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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
15 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Fateh elects its revolutionary council, Jewish with Palestinian citizenship elected
16 Aug 2009 - The Fateh movement had concluded its Sixth Conference, held in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, after officially declaring the names of the wining 80 candidates who ran for the Revolutionary Council; among the elected was a Jewish man with Palestinian citizenship. 

Gaza update; 22, including the head of the Salafi and Jihad group, killed in Gaza
16 Aug 2009 - Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported that 22 Palestinians, including policemen, members of the Salafi and Jihad group (Jund Allah) and its leader Abdul-Latif Mousa, were killed and more than 130 were injured, some seriously, in the clashes between Hamas’ security forces and the Al Qassam Brigades from one side, and gunmen of the new group from the other. 

Four cases of swine-flu diagnosed in Ofer detention facility
15 Aug 2009 - Palestinian Minister of Detainee, Issa Qaraqe’, issued a press release stating that four Palestinian detainees at the Ofer Israeli detention facility were diagnosed with swine-flu, and that they contracted virus from Israeli soldiers and jailors. 

15 killed, 120 injured in Gaza clashes
15 Aug 2009 - Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that the number of Palestinians killed in the clashes between Hamas security forces and an outlawed Salafi fundamental group in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, now stands at 15, while some 120 Palestinians were injured. 

Columbian soldier killed in Egypt
15 Aug 2009 - Egyptian sources reported that a Columbian soldier, member of the peacekeeping force between Egypt and Israel, was killed Thursday in a shooting incident that involved members of the international force, one soldier was injured. 

Egypt to open Rafah Terminal for two days for pilgrims heading to Mecca
14 Aug 2009 - Palestinian and Egyptian sources reported Friday that the Egyptian Authorities have decided to open the Rafah border terminal, between Gaza and Egypt, for two days to enable some 2000 pilgrims heading to Mecca to cross into Egyptian territories. 

Peace Now: Sunday, protest against settlements
14 Aug 2009 - The Israeli Peace Now Movement published a press release calling for a protest against the ongoing illegal settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Something bad is happening in the IDF
15 Aug 2009 - Public deserves to know identity of senior officer whose credit card, weapon were stolen. 

Probe into thefts from top officer uncovers serious security lapses
15 Aug 2009 - Soldier who stole credit card details, weapons guarded office of 'very senior' IDF figure. 

Hamas: Head of Al-Qaida affiliate killed in Gaza
14 Aug 2009 - At least 24 people killed during fierce gun battle between Hamas and Jund Ansar Allah militants. 

Amira Hass / Gazans detained in 'giant pit' during Cast Lead
15 Aug 2009 - One detainee: IDF held us in 'dugout' for 3 days, with no food, water; IDF: Mens' honor, health preserved. 

Report: 20 Syrian civilians killed in failed missile test
15 Aug 2009 - Kyodo News: Syria, North Korea and Iran jointly developed, test-fired upgraded Scud missile in May. 

Ma'an News

Palestinian prisoners contract H1N1 in Israeli jails
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians in Israel's Ofer detention center were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus after falling ill Monday,Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi said Friday, saying the men caught the bug from other inmates and wardens. "We have sent a message to Israeli prison services holding them accountable for the prisoners' lives and demanding they take the patients to special hospitals instead of keeping them in isolation cells," Qaraqi said. Israeli prison services and medics at the jail have concealed details about these patients for the past week, he said, and have refused to cooperate with his ministry and the Red Cross. The Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners Affairs requested Ofer be closed, and all infected wardens and soldiers spreading the virus be moved out of the facility. 

Hebron: Danish woman beaten by soldier
8/15/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli authorities declared Safa village north of Hebron a closed military zone and arrested two international peace activists, injuring a third Danish activist during protests Saturday. Dozens of villagers and activists were attempting to reach Wad Abu A-Rish, an area near Safa that is the site of an attempted land takeover by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. Soldiers barred the group from accessing the area, arrested a Danish and German activist and injured a second Danish woman by hitting her in the head with a rifle butt. The group was trying to enter valley and work the lands set on three weeks ago by right-wing settlers from Bay Ayin, said Media Spokesman Mohammad A'wad for the group that organized the protest, Palestinian Solidarity Project. 

Police: Palestinians hospitalized after attacked by Israeli soldiers
8/15/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers attacked two Palestinian civilians over a 12-hour period Saturday, a report from the Palestinian police department said. Yaser Abu Hamed was attacked at the southern entrance of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya, while Hamza Mohammad Salah Abu Khalf, 24, was beated near the Ibrahimi mosque in the Old City of Hebron, the department said. Both men were injured so badly locals had to transport them to hospital where they received treatment. [end] 

Hamas: Rafah clashes terminated, 22 confirmed dead
8/15/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The "security operation" against Salafi group Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers for God) in the southern Strip was "terminated" Saturday at noon following the confirmed slaying of the group's leader by de facto Hamas government forces. Hamas security men remain deployed in the area, which is still closed to the public, interior ministry spokesperson in Gaza Eyhab Al-Ghussein said. He also confirmed 22 were killed during the clashes, including one Hamas leader, six de facto police officers and six bystanders, two of which were young girls. Medics identified one of the girls as eight-year-old Shayma Jabir Al-Aloul. Commenting on the incident Al-Ghuhessein stressed Jund Ansar Allah is a "group of individuals rather than an organization. They don't have any contact with the outside world, their ideologies are perverted as they accused Gazan people of. . . 

Israeli newspaper grills Fayyad on 'Jewish state,' security
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - "Israel's character is Israel's business and nobody else's," Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz in an interview published on Friday. Fayyad's comments were in response to questions on his stance over Israel's demand that Palestinians recognize it as a Jewish state, a proposition Fayyad has refused for months. On Thursday, however, US Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told a press conference in Jerusalem that during a meeting with Fayyad on Wednesday he "posited that it was absolutely essential Israel needed to be recognized as a Jewish state"¦I posited that and the PM did not disagree with that - with my premise. "That answer would have marked a notable break with his own policy, which he restated as unchanged in the Haaretz interview. 

Nativity Church deportees ask Shalit captors to include case in swap
8/15/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Nativity Church deportee in Gaza Fahmi Kan'an appealed to the Palestinian factions holding captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, asking that they include the matter of the exiled detainees during swap negotiations. In 2002 39 Palestinians were deported from Bethlehem after a month-long siege of fighters in the Nativity Church. Twenty-six of the fighters were deported to the Gaza Strip and the rest to locations across Europe in a deal that saw them saved from Israeli pursuit or prison. Over the past seven years, deportees have appealed to the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian president, international community, and other organizations to convince Israel to allow them back to the West Bank, where their families remain. Two months ago when the Rafah crossing opened several detainees left the Strip, intending to fly to the Jordanian capital Amman, where they would reunite with their families and settle down. 

Haniyeh: We were obliged to act against Jund Insar Allah
8/15/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Hamas government was obliged to act against Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers for God), de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said publically following overnight clashes between the ultra-Islamist group and Hamas police. "Members of the group had worked against the government, described it as unreligious and armed themselves in opposition," the de facto Prime Minister said at a conference on Saturday. "These were radicals who blew themselves up in the midst of security officers," he said. Deputy Head of Rafah police department Ra'fat Salamah wrote on the police website that de facto government police were forced to take action when fighters from Jund Ansar Allah opened fire on Rafah residents and security personnel. He also noted that "none of the outlaws are left in Rafah," saying that at least 90 were arrested as of Friday evening, and promising that life in the area had returned to normal. 

Hamas: Gaza City death was clan dispute unrelated to Rafah clash
8/15/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian man was killed in what police say was a clan-related dispute in Gaza City on Friday night. The incident was unrelated to clashes in the southern Strip, sources said. A man identified as Rashid Dughmush was transferred to the Ash-Shifa Hospital after unidentified gunmen opened fire on him in the Sabra neighborhood as he drove past them in a de facto government police vehicle. Police declined to say if Dughmush was working with them, or how he had otherwise come into possession of the car. Director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Ministry of Health Muawiyah Hassanein identified the slain man and said he was in his 40s. In September 2008 a fierce gunbattle broke out in the same neighborhood after de facto government security forces attempted to arrest three members of the Dughmush family. 

Hamas wraps up operation against radical Gaza group
8/15/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Battles continued between Jund Ansr Allah and de facto Hamas police in the Gaza border city of Rafah on Friday as police tried to retake a mosque the ultra-radical group had locked down and declared an "Islamic emirate" earlier in the day. Fifteen Palestinians were confirmed dead following the operation by Hamas' militant wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, according to local medical sources quoted by Ma'an's Gaza City correspondent early on Saturday morning. At least one of those killed was a high-ranking member of the Hamas wing, a Palestinian security source said. Other reports claimed a young girl was killed during the battle, which Ma'an could not immediately confirm. Medics added that about 120 Palestinians, including civilians, were injured, many critically. 

Bedouin soldier attacked for working with Israel; second arrested
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces seized a Bedouin man accused of attacking another who works as a tactical tracker for the Israeli military, forces said Friday. Thursday the tracker was the target of a mob attack, allegedly led by the 22-year-old Bedouin seized by soldiers, by whom he was beaten with fists and clubs, the Israeli Hebrew paper Ma'ariv reported. The paper said the attacked soldier reported the incident to police, telling them he has been the target of attacks since he joined the Israeli military. [end] 

Rafah: Gazan escapes clashes to Egypt, child hit by bullet
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An Egyptian child was hit by a stray bullet and a Palestinian man fled from the clashes between Hamas and the ultra-Islamist group Jund Ansar Allah (Warrior of God) in the border city of Rafah on Friday. There was no word on how the Palestinian escaped the Strip, but sources said he handed himself over to Egyptian police. Egyptian sources said ten artillery shells also landed on the southern side of the Gaza-Egypt border, five of which exploded though no casualties were reported from the shells. Egyptian forces dismantled the remaining shells, and had troops pull back from the border area as the Gaza Strip clashes went on into the night. [end] 

Gaza City hosts commemoration ceremony for Strip`s fallen fighters
8/15/2009 - Senior Hamas leaders including de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Interior Minister Fathi Hammad and Mahmoud Az-Zahar attended a solemn ceremony honoring the memory of officers who fell during Israel`s most recent war on Gaza. Hamas security forces performed drills and maneuvers to large crowds of mourners. Approximately 1,475 Gazans were killed during the 22-day Israeli "Operation Cast Lead" that began at 11:30 on 27 December. UN agencies say at least 333 of the dead were women and children, and an unconfirmed number were male non-combatants. Numbers of male non-combatants are contested, as some governments and institutions are unwilling to catalogue the nearly 200 police officers killed in the first day of the war as civilians, which they are generally considered under international law. 

US Consulate: Israel issuing new ’PA-only’ visa stamps
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli border officials have begun issuing entry visas that permit travel only in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, according to the US Consulate to Jerusalem. An undated entry first appeared on the consulate's website this week, announcing the Israeli policy change and basing its findings on steps taken by officials at both the Allenby Bridge and Ben Gurion International Airport. Buried in the consulate's Border Crossings subsection and titled, "New Palestinian Authority Areas-Only Stamp," the entry confirmed previous reports to Ma'an from non-Palestinian American, French, Italian, and Jordanian travelers over the past month that Israeli officials had begun issuing the new entry visa stamp. "Anyone indicating that they either have connections to the West Bank, or are planning to travel to the West Bank, may get this stamp, which does not permit them. . . 

Bethlehem camp brings together Palestinian, Syrian youth
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Some 350 young Palestinian volunteers from throughout the West Bank, Jerusalem, inside the Green Line, and Syrians from the Golan Heights descended on Bethlehem this week in a show of "internal solidarity. " The volunteer work camp was part of an effort to "find ways for Palestinian youth to overcome obstacles of politics and geography imposed by Israel," according to Adnan Atiyeh, the director of the Occupied Palestine-Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI). As Palestinian residents of the West Bank are banned from entering Jerusalem or Green Line Israel, the camp brought together youths who would otherwise not have been able to meet one another. With Israeli military checkpoints and the concrete separation wall slicing the West Bank into enclaves, even Palestinians from disparate parts of territory face obstacles visiting one another. 

PPP rally addresses soldiers, asks them to stop protecting settlers
8/15/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - The Palestine People's Party staged a rally against the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Azzun Atama for the second week in a row Friday. The rally was attended by dozens of members of the party including Nael Selmi, member of the central committee, in addition to international peace activists. Nael Selmi delivered a speech to Israeli soldiers preventing the group from accessing village lands, and asked them to leave Palestinian land, as well as to stop protecting settlers and those constructing settlements. [end] 

Special education may be newest subject at Palestinian universities
8/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Special education may soon become a major for Palestinian university students following meetings between American and Palestinian universities and civil society groups who hope to push forward the issue. "It is quite clear to me"¦that special education in Palestine is a significant and largely unmet need," Bethlehem University's Academic Vice President Brother Robert Smith said in remarks to conference attendees. "Students of all ages and needs, their families and communities, our school systems, our BA and eventually our graduate programs need to systematically address and respond to this need. "  The conference saw representatives from Palestinian universities, St. Mary's University in Minnesota, Palestinian non-governmental institutions and the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education met in Ramallah on Tuesday for the first. . . 

Jewish academic, wife of jailed leader among Rev. Council winners
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Loud applause broke out Saturday evening as it was announced that "brother" Dr Uri Davis had been elected to the Fatah movement's largest governing body. Fatah conference spokesman Fawzi Salamah announced that the Jewish professor, who teaches Judaic studies at Al-Quds University in the West Bank, won 31st place out of 81 new members of Fatah's Revolutionary Council. Among the other winners was Fadwa Barghouthi, the wife of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, who was himself elected to the movement's highest body, the Central Committee, last week. Other prominent officials elected to the 120-member council were Hatem Abdul Qader, former PA minister of Jerusalem Affairs, and Afif Safeiyah, former PLO ambassador to the United States. Ziad Abu A'yen, former undersecretary in the PA Ministry of Prisoners Affairs, was elected to a seat, as well as Bassam Zakarneh, secretary-general of the Civil Servants Union. 

Hamas: PA security detained three supporters in WB
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas officials released a statement saying Palestinian Authority forces detained three of the movement's supporters in raids across the West Bank Friday night. Those taken were reportedly from Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, and Hebron in the south. [end] 

Fatah elections committee releases list of newly elected RC members
8/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fawzi Salamah, head of Fatah's election committee, released the names of all 81 newly elected members of the movement's 130-member strong Revolutionary Council early Saturday evening. The official list, which includes 11 women, one Jew and at least four Christians, is as follows: 1. Amenah Jibrin2. Samir Refa'i 3. A'beer Al-Weheidi4. Dalal Salamah 5. Ameen Maqbul6. Sabri Seidam 7. Hatem Abdul Qader, former PA minister of Jerusalem Affairs8. Basem Al-Agha 9. Jamal Ash-Shubaki10. Fathi Abu Al-E'redat 11. Fadwa Al-Barghuthi, wife of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi12. Baha Ba'lusha 13. Yones Amer14. Usam Al-Fara 15. Abdallah Abdallah16. Fahmi Az-Za'areer, Fatah spokesman 17. Ibrahim Ikhreisha18. Jamal Nazzal, Fatah spokesman 19. 

Nazareth to unveil world’s largest Halawa
8/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A four-ton, 200 square-meter halawa, a ground sesame seed-based sweet traditional to the Middle East, will be unveiled Saturday in Nazareth, Israeli Channel Seven announced Friday. It would mark the third attempt to break a world record in the past month, the first organized by an Israeli municipality. The city is making a bid for a Guinness Book of World Record only weeks after the West Bank city of Nablus unveiled the world's largest Knaffeh, a cheese and vermillion sweet, during its shopping festival in July. Gazan children set their own record two weeks ago when they flew nearly 3,000 homemade kites off the Beit Lahiya beach, smashing the last record set in Germany of just over 700. 

The National

Hamas kills extremist leader in Rafah camp
15 Aug 2009 - At least 22 die in a seven-hour firefight after a radical group declares the refugee camp to be an Islamist emirate'. 

New Israeli rules curb travel from West Bank
15 Aug 2009 - Israel's restriction of foreign passport holders across West Bank barrier is seen as an attempt to impose same isolation as in Gaza.

Islamist leader dies in Gaza battle
15 Aug 2009 - The leader of a radical sect that declared an Islamist "emirate" in the Gaza Strip was among 22 people killed in clashes with Hamas police.

Egypt opens Rafah border for pilgrims
15 Aug 2009 - Egypt has opened the border crossing with Gaza for two days to allow Palestinian Muslims to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the umrah pilgrimage.

Aljazeera

Islamist leader dies in Gaza battle
15 Aug 2009 - At least 24 people killed as Hamas forces battle group demanding "Islamic emirate".

Iran reformists challenge Khamenei
15 Aug 2009 - Ex-MPs lodge unprecedented complaint against supreme leader over his fitness to rule.

Palestine News Network

Barghouthi calls for sanctions against Israelis during meeting with supporters of popular resistance
14 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative and a deputy in the Legislative Council, called today to impose sanctions on the Israeli government for the practice of racial discrimination. Barghouthi's call came during a meeting in Ramallah with a delegation of American activists who are supporters of the Palestinian issue and the popular resistance. The Palestinian...

Hamas police keep heavy presence in Rafah after group declaring town an "Islamic ...
14 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – The death toll reached 22 in the southern Gaza Strip’s Rafah as security from the Hamas government battled an Islamic group that referred to Palestine and Gaza as an “Islamic emirate.” Medical sources reported today that the death toll in Friday's clashes had risen to 22 people, including six from the security apparatus of the government and a leading...

Building Palestinian sovereignty: Palestinian Customs’ pioneering steps
14 Aug 2009 - State-of-the-art web-based system to facilitate trade and inform policy decisions A state of the art web-based system, ASYCUDA WORLD, was officially launched by Palestinian Customs on Monday after years of relentless efforts. A special ceremony was held to mark this event at Best Eastern Hotel in Ramallah under the patronage of Dr. Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Authority Prime Minster and Minister of Finance,...

Human rights report: Israelis use force against nonviolent demonstrations organized to protest Wall
14 Aug 2009 - PNN - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued its report for the period of the sixth through the twelfth of August that includes the use of force against nonviolent demonstrators protesting the Wall in the West Bank. PCHR - Israeli Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Continue to Impose a Total...

Prisoners official compares path of Israeli detention camps to that of Nazi concentration camps
14 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – Abdel Nasser Ferwana is equating the path of Nazism to that of the Israelis in regards to the prison system. Some 11,000 Palestinians are in Israeli detention and are being subjected to what the researcher in Prisoners Affairs the collective experience of the Americans and Nazis. Ferwana was addressing today the construction and management of Israeli prisons where Palestinians...

Hamas government police forces fight Islamic group that declared Gaza an Islamic emirate
14 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – Eight Palestinians died and the number of injured reached 35 as fighting continued throughout Friday night in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian police of the Hamas government of Gaza are clashing with an Islamic group, Salafi-Latif, or, the Salafis, in the city of Rafah.Five of the 35 injured are being described as critical by hospital staff nearby the fighting.The...

HRW: Israelis stonewall investigations into civilian deaths, try to discredit organization
14 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - Human Rights Watch issued a report While Flag Deaths: Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead” regarding the major attacks on the Gaza Strip in late December and January. Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed and approximately 5,000 injured. Human Rights Watch is just one of many organizations, including the Red Cross and United Nations, who issued reports condemning...

IRIN

OPT: Rubble removal uncovers potential health hazards
GAZA Tuesday, August 11, 2009 (IRIN) - Nearly seven months after Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has begun removing some 600,000MT of rubble containing asbestos and other hazardous material.

MIDDLE EAST: Saudi Arabia has highest incidence of flu 
DUBAI Monday, August 10, 2009 (IRIN) - Saudi Arabia has the highest number of laboratory confirmed pandemic H1N1 cases in the Eastern Mediterranean Region – 595 – with four out of the eight deaths so far, according to an 8 August World Health Organization (WHO) report.

OPT-EGYPT: Rafah sees record crossings
GAZA CITY Monday, August 10, 2009 (IRIN) - The Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border opened for five days this month, the longest continued period since Hamas seized power in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-US: J Street’s Muslim Funding for Peace 
WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (IPS) - News reports and right-wing blogs have been repeating reports which claim that Muslims and Arabs are among the donors to the J Street political action committee (PAC) which lobbies American policymakers to work on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and helps raise campaign...

IRAN: Allegations of Rape in Detention Centres 
TEHRAN, Aug 14 (IPS) - At continued public protests at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar Wednesday, demonstrators are expressing their discontent with the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while the rifts among the ruling elites of the Islamic government widen.

AFGHANISTAN-US: Military Translators Risk Low Pay, Death 
WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (IPS) - Murtaza "Jimmy" Farukhi was killed while on patrol with the U.S. Marine Corps on Sep. 9, 2008, at the age of 23. He was not a soldier, but a local translator employed by Columbus, Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel (MEP).

AFGHANISTAN-US: Govt Withholds Information About Bagram Detainees 
WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (IPS) - The U.S. government continues to withhold even the most basic information about prisoners in the Bagram detention facility in Afghanistan, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a New York-based legal rights organisation.

Stop The Wall

Closure does not stop al Ma’sara protest
11 Aug 2009 - Last week, soldiers closed the village of al Ma’sara the night prior to the weekly demonstration. This move did little to deter protestors, who marched to through the village in protest of the Wall and settlements the next day. [

Special forces spotted at Ni’lin demonstration
10 Aug 2009 - The Friday demonstration in Ni’lin was held this week without injury to participants, although Occupation forces employ tear gas and chemical spray to keep people away from the Wall. Special forces were again spotted at the demonstration. [

PCHR Weekly Report

(06- 12 Aug.  2008)
During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

Court refuses to issue restraining order against evicted Sheikh Jarrah Arabs
8/14/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - The Jerusalem Post - A Jerusalem District Court rejected on Thursday a request by Jewish families who have taken possession of homes in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood by court order to issue a restraining order against the Arab families who were evicted from those homes. However, Judge Eilata Diskind issued a warning to the Arab families to refrain from violent behavior. The petition for the restraining order, which was made by the Nahalat Shimon International organization, asked that nine people – three members of the Hanoun family and six members of the Gawhi family – be prohibited from congregating outside the homes. It was rejected by Diskind, who said there was insufficient evidence to prove the plaintiffs' claims that members of the families had thrown rocks at the homes and harassed the new occupants. 

Bil’in demonstrates against the ongoing Israeli arrest and intimidation campaign
8/14/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Hundreds of Palestinians, Israeli, Spanish, French and other international supporters, responded today to the Popular Committee's call to resist the Wall and to show solidarity with the Bil'in prisoners. As is the case each week, demonstrators left the village after the midday prayers and marched towards the gate of the Wall separating Bil'in from its lands. Israeli soldiers used large amounts of tear gas, including the "Cannon" which shoots 30 canisters at a time. They also attempted to use the "Skunk", a gun shooting a foul smelling liquid that sticks to skin and clothing for days, but the Skunk Machine malfunctioned. Five years after Bil'in began its' resistance against the Wall and Settlements, the Israeli army is still trying to break the popular non-violent resistance. Amongst injuring over 1300 people at demonstrations, Israeli forces killed Bil'in resident Basem Abu Rahmah. . . 

Rights group: Israel killed unarmed Palestinians
8/14/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Associated Press - 13 August 2009 - A new report by Human Rights Watch charged Thursday that Israeli soldiers killed eleven unarmed Palestinian civilians who were carrying white flags in shooting incidents during Israel's offensive in Gaza earlier this year. The report says the civilians included five women and four children. The group urged Israel to conduct investigations into the deaths, which it said occurred when the civilians were "in plain view and posed no apparent security threat. " The group says at least three witnesses confirmed the details in each of the seven separate shootings. The report is the latest in a slew of charges from human rights groups alleging that Israel violated the rules of war in its Gaza offensive. The reports on the Gaza war have focused on Israeli violations, but Human Rights Watch has also said Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups violated. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Drug-resilient swine flu strain documented in U.S.
15 Aug 2009 - Two cases of swine flu resilient to the drug Tamiflu were diagnosed over the weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday. Tamiflu and Relenza were the only two medications that had thusfar proven effective in treating the virus (also known as H1N1), which already proved resilient to other seasonal flu remedies. ... 

Israel must prepare for U.S. peace initiative
15 Aug 2009 - All signals indicate that within weeks, the United States will present a political initiative that may, for the first time in many years, include a plan for a Palestinian-Israeli agreement - or at least some American mediation proposals on the conflict's core issues. A responsible government must prepare well for this development. It could turn out to be an important opportunity for Israel, but it could also contain many serious risks. ... 

Mubarak wants Obama to present his peace plan soon 
15 Aug 2009 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak left for Washington on Saturday for his first visit to the American capital in five years. In a meeting on Tuesday, the 81-year-old leader is expected to propose to President Barack Obama that he quickly make public his comprehensive peace initiative and not wait for Israel's decision on the settlements. ... 

ANALYSIS / Hamas wipes out opposition 
15 Aug 2009 - Hamas crushed on Friday the threat of an armed group in Rafah affiliated with Al-Qaida, and did so with the same approach the Lebanese government and its army crushed terrorists operating under the auspices of Al-Qaida at a refugee camp in the country's north two years ago. It seems the Hamas leadership is not concerned over any public condemnation from the United Nations of the massacre of members of the faction, which is even more extreme than the Palestinian Islamist party in control of the Gaza Strip. ... 

Nasrallah: We will hit Tel Aviv if Beirut is attacked
14 Aug 2009 - Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Friday addressed a mass rally in Beirut to mark three years since the Shi'ite organization's "victory" over Israel in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, ...

The Guardian

Hamas destroys al-Qaida group in violent Gaza battle
15 Aug 2009 - Fighting between Islamist groups leaves 21 dead after brief declaration of 'Islamic emirate' by foreign-led followers of Bin Laden An al-Qaida inspired group which briefly proclaimed "the birth of an Islamic emirate" in the Gaza Strip...

Radical Muslim cleric among 22 dead in fierce Gaza mosque clashes
15 Aug 2009 - Fighting sparked by sermon at Friday prayers continues into second day Hamas security forces killed the leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group today in a shootout that claimed the lives of 22 people, the governing party in...

Roy Greenslade: Journalists attacked by Jewish settlers in Nablus
14 Aug 2009 - Reuters cameraman Hassan Teeti and photographer Abdul Rahim Qusini were attacked by Jewish settlers in Nablus while they were covering a march by villagers protesting at attempts by settlers to seize their land. The action was...

Obituary | Amnon Kapeliouk
13 Aug 2009 - Israeli writer and journalist who opposed occupation Amnon Kapeliouk, who has died aged 78, was a courageous Israeli journalist and writer who placed the Palestinians at the centre of his work. Long before it became fashionable,...

Ha'aretz National page

Police probe dismembered bodies found in separate locations in past week 
15 Aug 2009 - The dismembered body of a woman was found on Friday morning in Alexander River, north of Netanya, police said. A human foot was found in the same river the day before. Also on Friday, the body of a man was found near Rishon Letzion, while earlier in the week a woman's torso was found in a burning trash can on a residential street in Ramat Gan. ... 

Nothing in Israel to be proud of anymore
15 Aug 2009 - The beach can be a dangerous place, especially in the hot days of summer. We have known this since we first read Albert Camus' "The Stranger," and had it burned into our consciousness by the murder of Haim Arlosoroff. The beach, which is supposed to be a place of relaxation, is a place of simmering violence, and that which simmers eventually boils over. ... 

Netanyahu 'shocked' by beating to death of beach goer
15 Aug 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Saturday evening to discuss the recent spate of murders across Israel in the last few weeks. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Week in review - Gaza unrest takes Palestinians by surprise
15 Aug 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

OPT: Islamist leader among 24 killed in Gaza fighting
15 Aug 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Jordan rejects cutbacks in UNRWA services, Amman official says 
15 Aug 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

YNet News

Mashaal: Iran turmoil won't affect support
15 Aug 2009 - Hamas politburo chief says postelection strife in Iran is concerning, but 'an internal matter' 

Al-Qaeda affiliated group declares war on Hamas
15 Aug 2009 - 'Islamic Swords of Justice' posts message on al-Qaeda website vowing to avenge deaths of 24 people, including radical leader Abdel-Latif Moussa, in shootout with Hamas Saturday. 'War is on its way,' says group 

Report: Dozens of Syrians killed in failed missile test 
15 Aug 2009 - Japanese agency says scud missile tested by Syria, N. Korea, and Iran hit Syrian market in May 

Haredim riot over Jerusalem parking lot
15 Aug 2009 - As on recent Saturdays, haredim gather to protest opening of Karta parking lot; police arrest eight 

Hamas: Leader of al-Qaeda-inspired group committed suicide
15 Aug 2009 - Strip's interior ministry says Abdel-Latif Moussa, leader of group seeking to enforce stricter version of Islamic law, blew himself up in a shootout with Hamas that killed 24 people, injured 150 in Rafah 

Iran says 7 detained Baha'is to go on trial 
15 Aug 2009 - Official IRNA news agency says trial of Baha'i believers charged with spying for Israel, insulting sanctities to begin Tuesday. Group accused of receiving orders from Tel Aviv to undertake measures against Islamic system

Daily Star

Iranian reformers call for probe of supreme leader
15 Aug 2009 - A group of former reformist lawmakers appealed to a powerful clerical body in Iran to investigate supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s qualification to rule in an unprecedented challenge to the country’s most powerful man over the postelection crackdown. The call came as controversy heated up Friday over allegations that protesters detained the crackdown were tortured.

Six dead as Hamas police crack down on radical Islamists
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

Yemen clashes leave 16 rebels, 5 government soldiers dead
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

Fatah congress feat promising for two-state solution
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

Turkey ‘must be flexible on disarming PKK’
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

Middle East states cracking down on internet – report
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

Journalists protest over Iraqi government pressure
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

US warns Libya against release of Lockerbie bomber
15 Aug 2009 - Six people were killed and 50 wounded in fighting on Friday after Hamas police stormed a mosque in Gaza where radicals had declared an Islamist “emirate” in the Palestinian territory, emergency services said. The clashes began in the afternoon after weekly prayers in the southern city of Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian border, and were continuing after dark, witnesses said.

Palestinian Information Center

Ministry of prisoners: Israel kidnaps female ex-detainees released from its jail
15 Aug 2009 - The ministry of prisoners said that Israel deliberately kidnaps female ex-detainees after their release from its jails, noting that IOF troops kidnapped days ago a released prisoner.

Haneyya: The government was forced to act against the group of Mousa
15 Aug 2009 - Premier Ismail Haneyya stated that the security apparatuses in Gaza were forced to act against the group of Abdulattif Mousa which declared the establishment of an Islamic emirate in Rafah city.

Rezqa: Obama couldn’t force IOA to freeze settlements
15 Aug 2009 - Yousef Rezqa, the political advisor of PA Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya, stressed on Saturday that his government attaches no hope to the US efforts for peace.

Swine flu detected among Palestinian prisoners in Ofer
15 Aug 2009 - Swine flu has spread among Palestinian prisoners in the IOA Ofer prison in Ramallah district amidst total media blackout on the part of the IOA, prisoners in the jail reported.

Ghusain: Rafah incidents are over, hints to Ramallah’s involvement
15 Aug 2009 - Ehab Al-Ghussain, the spokesman of the interior ministry, has underlined that the security operation against the “misled” group in Rafah was over, hinting to possible involvement of Ramallah.

Khafsh: The resistance’s success in dealing with Shalit file disturbed Israel
15 Aug 2009 - Specialist in prisoners’ affairs Fouad Al-Khafsh said that the resistance’s success in dealing with the file of Shalit disturbed Israel and exposed the vulnerability of its intelligence apparatus.

Human rights watch slams Israel for waging media war against it
15 Aug 2009 - Human rights watch (HRW) criticized the frenzied media war waged against it by Israel with the aim to force it to withdraw the report it issued about the killing of Palestinian civilians.

Haneyya: The Palestinian people were the first to call for just peace
15 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya has asserted that the Palestinians were the first to call for just peace that could retrieve their usurped legal rights.

Zahhar: We want Fatah members to prove their Palestinian identity
15 Aug 2009 - Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar has asserted that the hand of Hamas was and still is stretched for Fatah and for national dialog, urging Fatah members to prove they were really Palestinians.

Haneyya gov’t: We will not allow security chaos to return to Gaza
15 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian government strongly denounced the group of Abdulatif Moussa for triggering Rafah events, stressing that it would not allow the return of security chaos to the Gaza Strip.

Los Angeles Times

Hard-line imam's death ends bloody clash in Gaza Strip 
16 Aug 2009 - A two-day battle between followers of the imam, who wanted to impose Islamic law, and Hamas forces left 27 others dead. The crackdown could allow Hamas to be seen as a bulwark against militancy. An imam who wanted to impose Islamic law in the Gaza Strip was killed Saturday in an explosion at one of his hide-outs, ending a two-day battle between his armed followers and Hamas government forces that left 27 other people dead. 

Course of Mousavi's Green Path of Hope is unclear 
16 Aug 2009 - Iran's opposition leader says he wants the new political movement to be a rallying point but doesn't spell out a strategy. A defiant Mir-Hossein Mousavi declared the creation of a grass-roots political movement Saturday, but the Iranian opposition leader failed to spell out a strategy that could invigorate a protest movement that has stalled. 

Friction among Iran authorities heats up 
15 Aug 2009 - With street protests quiet, factional disputes intensify. Hard-line clerics call for opposition leader Karroubi to stand trial, and reformist lawmakers want supreme leader Khamenei investigated. Rival camps within Iran's corridors of power intensified their threats against each other Friday, signaling potentially dangerous clashes within elite circles and the security establishment after the disputed June 12 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

New York Times

Radical Leader Killed in Gaza Clashes
15 Aug 2009 - A shootout at a mosque in Rafah between Hamas security men and a group called the Warriors of God ended Saturday with 22 dead. 

Iran Tries to Suppress Rape Allegations
14 Aug 2009 - Iran’s clerical leadership stepped up a campaign to silence opposition claims that protesters were raped in prison. 

6 Die at Gaza Mosque as Islamists and Hamas Clash
14 Aug 2009 - At least six Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded in Rafah when Hamas police officers stormed a mosque held by a group of Islamic militants. 

Misc

Israel Begins Sell-Off of Refugees’ Land 
8/15/2009 - Antiwar.com - Jonathan Cook - TZIPORI, Israel — Amin Muhammad Ali, a 74-year-old refugee from a destroyed Palestinian village in northern Israel, says he only feels truly at peace when he stands among his ancestors’ graves. The cemetery, surrounded on all sides by Jewish homes and farms, is a small time capsule, transporting Mr Muhammad Ali — known to everyone as Abu Arab — back to the days when this place was known by an Arabic name, Saffuriya, rather than its current Hebrew name, Tzipori. Unlike most of the Palestinian refugees forced outside Israel’s borders by the 1948 war that led to the creation of the Jewish state, Abu Arab and his family fled nearby, to a neighborhood of Nazareth. Refused the right to return to his childhood home, which was razed along with the rest of Saffuriya, he watched as the fields once owned by his parents were slowly taken over by Jewish immigrants, mostly from eastern Europe. 

Hezbollah chief: We’ll hit Tel Aviv if Beirut hit 
8/15/2009 - Antiwar.com - AP News - The leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah warned Israel Friday his fighters would hit Tel Aviv with rockets if Israeli forces attack Beirut or the guerrillas' stronghold in its southern suburbs. Speaking on the anniversary of the end of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the Shiite militants are now capable of striking any Israeli city. In 2006, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah rocketed the port of Haifa and other parts of Israel's north but spared Tel Aviv to the south. Israeli warplanes destroyed entire blocks in Beirut's southern suburbs, including Nasrallah's office and Hezbollah's headquarters. The inconclusive, monthlong war killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and about 160 in Israel. Nasrallah's speech added to the tension of back-and-forth warnings between Hezbollah and Israel that have escalated since a July 14 explosion at a suspected Hezbollah arms depot near the Israeli border. 

UN official: Evidence that Israel abused human rights in Gaza 
8/15/2009 - Ha'aretz - Reuters - There is significant evidence that Israeli forces violated international law and human rights in their invasion of Gaza between late December and mid-January, the United Nations human rights chief said on Friday. A report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay lambasted the "nearly total impunity" for the violations. The already critical human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) deteriorated further during the war, she said in the report, the first of a series of periodic reports ordered by the UN Human Rights Council in January during Israel's "Operation Cast Lead. " The 34-page report is one of two - together with a forthcoming one by South African jurist Richard Goldstone who has been conducting hearings in Gaza - that will be presented to the council next month. " Significant prima facie evidence indicates that serious violations of 

Palestinian PM to Haaretz: It’s not our business whether Israel is Jewish 
8/15/2009 - Ha'aretz - Akiva Eldar - Israel's character is its own business. It is not up to the Palestinians to define it, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday, when asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. " Israel's character is Israel's business and nobody else's," Fayyad says in an interview with Haaretz. " The character of Israel, as the total character that Israel would like to have, is Israel's own choice. It characterizes itself in the way that it wishes to characterize itself. Why raise it now? Why would you want to settle it now when we haven't settled anything else? Needless to say, however which way Israel decides to characterize itself as a product of the political system of Israel, is [up to] Israel. This condition wasn't mentioned in the Oslo Accords, and I see no room to set new conditions or preconditions for the negotiations. 

HRW, Israel in war of words 
8/15/2009 - YNetNews - Following IDF's dismissal of report on Palestinian civilians shot dead during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza despite waving white flags, rights group accuses Israeli government of waging propaganda war 'instead of responding to report's findings by making false allegations'AFPHuman Rights Watch on Friday accused the Israeli government of waging a propaganda war after authorities questioned the credibility of its latest report on civilian deaths in the Gaza war. "Instead of responding to the findings of the report, Israeli officials are trying to discredit the report and Human Rights Watch by making false allegations," said HRW, which documented what it says are the cases of 11 Palestinian civilians shot dead even though they were waving white flags. " Instead of seriously addressing the findings of human rights groups in Gaza, the Israeli government is waging a propaganda war against them," said HRW program director Lain Levine. 

Zionist prison authorities forced to back down on isolation of Comrade Sa’adat 
8/15/2009 - Uruknet - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - PFLP - The Zionist prison administration were forced to back down from their most recent attacks upon the rights of imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat, including being confined to a tiny cell in solitary confinement for seven days. Attorney Suleiman Shahin of the PA Ministry of Prisoners had filed a petition against the arbitrary sanctions of the prison administration on August 14, 2009. The prison administration review panel stated that forcing Comrade Sa'adat into solitary confinement was arbitrary and without reason, and ordered him instead into the general isolation ward. The panel also said it would study the possibility of restoring Comrade Sa'adat's other rights, including purchasing from the prison canteen and smoking. 


Articles

New Israeli rules curb travel from West Bank 
Jonathan Cook, The National 8/15/2009
  JERUSALEM // In an echo of restrictions already firmly in place in Gaza, Israel has begun barring movement between Israel and the West Bank for anyone holding a foreign passport, including humanitarian aid workers and thousands of Palestinian residents.
     The new policy is designed to force foreign citizens to choose between visiting Israel, including East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed illegally, and the West Bank. In most cases, travel between the two areas will no longer be possible.
     The new regulation is in breach of Israel’s commitments under the Oslo accords to western governments that their citizens would be given continued access to the occupied territories.
     Israel, which controls the population register for both Israelis and Palestinians, has not suggested there are any security justifications for the new restriction.
     Human rights groups complain that the rule change will further separate East Jerusalem, the planned capital of a Palestinian state, from the... more.. e-mailWhat we Palestinians need 
Mustafa Barghouthi, Uruknet 8/15/2009
  Irrespective of what political settlement is ultimately embraced, Palestinians need a unified strategy for confronting and overcoming Israeli racism, apartheid and oppression. Mustafa Barghouthi* outlines the basis of such a strategy
     Palestinians have only two choices before them, either to continue to evade the struggle, as some have been trying to do, or to summon the collective national resolve to engage in it.
     The latter option does not necessarily entail a call to arms. Clearly Israel has the overwhelming advantage in this respect in both conventional and unconventional (nuclear) weapons. Just as obviously, neighbouring Arab countries have neither the will nor ability to go the military route. However, the inability to wage war does not automatically mean surrender and eschewing other means to wage struggle.
     As powerful as it is militarily, Israel has two major weak points. Firstly, it cannot impose political solutions by force of arms on... more.. e-mail

Electronic Intifada
Jerusalem families waiting for US action
14 Aug 2009 - Maher Hanoun was ordered by Israeli courts to hand over the keys to his home on 19 July. Rather than comply with the court order, he held a press conference outside his house accompanied by several top officials, including Nils Eliasson of the Swedish Consulate representing the European Union, Robert Serry representing the UN, and Dr. Rafik Husseini of the Palestinian Authority. They all condemned the proposed eviction, calling it an affront to norms of international justice. In spite of US President Barack Obama's call to freeze Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, no representative from the US was present. Marcey Gayer comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Boycott movement takes hold in British unions
14 Aug 2009 - The international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has won several important victories in recent months. At this summer's trade union conferences in Britain, BDS activists have made significant progress. Asa Winstanley reports for The Electronic Intifada 

Egyptian opposition condemns gas deal with Israel
14 Aug 2009 - CAIRO (IPS) - Opposition figures and political activists have slammed a new deal to sell Egyptian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Israel at what they say are vastly reduced prices. "Egyptian gas is being sold to Israel at prices far below the international average," Ibrahim Yosri, former head of legal affairs and treaties at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry told IPS. "This agreement is proof that the ruling regime is unconcerned with public opinion and is insistent on depriving the Egyptian public of its rightful national assets." 

Down the rabbit hole
14 Aug 2009 - There are stairs, which descend from Jaffa Gate to another world. When I first saw these stairs, I thought them to be a meeting point -- something like the stairs that descend from the main road to Damascus Gate. But these stairs give onto a promenade of stores and cafes and commercial outlets of all sorts. In such stark contrast is this promenade to the Old City, which it leaves behind, that it literally feels surreal. But the Alice in Wonderland phenomenon only intensifies as one proceeds further down the rabbit hole. Yavar Hameed writes from Jerusalem. 

In Gaza
sensations
13 Aug 2009 - Sometimes it is just nice to indulge in sensations: colours, wind, scents, sensations… permanent page: videos: sea scenes

Palestine Chronicle
Israel Begins Sell-off of Refugees' Land
15 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Tzipori Amin Muhammad Ali, a 74-year-old refugee from a destroyed Palestinian village in northern Israel, says he only feels truly at peace when he stands among his ancestors’ graves. The cemetery, surrounded on all sides by Jewish homes and farms, is a small time capsule, transporting Mr Muhammad Ali -- known to everyone as Abu Arab -- back to the days when this place was known by an Arabic name, Saffuriya, rather than its current Hebrew name, Tzipori. Unlike most of the Palestinian refugees forced outside Israel’s borders by the 1948 war that led to the creation of the Jewish state, Abu Arab and his family fled nearby, to a neighbourhood of Nazareth. Refused the right to return to his childhood home, which was razed along with the rest of Saffuriya, he watched as the fields once owned by his parents were slowly taken over by Jewish immigrants, mostly from eastern Europe. Today only Saffuriya’s cemetery remains untouched. Despite the loss of their village, the 4,500 refugees from Saffuriya and their descendants have clung to one hope: that the Jewish newcomers could not buy their land, only lease it temporarily from the state. According to international law, Israel holds the property of more than four million Palestinian refugees in custodianship, until a final peace deal determines whether some or all of them will be allowed back to their 400-plus destroyed Palestinian villages or are compensated for their loss. But last week, in a violation of international...

Zeroing in on Israel's Existential Threats
15 Aug 2009 - By Franklin Lamb – Beirut "Well, the two cases that you give, Hamas and Hezbollah, are interesting case studies. Hezbollah has evolved significantly over time. And now it has members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization… I'm pleased to see that a lot of Hezbollah individuals are in fact renouncing terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion…. I think what we've done is to demonstrate both in Lebanon and to the Palestinians that we, the United States, are willing to engage and have a dialogue with any organizations or groups that are, in fact, dedicated to realizing peaceful solutions to existing problems. And I think those elements within Lebanon, be they Hezbollah or others, know that the United States has tried to be a very honest broker there, providing support to Lebanese institutions." -- John Brennan, White House Adviser on terrorism 8/3/09. Brennan had told me (before taking a job in the Obama administration, but while serving as Obama's top adviser on intelligence issues) that "talking to Hamas and Hezbollah is the right thing to do. Obama believes that." -- Robert Dreyfuss, Contributing Editor, the Nation Magazine 8/9/09. It’s becoming tense again down along the ‘Blue Line’, three years after Israel’s 5th war against Lebanon. Israeli Brig. General (Alon Friedman) told the Times of London in an interview this week that border tensions between Israel and Lebanon could "explode...

Expired and Expiring Ideas in Palestine-Israel Conflict
15 Aug 2009 - By Dina Jadallah Now more than ever, it is necessary to state caveats when using words. In some cases, the caveats have expanded so greatly, that there is little space left for the original meaning. Politically, this means that while some words and ideas refuse to die, they have become denuded of meaning and merely serve as tools of statecraft. Others are dead and buried but are then retrieved and presented as if they are still viable. In an effort to wipe the lipstick off the proverbial pig, I’ll present a few examples of expired and expiring ideas in the Palestine-Israel conflict . Some of these ideas are blatantly dead. Everyone knows they’re dead. And yet the powers that be prop them up and use them as a means of controlling the population or as justification to conduct “negotiations,” also known as endless concessions. These expired and expiring ideas are important because they are the tool by which “promises” are extracted and “binding agreements” are made. But how meaningful and representative are these “results”? The answers are crucial to the future of the Palestinian people. Representation Increasingly, and especially since Oslo, there has been a blurring of the lines between the PLO, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority (PA). In theory, the PLO represents the Palestinian people. But the lack of specified boundaries allows a “back door” means of “representation.” This is the one that is approved by international power politics because it enables a representation, but of a totally different kind....

Obama's Presidency: A Political and Moral Disappointment
15 Aug 2009 - By Dr. Ludwig Watzal It's all over town. Only the Obama administration does not want to hear it. The people responsible for the moral decay of U.S. foreign policy were the 'Bush-worriers': Vice President Dick Cheney and his President George W. Bush and all the other cronies. Why will Eric Holder investigate the poor CIA subordinates who just followed orders? The torture memos and all the other unconstitutional and partly criminal orders went all the way down the chain of command. The White House people were a gathering of political tricksters. The U.S. has no moral authority anymore, despite Obama, because his foreign policy has only been slightly different from his predecessor’s. Anti-American militancy in the Third World has not diminished. Why should it? Has Obama done something fundamentally different from Bush despite making nice speeches in order to camouflage the ongoing brutality of America’s occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan? Baghram and all other military camps, including Guantanamo, are still operated as extra-judicial zones. Is not the U.S. a law-abiding country? Or does the rule of law only apply to Americans and not to the “Wretched of the Earth” in American “colonies”? Obama has not committed the U. S. plausibly to democratic values and human rights so far because he has been ignoring the infamous Bush presidency. He has to make a clear cut. In his novel “Why the Dreyfus Affair matters” Louis Begley draws comparisons between the handling of the “Dreyfus Affair” and the terror suspects in Guantanamo. In...

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