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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
17 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

IFJ slams P.A for closing Al Jazeera office in the West Bank
18 Jul 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) slammed on Friday the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank for shutting down the office of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Television in the West Bank, and demand it to reverse the decision. 

The military uses Chemical water to attack the weekly Bil'in protest
17 Jul 2009 - Dozens suffered from gas inhalation and effects of poisoning as Israeli troop attacked the weekly protest in Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. 

Nil'in: Scores treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation
17 Jul 2009 - Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

PA detains 14 Hamas affiliates in the West Bank
17 Jul 2009 - Hamas claims that Palestinian Authority forces arrested 14 men that are affiliated with the party on Thursday night. 

Palestinians from Gaza receive permit to go on Hajj to Mecca for first time in two years
17 Jul 2009 - For the first time in two years a selected number of people from Gaza will be allowed to leave the Strip to go on pilgrimage to Mecca during the holy month of Ramadan, as they received permits to go to Saudi Arabia. 

Israeli army fires on Gaza shores
17 Jul 2009 - Israeli warships opened fire on the shores of the Gaza Strip on Friday morning. Fishermen were scared away, but no damage or injuries were reported. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 5 civilians wounded, including 2 children, by Israeli forces
17 Jul 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 09 - 15 July 2009, 5 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were injured when Israeli forces used force against a peaceful protest against the Annexation Wall. Israeli forces conducted 11 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two into the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces abducted 10 Palestinian civilians, including one child, in the West Bank. 

Haniyah meets the crew of Viva Palestina aid convoy
16 Jul 2009 - Around 200 American, the crew of Viva Palestina aid convey, meet on Thursday the deposed Palestinian Prime Minsiter Ismal'el Haniyah, of Hamas. 

A body of a man found at an underground tunnel in southern Gaza Strip
16 Jul 2009 - The body of a young Palestinian man was found on Thursday inside an under ground tunnel connecting the southern Gaza town of Rafah with Egypt.

Israeli authorities shut down Palestinian NGO in Jerusalem
16 Jul 2009 - Israeli authorities decided to shut down the offices of the Nidal Center for Community Development in the old city of Jerusalem on Wednesday. Israeli forces raided the offices and ordered employees to evacuate their offices. 

Eight Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli army in the West Bank
16 Jul 2009 - Israeli troops kidnapped eight Palestinians during pre-dawn invasions of different areas of the West Bank. 

Egyptian authorities stop Viva Palestina aid convoy from entering Gaza
15 Jul 2009 - According to local media sources, Egyptian authorities stopped 47 trucks of the Viva Palestina aid convoy from entering the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, but allowed the international, mainly American, activists accompanying the vehicles to enter Gaza for 24 hours. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

'Iran arms path to Hamas hit hard by Gaza war'
16 Jul 2009 - Intelligence agencies track smuggling route, which seems to be moving through Yemen and Sudan. 

After month-long lull, Qassam strikes Negev
16 Jul 2009 - No one hurt in attack; strike comes day after announcement of successful anti-missile defense system test. 

IDF soldiers give testimonies to counter Gaza war crimes claims
16 Jul 2009 - New website encourages soldiers to send in filmed testimonies in bid to show 'voices of real Israelis.' 

Gaza testimonies / Diverting the debate from the real issue
16 Jul 2009 - A new wave of damning testimonies by IDF soldiers who fought in Gaza has unleashed a knee-jerk reaction. 

Israel: Syria and Iran still giving arms to Hezbollah
16 Jul 2009 - FM accuses Hezbollah-backers of 'directly' aiding violation of Lebanon truce, mulls complaint to UN. 

IDF officer: Troops did not use Gazans as human shields
16 Jul 2009 - Golani soldier testified earlier this week that IDF used 'neighbor procedure' despite High Court ban. 

Defense official: Israel readying for attack on Iran
16 Jul 2009 - Times of London quotes official as saying Red Sea crossings should be seen as 'serious Israeli investment.' 

Gideon Levy / Man responsible for Israel's cruelest wars only attracts praise
15 Jul 2009 - The fact that Southern Command chief Gallant does not hesitate to kill civilians will only help his career. 

Ma'an News

Gaza: One crossing open as siege restricts goods into Strip
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip will be partially open on Friday for the transfer of a near-record low number of truckloads, 43-53, crossings official Raed Fattouh said. The Nahal Oz and the Karni crossings will both remain closed. As the Israeli seige on the Strip enters its third year, Israel continues to allow only 20% of pre-seige levels of goods into the area, home to 1. 5 million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. All three crossings will be closed Saturday. On Thursday 73-83 truckloads entered the Strip through two crossings. On Wednesday 64-74 truckloads and some fuel entered through three open crossings. On Tuesday an unknown number of trucks transferred goods into the Strip. On Monday 52-62 truckloads and some fuel entered through three open crossings. On Sunday 43-53 truckloads of goods and some fuel entered the Strip. 

IFJ condemns Palestinian Authority for Al-Jazeera ban
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the Palestinian Authority to rescind its decision to close down the office of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television in the West Bank. "The ban should be lifted immediately," read a Friday statement from the IFJ, the largest union of journalists in the world, which boasts some 600,000 members in 123 different countries. The PA said it shut down the network for broadcasting "incitement and false information," although it seemed linked to aired comments made by a senior Fatah leader about the alleged involvement of President Mahmoud Abbas in a plot to poison the late leader Yasser Arafat. "This decision is a serious violation of press freedom," said Aidan White, IFJ general secretary. "It shows intolerance on the part of the Palestinian Authority and suggests that it is trying to control media by suppressing reporting which it does not like. 

Israeli soldiers crack down on Ni’lin protesters
7/17/2009 - Ni'lin - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers rained tear gas on hundreds of protesters against the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Ni'lin, west of Ramallah, on Friday. The protesters were calling for the removal of the structure and Israeli settlements that have been built on lands seized from their town. Men from the village first gathered in an olive grove for the Friday Muslim prayer at noon, and were later joined by more than 200 international and Israeli supporters who marched, chanting and singing, to the illegal barrier. Awaiting its final concrete form, the barrier at this stage is a pair of barbed wire fences on either side of an army access road. Upon reaching the barrier, waiting soldiers fired a barrage of tear-gas grenades, sending demonstrators running. Medics treated dozens of protesters on the spot for the excruciating effects of the gas. 

Dozens vomit after soldiers spray chemical at anti-wall rally
7/17/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Dozens of Palestinian, international and even Israeli protesters vomited after they were sprayed with a foul-smelling chemical and CS gas at a demonstration near Ramallah on Friday, organizing officials said. Israeli soldiers have this month increasingly been using the controversial chemical to dispel the weekly gatherings, which assemble each Friday near the separation wall that cuts the village of Bil'in from about 60 percent of its land. Last week a Palestinian parliament member, Mustafa Bargouthi, became ill when he and dozens of others were sprayed by the liquid during a similar protest in the same Ramallah-area village. Bil'in's Popular Committee Against the Wall said in a statement that demonstrators took to the streets after prayers again on Friday, carrying Palestinian flags and banners, and denouncing Israel's policies, namely the construction of. . . 

Israeli warships open fire on Gaza shores
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli warships opened fire on Gazan shores Friday morning, causing no damage or injuries, but scaring fishermen away from the coast. Fire from the naval ships permanently patrolling the Gaza coast since Israel's war on the area in December and January was heard for kilometers around the shore near Gaza City, locals reported. Fire from the ships was also heard Thursday night, when shores were empty. On Friday fishermen quickly evacuated the area, and will likely lose a day's fishing. The head of Ambulance and Emergency Services within the Strip's Health Ministry, Dr Muawiyah Hassanein, confirmed that no injuries were reported. [end] 

Israeli forces penetrate half kilometer into Gaza; burn fields
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces made their deepest incursion into the Gaza Strip in months near Beit Hanoun, penetrating 500 meters past the buffer zone to burn 150 dunums of land. The agricultural field of wheat and barley crops belonging to the Shabat family was destroyed after an Israeli militarized vehicle left the Erez District Coordination Office (DCO) and drove into the Strip, stopping only to set the land on fire. Dry weather meant the crops burned quickly, consuming the much needed grains. The incident is a string in what farmers call persistent attempts by Israeli soldiers to prevent the harvesting of crops outside the Israeli-patrolled buffer zone near the Gaza border fence. Locals reported almost daily patrols of military jeeps on the outskirts of the town. 

Settlers threaten to set Hebron ablaze if road opened to Palestinians
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Settlers threatened on Friday to set the West Bank city of Hebron on fire if Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak carries out a recent decision to open a street into the Jabber neighborhood. Known to the Israelis as Zion Junction, the road has been off limits for the movement of Palestinian vehicles that were banned nine years earlier in the area of the southern Palestinian city. An official described by Israeli media as a senior source among settlers said that "Hebron will be set ablaze if the street is opened, despite the[intelligence service] Shabak's recommendation to continue closing it. "The source added, "If the Shabak is recommending shutting it down then why take the risk? Enough blood that was shed on this street, of concern to the thousands of Israelis who use it, the lives of whom will be at risk in case it is opened to the Palestinians. 

For first time in weeks, projectile strikes south Israel
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - For the first time in several weeks, a homemade projectile launched from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel, according to Israeli news reports. The English-language Jerusalem Post reported that the projectile struck an open area in the Sdot Negev area in the western Negev, causing no injuries or damage. Thursday evening's projectile was the first since two landed near Gaza on 14 June, one near the Israeli city of Ashkelon and the other in Sdot Negev. Neither of the homemade devices launched last month caused injuries or damage, but Israel's air force nonetheless carried out airstrikes in response, injuring four Palestinians and prompting clashes near Rafah. No Palestinian factions immediately claimed responsibility for the apparent attack, which is not permitted under Hamas' unilateral ceasefire declared on 18 January following Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip. 

Ten former fighters waiting for amnesty continue hunger strike
7/17/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Ten former Al-Aqsa Brigades fighters are on their third day of hunger strike, demanding Palestinian Authority officials push forward their amnesty cases with Israel so they can return to civilian life outside the Nablus Juneid prison. The former fighters with Fatah's armed wing are part of an amnesty program wherein they give up their weapons and swear off violent resistance in return for being taken off Israel's "wanted" list. Part of the deal sees the men remain in PA prisons to ensure their safety until the amnesty deal is approved. The ten ex-fighters in Nablus' Juneid facility have been waiting months and in some cases more than a year for word on amnesty. One hunger striker, Mohammad Melhem, who has been waiting for amnesty for 19 months, said the men were determined to continue the strike until Israel and the PA resolve their cases, "despite the failing health of some of the men. 

Hamas: PA detained 14 affiliates from West Bank
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas accused Palestinian Authority security forces of arresting 14 men affiliated with the movement on Friday night. The men were taken from streets, cafes and their homes in the Jericho, Jenin, Ramallah, Tulkarem and Nablus districts. [end] 

Jailed Hamas leader warns of deteriorating prison conditions
7/17/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - A Hamas leader and detainee in an Israeli prison on Friday said that jail conditions are "about to explode" as a result of harsh Israeli practices against detainees. The Hamas figure, Hussam Badran, warned that the prison administration would be held responsible for the outcome of worsening conditions on Palestinians. Badran alleged that detainees are prevented from seeing their parents or visitors, and that they have been subject to torture, humiliation and isolation, in addition to medical negligence. The Hamas official's allegations came as a bill moved through the Israeli Knesset that would prevent Hamas prisoners from receiving visitors until captured soldier Gilad Shalit is returned to Israel. Knesset members will vote on the bill this Sunday. According to the Jerusalem Post, even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is against the proposal, which. . . 

Human Rights Watch: PA has red lines when it comes to free speech
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority should immediately reverse its decision to suspend the operations of Al-Jazeera satellite television in the West Bank, Human Rights Watch insisted on Friday in a statement. Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, in his capacity as deputy minister of information, ordered the bureau's suspension on 15 July, the day after it aired allegations against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. On the 14 July edition of "Behind the News," an Al-Jazeera talk show, Farouq al-Qadumi, a high-ranking PLO and Fatah official currently in Amman, Jordan, accused Abbas and his adviser Muhammad Dahlan of participating in what he said was an Israeli plot to assassinate the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Arafat died of unknown causes in Paris in 2004. "The suspension of Al-Jazeera sends a clear message that the Palestinian Authority has red lines when it. . . 

PLO: Israel defaulted on Oslo when it failed to remove ’outposts’
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - "Outposts serve an important function for Israel politically and territorially," explains a new PLO Negotiations Affairs Department report on the facts around Israeli settlement outposts. "Since the early 1990s," the report continues, "successive Israeli governments have committed not to build new settlements. However, they have circumvented this commitment by facilitating (and often sponsoring) the creation of new settlement "˜outposts,' or "˜neighborhoods' of existing settlements. On the ground, outposts expand the amount of land under the parent settlement's control, and serve as "˜fillers' or "˜connectors' between settlements with the aim of creating contiguity between them. " The Negotiations Affairs Department in the PLO details the "facts" and "myths" of Israeli settlement outposts in an effort to draw attention to the phenomenon and its detrimental. . . 

Gazans granted Hajj permits for first time in two years
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Gazan pilgrims will travel to Mecca for the Hajj during the holy month of Ramadan after being granted visas to Saudi Arabia for the first time in two years. Tour operator Hajj Mu'in Meshthi said his company had 200 visas granted to applicants, although more than 2,000 applied for permission to travel. The scope of the number of travelling pilgrims is still unclear, and arrangements will have to be made with Egypt so the pilgrims can exit the Strip and make their way to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, one of the central duties in Islam. [end] 

Former US ambassador meets with Hamas figures in Europe
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Hamas officials Bassem Naim and Mahmoud Az-Zahhar met former US Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas R. Pickering in Switzerland last month, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. "I hope it will be the beginning of addressing some of the mistakes of the last three years," said Naim of the talks with the former ambassador, who also served as undersecretary of state. "This was a first meeting to investigate the positions in general terms of both parties without any commitment on any side. "But US officials have said the June meeting did not mark any significant change in their position toward Hamas, which the US considers a "terrorist" organization. The Post reported that US officials said they were unaware of the talks beforehand, and made a point of noting that the former ambassador and State Department official maintains no official standing within the current administration. 

Fatah members launch accusations over plot to assassinate Arafat
7/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Accusations continue to fly between Fatah men following senior member Farouq Qaddoumi's accusations of foul play by current Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The accusations aired Tuesday on Al-Jazeera, whose offices in the West Bank are now closed pending a suit for "incitement and false information," saw Qaddoumi produce what he says to be authentic "transcripts which accuse people"¦ Transcripts of meetings between Sharon, Abu Mazen [Abbas], and [former Palestinian security adviser Mohammed] Dahlan," wherein they planned to assassinate former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. A former advisor to late President Arafat, Bassam Abu Sharif, however denied the accusation that Abbas had any part in an assassination attempt, and called Qaddoumi's allegations "shocking. 

Abbas sends condolences to At-Tirawi following death of wife
7/16/2009 - Jordan - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave his condolences Friday for the death of the wife of Major General in charge of training in the Palestinian Authority Security Services Tawfiq At-Tirawi. The Major General's wife died in Jordan from cancer. Abbas called the man from Turkey. At-Tirwawi was abruptly reassigned to the training division of the Palestinian security services after spending years as the head of Palestinian Intelligence. Some said the shuffle signified a shift in the relationship between the two men, and rumors of bad blood between them circulated for months. [end] 

Both Fatah and Hamas pessimistic over prospects for unity deal
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Delegations of Fatah and Hamas negotiators will hold an evaluative meeting on Saturday under Egypt's sponsorship to discuss the latest updates on a number of issues blocking a proposed unity agreement. Faisal Abu Shahla, a Palestinian lawmaker affiliated to Fatah, told Ma'an on Friday that "the session that will be held on Saturday between the delegations of the two movements will mainly focus on prisoners in Gaza and the West Bank. "  The official added that "the meeting will discuss the situation and [proposed joint Fatah-Hamas] force, and the rest of the issues and outcomes of the Egyptian security delegation to Ramallah" last week, when officials met in advance of the latest planned talks. Hamas said earlier that the Egyptian delegation was basically an effort to stop politically motivated arrests of Hamas supporters in the West Bank, which the Palestinian Authority has repeatedly denied it takes part in. 

Hamas official: PA forces won’t return to Gaza anytime soon
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Fatah has demanded that 15,000 Palestinian Authority security forces be permitted to return to the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader Mahmoud Az-Zahar said on Friday. The official rejected the alleged demand during a weekly sermon at the Al-Qassam Mosque in central Gaza on Friday, saying that Hamas would not allow the Fatah-backed "death squads" to return to "what has become a no-man's land. " PA forces were sent out or fled from Gaza when Hamas and its security men gained control of the Strip following brief but violent clashes throughout the occupied Palestinian territories during the summer of 2007. Nevertheless, Az-Zahhar insisted that Hamas has shown "clear flexibility" over the return of PA forces under the right circumstances, but said it was impossible to allow them to regain any control in the immediate future. 

Free eye treatment for locals in Salfit
7/17/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - The Palestinian health care committees in Salfit organized a free medical day in cooperation with charitable associations in Salfit on Friday. The day was organized for people with eye diseases, infections and other issues, and was supervised by doctors from the Saint John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem. Doctors offered free treatment and medicines as well as referrals to see specialists in Jerusalem for troubles that could not be treated on the spot. [end] 

Palestinian shows win big at Arab TV and Radio awards in Tunis
7/17/2009 - Tunis - Ma'an - A Palestinian soap opera and documentary won a gold and bronze award in their respective categories Friday at the Arab Radio and TV awards in Tunis. The 14th annual awards session kicked off on 11 June and wrapped up Friday. It awarded the TV movie Kaffa! (Enough!) a gold prize for its short program looking at the lives of brothers who belonged to Palestine's rival factions Hamas and Fatah. The work looked at how political division affects even the most central elements of Palestinian society. The screenplay was written by Salim Dabour and directed by Yousef Ad-Dik. Earning a bronze prize was the documentary Tamin Al-Intidhar (The Price of Waiting), a documentary outlining the difficulties East Jerusalemites face dealing with Israeli aggression and racist policies preventing them from building homes or receiving services from the local government. 

Repaired generator to mitigate Gaza power crisis
7/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - An Egyptian-repaired generator on its way back to the Gaza power plant will ease the "hours of blackouts" that roll through the coastal area, said power plant chief Jamal Ad-Dardasawi Friday. Following more than two years of Israeli-imposed siege and a 22-day war that pounded Gazan infrastructure, the Gaza power grid is in total disrepair with little prospect for necessary replacement equipment becoming available. According to UN observers Israel has maintained a near total ban on reconstruction equipment at the Gaza crossing points. The generator was sent out to Egypt for repairs as a last-ditch effort to restore some generator capacity. Once re-installed the 70 megawatt per hour machine will "provide a noticeable improvement in services for Gazans, particularly residents of the area's largest metropolis Gaza City," the head of public relations for the plant said. 

The National

Lebanon dresses for excess
17 Jul 2009 - Greater political stability and a healthy economy have put people in a festive mood, fuelling the demand for high-end fashion.

Israel protests become violent
17 Jul 2009 - Israeli police deployed in force in Jerusalem following a night of violent protests by ultra-orthodox Jews.

Israel to drop Arabic names
16 Jul 2009 - Road signs are the latest front in Israel's battle to erase the Arab heritage from much of the Holy Land, according to critics.

Palestinians suspend Al Jazeera in West Bank
16 Jul 2009 - The government shuts down the West Bank operations of the Arabic satellite channel Al Jazeera.

Israel anti-missile system passes live fire test
16 Jul 2009 - A missile defence system performs well in its first live trial, bringing down a short-range rocket similar to those used by Palestinian and Lebanese militants.

Israel sends message to Iran via the Suez Canal
15 Jul 2009 - The Israeli navy regularly sends ships through the canal – the significance of the latest passages is the publicity generated.

Women report abuses in Israeli jails
15 Jul 2009 - A UN-sponsored report says that interrogators use beatings, insults and sexual harassment to coerce confessions from Palestinian inmates.

Aeroplane crashes in Iran killing 168
15 Jul 2009 - Everyone on board an Iranian passenger plane bound for neighbouring Armenia were killed when the aircraft smashed into farmland north-west of Tehran.

Aljazeera

Rafsanjani: Iran in crisis
17 Jul 2009 - Senior Iranian cleric calls for release of opposition protesters during Friday prayers.

Iran names new nuclear chief
17 Jul 2009 - Ali Akbar Salehi replaces Gholamreza Aghazadeh as the president reshuffles cabinet. 

Al Jazeera West Bank ban criticised
17 Jul 2009 - Hurman rights group accuses Palestinian Authority of curbing free speech.

Iran plane crash victims mourned
16 Jul 2009 - Armenia holds day of mourning for 168 people killed in Caspian Airlines jet crash.

Iran's nuclear agency chief resigns
16 Jul 2009 - Gholam Reza Aghazadeh led Iran's atomic energy agency for more than ten years.

IRIN

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

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

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

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Turkey Gets Boost from Pipeline Politics 
WASHINGTON, Jul 17 (IPS) - The political geography of the modern Middle East has been affected for one hundred years by the appetite of westerners and other outsiders for the region's hydrocarbons.

EGYPT: Father Still Knows Best 
CAIRO, Jul 17 (IPS) - Speculation had been rife in recent months that parliament was on the verge of dissolution by order of the presidency. While the rumour ultimately proved unfounded, local analysts say it reflected a rift between the old and new guards of the ruling National Democratic Party (...

MIDEAST: Soldiers' Voices Rise Again 
JERUSALEM, Jul 17 (IPS) - Israel continues to brush off allegations of human rights violations during its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza launched at the end of December. A series of reports on such violations through the 22-day campaign come soon after completion of fieldwork by the UN human...

MIGRATION: Tricky Gateway to a European Dream 
IZMIR, Turkey, Jul 16 (IPS) - Izmir has for years been luring migrants and refugees who dream of crossing into Europe.

Stop The Wall

New report on Israeli aggression against Palestinian communities released
13 Jul 2009 - , 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. [

Three arrested during Jayyus night raid
15 Jul 2009 - Occupation forces entered Jayyus in the early hours of Wednesday morning, where they broke into homes and arrested three university students. Two of those arrested were due to sit their final exams for the summer session today, and their arrest and detention may prevent them from completing their education next year. [

PCHR Latest

(16 July)  PCHR Condemns Decision to Suspend Al Jazeera's Work in the West Bank
PCHR

(12 July)  PCHR Issues “Impact of Israeli Offensive on Sectors of Water and Sewage Services in the Gaza Strip”
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(09 - 15 July  2008)
During the reporting period, 5 Palestinian civilians, including two children, were injured when Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

HeidelbergCement tries to sell West Bank mines as legal, boycott pressures grow
International Solidarity Movement - Electronic Intifada, 13 July 2009 - HeidelbergCement, one of the world's largest manufacturers of building materials, has become the target of legal action in Israel because of its activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The company's subsidiary, Hanson Israel, manufactures ready-made cement, aggregates and asphalt for Israel's construction industry and operates a quarry in the occupied West Bank. In March, the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din filed a petition with the Israeli high court demanding a halt to illegal mining activity in West Bank quarries, including Hanson Israel's Nahal Raba quarry. Attorneys representing Yesh Din called upon the court to put an end to this "clearly illegal activity, which constitutes blunt and ugly colonial exploitation of land we [Israel] had forcefully seized. 

Battle of Bil’in
International Solidarity Movement - Stefan Christof, Hour 16 July 2009 - Palestinian activists from Bil'in village say the Israeli military has raided their village almost daily this week. They claim the early morning raids are linked to a recent lawsuit filed by the village in the Quebec Superior Court. Last month Bil'in launched the lawsuit against two Montreal-based companies, Green Park International and Green Mount International, claiming they played a role in building Israeli-only settlements on Palestinian lands in Bil'in, an act they say is illegal under international law and under Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, established in 2000. "Israel's military raids began exactly at the same time that we started court hearings in Canada," says Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil'in. “Israel's army raids are aiming to stop our struggle, and our court case in Quebec. Israel is collectively punishing us for our efforts to resist [the] Israeli colonization of our lands. ”. 

West Bank fence not done and never will be, it seems
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 14 July 2009 - Seven years after construction work began on the West Bank separation fence, the project seems to have run aground. Work has slowed significantly since September 2007, and today, after the state has spent about NIS 9. 5 billion, only about 60 percent of the more limited, revised route has been completed. With fierce opposition coming from the United States, Israel has halted work on the "fingers" – enclaves east of the Green Line that were to have included large settlement blocs such as Ariel, Kedumim, Karnei Shomron and Ma'aleh Adumim, within the fence. The military has, in practice, closed up the holes that were to have led to these "fingers. "But giant gaps remain in the southern part of the fence, particular in the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, in the Etzion bloc and in the Judean Desert. 

Chicago activists picket Israeli consulate as part of international day of action against house evictions and demolitions in Palestine
International Solidarity Movement - On Monday, the 13th of July, around 35 Chicago activists picketed the Israeli consulate in response to a call to action from Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem currently facing house eviction or demolition at the hands of Israeli authorities. When one demonstrator attempted to deliver an eviction notice to the staff at the consulate, similar to ones Palestinian families receive when Israel informs them that they are to be evicted or their homes demolished, he was prevented from even entering the building. At 12pm, the solidarity activists demonstrated outside the building holding signs against the occupation and calling for a halt to the hundreds of eviction and demolition orders pending for Palestinian communities in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians regard East Jerusalem as their capital city, and the Israeli authorities are making no secret of their plans for depopulating Palestinian residents from the region. 

IDF soldier: We used Palestinians as human shields
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 15 July 2009 - The Israel Defense Forces used Palestinians as human shields during Operation Cast Lead last January despite a 2005 High Court ruling outlawing the practice, a Golani brigade soldier says. He says he did not see Palestinians being used as human shields but was told by his commanders that this occurred. The soldier says his unit employed a variation of the practice, the so-called "neighbor procedure," when it checked homes for Palestinian militants. The soldier's testimony appears in a collection of accounts being published this week by Breaking the Silence, an organization that collects IDF soldiers' testimony on human rights abuses by the military. The Golani soldier gave similar testimony in a meeting with a Haaretz reporter. The IDF Spokesman's Office, for its part, says that "the IDF regrets the fact that a human rights organization would again. . . 

’Israeli ad makes light of separation barrier’
International Solidarity Movement - New York Times News Blog, 14 July 2009 - According to Noam Sheizaf, who writes the blog Promised Land from Tel Aviv, "the Israeli blogosphere is boiling" this week with discussion of this new television commercial for Israel's largest cellphone company, Cellcom, which seems to make the "good fences make good neighbors" argument in favor of the controversial separation barrier being built in and around the West Bank:In Mr. Sheizaf's first post on the ad, which depicts Israeli soldiers and unseen Palestinians playing a game with a soccer ball across the barrier, he explained the Hebrew tag line and added his own interpretation of its deeper meaning: The voice-over in the end goes: "What do we all want? Some fun, that's all. "  And what's more fun than not seeing the Palestinians around anymore, thanks to the 10 meters high wall? 

’Who will hold us accountable?’
International Solidarity Movement - Electronic Intifada, 15 July 2009 - I will never forget the image of the elderly woman whose son was dying in a hospital in Egypt. She only wanted to be with him. Crying, her hand touching the glass window of the office of the Egyptian intelligence services, she pleaded, "Please, please. I beg you, show mercy, let me go in. "Another woman sat by the State Security office, looking up at an officer blocking her path. "You promised to let me in," she said with her soft, tired and drained voice. "Please let me in" she repeated calmly with her tired voice, then she looked at me with wide, tearful, sad eyes. I came to Gaza a week before Israel's winter invasion began. After seven months, I spent two days at Rafah crossing with the Egyptian authorities refusing to allow me to return to Lebanon, despite having all the necessary coordination documents, approval and permission from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Bil’in under fire: peaceful resistance meets assailment
International Solidarity Movement - MIFTAH, 15 July 2009 - The systematic arrest of Bil'in activists begins with the covert intrusion of Israeli soldiers into Bil'in at the stroke of midnight. From the west, soldiers cross the Separation Wall in military vehicles concealed under a blanket of darkness, each entering one by one in 10 minute intervals dropping off soldiers on the eastern side of the barrier. Five to 30 soldiers, depending on the size of the military vehicle, jump off and immediately transition into combat-mode, laying close to the ground, managing to maneuver across the land on their elbows, while signaling the army car to recede back into isolation within two to three minutes of ensuring no opposition in sight. From here, the soldiers clandestinely begin their operation towards the village in silence, veiled by the obscurity of night. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

U.S. court reverses ruling barring Swiss Muslim scholar
17 Jul 2009 - U.S. officials should have given a Muslim scholar a chance to show he was no supporter of terrorism before barring him from the country, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. ...

Olmert: Focus on settlements hinders Mideast peace 
16 Jul 2009 - Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called the United States' focus on freezing construction in the West Bank an impediment to the Middle East peace process, in an article published in The Washington Post on Friday. ...

Hezbollah: Israel still holding Lebanese terrorist
16 Jul 2009 - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Friday Israel is still holding a Lebanese prisoner and the remains of others despite a prison exchange a year ago in which all were to be returned. ...

Pope Benedict XVI fractures wrist after vacation spill
16 Jul 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI was taken to a hospital in northern Italy on Friday after slipping and falling during his vacation in the Alps, a Vatican spokesman said. ...

A Diaspora Jew's vision for Middle East peace
16 Jul 2009 - Palestinians President Mahmoud Abbas and various Western leaders have taken of late to touting the "illegal Jewish settlements" in the West Bank as a major obstacle to peace. ...

The Guardian

Israel needs the truth about Cast Lead | Oded Na'aman
17 Jul 2009 - Those who care about Israel's values and future want to know what happened last winter in Gaza. Only the guilty do not Earlier this week, Breaking the Silence , an organisation of Israeli veterans, released a book...

Allure of normal life triumphs in West Bank 'ghost town'
16 Jul 2009 - As checkpoints ease, Arab-Israelis are returning to Nablus as eager consumers The queues for Transformers and WALL-E outside the plush new picture house in Nablus have been long, but they are even longer for the latest...

Living apart together | Jerry Kindred
16 Jul 2009 - The Israeli housing minister wants segregated townships for Arabs and Jews. What will he do with my mixed family? Ariel Atias is Israel's minister of construction and housing. Speaking at the Israel Bar Association in Tel...

Michael Tomasky on the movement for Palestinian statehood
16 Jul 2009 - On the subject of the Middle East, I've been thinking lately that the Palestinians' biggest problem in America is not political at all but cultural. Hear me out. There's a lot of anti-Semitism in America. I...

Ha'aretz National page

Jerusalem adviser: Demolish illegal buildings near Old City
16 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem's legal adviser has ordered city prosecutors to take legal action to remove new structures built illegally in the City of David by Elad, the nonprofit organization that operates the site, Haaretz has learned. ... 

Editorial / Collective punishment against Haredis is unacceptable
16 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat presents himself as the secular leader who came to rescue Israel's capital from the control of the ultra-Orthodox and give it an open, pluralistic character. But his announcement that he is halting municipal services to the neighborhoods of Geula and Mea She'arim in response to violent rioting by some of these neighborhoods' residents constitutes collective punishment, which will merely further inflame already stormy tempers. ... 

Einstein's theory of Zionist relativity
16 Jul 2009 - "The Arabs have attacked us unexpectedly, wanted to destroy our settlement work, have murdered and plundered," Chaim Weizmann wrote in 1929. Although until now, the Jews "have given everything" to Arab leaders who "want only one thing, to chase us into the Mediterranean," he added, "we are now pressed from all sides to conclude a pact with them." Weizmann vowed to accept nothing less than a society in Palestine, ?as Jewish as England is English and America is American.? ...

Relief Web

Report on Israeli settlement in the occupied territories May - Jun 2009
17 Jul 2009 - Source: Foundation for Middle East Peace

OPT: The early phases of recovery in Gaza: Human rights v. humanitarian intervention
17 Jul 2009 - Source: Grassroots

OPT: Water Scarcity Emergency Response Strategy Framework (15 Jul 2009)
17 Jul 2009 - Source: Food and Agriculture Organization

OPT: First Gaza rocket for a month hits Israel: army
16 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report, 08 - 14 Jul 2009
16 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

OPT: Obama to set binding timetable for Israeli-Palestinian talks -- Haaretz
16 Jul 2009 - Source: Kuwait News Agency

OPT: The Humanitarian Monitor - June 2009
16 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine to consider responsibility to uphold international humanitarian law, in Geneva 22-23 Jul 2009
15 Jul 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

YNet News

Provocation in north: Lebanese cross border waving Hezbollah flags
17 Jul 2009 - Group of 15 Lebanese civilians, including children, cross border carrying Lebanon, Hezbollah flags, turns back shortly after. IDF soldiers refrain from responding, but army says incident 'severe violation of UN Resolution 1701' 

Hezbollah says Israel holding Lebanese prisoner 
17 Jul 2009 - Hezbollah leader claims Lebanese soldier Yehia Skaff is still being held in Israeli prison, although Israel says he died in 1978 

Iran: Israel planned to assassinate Ahmadinejad
17 Jul 2009 - Intelligence Minister says Israeli officials met members of exiled Iranian opposition group before last month's elections in country, discussed ways to execute plan to kill president 

Former minister, Mossad chief Meir Amit dead at 88 
17 Jul 2009 - For dozens of years Amit held key roles in IDF and Israel's defense establishment, and served as third Mossad chief. In 2003 he was awarded Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement 

A-Zahar: Fatah planned hit on Hamas leaders 
17 Jul 2009 - Hamas foreign minister says security forces foiled plot to assassinate group officials in order to torpedo dialogue between rivaling Palestinian factions 

Calm returns to Jerusalem's streets 
17 Jul 2009 - Community officials call on ultra-Orthodox public to stop all clashes with police after haredi mother accused of starving her son is placed under house arrest. Police forces return to headquarters, but expect renewal of protests Saturday 

Armored Corps soldiers abused by commanders 
17 Jul 2009 - Several new inductees to 188 Brigade suffer severe beating as part of hazing ceremony. Company commander, officers involved sentenced to various jail, detention periods following inquest. 'IDF will not tolerate such behavior from its soldiers,' says army source 

Olmert to US: Stop focusing on settlements 
17 Jul 2009 - In article published in Washington Post former prime minister explains US and Israel have already reached understandings regarding settlements; says other issues currently more critical 

Mother suspected of starving toddler son remanded to house arrest
17 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem Magistrate's Court orders ultra-Orthodox woman suspected of starving three-year-old son be released to the custody of haredi lobbyist Avraham Froelich. Latter, Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman post bail, assurances 

B'tselem

Military avoids investigating soldiers' testimonies
14 Jul 2009 - While the military has attacked the credibility of soldiers' testimonies regarding Operation Cast Lead, it has failed to open a single serious investigation into events detailed by Palestinian witnesses to B'Tselem.

Police severely beat Palestinian in Tel Aviv
14 Jul 2009 - On 12 June '09, Malak Abu Gharbiya, a resident of East Jerusalem, went to the beach with his friends. After he helped break up a fight there, police officers severely beat him and arrested him. Abu Gharbiya was released on bond 8 days later, still bearing

Daily Star

Top cleric says Iran in crisis, police fight protesters
18 Jul 2009 - In apparent defiance of Iran's supreme leader, a powerful cleric declared the Islamic Republic in crisis after a disputed election, and tens of thousands of protesters used Friday prayers to stage the biggest show of dissent for weeks. Clashes erupted in central Tehran between police and followers of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Turkeys warns deadline for Palestinian state counterproductive
18 Jul 2009 - Turkish President Abdullah Gul Friday cast doubt on an EU Union call for a deadline for the creation of a Palestinian state, warning such a move could be counter-productive. Speaking after talks with visiting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Gul reiterated Turkey's support for an independent Palestinian state.

Iran names new head of atomic energy body
18 Jul 2009 - Iran’s government has named a former envoy to the UN nuclear watchdog as new head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization after its head for 12 years resigned, Iranian media reported on Friday. The organization leads a nuclear program that has put Tehran at odds with the West, which fears it is aimed at making bombs.

Father still knows best in Egypt
18 Jul 2009 - Speculation has been rife in recent months that Parliament was on the verge of dissolution by order of the presidency. While the rumor ultimately proved unfounded, local analysts say it reflected a rift between the old and new guards of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Hosni Mubarak.

Israeli judge bends law to quell Jerusalem riots
18 Jul 2009 - A judge in Jerusalem and leaders of the city’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community agreed Friday on a compromise aimed at ending days of rioting by religious protesters, according to Israeli media reports. The protesters were enraged at the arrest of a mentally ill Hasidic woman who authorities say was starving her child.

Palestinian Information Center

Muzzling press freedom in Palestine
18 Jul 2009 - The recent decision by the Ramallah-based regime to close down the al-Jazeera offices in the West Bank illustrates the vulnerability and utter stupidity of the American-backed junta.

Israeli lawmaker calls to reduce water supply to Palestinian prisoners
18 Jul 2009 - The prisoners' study center has warned Thursday of the adverse call of the extremist rightist Israeli Knesset member Dani Danoun to reduce water supply to Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails.

Bahar: Zionism is the only enemy of the Palestinian people
18 Jul 2009 - MP Dr. Ahmad Bahar, deputy speaker of the PLC, said on Thursday that Zionism is the only enemy of the Palestinian people, and that the Palestinian people have no problem at all with Judaizm.

Ghoul: Linking visits of Palestinian detainees to Shalit's issue unfair
18 Jul 2009 - Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghoul, minister of prisoners and ex-prisoners' affairs, described linking family visits of Palestinian captives in Israeli jails to developments in the issue of Shalit as "unfair".

Abbas's militia kidnap 11 Palestinians including woman
18 Jul 2009 - Abbas's militia continued it campaign of kidnapping of Palestinian resistance activists especially those associated with Hamas, kidnapping at least 11 Palestinians, including a woman

Hamas captives condemn Abbas's militia for kidnapping freed captives
18 Jul 2009 - Hamas captives, in Israeli jails, condemned the continued campaign by Abbas's militia against resistance activists and in particular the kidnapping of captives just been freed from Israeli jails.

CJF condemns PA closure of al-Jazeera offices
18 Jul 2009 - The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (CJF) said in a statement of Thursday that the decision taken by the Ramallah government to close al-Jazeera office is hasty and rejected..

Raja calls for an independent commission to investigate Qaddumi's revelations
18 Jul 2009 - The PFLP-GC called for an independent commission to investigate allegations by Fatah secretary, Farouq Qaddumi, that Abbas and others close to Arafat were involved in his poisoning.

Three human rights organisations condemn closure of al-Jazeera by the PA
18 Jul 2009 - Three Palestinian human rights organisations, on Thursday, issued statements condemning the closure, by the Ramallah Palestinian Authority, of the offices of al-Jazeera satellite station.

Young Palestinian man succumbs to wounds sustained during an IOF incursion
18 Jul 2009 - A young Palestinian man on Thursday evening succumbed to wounds he sustained during an IOF incursion, two days earlier, into the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.

Los Angeles Times

Black boxes recovered from doomed Iranian airliner 
16 Jul 2009 - Two flight recorders have been found in the wreckage of the plane that crashed Wednesday, killing all 168 people on board. Two flight recorders from a flaming commercial airliner that crashed Wednesday in northwestern Iran have been recovered but are badly damaged, state television reported today. 

In Iran, thousands gather for Rafsanjani sermon 
17 Jul 2009 - The address by the reformist cleric, who has backed contender Mir-Hossein Mousavi, could add fuel to the opposition protests, but some think he might seek to ease tensions. Reporting from Tehran and Beirut Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's premier power broker and a force behind opposition figurehead Mir-Hossein Mousavi, took the podium for Friday prayers today for the first time in eight weeks. 

World Briefing 
16 Jul 2009 - West Bank: Palestinian government shuts down local Al Jazeera office / Australia: Teen hiker found safe / Egypt: Al Qaeda deputy presses Pakistanis / Honduras: Interim leader offers to step down WEST BANK 

New York Times

Signs of Hope Emerge in the West Bank
16 Jul 2009 - Under the rule of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, security and the economy have improved. 

In Tehran, a Symbol Is Ready to Reappear
16 Jul 2009 - The Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi on Friday will make his first appearance at an official event since the nation’s disputed presidential election. 

Israel Sees Evidence of Hezbollah’s Rearming in Explosion
16 Jul 2009 - Israel said a Hezbollah arms cache in a building that exploded in southern Lebanon violated the United Nations resolution that brought an end to the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. 



Articles

Gaza and the language of power 
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 7/17/2009
      Nearly six months have passed since the Israeli army ceased pounding the tiny stretch of land that is the Gaza Strip. Since then, Gaza continues to appear on the news once in a while, as a recurring subject of human misery.
     The tireless efforts of British MP George Galloway and the courageous endeavors of the Free Gaza Movement have managed to push Gaza back into the spotlight, even if momentarily and with political context that is lacking at best.
     Aside from that, the three-week Israeli onslaught in Gaza that started on 27 December, and the catastrophic conditions endured there, have served only as a footnote in many news reports. The event is generally cited as such: “Israel moved against Hamas in Gaza to quell the firing of militants’ rockets, resulting in the death of such and such number.” Hamas, according to media conventional wisdom, is the “militant group that ousted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces in a bloody coup in mid 2007.”
     Our worst fears are realized as the post-Gaza massacre world is unchanged from the world that came before.
     Israel is trying to prove that political and military might overpower all human rights reports combined, and that public opinion - which turned against Israel as it wantonly killed and wounded thousands – will eventually turn back in Israel’s favor. One does not need to be an expert in the art of propaganda to predict the public relations model that would allow Israel to deceive millions into believing that the belligerent state is in fact a victim in a sea of hostile Arabs hell-bent on subjugating the Jewish State.

Malnutrition Begins to Bite 
Eva Bartlett, Inter Press Service 7/15/2009
      GAZA CITY, Jul 15 (IPS) - "No one is buying meat these days," says Yousef Al-Jerjowi, sitting next to his butcher shop devoid of customers.
     "There are some people who buy frozen meat, because it’s much cheaper: 20 shekels (five dollars) per kilo versus 60 shekels for fresh beef."
     According to the 45-year-old father of ten, while business is in general terrible, the better days are early in the month, when those with salaried jobs often receive their pay.
     "On average, I might make 200 shekels a day in the first five days of the new month. Before the siege, it was 450 shekels a day. I do have some more regular customers. But they have no money. They keep a tab, and pay when they can."
     Like many Palestinians, Jerjowi used to work in Israel. "When Israel closed the borders, I had no work. So I opened a butcher shop."
     On a normal day, Jerjowi says he only earns at best 100 shekels, not enough to cover the rent of his shop - 4,000 dollars a year - nor that of his family’s homes. "My three sons are all married. Together, our house rents are 200 shekels per month. We’re not earning that money. And there are daily expenses, like electricity and water."
     With unemployment rates at 50 percent in Gaza, and 80 percent of Gazan Palestinians dependent on food aid hand-outs, it’s no wonder that Jerjowi’s business isn’t booming.
     But the problem lies not only with Gaza’s siege-shattered economy and the great poverty this has created; it is also the scarcity of beef.


Electronic Intifada
Boycott apartheid: student delegation to Palestine
17 Jul 2009 - For the first time since the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS against institutions supporting Israeli apartheid, students from North America and Palestine came together in Ramallah to share their ideas and experiences. Consisting of eight days of travel and a four-day workshop, the student delegation spent their two weeks getting connected with the struggle in Palestine in order to better articulate the BDS movement in their respective cities. Doug Smith writes for The Electronic Intifada. 

Israel's plan to wipe Arabic names off the map
17 Jul 2009 - Thousands of road signs are the latest front in Israel's battle to erase Arab heritage from much of the Holy Land. Israel Katz, the transport minister, announced this week that signs on all major roads in Israel, East Jerusalem and possibly parts of the West Bank would be "standardized," converting English and Arabic place names into straight transliterations of the Hebrew name. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Imposing malnutrition on Gaza
17 Jul 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - With unemployment rates at 50 percent in Gaza, and 80 percent of Gazan Palestinians dependent on food aid hand-outs, it's no wonder that al-Jerjowi's business isn't booming. After the three weeks of the Israeli air, land and sea bombardment which killed over 1,400 people, Gaza's agricultural sector is devastated, and that includes the beef farmers. 

"Visit Palestine" says West Bank's growing alternative tourism industry
16 Jul 2009 - Palestine should not have problems attracting tourists, with its rich blend of history, religious significance, local culture, as well as the varied and breathtaking scenery. But of course, the political context of the Israeli occupation means that the vast majority of tourists in the "Holy Land" only see Palestinians through the window of a tour bus, as they dash in and out of Bethlehem for a couple of hours. Ben White reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
nicer times in Gaza: the sea
17 Jul 2009 - Scenes from Gaza’s seashore, despite the many areas of contaminated water –tainted by raw sewage being pumped into the sea, no other option for treating the waste, thanks to the siege and Israeli attacks on sanitation stations. On one occasion I went to the northern coast with friends from Ezbet Abed Rabbo.  I hadn’t seen them truly happy since before the war on Gaza. During the attacks, the mother of my friends was killed as she walked on the street, going out to buy bread.  Whenever I’ve seen these friends since, they’ve been plagued with a sorrow that had diminished little over 6 months.  A day at the beach brought...

Palestine Chronicle
Europe Raising Its Ire
17 Jul 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington Some key European governments, unlike the Obama administration, have now come up with some tangible steps to start the ball rolling towards a peace settlement between an anxious Palestinian Authority and a right-wing Israeli government which seems to be reluctant to reach a two-state solution. Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, has unexpectedly advocated a process whereby the UN Security Council would set a deadline for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Speaking in London last Saturday, he said the council would “proclaim the adoption of a two-state solution” whenever the deadline is reached. “[The council] would accept the Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation. It would mandate the resolution of other remaining territorial disputes and legitimize the end of claims.” However, he explained, that should the parties be unable “to stick to [the timetable], then a solution backed by the international community should be put on the table”. Meantime, the British government has revoked five export licenses for military equipment to the Israeli navy because of its drastic actions during the 23-day Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip earlier this year when about 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed. The exports were said to be now in violation of British criteria that prohibit the sale of weapons which might be used for “external aggression or internal repression”. The embargo was prompted after a government review of all British...

Dangerous Wastewater in the West Bank 
17 Jul 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago B'Tselem is the Jerusalem-based independent Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (OPT) with a well-deserved reputation for accuracy and integrity. It was founded in 1989 to "document and educate the Israeli public, policymakers (and concerned people everywhere) about human rights violations in the OPT, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public (and elsewhere, especially among Jews), and create a human rights culture in Israel" to convince government officials to respect human rights and comply with international law. It conducts wide-ranging, carefully researched, and thoroughly cross-checked reports, most recently its June one titled, "Foul Play: Neglect of wastewater treatment in the West Bank." This article discusses its findings as further evidence of how Israel violates international humanitarian law as an occupying power. Because no global authority holds it accountable, over 2.8 million West Bank Palestinians suffer along with another 1.5 million under siege in Gaza for over two years and counting. Introduction Human activity produces wastewater for which treatment is essential "to prevent and reduce sanitation and environmental hazards" that otherwise would result - from dangerous viruses, bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that pollute water, farm crops, flora, and fauna, and reduce land fertility. Israeli West Bank and Jerusalem settlements produce about 91 million cubic meters of wastewater annually, more than double the amount from Palestinian communities. Yet most of it goes untreated. As an occupying power, international humanitarian law requires it be done, yet Israel...

Gaza and the Language of Power
16 Jul 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Nearly six months have passed since the Israeli army ceased pounding the tiny stretch of land that is the Gaza Strip. Since then, Gaza continues to appear on the news once in a while, as a recurring subject of human misery. The tireless efforts of British MP George Galloway, and the courageous endeavors of the Free Gaza movement have managed to push Gaza back into the spotlight, even if momentarily and with political context which is lacking at best. Aside from that, the three-week Israeli onslaught in Gaza, starting December 27 – and the catastrophic conditions endured there – have served the purpose of a footnote in many news reports. The event is generally cited as such: “Israel moved against Hamas in Gaza to quell the firing of militants’ rockets, resulting in the death of such and such number.” Hamas, according to media conventional wisdom, is the “militant group that ousted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ forces in a bloody coup in mid 2007.” Sadly, ones worse fears have actualized, where the post-Gaza massacre world and the one which existed prior are exactly the same. Israel is trying to prove that political and military might overpower all human rights reports combined, and that public opinion - which turned against Israel as it wantonly killed and wounded thousands – will eventually turn back in Israel’s favor. One does not need to be an expert in the art of propaganda to predict the public relations model that would allow Israel...

Israel Traps Gazans in Deprivation and Despair
16 Jul 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago Founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross is an "impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance." It also tries "to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles." It's legally mandated to do it under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and has had a permanent presence in Gaza since 1968. Currently 109 ICRC staff work there, including 19 expatriates. They remained throughout Operation Cast Lead and witnessed firsthand the carnage and destruction that took place. Cooperatively with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), they evacuated hundreds of people, some severely wounded in the conflict. As able, they also repaired power and water supply lines and provided hospitals with vital medicines and supplies. In addition, ICRC surgeons performed operations in Gaza's Shifa Hospital working alongside Palestinian doctors. Post-conflict, ICRC and PRCS collected information on Israeli violations of international humanitarian laws. They also distributed vital items, including plastic sheeting, cooking sets, mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits, and more to over 72,000 Gazans whose homes were partially or totally destroyed. ICRC is currently providing eight hospitals with medicines, other medical supplies, equipment, spare parts, and is helping with needed repairs. It's also fitting amputees with artificial limbs and offering needed physiotherapy. It's helping to upgrade water and sanitation services to keep Gaza's water network running...

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