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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
1 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Settlers attempt to kill a Palestinian in Hebron
1 Aug 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Saturday that a group of extremist settlers of the Dabbouya illegal outpost, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, attempted to kill a Palestinian man in Al Shuhada Street in the center of the city. 

Israeli soldiers kidnapped 312 Palestinians in July
1 Aug 2009 - Palestinian researcher, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, stated Saturday that Israeli soldiers kidnapped 312 Palestinians, including dozens of teens, during the month of July. 

Soldiers burn agricultural lands in northern Gaza
1 Aug 2009 - The Ramattan news agency reported Saturday that Israeli soldiers burnt Palestinian agricultural lands belonging to two Palestinian residents, near the Eretz crossing, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

New city for "religious Jews" threatening Arabs in Galilee area
1 Aug 2009 - 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. 

Israel admits to using white phosphorus in Gaza invasion
1 Aug 2009 - After initially denying the use of white phosphorus against the population of Gaza during its invasion in January (despite clear video evidence showing the chemical agent), the Israeli government has now admitted to firing white phosphorus, but says the army's use of the agent was in accordance with international law. 

Fateh woman manages to ‘escape’ from Hamas to participate in Bethlehem conference
1 Aug 2009 - Palestinian sources reported on Friday at night that a woman, a prominent member of Fateh movement, managed to leave the Gaza Strip to participate in the Fateh Sixth General Conference planned for next week in Bethlehem. 

Extremist settlers install an illegal outpost
1 Aug 2009 - Israeli sources reported that a group of extreme right-wing settlers installed on Friday an illegal settlement outpost near the Kedumim illegal Israeli settlement, in the northern part of the West Bank.  

Ha'aretz Defense page

Two killed in shooting at Tel Aviv gay center
1 Aug 2009 - 13 others wounded in shooting spree; police launch manhunt for black-clad gunman in apparent hate crime. 

Report: Lebanon man gets life for Israel spying
1 Aug 2009 - The Associated Press quotes Lebanon officials as saying man convicted of handing over info on Hezbollah. 

Report: Fatah to oppose recognizing Israel as Jewish state
1 Aug 2009 - Arab press: Leaked draft of new platform calls for limited armed 'resistance,' dialogue with Iran. 

Lawmaker: Al-Qaida may have infiltrated U.K. spy body
1 Aug 2009 - 6 Muslims who applied to MI5 after July 7th terror attacks ejected due to concerns about their background. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Israeli police arrest 154 'illegal' Palestinians
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli authorities detained 154 so-called illegal Palestinian workers Saturday, according to news reports. The Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the 154 Palestinians were "illegally residing in Israel," and that some were deported to areas loosely administrated by the Palestinian Authority. The newspaper also said that several of the detainees were first taken for questioning, and that only some were deported across the Green Line. Twelve Israelis suspected of employing or aiding what the newspaper called illegal aliens were also arrested. Israel has control over not only its country but also the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which were occupied in 1967. It maintains a three-tier system of citizenship for Palestinians. 

MoH: Gaza out of supplies, 'medical disaster' at hand
8/1/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Ministry of Health warehouses are running out of 80 different kinds of cancer, psychiatric and post-operative medications and 125 different kinds of medical supplies relating to thalassemia and dialysis treatments. Already limited supplies have meant mediations get reserved for the most severe cases, which is "putting the lives of at least 349 patients at risk," head of the planning department in the Ministry of Health Ashraf Abu Mahadi said. The general administration of the ministry blamed the siege and Israeli border officials for preventing supplies, most of which are on order or waiting in storage containers outside the Strip, from getting to patients. Senior official in the ministry Yousef Al-Mudalal warned of a health catastrophe that might claim the lives of hundreds of patients if meds are not brought in to Gaza soon. 

Wild boar attacks persist in Salfit
7/31/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - More than 100 wild boars descended on a farming area west of Salfit Saturday, destroying several small agricultural structures and crops, locals said. Local butcher Nuzhat Ishtayeiyah from the Al- Maslakh Al-Baladi area, where most of the destruction was registered, said the boars have been coming by the slaughterhouse more and more frequently, and gathering in the valley to the west of the area. "Whatever is behind these attacks must be stopped," he said. For years locals have attributed the boar attacks to the machinations of hostile nearby Israeli settler groups. One resident, Mahmoud Bani Namera, said he was sure that was the root of the most recent attack. Local witnesses said the boars came from the Al-Frez area of Salfit municipality, running through unfenced gardens and destroying vegetable crops in the area. 

Man says settlers tried to kill him in Hebron
8/1/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - An injured Palestinian filed a complaint with Israeli police operating near the illegal settlement of Avraham Aveno in Hebron on Saturday, charging that a mob of settlers tried to kill him earlier the same day. Nedal Al-A'zazmah, 32, told Ma'an that "while I was on my way home [in the Abu Sneinah neighborhood] I was attacked by about 10 settlers, who began to beat me. "He said they were carrying some kind of tools. The Palestinian suffered multiple injuries all over his body but they appeared not to be life-threatening. Meanwhile in a separate incident, settlers flipped over water tanks on top of Palestinian homes, according to Nedal Al-E'wewi, an owner of one of the houses that was vandalized. He said his home was set on fire earlier this year. In yet another incident in Hebron's Old City, settlers reportedly destroyed a car belonging to a member of the An-Natshah family. 

Azzun Atma villagers add site for weekly protest against wall
8/1/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - The Palestine People's Party (PPP) organized a rally against the Israeli separation wall in the village of Azzun Atma, where the planned route of the wall will surround the village on four sides with a small access gate under Israeli control. Two members of the PPP Central Committee, Nael Selmi and Sabri Arar, attended the rally, and spoke to the international press about the deleterious effects of the wall on life, economy and prosperity in the area. Nael Selmi announced during the event that "these rallies will go on until international decisions that demand the dismantling of this wall are implemented. " The rally at Azzun Atma marks the fourth site of regular popular resistance activites against the wall on Fridays, joining the ranks of the vilalges of Bil'in, Na'lin and Al-Ma'sara. 

Report: Israeli forces delay evacuation of latest settlement outpost
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli soldiers postponed the evacuation of a new illegal settlement until the close of the Jewish holy day on Saturday, following reports of angry Zionist settlers throwing stones at the soldiers. At least 30 settlers set up a new outpost they are calling "Mitzpe Ami" near the West Bank settlement of Qedumin southwest of Tulkarem shortly before sundown Friday evening. An Israeli forces official said the army viewed the incident as "a serious provocation with a security risk," and sent in soldiers to dismantle the outpost. According to the Israeli daily paper Haaretz, "Until the Sabbath ends, the Border Patrol will provide security for the outpost. "Settlers in the area reportedly threw stones at passing Palestinian vehicles. Soldiers evacuating the area withdrew, according to Israel Radio, with plans to return after sundown Saturday. 

Israeli forces detain Palestinian youth ’carrying knife’
8/1/2009 - Tubas - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian man at Al-Hamra checkpoint east of Tubas in the northern West Bank on Saturday, claiming he was carrying a knife. According to members of his family, 16-year-old Muhannad Daraghma was detained by Israeli forces as he attempted to cross the checkpoint. He was taken for interrogation. [end] 

Mash’al: Hamas willing to cooperate with US, others
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Hamas movement is willing to cooperate with the United States in achieving a comprehensive peace deal with Israel, its leader in exile Khaled Mash'al said in an interview. The American newspaper The Wall Street Journal in its Friday edition quoted Mash'al saying that Hamas would not stand in the way of an immediate, reciprocal ceasefire with Israel. Mash'al also said Hamas would commit to both a ceasefire and prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit if the US made good on its rejection of illegal settlements and the Gaza siege. "Hamas and other Palestinian groups are ready to cooperate with any American, international or regional effort to find a just solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, to end the Israeli occupation and to grant the Palestinian people their right of self-determination," Masha'al said. 

Fayyad: East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, and the future state must have full sovereignty over it, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said near Ramallah on Saturday. Speaking at a conference organized by Birzeit University's Institute for Palestine studies entitled, "Jerusalem: History of the Future," Fayyad said that peace in the region depended on protection of the Palestinian capital. "The conference's title bears a meaning that all of us believe in, which is that the future of the national project and the future of a comprehensive peace in the region are both dependent on protecting Jerusalem, its status, its history, and Palestinian rights in the city," the prime minister added. He said that achieving these rights would be key to peace, security and stability in the region, and that any Israeli attempt to trespass on these rights would be doomed to fail. 

Fatah: Gaza boycott TBA following Ramallah Central Committee meeting
8/1/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Fatah leadership in Gaza has not yet taken a decision to boycott the movement's sixth conference Central Committee Zakariyya Al-Agha said later Saturday. A final decision will be taken once the Central Committee meeting in Ramallah is over. That meeting is expected to address the rumored addition of 900 members to voting lists, which Fatah members in Gaza called an "illegal" attempt to bolster support for current Central Committee members who will stand for re-election. Al-Agha said a letter would be sent to president Abbas and the Central Committee explaining the position of the Fatah members in Gaza and their concerns around the addition of hundreds to the voting list. The initial tip that the Fatah leaders in Gaza would boycott the conference came Friday night when the secretaries general of Fatah in multiple regions of the Gaza Strip met in Gaza City to discuss the registration issue. 

Government regulated fuel prices for August
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Ministry of Finance released regulated fuel prices for consumers across Palestine for August 2009 as follows: One liter of diesel = 4. 65 NIS (Israeli shekels), One liter of benzene (gasoline) 95 octane = 5. 90 NIS, One liter of benzene 96 octane = 5. 90 NIS, One liter of benzene 98 octane = 6. 38 NIS, One liter of kerosene = 4. 65 NIS, Twelve-kilogram bottle of cooking gas = 50 NIS for consumers, 48-kilogram bottle of cooking gas = 200 NIS for consumers, One liter of cooking gas = 2. 23 NIS. [end] 

Fatah Central Committee will meet today over expanded conference list
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Fatah Central Committee will go ahead with its scheduled Saturday meeting over final preparations for the movement's sixth conference set to begin Tuesday, the committee said. The main topic of the meeting will be the increase in the number of participants as earlier ratified by the preparatory committee. The preparatory committee increased the number of participants from 1,550 to 2,450, from an original decision to limit the number to 650. A number of Fatah members criticized the move as a plot by Central Committee members who want to nominate themselves for spots on the to-be-elected Central Committee by bolstering the number of their personal supporters among the attendees. Most notable was a call by Fatah secretaries general in Gaza to boycott the conference in opposition of what they called the "illegal addition of members. 

Hamas to arrest Gaza Fatah members who snuck out
8/1/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip announced the decision that Fatah leaders who snuck out of the Strip to the West Bank to partake in the movement's sixth conference would be detained if they come back to the Gaza Strip. Fatah members who snuck out will be charged with violating agovernmental decision, said a spokesman of the de facto government's interior ministry Eyhab Al-Ghussein on Saturday. Al-Ghussein explained that the de facto government decided to prohibit departure of Fatah leaders from Gaza pending the release by the PA of all Hamas-affiliated detainees in custody in the West Bank. "Those who snuck to the West Bank over the past few days," he added thwarted the release of illegally detained Palestinians and may also have coordinated with the Israeli occupation in their movements. 

Hamas: PA security arrest three supporters
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority's security services arrested three Hamas supporters in the West Bank on Friday, a statement from the party said. Those detained were from the Nablus, Qalqiliya, and Tulkarem districts in the northern West Bank. [end] 

Fatah leader in Lebanon visits Bethlehem refugee camp
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah's top leader in Lebanon Sultan Abu Al-Aynein, in Bethlehem for the movement's sixth conference, paid a visit Saturday to Ayda Refugee Camp along with Fatah delegates from Syria, Lebanon, Russia, and the Ukraine on Saturday. Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi and other Fatah leaders in the camp received the visitors at the Ayda Youth Center. "Choosing to visit Ayda camp is an important indication that the refugees issue remains the core of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and there will be no just solution without securing the right of return of Palestinian refugees," Qaraqi said in his welcome remarks. For his part, Abu Al-Aynein asserted that visiting the camp indicated that the right of return is sacred and considered one of the unchangeable and nonnegotiable Palestinian principles. 

Man jailed overnight as courts crack down on smokers
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Following the decision of a Bethlehem magistrate last month, a man was fined 28 US dollars and imprisoned overnight for lighting a cigarette in a local courtroom. The unidentified man was detained for 24 hours then tried before the magistrate court and fined for violating the no smoking law, said Bethlehem prosecutor Ala'a Tamimi. "The prosecution is ready to help government ministries implement the law banning smoking in public places, ministry buildings as well as private sector organizations whose internal law bans smoking," Tamimi said. The law was first passed by head of Bethlehem court Hazim Dkeidik last month, which brings most municipal and public buildings in line with earlier regulations that banned smoking in Ministry of Health and Education buildings. Article four of the Palestinian anti-smoking law of 2005 reads that smoking is banned in all public places. 

Fatah members from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan visit Arafat’s tomb
8/1/2009 - Ma'an's photographers shot this photo of a woman weeping at the site of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's tomb in Ramallah. Some 150 Fatah leaders for Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Tunisia and Qatar have arrived in this week to participate in the Sixth Fatah Congress in Bethlehem. Many of those coming from abroad had never before set foot in the West Bank. What are your thoughts on the Fatah conference? [end] 

Teachers Union: PA should delay start of school year
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestine's school system should be moved back a month due to concerns over swine flu and the start of Ramadan, Teachers Union Secretary-General Jamil Shahada said on Saturday. Shahada said he presented a proposal to the Palestinian Authority asking it to push back the year's start from August to 1 September so classes do not start during the first week of Ramadan, which begins 20 August. He also said officials need to observe the spread of H1N1 before they can be sure the time is right to start classes, and that dealing with both issues would be compounded by the August heat. Shahada proposed that schools make up for the lost time at the end of the school year, and told Ma'an that he expects the government to respond within 48 hours. 

Fatah committee confirms delegate count
8/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Following a meeting to determine the number of delegates included in this week's sixth conference, the Fatah Central Committee arrived at a figure: 2,265. The committee arrived at the figure during a meeting held at the presidential compound in Ramallah, according to Azzam Al-Ahmad, the head of the Fatah bloc in Palestine's parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). "We increased the number of members who will attend the conference from 1,252 to 2,265," Al-Ahmad said. "The other issue, the main obstacle [discussed], was [Hamas] not allowing members from Gaza to attend. "The committee also hashed out plans in the event that Hamas never allows delegates to leave Gaza, Al-Ahmad added. He said Fatah's Revolutionary Council would wrap up those proposals later in a joint meeting. Contacts are still being made with countries friendly to the Hamas-backed de facto government in Gaza. 

The National

Hamas blocks Fatah delegates from summit
1 Aug 2009 - General Conference an opportunity for Fatah members to elect leaders to ruling body but Hamas bars movement to Bethlehem.

Brotherhood on the defensive in Egypt
1 Aug 2009 - The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's strongest opposition group, is reportedly seeking a deal with the government to end recent efforts to dismantle the group.

Iran puts election protesters on trial
1 Aug 2009 - Pressure mounts on Tehran to free prisoners held during post poll unrest as about 100 people accused of rioting go on trial.

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.

Aljazeera

Iran detains US nationals at border
1 Aug 2009 - Three US nationals arrested at Iran-Iraqi Kurdistan border after hiking in mountains.

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

Palestine News Network

Activists released after being arrested attempting to prevent violent seizure of Sheikh Jarrah home
1 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – A Fateh official is still banned from nearing the solidarity tent in Sheikh Jarrah, having been given a 15-day sentence. Other Palestinians were released after being arrested last week while trying to protect a home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood. Dozens of settlers had invaded a home in Sheikh Jarrah, attacking local and international activists with the help of...

Bethlehem prepares for Fateh Sixth Conference as some residents complain of partisan politics
1 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - Bethlehem is nearly ready as far as traffic and security are concerned for the Sixth General Conference of the Fateh movement. Although not officially beginning until Tuesday, events are underway with a meeting of the Fateh Central Committee.After numerous delays and failing to find an alternate venue the conference is being held in the West Bank’s Bethlehem near Manger...

Human rights report notes 200 arrests in Barta’ and 900 Palestinians in prison without family ...
31 Jul 2009 - PNN - Some 900 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails have been deprived of family visitation for over two years. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report for the week of 23 through 29 July also notes this week that Israeli forces arrested 200 workers from Barta’a Village which is isolated by the Wall.A report by the Prisoners’ Society noted today that...

Fateh members begin arriving in West Bank for Sixth General Conference including 57 from Gaza Strip
31 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - Sources in the Fateh party report that some 57 members have found a way out of the Gaza Strip and into the West Bank for the Sixth Conference. The Fateh movement’s Sixth General Conference is being held this month in Bethlehem, but members of the party in Gaza are facing the repercussions of the ongoing internal struggle. The Hamas...

"Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture" events coming to Nablus featuring poetry and mosaic
31 Jul 2009 - Nablus / PNN – Events for “Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture” are moving to the northern West Bank next week. Beginning on the tenth of this month Nablus will host seven days of the best of Palestinian culture, stunted only by the constraints of occupation.Nablus governor, Dr. Jamal Muhaisin, was joined in welcoming the festival by the mayor of the city, the...

Day and night demonstrations in Bil'in against Wall and arrest raids, soldiers fire noxious water
31 Jul 2009 - Bi’lin / PNN – At the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the Wall in western Ramallah’s Bi’lin Village, residents and supporters chanted slogans for peace. Approximately 100 meters from the Wall, which in this part of the West Bank is a tall guarded fence, Palestinians, Israeli activists and a foreign supporter addressed the Israeli soldiers. “We are against the continuing military occupation and we...

Na’alin nonviolent resistance: unity is the secret of our success in continuation of struggle
31 Jul 2009 - Na’alin / PNN – The people of western Ramallah’s Na’alin Village demonstrated again Friday as part of an ongoing campaign of nonviolent resistance against settlements and the Wall in the West Bank. Noon prayers were held on village lands near those confiscated for the Wall. Sheikh Mohammed Omaira led the service in remembrance of the youth killed by Israeli forces during past demonstrations...

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

MIDEAST: Obama Maneuvres Between Jewish Israelis, Jewish Americans 
WASHINGTON, Jul 31 (IPS) - Pres. Barack Obama has repeatedly declared himself a close friend of Israel. But many Israelis inside and outside their country's government have now expressed concern about the lack of closeness, or even just of attention, with which they feel Obama is treating them.

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.

Stop The Wall

Brides and grooms lead popular march in al-Ma’sara
1 Aug 2009 - Summer is wedding season in Palestine, and Friday in al-Ma’sara brides and grooms led the weekly march against the Wall and settlements. Hundreds of people participated, confronting Occupation forces at the entrance of the village. Scuffles occurred when some broke through the razor wire, and three people were arrested. [

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. [


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

U.S. Congressmen to Saudi Arabia: Show you want peace with Israel
31 Jul 2009 - More than 200 congressmen have signed a letter in which they urge Saudi Arabia to show its commitment to reaching peace with Israel, after the Saudi foreign minister on Friday rejected U.S. pleas to improve ties with the country. ...

Mousavi: Foreign powers not behind Iran protests
31 Jul 2009 - Iranian opposition leader Nir Housein Mousavi on Saturday denied claims made by the Iranian regime that Western countries were behind post-election protests. ...

Report: Iran confirms arrest of 3 U.S. tourists near Iraqi border
31 Jul 2009 - Iran state TV confirmed Saturday that it has detained three Americans who crossed the border from northern Iraq, saying they failed to heed warnings from Iranian guards. ...

Hezbollah: Obama providing cover for Israeli 'crimes'
31 Jul 2009 - Hezbollah said Saturday that Barack Obama was providing cover for Israeli "crimes," AFP reported, following the U.S. president's extension of sanctions against Syria. ...

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

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

Police to ask for Lieberman's criminal indictment within days 
1 Aug 2009 - Police are close to submitting a recommendation to indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of fraud, money laundering, breach of trust and obstruction of justice, sources involved in the investigation said. ... 

Gay community mourns 'worst homophobic hate crime in Israel'
1 Aug 2009 - Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, Israel's only openly gay lawmaker, condemned the attack on a Tel Aviv gay and lesbian youth club on Saturday as a hate crime. ...

Thousands rally in Tel Aviv to protest deportation of migrants
31 Jul 2009 - Thousands of people took part in a demonstration Saturday next to the old Tel Aviv bus station, protesting against government plans to expel migrant workers. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Remarks with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal
1 Aug 2009 - Source: US Department of State

The PRCS concludes a course in the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in which participated 25 officers from the Palestinian Security Services
1 Aug 2009 - Source: Palestine Red Crescent Society

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

YNet News

Officer hurt in haredi rally against opening of parking lot on Shabbat
1 Aug 2009 - Ultra-Orthodox try to break through police barricade, prevent entrance of cars to Karta parking lot near Old City; 15 haredim detained during disturbance; secular group greets lot's visitors with flowers, list of Jerusalem businesses open on Shabbat 

MKs demand parliamentary probe of soldier abuse
1 Aug 2009 - MKs Shai, Matalon say abuse of soldiers by commanders in IDF is rapidly growing phenomenon 

Lebanese man gets life sentence for Israel spying
1 Aug 2009 - Military court sentences man to life in jail for 'giving Israel information about Hezbollah'; man also sentenced for entering Israel and using forged documents 

Hezbollah slams US for extending Syria sanctions
1 Aug 2009 - Shiite group says Obama's decision to renew sanctions against Syrian nationals accused of undermining Lebanon's sovereignty 'continuation of the logic of imperial arrogance' and 'cover for the crimes of Israeli enemy' 

2 more swine flu deaths hit Middle East
1 Aug 2009 - Latest deaths in Lebanon, Qatar bring toll across region to eight; Saudi Arabia worst hit country in Arab world 

Hamas threatens Fatah ahead of party congress
1 Aug 2009 - Islamist group says Fatah members who will defy ban on leaving Gaza to attend faction's first congress in 20 years in Bethlehem Tuesday will be prosecuted; Fatah says eight delegates from Strip already in West Bank 

Daily Star

Obama extends US sanctions against Syrian figures
1 Aug 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
1 Aug 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
1 Aug 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
1 Aug 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
1 Aug 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

Fatah leader calls for “strategic alliance” with Iran
1 Aug 2009 - Fatah Jerusalem leader Hatem Abdul Qader on Saturday called for forging “strategic relations” between the group and Iran.

Israeli settlers install new outpost north West Bank
1 Aug 2009 - Palestinian sources reported that armed Israeli settlers established on Saturday a new illegal settlement outpost on an area located between Nablus and Qalqiliya, north of the West Bank.

Mishaal: Fatah cadres departure from Gaza linked to release of Hamas detainees
1 Aug 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the Hamas leader, has asserted that the Fatah leaders in Gaza would be allowed out of it to attend their factions' meeting only when Hamas detainees in the West Bank are released.

Report: Israel kidnapped 312 Palestinians last month
1 Aug 2009 - A Palestinian report said that the IOF troops kidnapped 312 Palestinian citizens during last July at a rate of 11 Palestinians everyday.

Hamas: Israeli settlers attack Palestinian property thanks to PA militias’ acts
1 Aug 2009 - Hamas said that the PA militia’s practices in the West Bank serve the security of the occupation and encourage settlers to attack citizens and their property in the Palestinian occupied lands.

Ghussain: Citizens illegally traveling will be prosecuted
1 Aug 2009 - Ihab Al-Ghussain, the spokesman for the interior ministry, on Saturday underlined that any citizen illegally traveling outside the Strip or in coordination with the IOA would stand trial.

Hamas: Two Palestinians were killed in July by Israel and the PA
1 Aug 2009 - Hamas said in its monthly report on the PA-Israeli violations of human rights that the IOF troops and the PA militias had killed at least one Palestinian citizen during the last month.

IOF troops hand demolition notifications to Palestinian villagers
1 Aug 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Friday stormed the village of Yitma, Nablus, district, and handed nine villagers notifications that their homes would be demolished.

Abu Snene decries Arab, Islamic silence towards Zionist schemes
1 Aug 2009 - Sheikh Yousef Abu Snene, the Khatib (preacher) of the Aqsa Mosque, has criticized the Arab and Islamic silence towards the serious Zionist schemes targeting occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

Haneyya: The next round of dialog may not be held due to the persistent arrests
1 Aug 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya ruled out Friday the possibility of holding the next round of the inter-Palestinian dialog in light of the ongoing political arrests in the West Bank.

Los Angeles Times

Amid the ruins in Gaza, Palestinians wait for rebuilding to start 
1 Aug 2009 - More than six months after the Israeli offensive, little rebuilding has begun. A blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt and slow aid delivery have made materials hard to find. Each morning, Thaeer Alsheikh sits beside the ruins of his family's two-story house, destroyed by Israeli forces in the final days of the 22-day Gaza Strip offensive in the winter. 

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

Conspiracy Trial for 100 Dissidents Begins in Iran
1 Aug 2009 - The Iranian authorities opened an extraordinary mass trial against more than 100 opposition figures, accusing them of conspiring with foreign powers to stage a revolution. 

Iran Says It Arrested 3 American Hikers
1 Aug 2009 - The Iranian authorities arrested three Americans after they crossed the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s border. 

Gunman Kills 3 at Gay Club in Israel
1 Aug 2009 - Israeli police say a gunman entered a youth club for gay teens in central Tel Aviv, killing two and injuring 12. 

Misc

Israelis go to war with a new weapon – Beethoven 
8/1/2009 - The National - Jonathan Cook - From his balcony, Geoffrey Goodman can see his neighbours in Tarshiha, who he says have been making his life a misery. Jonathan Cook / The NationalTARSHIHA, ISRAEL // The Jewish community of Kfar Vradim, set in the still-verdant hills of northern Israel close to the Lebanese border, has taken the idea of neighbourly feuds to a new – and noisier – level. Last week, it set up a large sound system, pointed it at the neighbouring homes in the Arab town of Tarshiha, the nearest of which are less than 1km away, and blasted them with Beethoven and Mozart. Officials said they were forced to take the drastic step in retaliation for what they call the “deafening” blare of Arab music from late-night street parties the villagers have to endure each summer through the wedding season. “You can’t believe how loud it is,” said Sue Goodman, 67, whose home faces Tarshiha’s noisiest neighbourhood across a small valley. 

Week in review: Israel impatient with US 
7/31/2009 - The National - While the Obama administration dispatched an array of its top officials for meetings with their Israeli counterparts this week, pressure is being applied in both directions. The US president's determination to advance the peace process is being challenged by Israel's insistence that time is running out if Iran's purported nuclear ambitions are to be thwarted. " Strains between the United States and Israel surfaced publicly in Jerusalem on Monday, as Defense Secretary Robert M Gates tried to reassure Israelis that American overtures to Iran were not open-ended, and as Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Israel expressed impatience with the Americans for wanting to engage Iran at all," The New York Times reported. "'I don't think that it makes any sense at this stage to talk a lot about it,' Mr Barak said at a joint news conference with Mr Gates at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, referring 

Hamas blocks Fatah delegates from summit 
8/1/2009 - The National - GAZA CITY // Musa Abdel Nabi spends a lot of time these days playing chess. A former chief in the Palestinian Authority police force and a leading member of Fatah in the Gaza Strip, he has effectively lived the life of a retiree since Hamas ousted Fatah-affiliated PA forces in June 2007. He is also one of 450 Gaza-based Fatah members that Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, is preventing from leaving Gaza in order to attend Fatah’s Sixth General Conference in Bethlehem that starts on Tuesday. It is a counter-productive prohibition, argued Mr Abdel Nabi over a game of chess a few days ago in the courtyard of a school in Gaza City. “It’s in Hamas’ interest that we go [to Bethlehem]. It is in Hamas’s interest that it negotiates [unity] with a faction in which there is no more confusion. That is what the conference is about, ending the confusion in Fatah. 

US Tells Israel: Iran Has Eight Weeks 
7/31/2009 - The Nation - Robert Dreyfuss - Robert Gates, Jim Jones, and other US officials traipsing in and out of Israel this week have told Israeli officials to stop "ranting and raving" about Iran for, oh, about eight more weeks. Eight weeks! According to Haaretz, the liberal Israeli daily, that's how much time they're willing to give Iran to start talking. Let's hope that Iran does start talking by then, but if they don't, well, then it'll take longer. But the Obama administration seems set on tougher sanctions after that. Perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious part of the Haaretz report is that Jones and Co. told the Israelis about the progress of Joe Liberman-sponsored sanctions legislation in the US Senate. Said the paper: "Jones and his team reported that a bill by Senator Joe Lieberman to curb sales of refined oil products to Iran is almost complete, and 67 senators have already signed it. " 

VIDEO - Brookln City Council Members Discuss Trip to Gaza 
7/31/2009 - Blip TV - District 42 City Council Member Charles Barron speaks with his guests, 40th District Assemblywoman Inez Barron, his Chief of Staff Nayo Simmons, Council Staff Member Lamont Carolina about impressions of the Middle East after their recent trip to Gaza as well as the shift in mayoral control of New York City's educational system. [end] 

Rahm Emanuel: Self-hating Jew or peace-broker? 
7/31/2009 - Ha'aretz - Netanyahu Aides Insist Rahm Emanuel Plotting Against Israel - WASHINGTON - When I ask a liberal American Jew involved in politics what he thinks of the claim that Rahm Emanuel is an anti-Israeli fifth column in the Obama administration, he laughs. "So, do they really think in Israel that Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Dan Shapiro, Mara Rudman, Dennis Ross and the other good American Jews who work with Obama are a fifth column? " And then he says slowly, like someone explaining something to a person who has difficulty understanding: "How many times do you have to be told. . . " ". . . that you love us? " I try to complete the sentence. "No. That your policy is screwed up. "AdvertisementThe most interesting stories about Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, are recounted with the recording device turned off. "He has a good memory, and I don't want a dead fish delivered to me," snickers one of interviewees. 

Israel Prepares for War Over WHO Gaza Reports 
8/1/2009 - Antiwar.com - JERUSALEM — 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. The World Health Organization is charging that Gazans have limited access to proper medical supplies because of the continuing Israeli blockade. In a detailed report Thursday on the dire medical situation in the Hamas controlled area, the WHO report notes that equipment now in use is often broken or outdated. While some medicines are allowed in for humanitarian reasons, import of spare parts or new medical devices into Gaza is limited, WHO says. The UN agency also said well-meant donations are not helping. Equipment like X-ray machines and batteries are particularly difficult to get through the Israeli blockade which was imposed two years ago when Hamas took control of Gaza. 

Settlement Foes Take Fight to Israel’s High Court 
7/31/2009 - Washington Post - BURQA, West Bank -- It has been nearly a decade since the Jewish settlement of Migron appeared on the hilltop opposite this Palestinian village, beginning with a communications tower and followed by a cluster of homes and a fence around approximately 90 acres of land. Data tucked onto the hard drive of anti-settlement activist Dror Etkes's computer indicates that the land belongs to the residents of Burqa and nearby Deir Dibwan, and Etkes said he expects that information will one day force the settlers to leave. The compulsion won't come from Israel's politicians, world public opinion or the Obama administration, Etkes contends, but from Israel's Supreme Court, where local advocacy groups are having increased success challenging settlements with simple property claims. Etkes, the 42-year-old coordinator of settlement issues for the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, has helped instigate 

Report: Lieberman accuses Chavez of ties to ’radical’ Islamists 
7/31/2009 - YNetNews - Venezuelan president cooperating with 'radical branches' of Islam, FM reportedly says - Israel News - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of cooperating with "radical branches" of Islam and of anti-Semitism, according 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 and Hugo Chavez," Lieberman told the El Tiempo newspaper at the conclusion of a 10-day South American visit which included stops in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Lieberman was responding to questions seeking evidence to support Israel's contention that Iranian-backed Hezbollah has cells in Venezuela. An Israeli diplomat travelling with Lieberman, Dorit Shavit, made the claim in the Jewish News Agency of Argentina, home to the largest Jewish community in South America. 

Saudi Arabia rejects U.S. pleas on Israel 
7/31/2009 - Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia Friday accused Israel of not being serious about peace with the Palestinians and rejected U. S. pleas to improve ties with Israel as a way of jump-starting regional peace talks. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the "incremental" approach used by the United States to get talks rolling would not work and core issues must be tackled. " Temporary security and confidence-building measures will also not bring peace. What is required is a comprehensive approach that defines the final outcome and launches into negotiations over final-status issues," he said at a joint news conference with U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. By final-status issues, Saud was referring to matters such as resolving the borders of a future Palestinian state, the fate of refugees, water disputes and the future of Jerusalem. 

Articles

The Old Bibi Is Back 
Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, Antiwar.com 7/30/2009
      JERUSALEM — "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.
     Re-elected in February, Netanyahu seemed aware of the question on everyone’s lips — foes and new-found friends alike: Will Bibi the Second be different from Bibi the First?
     For the first hundred days in office the answer was still in the balance, although most Israelis, and even U.S. citizens, were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that he had changed, that Benjamin Netanyahu was no longer Bibi.
     Now, there’s little doubt: Bibi’s back.
     This week he railroaded a controversial law through the Knesset, allowing fractious dissidents to break away from the political list on which they were elected. Bibi’s transparent purpose was to consolidate his right-wing coalition by creating an avenue for the former defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, number two in the main opposition Kadima, to rejoin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
     But Mofaz, calling the Prime Minister "a lowly political wheeler-dealer," refused to act on a law which disparagingly bears his name. Although he criticizes his own party leader Tsipi Livni for not joining the Netanyahu-led government, he made plain that he himself would not stoop so low as to serve Netanyahu’s purpose.
     "How you can allow yourself to promote such a law. The time has come for you to behave like a Prime Minister," he chastised Netanyahu. "Maybe it’s because you believe you’re allowed to do anything," he went on, "Maybe you’ve reached the conclusion that you have to survive at any price."

Fatah: Don’t Allow Dayton To Control Your Convention 
Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank, Desert Peace 7/31/2009
      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, mainly by extricating it from the quagmire of corruption, treachery and “security coordination” with Israel, the Nazi-like occupier of our homeland and tormentor of our people.
     Fatah is a large movement and its role in leading Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonialism can’t be denied. But it is also true that for many years Fatah has been metamorphosed into a “contra force” working, knowingly or unknowingly, against the national interests of the Palestinian people.
     Fatah officials and spokesmen would vociferously deny such descriptions. However, the facts speak for themselves. The ongoing inquisition against Hamas in the West Bank , which is fully coordinated with the Israeli occupation army, serves as a clarion proof underscoring to the extent to which Fatah has deviated from its original goals.
     This disgraceful de facto alliance between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) against the forces of resistance effectively transforms the American-backed and American-funded security forces into a quisling entity, a Palestinian Judenrat.
     I know the words might be harsh and painful, but truth must be told, even at the expense of upsetting and alienating many people. A painful treatment is often necessary to eradicate a malignant malady.
     The original raison d’etre of Fatah had always been to liberate Palestine and enable Palestinian refugees, brutally uprooted from their ancestral homeland, to return home.


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
Homeward Bound: Gaza in 24 Hours
1 Aug 2009 - By Dr. Mona El Farra - Gaza As soon as I arrived home, I felt a great relief, if that is the right word. I had been unable to return home to Gaza since before the 23 days of bombing of Gaza earlier this year, because of 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 of my arrival home, July 9th 2009, I could see from my balcony the rubble of what had been at one time 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 in the first day of the attack assault against Gaza last December -January. 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...

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...

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