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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
evacuate settlers outpost in southern West Bank
29 Jul 2009 - Indictment charges that Daniel Boyd and his sons traveled to Israel in July 2007 in bit to carry out violent jihad.
Engineer at Israeli defense contractor probed over massive fraud
29 Jul 2009 - El-Op Electro Optics Industries engineer under investigation for fraud, breach of trust and conflict of interests.
IDF combat soldiers up requests for material on morals in war
29 Jul 2009 - Chief education officer acknowledges tension between protecting soldiers, avoiding harm to civilians.
IDF: More recruits request combat service since Gaza war
29 Jul 2009 - Infantry units still rank most popular, as 45% of recruits request to serve in the infantry brigades.
Far-rightists urge IDF draftees to cover up abuse of Palestinians
29 Jul 2009 - Soldiers enlisting in the Kfir infantry brigade receive pamphlet on the day of their induction.
7/29/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Gaza tunnel disasters continued on Tuesday night as two more collapsed injuring seven Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, Palestinian medical sources at Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital confirmed. A tunnel collapse on Monday killed seven, while four are still thought to be missing beneath the sand. The last body recovered was that of24-year-old Ayman Abu Samak whose body was pulled from the debris on Tuesday. Official de facto government statistics say 110 have died in tunnel accidents over the last three years. Smugglers maintain a vast network of tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The tunnels are used to import goods made scarce by an Israeli blockade of the territory.
Israel to allow cement into Gaza
7/29/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel will allow cement into the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday for the first time since the three week military offensive against the territory last winter. Raed Fattouh, an official in the Palestinian Ministry of National economy, confirmed in an interview with Ma'an that cement shipped by UNRWA, the United Nation's relief agency for Palestinian refugees, will be allowed through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Israel has banned cement and other construction materials that are badly needed to rebuild from the land air and sea onslaught that killed up to 1,500 Palestinians. Virtually no reconstruction has taken place since January. Fattouh said that, in total, between 77 and 88 truckloads of humanitarian aid have been approved to pass through Kerem Shalom on Thursday, into the territory of 1.
Blair gives construction go ahead; Israel issues demolition orders
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces delivered demolition orders for electricity pylons under construction in the village of At-Tuwani, located in the South Hebron hills on Tuesday. Four months earlier Quartet Envoy Tony Blair promised villagers that he had oral permission from the Israeli District Coordination Office (DCO) for a "go-ahead" with the project. On 25 May, just two months after Blair's visit, Israeli forces ordered a "halt work" on the structures, according to the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) observing Israeli action in the area. The move usually precedes demolition orders. CPT said Head of the At-Tuwani Village Council Saber Hreini wrote to Blair on 26 May, requesting written permission for the electricity work to continue. The group said Hreini received no response from the Quartet representative.
Israel to open three crossings into Gaza
7/29/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel will all three border crossings into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, allowing 55-65 truckloads of humanitarian aid and quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel into the area, said Palestinian border crossing official Raed Fattouh. The Karni crossing will also be open to let in trucks loaded with wheat and animal feed transfer goods into the Strip. On Tuesday, Israeli authorities opened Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz, while Karni crossing remained closed. [end]
Israeli court awards injured Bil’in protester damages
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli lawyer and peace activist Limor Goldstein was shot in the head with a rubber bullet at an anti-wall protest in the West Bank in 2006 and awarded 860,000 US dollars in damages by an Israeli court Tuesday. Goldstein suffered brain damage after Israeli soldiers shot him in the head with rubber-coated metal bullets as he observed an anti-wall protest in the West Bank village of Bil'in in August 2006. At the time of the incident soldiers refused to call medical assistance for the injured protester. "It was a non-violent rally, and the Border Guard officers were the ones to use violence by firing rubber bullets," Goldstein's Attorney Bishara Jabali, told the Israeli news outlet Ynet. "The fact that the State agreed to pay damages without admitting liability proves that the security forces' actions were inappropriate," she added.
Israeli forces detain brothers near Tulkarem
7/29/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained two Palestinian brothers from the northern West Bank town of Illar north of Tulkarem early Wednesday morning. Palestinian security sources said Israeli forces stormed Illar and ransacked the home of the Shadid family before they detained 37-year-old Izzat Shadid, and his brother 27-year-old Muhammad. Separately, several Israeli military patrols entered towns of Anabta and Kafr Al-Labad east of Tulkarem. No arrests were reported from those incidents. [end]
Israeli forces raid Palestinian home near Ramallah
7/29/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided the central West Bank village of Kafr Aqab and ransacked home of Amin Ja'ar in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Ja'ar, who was the official security escort of former Palestinian Minister of Health Radwan Al-Akhras, said Israeli forces barged into his home on the pretext of an "inspection. " He noted soldiers also inspected his private car. Ja'ar said troops fired stun grenades in the neighborhood before they stormed his home. [end]
Israeli court convicts Arafat aide over weapons smuggling
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An Israeli military court convicted Fuad Shubaki, a former financial advisor to the late President Yasser Arafat, on Wednesday of arranging funding and weapons smuggling operations for Fatah's military wing, Al-Aqsa Brigades. He was also convicted of masterminding the Karine A, a freighter that was intercepted allegedly carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza in 2002. Israeli forces stormed the ship in the Red Sea, seizing the weapons onboard. The verdict said, "Shubaki's office delivered money to establish a factory for producing explosives, and Shubaki himself knew that the weapons and explosives were taken to Al-Aqsa Brigades and were used in attacks against Israel. " Shubaki was seized in 2005 when Israeli forces stormed the central Palestinian Authority prison in the West Bank city of Jericho.
Hamas summer campers demand Egypt release Palestinian
7/29/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Hamas-youth summer camp organized a demonstration at the Rafah crossing Tuesday, demanding the release of Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades activist Ayman Nofal from Egypt's custody. The summer camp unit, organized and funded by the Hamas party in Gaza, was named "Set Ayman Nofal Free. " The camp is one of dozens of summer programs organized by the political party, which rose to prominence in part because of the social services it provides to Palestinians. Members of Nofal's family partook in the demonstration, as well as almost a hundred local youth and campers. Nofal was detained by Egyptian security when Palestinian fighters destroyed a portion of the border wall and thousands crossed to Egypt in January 2008. Egypt had refused to open the Rafah border crossing following the Hamas-takeover of the Strip, and the Israeli-imposed siege meant no goods were entering the area, home to 1.
PA: Expect a 'hot autumn' for the peace process
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - US efforts to restart the Middle East peace process may begin to bear fruit in the coming weeks, Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Wednesday. Abu Rudeineh said in a statement published by the Palestinian official news agency WAFA that the recent visit to the region by US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was highly important because he heard from "all sides. " Mitchell met this week with top Palestinian and Israeli officials as a part of Washington's ongoing quest to resurrect peace negotiations. Mitchell failed to convince Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a moratorium on construction in Israel's settlements on occupied Palestinian land. "The US administration will use the data which Mitchell collected to form their vision for the peace plan" in the future, he was quoted as saying.
Hamas adds demands to alleged deal for safe passage of Fatah members
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas is now demanding the PA issue its members Palestinian passports in exchange for an assurance of safe passage from Gaza to Fatah's Sixth Congress in Bethlehem next week, officials said on Wednesday. Hamas added this request to its, central demand, the release of its members from prisons controlled by the Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. The new demand further complicates an already unclear situation around Fatah's long-delayed conference. Earlier on Wednesday it was announced that Hamas agreed to allow Fatah leaders from the Gaza Strip to travel to Bethlehem for the conference on 4 August following Tuesday promises from the movement to release 200 Hamas affiliates from West Bank prisons. In a TV interview the Fatah-aligned Secretary General of the Palestinian President's office, At-Tayyib Abdul Rahim, told Palestine TV. . .
Top Fatah figure Abu Maher Ghneim returns to West Bank
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Senior Fatah official Muhammad "Abu Maher" Ghneim returned to Palestinian territory on Wednesday from exile in Tunisia ahead of the movement's general conference, which opens next week in Bethlehem. Palestinian news sources reported that President Mahmoud Abbas convinced Israeli authorities to allow Ghneim to live permanently in the occupied West Bank. The official himself refused to comment on these reports, however, a source close to him said that he had authorized another Fatah official to leak the report. The reports said that Abbas has also arranged for Ghneim to establish an office in the West Bank. After crossing the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan on Wednesday, Ghneim was whisked to the Palestinian Authority (PA) headquarters in Ramallah in a presidential car, accompanied by top negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Refugee camp kids launch no-smoking campaign in Duheisha
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A no-smoking campaign was launched by the Youth Health Parliament at Duheisha Refugee Camp's Ibdaa Center Tuesday, targeting shop keepers and local teens with information on the health risks of the habit. Youth distributed posters and leaflets around the camp and spoke with local shop-owners warning them against selling cigarettes to minors. The group also urged parents to pay more attention to their kids and make sure they did not take up smoking. Starting to smoke early, the campaign said, sets youth up for major health problems in the future. The camp streets were plastered with campaign posters and youth gave an interview with Radio Bethlehem 2000 to address the issue. The group then went into the community and held talks with local families and shop owners over how to mitigate the problem and brainstormed ways of putting a halt to youth smoking.
PSE closes down after Wednesday’s trading
7/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange's Al-Quds Index closed at 490. 35 on Wednesday afternoon, marking a decrease of 1. 47 points (0. 3%) over Tuesday. Trading volume was 145,578 shares, a total value of 354,610. 59 US dollars, over the course of 184 trades. The shares of 21 companies were traded. The share prices of eight companies rose, while those of eight others declined. The top five gainers were ARAB by 4. 76%, LADAEN by 3. 57%, UCI by 3. 39%, JCC by 2. 50%, MIC by 1. 85%. The top five losers were GMC by 3. 61%, PIIC by 2. 63%, PCB by 2. 35%, ISBK by 1. 39%, PEC by 1. 11%. [end]
Isolation and division take their toll in Gaza Strip
29 Jul 2009 - Israeli blockade and fighting between the two main political factions kills hopes of economy and infrastructure being restored soon.
Palestinians feel insecure in Jordan
29 Jul 2009 - Recent measures to revoke the citizenship of hundreds of Jordanians of Palestinian origin is creating a state of panic and confusion.
Rival Lebanese factions close to an agreement on cabinet
28 Jul 2009 - Lebanon's political divisions appeared to take a step closer to healing yesterday as the incoming majority alliance that won June's parliamentary elections forged a compromise with the Hizbollah-led opposition on the make-up of the new cabinet.
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.
29 Jul 2009 - Defendants are accused of rioting in the unrest that followed the disputed presidential vote.
Egypt shuns pressure in Nile talks
28 Jul 2009 - Cairo insists on retaining rights to Nile river in talks over water sharing.
28 Jul 2009 - Nablus/PNN – The lawyer for a Palestinian prisoner in isolation at Israel’s Ayalon Prison said he’s suffering from dreadful living conditions.The prisoner, 50-year-old Balazer Ahalisi from Jerusalem, was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 after being convicted of murdering Israelis.Ahalisi’s lawyer, Nasser Sherine, said that his client has been in and out of isolation in multiple prisons for the last 13...
United Nations warns of escalating education crisis in Gaza Strip
28 Jul 2009 - Gaza/PNN - If the siege on Gaza is not lifted, the education system may be unable to cope in the next school year, humanitarian agencies have warned.The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian affairs, along with other international agencies, has called for Israel to lift the blockade to allow construction and teaching materials into the Strip, stressing that the school system is at breaking...
Syria, Turkey and Russia ask Hamas to allow Fatah members to leave Gaza for conference
28 Jul 2009 - Gaza / PNN – Several countries are negotiating with Hamas to allow Fatah members in Gaza to leave for the Sixth General Fatah Conference in the West Bank. But tensions between Fatah and Hamas, Palestine’s rival political factions, may make this impossible.“There are serious efforts by Syria, Turkey and Russia to allow members of Fatah from the Gaza Strip to participate in the...
Rafah crossing to be opened for three days next week
28 Jul 2009 - Gaza/PNN - Egypt has agreed to open the Rafah crossing for three days next week to allow those with permission to pass into and out of Gaza.The border will be open only to those who have documents proving residence or study outside of Gaza, or those in urgent need of medical care, in order to prevent in influx of refugees from the...
Far right Israeli youth group constructs 11 new illegal outposts in the West Bank
28 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem/PNN - Militant Israeli settlers have constructed 11 new illegal outposts across the West Bank, in defiance of US pressure to freeze settlement.Groups of teenagers from the rightist group “Youth for Israel”, along with settlers from previously evacuated outposts, set up caravans and tents in various locations, including one between Hebron and Qiryat Arba.Organizers from the movement, which was set up following...
Brazilian soccer player to star in movie about Palestinian girl
28 Jul 2009 - Dubai/PNN – Alneyrab, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, dreamed of meeting Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo. Though she died in a refugee camp, her dreams will now be realized in a movie about her life featuring the famous soccer player.World Cup champion Ronaldo, 32, will play himself in several dream sequences in the Iranian film. It tells the story of Alneyrab, who wanted to...
Public officials condemn attack on Constantine Dabbagh
27 Jul 2009 - Gaza/PNN – Public officials are condemning last week’s violent attack on Constantine Dabbagh, which is the latest in a series of assaults on the small Christian community in the Gaza Strip.Dabbagh, a Christian, is executive secretary of the Near East Council of Churches. He filed a criminal complaint stating that three masked men broke into his home in the western suburbs of...
DUBAI Wednesday, July 29, 2009 (IRIN) - The number of people displaced by conflict in Saada in northern Yemen has increased over the past two months, putting the overall number at more than 100,000 people, say UN and aid agencies.
SYRIA: Half measures against honour killings not enough – HRW
DUBAI Wednesday, July 29, 2009 (IRIN) - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has welcomed Syria’s move to enforce a minimum jail sentence of two years for honour killers but said it was not enough as all murders should be dealt with equally.
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.
WASHINGTON, Jul 29 (IPS) - The director of the Arab satellite television network al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, is in Washington this week for the first time, part of a brief tour of the U.S. that will also take him to New York.
MIDEAST: The Old Bibi Is Back
JERUSALEM, Jul 29 (IPS) - "Reckless", "cavalier", "unscrupulous", "petty politician, not statesman"…these and such epithets applied to Benjamin Netanyahu by friends and foes alike - not that he ended up with many friends - when he was first Israel's Prime Minister back in the late 1990s.
Q&A: EU Stepping Closer to Israel, Regardless
BRUSSELS, Jul 29 (IPS) - Israel enjoys closer relations with the European Union than almost any other foreign country - and work on deepening ties with Israel continues, even as its oppression of the Palestinian people worsens.
MIGRATION: Abandoned Between Two States
IZMIR, Turkey, Jul 29 (IPS) - Isabelle Caillol, an activist with the Turkish branch of the human rights advocacy group Helsinki Citizens Assembly, sent a mass email to pro-migrant activists in Greece in May seeking help to find the family of Abbas Khavari, a 14-year-old Afghan refugee born in Iran.
28 Jul 2009 - Protests in Ni'lin and Bil'in were met with volleys of tear gas and sound bombs as they approached the Wall this past Friday. In Bil'in, soldiers fired on the march after a protestor threw a football over the fence. In al-Ma'sara, Occupation forces blocked the march from reaching village land. [
Youth to mobilise in the north
28 Jul 2009 - A conference, entitled “The Role of Youth in the Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement” saw lively and productive discussion from dozens of young activists from Tulkarm, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilia, Jayyous, Tubas and Salfit. Youth gathered and discussed their role in grassroots resistance, BDS and normalisation, occupation, and the difficulties specific to the younger generations. Following the conference, it was decided that youth committees would be formed in seven areas in the north of the West Bank following a successful conference. [
PCHR Condemns Injury of 61 Persons in attack on Wedding Party in Khan Yunis
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 - The Guardian, 28 July 2009 - Israeli settler groups have set up 11 new outposts in the occupied West Bank, in a direct rebuttal of mounting US calls to freeze settlement activity. Young Jewish groups are reported to have set up the structures - mostly tents and huts on hilltops - in the West Bank over Monday night, in a move timed as a precursor to the meeting between the US special envoy, George Mitchell, and Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu today. On Monday, hundreds of settlers set up an outpost near the Palestinian village of Tulkarem, reportedly without intervention from the Israeli army. Settler groups said they were mimicking the fabled activities of 1946, when the area was ruled by British mandate and 11 Jewish outposts were defiantly erected in the Negev desert during one night. The mostly young Israelis are associated with settler organisations such as. . .
CPT/Operation Dove: Israeli DCO delivers demolition order for electricity pylons
International Solidarity Movement - At-Tuwani – On Tuesday, 28 July, members of the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO) - the branch of the Israeli army that administers civilian affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)- issued a demolition order to the six newly constructed electricity pylons in the village of At-Tuwani, located in the South Hebron hills. On 19 March 2009, Tony Blair, special middle east envoy of the Quartet, visited At-Tuwani. During his visit, Blair assured villagers that oral permission had been given by the DCO to carry out the electricity construction work. On 25 May 2009, the DCO entered the village of At-Tuwani and ordered villagers to halt construction work on new electricity pylons in the village. No written orders were delivered. (see AT-TUWANI URGENT ACTION: Demand that Israeli occupying forces allow At-Tuwani to bring electricity into their village). On 26 May 2009, Saber Hreini, head of the At-Tuwani Village Council, wrote to Blair requesting written permission for the electricity work to continue.
Report: Only 367 Muslim women in France wear full veil
29 Jul 2009 - Only 367 women in France wear Islamic veils that cover their faces and bodies, a newspaper reported on Wednesday, undermining the position of politicians who are pushing for a ban on the garments. ...
Settlers undermining legitimacy of Israel's existence
29 Jul 2009 - The representatives of the settler organizations have recently declared their intention to establish 11 new settlements in the territories, including some, according to media reports, on privately-owned Palestinian land. The operation is being depicted as having been inspired by the 11 tower and stockade communities in the northern Negev that were established just before Yom Kippur in 1946. This is not the first time the settlers have compared their efforts to the settlement activities that provided the foundation for the establishment of the state. There is no basis for such a comparison, which is nothing more than an act of forgery and fraud. ...
Israel targets U.K. funding of group that exposed 'IDF crimes' in Gaza
28 Jul 2009 - Israel continues to ratchet up diplomatic pressure against European Union funding of a group that exposed what it described as war crimes perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza. ...
Death penalty possible in Holocaust museum shooting
28 Jul 2009 - A U.S. jury indicted an elderly white supremacist Wednesday on charges that could earn him the death penalty in the fatal shooting of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. ...
Netanyahu, U.S. Security Adviser meet on Iran, Mideast peace
28 Jul 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. National Security Adviser James Jones in Jerusalem Wednesday evening, for a private meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Iranian threat and other issues relating to promoting Middle East peace. ...
29 Jul 2009 - By throwing their weight behind repression on the West Bank, the US and Britain are only making a viable peace less likely Barely six months into Barack Obama's presidency and public tensions between the US and...
Palestinians visit a beach in Israel
29 Jul 2009 - Palestinians and Israelis might be divided by a separation barrier, but some grass-roots organisations are trying to find innovative ways of bringing them together. On Monday, two groups, Combatants for Peace and Machsom Watch, arranged a...
Who's responsible for the Arab world? | Khaled Diab
29 Jul 2009 - A UN report has reignited the controversy over who is to blame for the sorry state of the Arab world: Arabs or the west? First, the good news. Arab countries have the lowest levels of malnutrition...
Militant Jewish settlers set up outposts in the occupied West Bank
28 Jul 2009 - Defying calls from the US to freeze settlements, young Israelis set up tents and huts on hilltops Israeli settler groups have set up 11 new outposts in the occupied West Bank, in a direct rebuttal of...
29 Jul 2009 - Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Ifergan, known as the "X-Ray Rabbi" for his supposed ability to diagnose medical ailments, is considering leaving Netivot after the city's Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox school rejected his 6-year-old twin sons. ...
Jerusalem seculars accuse Mayor of selling out to Haredim
29 Jul 2009 - Secular residents of the Jerusalem neighborhood Kiryat Yovel harshly criticized Mayor Nir Barkat yesterday for "selling them out" in allowing ultra-Orthodox groups to open a synagogue in an abandoned building there. They said Barkat was trying to ingratiate himself with his ultra-Orthodox coalition partners. ...
Nadav Shragai / Why I will visit the Temple Mount on Tisha B'av
29 Jul 2009 - Tisha B'Av will last forever," promised Kamal al-Khatib, deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, to thousands of cheering Muslims at the Temple Mount a few days ago. Even the hearts of Jews far from the mountain saddened. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mocked us in the same spirit a few months ago when he said, "Call yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic - it is none of my business." He refused to accept Israel's Jewish identity. We, who have drifted away from Tisha B'Av and the Temple Mount, should be grateful to both of them, because sometimes a nation needs its haters to discover its real face in the mirror again. ...
29 Jul 2009 - Source: Government of Israel
UN International Media Seminar on Middle East Peace concludes with call on journalists to expand public dialogue, help bridge divide
29 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information
OPT: Netanyahu freezes construction of 900 apartments in East Jerusalem
29 Jul 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur
29 Jul 2009 - Twenty-seven-year-old mother of five brutally murdered by her father, who suspected she used cell phone to speak to man outside the family. Woman is 10th victim of 'honor killings' in Palestinian territories and Israel this year
Woman in 3rd trimester hospitalized with swine flu
29 Jul 2009 - East Jerusalem resident who is 30-weeks pregnant rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital after being diagnosed with H1N1 virus. Woman sadated, said to be in serious condition
PM meets US national security advisor
29 Jul 2009 - Netanyahu meets Jones in Jerusalem to discuss various strategic issues, including Iran, relations with Palestinians
25 Jul 2009 - Following the harsh comments made by Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau in the Knesset in a debate regarding B'Tselem's report on wastewater from settlements, B'Tselem called on the minister to set politics aside and treat the problem at hand.
29 Jul 2009 - Twenty people accused of rioting in the wake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election as president last month will be put on trial, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported Wednesday. The move came as opposition leaders vowed to continue defying the authorities and pay their respects at the graves of slain protesters.
Riyadh hinges peace overtures toward Israel to withdrawal
29 Jul 2009 - Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia on Wed nesday rebuffed US calls for diplomatic overtures toward Israel and said the Jewish state’s settlement expansion is jeopardizing efforts to revive peace talks. “It is Israel that has to move seriously toward the peace pro cess,” Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali said.
Israel’s Lieberman wraps up Latin America tour
29 Jul 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday wrapped up his tour of Latin American with a stop in Colombia, vowing greater future involvement by his country across South America. “We think that today Israel must be more and more active in this continent, Lieberman said, professing a “very deep respect” for Colombia.
Netanyahu allows one-time cement shipment into Gaza
29 Jul 2009 - Israel will allow a one-time transfer of cement into Gaza for the first time since its war in the Hamas-ruled enclave and amid a US peace push in the region, officials said Wednesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak okayed the transfer of more than 310 tons of cement for rebuilding a flour mill.
Netanyahu’s W. Bank moves indicate pursuit of economic peace, not political
29 Jul 2009 - In the four months since hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power, West Bank Palestinians have enjoyed an economic recovery and Israel has experienced a period of relative calm. That progress is the backdrop for a fresh round of US diplomacy aimed at getting Palestinian-Israeli peace talks started again.
14-year-old Afghan refugee child stuck between two states
29 Jul 2009 - Isabelle Caillol, an activist with the Turkish branch of the human-rights ad vocacy group Helsinki Citizens Assembly, sent a mass email to pro-migrant activists in Greece in May seeking help in finding the family of Abbas Khavari, a 14-year-old Afghan refugee born in Iran.
Abbas threatens arrests as Hamas hampers West Bank congress
29 Jul 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group threatened on Wednesday to arrest members of Hamas if the Islamist movement banned Fatah delegates in the Gaza Strip from attending a congress in the Occupied West Bank. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has conditioned the departure of some 400 Fatah members.
29 Jul 2009 - More than 200 Jewish fanatics on Wednesday morning stormed the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem and offered Talmudic rituals on the anniversary of the so-called destruction of the temple.
Shihab: The British call for opening dialog with Hamas is a European awakening
29 Jul 2009 - Hamas official Mohamed Shihab hailed the report issued by the foreign affairs committee in which it called on its government to engage in a dialog with Hamas..
Zahhar: No presidential, legislative elections with ongoing West Bank arrests
29 Jul 2009 - Hamas leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar has ruled out the possibility of holding Palestinian presidential and legislative elections as long as political detentions were ongoing in the West Bank.
Palestinian scholars’ league calls on Arabs to hold emergency summit on J'lem
29 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian scholars’ league on Wednesday called for an emergency Arab summit to discuss the real dangers threatening the occupied city of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.
Abbas's intelligence kidnaps journalist only three days after his release
29 Jul 2009 - The military intelligence apparatus loyal to Abbas on Wednesday kidnapped journalist Mustafa Sabri, 43, only three days after Abbas's preventive security apparatus released him.
Abu Zuhri: Netanyahu's statement wishful thinking
29 Jul 2009 - Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman, said on Wednesday that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu's statement on Tuesday that the people of Gaza will one day topple Hamas was "stupid".
Zahhar:Hamas won’t let Fatah leaders move freely before release of its prisoners
29 Jul 2009 - Hamas MP Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that his Movement decided not to allow Fatah leaders to leave for the West Bank as long as Fatah is still persistent in arresting Hamas cadres and supporters.
Zahalka: Extending ban on reuniting Palestinian families unprecedented racism
29 Jul 2009 - Leader of the national democratic assembly in the Israeli parliament Jamal Zahalka has denounced the Israeli extension of the ban on reuniting Palestinian families till July 2010.
Haneyya’s gov’t: Israeli violations in Jerusalem will blow up the whole region
29 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian government warned that the latest Israeli violations in Jerusalem and settlers’ repeated assaults on the Aqsa Mosque would be the main factor that would dynamite the whole region.
Hamas MPs: Fatah figures aborted return of Dr. Dwaik to his work
29 Jul 2009 - Hamas members of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC) have charged Fatah officials with aborting the return of PLC speaker Dr. Aziz Dwaik to his work.
29 Jul 2009 - The warning over the president's defiance highlights the rift among Iran's conservatives. Meanwhile, the government says Mousavi supporters can't gather at a mosque Thursday to honor protest victims. Political hard-liners warned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday that he could be deposed like past Iranian leaders if he continued to defy the country's supreme religious leader.
Iran opposition leader calls for more street protests
28 Jul 2009 - In a provocative move, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who lost to Ahmadinejad in a controversial election, asks his supporters to flood Tehran during a festival next week. Iran's leading opposition figure called on his supporters Monday to head into the streets daily during a religious festival next week, potentially escalating tensions at a time when his election rival, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to be sworn in for a second term.
29 Jul 2009 - Several thousand Jewish settlers inaugurated outposts in a show of defiance as emissaries from the U.S. visited the region.
U.S. Opens Way to Ease Sanctions Against Syria
28 Jul 2009 - The shift is part of a broader strategy intended to get Syria to turn away from its alliances with Iran and Islamic militant groups.
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.
Press TV - 29 Jul 2009 - The Israeli army has launched another cross border attack on the Gaza Strip, opening fire on villagers' homes south of the impoverished sliver. Israeli tanks and bulldozers rolled hundreds of meters deep into the strip on Wednesday and flattened cultivated fields in Al Qararra town in southern Gaza. According to witnesses several Palestinian homes were damaged in the attack but there were no reports of casualties. Four tanks and two bulldozers conducted the attack. Palestinian sources say the invading Israeli troops were forced to retreat after they faced resistance from Palestinian fighters. [end]
UN calls on Israel to allow Gaza schools to rebuild
YNetNews - 7/28/2009, AFP - Humanitarian coordinator Lazzarini urges Jerusalem to allow construction materials into coastal enclave, says blockade caused 'untold suffering to Palestinian children, who face another academic year in terrible conditions' - UN agencies called on Israel on Tuesday to allow construction materials into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip so that schools damaged in this year's war can be rebuilt in time for the new academic year. " We call on the government of Israel to urgently facilitate entry of construction materials and supplies for schools in the coming weeks, and to ensure that students, teachers and trainers can freely exit and enter Gaza to continue learning," they said in a statement. During the 22-day war that Israel launched on December 27, 280 schools were damaged, including 18 that were completely destroyed.
Americans gave $25.4 million for E. Jerusalem building
JTA - July 27 - WASHINGTON (JTA) -- American donors gave $25. 4 million in the past five years to build Jewish homes in Arab parts of Jerusalem, Bloomberg reported. Among the contributors are Ira Rennert, the founder of Renco Group Inc. , and bingo entrepreneur Irving Moskowitz. According to Bloomberg, the money has gone to organizations such as Ateret Cohanim, which has bought at least 45 properties, mostly in eastern Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter. The group wants to create a Jewish majority in the Old City, which now is predominantly Muslim. In response to U. S. criticism of Jewish purchases in the Arab portions of Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Cabinet meeting on July 19 said that Israel would not tolerate any restrictions on Jews purchasing property in Jerusalem. “Our sovereignty in Jerusalem is indisputable,” he said at the meeting.
EXCLUSIVE: Defense analyst in spy case was FBI double agent
Washington Times - 7/29/2009 - Breaks silence after guilty plea to spying for Israel - Larry Franklin, the former Pentagon analyst convicted of revealing classified information, says he worked undercover as an FBI double agent to gather information on the pro-Israel lobby in the United States before the bureau turned on him and pressured him to plead guilty to spying for Israel. Talking to a U. S. newspaper for the first time since his arrest five years ago, Franklin told The Washington Times that he wore a portable recording device for the FBI to capture conversations between Keith Weissman, a lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Israeli Embassy official Naor Gilon and that he cooperated on other matters during a 10-week period in 2004. He said he never sought to spy for Israel and felt betrayed when the same FBI agents whom he had assisted suddenly told him to get an attorney and threatened to send him to prison for disclosing classified information to AIPAC officials and the Israeli Embassy.
Clinton to Israel: Iran quest futile
The Australian - July 28 - HILLARY Clinton sought to calm Israeli fears about a nuclear-armed Iran yesterday after she appeared to suggest last week that the Obama administration was resigned to Tehran getting the bomb. Israeli officials expressed concern after the US Secretary of State said in Thailand that a nuclear-armed Iran could be contained by a US "defence umbrella". Her words went beyond the Obama government's publicly stated Iran policy, which is focused on preventing Tehran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Speaking on the NBC program Meet the Press yesterday, Mrs Clinton said Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon was "futile". "What we want to do is to send a message to whoever is making these decisions that if you're pursuing nuclear weapons for the purpose of intimidating, of projecting your power, we are not going to let that happen," shes aid.
Netanyahu: Gazans want to overthrow Hamas
Ha'aretz - 7/28/09 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that the Palestinian residents of Gaza wanted to replace the current Hamas government, and that they will eventually be successful, Army Radio reported. Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Jerusalem's National Security College, Netanyahu said "If the Palestinians in Gaza had the power to overthrow the government, they would. And I tell you, they will have that power. " Netanyahu also addressed the recently publicized law of Gaza that requires female attorneys to don head coverings in court, saying that "the fact that the Hamas government is forcing women to wear head coverings is not making the organization popular among Palestinians. " The prime minister warned against extreme Islamists gaining nuclear weapons, saying that the desire for nuclear weapons stems from the fact that the religious fanatics are losing power.
Hamas dress code aims to make Gaza more Islamic
Antiwar.com - AP News - Jul 28 - Police order a lingerie shop to hide its scantily clad mannequins. A judge warns female lawyers to wear head scarves in court. Beach patrols break up groups of singles and make men wear shirts. It's all part of a new Hamas campaign to get Gazans to adhere to a strict Muslim lifestyle — and the first clear attempt by the Islamic militants to go beyond benign persuasion in doing so. It suggests that having consolidated its hold on Gaza in the two years since it seized control by force, Hamas feels emboldened enough to extend its ideology into people's private lives. Hamas insists compliance with its "virtue campaign" is still voluntary and simply responds to a Gazan preference for conservative ways. But the rules are vague and there are reports of alleged offenders being beaten and teachers being told to pressure girls to wear head scarves.
PHOTOS - Palestinians visit a beach in Israel
The Guardian - 29 July - Seven images: Palestinians and Israelis might be divided by a separation barrier, but some grassroots organisations are trying to find innovative ways of bringing them together. On Monday, two groups, Combatants for Peace and Machsom Watch, arranged a trip to an Israeli beach for 75 Palestinians. They drove by bus from the West Bank's Hebron area to a beach south of Tel Aviv. For some it was their first glimpse of the sea. [end]
Bikini-clad activists crash ’Tel Aviv Beach’ party at Central Park
The Rebel - 7/29/2009, Codepink - On the sands of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism's Tel Aviv Beach in Central Park last Sunday, bikini-clad activists from the women's group CODEPINK covered themselves in mud to expose the truth behind the event: as a tool to clean up Israel's reputation in light of its dirty policies toward Palestine, including West Bank settlements, a border blockade of Gaza and this winter's devastating 22-day war on Gaza that killed more than 1,400 civilians, injured 5,300 and destroyed approximately 4,000 homes. The activists have seen for themselves the devastation caused by the assault, and Israel's continuing blockade of the Gaza border. Within the past two months, five CODEPINK delegations of more than 150 American and international activists traveled to Gaza, Egypt and Israel and delivered medical supplies, humanitarian aid and playgrounds for Gazan children.
Obama, Netanyahu and the Settlements
Uri Avnery, CounterPunch 7/28/2009
No Bears and No Forest; No Birds and No Shoes.
First, an honest disclosure: I loved the Shepherd hotel very much.
In the first years after the Six-Day War, I was a frequent guest there. My work in the Knesset demanded that I stay in Jerusalem at least two nights every week, and after the war I switched from the hotels of West Jerusalem to those in the Eastern part of the city. My favorite was the Shepherd. I felt at home there.
The charm of the place lay in its special atmosphere. It is located in the middle of that ancient Arab town which itself aroused my intense curiosity. Its rooms have high ceilings and old furniture, and it was run by remarkable people - two elderly Arab ladies who were educated in Beirut and steeped in Palestinian-Lebanese culture.
The area surrounding the hotel is the neighborhood of the al-Husseini clan. The holdings of this vast extended family, with more than 5000 members, comprise the greater part of the Sheikh Jarrah quarter, which also includes the legendary Orient House.
The al-Husseini family is one of the handful of aristocratic Jerusalemite families, and perhaps the most respected one (its members certainly think so). For centuries the family has filled at least one of the three most important positions in the town: those of Grand Mufti, mayor and the notable in charge of the Islamic shrines. Shepherd was built by Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti who led the Arab Rebellion in the 1930s and became the Arab the Hebrew community most loved to hate.
I spent hours in conversation with the two ladies, learnt a lot from them and grew very attached to the place. It was a sad day for me when it was closed.
Can an 'Arab soul' yearn for Israel’s anthem?
Jonathan Cook in Nazareth, Redress 7/28/2009
Jonathan Cook considers the latest step by the Israeli authorities to humiliate Israel’s Arab citizens and eradicate their identity by forcing Arab schoolchildren to study the Zionist national anthem that celebrates their subjugation and dispossession.
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, has been a running sore between Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations for decades.
Arab citizens are unhappy with its heavily Zionist lyrics, which speak of how the “soul of a Jew yearns” to return to Zion, as well as referring to “The hope of two thousand years, To be a free nation in our land.
No law for detained Palestinians
29 Jul 2009 - BEIRUT (IPS) - Palestinian refugee Youssef Shaaban was released from prison early this month -- after serving 16 years in a Lebanese prison for a crime he did not commit. Shaaban was convicted by Lebanon's Justice Council in October 1994 on charge of shooting and killing the first secretary of the Jordanian embassy, Naeb Imran Matiyeh.
Using the UN to undermine Palestinian rights
29 Jul 2009 - Having himself been such a key part of the failed peace process, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana recently made a seemingly bold proposal that the UN Security Council "mandate" a resolution of central issues in the Palestine/Israel conflict -- borders, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements and security arrangements. What lies behind this surprise move? Hasan Abu Nimah comments.
Homeward bound: Gaza in 24 hours
28 Jul 2009 - As soon as I arrived home I felt a great relief, if that is the right word. I have been unable to return to Gaza before because of Israel's winter invasion and the ongoing siege. I am not sure that the word relief summarizes my intense and conflicting emotions. Mixed feelings of relief, happiness, but also disorientation continued to overwhelm me. Dr. Mona El-Farra writes from the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians in Israel forced to study Zionist anthem
28 Jul 2009 - 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.