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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
5 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Fateh delegates to Bethlehem conference demand a probe on Arafat’s death
6 Aug 2009 - As Fateh’s conference, held in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, entered its second day, delegates participating in the conference criticized the movement’s leadership for not demanding an investigation into the death of late President, Yasser Arafat, and slammed it for not insisting on it. 

Lieberman: “MK Tibi more dangerous than Hamas, Islamic Jihad”
6 Aug 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, stated Wednesday that Arab member of Knesset (MK) Ahmad Tibi, is more dangerous to Israel than the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad. 

Human rights group demands a probe into the death of a political prisoner
5 Aug 2009 - The “Congregation For Palestinian Rights” Institute demanded the formation of a legal committee from Palestine and abroad to probe the death of a Palestinian political prisoner after allegedly being tortured by the Palestinian security forces. 

Hamas wants a reconciliation deal on August 25
5 Aug 2009 - Hamas leader in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, stated Wednesday that Hamas had informed the Egyptian leadership that it wants the August 25, the scheduled date for Palestinian reconciliation talks, to be the date of signing a unity deal. 

Iranian news agency accused CIA, Mossad of preaching Christianity in northern Iraq
5 Aug 2009 - The Fars Iranian News Agency published a reported on Tuesday accusing the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli Secret Security Services (Mossad) of preaching Christianity in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. 

Israeli forces injure 8 Palestinians while delivering demolition orders in East Jerusalem
5 Aug 2009 - Eight Palestinians were injured from attacks by Israeli forces who were delivering house demolition orders in the Al-Bustan neighborhood in East Jerusalem on Wednesday. 

Two Gaza children injured from exploding ordinance left behind by Israeli army
5 Aug 2009 - Two Palestinian children sustained injuries as an ordinance that was left behind by the Israeli army exploded in Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF soldier dies as tank flips in Golan training accident
5 Aug 2009 - Three other soldiers taking part in commanders course lightly hurt; army investigating circumstances. 

Lieberman: MK Tibi endangers Israel more than Hamas, Jihad
5 Aug 2009 - Israeli Arab MK tells Fatah convention that future Palestinian state must be 'clean of settlers.' 

Hezbollah reportedly stockpiling 40,000 rockets
5 Aug 2009 - Lebanon-based group training guerillas to use missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv, says The Times. 

U.K. official seeks Syrian help to reign in Hamas, Hezbollah
4 Aug 2009 - Minister met with Syrian FM, told him of the 'important opportunity' presented by Obama's peace ventures. 

Avi Issacharoff / Forecasts of West Bank violence may well come true
4 Aug 2009 - Senior Fatah members say next explosion between Israel and the Palestinians only matter of time. 

Ma'an News

Israeli police deliver East Jerusalem demolition orders
8/5/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Eight Palestinians were injured when they were assaulted by Israeli forces who delivered demolition orders in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Wednesday. Jerusalem Police used tear gas to disperse residents who confronted the Israeli officers serving five demolition orders in the densely populated neighborhood, where there are already 90 standing demolition orders. Israeli police also seized the ID card of Musa Odeh, a member of the Al-Bustan Committee, a popular organization dedicated to peacefully opposing the demolitions. Al-Bustan is part of the Silwan area, in a valley next to Jerusalem's Old City. The Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipal government says it intends to level the neighborhood and build a park. Israeli authorities contend the Palestinian houses were built without construction permits, which are rarely issued to Palestinians. 

Prisoner in Israel refused treatment for undiagnosed skin disease
8/5/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - A Jenin family requested medical intervention after visiting their father in Israeli prison and seeing his face terribly disfigured by an untreated skin disease. Ali As-Safury was detained in the last days of the Israeli invasion of the Jenin Refugee Camp in April 2002. They had been tracking him for several years for his affiliation with Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades. The disease has gotten progressively worse for eight months and has gone undiagnosed. As-Safury's skin is yellowing and has developed large raised red spots. According to the family the prison administration refuses to provide him with the necessary treatment. He is being held at the Ramon Prison, and his family said treatments from the prison doctor are infrequent and often exacerbate the condition. As-Safury said he was given pills at one point for the pain, and once taken to the Soroka Hospital in Beerhseva but was not told of the test results. 

Lieberman: Disputed town Ghajar belongs to Israel
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's right-wing Foreign Minister visited the Israeli-occupied village of Ghajar, on the border between Lebanon and Syria, on Wednesday, vowing to maintain control of the town. "There will be no accord with Lebanon and Syria, Ghajar is entirely under Israeli sovereignty," he told residents, according to the website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. "Our decision regarding Ghajar will be based on defense and humanitarian considerations. We are sharing our deliberations with the US and the UN, but not with the Syrians and Lebanese," he adedLieberman visited the area with his deputy, Daniel Ayalon, and Major-General Gadi Eisenkot. The newspaper Haaretz reported separately that Lieberman plans to propose building a fence through the already-divided town. The suggestion elicited outrage from residents of the town. 

UNRWA 'reaching out' to Israelis with film on Gaza destruction
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - "UNRWA is reaching out to Israeli audiences," a statement from the UN Relief and Works Agency said Wednesday, noting that the first activity will be a photo exhibition highlighting the Israeli bombing of the UNRWA warehouse in Gaza during the country's war on the area over the winter. "As part of UNRWA's ongoing efforts to create meaningful dialogue with the Hebrew-speaking public, the Agency has organized a three-day cultural event at the Laz Theatre in Acre," the agency said. The event will take place in Acre on 11 August. The event will include a photo exhibition of UNRWA's human development and the screening of an award-winning UNRWA film. The event will culminate in the multi-media theatre performance "Building Understanding: Epitaph for a Warehouse". The performance documents the dramatic last day of the Agency's main warehouse. . . 

Lieberman: Palestinian MK more dangerous than Hamas, Hizbullah
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman charged on Wednesday that one of several Palestinian members of his country's parliament is "more dangerous than both Hamas and Islamic Jihad combined. "A number of Israeli news agencies and papers quoted the ultranationalist foreign minister and West Bank settler as calling Ahmad At-Tibi (United Arab List), a Palestinian citizen of Israel and member of its Knesset, among Israel's "main problems. " Speaking in the disputed northern border town of Ghajar, Lieberman said that "those who listened to the Fatah convention yesterday understood that our problem is not with Abu Mazen [President Mahmoud Abbas], but rather with Ahmad [At-]Tibi. "At-Tibi's comments at the sixth Fatah conference in Bethlehem the day before were in reference to settlers such as the Israeli foreign minister, whom the MK suggested should "get off. . . 

Fatah conference has 'stormy' second day
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah delegates nearly came to blows Wednesday after participants in 18 different committees demanded information on the 20 years of Fatah activities and finances since the last conference in Tunis in 1989, and discovering that the Central Committee had prepared no reports for the conference. Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was called into the meeting hall several times from side meetings he was conducting, to quell the arguments between members and the Central Committee. Finally Abbas told parties that his 46-page speech from the day before, which glossed the history of the movement including the 20 years since the last conference, would be the reference document to replace the non-existent report from the Central Committee. Members accused Abbas of protecting members of the Central Committee from accusations that they had failed to do their jobs. 

Gaza boys wounded by ordinance left by Israeli army
8/5/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two Palestinian children were injured on Tuesday evening when an ordinance left behind by the Israeli army during the war on Gaza exploded in the Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources identified the victims as ten-year-old Khamis Abu Arab and his brother, eight-year-old Muhammad. Khamis, according to the sources, was hospitalized at a specialist eye hospital while Muhammad received treatment for light wounds and was released. [end] 

Gaza man electrocuted to death in smuggling tunnel
8/5/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian man was killed and seven others injuredby an electric shock overnight inside a Rafah tunnel under the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources identified the deceased as 37-year-old Muhammad Madi from the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. The death toll from tunnel-related accidents since Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in 2007 is now 112. On Monday night another man was killed and two injured when a tunnel collapsed. Smugglers maintain hundreds of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, using them to import goods including certain foods and fuel, made scarce by the Israeli-led blockade. 

Hundreds leave and enter Gaza as Rafah crossing opens for third day
8/5/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egyptian Authorities allowed hundreds of people to cross in and out of the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday and Wednesday. A total of five buses have left Gaza on Wednesday, according to Ehab Al-Ghussein, a spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Ministry of the Interior. Al-Ghussein also said that on Tuesday 761 passengers left Gaza, including 186 patients who left for medical treatment. Meanwhile, 813 entered the Strip coming from Egypt. 128 were denied passage to Egypt. The number of travelers on Tuesday and Wednesday was considerably fewer than on Monday when 1,046 people left and 1,729 entered Gaza. Al-Ghussein said the Rafah crossing would remain open on Thursday but only for foreigners. Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed most days since mid-2007 when Israel also sealed its borders with Gaza following the Hamas takeover of the territory. 

Israeli soldier killed as tank flips in Golan
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - An Israeli soldier was killed early on Wednesday when a tank flipped over during a training exercise in the occupied Golan Heights. The army identified the soldier as Uriel Peretz Librant, 21, a resident of Efrat, an illegal Israeli settlement near Bethlehem, in the West Bank. Three others were mildly injured in the accident, according to the website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The tank was an Israeli Merkava III. The army launched an investigation into the incident, according to the newspaper. [end] 

Israel to open three Gaza crossings
8/5/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel decided to open the three commercial crossings in to the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday, a Palestinian official said. Ra'ed Fattouh, a Palestinian official charged with liaising with Israeli authorities, told Ma'an that Israel planned to allow 52 to 62 trucks to deliver goods at the Kerem Shalom crossing. Cooking gas and industrial grade diesel for Gaza's sole power plant will be allowed through the Nahal Oz terminal. Goods will also be shipped through the Karni crossing, which is often closed. [end] 

Egypt police investigate fatal border shootout
8/5/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian police are pressing forward with an investigation into the death of a border guard who was reportedly killed in a shootout with smugglers near the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel. Security officials went to Rafah Hospital, on the Egyptian side of the city of Rafah, half of which is in the Gaza Strip. There they interviewed Ibrahim Hassan Muhammad, 20, another border guard who was injured in the same incident. Muhammad said he saw his colleague shot down in front of him, hit with two bullets - one in the neck and one in the chest. He claimed that he continued shooting at the smugglers after they fled. He said some of the African migrants who had been with the smugglers managed to cross the barbed-wire fence into Israel. The rest escaped into the Sinai desert. The shooting followed a series of incidents over the past several weeks in which Egyptian soldiers shot dead migrants who attempted to reach Israel. 

US summons Israeli ambassador over Jerusalem evictions
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The US State Department summoned the Israeli ambassador on Monday to protest the gunpoint eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, an Israeli newspaper reported. Haaretz said on Wednesday that US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman summoned ambassador Michael Oren to express the US view around Sunday's evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which he called "provocative" and "unacceptable" acts that violate the Road Map peace plan. Israeli forces first demolished gates on the two Sheikh Jarrah houses and then forced some 50 members of the Al-Ghawi and Hanoun families out at gunpoint, without letting them remove furniture or belongings. Israeli settlers who claim to own the buildings were then allowed to move in. 

Saudi king to Abbas: Disunity more damaging than Israeli aggression
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The king of Saudi Arabia insisted on Wednesday that Palestinians' disunity in the occupied territories was more damaging than Israel's policies in the region, the Associated Press reported. In a cable to President Mahmoud Abbas, Saudi King Abdullah urged Palestinians to unite, and insisted that the Hamas-Fatah split that physically began in 2007 was more damaging to the Palestinian cause than anything Israel is doing. The Saudi Press Agency reported that Abdullah told Abbas even if the entire international community supported a Palestinian state, no such outcome would be possible given the state of internal Palestinian affairs. [end] 

Former fighter Zubeidi excluded, then returned to Fatah conference
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Former Al-Aqsa Brigades leader Zakariya Zubeidi was turned away from Fatah's general conference in Bethlehem on Tuesday after travelling to the city from his home in the northern West Bank. Arriving at the Terra Sancta school hall in Bethlehem, the prominant former leader of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades found that his name was not on the list of delegates. Sources in the Al-Aqsa Brigades verrified that Zubeidi was an accredited delegate to the convention, one of more than 2,000 from within Palestine and the Diaspora attending the meeting. Sources also say that after refusing to include him in the proceedings in Bethlehem, officials later accepted Zubeidi as a delegate. Attempts to contact Zubeidi himself were unsuccessful. Though Zubeidi is no longer a Fatah fighter, ceports that the charismatic former guerilla leader had been turned away provoked angry reactions from the brigades. 

Fatah in Gaza requests 30% stake in elections, four-week delay
8/5/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Gaza Committee at the Sixth Fatah Conference will study a proposal that would allow Gazan members to vote remotely, and reserve 30% of seats in the Central Committee and Revolutionary Council for members from the coastal region. The proposal was made Tuesday night by Fatah leader from the Gaza Strip Samir Mashharawi (living in the West Bank since 2007), and announced in front of conference participants Wednesday morning. "We do not want this conference to have misleading and inaccurate results," Mashharawi told delegates, referring to a perceived imbalance if Gazan members are not represented in the ruling bodies. He stressed that Gazan Fatah members do "not want to be the ones to create problems or confusion," and that they offered the suggestion as a way to ensure proper representation. 

Local campaign urges Fatah to work on repatriating Palestinian dead
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The national campaign to recover the bodies of the martyrs and research the fates of missing Palestinians sent a letter to the delegates of the Sixth Fatah Conference in Bethlehem Wednesday asking that they take on their cause. "Israel continues to hold hundreds of Palestinian bodies and refuses to disclose the fate of hundreds of missing persons. It is the duty of their people and their national movement to work on liberating their bodies to ensure they are buried in our religious traditions, and with national and human dignity," the letter read. The letter went on to suggest the repatriation of Palestinian bodies to their national ground should be part of the prisoner release program adopted by Fatah. 

Fatah’s Sha’ath: No to separate Gaza elections, no to armed resistance
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Report - Fatah will never use arms to ensure the establishment of a Palestinian, said former acting Prime Minister and Fatah Central Committee Member Dr Nabil Sha'ath during an interview with Ma'an Wednesday. The prominent Fatah member spoke following the second day of the conference, described earlier as "stormy" by a conference spokesperson, but noted "Fatah has held other conferences and each had its problems, its [version of a] hard atmosphere, not least of which was Black September (1970) and the Lebanon war (1982). Now the conference is going ahead while factions are separated. "  He insisted, however, that "a Palestinian State will be founded and division will end. " He expressed his hope that the conference would succeed in "activating" the Fatah movement that it would "renew" the movement by adding new members to its governing bodies, saying. . . 

At-Tibi: Lieberman’s attacks about deflecting corruption allegations
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's tirade against Knesset Member Ahmad At-Tibi (United Arab List) was designed to deflect attention from his own corruption allegations, the Palestinian-Israeli lawmaker told Ma'an on Wednesday. "I don't take interest in lectures from criminals," At-Tibi said in an on-air interview at Ma'an's Bethlehem headquarters. "There's no doubt Lieberman is totally against me and many other Arab lawmakers, but I'm not going retract my statements. ""I support the establishment of a Palestinian state, empty of settlements," he added, echoing his Tuesday remarks at the sixth Fatah conference in Bethlehem, where he suggested settlers such as the foreign minister should "get off Palestinian lands, get out of our souls, get out!"The next day Lieberman charged that At-Tibi was "more dangerous than both Hamas and Islamic Jihad combined. 

Jerusalem all-stars beat Bethlehem 3-2 in Arafat Cup final
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas attended the kick off of the final match of the Martyr Yasser Arafat Cup football tournament between all-star teams from Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The match took place at Al-Khader Stadium near Bethlehem. The Jerusalem all-stars won the match 3-2. President Abbas, who is in Bethlehem for the Fatah movement's general conference, shook hands with the players before the match and posed for photos. "Our sport has developed thanks to the recent boom in Palestinian sport, especially football which reached an international level when our national team played against national teams of the Chechen Republic, Jordan, and Russian teams," Abbas said before the kick off. He applauded head of the Palestinian football federation Jibril Rajoub for his role in the recent boom in Palestinian football in particular and sport in general. 

Strong day for Palestine Securities Exchange
8/5/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange finished the day strongly on Wednesday, with the Al-Quds Index closing at 497. 31, an increase of 6. 37 points (1. 3%) over Tuesday's close. A total of 213,820 shares worth 539,350. 98 US dollars changed hands over the course of 200 trades. The shares of 16 companies were traded. The shares prices of six companies rose, and the shares prices of six others declined. The top five gainers were PALTEL by (2. 86%), AIB by (1. 63%), ISBK by (1. 49%), QUDS by (1. 43%), and PEC by (1. 09%). The top five losers were ARAB by (4. 35%), LADAEN by (3. 03%), PIIC by (2. 63%), PADICO by (1. 57%), and BPC by (1. 02%). [end] 

The National

Russian Jews defy Israeli rabbis' ban on marriage
5 Aug 2009 - As many as 350,000 immigrants who say they are Jewish have been told they cannot marry in Israel.

Israeli writer, artist Amos Kenan dead at 82
5 Aug 2009 - Amos Kenan, a member of Israel's founding generation who sought to create an alliance with Palestinians dies in Tel Aviv.

Abbas reserves right' to resistance 
4 Aug 2009 - Fatah leader reiterates his desire for unity and pins Palestinian division on Hamas during historic Bethlehem meeting.

Israel targets human rights groups
3 Aug 2009 - The Israeli government launches a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad.

Aljazeera

Ahmadinejad starts new term in Iran
5 Aug 2009 - President vows to resist "global oppressors" as he takes oath of office in Tehran.

Co-founder accuses Fatah of graft
5 Aug 2009 - Senior figure makes allegations of corruption and embezzlement as Fatah meets. 

Palestine News Network

Barak: Obama to offer plan in coming weeks, good relations with US cornerstone of Israeli policy
5 Aug 2009 - Tel Aviv / PNN – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today that US President Barack Obama will develop a plan in the coming weeks for a territorial settlement in the Middle East. “The US will conclude meetings with parties in the region and finalize their plan for regional settlement”, he said, adding that “Israel will agree to the direction of the initiative.”Obama...

Al Quds Educational TV creates first website for Palestinian folklore and is accepting submissions 
4 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – Palestinians can preserve their folk culture and share it with the world, thanks to a new website. The first site dedicated to Palestinian folklore was recently launched by Al Quds Educational Television, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture. The site (www.folklore.ps (http://www.folklore.ps/)) includes information, images and rare material relating to Palestinian culture and art. Al Quds contributed video...

Some Israeli leaders threatened by Fateh Sixth Conference, compare Abbas to Hamas 
4 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Some Israeli leaders are taking the conference of the moderate Fateh party as a “declaration of war.” The conference, with a limit of just over 2,500 participants, is a clear threat to the Israelis as it includes powerful members of society on both the local and international levels, as well as the possibility of coming out with a united...

Jenin boy attacked while working inside Green Line, stable condition at Jenin government hospital
4 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – On the morning that the Fateh Sixth Conference began Israeli forces arrested 15 Palestinians throughout the West Bank. Overnight Israeli forces invaded Bethlehem and made more arrests.Additional reports have come in regarding an attack on a Jenin boy. Sixteen year old Mahmoud Mohammad Suleiman Abu Hayja was working inside the Green Line in the predominantly Palestinian city of Akka...

West Bank consumes 1/6 water provided to Jewish settlements: we hope for water for all of Palestine
4 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Angela Godfrey-Goldstein - As water supply to Palestinian communities across the West Bank dwindles, activists are organizing a convoy of water to reach thirsty communities in the Ramallah Governorate. Taps have been running dry – no water for drinking, for washing, for livestock or agriculture. In the villages of Qarawat Beni Zayed, Kufr 'Ayn, Deir Ghassani, Beitrima and Nabi Salah many...

After years of exile, Palestinians return to attend Fateh’s sixth conference ... 
4 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - For those separated from their land there is nothing left but memories of the olive trees and gardens of their homes. But for people like Abu Khoash, a director of military intelligence in the camps of Lebanon, this week’s sixth Fateh conference has been a rare opportunity to see their country again.“Every human being wishes to return to the...

Messages at Fateh conference in Bethlehem include launch of revolution and beginning of freedeom
3 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem/PNN – Amid tight security, officials and press began entering the Terra Sancta School hall this morning — two hours before the start of Fateh’s Sixth General Conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. This is the first general conference in 20 years for Fateh, the largest political party in Palestine. The agenda of the three-day conference includes the election of...

IRIN

GAZA: Swimming in sewage
GAZA CITY Sunday, August 02, 2009 (IRIN) - Less than 50m from a black, barrel-sized pipe pouring raw sewage directly into the sea, children are playing in the waves.

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.

MIDDLE EAST: First swine flu death in Egypt 
DUBAI Monday, July 20, 2009 (IRIN) - The Middle East registered its first death due to H1N1 2009 after a 25-year-old Egyptian woman returning from Umrah, the lesser Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, died in hospital on 18 July after testing positive for the virus, according to the Egyptian health...

Inter Press Service

IRAQ: Chance of a Breakthrough With the Kurds? 
WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (IPS) - A recent meeting between Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Kurdish President Massoud Barzani appears to be a crucial step in lowering tensions in the country, but it has also prompted questions as to whether the two leaders can put an end to their differences.

MIDEAST: Peace in Balance as Fatah Fights for Survival 
BETHLEHEM, Aug 5 (IPS) - Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), is fighting for its very survival as the movement faces implosion, and attacks from all sides. The issues have come to the fore at the sixth revolutionary council of the party that began in Bethlehem...

MIDEAST: Hope Now Advances to Autumn 
JERUSALEM, Aug 5 (IPS) - Much of the world is side-tracked into the summer holiday mood, but the Obama Administration consistently stresses it won't allow its Middle East peacemaking effort to be side-tracked: We'll soon be hitting full stride, is the constant White House message.

MIDEAST: Traumatised Children Struggle to Rise Again 
BREJ, Gaza, Aug 5 (IPS) - Tens of thousands of children in Gaza are still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following Israel's three-week bombing December- January.

Stop The Wall

Ni’lin and Bil’in face chemicals and tear gas; demonstration in Barta’
3 Aug 2009 - This Friday, Occupation forces rained tear gas and foul-smelling chemicals on protestors in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin during the weekly march. In Barta’, a demonstration was organized at the terminal to protest the conditions imposed on the people there. [

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. [


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

Israeli police deliver East Jerusalem demolition orders
8/5/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ma'an News - Eight Palestinians were injured when they were assaulted by Israeli forces who delivered demolition orders in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Wednesday. Jerusalem Police used tear gas to disperse residents who confronted the Israeli officers serving five demolition orders in the densely populated neighborhood, where there are already 90 standing demolition orders. Israeli police also seized the ID card of Musa Odeh, a member of the Al-Bustan Committee, a popular organization dedicated to peacefully opposing the demolitions. Al-Bustan is part of the Silwan area, in a valley next to Jerusalem's Old City. The Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipal government says it intends to level the neighborhood and build a park. Israeli authorities contend the Palestinian houses were built without construction permits, which are rarely issued to Palestinians. 

London protests against Sheikh Jarrah evictions
8/5/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - On Monday afternoon from 5pm a large group of protesters put up tents and banners next to and across the road from the Israeli embassy in central London to protest the evictions of 53 Palestinians in Sheik Jarrah on Sunday. Police initially tried to move the protest but the protesters refused to move. Eventually the inspector in charge of Kensington and Chelsea police force arrived and agreed the protesters had every right to protest Israel's crime of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Occupied East Jerusalem. The protesters erected tents in solidarity with the 9 families who were thrown on to the streets by the occupying Israeli forces to make way for extremist Jewish settlers. The protesters were angry and upset at Israel's blatant disregard of international law and world opinion in removing the families including 19 children from the ancient Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah near to old city of Jerusalem that is a fundamental part of a future Palestinian state. 

Taking over Jerusalem
8/5/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Matt Kennard, The Guardian - A couple of months ago I spent a fortnight in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement - activists who help Palestinians non-violently resist Israeli oppression. The most pressing of many issues during my stay was the attempts by an Israeli settler company, Nahalat Shimon, backed by the Israeli courts, to cleanse East Jerusalem of its Arab population, focusing its efforts at that time on the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. I spent a week sleeping on a floor in the house of the Hanoun family - a husband and wife and their three children. Longer-term activists were sleeping there as well, ready to document their inevitable eviction. Well, last Saturday at 5. 30am the Israeli border police did come and forceably evict them (so forceably that the son Rami had to be taken to hospital). The activists were arrested, as were protesters who subsequently took to the streets. The Hanouns were offered a tent by the Red Cross. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

France to Israel: Free man who plotted attack on Ovadia Yosef 
5 Aug 2009 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner appealed to Israel for clemency for a French-Palestinian who was jailed for his role in plotting the assassination of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. ...

Israeli arms dealers join Lieberman's entourage to Africa
5 Aug 2009 - Avigdor Lieberman would perhaps not be happy to hear that he was following in Golda Meir's footsteps, but the fact is that, like Israel's foreign minister in the 1950s and 1960s, the current foreign minister is very interested in Africa and in restoring Israel's status there. "To my regret, Israel has for many years been absent from two continents - America and Africa - and does not have a sufficient presence there," he told Haaretz this week, shortly after returning from a long trip to South America during which he visited Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia. ... 

J Street, ADL launch war of words over Obama Israel policy
5 Aug 2009 - Nearly seven months after the inauguration of Barack Obama, feuding among major U.S. Jews organizations is taking place behind closed doors and could be reaching its worst point in recent memory. ...

U.S. asks Israel for one-year settlement freeze
5 Aug 2009 - American Middle East envoy George Mitchell has asked Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for a "deposit," an advance commitment of a one-year freeze on construction in West Bank settlements. ... 

Barak strikes deal in bid to temper Labor Party turmoil
4 Aug 2009 - Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak, who has come under fire from those in his faction who accuse him of heavy-handed rule, struck a compromise Wednesday with Minister Isaac Herzog on the scheduling of new primaries. ...

The Guardian

Taking over Jerusalem | Matt Kennard
5 Aug 2009 - Evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and other Palestinian areas are part of a bid to turn East Jerusalem into a unified Jewish Jerusalem A couple of months ago I spent a fortnight in Palestine with the International...

First film produced by Hamas screens in Gaza
5 Aug 2009 - Imad Aqel is an action-packed movie of the life and violent death of a Hamas militant who topped Israel's most-wanted list The film's hero is a young militant, blamed by Israel for the deaths of 13...

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement holds first party conference for 20 years
4 Aug 2009 - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says peace is his movement's choice but does not rule out conflict if talks fail The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, opened his Fatah movement's first conference in 20 years today with a...

Reforming Fatah from the grassroots up | Nicholas Blincoe
4 Aug 2009 - Four elements must be incorporated into a new, transparent structure if the Palestinian party's conference is to be a success Fatah has long been the driving force of Palestinian nationalism but as a party of government...

Ha'aretz National page

Israel's aspiring 'film capital' is losing its movie theaters
5 Aug 2009 - Ever since Nir Barkat won the mayoral race in Jerusalem in November, the new administration under his helm has gone out of its way to prove the city is vital and has much to offer young people. Barkat spoke of Jerusalem as a "film capital" and hosted Hollywood producers to persuade them to shoot movies there. ... 

Haaretz survey: Half of public thinks gays are deviants 
5 Aug 2009 - Almost half of the Israeli population believes that homosexuality is a perversion. A Haaretz-Dialog poll, conducted under Prof. Camil Fuchs finds that 46 percent of the people surveyed answered the question "Do you see homosexuality as a perversion?" in the affirmative, while 42 percent answered that it was not a perversion. Twelve percent said they did not know. ... 

Barak triumphs in Labor vote on new party constitution 
5 Aug 2009 - Labor chairman Ehud Barak convinced the party convention Wednesday to vote on a new party constitution that would significantly increase the chairman's powers. He next intends to bring Labor's Knesset faction to heel by introducing a code of discipline. ... 

Relief Web

OPT/West Bank: Surviving despite the separation wall, north of Ramallah
5 Aug 2009 - Source: Première Urgence

OPT: Presidency statement on evictions in East Jerusalem
4 Aug 2009 - Source: European Union

Palestinian killed in Gaza tunnel collapse: medics 
4 Aug 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

YNet News

'Israelis forced my sister to carry out attack in 1978'
5 Aug 2009 - In exclusive interview with Ynet, sister of Dalal Mughrabi, whose cell carried out deadly attack that led to Litani Operation, says 'the objective was not to kill civilians, but to reach the Knesset and demand the release of Palestinian prisoners'; adds: I feel the same pain that Gilad Shalit's family feels 

Fatah congress delegates call for probe of Arafat's death
5 Aug 2009 - Late Palestinian leader's death center of attention on second day of Fatah congress being held in Bethlehem. Delegates weigh holding special vote for Gaza Strip members unable to attend congress 

Sarkozy asks Netanyahu to free Palestinian terrorist
5 Aug 2009 - After massive pressure from pro-Palestinian groups, French leader asks Israel to release man convicted of plotting to kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef 

Labor 'rebels': Barak doesn't care about party
5 Aug 2009 - MK Cabel calls approval of amendments to Labor charter 'regretful,' says party abandoning its ideological values. Tamir: We'll continue to operate separately 

IDF chief vows to uphold ethics code
5 Aug 2009 - Referring to recent criticism of soldiers' moral conduct, Ashkenazi tells Naval Officers' Course graduates 'moral, ethical code will continue to guide us' 

Barak: Labor will lead again 
5 Aug 2009 - Chairman tells party convention, 'We plan on winning the next elections with will power.' After intense negotiations with Histadrut head's mediation, party heads agree next primaries in October 2012 

B'tselem

Don't silence "Breaking the Silence"
1 Aug 2009 - Ten Israeli human rights and social change organizations have written to the prime minister protesting the government's attack on "Breaking the Silence", which escalated with the government's attempt to thwart funding for the group.

Daily Star

Fatah convention plagued by rows over money, elections
5 Aug 2009 - Angry arguments over elections and money erupted Wednesday between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah activists on the second day of the movement’s convention. Fatah’s first conference in 20 years is meant to elect new leaders, clean up the party’s corrupt image and make it more competitive with its bitter rival, the Islamic militant Hamas.

Israel’s Labor convenes amid constitution rifts
5 Aug 2009 - The Labor party of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak held its annual convention in Tel Aviv on Wednesday amid deepening internal rifts that had some MPs saying they would boycott the event. Some Labor members warned that the party could come apart over a proposed new constitution that would significantly boost Barak’s powers as chairman.

US Army brings thrilling terror of war home through safe outlets
5 Aug 2009 - Sergeant Sylvia Portillo went first. Secured with elastic cords to a railroad bridge more than 61 meters over a gorge south of Mount St. Helens, Portillo’s mission was to dive over the edge. She pretended to throw up, getting a nervous laugh out of the troops behind her. Then, keeping her own anxiety in check, she bungee-jumped into the lush green below.

US judge refuses to get involved in case of American who ‘confessed’ to terror in UAE
5 Aug 2009 - An American who says he was tortured into confessing to terror charges in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) failed Tuesday in efforts to get a US judge involved in his trial. US District Judge James Ro?bertson said he doesn’t have the authority to interfere in the foreign criminal prosecution of Naji Hamdan, a 43-year-old US citizen of Lebanese origin.

Australia charges four more suspects in alleged terror plot
5 Aug 2009 - Australia on Wednesday charged four more with planning a suicide assault on a Sydney army barracks, prompting an angry outburst from one of them, as details emerged of the alleged plot. Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 33, refused to stand at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and shouted angrily as he was led away. A total of five men have been charged over the attack, which police said was just weeks away.

Palestinian Information Center

This is how the PA treats Palestinian journalists
6 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Authority (PA) doesn’t stop surprising us with its boundless stupidity and foolish behaviors.

Haneyya gov't: General alert should be maintained to defend Jerusalem
6 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haneyya has said that all Palestinians should be on the alert to defend Jerusalem in face of growing judaization attempts on the part of the IOA.

Hamas: Abbas's crimes would only boost our strength
6 Aug 2009 - Hamas on Wednesday affirmed that the crimes committed against its cadres in the West Bank at the hands of militias loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the former PA chief, would only boost its strength.

Qaddomi accuses Abbas and retinue embezzling millions in name of Palestinians
6 Aug 2009 - The veteran Fatah leader Farouk Al-Qaddomi has sharply criticized Abbas and his associate, and accused them of enriching themselves in the name of the Palestinian people.

Hamas: Abbas's speech full of lies, undermines reconciliation
6 Aug 2009 - The Hamas Movement has said on Tuesday that the speech of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem was full of lies, fabrications, and doesn’t help achieve national reconciliation.

Prisoners' society warns of IOA systematic violence against prisoners
6 Aug 2009 - The Wa'ed society for prisoners has called for urgent intervention to halt the Israeli occupation authority's (IOA) systematic violent acts against Palestinian prisoners.

Odwan: Privatizing 1948 lands reveals usurping nature of Israel
6 Aug 2009 - Hamas MP Dr. Atef Odwan has charged that the Israeli parliament's decision allowing the privatization of Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 indicated the usurping nature of that "entity".

Prisoners ministry holds IOA responsible for lives of Negev detainees
6 Aug 2009 - The ministry of prisoners' affairs has held the IOA responsible for the lives of Palestinian prisoners in the Negev desert prison following the Israeli prison guards' assault.

Turkey condemns the IOA eviction of two Palestinian families
6 Aug 2009 - Turkey has condemned the Israeli occupation authority's (IOA) eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied east Jerusalem.

Hamas holds Abbas responsible for death of Abu Taima
6 Aug 2009 - Hamas held Mahmoud Abbas, former PA chief and Fatah leader, responsible for the death of Sheikh Kamal Abu Taima, one of its leaders in the West Bank, in his security apparatuses' jails.

Los Angeles Times

At Palestinian congress, Abbas urges nonviolent resistance 
5 Aug 2009 - At his Fatah faction's first congress in two decades, the Palestinian Authority leader stops short of renouncing 'armed revolution.' But he says now is the time for peaceful struggle against Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opened his Fatah movement's first congress in 20 years Tuesday with a call to step up nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and to keep faith in peace talks despite years of setbacks to the dream of statehood. 

Iranian ceremony highlights split 
3 Aug 2009 - Dozens of officials and dignitaries boycott the confirmation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and street fighting erupts in Tehran between opposition supporters and security forces. A confirmation ceremony Monday meant to showcase the unity of the Islamic Republic's leadership highlighted its divisions, sparking clashes in the streets between demonstrators and security forces that stretched into the night. 

Avigdor Lieberman says he'll resign if indicted 
4 Aug 2009 - The Israeli foreign minister is accused of fraud, money laundering, bribery, witness harassment and obstruction of justice. He says he hasn't done anything wrong. Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that he would resign as Israel's foreign minister if the attorney general indicted him on corruption charges. 

New York Times

Abbas Urges ‘New Start’ at Fatah Conference
4 Aug 2009 - The mainstream Palestinian movement Fatah came together for a landmark three-day gathering, its first ever on Palestinian soil. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: U.S. Hikers Charged
4 Aug 2009 - Iran has charged three young Americans with illegal entry into the country, Iranian state television reported Tuesday. 

Ahmadinejad’s Opponents Snub Election Ceremony
3 Aug 2009 - Several opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad avoided a ceremony recognizing his re-election in Iran. 

Misc

US rebukes Israel’s ambassador 
8/5/2009 - The National - TEL AVIV // The US state department has summoned Israel’s ambassador in Washington to protest against the country’s controversial evacuation of two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, the second US condemnation of its ally’s settlement policy in two weeks. The censure, issued late on Tuesday, was compounded by similar disapproval expressed to Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, which currently holds the European Union presidency, by that country’s foreign ministry this week. Both moves, which come on the heels of strong criticism by the European Union, United Nations and the US secretary of state on the evacuations, suggest that the vigorous US call for Israel to curtail settlement expansion is drawing more support from the international community. Two Palestinian families – consisting altogether of some 50 people, including 19 minors – were evicted from their 

Russian Jews defy Israeli rabbis’ ban on marriage 
8/5/2009 - The National - Jonathan Cook - TEL AVIV // Two immigrants from the former Soviet Union staged a very public wedding in the streets of central Tel Aviv this week to highlight the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jews barred from lawfully marrying in Israel. Nico Tarosyan and Olga Samsovatov chose to tie the knot in a special ceremony on Tuesday – watched by family, friends and curious passers-by – after Orthodox rabbis had denied them the right to wed. The rabbinate says that Mr Tarosyan cannot prove he is Jewish according to its strict standards and therefore should not marry Ms Samsovatov, who is considered a proper Jew. Mr Tarosyan, aged 34, who moved to Israel from Moscow in 1995, called his treatment by the rabbis “humiliating”. “In Russia we were hated because we were Jews and here in Israel we are discriminated against as Russians,” he said. 

Israeli writer, artist Amos Kenan dead at 82 
8/5/2009 - The National - JERUSALEM // Amos Kenan, a member of Israel’s founding generation whose writing and art helped define modern Israeli culture, has died in Tel Aviv. He was 82. Born in 1927 in Tel Aviv, which had been founded less than two decades earlier by Jewish pioneers, Kenan was a product of the city’s rich cultural life. He was known for his newspaper columns, plays and books, many of which satirised the Israeli government and organised religion, and as a prolific painter, sculptor and movie director. In the 1940s, Kenan was one of a number of artists and intellectuals who sought to create an Israeli identity without Judaism by rejecting Jewish history and harking back to the Biblical Canaanites, whose name the artists adopted for their group. “Amos Kenan was one of the creators of Hebrew culture – Hebrew, not Jewish,” said the Israeli political activist and journalist Uri Avnery, a friend and 

Jumblatt denies move to opposition 
8/4/2009 - The National - “He’ll vote to allow Hariri to become prime minister but he will also vote to protect the weapons of the resistance. ” - BEIRUT // The decision by the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt on Sunday to leave the majority alliance that won Lebanon’s parliamentary elections in June has disrupted efforts to forge a consensus cabinet. But it should not be seen as a move against his former allies, Mr Jumblatt and his followers said in media interviews yesterday. The decision by Mr Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party and his allies in the Democratic Gathering to align with President Michel Suleiman’s bloc will not include a formal alliance with the Hizbollah-led opposition. Although the majority would still hold a three-seat margin in the 128-member parliament if Mr Jumblatt joined with the opposition, a shift along those lines would have greatly increased the difficulty of forming a cabinet. 

Fatah holds first party conference for 20 years 
8/5/2009 - The Guardian - Rory McCarthy - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says peace is his movement's choice but does not rule out conflict if talks fail - With a portrait of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the background, his successor Mahmoud Abbas speaks at Fatah's first party conference for 20 years, held in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Photograph: Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP Photograph: Tara Todras-Whitehill/APThe Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, opened his Fatah movement's first conference in 20 years today with a promise to continue peace negotiations with Israel while not entirely ruling out an armed struggle. The gathering, at a school in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, was the first such meeting since the one in Tunis in 1989, when the late Yasser Arafat was in charge. Some had hoped it might herald a radical shake-up in the movement's leadership, allowing a younger generation 

Barak: Israel should accept U.S. peace plan 
8/4/2009 - Ha'aretz - Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that the United States would present a Middle East peace plan within weeks and that Israel should accept it. " In the coming weeks, their plan will be formulated and presented to the parties," Barak said, according to a spokesman for Israel's parliament who briefed reporters on the defense chief's remarks to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. " I believe that Israel must take the lead in accepting the plan," Barak was quoted as saying. During the meeting, Barak also brought up the issue of talks with Syria, saying that "it is important that we reach negotiations on the Syrian track". Barak told the meeting that his views on talks with Syria are supported by the security establishment, and cited recent statements by the head of the research branch of Military Intelligence Colonel Yossi Beidetz, who said that Syria is serious about launching talks, albeit on their own terms. 

Abbas asks Fatah to give peace talks a chance 
8/4/2009 - Arutz Sheva - AP News - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday urged members of his aging and rivalry-ridden Fatah movement — meeting for the first time in two decades — to give peace talks with Israel a chance, despite many setbacks and few achievements. Abbas hopes formal endorsement of his policies by Fatah will strengthen his hand against his Islamic militant Hamas rivals and Israel's hardline prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Many of the nearly 2,000 delegates seemed ready to back Abbas, since his proposed political program is vague enough to get even hard-liners on board. "Armed struggle" against Israel, once a central Fatah tenet, was not formally dropped as an option, but emphasis shifted to negotiations and civil disobedience. " There are no big differences within Fatah over the political platform," said Jamal Hwail, 38, who served seven years in an Israeli prison for membership in Fatah's violent offshoot, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. 

Syrians say Israel called them for info on MIAs 
8/4/2009 - YNetNews - Residents of Tartus say recorded message offered them millions for info on missing IDF soldiersRoee NahmiasResidents of the Syrian port city of Tartus are saying they received strange phone calls recently offering them large sums of money in exchange for information on Israeli MIAs. Syrian reports say the calls came from an unidentified source. The residents reported that when they picked up the phone a female voice with a Lebanese accent said, "You have a golden opportunity to earn millions of dollars. If you have any definitive information on the missing Israeli soldiers please enter our website. "According to the reports, many of the residents quickly hung up the call before the message had been completed. Syrian sources say this is not the first time Israel has tapped into Syria's phone lines, and that similar incidents occurred in 2006 and 2007. 

Articles

Taking over Jerusalem 
Matt Kennard, The Guardian 8/5/2009
      A couple of months ago I spent a fortnight in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement – activists who help Palestinians non-violently resist Israeli oppression. The most pressing of many issues during my stay was the attempts by an Israeli settler company, Nahalat Shimon, backed by the Israeli courts, to cleanse East Jerusalem of its Arab population, focusing its efforts at that time on the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
     I spent a week sleeping on a floor in the house of the Hanoun family – a husband and wife and their three children. Longer-term activists were sleeping there as well, ready to document their inevitable eviction. Well, last Saturday at 5.30am the Israeli border police did come and forceably evict them (so forceably that the son Rami had to be taken to hospital). The activists were arrested, as were protesters who subsequently took to the streets. The Hanouns were offered a tent by the Red Cross.
     Sheikh Jarrah is in a valley down from the American Colony hotel where Tony Blair stays in a luxury suite when visiting Jerusalem as the Quartet’s "Peace Envoy". When you look out of the Hanouns’ window, you can see Blair’s hotel 30 metres away; Blair can probably see the Hanouns’ house during his morning swim. He has said nothing.
     The most disturbing fact about Israel’s eviction programme is that when you look around East Jerusalem and the surrounding area there are considerable plots of land without homes. If they wanted to build new illegal settlements without kicking out Palestinians in the area they could do so. The targeting of Sheikh Jarrah and other areas is actually a process of racial purification, the transformation of East Jerusalem into a unified Jewish Jerusalem.

Fatah needs more than superficial unity 
Lamis Andoni, Ma’an News Agency 8/3/2009
      Fatah, the movement that has led the Palestinian struggle for decades, is at a dangerous crossroads. At stake is not only its unity but more significantly its mere survival. 
     It faces tough choices. In order to keep itself relevant on a regional and international level it would need to project itself as a "moderate" force committed to a non-existing peace process, thus risking the further demise of popular legitimacy. 
     To salvage its legitimacy and unity it would need to disengage from the Palestinian Authority’s compliance to American and Israeli terms that aim at turning the movement into a malleable political tool and an enforcer of Israeli security. 
     But more so than ever in its history, Fatah is facing a real rival that has popular legitimacy and backing by key regional powers. Iran and Syria are seeking to further boost their negotiating credentials by supporting the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, and are ready to accelerate the demise of both Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Qatar openly aids and promotes Hamas as the alternative movement, again to enhance its role as a regional power broker to be reckoned with.
     Egypt, Jordan and other so called "moderate" countries, the supposed backers of Fatah, are junior partners of Washington in its plans to turn the movement into a huge security apparatus and ensure the Palestinian people’s submission. More significantly, they could easily switch sides if the US and Israel decide that Hamas is ready to accept the terms of engagement in the "peace process" or that it could be a more effective enforcer of Israeli security.


Electronic Intifada
Traumatized children struggle to rise again
5 Aug 2009 - AL-BUREIJ, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Tens of thousands of children in Gaza are still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following Israel's three-week bombing in December-January. Several crisis counseling teams run by international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been carrying out intervention programs aimed at helping Gaza's most vulnerable put the pieces of their lives back together. 

Egyptian opposition branded "terrorist" 
4 Aug 2009 - CAIRO (IPS) - The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing "global networks." Recent months have seen a host of government accusations -- which critics say are fabricated -- against opposition groups it claims have ties with Hamas, Hizballah, and the ever-elusive al-Qaeda. "The government is making up so many charges of 'terror networks' and 'Islamist cells' that it's hard to keep track of them all," Islamist lawyer Montasser al-Zayat told IPS. 

"Beiruti in Jaffa, Yafawi in Beirut": Shafiq al-Hout's story in his own words
4 Aug 2009 - "In Jaffa we were called the "Beirutis" [the ones from Beirut] and in Beirut we became known the Yafawi. Who am I?" Shafiq al-Hout, the Palestinian political figure and founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, passed away in Beirut this week at the age of 77. In a tribute to his tireless efforts towards the liberation of the Palestinian people, the Electronic Intifada presents his story in his own words, as told to The Electronic Intifada contributor Mayssoun Sukarieh in Beirut in 1999. 

Israel moves to declare rights groups as foreign agents
4 Aug 2009 - In a bid to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during Israel's winter assault on Gaza, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad. It has begun by targeting one of the world's leading rights organizations, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month published the testimonies of 26 combat soldiers who served in Gaza. Jonathan Cook reports. 

In Gaza
sea scenes
5 Aug 2009 - On different occasions, the sea and friends afforded enthralling views, conversations, and lasting memories.  Below, scenes from Deir Al Balah coast, central Gaza, where I caught the sunset and moonrise in the company of a friend, his wife, and family. * Ibrahim and sister Najwa and her child. * Ibrahim, who adores his daughter Tala. * Ibrahim’s mother, sister, and nephews. * The sun in Gaza disappears so quickly… On another occasion, further along the coast, a late afternoon early evening visit to the beach provided glimpses of friends knocking around a football, horse and camel riders, couples strolling, and the sunset. * fishermen heading out in their hassaka to drops their nets a couple...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel Seeks Ways to Silence Human Rights Groups
4 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth In a bid to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during Israel's winter assault on Gaza, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad. It has begun by targeting one of the world’s leading rights organisations, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month published the testimonies of 26 combat soldiers who served in Gaza. Additionally, according to the Israeli media, the government is planning a “much more aggressive stance” towards human rights groups working to help the Palestinians. Officials have questioned the sources of funding received by the organisations and threatened legislation to ban support from foreign governments, particularly in Europe. Breaking the Silence and other Israeli activists have responded by accusing the government of a “witch hunt” designed to intimidate them and starve them of the funds needed to pursue their investigations. “This is a very dangerous step,” said Mikhael Mannekin, one of the directors of Breaking the Silence. “Israel is moving in a very anti-democratic direction.” The campaign is reported to be the brainchild of the far-right foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, currently facing corruption charges, but has the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Early last month, Mr Lieberman used a press conference to accuse non-government organisations, or NGOs, of replacing diplomats in setting the international community’s agenda in relation to Israel. He...

On Exploiting Land and Natural Gas
3 Aug 2009 - By Dina Jadallah There is a paradox at the heart of recent news stories from Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority concerning various natural gas and land 'business deals.' For in this day of seemingly unsurpassed state power there is a tendency to downplay its true extent. It is frequently proclaimed that the exigencies of international power structures limit state agency. Often, the aim is to shield the state and/or the true holders of power in the state from the consequences of rapacious behavior toward citizens and resources. This is accomplished by subordinating political issues and political space to private economic entities. The latter are presented as imposing their own supra-national legitimacy and agenda dissociated completely from the political sphere of the state and thus, (conveniently) circumscribing and directing the actions of the state itself. The “political’ space includes the questions of poverty; access and influence over the direction of government; historical national rights and their protection; distribution of benefits from national resources; adherence to and application of national and international laws; and so forth. Many times, the “political” imposes limits on the state even when it is dictatorial as is the case in the Arab world. To counteract these limits, economic supra-national structures and the ideology of free market capitalism, liberalization, globalization, and privatization are used by the state as rationalizations. Thus, the state can: a) escape its responsibilities to its citizens; b) usurp the “national interest” in the sense of distributive benefits to the widest number possible; c)...

Life in the Bubble: At Home in the Israeli Settler State
3 Aug 2009 - By Ed Kinane Given my Judeo-Christian roots, I’ve long wanted to visit 'The Holy Land.' The US-supported Israeli attack on Gaza this past winter lent urgency to that longing. This spring I joined a delegation going to Israel and the West Bank of the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian Territories. Altogether I spent a month experiencing those tense and militarized lands. What most surprised me on this tour was how at home I felt – not in the West Bank, but in Israel. Except for signs in Hebrew, things often seemed so “American” that it was like we were in the 51st state. For example, even in the Arab quarters of Israeli cities, many non-Arab Israelis dress with an immodesty that surely offends the indigenous Muslim people they live among. But this at-home feeling went beyond appearances. It was in the attitudes. The non-activist Israelis I met reminded me of many folks back in the US. Here were nice, hospitable, English-speaking people who – just as in the US – live in what I call the “Bubble.” Colonizing and nationalizing our minds, the Bubble is spun by our governments and mainstream media. It narrows our horizons, drowns our dissent, stifles the voices of the voiceless. Distracting and trivializing, the Bubble shelters us from others’ pain. The non-activist Jewish Israelis I met seemed oblivious to – or were quick to rationalize – how predatory their military and the Israeli settlers they protect were being in the Occupied Territories. They took for granted the great...

NYT to Be First Signature on San José Accord
3 Aug 2009 - By Belen Fernandez Over the past few days in Honduras, I have received a number of emails from various parts of the world notifying me that the coup is over thanks to the San José Accord brokered by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. My attempts to discuss the breakthrough with Hondurans here in Tegucigalpa have largely been met with a wave of the hand and roll of the eyes, behavior that detracts slightly from the optimism of the July 29 New York Times article proclaiming: “Honduran Leader Backs Return of President.” Further detraction has been supplied by Honduran Leader Roberto Micheletti himself, whose reaction to a recent meeting in Managua between ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and US ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens is described on page 16 of the July 31 edition of La Tribuna. Micheletti is quoted as warning that Llorens is committing a grave error if he is considering a reinstatement of Zelaya as president; several paragraphs later, however, some of the spirit of “Honduran Leader Backs Return of President” is recuperated with the information that Micheletti welcomes Zelaya back to Honduras to be tried for his crimes. A link to the text of the San José Accord is provided in a July 25 New York Times article entitled “Military in Honduras Backs Plan on Zelaya,” which also provides a link to the military communiqué from which the New York Times deduced said backing. A glance at the communiqué reveals that the backing actually consists of support...

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