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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
27 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Detainee on Hunger Strike since 13 days; demands medical treatment
27 Jul 2009 - The family of detainee Riyadh Al Amour, from Tiqua' town, south east of Bethlehem, stated that their son, imprisoned at the Galboa' Israeli prison, has been on hunger strike since 13 days, demanding to receive the needed medical treatment. 

Erekat: "There are no partial solutions on settlements"
27 Jul 2009 - Dr. Saeb Erekat, head of the Negotiations Department at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) stated Monday that Israel must halt all of its settlement activities, including what it describes as natural growth.  

Six Palestinians killed in tunnel fire
27 Jul 2009 - Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Monday afternoon that six Palestinians were killed when a tunnel collapsed on them after it caught fire due to fuel leakage. 

The Israeli military decides to transfer a Palestinian Prisoner from the West Bank to Gaza
27 Jul 2009 - The Israeli military decided on Monday to Transfer a Palestinian political prisoner form the West Bank to Gaza.

The Israeli Jerusalem municipality hands over home demotion orders to Palestinian families
27 Jul 2009 - A number of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem received on Monday demotion orders for their homes.

Israel allows first benzene transfer to Gaza in ten months
27 Jul 2009 - A limited amount of diesel and benzene, used in civilian cars, was bought from Israel and received the permission to enter Gaza on Monday. The last time that a similar transfer was allowed into the Strip was in October 2008, an official told local media. 

U.S. Congress Delegation visit Gaza, the military uproot trees and bulldoze three homes
27 Jul 2009 - A U.S. Congress Delegation visited on Monday the Gaza Strip through the Irez crossing connecting northern Gaza with Israel.

Ha'aretz Defense page

Israel warns Lebanon amidst tensions on northern border
27 Jul 2009 - UN says there are signs the arms cache which recently exploded in Lebanon belonged to Hezbollah. 

Seven Palestinians die in Gaza tunnel accident
27 Jul 2009 - Collapse coincides with Israel's first permitted shipment of fuel for personal use into the Strip. 

'Nasrallah predicts Israel-Hezbollah war before next spring'
27 Jul 2009 - Hezbollah chief is quoted by Lebanese newspapers as saying group will strike Tel Aviv if attacked. 

Accused Israel spy hints at FBI anti-Semitism in AIPAC probe
25 Jul 2009 - 'I was asked about every Jew I knew in the [defense] secretary's bureau,' says former top U.S. official. 

Gates vows tougher Iran sanctions if nuclear talks fail
27 Jul 2009 - Defense Minister Ehud Barak says that from Israel's standpoint, all options remain on the table. 

Ma'an News

Death toll in Rafah tunnel collapse reaches six
7/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Medics on Monday evening pulled out two more bodies from rubble left behind by a tunnel collapse between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip in Rafah the day before. The death toll officially rose to six after ambulance workers and fireman identified the bodies of Issa Muhammad Al-Qisy, 24, and Tamer Sayyid Saraj, 21. Medics on Monday morning had found three bodies under the collapsed tunnel, said to be caused by a fire set off by leaking fuel on Sunday afternoon. Muawiyah Hassanein, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services at the Gaza Health Ministry, identified three victims as 20-year-old Yousif Mu'ammar, 23-year-old Tariq Qishta, and 36-year-old Muhammad Al-Maghari. Medics identified one victim on Sunday afternoon, 33-year-old Sami Qishta, who was found shortly after the collapse. All the victims were from Rafah, Hassanein said. 

Palestinian hunger strikes for 13 days; demands medical treatment
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an -Riyad Al-Amour from Tqu'a village east of Bethlehem said has been on hunger strike for 13 days following improper medical treatment for his heart and stomach conditions, his family said Monday. Al-Amour told his family by telephone about his condition, and they in turn called the Israeli prison administration to have him moved from the Gilbo'a Prison to another where he can be treated properly. Al-Amour was detained from his house on 7 May 2002; he was accused of being involved in the death of two Israelis and being affiliated to the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah. He was sentenced to life in prison. [end] 

Eight US Congress members enter Gaza Strip
7/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A delegation of eight US congressmen and women entered the Gaza Strip on Monday morning through the Erez crossing point between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. The head of the de facto governmental committee for hosting delegations, Hamdi Sha'ath, confirmed that the group had entered. Sha'ath asserted that the delegation would visit destroyed buildings in the Strip and meet the director of UN operations in Gaza, John Ging, before they leave. [end] 

Report: Israeli soldiers detain four Palestinians
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - At least four Palestinians were seized by soldiers overnight Sunday, according to Israel's Channel 10. It was not immediately clear from where they were taken, or if they were suspected of having committed any crimes. The day before, Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from Al-Jalazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah in the central West Bank. Israeli sources said the detainees were taken to interrogation centers. They were not identified. [end] 

Israeli forces erect flying checkpoint near Sinjel
7/27/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Israeli forces erected a flying military checkpoint at the main entrance to the central West Bank village of Sinjel, north of Ramallah, stopping hundreds of Palestinian vehicles. Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that soldiers inspected cars very slowly and scrutinized people's identity cards, causing a heavy traffic jam. After hours, the soldiers withdrew. No detentions were reported. The reports from the Sinjel blockade came a day after another Ramallah-area checkpoint, the Qalandiya entrance to Jerusalem, was closed for several hours. According to Israeli sources, the Sunday closure came as sappers were summoned to examine a suspicious object. Other sources said Qalandiya was closed because Israeli forces had decided to conduct a drill in the surrounding area. Also on Sunday, Palestinians and internationals were removed from buses and vans at the Bethlehem-area Container checkpoint. 

Tulkarem: Families of detainees invite activists, politicians to sit-in
7/27/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Families of Palestinian prisoners from Tulkarem called on Palestinian Minister of Prisoners affairs Issa Qaraqi'a to join their weekly Tuesday sit-in. This week's protest will take place at the home of Ahmad Awwad, a prisoner of Israel who suffers from heart disease. The families said the event is meant to raise awareness of Awwad's case, and the dozens of others who suffer medical conditions in Israeli facilities. The families also invited the governor of Tulkarem Talal Dweikat to join their sit-in, along withhuman rights groups and Palestinian political factions and activists. [end] 

Sixteenth Palestinian prisoner of Israel diagnosed with cancer
7/27/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Prisoner of Israel Hamza Tarayra was diagnosed with cancer in Hadassah Hospital on Monday, the Palestinian prisoner's society in Hebron announced. Following a visit to the Ofer detention center, prisoner society lawyer Luay Ukka said Tarayra was finally diagnosed following months of requests for medical checks. After each request for a medical appointment, Tarayra said, Israseli prison officials would give him pain relievers. Doctors at the Hadassah hospital found he had a large tumor in his mouth and needs urgent surgery. Tarayra is from the southern West Bank town of Bani Na'im, east of Hebron. He was detained on 1 May 2008 on charges of resisting Israeli forces and being affiliated to Fatah's military wing the Al-Aqsa Brigades. Also on Monday the de facto Ministry for Detainees in Gaza released a statement saying the number of Palestinian cancer sufferers in Israeli prisons has risen to 16. 

Orthodox Church: No Israeli settlements on our land
7/27/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The Israeli Central Court of Jerusalem issued a decision preventing an Israeli settlement company from making use of properties of the Greek Orthodox Church in the old city of Jerusalem. Spokesperson of the Church father Issa Muslih said Sunday that the team of lawyers "saved the Church property from the settlement company," whomade business deals with the deposed Patriarch Irenios I. According to father Muslih, Patriarch Irenios had given the Israeli company the right to sell and rent the Church's properties as well as collect revenue on behalf of the Church. "Patriarch Theophilos III is determined to counter all the suspicious deals made during the Irenios era," Muslih said, "He [Theophilos III] announced several times that the Greek Orthodox Church was never a real estate agency, and the Patriarchate would use all its power to defend each particle of sand that belongs to the Church. 

Slide show: Israeli soldiers, settlers, peace activists face off in Tulkarem
7/27/2009 - Palestinian farmers and international peace activists including some Israelis protested the confiscation of land by Israeli settlers on the outskirts of the West Bank village of Kafr Al-Labad near Tulkarem on 26 July. Israeli settlers watched over the scene as soldiers scuffled with activists. Five images. [end] 

Report: Woman killed in Jabalya to 'maintain family honor'
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fadia Jawdat An-Najjar, 27, was killed by her father inside the family home on Thursday 13 July in the Jabalya Refugee Camp, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported Monday. Her father, Jawdat An-Najar, gave himself up to police and confessed that he killed the young woman, after finding her on the phone with what he suspected was a man and evidence of an "illegitimate relationship. " According to PCHR investigations, de facto government police found signs of torture on Fadia's body, which was transferred to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia. Forensic scientists found the woman had been tortured, and died after being hit in the skull with an iron chain. According to PCHR's documentation, the number of people killed allegedly "to maintain family honor" since the beginning of 2009 has reached nine (six women, two men and a child) in seven separate crimes. 

Nablus festival stage torched as Israeli patrols oust local forces
7/27/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Unidentified armed arsonists set fire to the Shopping Festival main stage under the watch of Israeli troops patrolling Nablus' city center Monday before dawn. The Israeli security arrangement in the West Bank sees Palestinian police and security forces evacuate the city center when Israel announces its own security patrols of the area. On Monday morning Israeli troops invaded the city, so local police were unable to prevent the torching of the festival stage, member of the shopping festival committee Taysir Nasrullah reported. Nasrullah said three masked gunmen came from the within the Old City and spilt fuel on the stage then set it on fire. Though local officers observed the crime, they were unable to stop it or pursue the arsonists because of existing security arrangements with Israel. Police had earlier applied to Israeli military officials for a special. . . 

Soldiers prevent PalTel crew from maintenance work near Jenin
7/27/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Israeli troops prevented Palestinian Telecommunications Company (PalTel) crews from accessing Bartaka village southwest of Jenin as they attempted to fix damaged wires in the area. When the crew arrived at the gate which bars entrance and exit to the area for all but local residents, Israeli soldiers manning the area told the workers they could not enter the area for "security reasons. " The head of the Bartaka village council Ghassan Qabha said troops have prevented the crew from accessing the area for four months, saying "there is no special security situation here that would prevent the crew from entering. "[end] 

Israeli military: West Bank settlers now surpass ’300,000’
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - One day after US envoy George Mitchell arrived in Tel Aviv to hammer out a deal on settlement expansion, Israel's military revealed that the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank has surpassed 300,000. The Israeli military's Civil Administration issued the report on Monday, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. It covers the first half of 2009 and notes that as of 30 June, West Bank settlers number 304,569 residents, a 2. 3 percent increase over the year and three times the average growth inside Israel. The military's figures do not include growth at settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed as its "undivided and eternal capital" in 1980; the move has never been internationally recognized. About 190,000 Israeli settlers live there, bringing the total number of settlers living in occupied Palestinian territory to just under 500,000. 

French fund first of three new West Bank industrial zones
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A new industrial zone was created on Waqf land and is expected to create at least 2,000 new jobs following a two-phase construction program with a price tag of 32 million US dollars in part from French donations. The project was inaugurated with a brick laying ceremony Sunday with Palestinian Minster of economy Basem Khoury, Minister of International Cooperation Ali Al-Jarbawi and Meanwhile the French Consul Allan Remy. The site is south of Bethlehem at the Hensaza area. The 220 dunums of land is owned by the Waqf, and is leased to the project "so that no party looses lands in the creation of this industrial zone," Khoury said. He noted that the project is a partnership between the public and private sector, while Remy called the initiative an example of French assistance around the development of the Palestinian economy via its private sector. 

USA buys 300 movie tickets for Nablus youth
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Youth involved with the US-funded English Access Microscholarship and Camp Discovery summer programs were invited to attend viewings of the Disney/Pixar movie Wall-E next week. The initiative is an effort to bolster the Nablus economy, recently in the news for the annual Shopping Festival and its launch of the world's largest Knaffeh, unveiled last weekend. Since the scaling down of Israeli security measures at the infamous Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus, the international community has made much of the slow return of life to the city. The film, which touches on important themes related to environmental protection and the importance of friendship, is showing at Nablus' recently opened Cinema City. It is the only operating theatre in the city, and one of three in the entire West Bank. According to a Monday statement from Assistant Country Director at. . . 

Israel preps for UN reports on Gaza assault
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's Foreign Ministry is preparing a defense brief in advance of two United Nations reports on its military's conduct in Gaza last winter, the country's press reported. Both the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz reported on Monday that a group of legal experts is writing a response to the findings of the two commissions, which they expect will be harsh. The UN Commission on Human Rights investigative committee headed by Jewish South African Justice Richard Goldstone is expected to release its findings in September, while an earlier report investigating Israeli culpability in the destruction of UN property during their war on Gaza was handed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in May. Israel will be given a chance to view both reports in full before they are released to the public. Israel's assault on Gaza last winter killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and injured more than 5,000. 

Israel permits first Gaza benzene transfer in ten months
7/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A limited amount of diesel and benzene for use in civilian cars was purchased from Israel and will be allowed into Gaza on Monday. This marks the first time since October 2008 that such a transfer has been permitted, an official said. Mahmoud Al-Khizindar, deputy chairman of the Union of Gas Station Owners, told Ma'an that Israeli authorities requested information on needed quantities of diesel and benzene, and that the Palestinians responded that such needs were being taken care of through the smuggling tunnels. Up until now only industrial diesel and cooking gas were permitted into the Strip. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. Many Palestinians have turned to smuggling items from Egypt through tunnels. 

Erekat: US does not have power to solve conflict
7/27/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - "There are no fifty-fifty solutions around settlements built after 1976," Head of the Negotiation Affairs Department of the Palestine Liberation Dr Saeb Erekat told Japan's representative Monday. "Israel has commitments to fulfill like freezing the settlements, opening the closed offices and institutions in East Jerusalem and removing the siege over Gaza and the West Bank in addition to the release of detainees," Erekat told Japanese representative Hideki Yamamoto. Erekat expressed openly to Yamamoto his belief that the United States does not have the power to "force Israel to freeze the settlement construction [let alone] force Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders," he said. 

PLC member with Hamas bloc refused travel to Jordan
7/27/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli forces prevented Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Abdul Rahman Zidan from travelling to Jordan from the West Bank on Monday after keeping him waiting for four hours. Zidan said he was traveling to Jordan to see his 19-year-old son Ahmad who was diagnosed with leukemia and is being treated in the Irbid Hospital in Jordan. Ahmad was studying in Jordan at the engineering department at Al-Yarmouk University. Israeli forces gave no indication to Zidan as to why he was refused access to the Jordanian border. [end] 

Mitchell: Normalization part of US peace plan
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell met for a live news conference Monday and clarified state expectations around future peace talks. On the issue of the continued construction of Israeli settlements, Erekat, who earlier in the day expressed his doubt over whether the US would be able to halt construction, let alone force Israel to pull back to the 1967 borders, said "this [settlement construction halt] was never a Palestinian precondition but actually an Israeli obligation" Mitchell, who confirmed that he spoke earlier Monday with Palestinain President Mahmoud Abbas, said, "on behalf of president Obama I reiterated that it is American policy to seek peace in the region. " A peace, he elaborated, which includes normalization with Israel and Arab states. 

Hamas says elections won’t be on time
7/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas doubts legislative and presidential elections will be held on 25 January 2010, leader Salah Al-Bardawil said on Monday. There are no signs of a possible conciliation agreement with Fatah, Al-Bardawil said, noting that the last round of talks was not successful. With no conciliation, he said, "how can we hold fair elections? " According to earlier Hamas statements, legislative and Presidential elections should have been held simultaneously in January 2009. Fatah's position was that the presidential term, for which elections were held one year before the legislative vote, must be extended so elections for both bodies are held simultaneously. Because the Israeli war on Gaza was in full swing at the start of January, parties have now set their sights on holding presidential and legislative elections in January 2010. 

Fatah: Hamas should facilitate sixth congress in national interest
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas must not set up obstacles in the way of Fatah members leaving the Strip for the Sixth Fatah Congress coming up next week, Official Fatah Spokesperson Ahmad Abdul Rahman said Sunday. The comments came following Hamas positioning and allegations that they would not allow Fatah members to leave Gaza ahead of the congress. The meeting will be the first official gathering of Fatah leadership and is expected to address several key points in Fatah policy including the party's position on armed resistance and peace talks. He announced the title of the congress as "The struggle to end occupation and uproot settlements. " The Sixth Fatah Congress will be a "historical event with significant ramifications," and will "send a message to the world that Palestine has returned to life," Abdul Rahman said, noting that the success of the Fatah conference could have a positive impact on unity talks. 

PSE closes out two points down for Monday
7/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange's Al-Quds Index closed out at 494. 34 on Monday, a decrease of nearly two points from the day before. The drop from Sunday was 1. 91 points (. 38 percent). A total traded value of 692,342. 45 dollars was executed through 179 trades. Eighteen company shares were traded on Monday. The share prices of and seven companies rose. The top five gainers were NIC (2. 03%), UCI (1. 69%), PRICO (1. 49%), PEC (1. 12%), and AIB (0. 81%). The share prices of nine companies went down. The top five losers were ARAB (4. 76%), AZIZA (3. 90%), PLAZA (3. 77%), MIC (3. 70%), and LADAEN (3. 45%). Sunday trading saw a. 19 percent increase, closing out at 496. 25,. 95 points higher than the day before. 

The National

US envoys in Israel to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions
27 Jul 2009 - The US secretary of defence arrives in Israel to try to narrow differences with the US ally on an approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear programme.

Settlement deal will likely test all sides
27 Jul 2009 - Media reports suggest Israel and America are close to an agreement that may dash hopes for renewed peace negotiations.

South Lebanon blast raises tensions along the border
27 Jul 2009 - Lebanese authorities blame an explosion in south Lebanon on an abandoned Israeli stockpile of munitions left after the 2006 summer war.

Mitchell appeals to Syria over West Bank
27 Jul 2009 - The US envoy to the Middle East lands in Israel after telling Syrians he wants their help in reaching a peace deal.

Aljazeera

US envoy pushes Arab-Israeli peace
27 Jul 2009 - Gates urges Arabs to "normalise" ties with Israel as diplomatic efforts continue.

Iran president dealt fresh blow
27 Jul 2009 - Ally guilty of fraud in latest embarrassment following minsteral sackings and resignations.

Palestine News Network

Deteriorating conditions throughout Israeli prison system, serious violations in Al Naqab
27 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – For prisoner Akram Abdul-Aziz Mansour a life sentence in prison may not take much longer to complete. He is one of hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners who the Israeli administration refuses to treat despite illness. Mansour is a detainee in the Israeli desert prison of Al Naqab where he and several others met with a Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer...

Settler numbers mount to 300,000 while claims of "natural growth" are proven false, ...
27 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN - With the number of settlers in the West Bank hitting 300,000 for the first time, the population is escalating far faster than can be explained by what the Israelis would like to suggest is “natural growth.” And the population is expected to take an even steeper jump in the second half of this year, including 11 new outposts to...

First young diabetes patient in Palestine receives insulin pump
27 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Life will never be the same for young Tema Gibran, a Palestinian child suffering from diabetes. She has been given the chance to live a more normal childhood, thanks to a small life-saving device.Tema is the first child in Palestine to receive an insulin pump, which monitors her levels and gives injections as needed.The pump, provided by Danish development...

Human rights organization notes decision to require female lawyers to cover hair is illegal
26 Jul 2009 - Gaza City / PNN - The new decision that requires female lawyers to cover their heads and wear traditional robes in Gaza has still not been officially endorsed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. But it seems that this new imposition will be enforced in Gaza Strip court rooms beginning 1 September this year. As was pointed out during a community meeting on the...

International campaign welcomes British government’s denunciation of Israeli siege
26 Jul 2009 - Gaza / PNN – The Committee on Foreign Relations in the British House of Commons condemned the continued imposition of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and the denial of access to humanitarian aid. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli siege for three years and is in severe need of reconstruction materials that are banned. The British House said earlier this week...

Radio show to deliver direct testimony from Palestinians inside Israeli prisons
26 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - A new program is coming to the airwaves to talk about the reality faced by Palestinian political prisoners within the Israeli prison system. Between 9,500 and 11,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons and detention centers where reports of torture, extended periods of solitary confinement, inadequate medical care and food, and a lack of family visits or seasonal clothing are...

Information backed-up by first hand view for Irish parliamentarians in East Jerusalem
26 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN - An Irish parliamentary delegation visited Jerusalem and saw first-hand some of the affects of what is currently being debated between the Israelis and Americans: Palestinian home and neighborhood destruction and Israeli settlements. During the weekend trip the five-member delegation met with Ziad Hammouri, director of the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights. He delivered...

IRIN

IRAQ: Trenches to protect Christians 
BAGHDAD Thursday, July 23, 2009 (IRIN) - Security measures nationwide have been stepped up to protect the Christian community from militant attacks, security officials say, including digging trenches around Christian towns in remote areas.

AFRICA: Male circumcision slowly taking off 
CAPE TOWN Thursday, July 23, 2009 (IRIN) - The World Health Organization endorsed male circumcision (MC) as an HIV-prevention measure two years ago, but implementation of large-scale male circumcision programmes has been relatively slow.

SOMALIA-YEMEN: Registration programme "to weed out illegal migrants"
SANAA Wednesday, July 22, 2009 (IRIN) - A campaign to register Somali refugees with the aim of creating a government database and identifying illegal African migrants is under way in Yemen, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Building Peace on an Incomplete Wall 
JERUSALEM, Jul 27 (IPS) - Beneath the towering eight-metre concrete slabs, an army jeep patrols the Israeli side of the 'security wall' that cuts through Palestinian territory, dividing the occupied West Bank from Israel.

EGYPT: Disputes Rise Over Quotas for Women MPs 
CAIRO, Jul 27 (IPS) - Disputes have arisen over new legislation setting a quota for female representatives in parliament. Spokesmen for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Hosni Mubarak describe the quotas as a milestone for women's rights, but some critics say the move threatens to create more...

LEBANON: Stepping Nearer the WTO 
BEIRUT, Jul 27 (IPS) - Lebanon could be stepping closer to joining the WTO following years of political instability that have held up reforms.

US-IRAQ: Al-Maliki Dons Mantle of Seasoned Statesman 
WASHINGTON, Jul 25 (IPS) - His visit to the U.S. this week was meant to be a show of statesmanship, much different than when he was in Washington last time.

Stop The Wall

Several released, more arrested in resisting villages
27 Jul 2009 - The past month has seen a renewed campaign of arrests by Occupation forces, in particular targeting the villages that resist the construction of the Apartheid Wall. While several imprisoned Palestinians have been released, more in Bil’in, Ni’lin and Jayyus have all fallen victim to this latest round of kidnappings and arrests. [

Eye-Witness to Murder Targeted in Reprisal Arrest
22 Jul 2009 - A member of the Ni'lin popular committee was arrested the day before yesterday on his way back from testifying to Israeli war crimes at the United Nations. Attention will now turn to the UN's response to Mohammed's arrest. [

PCHR Latest

Decision to Impose Traditional Robes and Veils on Female Lawyers in Gaza Is Illegal
PCHR

PCHR Condemns Injury of 61 Persons in attack on Wedding Party in Khan Yunis
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(16 - 22 July  2008)
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a mentally disabled Palestinian civilian and wounded another one in the Gaza Strip.  In the West Bank, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall.

International Solidarity Movement

Settlers take over a Palestinian house in Sheikh Jarrah
International Solidarity Movement - Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), 27 July 2009 - On July 26th a group of settlers led by Arie king took over a Palestinian house in Sheikh Jarrah to which they where given custody of in a very controversial decision of the Israeli court. While trying to prevent the settlers from taking over the house and demolishing it, 11 activists (three Palestinians, seven internationals and one Israeli) where arrested. At about 11:30, with the support of police and army units, settlers came to demolish a home whose owner passed away recently. This is part of the settler organization's larger campaign to dispose Palestinians of their land and to settle Jews in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, especially in the holy basin - the area which surrounds the old city of Jerusalem. Activists at the scene attempted to non-violently prevent the entrance of the settler bulldozer into. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

U.S. Jewish leader denies fallout with Obama over settlements dispute
27 Jul 2009 - Alan Solow, the chairman of American Jewry's powerful umbrella group, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, raised eyebrows among political observers after his organization issued a statement criticizing President Barack Obama over his stance on Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. ...

Obama envoy tells Abbas: Still no deal with Israel on settlements
26 Jul 2009 - U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday he was still working on a deal with Israel to halt West Bank settlement activity so peace talks can resume. ...

Palestinian, Lebanese rappers to perform at Kennedy Center in Washington
26 Jul 2009 - Rappers from the Palestinian territories and Lebanon will perform at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center in Washington on Tuesday as part of a cultural exchange program. ...

UN bars Arab rights group represented by 'known terrorist'
26 Jul 2009 - The United Nations decided on Monday to bar an Arab human rights group for a year after Algeria argued that it brought in a "known terrorist" to speak on its behalf at a meeting in Geneva. ...

Dutch officials deny Israeli complaints over funding of leftist group
26 Jul 2009 - Diplomats from the Netherlands denied reports that they had received complaints from Israel over Dutch funding for a controversial Israeli human rights group. But Israeli officials insisted the complaints were made, as reported on Sunday by Haaretz. ...

The Guardian

The US peace team Obama sent to Israel
27 Jul 2009 - Robert Gates, defence secretary Gates worked for 26 years at the CIA, and nine years as a member of the national security council. A career intelligence officer, Gates was the first person to rise from entry...

Militant group issues threat over mockery in Bruno film
27 Jul 2009 - A Palestinian militant organisation that was ridiculed in the new Sacha Baron Cohen film has threatened to "respond in the way we find suitable" against the London-born satirist. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of...

The west is widening the Fatah-Hamas split | Seumas Milne
27 Jul 2009 - Palestinian unity is essential for any peace deal – but the US, Britain and the EU are playing a central role in preventing it It should be obvious that no settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict is...

Obama administration officials in Israel to demand end to settlement building
27 Jul 2009 - Middle East envoy George Mitchell reportedly discussing deal to allow completion of homes currently under construction Barack Obama has dispatched a clutch of senior American officials to Jerusalem to press his demand for an end to...

Ha'aretz National page

IDF stands aside as settlers build new outpost
27 Jul 2009 - Some 200 people, mostly children, arrived near the West Bank town of Tul Karm yesterday to establish a new illegal outpost. The IDF did not stop them or interfere. ... 

'Obama is a racist,' settler rabbi tells protestors in Jerusalem
26 Jul 2009 - The Yesha Council of settlements organized a demonstration in which some 1,500 rightists gathered near the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday to protest the Obama administration's demand for a total freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. ...

Health Ministry confirms first Israel swine flu death 
26 Jul 2009 - The Health Ministry confirmed on Monday that Shimon Azran, 35, who died on Saturday, was in fact ill with the H1N1 virus, better known as swine flu. ...

Relief Web

Israeli settlements hurting peace process with Palestinians – UN
27 Jul 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Media seminar on Middle East meets at time of new energy, says Secretary-General, encouraging participants to 'spread message of coexistence and peace'
27 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

Changes in staple food prices in selected countries: Issue No. 4, Jul 2009
27 Jul 2009 - Source: World Food Programme

YNet News

Monday night: Settler teens man new outposts 
27 Jul 2009 - West Bank Jews plan to complete building of 11 illegal outposts before Mitchell-Netanyahu meeting; settler says evacuation of outposts by security forces 'political act meant to appease Americans' 

Ministry fears dozens of kids at Bnei Brak institution have swine flu
27 Jul 2009 - At least 50 children at 'Aleh' educational institution suffering from flu-like symptoms treated with Tamiflu as part of preventive treatment; three of them diagnosed with H1N1 virus. Two infants in Petach Tikva, one adult man in Jerusalem also suspected of having swine flu 

Mitchell to Abbas: 'Still a gap' on Israel settlement activity 
27 Jul 2009 - During Ramallah meeting, Obama's special Mideast envoy tells Palestinian president issue of West Bank construction being discussed, but no agreement with Jerusalem yet. Erekat: Israel shows no intention of stopping its illegal settlement activity 

Israel's UN envoy: Lebanese say enough to Hezbollah
27 Jul 2009 - During Security Council session, Shalev reads excerpts from letter addressed to President Suleiman in which Lebanese citizens slam 'cover-up' that followed recent explosion at Shiite group's arms cache; 'If you are acting in the name of Allah, you must clear the civilian areas of weapons and anything else that endangers our lives,' they say 

US defense chief vows new sanctions if Iran balks
27 Jul 2009 - After his visit in Israel, US Defense Secretary flies to Amman, where he gives stern warning that if Iran spurns offer of talks over nuclear program with US, tougher sanctions will be sought 

Daily Star

US calls on Arabs to normalize Israel ties
27 Jul 2009 - Washington on Monday pushed for progress toward Middle East peace, calling on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel and urging Iran to respond to overtures over its nuclear program. Amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in the region, US Middle East envoy George Mitchell said that Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security.

Water crisis uproots hundreds of thousands of people in Syria
27 Jul 2009 - Only a few decades ago, fish were plentiful in the Orontes River which for thousands of years has provided water to the lush Syrian plains, at the crossroads of the ancient world. These days the Orontes’ 12th century norias, enormous water wheels famous for their distinctive creak, barely turn in the weak tides.

Hamas threatens to derail Fatah’s convention in Occupied Bethlehem
27 Jul 2009 - Pa lestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah on Monday were locked in a new dispute that threatens to derail next week’s Fatah convention, seen as key to rehabilitating the corruption-stained party that has led peace talks with Israel. Officials in Hamas-ruled Ga za said Monday they would on ly allow Fatah delegates to leave the territory.

Property sales in Lebanon fall by 3.3 percent
27 Jul 2009 - The number of property sales transactions in Lebanon went down by a 10.6 percent year-on-year in June 2009, which more than offset the growth in demand witnessed in the first quarter of the year and in May, leading to a yearly decline of 3.3 percent in property sales transactions in the first half of the year to reach 33,830.

Lebanon’s caretaker cabinet seems to be taking a long summer vacation
27 Jul 2009 - Thousands and thousands of people are making Lebanon their summer destination in 2009, whether various types of expatriate Lebanese, foreign tourists from a range of countries, or other visitors and guests. They’ve come to see friends and family, relax and see the sights, and in general, have a nice vacation.

Model United Nations makes Middle East debut
27 Jul 2009 - The Lebanon International Model United Nations (LEBIMUN) Conference opened for the first time in the Middle East on Monday. Model United Nations (MUNs) are simulations of the UN system with the aim of educating the participants on UN structure, multilateralism, and foreign affairs. Many of the UN bodies are represented at MUNs.

A palace echoing with the sound of the moving images
27 Jul 2009 - "I am Lebanese,” said Gabriel Yared to a rousing cheer. “I was born in Lebanon. It is here that I developed my love for music. It is here that I developed my desire to compose. And it is here, after 40 years, that I offer you the fruit of my labors.” The courtyard of Beiteddine Palace was the setting.

Michelin-starred chef serves up taste sensations at Le Ciel
27 Jul 2009 - A “night of culinary passion” was promised at Le Ciel Restaurant in Habtoor Grand Hotel last Tuesday. At the invitation of Bernard de Villele, area manager for Habtoor Hotels Lebanon, the Michelin-starred chef Dominique Blais served up a series of taste sensations for more than one hundred guests, among them Rania Awad, Mona Mitri, Tony Maalouf and Tony Amar.

Palestinian Information Center

Israel and Nazi Germany, Tweedldee and Tweedldum
27 Jul 2009 - Avigdor Lieberman reportedly recently ordered Zionist embassies around the world to circulate a 1941 photo of former Mufti Hajj Amin Husseini meeting with German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Jordanian party calls for confronting alternative homeland
27 Jul 2009 - The Jordanian Democratic Popular Unity Party has deprecated Sunday the statements of the Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin of making Jordan as an alternative homeland for the Palestinian people.

Radwan: Hamas's priority is national unity not PA presidential post
27 Jul 2009 - Dr. Ismael Radwan, the prominent political leader in Hamas Movement, has categorically denied news reports alleging Hamas was mulling nominating a candidate for the PA presidential elections.

Qanou: Releasing political detainees in W. Bank would help Fatah's congress
27 Jul 2009 - Hamas spokesman in northern Gaza Strip Abdul Latif Al-Qanou has advised Fatah Movement to listen to the Palestinian patriotic voice and to release all political detainees in the West Bank.

Israeli troops invade east of Bureij camp, bulldoze citizens’ lands
27 Jul 2009 - The IOF troops carried out Monday morning a small-scale incursion into the eastern area of Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, and embarked on bulldozing agricultural lands in the area.

Ministry of prisoners: Cancer patients in Israeli jails rose to 16 detainees
27 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of prisoners said Monday that the number of cancer patients imprisoned in Israeli jails rose to 16 detainees after the discovery of a new case afflicted with a tumor.

Congress members on unannounced visit in Gaza
27 Jul 2009 - Different media sources reported that a delegation of congress members arrived Monday in Gaza on a short unannounced visit to see closely the destruction caused by the last Israeli war.

Msajedna Al-Da’wiya warns of Israeli intents to demolish Aqsa
27 Jul 2009 - Msajedna Al-Da’wiya net (Our mosques for Da’wa) expressed fears of the demolition of Aqsa Mosque especially since Israel is supported globally and regionally.

Abu Sha’er calls for mobilizing support for Aqsa
27 Jul 2009 - Dr. Taleb Abu Sha’er called in an urgent statement on the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the 1948 occupied lands to mobilize all kinds of support for the Aqsa Mosque.

Kamal Abu T’iema, the latest victim of PA barbarianism
27 Jul 2009 - An official source at the King Hussein’s Medical Center in Amman announced Sunday night that Kamal Abu Ti’ema of the Fawwar Refugee camp near al Khalil was in a state of clinical death.

Los Angeles Times

Gates' Israel visit aims to ease tension over Iran 
28 Jul 2009 - The U.S. Defense secretary says the Obama administration is ready to press for tougher sanctions if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran's nuclear progress. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates promised Israeli leaders Monday that American overtures to Iran are "not open-ended" and said the Obama administration is ready to press for tougher economic sanctions if diplomacy fails to halt what the two allies say is Iran's progress toward building a nuclear weapon. 

Clashes among Iran's leaders; 2 protesters said to die in custody 
27 Jul 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angers fellow hard-liners by firing at least two ministers but backtracks later, blaming the media for the furor. New ruptures emerged in Iran's government Sunday when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered fellow conservatives by abruptly sacking as many as four ministers who had opposed his choice for vice president. 

Two countries are worlds apart for Bahai faithful 
27 Jul 2009 - Local members struggle to cope with the hardships of their brethren in Iran, who are barred from government jobs, higher education and practicing their religion in the Islamic republic. The 2,700 or so followers of the Bahai faith in Southern California enjoy a life their brethren in Iran have cause to desire. 

New York Times

Strong Words From Iranian Opposition Leader
27 Jul 2009 - Mir Hussein Moussavi spoke out more strongly than ever before against the arrests and killings of protesters in Iran. 

Unsettled: In West Bank Settlements, Sign of Hope for a Deal
27 Jul 2009 - Two growing ultra-Orthodox settlements offer the surprising potential for Israeli compromise with the Palestinians. 

Gates Says U.S. Overture to Iran Is ‘Not Open-Ended’
27 Jul 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s comment came as the Israeli defense minister expressed impatience that the United States was willing to talk to Iran at all. 

Misc

Ehud Barak warns Iran of possible Israeli strike on nuclear facilities 
Times of London - July 27, Times Online - With the US Defence Secretary standing at his side, Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defence Minister, today warned Iran that a military strike on its nuclear facilities was still an option. “We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table. This is our policy. We mean it. We recommend to others to take the same position but we cannot dictate it to anyone,” Mr Barak said at a press conference with Robert Gates in Jerusalem. The renewed threat of military action came a day after Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, told Iran that its pursuit of nuclear ambitions was “futile”. Israel recently sent warships and a submarine through the Suez Canal in what was widely interpreted as a flexing of muscles toward the Iranian regime, still struggling to handle the fallout from disputed elections last month.

Jews protest Arab construction in Israel 
CNN - July 26 (CNN) -- More than 1,000 police officers were deployed to the southern Israeli Bedouin town of Rahat on Sunday morning as two dozen Jewish right-wing extremists protested what they said was unlawful Arab construction on neighboring hilltops. A Bedouin Arab girl protests near an Israeli police roadblock on the outskirts of Rahat in Israel on Sunday. A Bedouin Arab girl protests near an Israeli police roadblock on the outskirts of Rahat in Israel on Sunday. Several hundred Bedouin residents who are Israeli citizens held a counter-demonstration in the center of town. About 25 protesters arrived in two buses under police presence. They were allowed to march a short distance, as police on horseback and in a helicopter hovered around. Police closed off the main road to prevent the two sides from coming into contact. 

South Lebanon blast raises tensions along the border 
The National - July 27 - BEIRUT // Lebanese authorities yesterday blamed an explosion in south Lebanon this month on an abandoned Israeli stockpile of munitions left after the 2006 summer war, disputing the Israeli and United Nations contention that the explosion resulted from an accident at a Hizbollah storage facility. Israeli and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) officials last week alleged that a massive explosion July 14 in the village of Khirbet Selm in southern Lebanon was caused by mishandled rockets at a Hizbollah storage facility. Under the terms of the UN-brokered ceasefire in 2006, Hizbollah was mandated to remove all of its weapons and personnel from an area south of the Litani River adjacent to Israel. Israeli and UN officials quickly accused the group of violating the terms of that agreement and a subsequent attempt to investigate the blast by UN peacekeepers turned into 

Settlement deal will likely test all sides 
The National - July 27 - RAMALLAH // It may well be a “discussion among friends”, in the words of George Mitchell, the US envoy to the Middle East, but Israel’s continued settlement building in occupied territory is shaping up to be a crucial issue that will test the leaderships of all players involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Reports in the Israeli media suggest that Israel and the US are close to a deal on settlement construction that would see Israel continue building some 2,500 housing units already under way, as well as some non-residential building, in return for enacting a complete freeze on all other settlement construction for an unspecified amount of time and dismantling 23 settlement outposts. Such a deal would represent a compromise that might see hopes for renewed peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis dashed. 

US envoys in Israel to discuss Iran’s nuclear ambitions 
The National - July 27 - TEL AVIV // Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, arrived in Israel yesterday on a one-day mission to try to narrow differences with the US ally on an approach to dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme, as Israel indicated that it is still considering attacking Tehran. The issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which Israel perceives as a threat to its existence, appeared to be high on the agenda of talks conducted between Mr Gates and senior Israeli officials including Ehud Barak, the defence minister, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister. The administration of Barack Obama, the US president, has made diplomatic overtures toward Iran in a bid to convince the country to curb its nuclear programme. But Israel, believed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, has pushed for a tight deadline for the dialogue efforts and for stringent UN Security Council sanctions. 

Securing the nightspots of Ramallah 
The National - July 26 - RAMALLAH // Basem Sharawi is having a typically busy weekend. In between joking with would-be revellers at the popular Snowbar nightspot in Ramallah while politely but firmly telling them they cannot get in to the party raging below, the 28-year-old is constantly on his walkie-talkie to other members of his five-man security team. “There’s always a way to convince people. They won’t always be happy, but they will eventually see things my way,” Mr Sharawi said with a smile. Uniformed private security guards are increasingly common in Ramallah, where for years during the intifada, chaos would often spill over into the nightlife. Bars and restaurants would regularly find themselves a target for the wrath of gunmen, often politically associated with groups in Fatah, for a number of reasons. Some would take unkindly to nightspots being open if Palestinians had been killed in clashes with Israeli troops. 

US envoy calls on Arab states to improve Israel ties 
The Raw Story - AFP - July 27 - US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell called on Arab states on Monday to fully normalise ties with Israel, after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the latest leg of a regional tour. Mitchell told reporters after the talks that Washington was asking countries in the region to set the "context" for comprehensive peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab world. " By comprehensive I mean peace between Israel and Palestinians, between Israel and Syria, between Israel and Lebanon and the full normalisation of relations between Israel and the countries of the region," he said. " We're not asking anyone to achieve full normalisation at this time, we recognise that will come further down the road in this process," he said. But he added that the US administration wanted to see "meaningful steps by individual countries. " 

Israel on Iran: Anything it takes to stop nukes 
Yahoo! News - AP - JERUSALEM – Israel hardened its insistence Monday that it would do anything it felt necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, just the ultimatum the United States hoped not to hear as it tried to nudge Iran to the bargaining table. U. S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates reassured Israel that the new Obama administration was not naive about Iran's intentions, and that Washington would press for new, tougher sanctions against the Iranians if they balk. He didn't say what those might include. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak used a brief news conference with Gates to insist three times that Israel would not rule out any response — an implied warning that it would consider a pre-emptive strike to thwart Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. " We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table," Barak said. "This is our policy. We mean it. We recommend to others to take the same position, but we cannot dictate it to anyone. " 

Mitchell to Barak: U.S. commitment to Israel security is ’unshakable’ 
Ha'aretz - 7/26/2009 - U. S. President Barack Obama's envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, reaffirmed Sunday his country's allegiance to Israel, amid tensions between Washington and Jerusalem over Israeli construction in the West Bank. " The American commitment to Israel's security is unshakable and will not change," Mitchell told Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to accede to a request by Obama that Israel halt construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem, flaring tensions between the allies. Mitchell, whose visit to Israel followed a trip to Syria, said ongoing talks between the United States and Israel were "discussions among friends. " Speaking at Barak's Tel Aviv office, the envoy added the talks were "intended to help what we share in common, a desire for comprehensive peace in the Middle East and that includes Israel and Palestine, 

Netanyahu: Israel wants ’understanding’ with US 
Antiwar.com - With 4 American envoys en route, Netanyahu says Israel wants to end differences with US - AP, Jul 26 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he hopes to work out key policy disagreements with the U. S. during a series of meetings this week with high-profile American envoys. Netanyahu is under heavy pressure to freeze construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem — a demand he has so far resisted. Washington also is concerned that Israel may be planning an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. It wants time for President Barack Obama's offer of engagement to Iran to bear fruit. " Naturally, in the context of friendly relations between allies, there isn't agreement on all points, and on several issues we are trying to reach an understanding, in order to make progress together toward our shared goals — peace, security and prosperity for the whole Middle East," Netanyahu said ahead of his Cabinet's weekly meeting. 

Israel likely to probe alleged money-laundering network 
Jerusalem Post - Jul 26 - The Israel Police will likely receive a request from the FBI to assist in the investigation of an enormous money-laundering ring that allegedly involved Orthodox charities operating in the US and Israel, a law enforcement source told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The source stressed, however, that no such request had been received yet by Israeli authorities. According to the FBI, five US rabbis ran a money-laundering network that utilized charities based in Israel, New Jersey and New York. Earlier Sunday, former police Investigations Branch head Cmdr. (ret. ) Moshe Mizrahi said that if Israeli charities were involved, it was a certainty that Israeli police would eventually need to investigate. " If the signatures lead to here, and the money passed through here, that would demand an investigation here," he said. 

Articles

'Breaking the Silence': Testimonies of Israeli Soldiers 
Stephen Lendman, Steve Lendman Blog 7/25/2009
      "Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects anonymous testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada." They recount experiences that deeply affected them, including abusing Palestinians, looting, destroying property, and other practices "excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases."
     They believe otherwise in describing "the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military" to which Israeli society and most Western observers turn a blind eye. "Breaking the Silence" was established to force an uncomfortable reality into the open to "demand accountability regarding Israel’s military actions in the Occupied Territories perpetrated by us in our name."
     Its new booklet features 54 damning testimonies from 30 Israeli soldiers on their experiences in Operation Cast Lead. They recount what official media and government sources suppressed with comments like:
     "You feel like an infantile little kid with a magnifying glass looking at ants, burning them."
     Another referred to "not much said about the issue of innocent civilians." Anyone and anything were fair game, and laws of war went out the window.
     They explained wanton destruction, crops uprooted, human slaughter, women and children killed in cold blood, illegal weapons used, free-fire orders to shoot to kill anywhere at anything that moved, and using civilians as human shields.
     Israeli commanders refuted their accounts as groundless, but B’Tselem reported that the military "refused to open serious, impartial investigations," even when provided with detailed information, including victims’ names, exact dates, and precise locations of incidents.
     On its own, B’Tselem collected testimonies from Gaza residents in which 70 Palestinian civilians were killed, over half of them children. Israeli military sources were unresponsive, except to acknowledge receipt of some information, nothing more or that a serious investigation would be conducted. It never was.

Two Police States, No Solution 
Mel Frykberg, Antiwar.com 7/26/2009
      What remains of Palestinian civil rights is rapidly being eroded by the dictatorial Palestinian governments that respectively control the divided Palestinian territories.
     Palestinian civilians are paying the price as the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah-affiliated and western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank, continue to target their political opponents as part of their bitter power struggle.
     "We don’t have a police state here in Palestine. We have two police states. One in Gaza and one in the West Bank," says Rabie Latifah from the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq.
     "The abuse of Palestinian civilians by both Fatah and Hamas security forces has become systematic and is no longer the exception to the rule," Latifah told IPS.
     Mysterious bomb blasts, assassinations by masked gunmen, detainees denied access to their lawyers, torture and death in detention, the random arrest of critical journalists, and the banning of peaceful demonstrations are but a few of the human rights violations sweeping the Palestinian territories.
     While armed men are being arrested, politically motivated arrest campaigns are also targeting citizens suspected of merely sympathizing with the opposition.
     "We have endured over 40 years of occupation and human rights abuses by the Israelis, and now we are doing it to ourselves," says Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
     "Our center continues to press the authorities in both Gaza and the West Bank to address the issue of human rights abuses being perpetrated under their respective authorities. However, the situation has not improved," Sourani told IPS.
     "It is clear that both Palestinian governments are more interested in consolidating their power than respecting the civil rights of Palestinians," says Latifah.


Electronic Intifada
Book review: "Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide"
27 Jul 2009 - In pondering "a different kind of future," author Ben White in his new book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide stresses that there is no point in "trying to 'undo' things that cannot be undone." He castigates rhetoric about a "two-state solution" or demands that Palestinians should "compromise," as if the solution could bypass the dissolution of Israeli apartheid. Raymond Deane reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

Israel's "open" Jerusalem closed to Palestinians
27 Jul 2009 - According to experts the reality is that in both a practical and legal sense Netanyahu's "open city" is a fiction, extended only to the settlers and not to Khurd or to the 250,000 other Palestinians of East Jerusalem. Khurd, for example, has been forced to live in a tent after settlers ousted her from her East Jerusalem home of five decades in November. Jonathan Cook reports. 

In Gaza
summer
23 Jul 2009 - * taking out the trash [photo: Emad Badwan ] how will your kids pass summer? lemonade stand? ymca courses? family vacation? hope so, and as a child i did these myself. here’s how a vast number of kids spend summer (and others fall, winter, spring) in Gaza: boy with birds dump sifter tea seller * beach sales [photo: Emad Badwan ] * Sharef Barbakh, one of Namaa Barbakh ’s surviving children; three were matryed by a drone attack in the Israeli winter 2008/2009 attacks on Gaza . * waiting , Deir el Balah camp * creating fun , Deir el Balah camp * Deir el Balah camp

Palestine Chronicle
When Will Americans Come to the Aid of Palestine?
27 Jul 2009 - By Jeff Gates Unless President Barack Obama resolves to expunge 'special' from the U.S.-Israeli 'special relationship,' this entangled alliance will continue to ensure that the U.S. is portrayed as guilty by its association with Tel Aviv's thuggish behavior in Palestine and elsewhere. And by the U.S. insistence that Israel not be held accountable under international law. On July 3rd, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren claimed “Iran nuke could wipe Israel off the map in seconds.” An accurate translation reveals that what the president of Iran proposes is that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history.” But why quibble over words and their intent when Israel’s intent is to create a consensus that ensures war with Iran? Two days after Oren’s saber-rattling speech, Vice-President Joe Biden was asked in a televised interview whether the Obama Administration would restrain Israeli military action against Iran. President Obama was then out of the country. A self-proclaimed Zionist, Biden responded , “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.” Unfamiliar with the refrain, “loose lips sink ships,” Biden’s cavalier comment evoked memories of Vice President Dick Cheney who routinely waited until his boss was out of town to make bellicose remarks that moved the U.S. steadily closer to war in Iraq. Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, scrambled to offset the impression left by Biden’s comment. Astute strategists know it is the small impressions that, step-by-step,...

Arab Pupils Expected to Learn Zionist Song
27 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth A leading Arab educator in Israel has denounced the decision of Gideon Saar, the education minister, to require schools to study the Israeli national anthem. Officials announced last week that they were sending out special “national anthem kits” to 8,000 schools, including those in the separate Arab education system, in time for the start of the new academic year in September. The kits have been designed to be suitable for all age groups and for use across the curriculum, from civics and history classes to music and literature lessons. The anthem, known as Ha-Tikva, or The Hope, has long been unpopular with Israel’s Arab minority because its lyrics refer only to a Jewish historical connection to the land. Mr Saar’s initiative is widely seen among Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens as a further indication of the rising nationalistic tide sweeping policymakers. Last week the ministry also announced that textbooks recently issued to Arab schoolchildren would have expunged the word “nakba”, or catastrophe, to describe the Palestinians’ dispossession at Israel’s founding in 1948. Hala Espanioly, who chairs the education committee of the Arab minority’s supreme political body, the Higher Follow-Up Committee, told the Israeli news website Ynet: “If there is an attempt to force the Ha-Tikva anthem on Arab schools and Arab pupils, it will be akin to a kind of attempted rape of their identity.” The issue of the national anthem, based on a 120-year-old poem by Naftali Hertz Imber and an ancient folk melody,...

Bruno: A Glimpse into Zionism?
27 Jul 2009 - By Gilad Atzmon - London Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest invention is a grotesque Austrian gay celebrity who comes to America to try to boost the ratings of his fashion television program. Bruno is one of the most repugnant characters ever to appear on the big screen, something Baron Cohen probably takes pride in. Bruno is Cohen’s third gross character in succession. At times it seems as if Cohen is seeking pleasure in being repelling. After mimicking an ignoramus stereotype of a non-black suburban male who revels in Black and Jamaican culture (Ali G) and a Kazakh misogynist, racist buffoon and anti-Semite (Borat), Bruno can be grasped as another creative attempt to challenge the Western liberal discourse. Those who insist on approving Cohen’s intellectual aspirations argue in his favor that he manages to bring to light some of our inherent Western diseases: racism (Ali G), xenophobia (Borat) and homophobia (Bruno). I am slightly doubtful of such an interpretation of Cohen’s intellectual endeavor. None of Cohen’s protagonists can evoke empathic feelings amongst the people they harass. Instead they seem to compete amongst themselves for the ultimate Vulgar Award. Whether it is Borat, who approaches his host’s dinner table and his guests with his excrement in a plastic bag, or Bruno, who shares with us his anally intimate love games, Cohen’s protagonists are rejected for being truly and genuinely disgusting. Yes, Cohen’s characters can be entreating, they can make us laugh; yet, the fact that they are rejected contemptibly is far from...

Politicizing Faith in Egyptian Crackdown
27 Jul 2009 - By Ali Jawad For analysts and observers of Middle Eastern politics, the prominence of 'sectarianism' in any post-Iraq invasion discourse has been one of the major developments in a region otherwise defined – according to Western coverage – by the stasis of undeviating central themes; oil, the Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism, socio-economic stagnation, authoritarianism etc. Truth be told, the sectarianism card is in many respects a façade that serves to mystify geopolitical developments and cloaks these changes in divisive religious symbols in the best interests of imperial powers and their regional hirelings. As an example, according to the prevailing sectarian-discourse (unwaveringly supported by so-called “moderate” Arab states), resistance movements like Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are presented as – before all – servants of an Iranian-led “Shi’a” agenda. Any cursory perusal of a pan-Arab daily or government-funded media outlet would reveal this sinister ‘Iranian-Shi’a’ connection supposedly at work. Hardly a day goes by without grandiloquent references to a swarming ‘Shi’a tide’; or some shady ‘Shi’a connection’; or the ‘Shi’a crescent’. Outside of this sectarian-discourse however, the real agenda is far more worldly and indeed unholy. In fact, one could make a very strong case in arguing that one of the major success stories for the autocratic – but nevertheless “moderate” – Arab allies of the US has been in drawing a direct causal relation between the geopolitical rise of Iran and the salience of sectarian divisions in the Middle East. Early last week, Amnesty International released a report highlighting the misuse...

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