2009 - The US Administration said that it did not give the green light on an Israeli attack against Iranian sites believed to be nuclear reactors. 

Palestinian legislator released after 38 months imprisonment
7 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Authorities released on Monday evening a Hamas legislator from Jerusalem, Ibrahim Abu Salem, after he spent 38 months in Israeli detention centers. 

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. 

Ma'an News

US activists at Rafah, request to cross into Gaza with 1 million in supplies
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - At least 100 Americans arrived in Egypt Sunday and made their way up to the Egypt-Gaza border at Rafah with a rumored 1 million US dollars in medical supplies for the besieged Strip. Less than a week after Israeli naval boats seized and boarded the Free Gaza ship, the Spirit of Humanity, and as activists from half a dozen countries remain in Israeli prison from the first group of activists, the Americans, with the Viva Palestina movement, will try to enter the Strip via Rafah. Following the first British Viva Palestina convoy which was allowed into the Strip in early October 2008, the American group - also lead by British MP George Galloway - will attempt to deliver supplies and show solidarity with the closed-off coastal area. 

Former prisoner in Israel tells rights group about harsh conditions
7/7/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Speaking one week after his release from Israeli prison, Salfit native Ibrahim Hamid Abdullah testified to the harsh and often inhuman conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Abdullah spoke to a lawyer with the International Solidarity Institute for Human Rights and relayed the extensive use of solitary confinement, as well as humiliation and torture. The latest tactic Israeli soldiers used, he said, was charging fines to prisoners for “silly things,” like not washing the dishes on time or walking fast enough. “One man was ordered to pay 500 shekels (130 US dollars)” he said. “I myself was only ever charged with belonging to Hamas,” said Abdullah. He was taken from his home on 11 October 2002 and held for 50 days without charge in the Btah Tikva and Al-Julma prisons. 

Third week straight of nightly raids; two more detained from Bil’in
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - More than 100 masked Israeli soldiers overran the village of Bil'in Sunday morning, detaining two and invading dozens of homes. Masked soldiers were reported to have carried automatic weapons as they invaded the homes of 20-year-old Oda Rebhe Abu Rahma and 17-year-old Mahmoud Issa Yassein. The boy's families, who requested to know where their sons were being taken, were refused the information. They then requested the name of the officer in command so they could follow up and find their children. They were also denied the information. According to locals, Palestinian and international observers questioned the soldiers and demanded the release of several people who were documenting the detentions. 

Israeli forces bar peace march from reaching Hebron
7/7/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Internationals and Palestinians on a peace march from Bethlehem to Hebron were accosted by Israeli forces near the town of Beit Ummar Tuesday afternoon. The 300-strong march was lead by Mayor of the German city of Werne Albert Stouter and was attended by foreign nationals from around the world. The group intended to meet with locals on the way between the two cities and show their support for peace in the region. In Hebron they were set to sit with city elders and officials. When they arrived in Beit Ummar Israeli soldiers blocked the road and insisted the ralliers were forbidden to pass. [end] 

PCHR testifies at UN fact-finding mission in Jordan
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, an organization active in the thorough documentation of rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, testified in front of the UN Human Rights council Fact-Finding Mission last week in Jordan. The organization’s West Bank coordinator Sameeh Mohsen, gave a 75-minute presentation to the mission in Jordan, and apologized that the organization’s director was unable to deliver the speech himself as he was unable to leave the Gaza Strip. The organization also assisted the mission in gathering testimonies of Gazans affected by the war while the delegation was in Gaza last month. PCHR was the first institution to fully document the depth of the Gaza war tragedies, documenting in minute detail the mass slaughter of the Samuni family, which lost 29 of its members in two Israeli airstrikes targeting their home, as well as dozens of other incidents. 

Israeli military court released two, prosecutes third
7/7/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities released member of the Al-Izariyeh village council Sheikh Musa Far’on on Tuesday following a four-year detention without charge, along wtih other Palestinians. Far’on was put under administrative detention in 2006, which was renewed every six months. The Israeli military court also released Sur Bahr native Bilal Abed Rabbo following two and a half years in an Israeli detention facility. The Ofar court then prosecuted Haytham Ragheb Al-Ja’ba, a 27 year-old from Jerusalem, sentencing him to 16 months and a 6,000 shekel fine. [end] 

Hamas: PA has not released 185 party members; reports misleading
7/7/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority has not released the 185 Hamas members and affiliates that it claims it has, said party spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri Tuesday. “The statements of the Palestinian Authority are just for the media,” Abu Zuhri said, calling them “misleading” and “not representative of the position of the Ramallah government over political arrests. ”Hamas and Fatah resumed their tit-for-tat accusations and promises of arrest and release of party members and affiliates last month, after Hams delegates to the Cairo-backed Conciliation Committee pulled out of the group’s work. Since then one round of unity talks went forward but without success. [end] 

Israeli forces raid northern villages, detain two
7/7/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli troops detained two young men from Atil and Illar villages north of Tulkarem after raiding their houses Tuesday morning. Palestinian security sources said troops overran the two villages and searched the homes of Samer Al-Hadrab, Wajdy Saleh Abu Saleh from Atil and Murad Ahmad Taha and Amin Abu Sa’da from Illar village. Those detained were identified as 28 year-old Amer Abdel Latif Khader Abu Khalil and 22-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Sedky. They were taken to an unknown destination. [end] 

Israel: Youth threw Molotov cocktail at Israeli car
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an – Israeli sources said Palestinian youth threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli car while passing near the West Bank city of Qalqiliya Tuesday afternoon. No injuries or damages were reported though military personnel were called to the area to search for the youth. Israeli forces routinely accuse youth of throwing the home-made explosives, much of the time as a pretext for questioning and detention. [end] 

Israel calls in EU envoy over Monday allegations
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israel’s Foreign Ministry will seek a meeting with the representative of the European Commission over what the Israeli press called an “unusually harsh statement” on Israel’s settlement policy. The statement, released Monday, said Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank was strangling the Palestinian economy and forcing residents into aid dependency. "[I]t is the European taxpayers who pay most of the price of this dependence," the commission said, including 280 million US dollars so far this year, because settlements prevent the PA from functioning normally. The position was earlier put forward by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which cites the 2 billion shekels (509 million US dollars) spent annually on maintaining the road and checkpoint infrastructure that separates Palestinians from accessing. . . 

Abbas willing to continue peace talks if Israel halts settlement construction
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to go back to the peace-negotiating table and un-freeze talks with Israel if the US administration succeeds in forcing a halt to settlement construction and reforms Israeli reservations on the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, he said in an interview. Speaking to the government-affiliated Al-Filistiniyyah satellite channel Monday said he would approach talks with an open mind so long as they tool place within the confines of already-established international accords. The candid interview saw Abbas reveal his desire to separate his party, Fatah, with the Palestinian Authority. “Fatah must be a companion to the PA,” Abbas said, but noted that “Fatah is not the [PA] Authority,”He expressed hopes that the sixth Fatah conference, scheduled to take place in August around the West Bank city of Bethlehem,. . . 

Peres in Egypt: Israel does not want to make more settlements
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israel has some "difficult decisions" ahead, and must realize that only peace can “open a new page in the history of the Middle East," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told a visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres in Cairo Tuesday. In a news conference following their meeting Peres’ response was to insist a two state solution would involve a “Jewish state” and a Palestinian “Arab” one. He thus reiterated a demand Palestinian leaders of all political persuasions have refused, that any two-state solution would necessarily see Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state. ”Peres was unmoving on the issue, saying “discussions on that matter have ended. ”He did, however, not that "Israel has no intention to control the Palestinian people, to create more settlements, to confiscate more land. 

Israel Radio: Peace talks with Palestinians will resume in August
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel Radio quoted “sources close to Peres” as indicating peace talks between Israel and Palestinians would resume in August. The report said the talks were slated for the end of August, following the conclusion of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party’s “Sixth Revolutionary Council Meeting” in Bethlehem. It noted preparations were already underway. Israeli President Shimon Peres gave no indication that peace talks were imminent during his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak earlier in the day. He called for the establishment of two states, but insisted Israel must be recognized as a “Jewish state,” a demand Palestinian leaders categorically reject. While he also noted “Israel has no plans to continue settlement building,” he made no mention of the issue of “natural growth,” which Israel insists it will maintain while all other sides demand a total halt. 

Gaza: Fatah, PFLP, DFLP, PPP meet to discuss unity without Hamas
7/7/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Four political factions met in Gaza City Monday to go over positions on the national dialogue ahead of the 27 July date for the next Cairo meetings mediated by Egypt. The secular, pro negotiations parties Fatah, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP)sat down without Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance Committees to discuss mechanisms by which parties can bring about national unity. Also on the agenda were unions and government institutions in the Strip. [end] 

PFLP: Hamas and Fatah do not want unity
7/7/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas and Fatah are not serious about reconciliation and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) will not accept any agreement that fails to deal with central issues, party central committee member Jamil Mizher said Monday. An agreement for the sake of agreement that does not truly resolve issues will increase the suffering of the Palestinians, Mizher said. “Both sides are far from a national consensus,” he added, “they are just sticking to their posts. ”Their actions aborted the agreed-uponproportional representation suggestion put forward at Cairo, that would have seen a committee oversee Gaza reconstruction and prepare for 2010 elections Mizhar noted. 

High judge orders brides, grooms tested for H1N1 before court issues marriage certificate
7/7/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma’an - No marriage certificates are to be authorized by Islamic courts in Palestine until both the bride and groom are certified to be “swine flu free,” Chief Justice of Palestine Sheikh Taysir Tamimi announced Tuesday. Tamimi sent a memo to all courts authorized to issue marriage certificates announcing the latest measure. All couples seeking certicicates will have to undergo Ministry of Health authorized procedures before the certificate will be issued. The top judge said the measure will slow the spread of the epidemic. "This action is in pursuance of the purposes of Islamic law in the need to conserve the five imperatives: reason and restraint, religion, money, and birth. ” He said the courts have a duty to curb the spread of the H1N1 virus. Prospective couples must already have tests from the Ministry of Health ensuring the are AIDS/HIV free and test negative. . . 

Council of Ministers to meet, draft paper on government goals for state building
7/7/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Council of Ministers in the Palestinian Authority caretaker government is preparing to draft a document outlining national policies for all ministerial posts for the next two years, Secretary General of the Council Hassan Abu Lebdah said Tuesday. The ministers will meet for two days, first to review the activities and plans of each ministry and then discuss performance and set new goals for each sector, Lebdah added. “Our top priority will be to set out a strategy that ensures successful institution building for a viable Palestinian state. ”Part of the program of successful state building, said Lebdah, will be discussing strategies around how to ensure the government realizes its responsibilities around the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The ministers all hope that their position paper will be adopted by all levels of the Palestinian government, so lawmakers and leaders can pursue one program and common goals. 

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 . 

Aljazeera

Iran attacks Biden's Israel remarks
7 Jul 2009 - Reacting to interview, Ali Larijani says US will be held responsible for any attack.

Egypt asks Israel to push for peace
7 Jul 2009 - Mubarak says Israeli leaders need political will to take difficult decisions peace.

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.

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

U.S.: Obama Discredits 'Green Light' for Israeli Attack on Iran 
WASHINGTON, Jul 7 (IPS) - Seeking to end speculation about whether his administration had eased its opposition to an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday insisted that Washington's position remained unchanged.

RIGHTS: New Charges Added to Blackwater Lawsuit 
NEW YORK, Jul 7 (IPS) - New charges filed against private security contractor Blackwater accuse the company of murder, destruction of audio and videotaped evidence, distribution of controlled substances, tax evasion, child prostitution, and weapons smuggling.

TURKEY: Constitutional Crisis Escalating 
ANKARA, Jul 7 (IPS) - Tension between the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the high command of the Armed Forces (TSK) has escalated to new heights after a series of political coups and counter-coups.

IRAQ: Questions Remain About the U.S. Role 
WASHINGTON, Jul 6 (IPS) - The United States largely complied with a plan, negotiated with Iraq's government last November, to withdraw its troops from the centre of all Iraqi cities by Jun. 30.

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

(07 July)  PCHR Testifies before UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Strip
PCHR

(05 July)  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

Israeli forces raid Bil’in, arrest one resident and one solidarity activist
International Solidarity Movement - Israeli forces attack and arrest American solidarity activist. - On July 7th at 3:30, soldiers disrupted the tranquility of Bi'lin by forcing their way into several houses. Israeli soldiers came with a list of 10 names for arrest. When Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists arrived at the scene they were subjected to violence and intimidation by the Israeli forces. The homes of Basem Yasin, Akhmed Yasin, Shauket Khatib and Abd AlMuamen Abu Rakhma were raided. Israeli forces arrested Majdi Abdel Muamer Abu Rakhma and an American solidarity activist. The American activist with the International Solidarity Movement had non-violentlyblocked the entrance to one of the doors when he was attacked by soldiers, forced to the ground, and subjected to pain compliance. It was at that time, that the American activist was arrested and carried by a group of soldiers into a military jeep. 

US activists at Rafah, request to cross into Gaza with 1 million in supplies
International Solidarity Movement - Ma'an News, 7 July 2009 - At least 100 Americans arrived in Egypt Sunday and made their way up to the Egypt-Gaza border at Rafah with a rumored 1 million US dollars in medical supplies for the besieged Strip. Less than a week after Israeli naval boats seized and boarded the Free Gaza ship, the Spirit of Humanity, and as activists from half a dozen countries remain in Israeli prison from the first group of activists, the Americans, with the Viva Palestina movement, will try to enter the Strip via Rafah. Following the first British Viva Palestina convoy which was allowed into the Strip in early October 2008, the American group – also lead by British MP George Galloway – will attempt to deliver supplies and show solidarity with the closed-off coastal area. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Aluf Benn / Netanyahu must remember U.S. is stronger than Israel 
7 Jul 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu had a great deal of luck during the first 100 days of his second term as prime minister. His predecessors in the job, including Netanyahu himself during his first term, were forced to deal with terror attacks and border incidents that set the tone for the rest of their term. But this time, he has enjoyed quiet on the security front, thereby sparing him the need to cope with captivity and bereavement, or to make life-and-death decisions in real time. ... 

Egypt academic under fire for not boycotting Peres
7 Jul 2009 - At a time when Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has adopted President Shimon Peres as an alternative to Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, critics are attacking the head of Al-Azhar University for not leaving a conference on interfaith dialogue last month in Kazakhstan because Peres was taking part. ... 

Shalit talks may pick up where Olmert left off 
7 Jul 2009 - Negotiations on a deal for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit will pick up speed in the coming days, with talks resuming where they were left off during the Olmert administration, Egyptian sources said. ... 

Obama: U.S. did not give Israel green light to attack Iran
6 Jul 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama earlier Tuesday rebuffed suggestions that Washington had given Israel a green light to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, in an interview with CNN. ...

Netanyahu defends choice of Shalit negotiator amid corruption rumors
6 Jul 2009 - The Prime Minister's Bureau on Tuesday defended its choice of a former top intelligence operative to head negotiations for the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, despite rumors linking him to a corruption scandal. ...

The Guardian

Israel criticised for thwarting humanitarian mission to Palestinian territories
7 Jul 2009 - • Border guards turn away team including British medics • Doctors had planned to perform surgeries on children Israel was yesterday criticised after it refused to allow a group of doctors on a humanitarian mission organised...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Gaza evacuees may be resettled, but conditions are dismal
7 Jul 2009 - When the Sitons moved into their home, in a new neighborhood just outside Nitzan, two weeks ago they were optimistic. They thought the four years of hardship and temporary living arrangements, that began when they were evacuated from their home in Neveh Dekalim in the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, had finally reached an end. ... 

Was new Shalit negotiator victim of financial sting?
7 Jul 2009 - Hagai Hadas, formerly number three in the Mossad and the personal representative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit, is gradually emerging as a central figure in the bizarre case of Life Keeper, a medical device company. ... 

Gilad Shalit's namesake moves to Israel
6 Jul 2009 - Even Gilad Zuller's parents are sometimes saddened to see how much he's grown in the three years since his birth. Others are sorrowed too, when they hear the story behind the boy's name. ...

Relief Web

OPT: U.N. war crimes inquiry on Gaza wraps up hearings
7 Jul 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

A day at the market for North Lebanon residents
7 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Human Settlements Program

Supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza: How DFID aid helps the ICRC to deliver help where it's most needed
7 Jul 2009 - Source: Department for International Development

OPT: Commissioner-General's opening statement - Economic, social and cultural rights of refugees: Present and future
7 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: PCHR testifies before UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Strip
7 Jul 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Peace process cannot handle more failure, Egypt warns
7 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Commissioner-General's speech at the Centre for International Relations, Warsaw, 02 Jul 2009
7 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: Atfaluna Newsletter - Jul 2009
7 Jul 2009 - Source: Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children

YNet News

Israeli to UN: Palestinian detainees kept in ditches
7 Jul 2009 - Member of human rights group tells committee probing Gaza offensive that Israel held detainees held with no access to food, water, restrooms; claims they were subjected to violent Shin Bet interrogations 

Families of civilian victims left out of Lebanon war memorial
7 Jul 2009 - Memorial ceremony for soldiers fallen in Second Lebanon War to be held Wednesday. Family members of civilians killed are outraged: 'Killed civilian always second rate in comparison to soldier. It doesn't matter if they were killed in exactly same war'

Israel reprimands EU envoy over settlements remark
7 Jul 2009 - Foreign Ministry calls European Commission's claim that Israel's settlement policy suffocating Palestinian economy 'baseless'; says Mideast Quartet welcomed Israel's plans to improve it 

UN war crimes inquiry on Gaza wraps up hearings
7 Jul 2009 - 'Extent of physical damage shook all of us,' says head of investigation into recent Israeli offensive in Strip, adding ' aim is to show the human side of suffering and give a voice to victims'

Livni: Democratic, Jewish values don't clash
7 Jul 2009 - During conference in Ma'a lot-Tarshiha, Opposition leader claims Israel has failed to create true equality in many areas, despite boasting of being democracy, indicates constitution to be solution. Livni also levels criticism at cabinet for losing sense of national vision in budget discussions, preferring to represent sectors instead of general public

Minister: Barak-Mitchell talks 'huge flop' 
7 Jul 2009 - Defense minister briefs senior cabinet members on London meeting with Obama's Mideast envoy; one of them quoted as saying Barak 'offered dismantling of illegal West Bank outposts in exchange for nothing' 

Wary of naked force, Israel eyes cyberwar on Iran
7 Jul 2009 - Decade-old cyberwarfare project seen as new vanguard of Israel's efforts to block Tehran's nuclear ambitions; American expert says 'malicious software' could be inserted to corrupt, commandeer or crash the controls of sensitive sites like uranium enrichment plants

Syrian FM in response to Peres: Golan Heights belongs to us
7 Jul 2009 - After Israeli president says Syria can't expect to get disputed region on a silver platter, Muallem tells joint press conference with German counterpart that Israel must cede land without preconditions; Assad says 'no real partner in Israel'; Steinmeier: Rein in 'destructive' Mideast elements

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

Mubarak believes captured Israeli soldier well, hopes for quick solution 
7 Jul 2009 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Tuesday he believed an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian fighters three years ago was well and that he hoped the issue would not take a long time to resolve. Militants of the Hamas Islamist group launched a raid into Israel in June 2006 from the Gaza Strip, killing two soldiers and capturing Gilad Shalit.

Abbas orders release of 40 Hamas members in bid to encourage unity 
7 Jul 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the release of 40 Hamas members detained in the Occupied West Bank in a bid to encourage national unity, a Palestinian security official said on Tuesday. "President Abbas has decided to release 40 members of Hamas," the official told on condition of anonymity, without providing further details. 

Cyberwar among Israeli options to foil Iran's nuclear bid 
7 Jul 2009 - In the late 1990s, a computer specialist from Israel's Shin Bet internal security service hacked into the mainframe of the Pi Glilot fuel depot north of Tel Aviv. It was meant to be a routine test of safeguards at the strategic site, but it also tipped off the Israelis to the potential such hi-tech infiltrations offered for real sabotage.

Iran opposition urges release of protesters 
7 Jul 2009 - Iranian opposition leaders urged the authorities to release people arrested following a disputed presidential election last month, and criticized the "security state" imposed in Iran, Mousavi's website said Tuesday. "Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and [former President Mohammad] Khatami met on Monday.

Zelaya supporters pledge wider protests, trade blocks 
7 Jul 2009 - Supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya vowed Monday to widen protests and block trade nationwide as the deposed leader headed to Washington for a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thousands of Zelaya supporters have demonstrated since his overthrow eight days ago.

Palestinian Information Center

PA militia transfers detainee to hospital due to torture
7 Jul 2009 - Informed sources said that detainee Samih Aleiwi was transferred to the intensive care unit at the national hospital in Nablus on Monday as a result of his exposure to severe torture in PA jails.

Baraka: Postponing dialog was due to lack of Fatah's independent decision-making
7 Jul 2009 - Ali Baraka said that the real reason behind the deadlock in national reconciliation dialog was the absence of independent decision-making in Fatah and the PA in Ramallah.

IOF troops advance in central Gaza, detain American activist in Bil'in
7 Jul 2009 - Israeli occupation forces boarding armored vehicles on Tuesday advanced into east of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip and bulldozed lands and erected sand barriers.

Hamas: The Palestinian people have options to confront the Israeli siege
7 Jul 2009 - Spokesman Abu Zuhri said that the Palestinian people have options to confront the Israeli siege, reiterating his Movement’s rejection of any link between the issue of reconstruction and other files.

Qassem: Kidnappings in West Bank linked to PA agreements with Israel
7 Jul 2009 - Professor Abdelsattar Qassem stated Monday that the kidnappings taking place in the West Bank are related to the agreements signed by the PA with Israel especially the Oslo agreements.

Agriculture ministry: Israeli settlers pursue agenda to destroy Palestine flora
7 Jul 2009 - The ministry of agriculture in Gaza has underlined that the activities of settlers assisted by the IOF to destroy agricultural fields in the West Bank on daily basis are programmed.

Astal: The last arrests in Gaza were carried out against new spy rings
7 Jul 2009 - MP Dr. Younis Al-Astal, a member of the legal committee at the PLC, said Monday that the last arrests which took place in the Gaza Strip were carried out against spy rings.

Barghouthi warns against Netanyahu's manipulations
7 Jul 2009 - MP Mustafa Al-Barghouthi has condemned Netanyahu's call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a "Jewish" state, saying that it indicates the absence of an Israeli peace partner.

Settlers burn olive fields and bulldoze land
7 Jul 2009 - Jewish settlers set fire to grazing and agricultural plots belonging to farmers in Iraq Bureen village south of Nablus on Monday night, local sources said.

Ramahi: Jailed lawmakers are blackmailed by Israel to press Hamas
7 Jul 2009 - MP Mahmoud Al-Ramahi stated that the lawmakers imprisoned in Israeli jails are exposed to blackmail to pressure Hamas to make concessions on the prisoner swap deal and to accept a two-state solution.

Los Angeles Times

Key Iran cleric's party dismisses vote results 
7 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. 

A generational divide typical of Iranian American families 
7 Jul 2009 - Avesta, a 70-year-old Iranian expatriate, says elections are meaningless in a nation run by mullahs. Pouneh, his 24-year-old daughter, voted for Mousavi, hoping he could bring change to the country. Several months ago, Pouneh, a 24-year-old Iranian American college student, announced to her father that she would be voting for opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in the Iranian presidential election. After Mousavi lost, she joined thousands of demonstrators in Westwood calling the results a fraud. 

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. 

New York Times

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. 

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. 

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. 

Misc

Israel strike threat on Iran back on table 
The National - The National, July 07. 2009 - JERUSALEM // A flurry of media reports in Israel and elsewhere, as well as comments by US officials, past and present, have suddenly put the possibility of an Israeli military strike on Iran firmly back on the agenda. But analysts are divided over whether the recent media noise indicates anything more than political posturing or if the idea of an Israeli strike, set aside ever since Barack Obama, the US president, took office with a pledge to engage Tehran, is now a serious possibility if not an imminent one. Certainly, the turmoil in Iran after elections that saw the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned under controversial circumstances, has contributed to a firming of the tone by US officials on Iran. This was most notable in an interview Joe Biden, the US vice president, gave ABC News in which he said Israel, as a sovereign nation, would decide for itself how to deal with Iran. 

IAF to train overseas for Iran strike op 
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem Post, Jul 5, 2009 - On the day that US Vice President Joe Biden seemed to give Israel a green light for military action to eliminate Iran's nuclear threat, The Jerusalem Post learned that the IAF plans to participate in aerial exercises in the US and Europe in the coming months with the aim of training its pilots for long-range flights. . . . IAF planes will take part this year in a joint aerial exercise with a NATO-member state that cannot be identified. In addition, later this month, the air force will send F-16C fighter jets to participate in the Red Flag exercise at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. At the same time, several of the IAF's C-130 Hercules transport aircraft will participate in the Rodeo 2009 competition at the McChord Air Force Base in Washington state. Defense officials said the overseas exercises would be used to drill long-range maneuvers. Last summer, more than 100 IAF jets flew over Greece in what was viewed as a test-run for a potential strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. 

Former Rep. McKinney Returns From Israeli Prison 
Roll Call - Roll Call, July 7, 2009 - Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga. ) arrives in Washington, D. C. , on Tuesday after being detained in an Israeli prison for the past week with others protesting the Israeli occupation of Gaza. McKinney, who arrives at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport around noon, will meet with reporters to discuss how the Israeli navy detained her and 20 other human rights advocates aboard a boat attempting to deliver supplies and toys to Gaza. Their action violates the Israel-Gaza embargo, but human rights advocates say the Israeli navy broke the law since the activists’ boat was in international waters when they were seized. During her detention, McKinney refused to sign a statement saying she violated Israeli law, which extended her time in jail. “State Department and White House officials have not effected our release or taken a strong public stance to condemn the 

Lieberman: As a settler I shouldn’t talk to Mitchell
YNetNews - YNet News, 7/6/09 - Foreign minister says there is no alternative to Israel's special relations with US, but there are 'clear red lines'. Explaining why Defense Minister Barak is holding diplomatic talks, Lieberman says, 'I could be accused of conflict of interests because I live in a settlement' - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday offered an unusual explanation for the fact that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is holding diplomatic talks in his place. Speaking at an Yisrael Beiteinu faction meeting, Lieberman said he was afraid of being accused of thwarting the negotiations due to the fact that he resides in a settlement. The foreign minister rejected claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers using Barak for foreign policy matters, like in his meetings with special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. " People are asking why the defense minister is holding negotiations with the Palestinians. Why is he meeting with Mitchell? And why isn't the Foreign Ministry dealing with the Palestinian issue. 

VIDEO - Zionists blood Zone: Gaza - The Hidden Truth Series #10 
YouTube - YouTube, July 06, 2009 - This Video includes Graphic Content. Viewer discretion is advised. - This most recent episode revolves around three major points: 1- Amnesty International official report on Gaza, (released July 2009) regarding the 22-day Israeli assault reveals that Israel committed war crimes and carried out reckless attacks and acts of wanton destruction in its Gaza offensive. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed using high-precision weapons, while others were shot at close range, the report concluded that Israel committed frank war crimes in Gaza. 2-Biased Corporate Media in America, and how media in the united states are neither objective nor completely honest in their portrayal of important issues, as they convey the news with lack of neutrality. 3-On Tuesday June 30 afternoon Israeli Naval Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, 

Wary of naked force, Israelis eye cyberwar on Iran 
Reuters - Jul 7, 2009 - RAMAT HASHARON, Israel (Reuters) - In the late 1990s, a computer specialist from Israel's Shin Bet internal security service hacked into the mainframe of the Pi Glilot fuel depot north of Tel Aviv. It was meant to be a routine test of safeguards at the strategic site. But it also tipped off the Israelis to the potential such hi-tech infiltrations offered for real sabotage. " Once inside the Pi Glilot system, we suddenly realized that, aside from accessing secret data, we could also set off deliberate explosions, just by programing a re-route of the pipelines," said a veteran of the Shin Bet drill. So began a cyberwarfare project which, a decade on, is seen by independent experts as the likely new vanguard of Israel's efforts to foil the nuclear ambitions of its arch-foe Iran. The appeal of cyber attacks was boosted, Israeli sources say, by the limited feasibility of conventional 

Israel envoy tells U.S. Jews: There is no Israel-U.S. crisis 
Ha'aretz - Haaretz, July 5, 2009 - Israel's ambassador to the United States told a group of American Jews on Saturday that the rift between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations over construction in West Bank settlements was not a crisis, but a difference of opinion. Speaking at an Orthodox synagogue in the Hamptons, Long Island, Michael Oren said he was speaking as an expert on U. S. -Israel relations. He told his audience that there were differences between the allies on certain topics now, just as there has been in the past. The envoy referred to several examples to differentiate the current situation from past crises between Israel and the U. S. He mentioned the threat to impose sanctions on Israel in 1956 during the Sinai campaign and the crises stemming from U. S. military support for Jordan before the 1967 Six-Day War and the U. S. sale of intelligence aircraft to Saudi Arabia. " 

Likud MPs Demand Netanyahu Back Off Two-State Solution 
Antiwar.com - Antiwar. com, July 06, 2009 - Letter Asserts "Moral Right" to West Bank Land - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grudging acceptance for the principle of a two-state solution is not sitting well with members of his Likud Party, who today issued a letter demanding that he abandon the notion of a Palestinian state and continue to expand settlements in the West Bank. The letter cautioned that Likud members “Cannot support a two state solution on principle,” adding that a Palestinian state was “neither possible, nor proper, due to the moral right of the Jewish people to the land. ” It also accused Netanyahu of “defrauding” voters by campaigning on a platform of settlement growth and against peace talks. The right-wing coalition, which took office in April, seemed set to continue on the path its major members campaigned on, but growing pressure from the Obama Administration has forced 

Articles

Our IDF 
Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz 7/6/2009
      Combat is the best, my brother, as the famous bumper sticker reads. It’s a good thing we have Shayetet 13. Operating at the crack of dawn - or was it before nightfall? - the daring naval commandos fearlessly took control of a rusty, rickety, unarmed boat bobbing in the middle of the sea. That’s exactly why we have a naval commando force - to take control of ships offering humanitarian aid. Behold, the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. The military correspondents reported on the incident with an amazement that only they can muster. But even they could not provide a fig leaf for the operation: The Israel Defense Forces has once again used its power to overcome the weak; the navy has once again acted like pirates. The Arion was abducted in the framework of protecting Israel’s security for all eternity, blah, blah, blah. 
     Soldiers, journalists and news consumers automatically refrain from asking questions. The navy captured another ship carrying symbolic aid, as if its passengers were Somali pirates. These were people of conscience from various countries carrying toys and medicine. 
     This was not the navy’s first daring operation of this kind, nor will it be the last. When there are no hostile aid ships on the horizon, the navy takes control of wretched Gazan boats, using water hoses or firing at its passengers - poor fishermen who only want to make a living at sea. This is the main activity unfolding off Gaza’s shores. A navy outfitted with the best arsenal in the world is hunting surfboards. One of the best-armed forces in the world is chasing children, examining old people’s documents and entering bedrooms to make arrests.

Tribal Marxism for Dummies 
Gilad Atzmon, Online Journal 7/1/2009
      The European left must make a serious critical assessment of this “we know better” attitude and the ways it tends to deal with popular forces in the south as ideologically and politically inferior.” --Hisham Bustani
     “The subsequent emergence of Islamism holds a false promise. While it poses a challenge to Western domination, it is backward looking and inherently unable to deliver progress.” --Moshe Machover June 2009
     For very many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse was dominated by leftist ideology carried largely by Jewish Marxists. Though the support of Jewish leftists was rather important at an early stage, it lost its primacy and urgency as Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian solidarity discourse evolved into a vivid autonomous discourse based on widely accepted ethical grounds.
     The Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are now well documented. No one needs the odd kosher ‘righteous Jew’ to prove that this is indeed the case.
     And yet, in spite of the clear fact that Palestinian solidarity discourse moved ahead, Jewish Marxists are still insisting upon dictating their tribally orientated pseudo-analytical vision of reality.
     Jewish Marxism is very different from Marxism or socialism in general. While Marxism is a universal paradigm, its Jewish version is very different. It is there to mould Marxist dialectic into a Jewish subservient precept. Jewish Marxism is basically a crude utilisation of ‘Marxist-like’ terminology for the sole purpose of the Jewish tribal cause. It is a Judeo-centric pseudo intellectual setting which aims at political power.


Electronic Intifada
Elections only fortify Lebanon's sectarian politics
7 Jul 2009 - Lebanon's elections last month confirmed yet again that in this tiny Mediterranean country, sectarian politics are paramount. Long gone from the collective consciousness are the lessons of the 15-year civil war that began as a political and class dispute and descended into sectarian enmity. Forgotten also are the post-war years that led up to the recent elections and were characterized by the ebb and flow of civil strife. Sami Halabi comments for Electronic Lebanon. 

Melbourne International Film Festival urged to not promote apartheid
7 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing with grave concern over the Melbourne International Film Festival's cultural partnership with the Israeli state, as advertised in its promotional material. We write to urge the festival not to accept Israeli government funding or sustain this partnership with a state that practices occupation, colonialism and apartheid. 

The dream of returning home
7 Jul 2009 - Fadi looked up and pointed at the rain. "This is like our life. We hate the rain. But we can't change it so we will stay under it." This rain appeared all the more invasive when picking lemons in winter. It is a cold, wet and miserable task, for the equivalent of $7 a day. A task only perceived to be fit for Palestinians in Lebanon. Despite Fadi's postgraduate qualification in accounting and fluency in English, he rightly pointed out that "I can't be a lawyer, I can't be a doctor ... Seventy-two jobs I can't do." Mary Pole writes from the al-Buss refugee camp. 

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. 

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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