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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
8 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Orthodox Committee demands voiding suspicious deal concerning church lands in East Jerusalem
9 Aug 2009 - The Executive Committee of the Greek Orthodox Conference in Jerusalem slammed the deal which was signed between the ousted Patriarch, Erenius, and an Israeli settlement company, in which the company was granted the 'right' to build on and use church lands. 

Israel decides to deport a Palestinian family from Jerusalem
9 Aug 2009 - The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) warned of an Israeli decision to expel dozens of members of Al Radayda Palestinian family from Al Ashqariyya neighborhood in Beit Hanina, north of Jerusalem, under the claims that they are illegally residing in Jerusalem. 

Several Palestinians wounded by settlers in East Jerusalem
8 Aug 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported Saturday that several Palestinians were wounded in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in East Jerusalem, after being attacked by dozens of extremist Israeli settlers. 

Fateh delays leadership elections
8 Aug 2009 - Fateh movement, holding its congress in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, had decided to delay the leadership elections until Sunday due sharp disagreements between the old guard and the younger generation of the movement who are seeking stronger roles in shaping the movement’s policies. 

Hamas sources: "P.A arrests 10 Hamas members, fires four teachers"
8 Aug 2009 - Media sources loyal to the Hamas movement reported that Palestinian security forces, loyal to president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, arrested on Friday ten Hamas members and supporters, and added that four teachers were fired for affiliation with the movement. 

Israeli High Court rejects a request to arrest former Aqsa Brigades fighters
8 Aug 2009 - The Israeli High Court of Justice rejected an appeal filed by Israeli member of Knesset of the right-wing National Union Party, demanded the Court to order the arrest of former fighters of the Al Aqsa Brigades of Fateh movement. 

Palestinian killed in a tunnel accident in Rafah
8 Aug 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported on Friday at night that a resident was killed in a tunnel collapse accident along the Gaza-Egypt border in Rafah district, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF chief Ashkenazi announces new hires in General Staff
6 Aug 2009 - GOC Central Command Gadi Shamni will become the next military attache in Washington. 

New IDF tanks to come equipped with missile defense system
6 Aug 2009 - 'Windbreaker' tracks incoming missiles and launches a rocket to destroy them meters from the tank. 

Arafat-Israel murder conspiracy is back from the dead
6 Aug 2009 - The thought that then-PM Ariel Sharon enlisted top Palestinian figures to help kill Arafat defies all reason. 

IDF soldier dies after hit by comrade's errant bullet
6 Aug 2009 - Accident occurred during training exercise on army base in the central Golan Heights. 

IDF reneged on promise not to arrest 'deserter,' couple claims
7 Aug 2009 - Army says man was not promised that he would not be jailed, and that as a prisoner he is not entitled to payment. 

Ma'an News

Bil’in protesters gassed, sprayed as they request release of prisoners
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Tens choked on teargas fired by Israeli soldiers as protesters from Bil'in made their weekly attempt to cross the separation wall blocking families from their lands. Israeli and International peace activists demonstrated after the Friday prayers, waving Palestinian flags and banners with slogans calling for the release of the local anti-wall activists Muhammad Al-Khatib and Adib Abu Rahma. The men were detained by Israeli forces during raids into the village following anti-wall protests. Raids often begin as soon as international activists leave the area. Once the demonstrators arrived at the wall gate, waiting soldiers fired three types of gas bombs at protesters. According to the Bil'in popular committee there were canisters thrown by hand, others by small lautomated hand-held launchers and a third sort from military vehicles. 

Extremist settlers attack Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah
8/8/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Women and children were among the dozens injured in Sheikh Jarrah after a group of violent settlers pelted families with stones and empty glass bottles. Clashes erupted after bottles hit children attending a local summer camp. Foreign activists in the area attempted to defend the residents while Israeli forces fired teargas at the crowd and covered the withdrawal of the setters. [end] 

Settlers attack elderly Palestinian man in East Jerusalem
8/8/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - A 59-year-old Palestinian man was hurt in an attack by a mob of Israeli settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Saturday, Ma'an has learned. Witnesses said the elderly man, Khamis Al-Ghawi, was harshly beaten by the assailants. He was also arrested by Israeli forces, although it was not immediately clear why. Women and children were among dozens injured earlier in Sheikh Jarrah after a group of violent settlers pelted families with stones and empty glass bottles, witnesses said. Clashes erupted after bottles hit children attending a local summer camp. Foreign activists in the area attempted to defend the residents while Israeli forces fired tear gas at the crowd and covered the withdrawal of the setters. Meanwhile in an apparently separate incident, a fight between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the same area was reported by the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. 

Settlers sue Israel over Hebron market eviction
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israelis residing in the West Bank city of Hebron have filed a lawsuit with Israel's government for alleged damages caused by an evacuation of structures taken over by settlers in the city's market area. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported on Friday that the suit will rely on a 2006 agreement reached with Israel's military, which states that Israelis living in the Palestinian city would vacate the structures voluntarily. However in 2007, Israeli soldiers removed doorposts and knocked down walls to stop settlers from returning to the structures, the newspaper said, causing what the settlers said amounted to 214,000 shekels in compensation for the damages. "The plaintiffs completed their side of the agreement: the families which had lived in the compound up until the time of the agreement vacated their belongings from the property, and left only stationary belongings," the lawsuit stated, according to Haaretz. 

Rafah crossing closes after 4,478 leave Strip
8/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Rafah crossing was closed Friday evening after five consecutive days of operation, the Palestinian border crossings department in the Gaza Strip announced. The record stretch for the Rafah opening since 2007 saw 4,478 passengers cross into Egypt, with another 683 denied entry by Egyptian authorities. Crossing into the Palestinian side of the border were 3,096 passengers. The crossing department said that the five days of movement greatly assisted the people og Gaza, particularly those stranded on either side of the border. They noted, however, that thre is still a long waiting list of individuals who wish to cross, and expressed the wish that the crossing would open at shorter intervals. On average over the past year, it has been open every three months for a maximum of three days. The crossings were closed entirely during Israel's war on the area. 

Report: Carter to visit Gaza later this month
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Former US President Jimmy Carter will visit the Gaza Strip by the end of August, he said at a Christian conference in the US state of Oklahoma on Friday, according to an affiliated news agency. The Associated Baptist Press reported on Saturday that the former president would use his visit "to try to let the world know what's happening to the people there," which he also described as a humanitarian crisis. Speaking at the conference in Norman, Okla. , Carter noted he would be traveling with a delegation of The Elders, a group of global leaders brought together by former South African President Nelson Mandela. The country's Archbishop Desmond Tutu is expected to join. Carter last visited Gaza in June, when he condemned Israel's "maltreatment of the people in Gaza, who are literally starving and have no hope at this time. 

Fatah: Abbas to be 'elected unopposed' as Dahlan enrages some members
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Friday marked another blustery day at the Sixth Fatah Congress in Bethlehem, with accusations of failure and corruption being launched around the conference hall and experts predicting at least another four days of meetings. Congress spokesman Nabil Amr tried to quell anger over the issue of electing Fatah president, saying Abbas, as the movement's "general commander," would be "elected unopposed" without a formal vote, but there remains considerable discomfort with the idea. Central issues like Gaza, finances, the congress presidency and the relationship Fatah will have with the Palestinian Authority are "heavy files" an unofficial source told Ma'an late Friday, and working through them could take some time. The source said the congress would likely now run until 11 August, five days beyond its initial planned closing date. 

Shots fired near sixth conference; parking dispute blamed
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Shortly after 8:30 Friday evening gunshots were heard at the central bus station in Bethlehem, 200 meters from the Terra Sancta School where the sixth Fatah conference is being held. Heard throughout Bethlehem, residents' concerns ran the gamut from assassination attempts to an internal coup, but the shots were later said to have been the result of a parking dispute between security men from the Presidential Guard and Palestinian General Intelligence. One security officer was injured in the foot by shrapnel from the gunfire, which was reportedly not aimed at anyone in particular. No arrests were made and the incident came to a diplomatic conclusion shortly thereafter. President Mahmoud Abbas later laughed off the incident during remarks to congregants at Saturday's events, joking that he was sure the convention had come to to an end when he got word of the shooting. 

Hamas summons several Fatah leaders in Gaza City
8/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - De facto government forces in Gaza summoned several high-profile Fatah leaders to security services offices in Gaza City, allegedly for interviews. Ibrahim Abu An-Najja, who left Gaza for the conference, arrived in Bethlehem but when he discovered the other members of the Fatah delegation would be unable to travel, returned to the Strip in solidarity, was summoned along with Zakariyya Al-Agha,Abdullah Abu Samahdana, and Muhammad An-Nahhal. With elections for the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council coming up, it is unclear what effect the summons will have on proceedings. On Thursday it was decided that Gazan delegates to the conference who remain trapped in the Strip will be able to vote in the elections by phone. 

Hamas: PA security detain 10 more supporters
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority's security services detained 10 Hamas supporters in the West Bank on Friday, a statement released by Hamas said. Those detained were from the Jenin, Tulkarem, Tubas, and Nablus regions of the northern West Bank. [end] 

Candidates for the Fatah Central Committee
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Organizers of the Fatah congress released a list of some of the prominent candidates seeking a seat in the movement's 23 member Central Committee. The list, A-Z, is as follows:Abbas Zaki, Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Abdul-Aziz Abu Fadda, Abdul-Hamid Al-Qudsi, Abdullah Al-Efranji, Fatah Commissioner of Foreign Affairs, Abu Ali Mas'oud, Abu Ali Yatta, former prisoner, served one of the longest sentences of any Palestinian, released in 2008. He lives in Yatta and served nearly 30 years in prison. Adnan Abu Ayyash, Adnan Samara, Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, spokesperson for Fatah, former director of the office of the president under Arafat. Ahmad Al-Ubweini, Ahmad Ghneim, one of the co-founders of Fatah, living in Jordan he came to the West Bank for the first time one week before the conference. 

Jewish Fatah delegate nominated to Revolutionary Council
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A Jewish member of Fatah was nominated for a spot on the movement's Revolutionary Council on Saturday. Vowing to step up lobbying efforts worldwide if elected, Dr Uri Davis told Ma'an one of Fatah's weakest attributes has been its failure to establish ties with international parties, movements and human rights organizations. In an interview, Davis played down the significance of his nomination to the Revolutionary Council, Fatah's 120-member governing body. Each member of the movement has the right to run for office despite one's religion, race or color, the Fatah delegate noted. While it is common for Palestinian Christians to support Fatah and hold positions within the organization, Davis would likely be the first Jewish member of its Revolutionary Council if elected. He already serves as a Fatah-affiliated observer member (non-Palestinian) of the Palestinian. . . 

Conference elects Abbas head of Fatah
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Sixty-five of over 2,000 delegates to the Sixth Fatah Congress opposed the motion to elect Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian president and current party leader, as head of the party. The motion, voted on in the hall of the Terra Sancta School in Bethlehem, was done by hand count. It covered the election of Abbas as head of the party, and choice to cap the seats of the Central Committee at 18, plus the party president and four other members to be chosen by the Central Committee once it is formed. Shortly before the vote took place, Abbas' supporters broke out into a prepared poem praising him and his leadership. Following the decision he said, "I did not expect that the conference would succeed in this way. . . Hamas is still carrying out its attacks against Fatah affiliates in Gaza yet the conference succeeds and will succeed despite them. 

Hamas delegation leaves Strip for Cairo unity talks
8/8/2009 - Al-A'rish - Ma'an - Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that a delegation of Hamas movement headed by Mahmoud Az-Zahhar accompanied by five members and companions left Gaza via Rafh crossing to Cairo on Saturday. According to Egyptian security sources added that Egyptian authorities hadhuge preservations on Hamas visit headed by Az-Zahhar who is heading to Cairo for to hold important consultations with the Egyptian security officials over the fate of the coming round of Palestinian national dialogue that will be held soon in Cairo. Upon their arrival Az- Zahhar and the accompanied delegates were received by senior officials of the Egyptian security departments. Palestinian sources said that Hamas delegates may carry out a tour after concluding consultations with the Egyptians. 

Fatah announces preliminary figures for party elections
8/8/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Fatah's election committee announced on Saturday a provisional figure for those expected to run for spots on the movement's Central Committee and Revolutionary Council. In a statement published on the sixth Fatah conference's website, it was announced that 104 nominees would be considered for membership on the Central Committee, which includes 96 at the conference and eight from Gaza. For the Revolutionary Council, 650 were nominated for membership, 523 attending the conference and 127 unable to leave Gaza. The total number of participants in the conference reached 2,325, including 25 Palestinians who were deported from Bethlehem during the siege of the Nativity Church in 2002. 

Civil Defense forces extinguish Salfit-area blaze
8/8/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Palestinian Civil Defense respondents put out a large fire near the northern West Bank city of Salfit on Saturday. Hundreds of residents had tried to extinguish the blaze that destroyed dozens of olive trees in the Salfit-area of Dir Istieya, on the northern side of Az-Zawayed. But Civil Defense forces who rushed to the scene managed to put out the fire, according to Nathmi Salman, the mayor of Dir Istieya. He thanked crews for their efforts, but urged the Civil Defense general director to establish a permanent station in Salfit. [end] 

Hamas PM Haniyeh inaugurates refurbished stadium - on the field
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Celebrating the reopening of Gaza City's football stadium on Friday, de facto government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh took on players himself on Saturday. The stadium was demolished during Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, along with dozens of other civilian buildings and religious institutions. But Saturday's friendly between the Hamas official and other Palestinian footballers looked to celebrate steadfastness in the besieged Strip, and Hamas officials' hopes that their efforts in rebuilding would cement control over the area. Haniyeh said the stadium's reopening would serve as a message to Israel that its siege had failed. He said not only would Palestinians rebuild destroyed stadiums in Gaza, they would soon build them in Jerusalem, as well. Ma'an's correspondent reported back that Haniyeh managed to score one goal, while Israeli newspapers insisted that the Hamas leader came close once, but that it was blocked. 

Hamas slams Abbas’ reelection to Fatah leadership
8/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Fatah will continue in a downward spiral following the reelection of President Mahmoud Abbas to the party's leadership, the Hamas movement said on Saturday evening. "The reelection of Abu Mazen [Abbas] is the continuation of Fatah's political and organizational downfall and a continuation of the policy of dependence on foreign authorities from which the organization suffers," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth. Sixty-five of over 2,000 delegates to the sixth Fatah congress opposed the motion to elect Abbas, the Palestinian president and current party leader, as head of the mainstay political movement. The motion, voted on in the hall of the Terra Sancta School in Bethlehem, was done by hand count. It covered the election of Abbas as head of the party, and choice to cap the seats of the Central Committee at 18, plus the. . . 

Gazan family hospitalized in Egypt fearing swine flu
8/8/2009 - Al-Areish - Ma'an - A Palestinian mother and her four children were prevented from crossing into Gaza after they set off Egyptian security measures designed to prevent the spread of the H1 N1 virus. One of the family members had flu-like symptoms and set of the temperature detectors at the border area, installed to identify travelers with a high fever, Egyptian sources said. When the Palestinian family passed, the sensors revealed their temperature was much higher than usual. They were examined by a medical team who recommended taking all to hospital for observation as a precaution. Egyptian ambulances delivered the family to hospital in Al-Areish where they were isolated, and medics extracted blood samples and sent them to laboratories in Cairo. Three months ago, Egyptian authorities sent a Palestinian child suffering from symptoms similar to the H1N1 virus back to Gaza. 

The National

Spies or pawns in a power struggle?
8 Aug 2009 - The key questions surrounding the trials in Tehran.

Israel keeps close eye on Fatah's divisions
8 Aug 2009 - Israel remain watchful as Fatah delegates elect Mahmoud Abbas, the sitting Fatah leader as chairman of the movement.

Egypt outraged at film dog called Sadat
8 Aug 2009 - An American film in which a dog is named after the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat has sparked outrage among the Egyptian public.

Fatah delays leadership vote again
8 Aug 2009 - The internal vote to renew Fatah's governing bodies is now scheduled to take place on Sunday morning.

Aljazeera

Iran protesters face second hearing
8 Aug 2009 - French student and two staff from Western embassies among those in the dock. 

Abbas endorsed as Fatah chief
8 Aug 2009 - Delegates at West Bank conference re-elect Palestinan president as party leader.

Palestine News Network

Informal ban on Fateh activities in Gaza, phones to be confiscated, solution is release of detainees
8 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – Fateh Central Committee member Zacharia Al Agha said on Saturday evening that the security organs of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip have banned the activities of his movement “on an informal basis.” Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha was reported as approving the withdrawal of mobile phones from members of Fateh in the Gaza Strip. This move would be...

Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem brings police to break into Palestinian shops and demand fees 
8 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN – As part of the campaign to cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian citizens, the Israeli-controlled Municipality has launched a program of higher taxes on shop owners and merchants in the Old City. The Jerusalem Municipality targeted Palestinians on Al Wad Street in the Old City by bringing the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem and Israeli police who...

Settlers attack the Gaoui family building in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah, four injured
8 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu-Ghazaleh for PNN - Thirty Israeli settlers attacked the solidarity tent in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The settlers assaulted Palestinians who were protesting the recent overtaking of five houses in the neighborhood, and what looks to be the impending complete destruction of Sheikh Jarrah and other major areas of East Jerusalem. This tent was specific to the Gaoui family...

PCHR calls for investigation into death of Palestinian held in PA custody in Hebron
7 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Human Right (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General to investigate the death of Kamal 'Aamer Abu Tua'ima, 44, whose health conditions deteriorated after allegedly being subjected to torture while in the custody of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS) in Hebron. Abu Tua’ima’s continued detention was in violation of a High Court Ruling that ordered his release. PCHR...

Palestinian security improves recent track record of violating media freedoms, Israelis falter
7 Aug 2009 - Ramallah - There was a marked reduction in violations of media freedoms during the last month, particularly in those that had been seen in recent months by Palestinian security services. Israeli forces have, however, continued their violations of media freedoms as reported this week by MADA, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms. Last month, the Israeli occupation authorities arrested the...

Invitation to embrace cultural heritage and history of civilization in West Bank village 
7 Aug 2009 - Jaffna / PNN – As part of the events for “Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture, 2009,” Jaffna Village has opened its sixth annual festival of Palestinian heritage. Historical roots are being celebrated by Palestinians from both the West Bank and within Israeli boundaries in the many cultural activities on the agenda. “It’s traditional and reflects the history of the Palestinian people and...

Women well-represented at Fateh Sixth Conference, Natshe tells PNN that elections may be Sunday
7 Aug 2009 - PNN / Bethlehem – As the fifth day of the Fateh Sixth Conference begins in Bethlehem Rafiq Natshe told PNN that meetings may be extended through Tuesday. The day has been bumped twice now, with the original close slated for today and then moved to Sunday. The issue that is holding up proceedings is the elections for members of Fateh stuck in the...

IRIN

YEMEN: Government battles to regulate small arms
SANAA Wednesday, August 05, 2009 (IRIN) - The Yemeni government is struggling to control the spread of small arms in major cities, despite the two-year-old ban on firearms.

IRAQ: Iraqi refugees face urban challenges
DAMASCUS Tuesday, August 04, 2009 (IRIN) - Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon may be missing out on vital assistance because of problems tracing them in the cities, says the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in a report, Surviving in the City.

ISRAEL-OPT: 'Humanitarian gesture' for Gaza
TEL AVIV Monday, August 03, 2009 (IRIN) - Israel will allow a limited amount of cement and iron into Gaza for the first time since operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009, according to Israeli officials.

Inter Press Service

IRAN: Nuclear Capability After 2013, Says U.S. Intelligence 
WASHINGTON, Aug 7 (IPS) - Iran is unlikely to be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a nuclear weapon until at least 2013, according to a U.S. government intelligence estimate made public Thursday.

IRAQ: Shi’a Unity Deal Explodes U.S. Proxy War Myth 
WASHINGTON, Aug 7 (IPS) - The agreement announced Monday between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and a Shi’a resistance group called the "League of the Righteous" (Asa'ib al-Haq) formally ended the group’s armed opposition to the regime in return for the release of its leader and eight other Shi’a detainees....

MIDEAST: Prison Toughens Palestinian Women 
BETHLEHEM, Aug 7 (IPS) - In her office at the Bethlehem women's counselling centre, Khawla Al-Azraq recounts her memories from Israeli prison as vividly as if they were yesterday: the routine physical and psychological abuse, the nightly room searches, the hunger strikes and other collective actions in protest against their...

MIDEAST: New Israeli Plan to Warn of Impending Attacks 
WASHINGTON, Aug 6 (IPS) - The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is taking new measures to warn Palestinian civilians about impending aerial attacks. This comes in response to questions raised over whether Israel had complied with international laws during its 2006 war in Lebanon and the Gaza offensive earlier this year.

Stop The Wall

Night raids in Bil'in and Jayyus
6 Aug 2009 - Occupation forces struck Bil'in and Jayyus this week, arresting and abducting 13 more people in the latest series of arrests. In Bil'in, the arrest campaign that began late June continued, when early Monday morning Occupation forces invaded the village. The following night, residents of Jayyus stated that soldiers raided the village sometime around midnight, kidnapping three more local students. [

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.

PCHR Weekly Report

(30 Jul.- 05 Aug.  2008)
During the reporting period, 7 Palestinians civilians, including one child and one woman, were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

Breaking the Israeli water siege
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - International human rights activists together with Israelis and Palestinians escorted a convoy of water tankers, breaking the Israeli water siege of the village Qarawat Bani Zaid and delivering water to residents. At 12 pm ISM activists and other Internationals set off from Al Manara, Ramallah, to join the water convoy. After departure, passing checkpoints and settlements, the convoy could, without further delay, cross the border into the Palestinian Authority controlled Qarawat Bani Zaid, arriving at 15. 00 pm. Upon arriving to the village center, the local residents gathered to welcome the water aid. The water convoy was celebrated throughout the village with music, dancing and speeches by villagers and activists. Banners proclaiming "End the water siege" and "No More Thirst" in Arabic, Hebrew and English were exchanged and held up by Palestinian, Israeli and Internationals throughout the water delivery. 

Backed by their army, settlers bid for expansion in three locations
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ma'an News - Israeli settlers launched a series of actions on Friday in a bid to take over more West Bank land from Palestinians. In the city of Hebron settlers began planting Palestinian-owned land under military guard in an apparent takeover attempt. Settlers from the illegal Israeli colony of Kiryat Arba moved on to land belonging to Muhammad Mustafa Jaber, in the Al-Beqa'a area, outside of Hebron. Jaber told Ma'an Israeli soldiers blocked his family from reaching the land. A similar incident took place last week when soldiers cordoned off his land to make way for the settlers' activities. In a separate incident dozens of Israeli military vehicles closed the village of Kfil Haris, north of the West Bank town of Salfit, Thursday as they escorted a group of settlers through the area, locals reported. 

Village of Bil’in calls on Amnesty International to withdraw from Leonard Cohen concert
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - We, members of the Bil'in popular committee against the wall and settlements, have always appreciated Amnesty International's role in the defense of human rights around the world and have recognized you as partners in our own struggle to defend our rights. We remember with great pleasure and pride your December, 2006 visit to our village to witness one of our protests. For these reasons we were surprised and deeply disturbed to learn that Amnesty International is sponsoring Leonard Cohen's upcoming concert in Israel. -- Dear Amnesty International, We, members of the Bil'in popular committee against the wall and settlements, have always appreciated Amnesty International's role in the defense of human rights around the world and have recognized you as partners in our own struggle to defend our rights. We remember with great pleasure and pride your December, 2006 visit to our village to witness one of our protests. 

'Palestinian Authority Only': new Israeli stamp limits travel for tourists
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - The Faster Times - This is an image of a page from a French passport, whose owner recently went through the Allenby Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the Israeli occupied West Bank. It shows an Israeli-issued stamp that provides the passport owner with a three-month tourism visa. What makes this stamp unique however is that the Israeli border agents who issued it appear to have come up with a new criteria regarding the freedom of movement of its holder. The presence of "Palestinian Authority only" on the stamp is what makes it unique. Previous Israeli-issued tourism visas do not restrict the freedom of movement of tourists who are allowed passage into the country, and who originate from countries which Israel has diplomatic relations and reciprocal arrangements regarding travel. 

VIDEO - Evicted Palestinians sleep rough in protest
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Al Jazeera - 7 August 2009 The Hanouns, a Palestinian family evicted by Israeli authorities from their home in East Jerusalem, are protesting their eviction by sleeping on the street outside the house that was for decades their home. Al Jazeera'sreports from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem where the Hanouns are sleeping rough in protest. [end] 

University of JHB Prof lodges charges against War Criminal David Benjamin
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Today, University of Johannesburg academic, Professor Farid Esack and Palestine Solidarity Committee members formally laid charges at the Johannesburg Central Police station against war criminal Lieutenant-Colonel David Benjamin. This follows an application lodged on Monday by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance and others with the assistance of well-known international law professors John Dugard and Max du Plessis. The application calls on the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions to set in motion an investigation into war crimes committed by a number of Israelis linked to the Gaza massacre of December 2008-January 2009. South African-born Lieutenant-Colonel David Benjamin, who obtained his law degree from the University of Cape Town, has worked for the Israeli Occupation Forces for the past 17 years. As a member of the Israeli Army's Military Advocates Corps, he provided legal advice to the Israeli military during the massacre. 

al Ma’asara demonstrates against the Apartheid Wall
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Yesterday night military vehicles blocked the entrance of al Ma'asara village. This act came, last week, after Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) threatened to put the village under siege if it had continued the weekly protests. In al Ma'asara today dozens of Palestinian protestors against the apartheid Wall and the settlements were joined by groups of around 80 internationals from all over the world and some Israeli activists. Protestors marched towards the Apartheid Wall carrying Palestinian and Fatah flags as a message to the members of Fateh fromthe popular resistance movement to adopt the popular resistance as strategy for the future and also as a message that unity is priority for the Palestinians. protestors marched toward their land chanting for the immediate end to the Israeli Occupation and Colonization of Palestine. 

Solidarity with Palestinian non-violent resistance: a Bil’in petition
8/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Sign the Petition - The Palestinian popular resistance movement is suffering from the ongoing violence of both the Israeli occupation forces and the settlers. The Israeli authorities want to crush the non-violent struggle and to break the unity created among Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals, who for more than four years have been demonstrating together in Bilin, Nilin and other occupied villages, exerting their legitimate right to defend their land against further colonization and to struggle for the full restitution of the land annexed by Israel, disregarding international obligations and violating human rights. In the past months we have seen an escalation of systematic arrests and kidnappings of activists in the movement by the Israeli army. This week, non-violent leaders from the West Bank village of Bilin and Al Masara have been arrested for peacefully demonstrating against Israeli separation wall and are still being held in prison. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Freezing for failure 
8 Aug 2009 - It should be said from the onset: Do not freeze settlement construction, do not stop it in part or periodically, not for six months, not for a single day. As long as the U.S. administration does not present a comprehensive plan that explains its endgame - what the end will look like and what the shape and character of the Palestinian state will look like - the demand for a cessation of construction is pointless. It is a pathetic return to the doctrine of "confidence-building measures," which led nowhere. The demand to freeze settlement construction is like the demand to remove roadblocks or cease razing homes; all these demands and similar ones mean only one thing: making the continuation of the occupation a little more pleasant. ...

French-Israeli demands EU make his Sderot home rocket-proof 
8 Aug 2009 - A French-Israeli man from Sderot is demanding that the European Union shoulder the cost of making his home rocket-proof, in a precedent-setting lawsuit against the EU which the man intends to file tomorrow in Brussels. ... 

New book claims Mossad was ready to rub out Swedish leftist
8 Aug 2009 - The Mossad offered Swedish intelligence to assassinate a renowned left-wing journalist in the 1970s, says a book just published in Sweden. The proposed target doubts this is true. ... 

Lebanese reports suggest Obama is wooing Syria
8 Aug 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama has removed several items from the list of goods the United States refuses to sell Syria, according to Syria's ambassador to Washington. ... 

Lieberman summons envoy in U.S. over leaked rebuke of government
8 Aug 2009 - The Foreign Ministry on Saturday summoned for consultation a senior Israeli diplomat who in a confidential memo criticized the government for harming ties with the U.S. last week. ...

The Guardian

Mahmoud Darwish - a poet of peace in a time of conflict | Raja Shehadeh
7 Aug 2009 - Having Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish for a neighbour offered me a unique insight in the mind of a man fighting to find a common ground in the most divisive of circumstances For the last 12 years...

Shafiq al-Hout | PLO founder member | Obituary
6 Aug 2009 - PLO founder member and staunch defender of Palestinian rights Shafiq al-Hout, who has died aged 77 in Beirut, was a founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), its representative in Lebanon and a larger-than-life figure...

Irving Moskowitz's bingo madness | Richard Silverstein
6 Aug 2009 - How an American gambling mogul is forcing a showdown between the Obama administration and Israel over settlements Irving Moskowitz has come a long way since he began his medical career as an young internist in California...

Erasing facts from Israel eviction story | Rafael Broch
6 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian families evicted in East Jerusalem had failed to pay their rent – a fact omitted from British media reports Mattresses strewn across the street, a child crying, a woman shouting in despair – it...

Ha'aretz National page

Gideon Levy / Not everyone was at the solidarity rally
8 Aug 2009 - It was an impressive tour de force: Tens of thousands of members of the LGBT community and others came to the square. It was also a touching display of solidarity: Chen Langer, who survived the shooting, wept throughout his speech, a speech made from a wheelchair, even if he got a little carried away when comparing the attack to the "different planet" described by the author Yehiel Dinur - "Katzetnik" - who wrote about the death camps. ... 

20,000 gather in Rabin Square over gay center shooting 
8 Aug 2009 - Twenty thousand demonstrators or more gathered in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square Saturday night in a rally to show solidarity with Israel's gay community, including the victims shot at a TA center for gay and lesbian youth a week ago, which left two dead and a dozen wounded. ... 

Peres: Gay center shooting hurt all Israelis
7 Aug 2009 - Tens of thousands took to Tel Aviv's Rabin Square Saturday night in a rally to show solidarity with the victims of a shooting at a Tel Aviv center for gay and lesbian youth one week ago, that left two people dead and a dozen wounded. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Week in review - Fateh Conference continues amid Sheikh Jarrah evictions
8 Aug 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

Efficient brutality' remains hallmark of widespread sexual violence in armed conflicts, UN SG tells SC 
7 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

Groundbreaking survey on housing and infrastructure in Palestinian gatherings in Lebanon released
7 Aug 2009 - Source: Première Urgence

YNet News

Report: Israeli internet server found in Lebanon
8 Aug 2009 - Al-Manar reports Lebanese army found and confiscated server wired to antennae aimed at Israel 

Report: Cell plotted to kill Israel's ambassador to Egypt 
8 Aug 2009 - Egyptian newspaper reports al-Zeitoun cell planned to assassinate Shalom Cohen, bomb his home, Israeli embassy in Cairo last year. Three suspects arrested; say plan failed due to tight security 

Lieberman summons diplomat who criticized gov't
8 Aug 2009 - Israel's consul general in Boston, Nadav Tamir, who sent out harsh letter against Netanyahu government's policies summoned for meeting with Foreign Ministry director general 

Abbas re-elected Fatah leader
8 Aug 2009 - Movement's summit in Bethlehem enters unanimous vote in favor of Palestinian president, who was the only candidate. 'We are here to achieve the Palestinian people's goals, to liberate Palestinian land and to form our state with Jerusalem as its capital,' he says in victory speech. Hamas spokesman says vote 'won't change situation, Fatah in state of collapse' 

Once again, haredim clash with police over Karta lot
8 Aug 2009 - Police prevent hundreds of ultra-Orthodox from marching towards Jerusalem parking lot in protest against its opening on Shabbat 

GLBT rally organizers get phone threats
8 Aug 2009 - Two coordinators responsible for transportation to ceremony honoring victims of shooting attack on Tel Aviv gay youth center say get threatening phone calls by anonymous persons saying they will bring grenades to event. Meanwhile, Jerusalem Police arrest haredi soldier suspected of making threat in online gay forums 

Haniyeh takes to soccer pitch
8 Aug 2009 - In honor of reopening of stadium damaged during Operation Cast Lead, Hamas leaders play friendly match with former Palestinian footballers. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh expresses hopes of building stadium in Jerusalem as well 

Palestinian Information Center

Kamal Abu T’iema: Another victim of PA-Zionist perfidy
8 Aug 2009 - Kamal Abu T’iema, who was lying at a hospital bed in Amman, quietly succumbed to a massive stroke he had suffered as a result of unrelenting torture at the hands of PA interrogators in al-Khalil.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian citizens expelled from their building
8 Aug 2009 - Israeli settlers attacked at noon Saturday the sit-in tent established in front of Al-Ghaoui building whose residents were forced out by the Israeli authorities.

League of Palestine scholars appeals to Egypt to allow its delegation enter Gaza
8 Aug 2009 - The league of Palestine scholars has appealed to the Egyptian authority to allow its delegation to enter the Gaza Strip to display solidarity with the besieged inhabitants of Gaza.

Tafakji warns of the seriousness of placing a temple model near Aqsa Mosque
8 Aug 2009 - Khalil Al-Tafakji, the head of the map department in the Arab studies society, warned of the seriousness of placing a model of the alleged temple near the Dome of the Rock.

Hamas: Abbas militias kidnap 42 supporters within 3 days
8 Aug 2009 - Hamas on Saturday charged the security militias loyal to former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah leader with kidnapping 42 of Hamas cadres and supporters within the past three days.

Four Palestinians faint during protest at confiscating lands in Burin village
8 Aug 2009 - Four Palestinian citizens fell unconscious when IOF troops fired tear gas at a peaceful march organized in the village of Burin in protest at the confiscation of 300 dunums of the village’s lands.

Abu Shaar appeals to Egyptian authority to allow passage for pilgrims
8 Aug 2009 - Dr. Taleb Abu Shaar, the minister of religious affairs, has appealed to the Egyptian authority to open the Rafah crossing so as to allow access for those wishing to offer Omra or minor pilgrimage.

Haneyya: Israeli siege failed in its goals
8 Aug 2009 - Premier Ismail Haneyya stated, during a ceremony held to reinaugurate Al-Yarmouk stadium, that the Israeli siege failed in its objectives and in breaking the will of the Palestinian people.

Chaves describes Liebermann as "mafia boss"
8 Aug 2009 - Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has described Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Liebermann as a "mafia boss" in retaliation to the latter charges against him.

Britain intends to reconsider exports of naval spare parts to Israel
8 Aug 2009 - The Russian Novosti news agency reported that London declared its intention to reconsider 182 permits for exporting military spare parts and products used in Israeli gunboats and frigates.

Los Angeles Times

Iran conservatives demand role in Cabinet's vetting 
8 Aug 2009 - A bloc of hard-liners insists that fellow conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad obey the country's supreme leader or risk losing the group's confidence. A hard-line group demanded Friday that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad obey the country's supreme leader or risk losing the confidence of lawmakers from his own conservative political camp. 

Amos Kenan dies at 82; writer helped shape Israeli culture 
8 Aug 2009 - The novelist and newspaper columnist sought to create an Israeli identity separate from Judaism. He was known for his 1984 novel 'The Road to Ein Harod.' Amos Kenan, a novelist, newspaper columnist and sculptor who as a member of Israel's founding generation helped define modern Israeli culture, died in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. He was 82. 

Jewish groups decry Obama's choice of Ireland's Mary Robinson for award 
7 Aug 2009 - Protests against the former Irish president, who critics say is anti-Israel, could become problematic for President Obama. Jewish congressional members and lobbying groups are protesting President Obama's decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Irish leader Mary Robinson, who they say has a long record of harshly criticizing Israel. 

New York Times

Palestinians Elect Leader, Unopposed, as Party Chief
8 Aug 2009 - A nearly unanimous majority of Fatah delegates voted for the president, Mahmoud Abbas, at a party conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Saturday. 

Fatah Postpones Elections, and Extends Conference
7 Aug 2009 - Amid stormy meetings over voting procedures at the landmark conference, Fatah leaders postponed elections for its decision-making bodies. 

Amos Kenan, Israeli Writer and Iconoclast, Dies at 82
6 Aug 2009 - Mr. Kenan was an Israeli writer whose anti-religious and anti-Zionist views made him a longstanding irritant to the political establishment. 

Misc

UN concerned over potential further evictions in East Jerusalem 
8/7/2009 - Alternative Information Center - In the wake of the evictions of dozens of Palestinian refugees in East Jerusalem earlier this week, the United Nations today voiced concern that more families could be forced out of their homes by Israel, causing further humanitarian suffering. Two families, comprising 53 people registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), were forced out by Israeli security forces last weekend from the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, with Israeli settlers moving into their homes. “The families, evicted in the early hours of Sunday from the homes where they have lived for more than half a century, continue to suffer distress and shock,” UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said in a statement issued today in Jerusalem. “The children are particularly traumatized. ”On top of being surrounded by Israeli police and security personnel at dawn on Sunday morning, 

Another Day Sleeping Under the Sky: The Situation in Sheikh Jarrah and the Uncertain Destiny of The Gawi and Hannoun Families
8/7/2009 - Alternative Information Center - The neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, housing about 500 Palestinians in East Jerusalem is under siege. Armed forces have been stationed here since early Sunday morning when the Hannoun and Gawi families were forcibly evicted from their homes by as many as 500 police officers. Now it’s a waiting game. The families are sleeping on the sidewalk in front of their homes until they’re taken away by force. This isn’t the first time they’ve been made to leave their homes. They are Haifa refugees from the 1948 Nakba, what Israel calls the War of Independence. The UNRWA made an agreement with the Jordanian government (who controlled East Jerusalem at the time) to provide them with houses in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in 1956, where the families have been living ever since. Since the two evictions on Sunday, 2 August, 23 people have been arrested, including members of the Gawi family. 

Five years of illegality 
8/6/2009 - Uruknet - Oxfam International - After five years of illegality, it is time to dismantle the Wall and respect the rights of Palestinians -- In an advisory opinion, rendered on 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice stated that Israel’s construction of the Wall in the occupied Palestinian Territory was illegal and called for its immediate dismantling. Five years later, the advisory opinion has been met only by inaction: Israel continues constructing the Wall and the international community remains silent. Oxfam International underscores the urgency of addressing this situation in a compilation of testimonies that is published today. In its publication Five years of illegality, Oxfam International presents testimonies of fifteen Palestinian men and women who recount their daily problems, arising from the construction of the Wall and its associated regime of land confiscation and permits, and the construction and expansion of settlements. 

Breaking the Israeli water siege 
8/7/2009 - Uruknet - International Solidarity Movement (ISM) - International human rights activists together with Israelis and Palestinians escorted a convoy of water tankers, breaking the Israeli water siege of the village Qarawat Bani Zaid and delivering water to residents. At 12 pm ISM activists and other Internationals set off from Al Manara, Ramallah, to join the water convoy. After departure, passing checkpoints and settlements, the convoy could, without further delay, cross the border into the Palestinian Authority controlled Qarawat Bani Zaid, arriving at 15. 00 pm. Upon arriving to the village center, the local residents gathered to welcome the water aid. The water convoy was celebrated throughout the village with music, dancing and speeches by villagers and activists. Banners proclaiming "End the water siege" and "No More Thirst" in Arabic, Hebrew and English were exchanged and held up by Palestinian, Israeli and Internationals throughout the water delivery. A local representative asked the Israeli activists to return home with a message of peace:"We want peace and water. We are the only people in the world who have to buy water from our occupiers. Now, we are welcoming you because you come as friends, not as attackers, soldiers or occupiers. Please tell your government, we do not want your water, we want our own water. " Since the middle of March the taps in Qarawat Bani Zaid have been running dry ? no water for drinking, for washing, for livestock or agriculture. In the surrounding villages of Kafr Ein, Beit Rima, Dayr Ghasana and Nabi Saleh the water supply is failing too. Living in this area, north-west of Ramallah, are around 15,000 people, who at the height of the scorching summer season receive a ration of water amounting to 48 liters per person per day ? approximately one fifth of the average consumed by Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories and residents of Israel (235 liters) and less than half of the WHO? s measure of 'water deficiency? (100 liters a day). In previous years the households of Qarawat Bani Zaid and the surrounding villages received water from the Aboud spring. However, since 2000 the Israeli water company Mekorot has controlled the area? s supply of spring water, only 20% of which is now fed to the Palestinian water distribution network. Around 100 cubic meters per hour would be needed to supply all the families in the region through the network of pipes. Currently the pipes supply a maximum of only 70 cubic meters per-hour, and in the summer this remains as low as 30 cubic meters per-hour. 

Abbas endorsed as Fatah chief 
8/8/2009 - Al Jazeera - Abbas, who took over as party chief after the 2004 death of Yasser Arafat, will retain his position [AFP]Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has been re-elected as leader of the Fatah movement by delegates attending the party conference in Bethlehem. Abbas, who stood unopposed for the position, was elected by consensus on Saturday through a show of hands from the 2,300 delegates attending the conference. Technically Abbas is elected for five years - until a new conference is announced -but as this is the first time Fatah members have met in two decades, it is not clear how long his mandate will actually last. The party also decided to extend its conference until Tuesday, saying it needed more time to discuss its political programme and elect members to various committees. The conference in the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem is Fatah's first congress for 20 years and the first on Palestinian soil. 

New Israel Land Reform Law Passed by Knesset 
8/3/2009 - Adalah - Adalah will challenge the new Israel land reform law before the Supreme Court as it violates the constitutional rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel as well as the property rights of the Palestinian refugees" -- (Haifa) Today, 3 August 2009, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed the Israel Land Administration (ILA) Law, with 61 Members of Knesset (MKs) voting in favor of the law and 45 MKs voting against it. The new land reform law is wide ranging in scope: it institutes broad land privatization; permits land exchanges between the State and the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet Le-Israel) (hereinafter - the “JNF”), the land of which is exclusively reserved for the Jewish people; allows lands to be allocated in accordance with "admissions committee" mechanisms and only to candidates approved by Zionist institutions working solely on behalf of the Jewish people; and grants decisive 

Articles

Impunity for settlers, prosecution for Palestinians: the two roles secret evidence plays in the Israeli justice system 
Al-Haq, Al-Haq 8/4/2009
      As a Palestinian human rights organisation committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq strongly condemns the decision of Israeli State Prosecutors to drop all charges against an Israeli settler who shot and wounded two Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron in December 2008.
     Ze‘ev Braude, a resident of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba‘, was caught on film as he shot at two members of a Palestinian family while Israeli occupation forces evacuated settlers from a nearby house. During the evacuation, 50 settlers from Kiryat Arba‘ gathered in an area bordering the Palestinian family‘s land. Braude and another settler crossed onto the family‘s property, and Braude, carrying a pistol, attempted to climb onto a balcony where the family had gathered to watch the evacuation. Braude proceeded to fire shots at members of the family when they attempted to prevent him from reaching the balcony. The incident was videotaped by one of the family members, and Israeli human rights group B‘Tselem later released the footage to Israeli police and security forces as evidence to support Braude‘s prosecution.
     Braude was formally charged with two counts of intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Following the indictment, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak authorised a certificate of priviledge for evidence included in the prosecution‘s investigation material, effectively denying Braude access to information that could aid in his defense. Braude‘s lawyer successfully petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to declassify the evidence and provide it to his client. In his ruling, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein held that in this instance, the right of the accused to a fair trial outweighed the harm to national security. Subsequent to the Supreme Court‘s decision, the State prosecution declared that it would drop the indictment against Braude, stating that the protection of classified information for national security reasons outweighed the benefit of proceeding with the prosecution.
     This incident highlights a troubling example of the impunity enjoyed by settlers with respect to their violent actions against Palestinian civilians and their property. It also correlates to a broader policy of impunity regarding the settlers‘ presence in the OPT. The movement of Israeli settlers into the OPT, and the establishment of settlements on occupied territory, violates customary international humanitarian law. The rule, which is codified in Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibits the transfer of the Occupying Power‘s civilian population into the territory it occupies.

A Small First Step In Cleaning Up the West’s Middle East Mess 
Franklin Lamb, Uruknet 8/7/2009
      Sunday morning on the dunes: Why Hezbollah and Americans joined other Lebanese friends and cleaned up Lebanon’s "Free Gaza Beach".
     Lebanon’s endangered Green Sea Turtles are no less genetically imprinted by nature to return west to the sea than her Palestinian Refugees are imprinted by justice to return south to their homes. -- Nehme Hamie, Horse Rancher near Baalbek, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
     Ramlet el Baida, Beirut -- It is hard to believe that it has already been three years since July 13 and 15, 2006, when American MK 82 and MK 83, 500 and 1,000 lb. bombs, and four US TOW missiles, gifted to Israel, destroyed Lebanon’s oil storage facility at Jiyeh, 30 kilometers south of Beirut.
     The attack at Jiyeh was one of more than 12,000 Israeli air force bombing missions during the 33 day attack on Lebanon, as its navy fired 2,500 missiles as its Army fired over 100,000 shells. Large parts of the Lebanese civilian infrastructure were destroyed, including 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and dozens of other civilian targets bombed such as Beirut’s Rafic Hariri Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, up to 350 schools and two hospitals. More than 15,000 homes were destroyed and an additional 130,000 damaged.
     The intentional environmental disaster at Jiyeh was the worst of its kind in Lebanese history with more than 15,000 pounds of thick oil soaking Lebanon’s beaches turning some into tar pits. According to the World Bank the bombing of the oil storage tanks produced a 50,000 sq meter "carpet" of oil sunken below the sea just off the coast of Sidon which Greenpeace claims will require decades if not centuries to recover. Efforts by UN Sec.-General Ban Ki-moon to collect close to a billion dollars from Israel to reimburse Lebanon for clean up and restoration costs remains stymied today by a US veto threat of any Security Council resolution that attempts to hold Israel responsible.


Electronic Intifada
"Breaking the Silence" or silencing the critics?
7 Aug 2009 - "Breaking the Silence" is a member of the Israeli human rights, peace and social justice community. The group's only crime, so it seems, lies in its effort to offer an alternative ethical voice in a society that is arguably losing its way. Breaking the Silence provides a platform for soldiers to testify to acts of violence and other violations of Palestinian rights that they may have witnessed or taken part in during their service in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Louis Frankenthaler comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Smoke, mirrors and acrimony: The 2009 Fatah congress
6 Aug 2009 - It has been an unnatural string of days here in Bethlehem. Gone is the usual quaintness. Palestinian police are working overtime and coffee shops are being lit up by men in suits with cigars in town for Fatah's sixth general assembly. The secular Fatah movement was founded in the 1950s and has since been at the forefront of the Palestinian national movement. Sousan Hammad writes for The Electronic Intifada. 

Letter campaign: Israeli apartheid deserves no amnesty
6 Aug 2009 - The following action alert was issued on 5 August 2009 by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and groups around the world, urging Amnesty International to discontinue its involvement with a Leonard Cohen concert in Israel that effectively normalizes Israel's violations of international law and undermines the worldwide movement to boycott Israel. 

Crippled academia unable to recover in Gaza
6 Aug 2009 - More than six months after Israel's winter invasion of Gaza, a number of partially or largely damaged universities await reconstruction. Raw materials essential for rebuilding are unavailable in Gaza primarily because of Israel's 26-month blockade of the tiny territory. Coupled with the wide-scale destruction from Israel's 22-day onslaught, the siege has crippled most aspects of public life for Gaza's 1.5 million residents. Rami Almeghari reports from the Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza
siblings
8 Aug 2009 - A visit to Jabliya to see my friends in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo region. Aboud (above) seems to be improving from his post-war trauma, as slowly does B, the teenage sister of my friends. Today’s visit was to catch up with them, but also to see the latest addition to the extended family. Abdel Hakim, born roughly 1 month ago, is healthy and faring well, contrary to my concerns. I’d worried about his mother’s health, pregnant and stressed during the massacre. Another friend had had a miscarriage, and many pregnant women were having premature babies… As we sat outside, in shade and breeze, and talked –she, her father-in-law, my friend,...

Palestine Chronicle
Gaza's Kite Runners
7 Aug 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud When seen from a distance, kites in Gaza may look quite ordinary. But while Gazan children, in many respects, are just children, their kites are hardly ordinary. Often adorned by the red, black, green and white of the Palestinian flag, Gazan children’s kites are expressions of defiance, hope and the longing for freedom. This is hardly a cliché. People living under oppressive rules take every opportunity to express defiance, even through such symbolic ways. Born and raised in Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip, I remember my first kite. It, like most kites, carried the colors of the flag. The kite was the work of my older brother, now a successful medic in the West Bank. He obliged before my incessant cries for a kite despite my father’s objections. But why should a father object to something so seemingly harmless? Simple. A notorious Israeli military camp and detention center was stationed on the outskirts of our refugee camp, between Nuseirat and Buraij. The military camp served multiple purposes. It was to immediately dispatch troops into our refugee camp at the first sign of protest. Further, the men stationed there guarded a nearby Jewish settlement. Finally, it also served as a temporarily prison where Palestinian activists suffered torture before being hauled off to Gaza’s central prison, or worse, Al-Nakab. The military camp however, hardly enjoyed a moment of peace. Students and other refugees from adjacent refugee camps would descend into the Israeli military grounds, almost daily with...

American Intifada: Shaking Off Six Decades of Deceit
7 Aug 2009 - By Jeff Gates During the 1960 Christmas season, Americans flocked to the theaters to see Exodus, a 3-1/2 hour epic featuring romance, handsome freedom fighters and the triumph of Jewish destiny over Arab evil—all set against a Yuletide backdrop of Biblical prophecy as heroic Jews returned to their promised land. Many moviegoers failed to realize that Exodus was not fact but fiction adapted from a 1958 Leon Uris novel, the biggest bestseller since Gone with the Wind. Directed by Otto Preminger and starring a young Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint, the film featured Lee J. Cobb, Rat Pack member Peter Lawford and Italian crooner Sal Mineo, a teen heartthrob who received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a Jewish émigré. Then as now, Americans are easily swayed by sympathetic portrayals of an extremist enclave granted nation-state recognition by Harry Truman. A Christian-Zionist who had famously read the Bible cover-to-cover five times by age 15, Truman was a True Believer in the prophecy that the Messiah could not return until the Israelites returned to their ancestral home. Truman White House counsel Clark Clifford routinely reminded the widely unpopular president that his 1948 campaign was woefully short of funding that the Jewish-American community—with that recognition—was eager to provide. In May 1948, General George C. Marshall, Truman’s Secretary of State, argued vigorously against recognition of this Zionist enclave as a legitimate sovereign nation. Truman heard similarly strong objections from the diplomatic corps, the fledgling Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs...

One State, Two States – Book Review
7 Aug 2009 - By Jim Miles One State, Two States – Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Benny Morris. Yale University Press, New Haven, NJ. 2009 This is a rather oily work to deal with, operating under the pretence of academic objectivity that “does not flatter anyone’s prejudices.” And while Benny Morris obviously knows his historical facts, “One State, Two States” reveals more of a prejudice than the original reviewers seemed capable of understanding. The main theme – resolving the Israeli/Palestine conflict - is poorly introduced without a lot of contextual information that could change the reader’s perspective on the situation. What Morris arrives at through implication and cherry picking information is that the Israelis are the good guys (generally, with only one mention of the “grinding, stifling Israeli occupation of the territories” near the end of the book) and the Palestinians are the reluctant, recalcitrant, demagogic perpetrators of evil. Okay, that is overstated, but it is an overstatement as an example of the kind of language used occasionally by Morris that seriously erodes his academic pretensions of neutrality. There are several faults with the development of his arguments that should be noted, some being omissions of information, others being a working of the information to fit the author’s preconceptions. Unequal Partners One of the more subtle misinformation themes is that of the ongoing dialogue of whatever form, through negotiations, written tracts, informal talks or whatever, that leaves the implication that the two sides – Israelis and Palestinians – are equal partners in the negotiations,...

Cleaning Lebanon's 'Free Gaza Beach'
7 Aug 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Ramlet el Baida, Beirut It is hard to believe that it has already been three years since July 13 and 15, 2006, when American MK 82 and MK 83,500 and 1,000 lb. bombs, and four US TOW missiles, gifted to Israel, destroyed Lebanon’s oil storage facility at Jiyeh, 30 kilometers south of Beirut. The attack at Jiyeh was one of more than 12,000 Israeli air force bombing missions during the 33 day attack on Lebanon, as its navy fired 2,500 missiles as its Army fired over 100,000 shells. Large parts of the Lebanese civilian infrastructure were destroyed, including 400 miles of roads, 73 bridges, and dozens of other civilian targets bombed such as Beirut's Rafic Hariri Airport, ports, water and sewage treatment plants, electrical facilities, 25 fuel stations, 900 commercial structures, up to 350 schools and two hospitals. More than 15,000 homes were destroyed and an additional 130,000 damaged. The intentional environmental disaster at Jiyeh was the worst of its kind in Lebanese history with more than 15,000 pounds of thick oil soaking Lebanon’s beaches turning some into tar pits. According to the World Bank the bombing of the oil storage tanks produced a 50,000 sq meter “carpet” of oil sunken below the sea just off the coast of Sidon which Greenpeace claims will require decades if not centuries to recover. Efforts by UN Sec.-General Key ban Moon to collect close to a billion dollars from Israel to reimburse Lebanon for clean up and restoration costs...

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