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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
20 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Child killed by military fire in northern Gaza
21 Jul 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported on Monday that a Palestinian child, who was shot and kidnapped by the Israeli army near the border fence in the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening, died of his wounds at the Soroka Israeli hospital in Be’er Sheva’. 

Investigators say they have sufficient evidence to indict Olmert
20 Jul 2009 - Israeli Investigators stated Monday that they have sufficient evidence to indict the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, for breach of trust during his term as the Industry Minister. 

Settlers escalate attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank
20 Jul 2009 - Israeli settlers carried repeated attacks against Palestinian civilians, their farms and vehicles as a retaliation for the evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost in the northern part of the West Bank which was removed earlier by the Israeli military. 

Israel army denies Palestinian youth permit for trip to sea
20 Jul 2009 - The Israeli peace organization Machsom Watch had plans to take 50 West Bank children to the sea, but Israeli army denies one of them the entry permit, citing "security reasons". 

Israel jails a Palestinian for being a security officer of the Palestinian Authority
20 Jul 2009 - An Israeli court decided on Monday to jail a Palestinian man from Jerusalem for being a security officer of the Palestinian Authority. 

The Israeli military kidnaps seven civilians from several parts of the West Bank
20 Jul 2009 - Seven Palestinian civilians were kidnapped on Monday by the Israeli military during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities.

Tunnel collapses in Gaza killing two teenagers, injuring eight others.
20 Jul 2009 - Two Palestinian teenagers were killed and eight others were injured as a tunnel collapsed on them, in the border area between Egypt and Gaza early on Monday morning. 

Israel shoots and detains Palestinian youth at Gaza border
20 Jul 2009 - Israeli forces at the Gaza border shot a Palestinian teenager in his foot and proceeded to detain him, on Sunday evening. 

US Policy under Obama: East Jerusalem settlements not immune to building freeze
20 Jul 2009 - The Obama administration in the US clarified its position on East Jerusalem settlements on Sunday, stating that these settlements are considered to be settlements, and the US will require Israeli authorities to adhere to signed agreements regarding East Jerusalem, and not expand them as planned. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Israel envoy: UNIFIL cooperated with Lebanese infiltrating Israel
20 Jul 2009 - In letter of complaint to Ban, Shalev warns 'pattern of behavior' in Lebanon must be confronted. 

Settlers attack Palestinians following outpost evacuation
20 Jul 2009 - Two Palestinians lightly hurt hours after authorities raze structures in West Bank settler outposts. 

IDF troops trade fire with militants near Gaza border
19 Jul 2009 - No soldiers wounded; Palestinians: One person killed and four hurt in Gaza smuggling tunnel explosion. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Two young Palestinians killed in tunnel collapse
7/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two young Gazans were killed and eight others injured in a tunnel that collapsed under the border between Egypt and the southern Strip city of Rafah overnight. Palestinian medical sources identified one of the dead as 17-year-old Majid Abu Zuhri, while the other remained unidentified. The sources said benzene, which was being smuggled through the tunnel, was leaking before the collapse. The tunnel industry is notoriously dangerous, and dozens of workers are killed each year in workplace accidents. Above the regular collapse of the sandy tunnels, Israeli and Egyptian border police routinely throw explosives into their access points, or flood the passages with water or fuel. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed in such incidents since the siege on Gaza began in 2007. On Thursday, the body of another young man was discovered by tunnel workers, likely killed. . . 

Settlers attack Palestinians after outpost evacuations
7/20/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian olive groves in the northern West Bank villages of Tell and Madma south of Nablus protesting evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost on Monday. According to Ghassan Dughlus, a Palestinian Authority official in charge of settlement activity in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces evacuated an illegal outpost near the village of Sinjil on Monday morning. Angered about the evacuation, settlers set fire to Palestinian fields near Yizhar settlement south of Nablus. Dughlus was also quoted by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz saying that 10 settlers riding horses and carrying torches set fire to between 1,500 and 2,000 olive trees. Firefighters were sent to the fields in an attempt to put out the flames. A Palestinian photojournalist also said he was assaulted by settlers when he attempted to cover the incident. 

PA security refuses to release journalist against High Court order
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority (PA) has refused to release an imprisoned Palestinian journalist against an order from the High Court of Justice in Ramallah, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said on Monday. The PA's Preventive Security Service in the city of Qalqiliya has held 43-year-old Mustafa Sabry since 21 April. On 15 June 2009, the High Court of Justice in Ramallah ordered his release, according to PCHR. The security forces have refused to carry out the order. The rights organization called the ongoing detention "a serious assault against the powers and independence of the Palestinian judiciary. " ¯ In its June ruling, High Court judges Iman Nasser Ad-Din, Rafiq Zuhod, and Salah Manna stated that the military prosecution does not have the authority to arrest Sabry as he is a civilian, and ordered his immediate release. 

Wild boars ruin planting season for Salfit farmers
7/20/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Fearing boars that have appeared in their fields in recent months, some Palestinian farmers from the northern West Bank district of Salfit opted not to plant crops this season. According to Abu Khalil Ayyoub, a farmer from the village of Yasouf, farmers abstained from planting summer crops in the northern area of the village because they knew boars would destroy them as they have in the past. He cited a recent herd of about 20 boars that trampled gardens and even attacked some residents. Separately in the village of Ein Al-Qibliyya, southern Salfit, resident Fadi Haseil said a herd of boars attacked him, and that he escaped after climbing a nearby embankment and hurling stones at the wild animals. Salfit residents have continuously complained about the boars, which they say are not indigenous to the area, attacking residents and crops in the northern West Bank districts. 

UK director pulls out of Melbourne film fest over Israel funding
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - British director Ken Loach has withdrawn his film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne International Film Festival in protest of Israeli government funding. In a letter to the festival director, Richard Moore, Loach, wrote that he was protesting not Israeli films or filmmakers, but Israel's "illegal occupation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and livelihoods,"¯ according to The Age, a newspaper in Melbourne. The Israeli funding he referred to was the Israeli Embassy's sponsorship of Tel Aviv-born animator Tatia Rosenthal's visit the festival to answer questions about her feature $9. 99. Festival director Richard Moore refused Loach's request, prompting the boycott. "It's like submitting to blackmail,"¯ he said, according to AFP. In May BBC reported that the Edinburgh Film Festival had returned an Israeli grant for a filmmaker's travel expenses after Mr. 

Seven Palestinians detained by Israel throughout West Bank
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli forces seized seven Palestinians during raids in the West Bank on Sunday night, the military said. Reports did not state the identities of the detainees or where the raids took place. [end] 

Brief clashes reported near Gaza’s Nahal Oz crossing
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian fighters and Israeli forces clashed near the Nahal Oz crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening, according to news reports. Fighters launched a rocket-propelled grenade at forces stationed there, media sources said. No one was reported injured, and Ma'an received no claim of responsibility for the alleged attack. Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teenager after shooting him in the foot near the Israel border on Sunday evening, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. The 15-year-old boy was taken to Barzalai Hospital inside Israel, according to Muawiyah Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services at the ministry. 

Swiss foreign minister: Hamas a ’major player’ in Mideast
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Hamas is a "major player" in the Middle East, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said on Sunday, according to AFP. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Calmy-Rey referred to a visit a Hamas delegation made to the Swiss capital, Bern, two weeks ago, during which the Islamic movement's members met with top government officials. Calmy-Rey herself met with senior Hamas official Mahmoud Az-Zahhar, AFP said. "Hamas is a major player in the Middle East"¦ and you cannot ignore it if you want to end this decade-long conflict," Calmy-Rey told the newspaper. She expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza in the same interview. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering also met Az-Zahhar while he was in Switzerland, the Washington Post revealed last week. 

All Israel-Gaza crossing points open Monday
7/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities will open all three Gaza Strip commercial crossing points on Monday to allow humanitarian aid, cooking gas and industrial diesel, according to Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh told Ma'an that the Kerem Shalom crossing would be open to let in 70-80 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid. He explained that 21 of the trucks contain equipment for the Palestinian Ministry of Power. Furthermore, limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel will be shipped through Nahal Oz, while wheat and animal feed will be delivered through the Karni crossing, Fattouh added. Egypt's sole crossing at Rafah in the south has not been opened since late June. It is the only crossing accessible to Palestinians seeking to travel, as Israel no longer allows Palestinians to cross over except under special circumstances. 

Abbas: Israel wants Jewish-only Jerusalem
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel intends to eliminate Jerusalem's Islamic and Christian character, President Mahmoud Abbas insisted in a speech in the central West Bank on Sunday evening. Abbas' remarks came while commemorating the Isra and Mi'raj (the prophet Muhammad's night journey) traditionally believed to have occurred in East Jerusalem, Palestine's capital. "Israeli excavations across the holy city endanger its historical buildings and holy places, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque," Abbas said in Bethlehem, a city among the closest to Jerusalem that Palestinians can visit. While in the city, Abbas also visited a home for the elderly and the Terasanta College, which is planned venue for the upcoming Fatah summit. "Demolishing houses owned by Muslims and Christians in the city, as well as levying high taxes on Muslims and Christians. . . 

Hamas, Fatah: US wants Palestinians to abandon right of return
7/20/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Senior Hamas and Fatah officials stated their objections on Sunday to what they said were US suggestions that Palestinians accept a land swap with Israel and give up the right of return. The officials said that the US is pushing for a final status agreement with Israel that does not include the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and maintains so-called Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank. Senior Fatah official Hatem Abdul Qader, who deals with Jerusalem issues, said "the United States is trying to deceive the Palestinians through these proposals, which they think are creative, but [exist] only in their imaginations. He called for the US to take concrete steps to stop Israel's expansion of illegal settlements as an alternative. The official said, "If the United States cannot take small steps in this direction, then how it can. . . 

PA tourism police shut down Jericho hotel
7/20/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority police affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities shut down a hotel in the Jericho and Jordan Valley district on Saturday. The Hisham Palace Hotel lacked an operating license, the police said following their investigation, which was carried out alongside PA security forces. A banner was placed on the front of the building announcing the action, in English and Arabic. PA police have in recent weeks cooperated with various ministry officials in similar cases. Leading this latest investigation were the Jericho district's general director, Jamal Ar-Rujub, and the head of the ministry's Jericho branch, Iyad Hamdan. Earlier this month tourism police seized antiques and earthen vessels stolen from Hebron and transferred to Bethlehem, where they were allegedly to be sold. 

Fayyad to visit Hebron and Bethlehem
7/20/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is scheduled to visit the southern West Bank districts of Hebron and Bethlehem on Monday to inaugurate a number of water wells and pumps. In Bethlehem, Fayyad will visit the villages of Tuqu, Beit Fajjar, and Ar-Rashayda. After that the prime minister will head to Hebron and visit towns of Sa'ir and Halhul in the district's north. Fayyad is a former World Bank economist and holds a PhD in economics. As prime minister Fayyad has been charged with opening development projects and overall strengthening the West Bank economy, which Israel and foreign observers have hailed in recent weeks. However the US-backed prime minister has insisted that his approach is far from that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has touted his so-called economic peace plan over political achievements and Palestinian statehood. 

Hamas: PA arrests five West Bank members
7/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah-allied Palestinian Authority forces arrested five Hamas members in the West Bank on Sunday night, the Islamic movement said. Hamas claimed in a statement that "the five affiliates were seized from the districts of Qalqiliya, Tulkarem and Jenin. " ¯ On Saturday night PA forces shot two Hamas supporters in Jazaloun Refugee Camp, north of the city of Ramallah during an arrest raid, according to witnesses. The PA claimed that its officers fired in the air after people in the camp threw stones at them. [end] 

Gaza security forces stop assault and robbery
7/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas-allied Palestinian security forces said they arrested a thief who broke into a house and attempted to strangle a girl in Ash-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City on Monday. The Public Intelligence service said they took the suspect for interrogation after arresting him on a tip. Security forces in Gaza also said they arrested another thief who stole 6,000 Jordanian dinars (more than 8,400 US dollars) from a resident of Gaza City's Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. They said the suspect was interrogated and the money returned to the victim. [end] 

Fayyad: PA acting to prevent water theft
7/20/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned Palestinians not to violate Palestinian Authority rules on water use during a media event publicizing the recent opening of wells in the West Bank. "Any violation of the instructions cannot be ignored "¦ any organization or body that violates the instructions on the issue of water "¦ will be dissolved,"¯ said Fayyad during his visit to the town of Arab Rawashda, near Hebron, where he inaugurated a water well. Fayyad also asserted that "the situation of water is a top priority for the Palestinian Authority. The water situation in Hebron is difficult and complicated for many reasons, the most important of which is the Israeli complications, the illegal use of water, and shortcomings in management facilities. " ¯Fayyad reaffirmed "the importance of managing what [water] is available and stopping all violation punishing. . . 

The National

Israel deploys cyber team to spread positive spin
20 Jul 2009 - The Israeli government has recruited youths to spread positive news about the country while posing as ordinary web surfers.

UN troops attacked by civilians
20 Jul 2009 - Detonation in Lebanese village controlled by Hizbollah leads Israel to call for Unifil peacekeepers to have more search powers.

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.

Aljazeera

Khatami calls for Iran referendum
20 Jul 2009 - Ex-president seeks referendum to resolve dispute over June 12 presidential vote.

Iran internet law sparks suspicion
20 Jul 2009 - Experts say legislation could be used to monitor users of cyberspace.

Palestine News Network

US administration says it does not differentiate between illegal Israeli settlement building
20 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – The American administration does not differentiate between Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, sources reiterated today and Sunday. Both contravene international law and United Nations resolutions and are contrary to the Road Map.When the United States demanded the Israelis stop unauthorized outposts, meaning settlements that are even against Israeli law, it was not separating East...

Women used for votes but marginalized in national dialogue creating additional split in Palestine
19 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - Women are being deliberately marginalized in the struggle for Palestinian liberation, according to leftist activist Maryam Abu Daqqa. The head of the Union of Women’s Committees and Popular Front member called on women’s movements in Fateh and Hamas to take a stronger role in the national dialogue, despite their regular exclusion from meetings.She accused both nationalist and Islamist movements...

Abbas on Prophet Mohmmad’s journey to Jerusalem: city of his ascension is Palestinian capital
19 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - In a speech last night, President Mahmoud Abbas stressed that recognition of Palestinian rights is key to peace, and warned that Jerusalem is under threat of losing its diverse religious character. Commemorating the Prophet Mohammed’s night journey to Jerusalem with a speech in Bethlehem, Abbas declared that although restoration of human rights in Palestine was incomplete, furthering the cause...

Noise pollution laws to be enforced in West Bank including explosive fireworks and loudspeakers
19 Jul 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – Disturbed days and nights go hand in hand with summer as the din of fireworks from weddings and music from loudspeakers blares at political rallies. To combat major noise pollution the Palestinian police in the West Bank are beginning to enforce laws to prevent the unnecessary ruckus.Major General Hazem Atta, Director General of Police, issued a directive to the...

Gazan shot near by Israeli forces boundary line and five die in tunnel fire in the southern Strip
19 Jul 2009 - Gaza / PNN – As Israeli forces continue to surround the Gaza Strip after decades of occupation, shots are being fired at residents. The armed Palestinian resistance has been returning fire for the past few days while a resident was hit by Israeli forces.A man was at home near the boundary line with the Israelis at the north of the Gaza Strip when...

Palestinian press freedoms organization welcomes lifting of ban on Al Jazeera but condemns precedent
19 Jul 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – When the Fayyad government decided Saturday night to lift the ban on the work of Al Jazeera in the West Bank, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) issued a welcoming statement. The reversal of the ban does not take away the decision made by the Palestinian government in the West Bank led by Prime Minister Dr....

Music festival in Jerusalem aims to break isolation and preserve Palestinian cultural identity
19 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh - From the ancient graves of the sultans, located on Salah Addin Street, the Jerusalem Foundation began Sunday evening the beginning of a new musical program. As part of the Jerusalem Festival 2009, “Music Celebrates Jerusalem,” will run for 10 days in cooperation with the French consulate.Foundation director Rania Elias says that since its inception in 1996 the...

IRIN

SYRIA: Tackling malnutrition in the northeast 
DAMASCUS Monday, July 20, 2009 (IRIN) - The Syrian government and international and local NGOs aim to address malnutrition in the northeast by raising awareness among the local population of healthy practices. The malnutrition rates in the region are one-and-a-half times as high as in the rest of the country,...

MIDDLE EAST: First swine flu death in Egypt 
DUBAI Monday, July 20, 2009 (IRIN) - The Middle East registered its first death due to H1N1 2009 after a 25-year-old Egyptian woman returning from Umrah, the lesser Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, died in hospital on 18 July after testing positive for the virus, according to the Egyptian health...

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...

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: 'Let Obama Talk…' 
JERUSALEM, Jul 20 (IPS) - A joke deriding U.S. President Barack Obama is said to be making the rounds in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau, according to Aluf Benn, the normally well-informed Ha'aretz diplomatic correspondent: "What do Americans do when anything breaks down in their home - when the...

MIDEAST: Settlers Grow and Advance 
RAMALLAH, Jul 20 (IPS) - A little village nestled in a valley between several hills in the Bethlehem governorate is today fighting for survival.

MIDEAST: Report Urges Continued U.S. Diplomatic Push 
WASHINGTON, Jul 18 (IPS) - The U.S. should proceed cautiously in its engagement strategy with Iran, while moving quickly toward final-status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, according to a new report by a team of veteran diplomats and Middle East policymakers.

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.

Stop The Wall

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

(20 July)  Preventive Security Service Refuse to Implement High Court of Justice Ruling Ordering Release of Journalist Mustafa Sabry
PCHR

Preventive Security Service Refuse to Implement High Court of Justice Ruling Ordering Release of Journalist Mustafa Sabry
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

Israeli forces kidnap 3 Talqumia youths
International Solidarity Movement - Updated July 20, 2009 - In the early morning of July 8th, Israeli soldiers raided three houses in the city of Talqumia to arrest three boys. All three are currently in their last year of school. It is very likely that the Israeli army will accuse them of having thrown stones, used molotov cocktails and built so called weapons (which means small plastic tubes being able to shoot smallest pieces of anything up to three meters). Till now only one of them, 16 years old Raef, had his first day of trial. Because of that and because there hasn't been any contact neither from a lawyer nor from the families with the other two boys their accusations are not confirmed, yet. When the army came to arrest them, they smashed the door of Raef family's house with a big stone coming from a construction site after they had surrounded the house and "secured" the area. 

IMORB: End the siege on Gaza, open the Rafah border
International Solidarity Movement - Please take a few minutes on Monday to call the Egyptian embassy in your country to demand the Rafah border be opened!Since June 13, when International Movement to Open the Rafah Border members set their sit-in at the Rafah Gate, we witnessed the Egyptian authorities' collaboration in the Gaza siege enforced by the Israeli government with the US an international community support. Even after the Viva Palestina folks and some aid got into Gaza, the plight of the people waiting to get out or into Gaza has not changed,Please call the Egyptian embassy Monday, July 20. Please spread this call far and wide. It will make a difference to so many Palestinians, And for those who can, come and join us at the Rafah Gate. Come and witness these tragedies at the border. Below details of Egyptian embassies in 40 countries. . . . 

Degrading treatment of an arrested 16 year old boy in Hebron
International Solidarity Movement - Posted July 20 - On Monday the 13th of July around 4:30 pm Jamil (age 16) was stopped by four soldiers of the Israeli Occupation Forces approximately 150 meter from his house. The soldiers commanded him to show his identity papers and confirmed that everything was in order, but still refused to let him go. Jamil believes that his detention was the result of his family's activities with B'tselem. After 15 minutes, Jamil's mother and cousin came to see what was happening to him. When he explained his mistreatment, one of the soldiers told him, that he should 'shut up' or they would ‘fuck him'. In the same degrading manner, they prevented the mother from asking for the reason of her son's detention. After some time the soldiers took Jamil away without explaining where he was being taken. His intuition led him to the conclusion that it was into the direction of the military camp of Tel Rumeida. 

’No difference to U.S. between outpost, East Jerusalem construction’
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 20 July 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. This clarification came in the context of a growing crisis in U. S. -Israel relations over the planned construction of some 20 apartments for Jews in the Shepherd Hotel, in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The U. S. has demanded that the project be halted, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet meeting Sunday that "Israel will not agree to edicts of this kind in East Jerusalem. " "United Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people in the State of Israel, and our sovereignty over the city is not subject to appeal," he continued. "Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Israel envoy: UNIFIL cooperated with Lebanese infiltrating Israel
19 Jul 2009 - United Nations peacekeeping troops in Lebanon did nothing to stop a group of Lebanese citizens from crossing the border into Israel, said Israel's envoy to the international body. ...

U.S.: No unilateral moves in East Jerusalem
19 Jul 2009 - The United States believes that unilateral moves on the part of either Israel or the Palestinians could prejudice the result of final status negotiations, the State Department said on Monday. ...

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch diagnosed with cancer
19 Jul 2009 - Adam "MCA" Yauch, a founding member of rap group the Beastie Boys, said on Monday he has a cancerous tumor in his salivary gland, forcing the cancellation of the band's upcoming concerts. ...

Lieberman trip to South America aimed at curbing Iran influence
19 Jul 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's trip to South America this week is in part at stemming Iranian influence there, deputy Danny Ayalon said on Monday. ...

Romania mayor outrages Jews after parading as Nazi
19 Jul 2009 - The mayor of a Romanian city has outraged Jewish and pro-democracy groups after he goose-stepped with his son in World War Two German uniforms during a weekend fashion show. ...

The Guardian

Campaigners for evicted Palestinians call on Barack Obama to intervene on Jewish development in East Jerusalem
20 Jul 2009 - Campaigners protesting at the eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for a Jewish development today appealed to President Barack Obama to stop the settlement going ahead. The families,...

Cellcom's cynical commercial | Seth Freedman
20 Jul 2009 - An ad that makes light of the West Bank barrier reveals Israelis' lack of empathy for their walled-in Palestinian neighbours Were a Palestinian florist's chain to promote their delivery service with an advert simulating flowers arcing...

Chris McGreal on how bingo helps to fund Israeli settlements
20 Jul 2009 - US correspondent Chris McGreal reports how Israeli settlements in the West Bank are funded with profits collected from a bingo hall in California

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Six diagnosed with swine flu at Negev summer camp
19 Jul 2009 - Six residents in the Negev town of Yeruham have been diagnosed with swine ...

Jerusalem museum displays rare clocks stolen in 1983 
19 Jul 2009 - JERUSALEM - Dozens of priceless timepieces, including a pocket watch made for French Queen Marie Antoinette, went on display in a much-anticipated exhibit Monday, more than a quarter century after they were stolen in one of Israel's most audacious robberies. ...

Haredi woman suspected of starving son to undergo psychiatric testing
19 Jul 2009 - The Haredi woman who is suspected of starving her son and whose arrest sparked riots in Jerusalem will undergo psychiatric testing within the next 24 hours, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ruled on Monday. ...

Relief Web

Lebanon: The US provides a second contribution to the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared camp and the relief of its people
20 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Analysis: Aid Budget 2009/10
20 Jul 2009 - Source: Australian Council for International Development

OPT: Hamas and Fatah delay unity talks again
20 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

YNet News

US: Construction in east Jerusalem will hurt peace process
20 Jul 2009 - State Department spokesman says Washington's opposition to Israeli construction in eastern part of capital and West Bank has not changed; Ambassador Oren rejects talks of crisis in US-Israel relations 

Israel says UN encouraged provocation on Lebanese border 
20 Jul 2009 - In letter to Ban, Ambassador Shalev says UNIFIL forces 'refrained from taking action' to prevent recent infiltration of 15 unarmed Lebanese citizens into Israel; adds blast at Hezbollah arms cache proves Shiite group in violation of Resolution 1701 

Abrams: Obama's policy may hurt both Israel, PA
20 Jul 2009 - In editorial, former Bush advisor Abrams slams 'triumph' of US policy on West Bank settlements; says Mideast envoy Mitchell considering resigning from post once settlement freeze implemented 

Police: Political appointments case against Olmert solid 
20 Jul 2009 - Investigators say they have sufficient evidence to indict former PM for breach of trust in case pertaining to some 260 political appointments made during his stint at Industry Ministry; ministry's former Dir.-Gen. Dinur and ex-Cabinet Secretary Yehezkel may also face criminal charges 

Report: Lebanese forces near Israeli border on alert 
20 Jul 2009 - Tensions along northern border heightened following series of incidents, including fire at Hezbollah arms cache, infiltration of unarmed civilians into Israel; LBC television network reports Lebanese army to raise alert level 

Outposts demolished, Palestinian fields torched 
20 Jul 2009 - Settlers respond to evacuation of buildings, demolition of caravan in illegal West Bank outposts by setting fire to fields near Yitzhar. Palestinians report of injuries from stone throwing in Hawara 

Daily Star

Israel defies US demand to halt Jerusalem project
21 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
21 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
21 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
21 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
21 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

Zahhar: No reconciliation if Fatah insisted on its current policy
21 Jul 2009 - MP Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, a member of Hamas's political bureau, has said that Fatah's intransigence was the reason for delaying the national dialog to 25/8 instead of 25/7.

IOF installs underwater warning system to block infiltration into Gaza
21 Jul 2009 - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have installed underwater warning systems that could monitor any attempt to infiltrate into the Gaza Strip by sea, Israeli security sources revealed on Monday.

Swiss FM: Hamas important player in the Middle East
21 Jul 2009 - Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Swiss foreign minister, has described the Hamas Movement as an "important player" in the Middle East that could not be ignored.

Intentions to compile dictionary involving all names of Arab places in J’lem
21 Jul 2009 - The Islamic-Christian front for the defense of Jerusalem said that the front would publish a dictionary involving all the names of archaeological sites and streets in Jerusalem and the 1948 lands.

Jewish settlers launch arson attack on Palestinian cultivated lands
21 Jul 2009 - Tens of Jewish settlers on Monday morning set Palestinian cultivated lands on fire in a number of villages south of Nablus city in the West Bank, local sources reported.

Hamas asks Ramallah authority to immediately release liberated prisoner
21 Jul 2009 - Hamas on Monday condemned the Ramallah authority for the kidnapping of liberated prisoner Khalil Ali Amer, who is also the director of the prisoners' supporters society, in Ramallah district.

Taha: Fatah uses the besieged Gaza people’s suffering for partisan goals
21 Jul 2009 - Hamas official Ayman Taha said Sunday that Fatah faction takes advantage of the continued suffering of Gaza people caused by the Israeli blockade in order to achieve partisan goals.

IOA extends administrative detention of director of prisoners' center
21 Jul 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has extended the administrative detention of Raja' Al-Ghoul, the director of the prisoners' center for studies in Jenin, for the second time running.

Abu Zuhri: We are not afraid of elections
21 Jul 2009 - Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said that his Movement is not afraid of elections but underlined that it should be preceded by lifting the siege on Gaza Strip and releasing MPs detained by IOA.

Muzeini: The prisoner swap talks with Israel did not resume
21 Jul 2009 - Osama Al-Muzeini, a senior Hamas official, denied the resumption of indirect negotiations with the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on the prisoners' swap deal.

Los Angeles Times

Skirmish in south Lebanon reignites tension 
20 Jul 2009 - Clashes between villagers and international peacekeepers attempting to investigate the site of an explosion of a suspected weapons cache come as Israel seeks to toughen the U.N. troops' mandate. Tensions resurfaced in Lebanon's volatile south over the weekend when residents of the village of Khirbet Selm threw stones at international troops who were attempting to investigate a mysterious explosion there several days earlier. 

Israel backs East Jerusalem housing construction despite U.S. opposition 
20 Jul 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Jews have the right to build in an area annexed after the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestinians consider the land part of their future state. Calling Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem indisputable, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected U.S. demands to stop plans to build 20 Jewish-owned apartments in the eastern part of the city that Palestinians regard as key to their future state. 

Iran's moderate vice president under pressure to resign 
20 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. 

New York Times

Hard-Line Force Extends Grip Over a Splintered Iran
20 Jul 2009 - As Iran’s leaders splinter over the election crisis, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is a driving force behind efforts to crush the opposition. 

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. 

Misc

Bill outlawing anti-Israel protest nears approval 
Reuters - JERUSALEM, July 19 (Reuters) - Legislation that Israel's Arab citizens fear could limit their freedom of speech came a step closer on Sunday to becoming law. The bill, proposed by a legislator from the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, would withhold government money from any state-supported institutions that fund activity deemed detrimental to the state. Such activity includes "rejecting Israel's existence as the state of the Jewish people" and supporting "armed struggle or terrorist acts" against Israel. A ministerial committee approved the bill, clearing the way for its presentation to parliament for future debate and voting. The legislation is a watered down version of a proposed law that would have made it a criminal offence to commemorate the "Nakba" on Israel's independence day. 

Gambling with peace: how US bingo dollars are funding Israeli settlements 
The Guardian - 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 California's poorest towns, the big prize is $500. The losers walk away with little more than an assurance that their dollars are destined for a good cause. But the real winners and losers live many thousands of miles away, where the profits from the nightly ritual of numbers-calling fund what critics describe as a form of ethnic cleansing by extremist organisations. Each dollar spent on bingo by the mostly Latino residents of Hawaiian Gardens, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, helps fund Jewish settlements on Palestinian land in some of the most sensitive areas of occupied East Jerusalem, particularly the Muslim quarter of the old city, and West Bank towns such as Hebron 

Israel Rejects US Call, Will Expand East Jerusalem Settlement 
Antiwar.com - July 19, 2009 - Officials Mock Obama 'Edict' - Tensions between the Obama Administration and Israel’s government continued to grow today as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that a planned expansion to an East Jerusalem settlement would continue. The US had previously summon Israel’s ambassador to urge them to halt the construction of 20 apartments in the occupied territory. Israeli officials went on to mock the call, which Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described as odd. Lieberman insisted that since the US had never criticized the construction of Arab homes in the city, it was inappropriate to criticize government construction of homes in the settlement. Netanyahu declared that since Jerusalem was, in his government’s view, the “united capital” of Israel, and said they could never accept the US “edict. ”President Obama’s plan for an independent, albeit severely restricted, Palestinian state was to have a capital in East Jerusalem. 

Israel says foreign jihadists are in Gaza 
Antiwar.com - Jul 19, 2009 - Israeli security chief says foreign jihadist fighters sneaked into the Gaza Strip - The head of Israel's Shin Bet internal security service says foreign nationals linked to the global jihadist movement have infiltrated the Gaza Strip. Service chief Yuval Diskin told ministers at Sunday's meeting of the Israeli Cabinet that there had been "a steady trickle into Gaza of foreigners linked to global jihad," according to an official present at the closed-door meeting. Diskin did not elaborate or cite evidence. Gaza's Hamas interior minister Fathi Hamad dismissed Diskin's charge as "baseless propaganda. "The militant group Hamas controls the West Bank. He added that "there is no al-Qaida or any other organization in Gaza. "-- JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Sunday rejected a U. S. demand to suspend a planned housing project in east Jerusalem, threatening to further complicate an unusually 

Articles

Blustering Biden bows to Bibi 
Paul J. Balles, Redress 7/21/2009
      Brazen US hypocrisy in the Middle East
     US Vice President Joe Biden told ABC television the US could not "dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do".
     On ABC’s current affairs programme “This Week”, host George Stephanopoulos asked Mr Biden whether the Israeli position was the right approach.
     The vice-president replied: "Israel can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else." Perhaps to please Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, Biden added that this was the case, "whether we agree or not" with the Israeli view.
     Making thoughtless statements like these utterly defies both logic and sensibility. Using the same logic, he could have said the same thing about Iran.
     Why doesn’t he say "Iran can determine for itself – it’s a sovereign nation – what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Israel and anyone else?" With the same logic and lack of sensibility, Biden might have said, "Iran can develop nuclear weapons whether we agree or not with their view."
     With this kind of senseless thinking, it’s a wonder that Biden ever managed to hold the leading Democratic position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, except that he is a self-declared Zionist with a 36-year Senate record of pro-Israel leadership.
     While in his non-interference state of mind, Biden recently questioned the legitimacy of Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s victory in Iran’s presidential elections. He commented that officials "just don’t know enough" about how they were conducted.
     What if they were conducted like elections in other countries that have clearly been rigged but have gone unnoticed by Biden? This is a perfect demonstration of America’s foreign policy hypocrisy.

The Johnny procedure 
Uri Avnery, Redress 7/20/2009
      Political and military responsibility for Israeli war crimes in Gaza laid bare
     Like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, the evil spirit of the Gaza War refuses to leave us in peace. This week it came back to disturb the tranquility of the chiefs of the state and the army.
     Breaking the Silence, a group of courageous former combat soldiers, published a report comprising the testimonies of 30 Gaza War fighters. A hard-hitting report about actions that may be considered war crimes.
     The generals went automatically into denial mode. Why don’t the soldiers disclose their identity, they asked innocently. Why do they obscure their faces in the video testimonies? Why do they hide their names and units?
     How can we be sure that they are not actors reading a text prepared for them by the enemies of Israel? How do we know that this organization is not manipulated by foreigners, who finance their actions? And anyhow, how do we know that they are not lying out of spite?
     One can answer with a Hebrew adage: “It has the feel of truth”...
     The testimonies about the use of phosphorus, about massive bombardment of buildings, about “the neighbour procedure” (using civilians as human shields), about killing “everything that moves”, about the use of all methods to avoid casualties on our side – all these corroborate earlier testimonies about the Gaza War, there can be no reasonable doubt about their authenticity. I learned from the report that the “neighbour procedure” is now called “Johnny procedure”, God knows why Johnny and not Ahmad.
     The height of hypocrisy is reached by the generals with their demand that the soldiers come forward and lodge their complaints with their commanders, so that the army can investigate them through the proper channels.
     First of all, we have already seen the farce of the army investigating itself.


Electronic Intifada
Ali Jabri retrospective: a life recorded in sketchbooks
20 Jul 2009 - Ali Jabri locked his paintings in a trunk. It had been more than 20 years since the artist had opened it, but after he was murdered in his Amman, Jordan apartment in December 2002 his friends decided it was time to tell Jabri's tale. Six years in the making, Fadi Ghandour, a philanthropist and friend of Jabri's, set up a foundation to document and preserve the late artist's work. In a home Jabri had wished to one day own, the Ali Jabri Human Heritage Foundation was launched in Amman. Sousan Hammad reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

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....

Palestine Chronicle
Netanyahu Activates Ticking Time Bomb
20 Jul 2009 - By Ira Glunts The public disagreement between Israel and the U.S. over continued settlement expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem has heated up considerably. At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly rejected the Obama administration's request for a halt to construction of a planned settlement in Sheik Jarrah, located in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. The disputed site is owned by billionaire and settlement supporter Irving Moskowitz who bought the property in 1985. Mr. Moskowitz hopes to construct 20 residence units at what is currently the site of the Shepherd's Hotel. The location was once used as a residence by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. It was also was once the home of author and Palestinian nationalist, George Antonius. The location borders an historic and wealthy Palestinian neighborhood which has many opulent villas. The proposed building site was described at the Israeli (Hebrew) Channel One web site as a "ticking time bomb since 1985." The municipality of Jerusalem has prevented the development of the site because of Palestinian sensibilities until recently. During Benjamin Netanyahu's previous tenure as Prime Minister, two long-contemplated controversial construction projects in East Jerusalem were begun despite intense Palestinian and international protest. The first was the opening of an exit for a tunnel to the Muslim quarter near the Via Dolorosa which runs under the Haram-al-Sharif or the Temple Mount. The second was the construction of a Jewish settlement on Jabal Abu Ghneim or Har Homa on a hill overlooking the...

Thomas Friedman Paints Iraq
20 Jul 2009 - By Belen Fernandez In a July 14 column on the New York Times website entitled "Goodbye Iraq, and Good Luck," Thomas Friedman informs us that he is in Kirkuk "tagging along" with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are at a meeting with 11 Iraqi provincial leaders, a sum Friedman explains has been dealt with by “local U.S. officials [who] have provided me a color-coded guide, identifying each Iraqi politician, their political tendencies and religious affiliation.” The topic of discussion is which part of Kirkuk should be assigned to which color group. The 11 representatives—“seated on one side of the conference table”—present their claims one by one via Arabic interpreter, until a Kurd breaks the succession with a joke in English. Friedman notes that it is his lucky day, and provides a transcript of the joke: “After Saddam was ousted in 2003… there was an elderly citizen who wanted to write a letter to the new government to explain all his sufferings from the Saddam era to get compensation. But he was illiterate. As you may know, outside our government offices we have professional letter-writers for illiterate people. So the man told the letter-writer all of his problems. ‘In the ’50s, they destroyed my house,’ he said. ‘In the ’60s, they killed two of my sons. In the ’70s, they confiscated my properties,’ and so on, right up to today. The letter-writer wrote it all down. When he was done, the man asked the letter-writer...

Citizens Must Hold Media Accountable
20 Jul 2009 - By Tammy Obeidallah Western media has eroded into little more than sound bytes of celebrity gossip or inane stories about how cutting calories can help people live longer. When there is no way to get around reporting "hard news" so-called journalists build careers by regurgitating whatever they are spoon-fed by administration officials in scripted interviews. All cannot be attributed to sheer incompetence. Often facts are omitted or so distorted that newscasts take on the sinister feel of state-run media, serving merely as a government mouthpiece to promote a particular agenda. The majority of the time, this is accomplished in one of three ways: 1) shoddy coverage of the dual U.S. occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan in which soldier and civilian casualties are grossly under-reported; 2) portraying Muslims and Arabs as aggressive terrorists (conversely, events in which Muslims and/or Arabs are victimized go unreported); and 3) blatant pro-Israel bias. The murder of Marwa Sherbini, an Egyptian woman stabbed 18 times in a German courtroom while police stood idle--although they shot her husband “accidentally” when he tried in vain to thwart the brutal attack--should have caused international outrage. However, much of the world was not aware of the tragedy. A comment posted to Al-Jazeera’s website correctly pointed out that it would have been a much different reaction if the situation had been reversed: imagine if a Jew or a Christian was murdered in an Egyptian courtroom. On a broader scale, the media has depicted the hell that was once Gaza as resulting...

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