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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
9 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Palestinian refugee dies at the Iraqi-Syrian border
10 Jul 2009 - A Palestinian refugee died on Thursday at the Al Waleed camp, on the Iraqi-Syrian border after a sharp decline in her health condition, while stranded along with nearly hundreds refugee on the border. 

'Artery of Life' to head to Gaza on July 23
9 Jul 2009 - Jamal El Khodary, Chairman of the Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS), reported Thursday that the 'Artery of Life Convoy', currently in Egypt, is preparing to head to the Gaza Strip on July 23 carrying 180 activists. 

Gilad in Egypt for Shalit talks
9 Jul 2009 - Head of the Diplomatic-Security Bureau at the Israeli Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, arrived in Cairo on Thursday for a series of talks with Egyptian officials on the release on corporal Gilad Shalit captured by the resistance in Gaza since 2006. 

The Israeli military kidnap a Muslim cleric in Jerusalem and send him to Jericho
9 Jul 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped on Thursday at dawn Sheikh Ali Abbasi, the Imam of the Al Qassa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Palestinian fighters open fire at a settler car near Ramallah city
9 Jul 2009 - A group of Palestinian fighters opened fire on Thursday at an Israeli settler car near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Unknown gunmen kill a Palestinian man in Hebron city
9 Jul 2009 - Unknown gunmen killed on Thursday a Palestinian man in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Two Palestinians arrested for killing an Israeli cab driver
9 Jul 2009 - The Israeli police cleared for publication the recent arrest of two Palestinians who reportedly killed an Israeli cab driver from Ashdod two months ago.  Charges were officially filed against the two of Thursday morning. 

Hamdan: 'Abbas' call for elections, an attempt to avoid Cairo unity talks'
9 Jul 2009 - Usama Hamdan, a senior Hamas political leader, stated that the calls of President Mahmoud Abbas to hold presidential and legislative elections under Arab and International supervision, is an attempt to avoid holding unity talks in Cairo. 

Hamas holds talks with Palestinian factions in Gaza
9 Jul 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Thursday that Hamas movement held on Wednesday evening a series of talks with leaders of Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to discuss the latest development I unity talks and the agreements reached during the last round of internal talks in Cairo. 

Jewish Defense League attacks Arab-owned store in France
9 Jul 2009 - Four French Jews, members of the Jewish Defense League, attacked and vandalized a book store in France owned by a pro-Palestinian Arab couple. 

Hammad: 'We arrested spy rings for Fateh in Gaza'
9 Jul 2009 - In a TV interview with the Al Aqsa TV, run by Hamas in Gaza, Minister of Interior at the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza, Fathi Hammad. stated that the security forces of his ministry arrested what he described as ‘spy rings’ working for Fateh. 

Settlers stepping up construction, attack Jewish Peace Now activists
9 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Peace Now movement published a video filmed by its activists in Dolev settlement in the occupied West Bank. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Egypt arrests Palestinian-led cell over Suez terror plot
9 Jul 2009 - Egypt: 25 detained on suspicion of plotting attacks on oil pipelines, ships crossing Suez Canal. 

Palestinian suspects: We killed cabbie because he was a Jew
9 Jul 2009 - West Bank men claim they murdered Gregory Rabinovich to avenge the IDF killing of their Islamic Jihad relative. 

Shalit deal stalled by freeze in Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks
9 Jul 2009 - Israeli defense sources: Likelihood of a speedy deal to release Shalit is slim. 

Suspected Lebanese spy believed to have fled to Israel
8 Jul 2009 - Suspected spy, Lt. Col. Daher Jarjoui, was the Lebanese army's liaison with a Spanish company in UNIFIL. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Jerusalem archbishop: ’Wall has turned our lives into Hell’
7/9/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The Roman Orthodox Church's Jerusalem archbishop on Thursday said the Israeli separation wall should be removed immediately. "The wall must be removed in the same way as it was built - quickly, and should be demolished even faster," Bishop Atallah Hanna said at a mass on Thursday. Speaking to congregants at the Jerusalem Old City's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Hanna added that "the wall demonstrates Palestinian suffering and defines their lives, which have turned into Hell. " Specifically addressing a number of foreigners in the crowd, Hanna praised recent visits by internationals, who have "come to show their solidarity with Palestinians and to witness the harsh conditions that they are facing. " Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s advisory opinion on the legality of the 724 km wall that Israel continues to construct across the West Bank. 

PA set to call in UNSC over Israeli plans to cofiscate land, build Dead Sea canal
7/9/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian ministers will approach the US and the World Bank demanding a halt to construction plans for a canal linking the Dead to the Red sea including the confiscation of more than a hundred thousand dunums of Palestinian land. The Ministers say two recent Israeli moves, first to announce a “go ahead” from the World Bank for the construction of a multi-billion dollar project to link the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, and second to begin the process of registering 139,000 dunums of Palestinian land between the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim and the Dead sea as “abandoned,” with the intent to annex the land to the settlement, constitute a grand move to push the canal project forward. Apropos to the recent Israeli moves, the Council of Ministers issued a statement demanding the US Administration and the International Quartet Committee adopt a firm position regarding the Israeli government actions. 

International, Palestinian organizations call for wall demolition
7/9/2009 - [OCHA map]Bethlehem - Ma’an - On 9 July 2004 the International Criminal Court ruled that Israel must cease construction of its separation wall, dismantle those sections already completed and make reparations for the damages caused by the construction. Five years after that decision Israeli construction continues and has seen 58. 3% of the wall complete and a total of 413 kilometers, according to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Palestine; another 10. 2% of the wall is under construction. Palestinian and international institutions marked Thursday’s fifth anniversary of the ICJ decision and released a slew of condemnations for the continued construction of the wall, and telling statistics around the scope of Israel’s separation program. The Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department released the following statistics: Once completed,. . . 

Countering recent attacks by settlers, mayor of Jewish town in US sends Obama support
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The mayor of Kiryas Joel, a village within the town of Monroe, New York, whose residents are entirely Hasidic Jews including many holocaust survivors, sent a letter of support to US President Barak Obama urging him to continue pushing for regional peace, including on his call to halt settlement construction, and end the “senseless bloodshed” in the Middle East. “As an American of the Jewish faith, and as a mayor of the largest village inhabited by Orthodox Jews, I am writing to support your noble efforts,” Mayor Abraham Wieder opened the letter. Commentary on the letter by Yirmiyahu Cohen, who writes often for the group Jews Against Zionism, said “The letter was written in reaction to the anti-Obama rhetoric of some religious pro-settler organizations, which have become increasingly vocal in recent weeks as the Obama administration continues. . . 

Palestinians and supporters lobby EU’s Solana in Brussels
7/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an - EU High Commissioner Javier Solana and a high-level delegation of European parliamentarians met with Palestinian civil society groups in Brussels Wednesday over growing calls to lift the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian delegation gave an in-depth review of the policies of partnership and cooperation between Europe and Israel, concluding that it was within the right of the EU to demand the crossings be opened. The delegation pressed Solana to speak with Israeli and Egyptian officials to secure the opening of the crossings into Gaza, and requested that the EU re-evaluate its recent decision to upgrade its trade relations with Israel. Solana reviewed current EU support for Palestinians, and noted the union counted Israeli settlement activity as illegal under international law. 

Two Gaza crossings opened Thursday
7/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel reopened the Karem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings for minimal transfers of goods and kept the Karin crossing closed, crossings official Raed Fattouh said Thursday. Supplies for the 1. 5 million residents of the Strip are expected to be 65-75 truckloads of humanitarian aid and quantities of industrial diesel for the Gaza power plant. The crossing will be partially opened Friday, and closed Saturday. [end] 

Report: Five years ago ICJ said wall must fall
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Badil - Today marks the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) advisory opinion on the legality of the 724 km wall that Israel continues to construct across the West Bank. The ICJ's ruling was clear and unambiguous: the wall's construction is illegal; Israel must terminate construction immediately, dismantle the sections already built and return confiscated properties; and Palestinians affected by the construction must be compensated. The court further stated that all states are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from its construction or to render aid or assistance maintaining the situation created by such construction. The ICJ ruling should have been a victory for the forces demanding respect for and implementation of international law. 

Israelis seize young woman at Tulkarem checkpoint
7/9/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli troops detained at gunpoint a Palestinian woman at the I'nab checkpoint east of Tulkarem on Thursday afternoon. Eyewitnesses said the woman was travelling through the checkpoint on her way to Tulkarem when she was pulled out of the car and searched by armed Israeli soldiers. Bystanders said troops suddenly surrounded her and trained half a dozen rifles at her. Soldiers told witnesses they had found two knives in her bag. The young woman was eventually identified as Abeer Audah, a recently released prisoner, who had apparently been arrested before for carrying knives. [end] 

Israel releases Tulkarem-area man after three years detention
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israel released Tulkarem area native Mohammed Sultan Mallah from prison early Wednesday morning, after detaining him for three and a half years, Israeli authorities said. Mallah was taken from his home on 2 March 2006, he was held on charges of belonging to Hamas and spent his detention at the Ofer and Negev prison facilities[end] 

Army to allow Palestinians inside Israel to enter Nablus
7/9/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israel's military plans to allow its Palestinian citizens access to Nablus for a shopping festival, according to one of its organizers on Thursday. Tayseer Nasrallah of the festival's high preliminary committee told Ma'an that the Israeli side had informed him that Palestinian citizens will be able to visit the city starting Sunday and for the duration of the festival. Nasrallah added that "this is an important step, but the Palestinian side is waiting for the decision to remove all of Israel's checkpoints surrounding Nablus for this occasion. " The Nablus Shopping Festival will begin on 15 July and last for one month. It is against Israeli law for its citizens - Jewish or Palestinian - to enter West Bank cities under the control of the Palestinian Authority. The country does, however, from time to time allow Palestinian-Israelis access on special occasions. 

EC backs down over settlement statement, apologizes to Israel
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Officials in Europe apologized to Israel's Ambassador to the EU Ron Kuriel following a flurry of anger at the Israeli Foreign Ministry following a statement on the problems Israeli settlements create for Palestinians in the West Bank. A Short statement from the EC following its seventh payment to the Palestinian Authority to help the government body make its civil servant payroll noted concern over the effect of settlements in “strangling” the Palestinian economy. The phenomenon has been documented by several international bodies. Israeli officials were irate over the statement, part of a four paragraph news release, which cited a World Bank report with the same findings. The Foreign Ministry called in the EC representative in Israel and reprimanded him. "The press release unfortunately uses wording which does not reflect statements. . . 

PA official hosts Quartet head for talks on economy
7/9/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority officials met in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday with an International Quartet figure to discuss the economy. Robert Danin, head of the Quartet's Ramallah office, met with Hasan Abu Lebdah of the Palestinian Ministerial Council for a briefing on efforts to revive the local Palestinian economy. The two announced several projects, including a number of industrial zones designed to change the status quo in Area C regions throughout the West Bank, despite that they fall under Israel's jurisdiction. Officials would find a way to develop the areas and all investment in efforts to create jobs, they said, and include Gaza in future plans. They also noted that the Quartet's chief, Tony Blair, was expected to visit next week. Blair maintains a permanent residence in East Jerusalem. 

G-8 calls on Israel to open Gaza crossings
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Group of Eight industrialized nations on Thursday demanded that Israel open its crossings into the Gaza Strip. From Italy, the group called on Israel to allow in humanitarian aid and commercial goods, as well as people, into the besieged strip, but added that it must not be done in a way that harms Israel's security. Earlier on Thursday Israel had reopened the Karem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings for minimal transfers of goods and kept the Karni crossing closed, an official said. The G-8 also insisted that Hamas release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was seized in a cross-border raid in 2006 and has been held pending a prisoner exchange. He added, however, that Hamas leaders did not rule out the possibility of returning to the negotiating table when Israel was ready to meet its demands, which include the release of some 450 Palestinian prisoners. 

Syria detains Palestinian journalist
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Syrian security agents have abducted a Palestinian journalist from Lebanon, according to multiple news reports on Thursday. The Palestinian, Helmi Moussa, is the Israeli affairs editor for the As-Safir newspaper in Lebanon, and was traveling to Syria for a conference when he was reportedly seized while making a speech in Damascus. According to the Beirut-based Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, Moussa was detained as far back as last Sunday, for reasons unclear. The group added that the journalist wrote often of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination for the Lebanese newspaper, and that he had been jailed by Israel in the past. Meanwhile the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli newspaper, quoted media reports that a former Knesset member, Azmi Bishara, was trying to secure Moussa's release with the authorities. 

Hamas: PA arrests 4 members
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Athority forces detained four Hamas members and affiliates from the West Bank overnight Wednesday, party sources said. Those taken were from Hamas in Hebron, Tulkarem, Nablus and Bethlehem. [end] 

PA forces preside over mass wedding for officers in Jenin
7/9/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Thirty officers with the Palestinian Authority security services were wed in a mass wedding in Jenin Thursday sponsored by Minister of the Interior Sa’id Abu Ali. The wedding was held in a Jenin playground and attended by officials from within the security departments, members of Palestinian Legislative Council, and hundreds of local officials and family members of the brides and grooms. Security services employees make a maximum of 2,000 shekels (500 US dollars) a month, while the costs for weddings in the West Bank have soared over the past years. Make-up, henna and hair for a bride commonly costs 700 shekels, while food, halls and party favors make exorbitant costs too much for many young men. Families of the couples expressed their thanks to the security services department and interior minister for their assistance in the weddings of their sons and daughters. 

PFLP sits in unity meetings with Leftists and Hamas; Fatah in two sets of talks
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - PFLP members attended two meetings in Gaza, one with leftist parties and Hamas, and another with Hamas and Fatah leaders Wednesday night in what the party says is part of its regular efforts to promote unity between the sides. Responding to reports of leaders with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) meeting with factions not including Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Popular Resistance Committees, the Information Department issued an exclusive statement noting the party’s frequent meetings with all factions over the unity issue. PFLP members “regularly meet one-on-one as well as in groups with Hamas, Fateh and all Palestinian factions,” officials at the department said, noting they often set up the meetings in an effort to push forward dialogue. “At all of these meetings, the PFLP stresses upon the importance of a full comprehensive national. . . 

Egyptian delegation pushes unity talks in Ramallah
7/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Egyptian security delegation arrived in Ramallah Thursday charged with pushing forward unity talks in a fortified effort that began five days ago. The Egyptian security delegation, headed by Deputy to the Egyptian Intelligence Chief Mohammad Ibrahim will hold three full days of meetings with figures in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Fatah and leaders of PLO factions, informed sources said. The first meeting will be held with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Fatah’s delegation to the Cairo talks. Earlier this week Ibrahim met with Hamas and other leaders from Palestinian factions in Damascus. He will not travel to Gaza, sources said. 

The National

New chapter begins as Syria and Saudi resume relations
9 Jul 2009 - Analysis: This week's announcement by Saudi Arabia that it will send an ambassador to Syria is a clear sign that a new chapter is really beginning.

Achieving two states without a solution
8 Jul 2009 - Comment: Israel has been quietly assembling a framework for handing over a battered Gaza and West Bank without surrendering real control.

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.

Aljazeera

Iranian police disperse protest
9 Jul 2009 - Protesters mark the 10th anniversary of an attack on Tehran University dormitory.

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.

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

RIGHTS-US: Muslim Groups Seek Reform of Charity Blacklisting 
NEW YORK, Jul 8 (IPS) - While President Barack Obama conceded in his speech in Cairo last month that U.S. rules on charitable giving "have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation", civil rights advocates are pressing the president to turn his words into action.

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.

Stop The Wall

New report on the impact of the Wall in the West Bank
9 Jul 2009 - Today, The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) and the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, issued a joint report entitled 

New report denounces Israeli aggression against Palestinian communities
8 Jul 2009 - “Repression allowed, resistance denied: Israel’s suppression of the popular movement against the Apartheid Wall”, a joint report from Stop the Wall Campaign and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association examines Israel’s policies of arrest, detention and violent repression against Palestinian Popular Committees engaged in the struggle against the construction of Wall. Five years after the International Court of Justice’s landmark advisory opinion declaring the illegality of the Wall being constructed in the occupied Palestinian territory, the attention of those committed to the principles of international law should turn to the plight of those attempting to resist the Wall’s construction. [

PCHR Latest

(08 July)  On 5th Anniversary of ICJ Advisory Opinion on ‘The Wall’ PCHR Highlight Israel’s Continued Violations of International Law, and the International Community’s Complicity in Illegal Acts ..::..
PCHR

(08 July)  Individuals’ Passports Requisitioned to Prevent Them from Traveling
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(02 - 08 July  2008)
On Thursday, 02 July 2009, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Gaza Valley village, fired three artillery shells at the area.  One shell landed a few meters away from the house of Kamal 'Abdul 'Aziz Abu 'Aayesh, 52, nearly one kilometer away from the border

International Solidarity Movement

Ni’lin demonstrators testify at the United Nations
International Solidarity Movement - The West Bank village of Ni'lin has been demonstrating since the Israeli government began for a second time to construct the Apartheid Wall on village lands in May 2008. To date, Israeli forces have killed 5 residents of Ni'lin and critically injured 1 American solidarity activist. According to local medics who volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 450 people have been injured during demonstrations as of April 2009. Visibly, the violence from Israeli forces dramatically increased during and after the 22 day assault on Gaza that began on 27 December 2008. Israeli forces have killed 3 demonstrators since the beginning of the Gaza assault in Ni'lin. Additionally, the Israeli army has introduced new weapons against demonstrators; using the high-velocity tear gas projectile and a 0. 22 calibre live ammunition shot by sniper fire as a means of crowd dispersal. 

Israel’s wall still deepening the divide
International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian, 9 July 2009 - Five years ago today, the international court of justice in The Hague published its advisory opinion on Israel's separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The keenly awaited verdict, requested by the UN's general assembly, was clear: Israel's wall is illegal, it must be removed and adequate compensation paid. The wall's illegality, and Israel's obligation to dismantle the structure and pay damages for the consequences of the wall thus far, were all agreed by the judges by a margin of 14-1. (The ICJ also accepted the use of the term "wall", since "other expressions" are "no more accurate". ) There was also confirmation that Israel's settlements were "a flagrant violation" of the convention, established "in breach of international law" (contrast this with the mealy-mouthed nitpicking over outposts and "freezes" by Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu). 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Was it necessary for Jews to demonize Madoff to such an extent?
9 Jul 2009 - The chorus line of Bernard Madoff's victims who rushed to damn him on the airwaves last week following the ridiculously over-the-top 150-year prison sentence made me sick. At least one of the victims was a Holocaust survivor, which only made me feel worse. ... 

Not a gang 
9 Jul 2009 - Holding a soldier captive and not allowing the Red Cross to visit him is a crime. Showering missiles and rockets on a civilian population is a whole other war crime. ... 

Settlers are encountering their first real opponent - Obama
9 Jul 2009 - The mood in Jerusalem this week was one of shock. As if it weren't enough that the Obama administration is ignoring previous understandings between Israel and the Bush administration regarding natural growth in the settlements, now it seems there isn't agreement even on the outposts. ...

Mubarak: Israel scuttled Shalit deal at last minute
9 Jul 2009 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak accused Israel on Thursday of sabotaging at the last minute a deal that would have seen captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit freed from Hamas captivity in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. ...

Sarkozy: Israel strike on Iran would be catastrophe
8 Jul 2009 - A unilateral attack by Israel against Iran to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions would be an "absolute catastrophe," AFP quoted French President Nicolas Sarkozy as warning on Thursday. ...

The Guardian

Israel's wall still deepening the divide | Ben White
9 Jul 2009 - Five years ago the international court of justice ruled that Israel's separation wall should be demolished. But it is still growing Five years ago today, the international court of justice in The Hague published its advisory...

The Dayton force dilemma | Nicholas Blincoe
8 Jul 2009 - A US-led Palestinian security force is said to be a barrier to unity government, but has brought a welcome calm to the West Bank A small battalion of soldiers had taken control of the main junction...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Israel's Me-Bay revolution 
9 Jul 2009 - Many consumers who want to buy home appliances have become accustomed to checking the Zap Web site to do their homework and check prices, even if they don't intend to purchase the product online. During the past year and a half, in addition to the range of prices and wide variety of stores found by searching on zap.co.il, new sales methods have cropped up on the Internet: individual sales and group sales. The final price in these sales is usually lower than what consumers will find anywhere else. Occasionally a product that costs hundreds or thousands of shekels is offered for individual sale "starting from one shekel." ...

Basketball star Omri Casspi becomes first Israeli in NBA 
9 Jul 2009 - It's official. Following bureaucratic delays between Europe's basketball governing body FIBA and the NBA, Omri Casspi has finally been given the green light to play in the world's top basketball league. On Thursday he signed with his new club, the Sacramento Kings. Casspi will be the first Israeli player to suit up in an NBA jersey. ... 

Women recount harrowing details of sexual assaults 
9 Jul 2009 - Kfar Sava police said Thursday that two recently arrested teens are suspects in numerous assaults against women in central Israel in recent months. ... 

Relief Web

Legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
9 Jul 2009 - Source: International Court of Justice

OPT: ANERA trains 100 preschool teachers in Gaza
9 Jul 2009 - Source: American Near East Refugee Aid

OPT: Tr?caire welcomes the release of Mairead Corrigan
9 Jul 2009 - Source: Trócaire

OPT: Five years on, Israel continues to disregard the ICJ's Advisory Opinion on the Wall - OHCHR statement
8 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

OPT: Easing of restrictions in Judea and Samaria in 2009
9 Jul 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

oPt: Humanitarian Impact of the Barrier in Salfit Governorate (as of Jul 2009)
9 Jul 2009 - Source: OCHA

oPt: Official Barrier Route Revisions (as of Jul 2009)
9 Jul 2009 - Source: OCHA

oPt: West Bank Barrier Route Projections (as of Jul 2009)
9 Jul 2009 - Source: OCHA

YNet News

Netanyahu uses historically charged term in talk with German FM
9 Jul 2009 - Prime minister tells Germany's Steinmeier West Bank cannot be 'Judenrein' 

Sarkozy: Israeli strike on Iran would be 'catastrophe'
9 Jul 2009 - French president says unilateral Israeli strike aimed at hindering Tehran's nuclear program would be 'absolute catastrophe'; earlier, world leaders agree on need to pursue negotiated deal with Iran

G8: Release Shalit, open Gaza crossings
9 Jul 2009 - G8 countries urge Israeli government, Palestinians to quickly resume direct negotiations in line with Roadmap; Jewish State also called upon to freeze settlement construction

Druze protest: Give us water
9 Jul 2009 - As IDF honors Druze soldiers in official ceremonies, some 200 Druze and Circassians demonstrate in Tel Aviv against purported discrimination of Druze councils at hands of Israeli government

UN: Gaza war rubble to take year to clear
9 Jul 2009 - Senior official laments inability to rebuild Gaza Strip due to Israeli closure

Report: Amos Gilad in Cairo for talks on Shalit
9 Jul 2009 - Arab media reporting head of Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau in Egypt for series of meetings in attempt to secure broad ceasefire agreement with Hamas that may include release of captive Israeli soldier

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

Palestinian Information Center

PRC: Political detainees should be immediately released
9 Jul 2009 - The Popular resistance committees on Thursday said that the political detention file should be closed once and for all and political detainees should be immediately released.

Muzaini : Egypt did not tell Hamas about resuming prisoner swap talks
9 Jul 2009 - Senior Hamas official Osama Al-Muzaini stated Wednesday that the Egyptian side did not tell his Movement about anything related to the resumption of the prisoner swap talks with Israel.

Abbas's security rounds up four Hamas supporters
9 Jul 2009 - Security forces loyal to former PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday rounded up four Palestinians in various West Bank areas for supporting the Hamas Movement.

UN: The Israeli apartheid wall has serious impacts on life of Palestinians
9 Jul 2009 - The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said Wednesday that the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank has serious humanitarian impacts on the daily life of Palestinians.

Group of industrialized nations demands immediate opening of Gaza crossings
9 Jul 2009 - A statement issued by the group of eight industrialized nations during their summit held Wednesday in the Italian city of L'Aquila demanded an immediate opening of Gaza crossings.

Gaza ready for lifeline-2 convoy
9 Jul 2009 - The government committee to receive foreign delegations announced it was fully prepared to receive the second convoy of lifeline charity led by British MP George Galloway.

PFLP: It is wrong to wager on American stands
9 Jul 2009 - The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has reiterated its refusal to wager on the American administration's stands under Barack Obama regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

European-Palestinian delegation urges Solana to work on ending Israeli siege
9 Jul 2009 - A delegation of European and Palestinian lawmakers and officials called on Javier Solana during a meeting with him on Wednesday in Brussels to actively move to end the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

Hamdan: Abbas's call for elections attempts to evade dialog requisites
9 Jul 2009 - Hamas has doubted the sincerity of former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas's call for presidential and parliamentary elections under Arab and international supervision.

Omamah website exposed to closure attempts by PA and Israel
9 Jul 2009 - The Omamah website affiliated with Hamas was blocked once again on Tuesday after many previous attempts to close it by the Palestinian authorities in Ramallah and the Israeli intelligence.

Los Angeles Times

Iran protests draw thousands but are quickly quelled 
10 Jul 2009 - Clashes erupt between demonstrators and police in Tehran, as the dispute over Iran's presidential election results continues. Violent clashes erupted Thursday in downtown Tehran between thousands of defiant protesters chanting "Death to the dictator" and security forces wielding truncheons, as the political crisis over Iran's disputed presidential election stretched into its fourth week. 

Iranian exile speaks out against militia he once supported 
9 Jul 2009 - Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, a former child fighter and political prisoner, says Iran's bloody crackdown on protesters prompted him to 'out' ex-colleagues in Ansar-e Hezbollah who took part in the beatings. For people around the globe, the images of club-wielding men on motorcycles beating demonstrators on the streets of Tehran was just another case of brutality in a far-off land. 

Protesters, security forces gather across Iran 
9 Jul 2009 - Demonstrations are planned in more than 200 cities and towns across the country, protesting last month's disputed election. Participants are advised to carry nothing heavier than a rose. Protesters and security forces have begun to gather in the streets of downtown Tehran as the nation braces for a potential day of violent confrontations. 

New York Times

Iran Security Forces Move to Crush Renewed Protests
9 Jul 2009 - Iranian security forces moved in quickly to try to disperse thousands of protesters, shattering 11 days of tense calm in Tehran, witnesses said. 

G-8 Nations Press Iran on Nuclear Program
9 Jul 2009 - Industrial nations set a deadline over the nuclear program, but remain vague and divided over what consequences they might try to impose. 

Lod Journal: Polishing a Lost Gem to Dazzle Tourists
8 Jul 2009 - Officials in a poor town hope that a 1,700-year-old mosaic floor, one of the largest and finest tiled floors in Israel, will help restore their city’s past glory. 

Misc

Is Israel Already at War With Iran? 
ABC News - ABC News, 7/8/2009 - Experts Believe Israeli Securitry Forces Are Hacking Into Iranian Networks - Israel may have already started a war against Iran's nuclear program – not with bunker busting bombs and cruise missiles, but with computers. Defense analysts believe Israel has been targeting the Islamic Republic's computer networks, to gather intelligence on the nuclear program and also to launch cyber attacks against it. " This has become a very important area in Israeli strategy, and it has to be taken into account," said Alon Ben David, an Israeli defense specialist. "It has become a more and more important element both for intelligence gathering but also for aggressive operations. " Experts believe Israeli intelligence agencies have been hacking into Iranian computer systems in an effort to disrupt or contaminate networks with viruses and malicious software. 

Netanyahu adviser raises 'MAD' nuclear scenario 
Reuters - Reuters - JERUSALEM, July 9 (Reuters) - Israel must have "tremendously powerful" weapons to deter a nuclear attack or destroy an enemy that dares to launch an atomic strike, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted on Thursday as saying. National security adviser Uzi Arad, in comments to Haaretz newspaper, appeared to allude to what is widely believed to be Israel's own nuclear arsenal and a standing policy of "mutually assured destruction" (MAD). He warned other countries they could bring about their own devastation if they launched an attack. Israel has never confirmed it has atomic arms. In excerpts on Haaretz's English-language website of an interview to be published on Friday, Arad said he feared that if Iran became a nuclear power, five or six other states in the Middle East would follow suit. 

Israel to allow 24-hour West Bank crossing 
Reuters - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Wednesday it would allow a crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan to remain open 24 hours a day to help the Palestinian economy. " The prime minister has ordered an immediate and significant extension of opening hours of the Allenby Bridge crossing for imports and exports in order to increase business activity and improve the lives of Palestinians," an official statement said. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told reporters the crossing, named after General Edmund Allenby, the British commander in colonial Palestine after World War One, would be open 24 hours a day. The Palestinian Authority has demanded the Allenby terminal operate around the clock. Until now it has been open for passenger and commercial traffic for 12 hours a day during the working week and seven hours a day at weekends. 

UN: Israel must tear down West Bank barrier 
Antiwar.com - Antiwar. com, 7/8/2009 - UN human rights official says Israel must tear down West Bank separation barrier - Israel must tear down its West Bank separation barrier, a senior U. N. official said Wednesday, marking five years since the International Court of Justice declared the barrier illegal and a violation of Palestinian rights. The barrier separates Israel from the West Bank and in places cuts into Palestinian territory. Israel started building it in 2002 to stop a wave of suicide bombing attacks by Palestinians, who infiltrated across the cease-fire line. Palestinians charge the complex of walls, trenches, barbed wire and electronic sensors is a land grab that cuts people off from their property and basic services. Israel did not recognize the 2004 ruling against the barrier by the International Court of Justice, an advisory opinion with no enforcement mechanism. 

EU retracts criticism of Israeli settlements 
Ha'aretz - Haaretz , 7/9/2009 - The European Commission on Thursday backtracked on its unusually harsh criticism of Israeli settlements, declaring that a statement released earlier this week did not reflect the commission's position. The contentious statement accused Israel's settlement policy of strangling the Palestinian economy and making the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid. The Foreign Ministry called in the EU ambassador to protest the report, accusing the commission of stepping beyond its authority in issuing such criticism and not taking into account Israel's security concerns in the West Bank. "The press release unfortunately uses wording which does not reflect statements by the EU Commission," European Union spokesman David Kriss said Thursday. The commission is concerned about the negative effect settlement policy has on the economic life of Palestinians, Kriss 

Risking Israel’s ire, US takes 1,350 Palestinian refugees 
Christian Science Monitor - Christian Science Monitor, July 7, 2009 - The US is generally reluctant to resettle Palestinians, but these are refugees from Iraq who have been targeted since the invasion. - ATLANTA - The State Department confirmed today that as many as 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians – once the well-treated guests of Saddam Hussein and now at outs with much of Iraqi society – will be resettled in the US, mostly in southern California, starting this fall. It will be the largest-ever resettlement of Palestinian refugees into the US – and welcome news to the Palestinians who fled to Iraq after 1948 but who have had a tough time since Mr. Hussein was deposed in 2003. Targeted by Iraqi Shiites, the mostly-Sunni Palestinians have spent recent years in one of the region's roughest refugee camps, Al Waleed, near Iraq's border with Syria. " Really for the first time, the United States is recognizing a Palestinian refugee 

VIDEO - Palestine: I Resist (Never Before Campaign) 
YouTube - Video - YouTube - Palestine: I Resist (Never Before Campaign). [end] 

Articles

Achieving two states without a solution 
Jonathan Cook, The National 7/8/2009
      Ramallah, West Bank // Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has been much criticised in Israel, as well as abroad, for failing to present his own diplomatic initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to forestall US intervention.
     Mr Netanyahu may have huffed and puffed before giving voice to the phrase “two states for two peoples” at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, but the contours of just such a Palestinian state – or states – have been emerging undisturbed for some time. 
     In fact, Mr Netanyahu appears every bit as committed as his predecessors to creating the facts of an Israeli-imposed two-state solution, one he and others in Israel’s leadership doubtless hope will eventually be adopted by the White House as the “pragmatic” – if far from ideal – option. While Israel has been buying yet more time with Washington in bickering over a paltry settlement freeze, it has been forging ahead with the process of creating two Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, that, despite supposedly emerging from occupation, are in reality sinking ever deeper into chronic dependency on Israeli goodwill. 
     This is creating a culture of absolute Israeli control and absolute Palestinian dependency, enforced by proxy Palestinian rulers acting as mini-dictatorships.
     For a growing number of Palestinians, the conditions of bare subsistence and even survival are Israeli gifts that few can afford to spurn through political activity, let alone civil disobedience or armed resistance. The Palestinian will to organise and resist as their land is seized for settlements is being inexorably sapped.

Israeli barrier deepens ancient enmity 
Omar Karmi, The National 7/9/2009
      RAMALLAH, WEST BANK // It has become one of the most potent images of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Seven years since construction started on the Israeli separation barrier – part barbed-wire fence and military road, part concrete wall – 413km of a projected 709km route have now been completed. 
     Israel says the barrier is purely a security measure and points to the complete drop-off in suicide bombings in the past two years. But Palestinians say it is a land grab and point out that almost all the barrier actually runs inside occupied territory specifically to include Jewish settlements on the “Israeli” side.
     Yesterday marked five years since the International Court of Justice in The Hague, asked by the UN’s General Assembly to rule on the legality of the barrier, came out with its advisory opinion. 
     The ICJ found that the barrier, where it runs along the pre-June 1967 armistice line, the so-called green line, is justifiable, but where it dips into the West Bank, is illegal under international law. 
     Israel ignored the ruling, claiming since it was an advisory opinion it was not legally binding. According to Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political science at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, it was also just another in a “long line of attempts to delegitimise Israel”.
     “The ruling is irrelevant. [The ICJ] is not a court, it’s a political forum. It was an advisory opinion. I could write an advisory opinion. It’s only being used as part of the political war.”
     That is a widely held opinion in Israel, certainly of successive Israeli governments. 
     The Israeli military has changed the route of the barrier only after rulings by the Israeli High Court, which has at times considered stretches of the barrier to exceed the security rationale, but has never ruled on the legality of the barrier itself.


Electronic Intifada
Study: Tel Aviv University part and parcel of the Israeli occupation
9 Jul 2009 - A study prepared by the School of Oriental and African Studies Palestine Society outlines Tel Aviv University's (TAU) intensive, purposive and open institutional contributions to the Israeli military. The briefing paper presented irrefutable evidence of TAU's deep investment in the facilitation and prosecution (at both the material and conceptual level) of what amount to war crimes. 

Destroying Gaza
9 Jul 2009 - Recently, I spoke with some friends in Gaza and the conversations were profoundly disturbing. My friends spoke of the deeply-felt absence of any source of protection -- personal, communal or institutional. There is little in society that possesses legitimacy and there is a fading consensus on rules and an eroding understanding of what they are for. Sara Roy comments. 

Offering Israel new opportunities for obstruction
8 Jul 2009 - Israel has never been short of pretexts for obstructing progress towards a Middle East peace settlement. But recent moves to push Arab and Muslim states to normalize ties with Israel as a reward for agreeing to freeze settlement construction will likely provide Israel with more opportunities for obstruction rather than incentives for cooperation. Hasan Abu Nimah comments. 

Six months later, no reconstruction in Gaza
8 Jul 2009 - Mahmoud Abu al-Anzain and his wife, Umm Naim, and their three children used to live in a two-room, cement-roofed house. It wasn't a palace, but it was a home. The house was completely destroyed by Israeli army fire during last January's assault on the Gaza Strip. Six months later, the family is among those still living in tents. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
lost tranquility
8 Jul 2009 - “Mohammed, Mohammed, and Ibrahim were their names. We used to love going out of Beit Hanoun a little ways to our favourite open area. We’d smoke nargila, drink tea, listen to music, cry…whatever, we were in a quiet place, alone but together, friends.” Ahmed, 24, has lived through some of Gaza’s worst years, including the last massacre, 3 weeks of non-stop Israeli bombing throughout Gaza. “ November 2006 was also a bad time in Beit Hanoun . The Israelis killed 18 people, almost all from the same family. And there were many other invasions,” terrible times, he explained. “I love this town, but it’s hard living here.” “The worst for me...

Palestine Chronicle
Obama's Rollback Strategy and the Boomerang Effect
9 Jul 2009 - By James Petras The recent events in Honduras and Iran, which pit democratically elected regimes against pro-US military and civilian actors intent on overthrowing them can best be understood as part of a larger White House strategy designed to rollback the gains achieved by opposition government and movements during the Bush years. In a manner reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s New Cold War policies, Obama has vastly increased the military budget, increased the number of combat troops, targeted new regions for military intervention and backed military coups in regions traditionally controlled by the US. However Obama’s rollback strategy occurs in a very different international and domestic context. Unlike Reagan, Obama faces a prolonged and profound recession/depression, massive fiscal and trade deficits, a declining role in the world economy and loss of political dominance in Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia and elsewhere. While Reagan faced off against a decaying Soviet Communist regime, Obama confronts surging world-wide opposition from a variety of independent secular, clerical, nationalist, liberal democratic and socialist electoral regimes and social movements anchored in local struggles. Obama’s rollback strategy is evident from his very first pronouncements, promising to reassert US dominance (‘leadership’) in the Middle East, his projection of massive military power in Afghanistan and military expansion in Pakistan and the destabilization of regimes through deep intervention by proxies as in Iran and Honduras. Obama’s pursuit of the rollback strategy operates a multi-track policy of overt military intervention, covert ‘civil society’ operations and soft-sell, seemingly benign diplomatic rhetoric,...

The Two-State Solution, Israeli-Style
9 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Ramallah Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has been much criticized in Israel, as well as abroad, for failing to present his own diplomatic initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to forestall US intervention. Mr. Netanyahu may have huffed and puffed before giving voice to the phrase “two states for two peoples” at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, but the contours of just such a Palestinian state -- or states -- have been emerging undisturbed for some time. In fact, Mr. Netanyahu appears every bit as committed as his predecessors to creating the facts of an Israeli-imposed two-state solution, one he and others in Israel’s leadership doubtless hope will eventually be adopted by the White House as the “pragmatic” -- if far from ideal -- option. While Israel has been buying yet more time with Washington in bickering over a paltry settlement freeze, it has been forging ahead with the process of creating two Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, that, despite supposedly emerging from occupation, are in reality sinking ever deeper into chronic dependency on Israeli goodwill. This is creating a culture of absolute Israeli control and absolute Palestinian dependency, enforced by proxy Palestinian rulers acting as mini-dictatorships. For a growing number of Palestinians, the conditions of bare subsistence and even survival are Israeli gifts that few can afford to spurn through political activity, let alone civil disobedience or armed resistance. The Palestinian will to organize and resist as their land is seized for settlements...

Reawakening Ghosts of Ayodhya
9 Jul 2009 - By Aijaz Zaka Syed – Hyderabad One is not sure what had been the context of William Gladstone’s prophetic warning that justice delayed is justice denied. But it’s as though the British politician had India’s Liberhan Commission in his mind and the charade it has unleashed on an unsuspecting country when he proffered that much worn-out advice. Justice MS Liberhan has delivered a historic verdict on one of the most defining tragedies of our time; a tragedy that shook India to its core, forcing it to pause and ponder the road ahead and the direction in which the country was headed. Only he has delivered it a tad late. Seventeen years too late! The commission was formed after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya. The commission, appointed by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao who himself was sound asleep at the wheel throughout that fateful day, was to look into the ‘events and circumstances’ that led to the demolition of the mosque and present its findings within THREE MONTHS. However, Justice Liberhan kept the Ayodhya saga alive by getting the term of his commission extended month after month, year after year, for seventeen long years. Prime ministers came and prime ministers went. Strange bedfellows formed most absurd coalition governments, only to be brought down with equally improbable allies. Justice Liberhan stayed on though and has survived to chronicle and recount that epic tragedy. Prime Minister Rao, who fiddled while Ayodhya burnt with the rest of India and...

Forget the Headlines: Iraqi Freedom Deferred
8 Jul 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud As US combat troops redeployed to the outskirts of Iraqi cities on June 30, well-staged celebrations commenced. The pro-US Iraqi government declared “independence day” as police vehicles roamed the streets of war-weary Iraq in an unpersuasive show of national rejoicing. US mainstream media joined the chorus, as if commemorating the end of an era. Meanwhile, top US administration and army officials cautioned Iraqis of their own recklessness. “Biden Warns Iraq About Reverting to Sectarian Violence,” read a New York Times headline. “What will it take to make a good exit from Iraq?” inquired a Kansas City Star analysis. But missing from news headlines and commentary was any indication of direct US responsibility for the genocide that has befallen Iraq. How can one claim that US ambitions in Iraq have altered if the ongoing legacy in Iraq is being perceived as a strategic mistake, rather than a moral one? One thing remains the same, for sure: and that is the arrogance that has long permeated US relations with Iraq. “The president and I appreciate that Iraq has traveled a great distance over the past year, but there is a hard road ahead if Iraq is going to find lasting peace and stability,” said Vice President Biden during a visit to Baghdad on July 3rd. Biden’s remarks were saturated with the same hubris that defined the former administration’s attitude towards Iraq for years: ‘we did our share, that of liberating you, and now its your turn to take charge...

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