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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
31 July , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Settlers attack Palestinian vehicles near Nablus
31 Jul 2009 - Dozens of extremist Israeli settlers of the Shavot Ami illegal outpost, installed on Palestinian lands west of the southern West Bank of Nablus attacked dozens of Palestinian vehicles and hurled stones at them.  

Detainees in Salem detention facility conducted hunger strike
31 Jul 2009 - Palestinian detainees in the Israeli Salem detention facility have conducted a two-day hunger strike in protest to the ongoing violence practiced against them by the Israeli prison guards and the bad living conditions. 

PICD slams the re-arrest of journalist Mustafa Sabri
31 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Security Forces arrested journalist Mustafa Sabri only three days after he was released from a Palestinian prison. Sabri was apparently arrested for his political affiliation. The Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development (PICD) slammed the arrest and demanded the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to release him. 

Obama extends sanctions on Syria
31 Jul 2009 - The White House reported Friday that U.S President Barack Obama has decided that sanctions on Syria should continue despite the recent positive signs of progress in U.S – Syrian relations.  

Scores suffered tear gas inhalation at the Nil'in weekly protest
31 Jul 2009 - Israeli soldiers attacked on Friday Palestinian villagers along with their international and Israeli peace supporters during the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. 

The military attack the Bil'in weekly demonstration, dozens suffers tear gas inhalation
31 Jul 2009 - Scores suffered on Friday effects of tear gas inhalation during the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in Bil'in village central west Bank.

Gaza children break Guinness world record of flying kites
31 Jul 2009 - Around 6,000 children from 119 schools in Gaza gathered on the Beit Lahiya beach and broke the Guinness world of record of flying the highest number of kites simultaneously on Thursday. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Fatah activists don Islamic garb to flee Hamas-run Gaza
31 Jul 2009 - Hamas banned Fatah delegates from attending West Bank meet unless Fatah releases Hamas prisoners. 

Egypt border patrol kills African migrant crossing into Israel
31 Jul 2009 - Hundreds of Africans seeking political asylum and jobs try to cross into Israel every year. 

Gaza children go for world record in kite flying
30 Jul 2009 - Guinness was unable to send a judge to the attempt due to travel restrictions into the coastal territory. 

Israel 'defense brief': Gaza offensive was proportionate
30 Jul 2009 - Foreign Ministry releases brief ahead of UN reports on Cast Lead; brief says IDF probing 100 complaints. 

Officers censured over hazing of IDF Armored Corps recruits
30 Jul 2009 - Troops reportedly beaten, humiliated in ritual; officers to receive notations in service permanent records. 

Ma'an News

Israel shuts down Gaza crossings
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - All crossings between Israel and Gaza will be closed Friday, Israeli authorities told Palestinian crossing official Raed Fattouh. The official said no reason was given as to why the crossings would be closed. The past several weeks crossings operated six days a week, with Fridays seeing crossings closed early for the Jewish Shabbat. The crossings will remain closed Saturday, and sources indicated they will open again Sunday. The closure follows two weeks of increasingly diminished supplies for the Gaza Strip, but with the addition of some cement for reconstruction projects. [end] 

Famous Palestinian filmmaker buried in Ramallah Friday
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian film director Mustapha Abu Ali was buried Friday following prayer at the Jamal Abdel Nasser Mosque in Al-Bireh. The 69-year-old cinema legend died Thursday. Abu Ali is considered one of the founders of Palestinian cinema and was the head of the Palestinian cinema group in Ramallah. Abu Ali studied cinema in Britain and the United States, after which he founded the "Fatah Cinema Unit" in 1968 in Jordan shortly before he released his first feature film titled No for the Political Solution in Jordan. He then went on to With Soul and Blood, and Tel Az-Za'tar in Jordan. The by then famous director moved to Lebanon along with half a dozen Palestinian and Arab directors to found the Palestinian Cinema Group. The first project of the group was a film about the Israeli invasion of Gaza. 

Nine families receive demolition warnings south of Nablus
7/31/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli troops handed stop work orders, locally known as demolition warnings, to nine Palestinians from Yatma village south of Nablus. The orders gave residents 30 days to evacuate the areas where the homes are being built. Local expert on home demolitions Ghassan Doughlus said troops coming from the nearby settlement of Rechelim overran the village Thursday night. Soldiers woke sleeping families to deliver the notices. Doughlus said a lawyer had already been appointed to appeal the orders. He will represent the following individuals' objections: Wa'el Abdel Aziz Najjar, Musa Wajih Najjar, Nabhan Tawfiq Najjar, Tamer Muhammad Hilal Najjar, Fadi Abdel Rahim Sonbar, Yasser Ahmad Sonbar, Muhammad Mahmod Sonbar, Ayad Mohammad Sonbar, Abdel Rahim Muhamad Sonbar. 

Dozens suffer tear-gas inhalation at Bil’in rally
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Dozens of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals suffered tear-gas inhalation at a rally organized against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bil'in on Friday, local activists told Ma'an. The Israelis also used a foul-smelling chemical on the protesters as well as the usual CS gas. Israeli soldiers have increasingly been using the chemical to dispel the gatherings, which assemble each Friday near the barrier that cuts the village from about 60 percent of its land. The demonstrators dressed in plastic dress, hats, gloves, and masks in order not to be affected by the chemical water and its noxious smell, the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil'in said in a statement. Soldiers also opened fire when participants tried to access the portion of their land being cut off by the wall, which is still under construction in the village, according. . . 

Thousands of Gaza children fly kites on Beit Lahiya beach
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - UNRWA called it a record-breaking day Thursday as 6,000 of Gaza's children from 119 schools brought their homemade kites out to the Beit Lahiya beach and set them aloft in the wind. Observers counted at least 3,000 kites, shattering the previous record of 710, registered in Germany. The day was organized by UNRWA summer camps, which operate throughout the Gaza Strip and host 240,000 children each summer. Each camp was allotted space on the long beach, and volunteers from the International Committee of the Red Cross supervised and registered the name of each child participating. According to Al-Jazeera, Guinness Book staff were invited to verify the record-breaking attempt, but the organization cited a UK government warning against travel to the Strip and declined the invitation, sending detailed guidelines to organizers instead. 

Viva Palestina prepares for massive convoy arriving in Gaza 27 Dec.
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Viva Palestina is planning a third, international convoy of Americans, and United Kingdom participants that will leave London on 5 December and arrive in Gaza on the anniversary of the first airstrike of the Israeli war on Gaza. A statement from the organization said they have consulted with the Free Gaza movement and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain over the last two weeks so efforts with will be coordinated and highly effective. "Given the various attempts to restrict aid to Gaza by sea and land," Viva Palestinia wrote, "nothing less than a very significant increase in the size and impact of the next convoy will do. " The next convoy will start out at the beginning of December in the hopes that hundreds of University students from North American, the UK and Europe will join in. 

Fighters attack two Israeli patrols that entered Gaza
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Popular Resistance Committees An-Nasser Brigades reported a clash between fighters and Israeli forces that entered the Strip east of Khan Younis. The brigades said an Israeli patrol penetrated the Strip near the Al-Madaris area in eastern Khuza'a in the southern Strip before sunrise Friday morning. In what appears have been a separate incident, Israeli military sources said a group of Palestinians fired on their patrol near the Nahal Oz crossing in the northern Gaza Strip Thursday night. No injuries were reported, but Israel announced no crossings would be open Friday [end] 

USAID, PA inaugurate library, park in Bethlehem area
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and US Consul General Jake Walles opened a new joint USAID funded library in the town of Beit Jala Thursday. The library, identified as a community need by local residents, was built with 150,000 US dollars from the PA and an additional 300,000 from USAID. The Beit Jala municipality donated the land, supplied books, furniture and equipment, and will maintain the new facility. A statement from the organization said the project hopes to "meet the demands of Beit Jala's growing student population. " A second project under the "consultative development" initiative of USAID will see a park developed in the Bethlehem area village of Al-Khass. The four-dunum includes children's play area, water fountain, a family seating area with a cafeteria, washrooms, and a swimming pool. 

Fayyad: Ma’an is an establishment that we are proud of as Palestinians
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - During his visit to officially open Ma'an News Agency's new film studio in Bethlehem, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad praised Ma'an's work. "Ma'an is an establishment that we are proud of as Palestinians, as Arabs, regionally, and internationally," he told the more than 100 staff gathered in the new 9th floor studio. "We are proud of you as we are celebrating this accomplishment by opening the studio. This establishment that was established five years ago and gained the confidenceof the Palestinians as permanent source of information and for news analysis that enriches the field of journalism in Palestine, instilling it with the respect and appreciation it needs. "  He said that his government is eager to maintain the independence and professionalism of the media, and that the PA is ready to "accept your opinions, suggestions and criticism which we take seriously. 

Fatah releases agenda, elections rules for conference
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The organizing committee of the Sixth Fatah Congress released a final schedule of the landmark meeting, set to take place in Bethlehem beginning 4 August, as well as guidelines around elections for the party's Central Committee and Revolutionary Council. Tuesday 4 August - 9-11 Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will open the conference and deliver a speech. 12-3 Fatah members who travelled from abroad will be given a chance to address congress participants - 4-10 Delegates will begin discussions around the schedule of the conference and prepare a list of reports to be delivered to the Central Committee. Abbas is expected to propose a report outlining the party's political, security and financial concerns Wednesday 5 August - AM A general discussion. Nominations for candidates for the party's committees, including the Central Committee will be accepted. 

Thousands rally against PA political arrests in Khan Younis
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Thousands joined in protest against politically-motivated arrests Thursday in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. Organized by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, crowds parade the city streets lifting banners with slogans condemning the continued practice of arresting West Bank party affiliates. Demonstrators called for the Palestinian Authority to halt the practice, saying they held the PA responsible for the members' health and welfare. Hamas media spokesman in Khan Younis Hammad Ar-Rakab delivered a speech to the crowds, further condemning the practice. [end] 

Hamas leader: PA political arrests postponed Cairo talks
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Ongoing politically motivated arrest campaigns in the West Bank stalled unity talks in Cairo, Hamas leader Dr Ismael Radwan said on Friday. In an interview with Ma'an, Radwan said that no reconciliation agreement would be signed without a negotiated end to alleged political arrests of Hamas affiliates in the West Bank. "If Egypt wants to see success in the national dialogue, there must be good relations among both sides, and because there were no achievements on the political arrest issue, the dialogue was postponed to 25 August," he said. The issue of politically motivated arrests has been a major sticking point in talks aimed at resolving the two-year internal Palestinian divide. Fatah insists that the PA only arrests people for actual crimes rather than political affiliation, but Hamas regularly publicizes alleged arrests of its members by the PA. 

Haniyeh: PA arrests leave next round of talks in doubt
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday he was skeptical on the chances of another round of talks in Cairo unless the Palestinian Authority releases Hamas members in the West Bank. Speaking at a mosque on Friday in Rafah, the Hamas leader said that "we are still sticking to the dialogue and want to restore national unity," but noted that "it is doubtful we will succeed, even if everyone attends, if arrest sweeps in the West Bank don't stop. "The issue of politically motivated arrests has been a major sticking point in talks aimed at resolving the two-year internal Palestinian divide that ultimately left Hamas in charge of the Gaza Strip. Fatah insists that the PA only arrests people for actual crimes rather than political affiliation, but Hamas regularly publicizes alleged arrests of its members by the PA. 

Gaza interior minister: No political arrests here
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The de facto government's interior minister, Fathi Hammad, insisted on Friday that his ministry does not arrest citizens for anything other than criminal activity. The issue of politically motivated arrests has been a major sticking point in talks aimed at resolving the two-year internal Palestinian divide, which culminated in 2007 with Hamas seizing control of the Gaza Strip. Hammad's remarks, made at a Gaza hotel on Friday, came one day after Fatah high committee member Abdallah Abu Samahdanah said he was detained and ID card and passport seized by de facto forces. Abu Samahdanah was expected to attend Fatah's sixth conference in Bethlehem on 4 August. But according to Hamdan, the Interior Ministry's prisons are open for "anyone who wants to come and take a look. "He said observers would find that the only Palestinians inside were criminals, and were not arrested for political reasons. 

Popular Front condemns PA arrests
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) on Friday condemned the ongoing politically motivated arrests by Palestinian Authority security forces. The leftist political party said the arrests help Israel strengthen the Palestinian division between Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah, which backs the PA forces operating in the West Bank. The issue of politically motivated arrests has been a major sticking point in talks aimed at resolving the two-year internal Palestinian divide, which culminated in 2007 with Hamas seizing control of the Gaza Strip. In a statement, the movement said that "threats to arrest Hamas people in the West Bank reflect the poor mentality and ignorance of the PA and their actions," calling on Fatah to more seriously work toward ending the division. The PFLP also called on Egypt to take a stand against such activities, "which threaten resistance. 

Fatah woman smuggles self out of Gaza
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Despite Hamas' threats to stop her and hundreds of others, a dedicated woman will nevertheless attend August's sixth Fatah conference after slipping out of Gaza unnoticed. Fatah later said as many as 57 of its members had similarly snuck out of Gaza. Fatah delegate Ghalya Abu Setah left on Friday riding in a cart pulled by a donkey through the Erez crossing with Israel, she said, and ultimately entered the West Bank a few days early for the conference. Since she was wearing a traditional costume and traveling by donkey, de facto border guards most likely thought Abu Setah was a Bedouin and opted not to examine her passport or ID, either of which would have exposed her as a high-ranking member of the Fatah movement. Other sources said that she opted to wear a veil over her face, apparently fooling the ultraconservative Hamas-affiliated guards, who would have. . . 

Official: Fatah personally threatened Hamas lawmakers
7/31/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Senior Fatah leader At-Tayib Abdul Rahim personally threatened Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Legislative Council members with arrest, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum claimed on Friday. Barhoum said the Fatah leader threatened to arrest the parliament members if the Hamas-backed de facto government failed to allow Fatah members to leave the Gaza Strip for an upcoming Fatah conference in the West Bank. Barhoum told Ma'an that "Rahim phoned a number of Hamas leaders and PLC lawmakers in the West Bank, and threatened to arrest them if Fatah affiliates were not allowed to leave Gaza for Bethlehem. " Hamas has threatened in recent weeks not to allow Fatah officials in Gaza attend an upcoming conference if Palestinian Authority security forces do not stop arresting Hamas affiliates in the West Bank. "These threats by Fatah reveal its intentions toward the dialogue and political arrests," Barhoum added. 

Report: PLO founder Al-Hout critically ill
7/31/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Shafiq Al-Hout, an original founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was said to be critically ill on Friday. Al-Hout is member of the Palestinian National Council and a PLO Executive Committee representative in Lebanon. He was present for the founding of the Palestinian Liberation Front in 1963, and attended the PLO's founding conference in Jerusalem in May 1964. He identifies himself as a PLF supporter. The Palestinian figure has represented the PLO at the United Nations General Assembly since 1974. He has also remained a member of the PNC and PLO offices in Lebanon. During the first meeting of the PLO's Executive Committee, Al-Hout was appointed representative and head of office in Lebanon. Following the appointment, he has remained in politics ever since. 

The National

Iran to put election protesters on trial
31 Jul 2009 - Pressure mounts on Tehran to free prisoners held during post poll unrest as at least 30 people accused of rioting face courts today.

Hotel hotline to help Egypt's tourism
31 Jul 2009 - But only one person has come forward since the start of the operation this month following complaints from Gulf Arab visitors.

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.

Aljazeera

Israel defends Gaza war 
30 Jul 2009 - Government report says 22-day assault was "proportionate" response to rocket attacks.

Gaza kids 'hit kite-flying record'
30 Jul 2009 - Thousands of children smash the previous world record at event in Gaza Strip, UN says.

Palestine News Network

New city for religious Jews threatening Arabs in Galilee area
30 Jul 2009 - Tel Aviv/PNN - Israel is considering plans to construct a new town housing 50,000 ultra-orthodox Jews near Nazareth, threatening to overwhelm the area’s Arab villages.The move comes following last month’s calls by Israeli Housing Minister for religious Jews to “save” the north of Israel from a “takeover” by its majority Arab population.The city will cover roughly six thousand acres, including areas which...

Appeal for isolated Palestinian prisoner in Israeli prison
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...

IRIN

HOW TO: Do a food airdrop
NAIROBI Thursday, July 30, 2009 (IRIN) - The humanitarian cavalry is the food airdrop: when you need to shift serious tonnage in a hurry to somewhere inaccessible, nothing quite does it like a large cargo plane and skilled pilot and crew.

IRAQ: Welcome move to upgrade Baghdad slums
BAGHDAD Thursday, July 30, 2009 (IRIN) - Slum dwellers and local NGOs have welcomed the partnership between the government and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) to improve service delivery, reduce poverty and create employment in slums.

MIDDLE EAST: Swine flu deaths registered 
DUBAI Thursday, July 30, 2009 (IRIN) - Three H1N1 2009 deaths were registered in the Middle East over the past 10 days as the world awaits a vaccine, expected to be available in September, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest briefing note.

Inter Press Service

MOROCCO: Western Sahara Drains Development 
RABAT, Jul 31 (IPS) - Informal talks are being held in Vienna between the different parties involved in the long lasting conflict over the Western Sahara. A new plan proposed by the Obama administration will be discussed between the Polisario and the Kingdom of Morocco.

MOROCCO: Farmers Overcome Water Scarcity 
BENI MELLAL, Jul 31 (IPS) - Researchers in the central Moroccan region Beni Mellal are introducing new agricultural techniques that increase production while reducing water usage.

MIDEAST: Israel Prepares for War Over Reports 
JERUSALEM, Jul 31 (IPS) - Six months after Israel's devastating assault on Hamas, its south-western border with Gaza has not been as quiet in a decade - only two rockets in the past six weeks on Israeli towns. Yet, the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza continues to haunt Israel.

MIDEAST: As U.S. Winds Down, Iraq Tilts Toward Iran 
NEW YORK, Jul 30 (IPS) - A raid by Iraqi security forces on a camp of Iranian dissidents is widely seen as a sign that Iraqi authorities are establishing their independence as the U.S. occupation winds down – and tilting instead towards Iran.

Stop The Wall

Weekly protests met with tear gas
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 Weekly Report

(23 - 29 July  2008)
During the reporting period, 7 Palestinians civilians, including one child and one woman, were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

International movements breaking the siege on Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - 28 July 2009 , Suzanne Morrison, Common Dreams - Since June 2007 the Israeli government has imposed almost complete closure over the Gaza Strip. The siege prevents nearly all movement of people or goods to and from the coastal region with only minimal amounts of humanitarian provisions inconsistently allowed in. With the exception of a small amount of carnations allowed out earlier this year, there has been a virtual ban on all exports from Gaza since 2007. [1] A quick socio-economic glimpse of Gaza includes agricultural losses totaling US $30 million and more than 40,000 jobs for the 2007/2008 season, the suspension of 98% of industrial operations, and more than 80% of Gaza's population is now dependent on humanitarian aid from international aid providing agencies. [2]Closure of Gaza and the West Bank has intermittently been imposed since 1991. 

Israeli forces kidnap 2 Ni’lin residents
International Solidarity Movement - 29 July - In the early morning on Wednesday 29 the brothers Saeed Attallah Ameerah , 24, and Ahmed Attallah Ameerah, 22, were brutally kidnapped from their home. At 5 am, dozens of soldiers surrounded their house and pounded on their door. Ahmed opened and was immediately grabbed by the soldiers , beaten, handcuffed and blind folded. About 17 soldiers entered the home, found Saeed whom they forcefully handcuffed and blind folded. The terrified family, in total 11 persons, were placed in one room while their brothers were kept in another room. When their brother in law tried to interfere also he was beaten, handcuffed and blindfolded. "I was so scared. Soldiers were everywhere and I saw how Ahmed's wrists were bleeding cause they were so tight tied together. Soldiers have entered our house in night time many times, its horrible. 

Bil’in under attack
International Solidarity Movement - 30 July, Alternative Information Center (AIC) - Five years ago the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its advisory opinion declaring that the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is illegal and should be dismantled. After five years of silence and complicity by the international community in perpetrating this crime, several villages across the Occupied West Bank have formed committees engaged in continuous demonstrations against the Wall and the settlements. Israel is getting worried by this phenomenon of mass popular resistance, especially because of the unity being created amongst Palestinians, Israeli and International activists who have been demonstrating together against the apartheid Wall for more than four years. That's why the Israeli military is escalating the level of violence and repression against these communities (curfews, sieges, destruction of property,. . . 

Bil’in demonstrates against nightly raids
International Solidarity Movement - 30 July, Bil'in Popular Committee - On Wednesday night, July 29, one hundred villagers of Bil'in along with their International and Israeli supporters conducted a Protest March against the IDF's nightly raids and detaining of Palestinian villagers. The protest march began in the village of Bil'in, but buoyed by peace songs, chants, and flashlight-lit containers with peace messages written on them in over a dozen languages, the enthusiastic marchers walked down to the Separation Fence and where a 15-minute rally was held. The lights and chanting attracted several Israeli military vehicles who launched several night flares (inducing exuberant cheering and vigorous waving of the Palestinian flags carried by several members) as the landscape brightened. It was reported that one tear gas canister was fired in the vicinity of the demonstrators, but no one was injured, fortunately. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Hamas leader: We will accept a Palestinian state within 1967 lines
31 Jul 2009 - Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshal says the Islamic militant group is ready to accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines, according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday. ...

Arab patience with Obama wearing thin, top Lebanese cleric says
31 Jul 2009 - An influential Lebanese Shi'ite cleric said Friday that President Barack Obama's outreach to the Arab and Islamic worlds has failed to improve ties strained under George W. Bush, warning that the United States was sliding back toward the policies of the previous administration. ...

Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. call for improved ties with Israel
30 Jul 2009 - Saudi Arabia on Friday rejected U.S. appeals for improved relations with Israel as a way to help restart Middle East peace talks, saying that Israel is not interested in a deal. ...

Obama extends sanctions on Syria despite diplomatic thaw
30 Jul 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to extend sanctions against Syria, despite positive sings of progress in the relationship between the two nations, a White House statement said Friday. ...

Ahmadinejad: No rift with Iran's supreme leader
30 Jul 2009 - Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned his political rivals on Friday that their efforts to drive a wedge between him and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would come to nothing. ...

The Guardian

How fame made it harder for Baron Cohen to fool his victims
31 Jul 2009 - Sacha Baron Cohen is notoriously reluctant to explain himself and his methods to the media, but a few of his secretive Ali G/Borat/Brüno techniques have emerged. It's fairly clear, in the Ali G days, that Baron...

The non-profit worker from Bethlehem who was branded a terrorist by Bruno
31 Jul 2009 - • Christian activist plans to sue Sacha Baron Cohen • Interview was filmed in hotel, not refugee camp For a supposed terrorist, Ayman Abu Aita is remarkably easy to find. It takes one phone call to...

Kite Festival in Palestine
31 Jul 2009 - Thursday 30 July, 2009: Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip attempted to set a new world record by flying colorful homemade kites on a Mediterranean beach in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. The event was...

Praying for a miracle in the West Bank | Nicholas Blincoe
30 Jul 2009 - Belief in the healing power of saints is one thing that crosses religious boundaries in this part of the world The question: Do we need saints? One day soon, someone is going to drag me to...

Ha'aretz National page

Settler youths build new outpost in southern West Bank
30 Jul 2009 - Around thirty settler youths built a new hilltop settlement in the northern West Bank on Friday, and will have until the end of the Jewish Sabbath to leave the area. ...

Cargo company suspected of stealing equipment from competitor at Ben-Gurion airport
30 Jul 2009 - Police suspect shipping company stole equipment from competitor at BG airport ...

Jews cannot preach humanity and expel migrants 
30 Jul 2009 - Deporting foreign workers together with their children is a gangland conspiracy intended to make traffickers in workers, who are cronies of the men in power, even richer. There is no other way to explain it. For as soon as these workers are deported, others will immediately be brought in to replace them. They are already on their way. The slave traffic is proceeding as usual, and the human traffickers continue making a profit per capita. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Middle East seminar hears UN call for journalists to do more to encourage peace
31 Jul 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Economic and Social Council suspends 2009 substantive session
31 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Economic and Social Council

oPt: Protection of civilians weekly report, 22 - 28 Jul 2009
31 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

YNet News

US: Saudis urged to make gestures towards Israel
31 Jul 2009 - More than 200 House of Representatives delegates send letter to King Abdullah, expressing their disappointment with his country's failure to act on President Obama's request for steps towards normalization in its ties with Jewish state 

Fatah activists sneak out of Hamas-ruled Gaza
31 Jul 2009 - One woman seeking to reach West Bank for key party convention says she put on Islamic dress, rode past a Hamas checkpoint on donkey cart 

Settlers flock to new outpost on Shabbat eve 
31 Jul 2009 - Some 30 right-wing activists set up illegal outpost near West Bank settlement of Kedumim. Most of settlers evacuated, but Border Guard remains in area to guard several others till end of Shabbat 

PM says won’t compromise on land reform 
31 Jul 2009 - Signs of political crisis? Netanyahu rejects Labor Chairman Barak's demand to change two clauses in Israel Land Administration program 

Mashaal: Hamas to commit to immediate ceasefire 
31 Jul 2009 - Hamas politburo chief tells Wall Street Journal his organization is prepared to cooperate with any US initiative promoting peaceful resolution to Israeli-Arab conflict, if White House can secure settlement freeze and lifting of blockade imposed on Gaza Strip 

Hamas threatens to boycott unity talks with Fatah 
31 Jul 2009 - Haniyeh says his movement won't attend upcoming round of reconciliation discussions with rival group in Cairo unless his supporters detained in West Bank are released. 'We are not na?ve,' he adds 

Daily Star

Obama extends US sanctions against Syrian figures
31 Jul 2009 - US President Barack Obama extended Thursday sanctions against Syrian or pro-Syrian personalities for provoking instability in neighboring Lebanon, despite some positive recent signs from the capital Da mascus, the White House said. “In the past six months, the US has used dialogue with the Syrian government to address concerns.

Thousands of Gaza children seek kite world record
31 Jul 2009 - Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip on Thursday sought to break the world record for kite flying in a rare moment of respite from the war-battered enclave’s daily life. More than 6,000 boys and girls gathered on a sandy beach in northern Gaza to fly more than 3,000 kites, according to the officials of the UN agency that organized the event.

Tel Aviv report blames Hamas for Israeli atrocities during Gaza war
31 Jul 2009 - An Israeli government report re leased Thursday claimed “incessant” Hamas rocket attacks forced Israel to hit Gaza hard earlier this year, countering war-crimes charges but acknowledging that over a dozen criminal inquiries were under way. The 160-page report was called the first comprehensive Israeli government study of the punishing offensive in December.

Lieberman targets Chavez’s ties with Tehran
31 Jul 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of cooperating with “radical branches” of Is lam and of anti-Semitism, ac cording to media reports Thursday in Colombia. “I will not speak about intelligence specifics, but we have enough to be concerned about the collaboration between radical branches of Islam.

Riots expose tensions between ultra-orthodox Jews, Israeli state
31 Jul 2009 - "Zionist blood libel!” blare hundreds of posters pasted on walls lining the streets of occupied Jerusalem’s reclusive Jewish ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. In occupied Jerusalem, on the front lines of the Middle East conflict, tensions not only run high between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian Information Center

Families of West Bank detainees attach hope to Hamas's conditions on Fatah
31 Jul 2009 - Families of more than 1,100 Palestinian political detainees in Mahmoud Abbas's jails in the West Bank have attached big hope on the condition made by Hamas Movement..

Media institutes condemn re-arrest of journalist Sabri in W. Bank
31 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Institute for communication and development has strongly condemned Thursday the PA security forces for arresting journalist Mustafa Sabri three days after his release from jail.

Divisions within Fatah looming as members in Rafah refuse to attend congress
31 Jul 2009 - As Fatah faction prepares to hold its sixth congress after 20 years of unexplained delays, members of Fatah faction in Rafah district announced they will boycott the conference..

Hamas calls for Palestinian-Lebanese talks
31 Jul 2009 - Hamas has called for Palestinian-Lebanese talks to lay down the foundation of a strategy that protects the interests of both the Palestinian and the Lebanese people..

NSB resistance fighters clash with occupation soldiers east of Khan Younis
31 Jul 2009 - The NSB, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, announced that its fighters clashed, at dawn Friday, with a group of IOF troops who infiltrated into the Gaza Strip..

Gaza children fly 6000 kites calling for an end to the blockade
31 Jul 2009 - Thousands of children participated on Thursday afternoon in the "summer games" programme organised by the UNRWA in Beith Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Fatah: Don’t allow Dayton to control your convention
31 Jul 2009 - I think it would be safe to say that virtually all Palestinians, including Hamas, would like to see Fatah’s upcoming Congress succeed in rehabilitating the movement

Hamas asks Fatah to give up its arrogance
31 Jul 2009 - Hamas on Thursday asked Fatah to give up its arrogance and to agree to release all Hamas detainees in order for its cadres to have free access to leave Gaza and attend their factions' congress.

IOF soldiers detain university student on behalf of Abbas's security
31 Jul 2009 - IOF on Wednesday detained Emad Al-Takruri, a Quds University student, in Abu Dis town east of occupied Jerusalem only few days after PA security forces in Ramallah failed to do so.

Galloway: Solidarity campaigns with Gaza to continue
31 Jul 2009 - British Member of Parliament George Galloway has said in a press interview that aid convoys to the besieged Gaza Strip would continue to assist the beleaguered Strip.

Los Angeles Times

Iranians defy authorities to mourn those slain in the unrest 
31 Jul 2009 - Thousands flood a Tehran cemetery on the 40th day since the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan. Their defiance sets the stage for protests next week, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to be sworn in. Protesters swarmed Tehran's main cemetery and fanned out across a large swath of the capital Thursday, defying truncheons and tear gas to publicly mourn those killed during weeks of unrest, including a young woman whose death shocked people around the world. 

New York Times

Iran President Says There’s No Rift
31 Jul 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out at critics within his own hard-line camp on Friday, denying any rift with Iran’s supreme leader. 

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. 

West Bank Settlers Send Obama Defiant Message
29 Jul 2009 - Several thousand Jewish settlers inaugurated outposts in a show of defiance as emissaries from the U.S. visited. 

Misc

The non-profit worker from Bethlehem who was branded a terrorist by Bruno 
7/31/2009 - The Guardian - Christian activist plans to sue Sacha Baron Cohen - Interview was filmed in hotel, not refugee camp - For a supposed terrorist, Ayman Abu Aita is remarkably easy to find. It takes one phone call to set up a meeting with the man described in the hit movie Brüno as a "terrorist group leader". He sits alone at a long, white table in the gardens of the Everest hotel and restaurant in Beit Jala, a mountain village near Bethlehem. This, he says, is the "secret location" where he met Brüno, played by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Popular with tourists, the restaurant sits next to an Israeli military compound, not far from the all-seeing watchtowers of the winding separation wall. " How could he say this about me? " asks Abu Aita. "He lied from the beginning and he is still lying now. " Abu Aita, 44, from Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, is described in the film Brüno as a member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah movement. 

PHOTOS - Kite Festival in Palestine
7/30/2009 - The Guardian - 1o images - Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip attempted to set a new world record for flying kites simultaneously on a Mediterranean beach in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. The event was organised by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), who told reporters that 6,000 children had taken part in the event. [end] 

Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program 
7/31/2009 - Bloomberg - July 31 (Bloomberg) -- The U. S. Defense Department wants to accelerate by three years the deployment of a 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb, a request that reflects growing unease over nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea. Comptroller Robert Hale, in a formal request to the four congressional defense committees earlier this month, asked permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s budget to this program to ensure the first four bombs could be mounted on stealthy B-2 bombers by July 2010. Hale, in his July 8 request, said there was “an urgent operational need for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high-threat environments,” and top commanders of U. S. forces in Asia and the Middle East “recently identified the need to expedite” the bomb program. The bomb would be the U. S. military’s largest and six times bigger than the 5,000-pound bunker buster that 

US Senate votes to penalize Iran gasoline suppliers 
7/30/2009 - Reuters - WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - To pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program, the U. S. Senate has voted to ban companies that sell gasoline and other refined oil products to Iran from also receiving Energy Department contracts to deliver crude to the U. S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Iran holds some of the world's biggest oil reserves, but it imports 40 percent of its gasoline to meet growing demand. U. S. lawmakers hope that by cutting off the country's motor fuel, Tehran will abandon its nuclear program, which they fear could be used to make weapons. Iran says its nuclear program would be used for peaceful purposes to generate electricity. The Senate included language to go after Iran's gasoline suppliers in an $34 billion energy and water spending bill that the chamber approved late on Wednesday. The measure must now be reconciled with a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives. 

Israel says Gaza war ’necessary’ 
7/31/2009 - BBC Online - An Israeli government report has said that the Israeli military campaign in Gaza earlier this year was "necessary and proportionate". The war and its conduct have been widely criticised, with Israel and Hamas accused of war crimes. Palestinian sources say about 1,400 Gazans died in the conflict. Thirteen Israeli died. The report said 100 inquiries had been launched into the conduct of soldiers and 14 criminal investigations opened. According to the United Nations, the Israeli military campaign left more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties and 200 schools damaged or destroyed, as well as 39 mosques and two churches. The UN Human Rights Council has appointed former South African judge Richard Goldstone to investigate whether war crimes were committed during the conflict. Israel has declined to co-operate, accusing the UN Human Rights Council of bias against it. 

Israel admits white phosphorus use 
7/31/2009 - Al Jazeera - Israel has admitted to using white phosphorus during its war on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, but says it did so in accordance with international law. The admission came in a 163-page document published by the Israeli foreign ministry on Thursday ahead of a UN report next week. The Israeli army "used munitions containing white phosphorus" in Gaza, the document said, but it denied violating international law, saying it had not fired such weapons inside populated areas. Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli army had initially denied using white phosphorus, a chemical agent that causes severe burns. " During the war, when we first started seeing the white phosphorous, the Israeli army said that everything it was using was in compliance with international law; it would not tell us whether or not it was using it," she said. 

U.S. fall deadline for Iran not coincidental 
7/28/2009 - China View - JERUSALEM, July 27 (Xinhua) -- U. S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has given Iran a deadline until fall to respond positively to the request of U. S. President Barack Obama to enter negotiations over its nuclear program. Gates made the comment after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak on Monday. Analysts say the deadline will tie in with the opening of the UN General Assembly in September. "I don't think the timing of these comments is coincidental," said Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel's defensive Arrow anti-missile program. In his opinion, events in Tel Aviv dovetail with those in Moscow earlier this month, when Obama was hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. There is an attempt by politicians in some regions, including the United States, to present the Iranian threat merely as regional-- something that will not affect Europe or the U. 

Israeli forces, Palestinian fighters clash near Gaza border 
7/30/2009 - China View - GAZA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants took place Thursday morning in southern Gaza strip, Palestinian sources said. " The Israeli ground forces rolled in for tens of meters, sparking heavy exchange of fire with Palestinian militants from different factions," witnesses told Xinhua. Militants from Saraya al-Quds, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, fired up to six mortar shells at the force, the group said in a statement sent to media. There has been no report of casualties. The Israeli army has escalated its operations along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and its territories, saying the incursions were preventive, aiming at stopping possible Palestinian attacks. Meanwhile, the Israeli army arrested eight Palestinians from different areas in the West Bank, Palestinian local sources said. 

Welcome Home Viva Palestina! 
7/31/2009 - Desert Peace - Photos - Scores of New Yorkers gathered last night to hear reports and welcome home the Viva Palestina Convoy that went to Gaza a few weeks ago. As always, our ‘Star’ Associates were there to capture the spirit of the evening. Commentary is by Chippy Dee, photos by Bud Korotzer. On July 29th, 2009, despite the heat, thunder, lightening, and periodic torrential downpours, people crowded into the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn to hear a report from the Viva Palestina Humanitarian Aid Convoy to Gaza. Reverend Herbert Daughtry, often referred to as the people’s pastor, welcomed everyone and said that it was an honour to be part of this humanitarian effort. NYC Councilman Charles Barron, Nayo Joy Simmons (Operation P. O. W. E. R. Co-Chair). and Lamont Carolina, both on Councilman Barron’s staff, and, all three, convoy participants informally shared the presentation with the other convoy participants in the room. 

Articles

Entertaining apartheid Israel deserves no amnesty! 
Various Undersigned Groups, International Solidarity Movement 7/30/2009
      In May, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called on singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen to heed the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel and avoid complicity with Israel’s violations of international law by cancelling his planned September concert in Israel, particularly in view of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza earlier this year. Sadly, according to a July 28 article in the Jerusalem Post, Amnesty International USA has agreed to cooperate with Cohen in dealing with Israel on the basis of business as usual. Amnesty International USA will serve as sponsor of a new fund that will whitewash the money raised at Cohen’s concert in Israel by using it to finance programs for “peace.” Being one of the world’s strongest proponents of human rights and international law, you shall thus be subverting a non-violent, effective effort by Palestinian and international civil society to end Israel’s violations of international law and human rights principles. We call on you to be true to your values and immediately withdraw support for Leonard Cohen’s ill-conceived concert in Israel.
     The Jerusalem Post report indicates that Cohen and his PR staff, having been criticized for trying to normalize Israel’s occupation and apartheid, are trying to whitewash the concert in Israel by using Amnesty International USA’s good name. According to the article, “All of the net proceeds from Leonard Cohen’s September 24 concert at Ramat Gan Stadium will be earmarked for a newly established fund to benefit Israeli and Palestinian organizations that are working toward conciliation,” and the fund will be “sponsored by Amnesty.” Curt Goering, the senior deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, told the Post, “We saw this as an exciting opportunity with potential to recognize, support and pay tribute to the Israelis and Palestinians who have been working for peace and human rights amid a difficult environment and insurmountable odds. I see our participation as complementary to what we do, even though this initiative is different from Amnesty’s ongoing work.”

Homeward bound: Gaza in 24 hours 
Dr. Mona El-Farra writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Electronic Intifada 7/28/2009
      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. Gaza my beautiful home, yes my beautiful home, my beautiful people, who are trying so hard to live. To continue from one day to another. Despite the odds, the hardships, the deaf ears of the world.
     The same day I arrived home, 9 July, I could see from my balcony the rubble of what at one time was Yasser Arafat’s headquarters. The whole building was completely demolished, leveled to the ground, blowing out the windows on one side of my apartment building. It is the same place where one of my cousins was killed the first day of Israel’s assault in December.
     I now see a different Gaza, and it is not the Gaza I have known, it is like a city after an earthquake.
     Many of the historically important buildings were leveled to the ground. I decided to postpone my field visits to the different areas where the assaults were the most savage and brutal. I thought it might be a good idea to wait for the arrival of the delegation of US citizens who were due to cross the border.
     In the meantime, I met some dear friends and coworkers who came to say hello. All of them were loaded with war stories and the panic they faced during the attacks against Gaza. One friend who was a political prisoner, who spent 15 years in the Israeli jails said to me, "I never felt afraid of anything there like the fear I felt this time." I find it strange to even write this sentence, but while we Palestinians are determined to continue our struggle, the reality is that this assault against Gaza was severe and fierce, and cannot be forgotten -- we will feel its effects as a people for a long time.


Electronic Intifada
United for freedom and universal justice
31 Jul 2009 - For years, many people who might have played an active role in striving for an end to Israeli occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights, have stayed silent, loathe to be attacked for criticizing Israel lest they be vilified as anti-Semites. All over the world, people are breaking free of this fear, including significant numbers of Jews, and uniting to support boycott, divestment and sanctions. Omar Barghouti and Sid Shniad comment. 

A night in Bilin
31 Jul 2009 - Over the last few weeks, the residents of Bilin have been subjected to constant night raids by the Israeli military, in retaliation to their weekly nonviolent demonstrations, now in their fifth year, against the Apartheid Wall, which has stolen over half of their land. Jody McIntyre tells what happened one recent night when Bilin's residents turned the tables on their occupiers. 

Amnesty urged to reject "tainted" funds from Leonard Cohen concert
31 Jul 2009 - Amnesty International has been urged to dissociate itself from a fund Palestinian campaigners say will be used to "whitewash" Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. The fund, which Amnesty agreed to administer, is to receive the profits from a planned concert in Israel by singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. Currently on a world tour, Cohen has been greeted by demonstrators in several cities urging him to cancel his concert in Israel. 

As blockade bites deep, more Gaza children must work
31 Jul 2009 - Zaher and Jihad are two boys living in Gaza. Every day they get up early and rush to Gaza City's streets so that they might find something to sell to those walking or driving by. They are just two of a growing number of children who are forced to work to help feed their families as the Israeli-led blockade of the Gaza Strip continues to take its toll on every aspect of life. Rami Almeghari reports. 

In Gaza
Solace of the sea
29 Jul 2009 - Many in Palestine feel that they can talk to the sea.  Many go seaside and do so, tell the sea, the moon, the stars, their troubles, their dreams, their love.

Palestine Chronicle
Israeli Conundrum: 'How to Deal with Iran'
31 Jul 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Israeli officials face a conundrum that may take more than military muscle-flexing to resolve: how to deal with Iran? The solution to this dilemma will require no less than sheer political genius. It must be frustrating for Israeli policymakers and their friends and backers elsewhere to stand idle as Iran openly carries on with its nuclear-enrichment program, facing nothing but United States and European chest-thumping and a mere threat of more sanctions, which will unlikely bend Iranian resolve. It's doubly frustrating considering the relative ease that led the US, its timid coalition and Israeli cheerleaders to unleash a war against Iraq. Alas, those days are long gone. Now, the US is anxiously cloaking its failure in Iraq by pressing the need to tend to more urgent battles elsewhere, namely Afghanistan. Regardless of why the US targeted Iraq, and why its objectives were not met, Israel's own calculations were a surprising success, as the Iraqi menace (manufactured or real) has been eliminated, and the ghost of chaos will likely haunt that unfortunate country for years to come. Now, it's Iran's turn. In fact, it has been Iran's turn for years, but nothing seems to be moving on that front. If the Iraq experiment were successful, the US would have definitely jumped at the opportunity to trample Iran, an oil-rich country with crucially strategic positioning. Controlling Iran would have been the missing piece of the puzzle that would push the borders of US control and influence to lock horns,...

United for Freedom and Universal Justice
31 Jul 2009 - By Omar Barghouti and Sid Shniad For several decades, the world has watched in frustration as the crisis in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory deepened. Confused by the details of what is alleged to be a highly complicated situation and loathe to be attacked for criticizing Israel lest they be vilified as anti-Semites, people who would otherwise be expected to play an active role in striving for an end to Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of discrimination in accordance with international law have chosen to focus their attention elsewhere. In recent years, however, this state of affairs has begun to change dramatically as a growing number of activists and intellectuals − including members of the Jewish communities in the West, who could once be counted upon by Israel to be either unquestioning supporters or silent in their acquiescence to its actions − have begun to find their voice on this matter. The fact that Israel’s decades-old oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine defies the fundamental notions of justice and respect of the rule of law has informed this gradual transformation of people of conscience advocating social justice everywhere. The most recent scenes of Israeli jets and heavy armour mounting savage attacks on defenceless civilian populations − first in Lebanon in 2006, and then in Gaza at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 – compounded a growing perception among international civil society of Israel as a pariah state that is flouting international law and basic human...

Gaza in A Jar?
31 Jul 2009 - By Dallas Darling During the Nuremberg Trials, there is a story of a disturbing incident that occurred. The prosecution was finding it difficult to convict those accused of committing crimes against humanity. The suspected war criminals were either justifying their mass murder as acts of self-defense, or claiming to be helpless statesmen and soldiers only obeying orders. Someone then brought in the head of a Jewish victim preserved in a jar. While prosecutors explained it had been used as a paper weight, and a senior officer of a death camp identified it as his, a horrified groan and gasp could be heard among those in attendance. This incident came to mind when a U.N. team recently investigated alleged war crimes during the Israeli-Gaza War, and when Amnesty International reported human atrocities were committed by Israel and Hamas. Although the Jewish Holocaust and Palestinian Naqba are two differing events occurring at different times, the principles of injustice, human suffering, and ethnic killings are somewhat similar. So were the inactions of the major powers and feelings of numbness shared by the world, whether towards European Jews or Palestinians living in present-day Gaza. (The two events may even be tragically interwoven!) Both the U.N. and Amnesty International found that Israeli Defense Forces killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of Gaza Strip homes in numerous attacks and a sustained aerial bombing campaign. They also revealed evidence of Israel using artillery, white incendiary phosphorus, and other indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas. Some...

Israel's Discriminatory Land Policies
31 Jul 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago Israel's late 1947 -1948 "War of Independence" took six months to create a new Jewish state, excluding Arabs to the greatest extent possible. To accomplish it, widespread war crimes and atrocities were committed as about 800,000 people were brutally uprooted, ethnically cleansed, or murdered in cold blood. In addition, 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities were destroyed and erased except in the collective memories of their inhabitants and descendants who'll always consider them their rightful homes. Shortly after, laws were passed to legitimize the seizure and exclusive Jewish use of Palestinian land. The June 1948 Abandoned Areas Ordinance referred to "any area or place conquered by or surrendered to armed forces or deserted by all or part of its inhabitants." It gave the Israeli government exclusive jurisdiction rights, including "expropriation and confiscation (authority over) movable and immovable property, within any abandoned area." It meant displaced Palestinians were prohibited from returning and claiming their property that by law was no longer theirs. The September 1948 Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance stated that "Any law applying to the whole of the State of Israel" applies as well "to the whole of the area including....any part of Palestine which the Minister of Defence has defined by proclamation as being held by the Defence Army of Israel." It meant that Palestinians lost all rights and were subject to whatever laws Israel enacted. In March 1950, the Absentees' Property Law (ABL) defined...

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