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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
22 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Palestinian resident wounded by military fire in khan Younis
23 Jul 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported Wednesday that a resident was shot and wounded by Israeli military fire as the army, supported by several armored vehicles and bulldozers, invaded an area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.  

Detainee on Hunger Strike since six days
23 Jul 2009 - Palestinian detainee, Riyadh Al Amour, has been on hunger strike since six days in protest to the bad living conditions, and frequent attacks carried out by Israeli soldiers guarding the prison.  

Female detainee in solitary confinement since 2005
23 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) stated that female detainee Mariam Tarabeen, from Jericho, is still in solitary confinement in an Israeli detention facility since more than four years without any cause or provocation.  

Abbas: ‘Settlements are illegal, the Wall must be removed’
23 Jul 2009 - In a joint press conference at hisRamallah headquarters with the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Saltanov, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated that the Israeli Annexation Wall, and the settlements in the occupied territories are illegal and must be removed. 

Israel bars using ‘Nakba’ term in textbooks
22 Jul 2009 - The Israeli government decided on Wednesday to remove the term ‘Nabka’ from school textbooks. Israel’s education Ministry said that using term Nakba or catastrophe to describe the creation of Israel is inconceivable. 

U.S. claims it's too early for economic sanctions against Israel
22 Jul 2009 - State Department spokesperson Robert Wood has stated that it's much too early for the U.S. to put economic pressure on Israel to cooperate with the ban on settlement construction. 

Arabic names of Palestinian cities inside Israeli borders and Jerusalem changed to Hebrew
22 Jul 2009 - In a recent and bold move by the Netanyahu government, the Arabic names of cities within Israeli borders and Jerusalem are being changed to Hebrew. 

Palestinian gunmen attack a wedding in Gaza, dozens injured
22 Jul 2009 - A group of unknown gunmen attacked late on Tuesday night a wedding party in Gaza City, causing the injury of at least 40 people. It's unknown as of this report whether the attack was related to internal factionalism between the rival Palestinian political parties, or criminal activity. 

As reports say W.B settlements evections are imminent, settlers continue to attack Palestinians
21 Jul 2009 - Settlers' attacks targeting Palestinians were reported on Tuesday in a number of West Bank areas.

Ha'aretz Defense page

Hezbollah: Lebanon blast set off by old shells, not secret cache
22 Jul 2009 - Group issues first response to explosion near Israel border, which UN called violation of truce resolution. 

Leftist Israeli intellectuals demand new Gaza war probe
22 Jul 2009 - Petition comes after IDF soldiers said civilians were used as human shields during Operation Cast Lead. 

Police set up special unit ahead of mass outpost evacuation
21 Jul 2009 - Settlers set up 'counter-command' to coordinate resistance to removal of illegal West Bank outposts. 

Soccer game or tear gas? Palestinians put controversial ad to test
22 Jul 2009 - In Cellcom advert, IDF troops indulge in soccer game near security fence; reality proves rather different. 

The IDF price tag
21 Jul 2009 - In effort to silence testimonies on war crimes, army warning soldiers to stay silent about Operation Cast Lead. 

Ma'an News

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian after giving testimony to UN
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Nil'in activist Mohammad Srour was detained by Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge on his way home from testifying at a UN commission hearing in Geneva, his lawyers confirmed ThursdaySrour was testifying at the UN's fact finding mission on Gaza, lead by Richard Goldstone. The mission has a broad mandate that includes investigations over how the political situation in Israel in the lead-up and fall out of their war on Gaza affected the West Bank. According to a spokesperson for Srour's lawyer Lymor Goldstein, the activist was speaking about the situation in Ni'lin, specifically about the slaying of two young men by Israeli forces during a demonstration, a news release added. He testified alongside fellow activist Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli solidarity activist who regularly participates in the Friday protests. 

Israel bans mention of 1948 Nakba from textbooks
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Israeli government has decided to ban the use of the Arabic term Nakba ("Catastrophe") to describe the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 at during the war that saw the creation of Israel. Palestinians use the term to describe the mass ethnic cleansing of 1948, when, according to United Nations figures, more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced from their homes in the areas on which Zionist Jews eventually declared the state of Israel. The Israeli Education Ministry made the announcement on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The term is not used in textbooks in schools in predominantly Jewish areas, but is used in one text used in areas with high Arab-Palestinian populations. The text was introduced in 2007 when the Education Ministry was run by Yuli Tamir of the more liberal Labor party. 

Fatah lawmakers wary of Dweik’s call to resume post of speaker
7/22/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian lawmakers continue to debate the legitimacy of recently freed Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik resuming his duties Sunday. Fatah lawmaker Walid Assaf rejected the idea, saying lawmakers only agreed to meet and discuss the case. He expressed his concern that Dweik could not step back into his old role while so many other PLC members remain in Israeli prisons and following the split between the West Bank and Gaza. Dr Abdul Rahim Barham, another PLC member with the Fatah bloc said Dweik should discuss the matter with all of the parliamentary blocs before announcing his intention to return to the post to the mass media. "In this time of suffering for many Palestinians, Dweik should avoid making new problems," Barham said. He called on Dweik to work seriously and put an end to the state of division and to prove to Palestinians that he is not "part of the Hamas coup. 

Settlers attack Palestinian lawmaker from car on bypass road
7/22/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli settlers pelted stones at the car of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Walid Assaf as he drove north to Qalqiliya Tuesday afternoon. The group of settlers, armed with rocks, were in a car travelling on the Nablus bypass road as they sped to catch up to Assaf's vehicle. As they neared stones were hurled out of the moving vehicle, breaking the windshield of Assaf's car. The PLC member tried to chase down the assailants, but they exited the Israeli controlled road which allows some Palestinian cars, and into the Israeli settlement of Gilad, south of Nablus. Not wanting to be further injured, Assaf gave up on the pursuit. Assaf said he then went directly to an Israeli military checkpoint to lodge a complaint against the violent actions of the settlers, but was told he had to submit his complaint in writing to the Civil Administration. 

Israeli forces storm Nablus village to protect settlers
7/22/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - More than 25 Israeli military vehicles overran the northern West Bank village of Awarta south of Nablus overnight providing security to a group of settlers traveling in the area. According to Qays Awwad, head of Awarta's municipal council, dozens of settlers in two buses entered the area to visit two archeological sites from periods of ancient Jewish history. The soldiers tore off the main gate of the village's boys' secondary school and used the compound as a military headquarters, he said. Israeli forces later raided the city of Nablus in the early hours of Wednesday morning, seizing four Palestinians from their homes. Palestinian security sources said Israeli soldiers entered the northern city regions of, Askar, and Deir Sharaf at 1am, storming civilian houses. According to the sources, Israeli soldiers detained 36-year-old Raafat Al-Madani, 26-year-old. . . 

Far-right Israelis enter Al-Aqsa compound
7/22/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israeli police allowed 45 far-right Israelis to tour the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem in what Palestinians viewed as a provocation. The settler group visited the area marking Ninth of the month of Av on the Jewish calendar, which is observed in commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples, which once stood underneath where the Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands. Believed to be the location where the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during his Night Journey, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam. The compound, with the golden Dome of the Rock, is a focal point of Palestinian national pride. It is especially sensitive because some extremist Jewish groups seek the demolition of the present-day mosques and the construction of a "Third Temple. 

France summons Israeli ambassador over East Jerusalem settlement
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - France has summoned the Israeli ambassador in Paris to demand a halt to construction of an illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, following a similar US action over the weekend. "The Israeli ambassador in Washington was summoned and the ambassador in Paris has now been summoned to the Foreign Ministry," Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told reporters at a news conference in Paris on Tuesday, according to AFP. "He will be received this afternoon or tomorrow," he said, referring to Israeli ambassador to France Daniel Shek. Israel's ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, was summoned to the State Department at the end of last week and was told to stop a project to build a settlement on the site of the historic pre-Israel Shepherd Hotel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly rejected that call at a cabinet meeting on Sunday. 

US: Talk of financial pressure on Israel 'premature'
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The US State Department believes it is too early to discuss putting economic pressure on Israel to compel it to stop building illegal settlements on Palestinian land. "It's premature to talk about that," spokesman Robert Wood said when asked about the possibility of US financial pressure. "This stuff isn't easy," he said, speaking at a Washington press briefing Tuesday. "If it were easy, it would have been - we would have solved this problem a long time ago. But the Secretary - Senator Mitchell is very committed to this process. And we're going to work very hard with the parties. "  "We expect there to be ups and downs, but we're going to continue to push because this is in not only the interest of the parties, but in the interest of the US Government," he said, asked about Israel's stated rejection of calls to halt settlements from the US, Europe, and Russia. 

Al-Quds Center issues first report on Israeli violations in E-J
7/22/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Research and documentation department at the Al-Quds Center for Social and Economic Rights released a report on Saturday detailing the daily Israeli violations of the rights of the Palestinian in Jerusalem. The thirty page report, in Arabic, details the rights violations behind Israeli home demolitions, the violation of holy sites and abusive acts of Israeli soldiers against Palestinian civilians for the month of June. The document marks the first in a planned series of reports documenting Israeli violations in East Jerusalem. Some of the central stories in the report include the detailed events around the killing of Amjad Abu Ikhdeir, resident of the north Jerusalem area of Shu'fat who was killed by Israeli extremists while on his way to work. The 30- year-old father of four was shot and killed by an Israeli settler near the New Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. 

CODEPINK continues boycott campaign against Ahava Dead Sea products
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Women's activist group CODEPINK demanded the Israeli cosmetics company Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories divest itself from the West Bank and stop exploiting its natural resources. In a highly-visible rally in Las Vegas Monday dozens of women wearing bikinis launched a boycott campaign against the products, manufactured in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. The settlement is located on the banks of the Dead Sea in the southern West Bank, and allegedly collects its mud and Dead Sea products from inside the settlement, which is on Palestinian land. This is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. "We are here to tell AHAVA, which claims to be devoted to beauty and purity, that you cannot cover up occupation and violation of international law," said Paris Marron, CODEPINK's national online organizer in a news release. 

Bil’in protester ordered to remain in prison for duration of trial
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An Israeli military appeals judge ruled Tuesday that Bil'in activist Adib Abu Rahme be held until the end of proceedings against him, which could be "months or years," according to local protest organizers. Adeeb who was arrested from the demonstration against Israeli separation wall on 10 July; he is a father of six and supports his elderly mother. According to organizers of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, 17 Bil'in residents have been arrested since the weekly protests against the wall began five years ago. Of the 17 arrested, "13 are still in detention; most are children," a statement from the group said. 

UN to move Palestinian refugees from Iraq-Syria border to Slovakia
7/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Nearly one hundred Palestinian refugees stranded in Iraq's western desert will be temporarily relocated to Slovakia, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) said. The 98 Palestinians, who were living in "appalling conditions" in makeshift camps near the Syrian border for more than six years, will be housed in a "transit camp" in Slovakia beginning in August, the agency said. "They will stay at the new centre for up to six months while their final resettlement to other countries is arranged," UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva, according to Reuters. According to UNHCR, Romania opened a similar camp last year, and the US, Chile, and several European countries have taken in many of the thousands of Palestinians who were stranded after the start of the US-led occupation of Iraq in 2003. 

Israel partially opens two Gaza crossing points
7/22/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided on Wednesday to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points to allow shipments of humanitarian aid and fuel to the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian crossing official Raed Fattouh. The Karni crossing will remain open. Fattouh told Ma'an that 60-70 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid would be allowed through Kerem Shalom crossing. Meanwhile, Nahal Oz will be open to allow limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel needed to run Gaza's only power plant. 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 from Gaza to cross over except under special circumstances. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities. . . 

Israeli forces raid Nablus, seize four Palestinians
7/22/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided Nablus on Wednesday morning, seizing four Palestinians from their homes, contrary to a pledge to reduce incursions in West Bank cities. Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that Israeli forces stormed northern Nablus, Askar, and Deir Sharafneighborhoods of Nablus at 1:00am, storming civilian houses. According to the sources, Israeli soldiers detained 36-year-old Raafat Al-Madani, 26-year-old Hasan Fuqaha, 21-year-old Mahmoud Hinnawi, and 22-year-old Mahmoud Al-Abid. The Israeli military said that it detained five Palestinians in overnight raids, according to a statement released to Israeli media. In June Israel promised to limit incursions into four West Bank cities in order to support the work of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority security forces. The Israeli army has continued with nightly arrest raids in spite of this pledge. 

Jenin: Israeli soldiers pull students from cars at flying checkpoint
7/22/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Israeli troops detained dozens of students for several hours at a military checkpoint erected near Seida village southwest of Jenin on Wednesday afternoon. Locals said troops were checking civilian's identity papers and taking aside every student they came across, holding them at the flying checkpoint in the northern WestBank. No arrests or detentions were reported, and witnesses said it appeared all those pulled from cars were released by evening. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the incident. [end] 

Israeli soldiers seize 11 Palestinians overnight
7/22/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers abducted 11 Palestinians from their West Bank homes during overnight raids, according to Israeli reports on Tuesday. Three Palestinians were taken from the villages of Saida and Illar, north of the city of Tulkarem. Palestinian Authority security sources said 13 Israeli military vehicles overran Saida and detained Najwa Awni Abdel Ghani, a former prisoner, and her brother, Salah Abdel Ghani. In Illar, Israeli soldiers took Majdi Abdel Raziq Giba. The troops withdrew from the villages without any clashes. [end] 

Jericho teenager found dead in settlement warehouse
7/22/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - A Palestinian teenager was found dead in a warehouse in the industrial zone in the settlement of Mishor Adumim between Jericho and Jerusalem, a Palestinian security source said on Tuesday evening. The source said Israeli security found 17-year-old Muhammad Ikteifi from Jericho dead. Israeli security said all indications pointed to suicide. Israeli police sent the body to forensic medical experts. [end] 

Suspects held in Gaza Fatah wedding blast
7/22/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Some 60 Palestinians were injured on Tuesday night in an explosion at a wedding party for a relative of Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources told Ma'an that 25 wounded people were transported in ambulances to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. More than 30 others were taken to another hospital in Khan Younis. Ten people in total were seriously injured. The wedding was an event in the Dahlan family. Muhammad Dahlan, the uncle of the groom, was the Fatah member in charge of the Palestinian Authority security forces in Gaza. Hamas routed his forces in the June 2007 fighting that saw the Islamic group take control of the Strip. Dahlan himself left Gaza just before the takeover citing health reasons. Seen as a Fatah partisan, he is reviled by many in Hamas and other factions. 

Exclusive: Dahlan accuses Hamas of organizing Gaza blast
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Hamas was behind Wednesday's blast in Khan Younis and Farouq Qaddoumi's claims of assassination plots against Yasser Arafat are baseless, Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan said Wednesday. Dahlan, speaking in public for the first time since accusations of assassination plots were launched against him and one day after an explosion injured 61 at his nephew's wedding in Gaza, launched a tirade against fellow Fatah member Qaddoumi during an interview at Ma'an. "Qaddoumi's latest statements and the Hamas bombing work to oppose and create obstacles against the first Fatah conference that will be held in 20 years," Dahlan said. The Gazan leader of Fatah said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had the right to take Qaddoumi to court over his accusations of colluding with Israel and the CIA to poison the late Palestinian leader Arafat. 

European Union police delegation visits Salfit police station
7/22/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - A European Union police delegation visited the Salfit police station where they discussed ongoing development projects in law enforcement Tuesday. The EUPOL COPPS program began in January 2006, and sees police force expertise, development and leadership from Europe transferred to a growing Palestinian police force. Aid from the program goes to purchasing police equipment and training programs in effective use. During the meeting the delegation discussed with Salfit leadersways to encourage and develop the police in Salfit and methods to integrate computers and other technology into the police force. [end] 

Dagestani dancers perform during the official visit of their President
7/21/2009 - Dagestani President Mukhu Aliyev paid a return visit to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Monday, following the leader's trip to the country's capital Makhachkala on 7-8 April. "We came to Palestine on an invitation from the Palestinian President Abbas to witness what is faced by Palestinians," said the Dagestan leader following a press conference during his visit. He also brought a dance troupe to perform traditional Dagestani numbers to a local audience in Al-Khader. The official state visits were interspersed with a Palestinian business delegation which visited Makhachkala, where they met with Dagastani business owners. According to local news agencies in the country the groups "vowed to expand economic cooperation. "  In January 15,000 Dagestanis rallied in the streets of the capital calling for an end to the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. 

World Bank grants an additional 40 million to PA
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian leaders signed their second deal in a week with the World Bank, which will see a combined 74. 5 million US dollars in support funneled into Palestine. The latest agreement is a grant designed to "directly support the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP) and will help the PA strengthen its fiscal position and improve public financial management," a statement from the organization said. The first saw the bank grant 21. 5 million for Gaza recovery and 12 million for solid waste management in the southern West Bank. The grants are part of aid pledged in 2007 at the Paris donor conference. An initial grant for projects discussed at the conference was made in 2008, and will continue until 2010. According to the statement, "The grant was authorized after the Bank assessed adequate progress on a number of public financial management reforms:. . . 

Nine Jenin Al-Aqsa Brigades men renounce amnesty
7/22/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Nine former fighters with the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin announced on Tuesday that they are withdrawing from an amnesty agreement that would guarantee their safety from the Israeli army. According to "Abu Ya'qub," a leader of Al-Aqsa Brigades in the northern West Bank, the men have been waiting for more than a year for Israel to grant them the full amnesty that would see them return to normal life after renouncing violence and being removed from Israel's "wanted" list. The nine have been staying at the Jenin Palestinian Authority (PA) compound in Jenin. They also complained of poor treatment, and that they were granted low ranks in the PA security forces, which guaranteed them employment if they signed up with the amnesty program. Abu Ya'qub said the group decided to leave the prison for the nearby town of Qabatiya. 

Netanyahu: Israel will not remove West Bank wall
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel will not remove its West bank separation wall, rejecting a reported demand from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "The separation fence will remain in place and will not be dismantled," Netanyahu told members of Israel's parliament, the Knesset, according to the newspaper Haaretz. He also called the concrete barrier "a critical component of Israel's security. "Israeli media reported on Wednesday that Abbas' Palestinian Authority (PA) had relayed to US President Barack Obama a demand that the wall be removed since the security situation in the West Bank had improved. The report appeared on the front page of the Hebrew-language Ma'ariv daily. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters he had brought up the issue to the US. 

UN hosts meetings on 'Palestine Question' in wake of Gaza war
7/22/2009 - Geneva - Ma'an - "If Israel continues settlement activity, it will not only be acting contrary to international law but also to a strong international consensus," UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon warned Wednesday at the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Geneva. The meeting saw dozens of international observers, human right organizations, government, media and civil society groups convene to discuss the findings of the latest missions and reports, and tackle issues around each group's "responsibility to uphold international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the wake of the war in Gaza. " Ma'an"˜s Chief Editor Nasser Lahham attended the meeting as a representative of the Palestinian media. "What does it say about the effectiveness of the Palestinian media that the world thinks Israel's. . . 

Al-Hayat: Egypt to guarantee Israeli security if swap deal completed
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Egypt will guarantee Israel that the Palestinian detainees Gaza factions have asked to swap for Shalit will not threaten Israeli security, Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit told London's Al-Hayat newspaper on Wednesday. "Shalit's issue depends on how much Israel is ready to pay for his release," the minister noted aftersaying Israel had jeopardized its position after making last minute changes in plans that earlier came close to seeing the young soldier released. Mediated talks between Israel and Gaza factions holding Shalit are ongoing Abu Al-Gheit said. [end] 

Italian delegation visits Hebron, briefed on settler violence
7/22/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Vice President of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini lead a delegation of Italians to Hebron Wednesday where the group heard details about the latest settler attacks on Palestinian civilians. Hebron Mayor Dr Hussein Al-Araj received the delegation, made up of Italian civil society groups, journalists and politians. Al-Araj detailed several attacks perpetrated by settlers against Hebronites wherein the attackers were protected and defended by Israeli soldiers patrolling the area. "There is no one to help us protect citizens from their violence," he told the group. [end] 

Khreisha: Dweik no longer PLC speaker
7/22/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ibrahim Khreisha on Tuesday asked Hamas member Aziz Dweik to stop using the title of PLC speaker because, he said, his term has ended. "Dweik cannot make any official speeches or comments as PLC speaker," Khreisha told journalists, commenting on the Hamas member's call for reporters to interview him in front of the PLC building in Ramallah on Wednesday. He asserted that neither the secretary-general of the PLC, nor other employees can address Dweik as PLC speaker. Dweik, who was released from an Israeli prison in June after more than three years, planned to return to work at the PLC chambers on Wednesday. Khreisha described Dweik's call for a meeting with journalists as "not innocent, and provocative. "  He also said the call could result in a crisis. 

Gaza: Eldest Balousha sister to receive honorary matriculation papers
7/22/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The de facto government in the Gaza Strip presented honorary Tawjihi certificates to 36 Gazan students killed during the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip in December and January. Two of the 36 dead teens, 17-year-olds Tahrir Balousha, and Jihan Ahmad were best friends. Tahrir was killed along with her four sisters, buried under the rubble of the Imad Aqil Mosque where they were taking shelter on 29 December 2008. Tahrir's classmate and best friend Jihan Ahmad was killed on 4 January 2009 when Israeli forces shelled her home. As the results of the university entrance exam were announced to much ado across Palestine, families of the 17- and 18-year-olds who would have matriculated this year observed quiet memorials. Tahrir's mother, who watched the building crumble over her daughters as she turned back after carrying out her youngest child, learned from family friends that her eldest daughter would be honored Tuesday. 

Qalqiliya local government protests PA power play
7/22/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - The municipal council of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya sent a letter to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Minister of Local Governance Khalid Qawasmi on Tuesday protesting the dismissal of three members of the council including deputy mayor Hashim Al-Masri. The Palestinian Ministry of Local Governance informed the municipal council that it dismissed three members of the council, Hashim Al-Masri, journalist Mustafa Sabry, and Asma Hammouda without giving any explanation. Sabry, a Hamas supporter who also works as a correspondent for the Gaza-based Palestine Daily, has been held without trial in a Palestinian Authority Prison since April. In June the High Court of Justice in Ramallah ordered his release. The ruling has not been implemented. The legal term of Qalqiliya municipal council ended months ago, and the council was appointed as caretaker until elections are held. 

Dweik rejects call to step down as PLC speaker
7/22/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Aziz Dweik, said on Wednesday that he would resume his duties as speaker on Sunday in spite of a call from a rival official to step down. Dweik said he sent invitations to Palestinian, Arab, and European political figures as well as PLC members of all political parties to participate in a ceremony reopening the PLC chambers in Ramallah which has been mainly closed for three years. Palestinian parliamentarian sources earlier announced that Dweik planned to open the PLC office on Wednesday, but noted he delayed the opening to Sunday after he agreed with all parliamentarian blocs to postpone the reopening by a few days in order to avoid political tension. "We want to reactivate the PLC because we intend to unite the Palestinian people and heal the rift between rivals,"Dweik said, "We also want to do our best to overcome all obstacles which might impede national unity. 

Haniyeh seeks Gaza-West Bank coordination for Hajj
7/22/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Wednesday that his government instructed the Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs to make joint arrangements for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca with the West Bank. He gave no details about what the coordination would mean in practice. Last year hundreds of Hajj pilgrims from Gaza were prevented from going due to the power struggle between Haniyeh's government and the caretaker government in Ramallah. Haniyeh also applauded yesterday's simultaneous announcement of the Tawjihi secondary exam results in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a show of unity. "This joint announcement indicates that we are interested in doing our part to reach conciliation," he said pointing out that his government will offer full scholarships for Gazan students who scored the highest on the test. 

Hamas: Next round of unity talks will include all factions
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - All Palestinian factions, not just Hamas and Fatah, will be invited to the upcoming round of unity negotiations in Egypt in August, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau, Izzat Ar-Rashq said on Tuesday. Ar-Rashq released a statement following a meeting in Cairo intended to evaluate progress, or the lack thereof, in the stalled unity talks. The next round of Hamas-Fatah unity talks in Egypt was postponed by a month until 25 August. Third parties, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have called for the talks to be opened up to the full political spectrum. Ar-Rashq said that Hamas would stand in the way of the upcoming Fatah movement conference. He said his party would positively deal with the call by Egypt let Fatah members from Gaza to travel to Bethlehem to participate in the conference. 

Poll: Palestinians support peace, believe Mash’al does too
7/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An overwhelming majority of Palestinians believe Hamas leader in exile Khalid Mash'al has recognized Israel's right to exist following his June speech where he expressed support for a two-state solution, a recent poll found. A monthly poll for the Near East Consulting company released in July focused on Palestinian perceptions of political change amongst the rival parties Fatah and Hamas. The poll was carried out from 4-6 of July on a random sample of 949 respondents in the West Bank and Gaza. Trust was not high in any party, with only 38% expressing confidence in Fatah, 11% in Hamas and 5% in other factions. Similar numbers came out for trust in the leaders of each movement, with 37% saying they trusted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and 12% for de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. 

The National

Courier case highlights co-operation
22 Jul 2009 - Syria helps in the arrest of an alleged mastermind planning an extremist base in a Lebanese camp.

Iranian anniversary prompts rallies
22 Jul 2009 - Hundreds of opposition supporters protest in Tehran and other Iranian cities to mark a symbolic nationalist anniversary.

Few takers for engaging Israel
22 Jul 2009 - The Bahraini crown prince's suggestion that a new approach is needed to solve the Palestinian problem was welcomed by the US, ignored by Tel Aviv and upsetting to many.

Outpost closings add fuel to fears
22 Jul 2009 - With pressure on Israel to freeze settlement building there are fears that violence against Palestinians in the West Bank will increase.

Aljazeera

US mulls Gulf defences against Iran
22 Jul 2009 - Washington to extend "defence umbrella" over allies if Tehran gets nuclear weapon.

Lebanon army arrests 'terror cell'
21 Jul 2009 - At least 10 people detained on suspicion of plotting attacks, officials say. 

Palestine News Network

Ex-minister’s release delayed for four months as his family prepare for his return
22 Jul 2009 - Jenin/PNN - A former Palestinian minister has had his administrative detention extended for the seventh time, just hours before his expected release.Prisoner’s rights groups have condemned the decision by Israeli security not to release Wasfi Izzat Qabha, the former Minister of State, who has spent the past 27 months in detention without trial.His wife, Umm Osama, has expressed grief at the extension...

Troops tear gas Palestinians filming phone advert spoof
21 Jul 2009 - Bil’in/PNN – An attempt to parody a controversial Cellcom advert has ended in violence as troops responded with tear gas.The advert, which has been condemned as “in bad taste” by Palestinians and human rights groups, shows a friendly football match between an Israeli patrol and unseen Palestinians on opposite sides of the Wall. Soldiers are shown calling colleagues to join in the...

Settlers threaten uprising against both police and Palestinians if outposts are evacuated
21 Jul 2009 - Ramallah/PNN – Settlers in illegal outposts have warned of a campaign of violence if Israel carries out its plan to dismantle 23 unrecognised settlements in one day.After yesterday’s reports that troops were preparing for a lightning operation, leaflets were distributed threatening a large-scale uprising that would target both Israeli police and army and local Palestinians.Leaflets compared planned reprisals to the two intifadas,...

Fatah, Hamas agree to let Duwaik resume legislative chairmanship
21 Jul 2009 - Ramallah/PNN-MP – Hamas and Fatah members agreed today to let Aziz Duwaik resume his role as Chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council beginning Sunday, Qais Abdel Karim said in a statement to AFP.Duwaik was imprisoned in August 2006 on charges of being a Hamas member and was released last month. He was arrested by Israeli authorities, who consider Hamas a terrorist organization.Duwaik...

Explosion injures at least 40 Palestinians during wedding for nephew of Fatah leader
21 Jul 2009 - Gaza / PNN-An explosion tore through a wedding party for relatives of Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday night, injuring at least 40 Palestinians. Of those, 20 people were seriously wounded. The groom is the nephew of Dahlan, the leader of Fatah in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority's national security adviser. Witnesses said that Dahlan was not present...

Fateh leadaer Marwan Al Barghouti insists there can be no negotiations without a settlement freeze
21 Jul 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – Imprisoned Fateh leader Marwan Al Barghouti has stated that it is absurd to negotiate with the Israelis while settlement construction continues. In an interview with lawyer Khader Shirkat, the Secretary General of the Fateh movement in the West Bank stressed that there could be no meaningful talks until thte Israelis were committed to ending the occupation and withdrawing to...

Israelis deny preparing to clear more illegal outposts as evicted settlers burn Palestinian trees
21 Jul 2009 - Nablus / PNN - The Israeli government has denied that it is planning to evacuate 23 settler outposts in the West Bank in a single one-day operation. These outposts are illegal under both international and Israeli law and could be cleared in the near future as tensions rise between the American and Israeli administrations.The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli military were...

IRIN

IRAQ: Displaced women dig in their heels 
BAGHDAD Tuesday, July 21, 2009 (IRIN) - Displaced Iraqi women are reluctant to return home, despite relatively improved security in the country and the tough conditions in camps, because of continuing uncertainties, says an NGO advocating for displaced people.

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...

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Rampaging Settlers Shatter Fragile Calm 
RAMALLAH, Jul 22 (IPS) - The northern Palestinian West Bank is turning into a flashpoint as Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinian civilians and their property as part of a "price tag" policy.

EGYPT: Selling Kidneys to Pay the Bills 
CAIRO, Jul 21 (IPS) - Karim borrowed money to expand his bakery. When the money ran out, and facing the prospect of imprisonment if unable to repay his debts, the 36-year- old Egyptian baker sold his kidney.

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.

PCHR Latest

(22 July)  PCHR Condemns Injury of 61 Persons in attack on Wedding Party in Khan Yunis
PCHR

(22 July)  PCHR Meet with Irish Foreign Affairs Committee ..::..
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

Most Arabs can’t buy most homes in West Jerusalem
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 21 July 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed this week that Jerusalem is an "open city" that permits all its inhabitants, Jewish and Palestinian, to purchase homes in both its eastern and western parts. "Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city. There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city's east," Netanyahu said in response to the U. S. request to halt a Jewish construction project in East Jerusalem. An examination by Haaretz, however, presented a rather different situation on the ground. According to Israel Lands Administration rules, residents of East Jerusalem cannot take ownership of the vast majority of Jerusalem homes. When an Israeli citizen purchases an apartment or house, ownership of the land remains with the ILA, which. . . 

CPT: Israeli military delivers stop work orders on 9 Palestinian structures in At-Tuwani
International Solidarity Movement - 20 July 2009 - At-Tuwani - In the afternoon of 20 July, the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO) delivered stop work orders for nine Palestinian structures around the village of At-Tuwani. These orders were delivered to seven new houses, one cave, and one cistern in the area. The Israeli military sometimes delivers a stop work order to a structure prior to a demolition order; and after a demolition order is delivered, the Israeli military may then demolish the structure. While the DCO and Israeli soldiers delivered the stop work orders, Palestinian children and adults gathered in the area, protesting the delivery of the stop work orders. One Palestinian admonished the DCO and soldiers to deliver demolition orders to the illegal buildings in the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma'on, which continues to expand. Palestinian children surrounded each house and chanted loudly, attempting to make. . . 

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian on his return from testifying to the UN in Geneva
International Solidarity Movement - Video available - 22 July 2009: Israeli forces arrest Palestinian on his return from testifying to the United Nations in Geneva. Mohammad Srour was arrested on 20 July 2009 while crossing the Allenby Bridge from Jordan. Srour and Jonathan Pollack, an Israeli solidarity activist, testified to the United Nations in Geneva on 6 July 2009 about the murder of 2 young men by Israeli forces during a demonstration in Ni'lin. Srour, a member of the Ni'lin Popular Committee Against the Wall, participates in demonstrations that take place against the theft of Ni'lin's land. He and Pollack were witness to the shooting of 2 Ni'lin residents (Arafat Rateb Khawaje and Mohammed Khawaje) on 28 December 2009, during a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza. "I know full well that I will pay the price for this testimony when I return at Israeli crossing points in my journey of return after this hearing. "  -Mohammad Srour stated at minute 4 of his testimony to the United Nations. 

1948 no catastrophe says Israel, as term nakba banned from Arab children’s textbooks
International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian, 22 July 2009 - Israel's education ministry has ordered the removal of the word nakba - Arabic for the "catastrophe" of the 1948 war - from a school textbook for young Arab children, it has been announced. The decision - which will alter books aimed at eight- and nine-year-old Arab pupils - will be seen as a blunt assertion by Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud-led government of Israel's historical narrative over the Palestinian one. The term nakba has a similar resonance for Palestinians as the Hebrew word shoah - normally used to describe the Nazi Holocaust - does for Israelis and Jews. Its inclusion in a book for the children of Arabs, who make up about a fifth of the Israeli population, drives at the heart of a polarised debate over what Israelis call their "war of independence": the 1948 conflict which secured the Jewish state after the British left Palestine,. . . 

Activists respond to cellular phone campaign
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 21 July 2009 - Palestinians protestors and left-wing activists came up with an original response to a television adfor a local cellular phone company that angered and offended many in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. At television commercial by Cellcom showed Israelis soldiers playing soccer with unseen Palestinians over the separation wall. Critics claimed that the ad reflected Israel's total disregard for harsh reality in West Bank. Last Friday, during their weekly demonstration in Bilin, the protestors passed soccer balls to the soldiers, in an attempt to reenact the highly controversial ad. However, instead of getting the balls back, the soldiers responded with tear gas and high-pressure water hoses. One of the activists, Abdullah told Ynet: "We wanted to show everyone how the soldiers really behave, contrary to what was shown in the ad. 

Peace activist finally allowed to return to UK
International Solidarity Movement - Herald Express, 21 July 2009 - A Totnes peace activist who spent a year in Gaza has returned to the UK. Jenny Linnell flew back from the Middle East in London at the weekend following weeks of being stuck at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The pro-Palestinian human rights charity worker had been prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip through Egypt after she was identified as one of the peace activists from Europe who came into Gaza on the Free Gaza boat last year. Ms Linnell, a former vegan chef at The Willow restaurant in Totnes, moved to Gaza last August as part of the Free Gaza Movement and International Solidarity Movement to help Palestinians and document the hardship of their daily lives. Ms Linnell was in Gaza in January when the Israeli army, responding to rocket attacks from Hamas, carried out a three-week bombardment of the Palestinian enclave. 

’Charges toughened against IDF officer in shooting of bound Palestinian’
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 21 July 2009 - Israel's Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, on Tuesday ordered tougher charges against an Israel Defense Forces officer who presided over the shooting of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainee. Lt. Col. Omri Borberg and his soldier, known as Staff Sgt. L. , were formally charged with "improper conduct" over the incident, which took place in the West Bank village of Na'alin last September. But in early July, the High Court ordered Mandelblit to reconsider the indictment against the pair. The advocate general subsequently decided to charge Borberg with intimidation, and the soldier with having made unlawful use of a weapon. "Following the High Court decision, the Military Advocate General conducted extensive consultations regarding the matter with the Attorney General of Israel and the State Attorney," the IDF said in a statement. 

Stolen Beauty: the struggle for a just peace in the Middle East coming to a store near you
International Solidarity Movement - Code Pink, 21 July 2009 - As the dust settled on the destroyed homes, schools and lives in the aftermath of Israel's assault on Gaza earlier this year, mainstream human rights groups from Amnesty International to Physicians for Human Rights/Israel issued reports condemning Israel's attack and alleging that the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The staff of CODEPINK Women for Peace re-opened a discussion of what we could do about Israel's flagrant flouting of international law and the brutality of the ongoing blockade of Gaza, the occupation of the West Bank and the home demolitions in East Jerusalem. We decided to revisit the idea of a boycott against Israeli products"”a boycott that was having more difficulty gaining traction here in the United States than in Europe. 

’Want to read Harry Potter in Arabic? Not in Israel’
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 22 July 2009 - Books originating in Syria or Lebanon – the biggest publisher in the region of Arabic books – are illegal in Israel. The draft bill by MK Yuli Tamir (Labor), would change the embargo. But in the meantime, readers of Arabic in Israel will have to encounter roadblocks. Two days ago Mariam Kassis, a resident of the village of Mi'ilya – near Ma'alot in the north of the country – returned from a visit to Amman. When she sent her bags through the x-ray machine at the border crossing between Israel and Jordan, the Israeli customs inspectors spent time checking a dozen volumes that she bought for her father in the Jordanian capital, all from the series "Qawlun ala Qawl" ("Saying on a Saying"), written by Arab radio personality Hasan Karmi. The series of books written by Karmi are in effect transcripts of selected conversations from an international. . . 

Palestinian arrested after testifying in Geneva
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 22 July 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Wednesday that a resident of the West Bank village of Naalin was arrested upon returning from Geneva, where he testified before a UN committee charged with investigating the IDF offensive in Gaza earlier this year. Mohammad Srur, who was injured during a protest in Naalin in which two other Palestinian residents of the village were killed, testified before the Goldstone committee along with Jonathan Pollack of the Activists Against the Wall organization. Upon returning from Switzerland two days ago, Srur was arrested by Israeli security officials at the Allenby Bridge crossing and is currently being held at the Ofer Prison. His brother Moussa told Ynet that Mohammad had first contacted his family on Wednesday, and that he had not been questioned since his arrest. 

Campaigners for evicted Palestinians call on Barack Obama to intervene
International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian, 20 July 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, who have lived in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood north of the Old City, were given until last Sunday by an Israeli court to leave their homes, and now face fines, arrests and eviction. The decision affects 55 people, including 14 children. The families say that, as refugees from the 1948 war, they were given the houses in 1956 by the UN's refugee agency and the Jordanian government, which controlled the area until 1967. But the Israeli court upheld a prior claim to the land by the Sephardi Community Committee, which subsequently sold the rights to an Israeli construction company with reported US investment ties. 

Israeli PM says West Bank barrier there to stay
International Solidarity Movement - AFP, 22 July 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel's controversial separation barrier in the occupied West Bank would not be pulled down. "I hear today people who say that because the situation is calm in the West Bank we can dismantle the security barrier, but it is in fact because of this barrier that there is calm," he told a session of parliament. "It is because of this barrier and because of a certain improvement on the part of the Palestinian security services that the situation is calm," Netanyahu said. "The barrier will stay. "Israel began erecting the barrier in the wake of the second intifada or uprising, calling it a "security barrier" needed to prevent potential suicide bombers from entering the Jewish state. Palestinians call the barrier an "apartheid wall" and say its purpose is to grab land and make their promised state unviable. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Is Romania human egg scandal a case of anti-Semitism?
22 Jul 2009 - By comparing Israeli doctors to Nazis, the Romanian Medical Council needlessly risks triggering anti-Semitism, World Medical Association President Dr. Yoram Blachar told Haaretz. ... 

Germany drops case against 'Heil Hitler' garden gnome 
22 Jul 2009 - German prosecutors Wednesday dropped a case over a garden gnome that has its right arm raised in a "Heil Hitler" salute. ... 

Israeli firms still dealing with companies tied to Iran
22 Jul 2009 - The Los Angeles municipality is considering canceling a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the German firm Siemens to improve the public transportation infrastructure in the city. ... 

Israel circulates photo of Hitler greeting late Palestinian mufti
21 Jul 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered diplomats to use an old photograph of a former Palestinian religious leader meeting Adolf Hitler to counter world criticism of a Jewish building plan for East Jerusalem. ...

Lieberman urges Brazil: Convince Iran to halt its nukes
21 Jul 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asked Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Wednesday to use its influence to help halt Iran's nuclear program. ...

The Guardian

1948 no catastrophe says Israel, as term nakba banned from Arab children's textbooks
22 Jul 2009 - Israel's education ministry has ordered the removal of the word nakba – Arabic for the "catastrophe" of the 1948 war – from a school textbook for young Arab children, it has been announced. The decision –...

Israel's barrier to progress | Seth Freedman
22 Jul 2009 - Far from protecting anyone, the controversial separation wall can only give a false sense of security In many parts of the West Bank, Israel's much-vaunted separation wall is conspicuous by its absence; Ha'aretz reports that only...

Israel to demolish 23 illegal settlements in one day
21 Jul 2009 - Israel is planning to remove 23 "illegal outposts" from the West Bank in the course of a single day in response to mounting US demands that it halt all settlement activity, it was reported today. These...

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,...

Ha'aretz National page

Top Hadera rabbi's son suspected in deliberate hit-and-run
22 Jul 2009 - The Supreme Court will announce its decision Thursday morning in the case of the yeshiva student who deliberately hit Noga Zoraish, a woman of Ethiopian origin, with his car. Wednesday the student's name was released, Itamar Biton, the son of the Sephardi chief rabbi of Hadera, Rabbi Shimon Biton. ... 

Can gefilte fish be saved from extinction?
22 Jul 2009 - About 70 years ago the carp immigrated to Israel from Eastern Europe, together with the Jewish pioneers. The fish came straight from its gray and chilly homeland to the blazing hot Beit She'an Valley, achieving a successful absorption in its new habitat and in Israeli stomachs. Around 6,800 tons of carp are consumed annually in Israel, some 1,000 tons at Pesach. ... 

Ministry to stop testing for swine flu, treat all suspected cases
22 Jul 2009 - The Health Ministry is making changes to the way it deals with swine flu, limiting tests for the virus while at the same time broadening the criteria for suspected cases of the disease. ... 

Relief Web

ECOSOC adopts four resolutions and concludes considerations of its operational activities segment and humanitarian affairs segment
22 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

OPT: Growing poverty in Gaza pushing children to work
22 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Children's Fund

Ban calls on Israel, Palestinians to take steps to transform Middle East peace process
22 Jul 2009 - Source: UN News Service

YNet News

Palestinian arrested after testifying in Geneva
22 Jul 2009 - Naalin resident detained by IDF after speaking before UN committee in charge of Gaza war probe 

Senior Fatah official: We won't recognize Israel
22 Jul 2009 - Fatah official: Movement to display commitment to armed struggle in upcoming convention 

Hezbollah: Lebanon blast set off by old shells
22 Jul 2009 - Lebanese group dismisses reports that site of recent explosion was secret arms cache 

Ban urges Israel to freeze east Jerusalem settlements
22 Jul 2009 - UN Chief Ban Ki-moon urges Israeli government to 'commit fully to its obligations' 

Welfare minister: We will cooperate with haredim
22 Jul 2009 - Minister Herzog secretly visits ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood to speak with social workers afraid for their well-being. Swastika sprayed on neighborhood's welfare bureau with word 'Nazis' scrawled below 


Daily Star

Erdogan presses Israel to return Golan
22 Jul 2009 - Turkey’s prime minister said Wednesday during a visit to Damascus that his country is prepared to resume mediating in the Arab-Israeli conflict and pressed Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria. The Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan also strongly reprimanded Palestinians for the divisions between.

Clinton hints at ‘defense umbrella’ to deter Iran
22 Jul 2009 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sketched out on Wednesday how the United States might cope with a nuclear Iran – by arming its allies in the Gulf and extending a “defense umbrella” over the region. Her comments drew an immediate rebuke from a senior Israeli official, who said the United States should focus on preventing.

Netanyahu: West Bank separation barrier will stay for now
22 Jul 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netan yahu rejected Wednesday any notion he would order Israel’s barrier in the West Bank to be torn down in response to the absence of Palestinian attacks from the occupied territory. “The separation fence will remain in place and will not be dismantled,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Parliament.

Dubai police accuse Chechen vice PM of army commander’s murder
22 Jul 2009 - The Dubai authorities Wednesday referred to a court two men suspected of involvement in the March murder of a former Russian army commander, the official WAM news agency reported. Mahdi Lournia from Iran and Tajik national Makhsud-Jan had been held for questioning over the killing of Sulim Yamadayev.

Mousavi says Ahmadinejad may add to Iran woes
22 Jul 2009 - Opposition leader and defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi said on Wednesday the new government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could cause domestic and international problems for Iran. Mousavi, who has refused to acknowledge Ahmadinejad’s victory in the June 12 election, said senior technocrats.

Wife of Guantanamo prisoner released in Syria after a year of detention
22 Jul 2009 - Usra al-Hussein, a Syrian woman imprisoned incommunicado for nearly a year without charge or trial, was released on Saturday, reported Amnesty International (AI). AI had campaigned for her to be released unless charged with a recognizably criminal offence. Usra al-Hussein was arrested on July 31, 2008, by state security officials.

Syria’s law on ‘honor killings’ not severe enough – activists
22 Jul 2009 - Civil rights groups in Syria have backed an amendment to the law on so-called “honor crimes,” but said the punishment for such murders of women by their male relatives was still not severe enough. A new presidential decree earlier this month imposed a minimum sentence of two years in prison for men who kill their female relatives for engaging in extra-marital sex.

Palestinian Information Center

Haneyya: We are ready to give up our positions for the sake of the unity
23 Jul 2009 - premier Haneyya stated that he and his cabinet ministers are ready to give up their positions in order to restore the national unity,but they would never renounce the Palestinian rights and constants.

Fatah candidates for revolutionary council and central committee disclosed
23 Jul 2009 - Informed sources unveiled the candidates’ names of the revolutionary council and the central committee of Fatah faction who will be approved during the sixth conference to be held next month.

Hamas deplores Abbas’s gov’t for firing members of Qalqiliya municipality
23 Jul 2009 - Hamas strongly denounced the ministry of local government formed unconstitutionally by Mahmoud Abbas for dismissing three council members of Qalqiliya municipality.

Awkaf minister denounces Israeli intention to build nightclub near the Aqsa
23 Jul 2009 - Dr. Taleb Abu Sha'ar, the minister of Awkaf in Gaza, has denounced the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) for allowing the establishment of a nightclub near the holy Aqsa Mosque.

Resheq: The national dialog was delayed at the request of Fatah
23 Jul 2009 - Ezzat Al-Resheq, a member of Hamas political bureau, stated that the national dialog sessions were deferred until 25th of August at the request of Fatah leaders.

Dwaik postpones resuming work until Sunday
23 Jul 2009 - Dr. Aziz Dwaik, the Palestinian legislative council speaker (PLC), has postponed resuming his work at the PLC premises in Ramallah to next Sunday instead of Wednesday.

IOF troops detain teen for allegedly planning assault
23 Jul 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday night detained a 17-year-old Palestinian boy at the Qalandia roadblock north of occupied Jerusalem for allegedly planning to attack one of them.

Aqsa foundation: A Zionist group called for storming the holy Mosque
23 Jul 2009 - The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage warned that an extremist Zionist group had called on Israeli settlers to participate in a mass rally on Wednesday morning to desecrate the Aqsa Mosque.

Mishaal extends congratulations to students completing secondary stage
23 Jul 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, on Tuesday extended felicitations to the Palestinian students who successfully concluded their secondary school stage and to their families.

IOF soldiers round up 11 Palestinians
23 Jul 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Tuesday rounded up 11 Palestinian citizens from various West Bank areas namely Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Al-Khalil districts, local sources reported.

Los Angeles Times

Ahmadinejad defies ayatollah on vice president 
22 Jul 2009 - Iran's president refuses an order by the supreme leader to dump the newly chosen official, who is despised by hard-liners for his remarks on Israelis. In Tehran, authorities crack down on protesters. Iran's president, under attack by reformists after his disputed election victory last month, on Tuesday openly defied his most powerful backer, refusing an order by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to dump a newly chosen vice president who is despised by hard-liners for insisting last year that Iranians had no quarrel with the Israeli people. 

Iran's supreme leader warns protesters to end campaign of civil disobedience 
21 Jul 2009 - Government opponents, meanwhile, call for a national referendum to resolve the disputed presidential election. Iran's supreme leader on Monday sternly warned government opponents to end a campaign of civil disobedience while defiant reformists provocatively proposed a nationwide referendum to resolve the ongoing dispute over the country's recent presidential election. 

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 working to crush the opposition. 

Ayatollah Tells Ahmadinejad to Drop Choice for Top Iranian Deputy
21 Jul 2009 - The official, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, had angered conservatives with his remarks on Israel. 

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. 

Misc

Rabbis for Human Rights: Israel leaves the inhabitants of the West bank thirsty 
Norman Finkelstein website - Rabbis For Human Rights, 19. 07. 2009 - Join us in a protest against the water shortages caused by the occupation - Dry water taps – no water for drinking or bathing, many months during the summer heat. Since March this is the situation of many families in the villages Qarawat Bani Zayed, Kufr ‘Ein, Ramani & Nabi Salah, 15,000 people. In the same time, these Palestinian villagers can see beyond the settlements’ fences a different situation. They see green lawns and sprinklers irrigating the whole day. A similar situation exsists in many other parts of the West Bank. We hereby call activists to join and donate money to the protest campaign. . . . Background: Since the occupation in 1967, Israel took control over most of the water sources in the West Bank, and uses them for Israeli clients and especially for settlers. The mountain acquifer is considered a joint (Palestinian-Israeli) water reservoir. . . 

Women’s Peace Group Launches Boycott Campaign of Israeli Ahava Cosmetics 
Common Dreams - Company violates international law for use of West Bank resources - NEW YORK - July 21 - Following a dramatic, bikini-clad demonstration yesterday inside the beauty industry's annual major Cosmoprof conference in Las Vegas, the leading women's peace and justice group CODEPINK announces the launch of "Stolen Beauty," a boycott campaign against the Israeli cosmetics company, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. Through this campaign, CODEPINK plans to move the company -- which sells its products in upscale shops, spas and salons worldwide -- to end its exploitative, illegal practices and pressure Israel to end its violations of international law against Palestine and its people. "Ahava, which means 'love' in Hebrew, is hardly loving in what it's doing in the Occupied West Bank," said Nancy Kricorian, main organizer of the "Stolen Beauty" campaign. 

European court: Israel boycotts are unlawful discrimination
Jerusalem Post - Israel finally won one last week in an international human rights court. On Thursday, the Council of Europe's European Court of Human Rights upheld a French ruling that it was illegal and discriminatory to boycott Israeli goods, and that making it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli goods did not constitute a violation of one's freedom of expression. The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, has some 47 member states and is independent of the European Union. The court is made up of one judge from each member state, and the rulings of the court carry moral weight throughout Europe. On Thursday the court ruled by a vote of 6-1 that the French court did not violate the freedom of expression of the Communist mayor of the small French town of Seclin, Jean-Claude Fernand Willem, who in October 2002 announced at a town hall meeting that he intended to call on the municipality to boycott Israeli products. 

Authors Oz, Grossman sign petition calling for external probe of Gaza op 
YNetNews - Following publication of soldiers' testimonies according to which commanders in Gaza told them to shoot first and worry later, Rabbis for Human Rights calls on Netanyahu, Barak to order non-military probe of IDF offensiveTal RabinovskyPublished: 07. 22. 09, 00:31 / Israel NewsA week after activist group "Breaking the Silence" published testimonies of IDF soldiers who said they were urged by commanders to shoot first and worry later about sorting out civilians from combatants, the Rabbis for Human Rights organization called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to launch an external investigation into the army's conduct during the recent offensive in Gaza. "Since February our organization, along with a number of other human rights groups, turned to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz a number of times and asked that he order an investigation (into the Gaza op),". . . 

Israeli allies fly with U.S. forces at Red Flag 
Nellis Air Force Base - Red Flag Public Affairs - 7/20/2009 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Flying at home station is necessary for training, but flying with other units, especially an allied unit like the Israeli Air Force, results in valuable experience and preparation for the fight. A squadron of F-16Is from Ramon Air Base, Israel, is one of the nine units participating in Red Flag 09-4 through July 24 in Las Vegas. Red Flag exercises present a unique experience for U. S. and allied units to fly together against red air, or 'enemy' aircraft provided by the Aggressor Squadrons at Nellis Air Force Base, in a realistic combat environment. The Israeli Air Force's "Bats" squadron is made up of the F-16-I Storm, a multi-role, two-seater fighter jet capable of low flying, strike and offensive counter air. Captain Gilad, a 25-year-old IAF pilot and Tel Aviv, Israel, native, experienced Red Flag for the first time this week. 

US, Israeli and British Air Forces in big war game over Nevada 
Debka File - Southern Nevadans were warned last week that 62 warplanes would take off twice a day from Nellis Air Force Base, home of 414th Combat US Training Squadron northwest of Las Vegas in the latest 11-day Red Flag exercise. They would see (and hear) Israeli and US Air force fighter-bombers in dogfights and bombing raids. DEBKAfile's militarys sources say the size of the Nellis air base, 111 kilometers long by 190 kilometers broad, enables large groups of aircraft to practice combat missions in wide spaces unavailable to their air crews at home. A large number of Israeli F-16C fighter-bombers from IAF Squadron 110 are taking advantage of the opportunity for mock combat drills in large groups and bombing missions with live ordnance. They flew in directly from home base, refueling on the way. The group is split in two - friendly "Blue Air" and enemy "Red Air" - to practice "Red Flag Measurement. . . 

House passes AMIA attack commemoration 
JTA - July 21, 2009, WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U. S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center bombing. The resolution condemning the July 18, 1994 attack on the AMIA center urges Argentina to continue to investigate the crime and expresses "grave concern" that the government of Saudi Arabi failed to detain Iranian officials for whom arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the bombing. The attack killed 85 people and wounded 300. The legislation also urges Western governments to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The bill states that "extensive evidence links the planning of the attacks to the government of Iran and the execution of the attacks to Hezbollah. " "On the eve of the anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, we remain. . . 

The Group Behind IDF Abuse Charges
The Forward - The Forward, July 16, 2009, issue of July 24, 2009 - Haifa, Israel — To some, they are courageous heroes bringing transparency to the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces. To others, they are a collection of turncoats who publish unaccountable and unverifiable reports, motivated by politics and a hatred of their military. Breaking the Silence, a group composed of army veterans and reservists, thrust itself into the news July 15 with its release of a report claiming that during Israel’s invasion of Gaza last winter, Palestinians were used as human shields, hundreds of houses and mosques were destroyed for no military purpose, phosphorous gas was fired in the direction of populated areas and private property was destroyed. The group cited anonymous testimonies it said it had collected from IDF soldiers. The nongovernmental organization claims to be an apolitical watchdog set up to “demand". . . 

Israel to use Hitler shot for PR 
BBC Online - Israeli embassies are being instructed to use for public relations purposes an infamous photograph of Adolf Hitler meeting a top Palestinian cleric. Far-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has personally requested that the photo be sent to missions around the world, a senior official said. The 1941 shot shows the Nazi leader meeting the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The US is pressuring Israel to end a Jewish building project at a hotel once owned by the cleric, Amin al-Husseini. AFP news agency quoted an Israeli official as saying the move by Mr Lieberman was linked to the row over the Shepherd Hotel. " It is important that the world know the facts," a spokesperson for Mr Lieberman told the BBC, without giving further detail. Haj Amin al-Husseini was a Palestinian nationalist leader who led violent campaigns against Jewish immigrants and the British authorities in what was then British-ruled Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Articles

Under attack Bil’in and the peaceful resistance of the village against the Israeli wall 
Luisa Morgantini, Liberazione, International Solidarity Movement 7/19/2009
      Israel wants to stop the non-violent struggle and the unity created amongst Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals, who since more than four years demonstrate in order to end the construction of the wall: in the last weeks the escalation of systematic arrests and kidnappings of activists in Bil’in by the Israeli soldiers.
     Raids in the middle of the nights, with military vehicles crossing in the dark that illegal barrier represented by the Apartheid wall. Tens of armed soldiers laying close to the ground in order to not to be seen.
     They proceed slowly, without lights, wearing dark military camouflage uniforms and black masks on their faces.
     They arrive in the hearth of Bil’in crossing streets and fields. They surround houses destroying all that they meet on their path, kidnapping people, including 15 or 16 years old adolescents, confiscating documents, mobile phones and personal things of the detained persons. Also last Friday a 15-years-old boy has been abducted from his home at 3 a.m., and during the demonstration activists have been attacked with a strange sort of smelling water, probably containing chemical substances provoking blistering effects and with a suffocating smell.
     This is the same scenario taking place also in other villages in the West Bank, but Bil’in has become a symbol: the village –where the shame wall confiscates 49% of lands- in the last weeks has become a theatre of a further intensification of this kind of operations, that are real war operations, perpetrated against the activists of the Popular Committee of non-violent resistance, men and women, civilians, who are resisting in a non-violent, peaceful and creative way against the wall and the occupation.

Why is South Africa still helping apartheid Israel? 
Sayed Dhansay, Electronic Intifada 7/21/2009
      A few weeks ago I departed from South Africa for the Gaza Strip in order to take up a short-term voluntary post with a humanitarian organization there. As the Rafah border crossing with Egypt is effectively the only passage in and out of the besieged territory, flying to Cairo was my only option in gaining access to Gaza. 
     The Egyptian border authorities controlling the Rafah crossing have varying and often arbitrary requirements that must be fulfilled by anyone wishing to enter Gaza, which change regularly and without notice. The latest requirement is that any non-Palestinian wishing to visit Gaza needs to obtain prior written permission from their embassy in Cairo. This is ostensibly to ensure that foreigners have received the relevant travel warnings from their respective embassies and to absolve the Egyptian government of any responsibility for their health or safety once in Gaza.
     While this appears reasonable, as I learned over the next few days, it is actually designed to prevent the entry of foreigners into the Gaza Strip. At the South African Embassy in Cairo, I quickly realized that my government was conspiring with the Egyptian and Israeli siege of the tiny coastal territory. After repeated requests with various representatives, my embassy refused to provide the necessary permission for me to enter Gaza. Indeed, I was told that the embassy was under "strict orders directly from the South African government not to facilitate the travel of any South African citizen to Gaza via Rafah." Even when I contacted the South African Ambassador, Ms. Santo Kudjoe directly, my request for assistance was denied without any credible reasons. After this, the embassy simply began ignoring my telephone calls.


Electronic Intifada
Israeli officer promotes war crimes at Harvard
22 Jul 2009 - On 9 July Harvard University's Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research invited Colonel Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, former Israeli military legal adviser, to their online Humanitarian Law and Policy Forum. The stated aim was to bring "objective" discussion to the principle of distinction in international humanitarian law. Maryam Monalisa Gharavi and Dr. Anat Matar report for The Electronic Intifada. 

Celebrating absurdity in Nablus
22 Jul 2009 - It was a portentous day in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. Over 100,000 Palestinians from Haifa, Jerusalem, Jenin and more gathered in the city on Saturday to celebrate the making of a Guinness World Record: the largest plate of kanafeh, a popular red-haired pastry made with lots of sugar and goat cheese. Was it a celebration of improving economic conditions or, as one resident put it, a "shameful display of opportunism?" Sousan Hammad reports from Nablus about the absurdity of the event. 

Internet users paid to spread Israeli propaganda
22 Jul 2009 - The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback and comment sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitter and Facebook may not be all that it seems. Israel's foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Settlers expand in West Bank
21 Jul 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - A little village nestled in a valley between several hills in the Bethlehem governorate is today fighting for survival. All around Wadi Fuqin village on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank is the expanding and illegal Israeli settlement Beitar Illit, home to 35,000 settlers. The settlement is situated on a hill overlooking the little Palestinian village of 2,500. 

In Gaza
no strangers
22 Jul 2009 - * Sahaa, Gaza city market area. [photo: Emad Badwan] I was in a terrible mood and hot, and neither was cooling down.Found myself in Gaza city’s eastern market area, not really sure where I wanted to go. Strolled through the market and began to calm, soothed by the pulse of life one finds in markets around the world. Didn’t have anything particular I wanted to buy, just wanted to feel something other than the frustration for so many shattered lives, …and other than the oppressive heat. People called out welcomes, hello what’s-your-names, inti falistiini ? ( yarayt ! I’d be honoured)… I came across a vendor selling shirts of different sleeve lengths and...

Palestine Chronicle
The Heart of Gaza
22 Jul 2009 - By Flora Nicoletta – Gaza It was just the beginning. The first day of the war launched by Israeli Occupation Forces against the Gaza Strip, was Saturday 27 December 2008. In Gaza City, many targets were bombarded; among them, the Arafat police compound (Al-Jawazat), Al-Mashtal interrogation and detention center, Al-Abbas main police station, the headquarters of the Security and Protection Force, the Saraya security compound - including Gaza Central Prison. The destruction of the Ministry of Interior, located in the compound of ministries, started at 1:30 three nights later, on Tuesday, 30 December. I saw what I thought to be collaborators already on duty on the very first afternoon in front of the destroyed Al-Abbas police station. I saw the same spies in the evening at Al-Shifa hospital in front of the morgue. There, lined up on the tarmac, were lying twenty, thirty corpses of martyrs. Since the early morning, families came to collect their loved ones and more and more bodies were brought in. It was like a nightmare. Blankets, sheets, newspapers were insufficient to cover all of them. The morgue was too small and their number too big. Nothing was sufficient to cope with such carnage. The third evening of the war I lost my small bag containing the two keys to my home. At that point there was nowhere for me to report the loss of the bag; all uniformed officers and police vehicles had disappeared. A few days later, in a completely deserted street, in the...

Z Street - The New Zionist Extremist Group
22 Jul 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago On July 6, co-founders Lori Lowenthal Marcus and Allyson Rowen Taylor announced: "Z Street is launched, Will end J Street Treason." Continuing they said: "welcome to Z street! No more appeasement, no more negotiating with terrorists, no more enabling cowards who fear offending more than they fear another Holocaust. Z STREET is for those who are willing not only to support - but to defend - Israel, the Jewish State." Never mind that no nation threatens Israel nor has for decades. It's a regional superpower - nuclearized and defended by the world's fourth most powerful military, armed with the latest state-of-the-art weapons and technology, and not reluctant to use them. Its only adversaries are self-made and are needed to justify oppression, a culture of violence, an ethnocracy, exclusivity, privilege, and Jewish exceptionalism over others deemed inferior, legitimate enemies, and terrorists. Zionism is corrosive, destructive, racist, extremist, undemocratic and hateful. -- it claims Jewish supremacy, specialness and uniqueness as God's "chosen people;" -- espouses violence, not peaceful coexistence; -- confrontation over diplomacy; -- strength through militarism, intimidation, and naked aggression; -- is what Joel Kovel calls "a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses" led by real terrorists posing as democrats; -- what others say is repugnant, indefensible, destructive and malignant; and -- what author Alan Hart calls "the real enemy of the Jews;" -- an ideology contemptuous of Judaism's moral values and ethical principles; -- the driving force behind a re-awakened anti-Semitism; and --...

Twitterers Paid to Spread Israeli Propaganda
21 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems. Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel. Internet-savvy Israeli youngsters, mainly recent graduates and demobilized soldiers with language skills, are being recruited to pose as ordinary surfers while they provide the government’s line on the Middle East conflict. “To all intents and purposes the internet is a theatre in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must be active in that theatre, otherwise we will lose,” said Ilan Shturman, who is responsible for the project. The existence of an “internet warfare team” came to light when it was included in this year’s foreign ministry budget. About $150,000 has been set aside for the first stage of development, with increased funding expected next year. The team will fall under the authority of a large department already dealing with what Israelis term “hasbara”, officially translated as “public explanation” but more usually meaning propaganda. That includes not only government public relations work but more secretive dealings the ministry has with a battery of private organizations and initiatives that promote Israel’s image in print, on TV and online. In an interview this month with the Calcalist, an Israeli business newspaper, Mr. Shturman, the deputy director of the ministry’s hasbara department,...

Obama's New Style in Latin America
21 Jul 2009 - By Belen Fernandez This past weekend in Buenos Aires, an American acquaintance presented me with page 9 of Saturday’s Buenos Aires Herald, the English-language daily, such that I might join the ranks of those who understood the approach of the US government to the current crisis in Honduras. Page 9 consisted of two Reuters articles, one on top of the other, with the essence of the US approach excerpted in a quote in orange print at the center of the top article: “This is part of Obama’s new style of doing things in Latin America.” How well my acquaintance had read the rest of the article was called into question by his reference to Costa Rican President Óscar Arias as Óscar Asturias. The top article, entitled “US treads softly as region weighs in,” begins: “Latin America was for decades seen as the United States’ ‘back yard’—a theatre where it imposed its will often at the barrel of a gun. “But since Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was snatched from his home in his pajamas and spirited out of the country by the military on June 28, Washington has played an uncharacteristically low-key role.” It apparently does not occur to Reuters that there is no need for gun barrels when the US is content for Zelaya to remain in his pajamas and out of the country, or that covert support for right-wing Latin American death squads might also have been described as low-key. Pejorative interpretations of low-key roles are averted by the...

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