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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
19 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israeli PM: Israel rule over Jerusalem, not an issue for negotiations
19 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his minters on Sunday that Israeli rule over Jerusalem is not a matter for discussion. 

Palestinian and Israeli peace activists attacked by military en route to Hebron protest
19 Jul 2009 - A group of Palestinian and Israeli activists traveling to the village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, were attacked by Israeli forces while en route.  Three were injured and nine were detained by the soldiers for hours, and were unable to reach the area where they had planned to protest on Saturday. 

Jordan asks Qaddoumi to leave its soil
19 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Radio reported that the Jordanian Authorities had officially asked senior Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official, Farouq Qaddoumi, to leave Jordan after his last Sunday statements regarding a plot that ‘led to assassination of Yasser Arafat. 

Iranian official accuses Israel of trying to assassinate Iranian President
18 Jul 2009 - The Iranian Intelligence Minister told state media on Friday that he had evidence of an Israeli plot to assassinate the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, during last month’s election campaign. 

Non-violent march by peace protesters in Lebanon crosses into Israel
18 Jul 2009 - A group of protesters from the refugee camps of southern Lebanon held a march Friday challenging the ongoing Israeli military occupation on the Israeli border with Lebanon.  The march culminated at the abandoned Israeli military post known as ‘Mount Doy’, which the Israeli military claims is inside Israel.

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF troops trade fire with militants near Gaza border
19 Jul 2009 - No soldiers wounded; in separate incident, IDF troops shot and wound Gazan who approached border fence. 

U.S. military names soldier captured in Afghanistan
19 Jul 2009 - Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, 23, identified a day after he was seen in a Taliban video posted online. 

Officials: U.S. Defense Secretary to visit Israel
19 Jul 2009 - Robert Gates likely to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions during July 27 visit, say officials involved in trip. 

Shin Bet: Qatar sheikh funding Hamas activities in Jerusalem
19 Jul 2009 - Yuval Diskin says Palestinian Authority is thwarting the sale of land to Jews in East Jerusalem.

Ma'an News

Palestinian prisoner in Israel starts hunger strike
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian prisoner Jilbu Riyad Al-Umour began a hunger strike six days ago in protest of situation, relatives told the Palestinian Prisoners' Society in Bethlehem on Sunday. Al-Umour has been serving a life sentence since 2003 in an Israeli jail, but suffers from several health conditions, including heart disease. He has insisted that he requires medical intervention but that it had been denied. The Prisoners' Society demanded that Israel respect its obligations to detainees' health, and said that the Israeli prison service would be "held accountable for Al-Umour's life, and the more than 1,000 ill Palestinian prisoners in Israel's custody. "[end] 

Jerusalem protesters decry eviction orders
7/19/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Palestinian lawmaker Hatem Abdul Qader led a demonstration against Israel's planned eviction of two families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Sunday. Dozens of young children from summer camps in Jerusalem participated in the demonstrations as well as representatives of civic organizations, local human rights groups, and foreign solidarity activists. Abdul Qadersaid the sit-in coincides with an Israeli court hearing to decide on evacuation of two homes owned by Al-Ghawi and Hanoun families. Last month the cout gave the two families until 19 August before to evacuate their homes, in addition to a fine of 50,000 US dollars and 50,000 Israeli shekels if they defy the order. 

Islamic-Christian Front to compose Jerusalem dictionary
7/19/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Islamic-Christian Front in Jerusalem will compose a dictionary including all the names of archeological sites and streets of the holy city in Arabic, officials said Sunday. The campaign was announced as a response to Israel's decision to Hebraize Arabic and English road signs and sites throughout Israel. The dictionary project was announced by Islamic-Christian Front Secretary-General Dr Hasan Khatir during a news conference at Ramatan news agency in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestine's chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer At-Tamimi, participated in the conference along with Father Manuel Musallam, and both commemorated the holiday that marks Prophet Muhammad's journey to heaven. Other speakers addressed the latest developments in Jerusalem, especially Israeli policies they said aimed at desecrating the city, among them the inauguration. . . 

Zionist org. investigated for selling Palestinian land to settlers
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's Attorney General has ordered police to investigate whether the World Zionist Organization (WZO) allocated private Palestinian land for construction in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Attorney General Menahem Mazuz ordered the probe after five Palestinian landowners filed a petition with the Court of Justice to stop construction of five settler houses. The newspaper said construction was well underway when the petition was submitted, with the help of two Israeli human rights groups, Yesh Din and B'Tselem. By the time of the hearing, the houses were already inhabited. During the hearing, the Israeli state's lawyers conceded that the buildings were on private Palestinian land, the newspaper said, citing a Channel Two television report. 

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian in Gaza
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man near the border wall in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday evening, according to Israeli news reports. According to the unconfirmed reports, the man was reportedly taken to an Israeli hospital. Israeli forces routinely patrol a "buffer zone" up to 500 meters wide along the Green Line, inside Palestinian territory. Palestinians who approach the border are often shot. [end] 

US Defense Secretary Gates to visit Israel
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to visit Israel on 27 July for talks likely to address Iran and illegal West Bank settlements, Reuters reported on Sunday. The news agency quoted officials involved in planning the trip as saying that Iran will likely dominate the agenda, but relations with the Palestinians "could" come up. The Barack Obama administration wants Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt all construction in the colonies on Palestinian land. Gates has signaled that he is unwilling to allow Israel to launch a preemptive strike on Iran, which it insists is developing nuclear weapons. "We expect Iran to be the main issue. There is obviously a value in a show of Americans and Israelis closing ranks about Iran," one official told Reuters. 

Israel cancels second meeting in a row with US envoy Mitchell
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli officials have cancelled another meeting with US envoy George Mitchell on Sunday, the Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The meeting was postponed to at least the end of the month, the newspaper added. A previously scheduled meeting in Paris for last month was cancelled altogether. Mitchell was to arrive in Israel on Sunday before the cancellation was announced, with some sources telling the paper they speculated it was because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not managed to seal a deal with the Americans on illegal settlements. The prior meeting was supposed to be between Mitchell and Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister. Barak has lately been handling such responsibilities due to the perception that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would be biased in favor of the colonies, one of which he calls home near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. 

178 West Bank workers detained for ’illegal’ stay in Israel
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli border police detained 178 Palestinian workers staying in Israel without permits over the weekend, the forces announced on Sunday. Furthermore, seven drivers were detained for illegally transporting workers without permission. After first detaining the men, it was revealed that 14 of the workers were "wanted" by Israeli security for interrogation. [end] 

Israeli forces seize Palestinian teen near Tulkarem
7/19/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained a teenage Palestinian from his home near Tulkarem on Sunday morning. Palestinian security sources identified the young man as 18-year-old Ibrahim Kheil, "a Fatah operative. "Soldiers reportedly seized him at his house in the northern West Bank village of Atteel, taking him to an undisclosed location. [end] 

Bil’in Popular Committee member seized by Israeli soldiers
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers seized a nonviolent activist on Sunday during a dawn raid on the West Bank village of Bil'in, which holds a weekly demonstration against the Israeli separation wall. According to Eyad Burnat of Bil'in's Popular Committee Against the Wall, Israeli soldiers raided the home of another committeemember, Emad Burnat at 5:30am, arresting him and taking him inside a military jeep. When Palestinian and international activists attempted to block the vehicles path, the Israeli troops used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them. The jeep and three others left the village under a hail of rocks thrown by Palestinians. The soldiers also raided the house Abd Al-Fatah Burnat without making any arrests. Local activists videotaped the incursion. Emad Burnat is currently receiving medical treatment after a recent tractor accident. 

Rafah man sentenced to lifetime hard labor for collaboration
7/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A de facto government military court in the Gaza Strip on Sunday sent a man to life in prison with hard labor. The man, identified by the court as As-Sabi (the lion, in Arabic), was found guilty of collaboration with Israel and murder. The guilty verdict is subject to appeal, the court added. The court also released that the defendant was born in 1973 and is married. The issue of collaborators is sensitive in Palestinian society because fighters have been jailed and killed by Israeli forces based on information supplied by spies, who have in the past been blackmailed by the country's intelligence services. [end] 

Two Gaza crossing points open Sunday
7/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz border crossings into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, while Karni remains closed, according to Palestinian crossing official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh told Ma'an that 45-55 trucks loaded with humanitarian, agricultural and commercial goods would be shipped through the Kerem Shalom crossing, while limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel would enter the coastal strip through the Nahal Oz terminal. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. According to the UN and aid agencies some items, such as construction materials needed to rebuild from the recent war, are completely banned. 

US State Dept. summons Israel envoy over East Jerusalem settlement
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The United States has demanded that Israel stop a new settlement underway in occupied East Jerusalem, according to several senior officials quoted in Israeli media on Sunday. Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren was summoned by the State Department this past weekend where he was urged to stop illegal building in Palestinian territory, a number of Israeli radio stations and the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday morning. The newspaper reported that it learned of the incident through officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss "diplomatic flaps with the US. "The American Embassy in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment. A top Israeli government source who rejected the American demands, according to the newspaper, said, "Israel is building in Jerusalem and will build in the future. . . " 

Khaled Masha’al: Hamas won’t oppose peace efforts
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas will not stand in the way of peace in the Middle East, said its leader in exile Khaled Masha'al during a meeting on Saturday night with the Russian president's special Middle East envoy. Alexander Saltanov, who also serves as deputy Russian foreign minister, was visiting Syria where he met with the exiled Hamas leader in Damascus over the weekend. According to Muhammad Nasr, a member of Hamas' politburo, the meeting was successful and comprehensive, and it addressed Palestinian conciliation, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and other major issues. "Hamas' delegation was updated on the Russian vision of [a proposed] Moscow peace conference," Nasr said. He highlighted that Sultanov expressed his hopes that the conference would achieve peace in the region. Russian officials who attended the meeting said Saltanov had called on Hamas to show flexibility and. . . 

Erekat meets Iran’s foreign minister for first time
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) top negotiator, Saeb Erekat, met with Iran's foreign minister for the first time in Egypt three days ago. Erekat told Ma'an in a phone interview that he spoke with Manouchehr Mottaki about Palestinian reconciliation talks, national unity, and other regional and Palestinian issues. The meeting in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm Ash-Sheikh was the first such high-level meeting with Iran since the Palestinian Authority was created in 1994. The AFP news agency quoted a senior Palestinian official also saying that the meeting focused on efforts to reconcile Erekat's Fatah movement with its rival Hamas. "They discussed the internal Palestinians situation and the need for successful negotiations between Hamas and Fatah," the official told AFP. 

Fayyad urges US to draft peace plan
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad late on Saturday urged the United States to create a timetable for an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. "I call anew on the United States to come up with a plan and a timetable for its application that will contribute to put an end to Jewish settlements and Israeli offensives, and lead to serious negotiations," Fayyad said, according to AFP. Fayyad also said the world should hold Israel accountable to its prior obligations. "Israel is turning its back on international legitimacy," the prime minister told a crowd of thousands at the Ramallah-area Qalandiya Refugee Camp. 

Special PLO session backs Abbas, condemns Al-Qaddoumi
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s Executive Committee convened on Saturday in Ramallah, issuing a statement of confidence in President Mahmoud Abbas and condemning Farouq Al-Qaddoumi. Al-Qaddoumi, a high-ranking PLO and Fatah official, had accused Abbas 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 Executive Committee decided to call a session of the PLO Central Council to discuss the national dialogue and take unspecified "necessary measures" against Al-Qaddoumi, accusing him of attempting to discharge Israel from responsibility for killing Arafat and other "martyrs. "Many Palestinians blame Israel for the leader's sudden and untimely death. Furthermore, the committee issued a condemnation of what it called Israel's expansionism,. . . 

PFLP: Don’t postpone Palestinian elections
7/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A senior official in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Jamil Mizher said that his organization rejects any postponement of elections currently scheduled for January. Speaking during a political meeting in Gaza "Whither Cairo dialogue and national reconciliation? " Mizher called for the public to pressure Hamas and Fatah to strike a unity deal. Mizher expressed his fear that the ongoing bilateral talks between Hamas and Fatah will become a form of coexistence within the overall state of division. "We don't know how the elections will take place in the context of division and the two governments [in Gaza and the West Bank]" he said. "What is required from the Palestinian people is to pressure Fatah and Hamas to end their division as soon as possible so as to rid the people of Palestine of this devastating division" he added. 

Hamas leader: Fatah not interested in unity
7/19/2009 - Abu ZuhriGaza - Ma'an - Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri accused Fatah on Sunday of creating a negative atmosphere around Palestinian unity negotiations by continuing to arrest Hamas members in the West Bank and rejecting Egypt's proposals. Abu Zuhri made these remarks in an interview with Ma'an. They come just as the next round of Hamas-Fatah talks in Cairo was postponed by nearly a month, until 25 August. "Fatah is not interested in any national reconciliation," said Abu Zuhri, claiming that his party has already accepted an Egyptian initiative to end politicized arrests, and create an interim committee to govern the Gaza Strip and a joint security force. After Hamas' victory in 2006 parliamentary elections, the group seized control of Gaza from Fatah security forces in June 2007, causing a unity government to collapse. 

Fatah official: Unity deadline moved to 25 August
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah delegate and Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj announced on Sunday that unity negotiations in Cairo had been postponed until 25 August, the latest deadline set by Egypt. Another Fatah spokesperson, Fahmi Az-Za'arir, blamed Hamas for the delay, according to a statement sent to Ma'an. Both sides had agreed to an Egyptian deadline of 25 July to resolve the internal Palestinian dispute, which was itself a second date after the first one passed without an agreement. "Fatah's delegation showed sufficient flexibility to ensure the success of the reconciliation agreement but Hamas intended to freeze the discussions," Az-Za'arir added. "Hamas' delegation said honestly that they were not authorized nor scheduled to provide any solutions to controversial issues during this evaluative meeting, yet they still focused on arrests [in the West Bank by PA forces] at the expense of the dialogue," he added. 

Fatah leaders from Gaza may attend Bethlehem conference
7/19/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Egypt has promised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Fatah members from Gaza will be allowed to travel to the West Bank to attend the movement's congress scheduled for 4 August, according to the Palestinian Ambassador to Cairo, Nabil Amr. Amr's comments came during a meeting on Sunday with Fatah women leaders in Salfit in the northern West Bank. He asserted that participation of the Gazan a "guarantee for success," showing Fatah's purported insistence on Palestinian unity. Egypt and Syria announced earlier that they would facilitate travel of Fatah leaders from their respective countries to Bethlehem, with Syria-based members arriving via Jordan. Final approval will depend on, Israel, which controls all entry points to the occupied West Bank. 

PA forces shoot two Hamas men at refugee camp
7/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces shot two Hamas affiliates during an arrest raid into the Ramallah-area Al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp on Sunday afternoon, Reuters reported. The news agency quoted a security source who said that fighting broke out when residents tried to prevent the arrest of 37-year-old Halil Ali, who was nevertheless ultimately taken into custody. Ali's cousin and uncle were reportedly hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries following the incident. "He [Ali] was asked to go to meet Palestinian security forces who wanted to question him, but he refused because he was scared as he knew that he could be jailed and tortured," Reuters quoted Ali's brother Nidal as saying. Security spokesman Adnan Dmeiri told Ma'an in an interview that PA forces went into the camp to arrest a "wanted" man in the camp. 

Record-breaking knafa unveiled in Nablus
7/18/2009 - The world's largest cheese, syrup and semolina pastry was unveiled in Nablus during the second weekend of the city's annual shopping festival that was attended by tens of thousands of Palestinians, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Western diplomats and dignitaries have recently praised the improved economic and security situation in Nablus, imposed by PA forces under the command of US General Keith Dayton, and the opening of a movie theatre in the downtown core. [end] 

The National

Syria softens stance on hosting Hariri
19 Jul 2009 - Election win of Lebanese prime minister-designate should boost renewed diplomatic links between Beirut and Damascus.

Egypt builds a home of its own
19 Jul 2009 - The government supplies land, plans and finance – and the would-be property owners do everything else to create their dream home.

Israel told to halt Jerusalem house building
19 Jul 2009 - America demands Israel suspends a planned housing project in east Jerusalem, in a sign of the deepening rift between the two.

Ban on Al Jazeera lifted
19 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian government lifts the ban on Qatari TV news station Al Jazeera operating in the West Bank.

Aljazeera

Israel defies US on settlements
19 Jul 2009 - US says negotiations "intense" after Netanyahu snubs demand to scrap East Jerusalem project.

IRIN

LEBANON: Earthquake threat looms large 
SHOUR Sunday, July 19, 2009 (IRIN) - Naeme Khalil, 80, is inspecting the construction of his new three-storey home in the village of Shour in south Lebanon. Three years ago, the building was destroyed by an Israeli missile during the war with Hezbollah, which killed about 1,200 Lebanese and displaced...

IRAQ: Christian community faces new wave of violence
BAGHDAD Wednesday, July 15, 2009 (IRIN) - A new wave of violence targeting Iraq's Christian community has raised questions about the safety of religious minorities amid concerns about Iraqi forces' ability to maintain security after the 30 June withdrawal of US combat forces from cities to outlying bases.

ISRAEL: Crackdown on illegal migrants and visa violators 
TEL AVIV Tuesday, July 14, 2009 (IRIN) - Immigration inspectors have launched an operation aimed at deporting nearly 300,000 illegal migrants and visa violators, according to Tziki Sela, head of the enforcement unit at Israel’s new Immigration Authority.

Stop The Wall

Forced out and knocked down: house demolitions to hit the West Bank
14 Jul 2009 - A wave of house demolition orders has been distributed across the West Bank. The houses threatened are being issued the orders on the pretext that they are in Area C, in which Palestinians are not allowed to build. Inhabited and under-construction homes, storage
structures and other infrastructure face destruction in the districts of Salfit, Hebron and Qalqilya. [

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

Israeli forces raid Bil’in, arrest member of Popular Committee
International Solidarity Movement - At 5:30am, shortly after the Palestinian and international solidarity activists returned to their houses after patrolling the village all night, villagers gave the alert that four Israeli military jeeps were driving toward the village. Shortly thereafter, Israeli soldiers raided the house of Abd Al Fatah Bornat whose son, Muhammed Abd Al Fatah Bornat (age 21), they had arrested at 2am on July 17, 2009. His brother is also wanted by the occupation forces, but he was not at home this morning. The army left that home without making any arrests. A few minutes later, they reached the house of Emad Bornat whom they arrested. Palestinian residents and international activists tried to block the path to the jeep where the soldiers were about to take the victim. They were pushed back violently by the army so that any attempt to de-arrest Emad was futile. 

Dozens protest east Jerusalem eviction plans
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 19 July 2009 - Maher Hanoun, a resident of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, has been ordered by court to vacate his home. Dozens of the neighborhood's residents, as well as Jewish and Arab politicians and human rights activists arrived at Hanoun's house on Sunday to protest the court's decision. Earlier Sunday it was reported that the US is pressuring Israel to halt the development of a planned hotel in Sheikh Jarrah. The protestors held up a poster carrying US President Barack Obama's image and the caption in English, "President Obama, yes you can – stop the evictions and house demolitions in east Jerusalem. ""My responsibility is to protect my house, in which I was born in 1956, and to protect my children who were also born here," said Hanoun. "Should they evacuate us, we have no place else to go. " 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Rabbi Michael Melchior slated to become next WZO head
19 Jul 2009 - Rabbi Michael Melchior is slated to head the World Zionist Organization as of next month, after Kadima chairperson Tzipi Livni invited him to join the organization on her party's ticket, Haaretz has learned. ... 

Akiva Eldar / What Netanyahu wants from Obama's 'self-hating Jews' 
19 Jul 2009 - Who is to blame for the latest dispute with the United States over the new neighborhood going up in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah area? Mayor Nir Barkat? Certainly not. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stood behind him? Ridiculous. Any child knows that everything is the fault of other Jews: Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, two American administration officials who are inciting President Barack Obama against their own people. ... 

U.K. envoys: The Israelis don't listen to us 
19 Jul 2009 - British diplomats touring the Shepherd Hotel recently in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah expressed concern about Israeli construction plans there, particularly in light of the site's close proximity to the British consulate in East Jerusalem. ... 

'No difference to U.S. between outpost, East Jerusalem construction' 
19 Jul 2009 - The United States views East Jerusalem as no different than an illegal West Bank outpost with regard to its demand for a freeze on settlement construction, American sources have informed both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. ... 

Amir Oren / Netanyahu-Obama spat harming IDF capability on Iran
19 Jul 2009 - In the summer of 1990, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the Israel Defense Forces hastily conceived a plan - without precise intelligence and with no developed, operational plans - to raid the missile sites in western Iraq that threatened Israel, Benny Gantz was the commander of the elite air force commando unit Shaldag. The military coordination with the region's overlords, the Americans, was minimal if not non-existent. Deputy chief of staff Ehud Barak expended much of his energy in maneuvering for the removal of Gen. Doron Rubin, who headed the headquarters for special operations. ... 

The Guardian

Jewish settlements: Freeze project, US demands
19 Jul 2009 - The growing rift between the White House and Israel over the continued construction of Jewish settlements has widened after the US demanded the scrapping of a plan for new Jewish housing in occupied east Jerusalem. The...

Gambling with peace: how US bingo dollars are funding Israeli settlements
19 Jul 2009 - • California charity 'a barrier to West Bank resolution' • Millionaire's foundation must be curbed, critics say For the winning punters chancing their luck at Hawaiian Gardens' charity bingo hall in the heart of one of...

Ha'aretz National page

Two Haifa youths arrested for sexually assaulting boys aged 7 and 8 
19 Jul 2009 - Police arrested two boys, aged 12 and 14, over the weekend on suspicion of raping two younger boys, brothers aged 7 and 8. ... 

Will fixing up your apartment in Israel pay off?
19 Jul 2009 - Y. owned 1.5 dunams of land, with building rights, in the Gush Hagadol tract of land in northwestern Tel Aviv. Her rights allowed her to build four three-room apartments and a penthouse. Due to the large inventory of properties for sale in the Gush Hagadol, there's a lot of competition over buyers. ... 

Ashkenazi Haredi leaders to hold summit in challenge to Gur Hasidim 
19 Jul 2009 - Rabbinic leaders of the Ashkenazi Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community will hold a rare summit in Jerusalem Monday to discuss the fate of the community's Hinuch Atzma'i school system. ...

YNet News

Swiss FM: Hamas 'major player' in Middle East
19 Jul 2009 - Israel vexed over Bern's hospitality to Hamas delegation, says Switzerland 'distancing itself from moderate camp' 

'Starving mom' case: Hadassah Hospital administrator receives threats 
19 Jul 2009 - Dr. Yair Birnbaum of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem receives anonymous bomb threat over his involvement in the case of haredi mother suspected of starving toddler son 

Palestinians open fire at soldiers near Gaza border 
19 Jul 2009 - Gunmen fire RPG missiles and mortal shells at IDF force patrolling Gaza fence; troops respond with fire, reportedly hitting several Palestinians. Earlier Sunday soldiers shoot unarmed Palestinian who approached fence despite warning 

Dozens protest east Jerusalem eviction plans
19 Jul 2009 - East Jerusalemites, Jewish and Arab politicians and activists gather at home of Sheikh Jarrah resident to protest planned eviction. City Council member says government trying to Judaize area 

Mother suspected of starving son defers psych evaluation
19 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem Magistrate's Court calls emergency hearing over woman's failure to report to court ordered psychiatric evaluation over 'fatigue.' Judge: I hope no one is trying to outsmart the court 

Jerusalem mayor orders civil suits against haredim
19 Jul 2009 - Municipality hopes claims will help cover cost of repairing damages caused in violent ultra-orthodox protests in city in recent weeks 

Diskin: PA seeking to increase hold on east Jerusalem 
19 Jul 2009 - Shin Bet chief goes before cabinet, warns both Palestinian Authority, Hamas are trying to expand their foothold in capital's east 

Erekat meets with Iranian foreign minister for first time 
19 Jul 2009 - Senior negotiator met Minister Mottaki in Sinai last week to discuss internal Palestinian conflict, reconciliation efforts. But Abbas associate stresses PA's position on Iran hasn't changed

Daily Star

Israel defies US demand to halt Jerusalem project
19 Jul 2009 - Israel Sunday rejected a US demand to suspend a planned housing project in Occupied East Jerusalem, threatening to further complicate an unusually tense standoff with its strongest ally over settlement construction. Israeli officials said the country's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, was summoned to the State Department.

Hardliners criticize Ahmadinejad over VP choice
19 Jul 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, already at the center of a post-election crisis, came under criticism from his own hard-line supporters Sunday for appointing a first vice president who once caused an outcry by saying Iranians were friends of Israelis. But Iran's state-run English language Press TV said Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie.

Gates visit to Israel expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions
19 Jul 2009 - US Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to visit Israel on July 27 for talks likely to focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and US-Israeli strategic ties, officials involved in planning the trip said on Sunday. As the second Cabinet-level representative of the Obama administration to be hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian police wound two in West Bank raid
19 Jul 2009 - Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas shot and wounded two people on Sunday during a raid to arrest a Hamas member in the Occupied West Bank, local residents told Reuters. The incident came as Egyptian-mediated Palestinian reconciliation talks between rivals Fatah and Hamas set for next Saturday were delayed for a month.

Rift with India on climate-change deal can be bridged, says Clinton
19 Jul 2009 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday she was confident of bridging key divisions with India on how to combat climate change ahead of a high-stakes conference later in the year. “I am very confident … that the United States and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce.

Palestinian Information Center

Abbas’s militia wounds two citizens, kidnap another after storming Jalazone
20 Jul 2009 - Two Palestinian citizens were wounded during clashes with the militia of Mahmoud Abbas which stormed the refugee camp of Jalazone in Ramallah to kidnap a prominent Hamas leader.

Nunu: Government supports resistance
20 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip has affirmed its support for resistance against occupation, describing it as the real means of confronting the Israeli occupation's crimes.

Jawhari: Abbas is ready to give up the strategic interest of Jordan
20 Jul 2009 - Journalist Shaker Jawhari stated that Jordan's strategic interest conflicts with Abbas's interests, warning that Abbas waived the higher Palestinian interests and would do the same with Jordan.

MP Naim confers with congresswoman on kidnapped Palestinian MPs
20 Jul 2009 - Former American congresswoman Cynthia McKinney expressed deep regret during a meeting with member of the PLC Huda Naim over the cruel treatment of abducted Palestinian MPs in IOA jails.

Hamas affirms: Dialog session to be delayed till 25/8 at Fatah's request
20 Jul 2009 - Hamas on Sunday said that the national reconciliation dialog had been postponed till 25/8/2009 at the request of the Fatah faction.

Hamami: Qaddoumi’s remarks are a start to reveal more secrets in Fatah history
20 Jul 2009 - Palestinian writer Ibrahim Hamami stated that Qaddoumi's remarks were the first link in the chain that would lead to the revelation of more secrets in the political history of Fatah.

Qabha: The policy of "creative chaos" failed to remove Hamas from Gaza
20 Jul 2009 - Former minister of prisoners Wasfi Qabha stated that the policy of creative chaos pursued by former US secretary of state Rice failed to eliminate Hamas despite the enormity of conspiracies.

IOF soldiers kidnap foreign activists, wound Palestinians
20 Jul 2009 - IOF soldiers on Saturday kidnapped nine foreign activists and wounded five Palestinians while quelling a peaceful march against settlement activity in Beit Ummar village, Al-Khalil district.

Resheq: Fatah dodges the release of Hamas prisoners from its jails
20 Jul 2009 - Ezzat Al-Resheq, a member of Hamas political bureau, stated Saturday that Fatah leaders still circumvent the issue of political arrests in the West Bank.

Jewish settlers to build new settlement called Obama Hilltop
20 Jul 2009 - A group of Jewish settlers are planning to rebuild a settlement in northern West Bank that was evacuated in 2005 and to name it after the new American president Barack Obama.

Los Angeles Times

Iran's moderate vice president under pressure to resign 
19 Jul 2009 - Some reports say Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, whose appointment was opposed by hard-liners, has stepped down. Meanwhile, a British Embassy employee is released from custody. A top aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had voiced a moderate stance toward Israel came under heavy pressure to resign Sunday as government-controlled news outlets issued conflicting reports about whether he had already left his post. 

Iranian protesters galvanized by sermon 
18 Jul 2009 - They clash with security forces in Tehran after a sermon in which top cleric Hashemi Rafsanjani criticizes the election and calls for rule of law, unity and dialogue. A sermon by powerful cleric and opposition supporter Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reignited Iran's simmering protest movement Friday, heartening thousands of supporters who braved tear gas and club-wielding militiamen to march and chant slogans across Tehran. 

Comedian Omid Djalili is breaking barriers . . . seriously 
18 Jul 2009 - The British-born Iranian actor didn't anticipate the fuss over his playing the Jewish character Fagin, in 'Oliver!' Over the last 15 years, Omid Djalili, a British-born Iranian comedian and actor, who wryly refers to himself as "a Middle Eastern person," has become gradually famous by breaking down cultural differences and ethnic barriers. 

New York Times

Ex-President in Iran Seeks Referendum
19 Jul 2009 - Mohammad Khatami made a bold challenge to the government by questioning its legitimacy after another former president said the state had lost Iranians’ trust. 

Memo From Jerusalem: Netanyahu’s Talk of Peace Finds Few True Believers
19 Jul 2009 - In the weeks since Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the principle of a Palestinian state, officials are questioning his commitment to a final peace accord. 

Israel Rejects U.S. Call to Hold Off on Development
19 Jul 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to stop Jewish building in East Jerusalem, saying Israel’s sovereignty over the city could not be challenged. 

Misc

’Limits on settlement freeze being set’ 
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem's decision to leak to the media US displeasure with a plan to build a small housing complex in east Jerusalem was designed to clarify to the Americans that construction in the capital should not be lumped together with any limitations Israel may agree to on building in the settlements, senior diplomatic officials told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. According to the officials, Israel was "defining the boundaries" of where Israel would, and would not, agree to limitations on its construction activity. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, responding to the reports that Washington had asked Israel not to build 20 apartments in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, near Mount Scopus and the National Police headquarters, said, "I would like to reemphasize that united Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people and of the State of Israel. 

Officials: U.S. Defense Secretary to visit Israel 
Ha'aretz - Reuters - U. S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to visit Israel on July 27 for talks likely to focus on Iran's nuclear ambitions and U. S. -Israeli strategic ties, officials involved in planning the trip said on Sunday. As the second cabinet-level representative of the Obama administration to be hosted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gates could also lobby for a resolution to the bilateral dispute over the future of West Bank settlements. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell declined to confirm the trip or what might be on Gates's agenda. " We don't talk about the secretary's trips, wherever they may be, until such time as we are ready to announce them and nor should anyone else," Morrell said. " I would not confirm or deny travel plans," he added. "It is not appropriate and it can endanger the secretary and those traveling with him. " Gates has voiced sympathy for Israel's concerns about the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons. . . 

Vatican teaching Hezbollah how to kill Jews, says pamphlet for IDF troops
Ha'aretz - The Pope and the cardinals of the Vatican help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews, according to a booklet being distributed to Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Officials encouraging the booklet's distribution include senior officers, such as Lt. Col. Tamir Shalom, the commander of the Nahshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade. The booklet was published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, in cooperation with the chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, and has been distributed for the past few months. The booklet, titled "On Either Side of the Border," purports to be the testimony of "a Hezbollah officer who spied for Israel. " "The book is distributed regularly and everyone reads it and believes it," said one soldier. "It's filled with made-up details but is presented as a true story. 

In pictures: Gaza six months on 
BBC Online - Slide show, 7 images. [end] 

’These were terrible blows’ 
YNetNews - Shocking new evidences emerges in affair involving IDF troops abused by commanders - Shocking new evidence has emerged in connection with an abuse case involving IDF armored corps troops and commanders. "All the soldiers stood in one row and lifted up their shirts, while the staff was yelling 'cowards, no-goods, you're worth nothing. ' The commanders would start beating us, slapping us, and whipping us. The pains were terrible," one abuse victim told Ynet Saturday. The story, first reported by Ynet on Friday, involved a hazing ceremony where soldiers were beaten by other servicemen, to the point of suffering substantial bruising and scarring. The event, described as extremely violent, was apparently sanctioned by the company commander, though he did not participate in it personally. The commander has since been dismissed. 

Articles

Muzzling Press Freedom In Palestine 
Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank, Desert Peace 7/18/2009
      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 and Israeli-tolerated junta.
     The decision came a day after Fatah Secretary-General Farouk Kaddoumi appeared on al-Jazeera, accusing Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas and his aide, former Gaza strong man Muhammed Dahlan, of complicity in poisoning the late Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat.
     Justifying the decision, PA officials accused al Jazeera of bias, incitement and fostering division within the Palestinian community.
     In fact, al-Jazeera didn’t go beyond transmitting Kaddumi’s impromptu news conference as other TV networks and news agencies did.
     Hence, it is amply clear that the draconian measure against al Jazeera by the nominally autonomous Ramallah regime was a classical instance of shooting the messenger because one doesn’t like the message.
     Non the less, the decision seems to be consistent with the overall mindset of the Ramallah regime.
     This is a regime that constantly violates the basic human rights and civil liberties of the Palestinian people.
     It is a regime that rounds up thousands of “non-conformist” Palestinians and incarcerates them for prolonged periods of time without charge or trial. It is a regime that nearly explicitly allows physical and psychological torture throughout its notorious jails and detention centers.
     This brutal modus operandi is so rampant that many detainees would rather be in Israeli custody than being hosted in the dungeons of the “national” Palestinian Authority.

That commenter on your blog may actually be working for the Israeli government 
Muzzle Watch 7/14/2009
      Posted by Cecilie Surasky
     Straight out of Avigdor Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry: a new Internet Fighting Team! Israeli students and demobilized soldiers get paid to pretend they are just regular folks and leave pro-Israel comments on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The effort is meant to fight the “well-oiled machine” of “pro-Palestinian websites, with huge budgets… with content from the Hamas news agency.” The approach was test-marketed during Israel’s assault on Gaza, and by groups like Give Israel Your United Support, a controversial effort to use instant-access technology to crowd-source Israel advocates to fill in flash polls or vote up key articles on social networking sites.
     Will the responders who are hired for this also present themselves as “ordinary net-surfers”?
     “Of course,” says Shturman. “Our people will not say: ‘Hello, I am from the policy-explanation department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and I want to tell you the following.’ Nor will they necessarily identify themselves as Israelis. They will speak as net-surfers and as citizens, and will write responses that will look personal but will be based on a prepared list of messages that the Foreign Ministry developed.”
     The full article, translated into English by George Malent for Occupation Magazine, here:
     The Foreign Ministry presents: talkbackers in the service of the State, By: Dora Kishinevski, Calcalist 5 July 2009.
     After they became an inseparable part of the service provided by public-relations companies and advertising agencies, paid Internet talkbackers are being mobilized in the service of the State. The Foreign Ministry is in the process of setting up a team of students and demobilized soldiers who will work around the clock writing pro-Israeli responses on Internet websites all over the world, and on services like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube....


In Gaza
‘ziggit’, fed-up
19 Jul 2009 - * Nasser street, one of Gaza city’s main north-south streets, long in a state of unfinished repair. The street serves several of Gaza’s hospitals and clinics. The pressure keeps building in Gaza. The siege, people locked in with no relief, no escape and no way of escaping the daily problems for even some hours, no real life, no future plans, no fun…They live under invasions, attacks, the taunting of F-16s flying over Gaza’s small surface. And people anticipate the next attacks. Their destroyed homes remain destroyed, no repairing, little rubble cleared. And even on the more ordinary level, without talk of martyrs and homeless, life is just so hard here....

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