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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
20 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israeli-Swedish relations at odds
21 Aug 2009 - After Aftonbladet Swedish paper published a report accusing the Israeli army of killing Palestinians for their organs, Israeli officials slammed Sweden for declaring that its ambassador’s condemnation of the report does not represent the official stance of the government. 

Islamic Jihad: "Two-state solution, a very dangerous project"
21 Aug 2009 - The Islamic Jihad movement reiterated its stance rejecting a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, and added that such a solution is very dangerous and only serves the Israeli interests. 

Abbas: Settlement construction, expansion, should stop to give the peace process a chance to advanc
21 Aug 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated Thursday that Israel must stop all settlement activities in order to give the peace process a chance to advance. 

The Israeli military kidnaps four civilians from Hebron
20 Aug 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped on Thursday morning four Palestinian civilians during an invasion targeting the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Israeli forces conduct night arrest at the village of Bil'in
20 Aug 2009 - Once again the night in Bil'in was disrupted by a raid ending with the arrest of one the members of the Village's Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. 

A Palestinian injured by military fire in Central Gaza Strip
20 Aug 2009 - A Palestinian man was injured on Thursday by the Israeli military fire during an invasion targeting areas in the central part of the Gaza Strip.

Ayalon: “We did not make a decision on settlement freeze”
20 Aug 2009 - Israeli deputy Foreign Minister, Dani Ayalon, stated that the Israeli government did not make a decision to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank. He told the Israeli Radio that if Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made any agreement in this regard “then we have a serious issue". 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Shin Bet guards top Palestinian leaders in parts of West Bank
19 Aug 2009 - New policy meant to avoid having armed Palestinian guards in Israeli-controlled areas. 

Argentine immigrant named as IDF soldier who stole Ashkenazi's credit card
19 Aug 2009 - Louis Muskata of Ra'anana also indicted for stealing IDF rifle in order to sell it to criminal operatives. 

IDF probe finds horseplay behind errant bullet that killed soldier
19 Aug 2009 - One soldier had apparently been demonstrating capabilities on rifle when weapon went off, killing Or Hadad. 

IDF: One-third of soldiers might refuse to evacuate outposts
19 Aug 2009 - Memo from commander urges sensitivity, yet mandates 'red lines' for soldiers who refuse orders. 

Two charged over theft of IDF Chief of Staff`s credit card
19 Aug 2009 - One of the accused men was allegedly given details of the card by a soldier who owed him money. 

Ma'an News

Gaza mothers, newborns affected by Israeli blockade
8/20/2009 - GAZA CITY, 20 August 2009 (IRIN) - Inadequate infrastructure, lack of equipment and a shortage of hospital staff are contributing to the deterioration of hospital care for mothers and newborns in Gaza, according to a July 2009 assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem. WHO attributes the dismal state of Gaza's healthcare system to the Israeli blockade since June 2007, when Hamas took over control of the territory. "The Israeli blockade affects the supply of medical equipment and conditions in the maternity wards, and perpetuates the isolation of healthcare professionals, making it difficult to maintain international standards of practice," said Tony Laurence, head of the WHO West Bank and Gaza Office in Jerusalem. The maintenance and updating of equipment is not adequate, and the supply of drugs and laboratory materials is not constant, according to WHO. 

Report: Israel rejects Gazan appeal for Ramadan, school supplies
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel rejected a Palestinian request to allow additional goods into the besieged Strip as the month of Ramadan and the start of the school year approach, international news service Xinhua reported Wednesday. The report said requests for school books, paper and unspecified Ramadan foods, which often include dates, sweets and yoghurts, for braking the day's fast, have been denied. The agency quoted Palestinian Deputy Minister of the Economy Nasser As-Sarraj. [end] 

Jerusalem’s Israeli mayor rekindles Ramadan cannon controversy
8/20/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem drew criticism on Thursday with an announcement that he will personally fire the traditional Ramadan cannon early in the Muslim holy month. Ramadan, a month of dawn-to-dusk fasting and prayer, is expected to begin at sundown on Friday, pending a declaration from Islamic officials. The firing of the cannon on Sunday will mark the end of the day's fast. Ekrima Sabri, the orator of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the chief of the Islamic Supreme Committee, said Mayor Nir Barkat is attempting to provide political cover for his administration's evictions of Palestinian residents and destruction of Palestinian houses. Mayor Barkat heads the Jerusalem Municipality, an institution not recognized by Palestinians as legitimate because it administers areas east of the Green Line, which were occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. 

Israeli forces seize four Palestinians in Hebron raid
8/20/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers seized four Palestinians from a village near the West Bank city of Hebron during a raid on Monday night. According to local sources, Israeli forces imposed a curfew on Wadi Shajna and forced their way into several houses in the community. The soldiers detained only young men, absconding with them in armored vehicles. The men were identified as brothers Maher, Ahmad, and Jihad Khalil Ismail Abu Arkoub and their nephew Na'el Abu Arkoub. The Israeli army claimed that its forces discovered and confiscated two guns and ammunition clips in the men's houses. [end] 

Israeli forces impose curfew in Azzun; settlers said injured
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman were reportedly hospitalized with mild injuries after stones were thrown at them in the West Bank village of Azzun, southwest of Tulkarem on Tuesday night. According to the website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the three were taken to Meir Hospital in the Israeli town of Kfar Saba. Asked about the report, Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that Israeli forces imposed a curfew on Azzun, and that clashes took place between Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinian teenagers. There were no immediate reports of injuries among the Palestinians or Israeli soldiers; there were also no reports of settlers in the area. 

Amnesty International ends role in Leonard Cohen’s Tel Aviv concert
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Amnesty International has withdrawn from a role in Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, a move welcomed by boycott campaigners. Amnesty International USA said they had been approached by Cohen's representatives for advice in setting up a Fund to receive and distribute proceeds from the Tel Aviv concert to charities. The move comes after Amnesty came under pressure to from pro-Palestinian activists to cut off its ties to the 24 September concert. "Given the different requirements of AI's work and that of the Fund both have agreed that at this point AIUSA will withdraw from active involvement with the Fund," the organization said in a statement on its website. Amnesty will also not receive any funds from the concert. Amnesty stressed, however, that it was not withdrawing from the fund as a part of a boycott. 

Israel takes 20 Palestinians in two nights of raids
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces took eight Palestinians from their homes and communities in the West Bank Thursday morning, adding to the twelve said detained in similar raids Wednesday before dawn, Israeli sources confirmed. According to Israeli media reports, the men were transferred to security forces for questioning. Those detained from the Hebron area Thursday were identified as: Issa Mohammad A'tta Yousef, Ash-Shaludi, Saleh Hussein Abed Ar-Rahman Ash-Shuweiki, Sa'id Amin Ighneimat, Mu'in Mahmoud Amin Ighneimat. [end] 

Jerusalem shop owners close in protest of arbitrary Israeli fines
8/20/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Palestinian-owned shops in the Old City of Jerusalem closed on Wednesday protesting multiple arbitrary fines by West Jerusalem municipal officers who have invaded several shops and harassed owners. Israeli municipal authorities recently began enforcing a law prohibiting shops to display their goods on tables and racks in front of the stores. Officers have barged into nearly a hundred stores, often knocking down displays and handing over fines of 1,000 shekels (260 US dollars). Shopkeepers said this is the fifth time Israeli authorities have attempted to enforce the law, but said they have arbitrarily applied it. They also noted this time the enforcement comes ahead of the busy shopping month of Ramadan, as Muslims buy special ingredients for foods and gifts for children and relatives. 

Israeli bulldozers destroy five mechanics workshops without warning
8/20/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - Israeli forces demolished five car garages south of Qalqiliya without prior notice and without giving reasons to any of the garage owners. Local sources said the buildings are owned by Muhammad Al-Sarawy, Bassam Zeid, Muhammad Zeid, Muhammad Ania, and David Bakr, all in the Azzun Atma area. During the demolitions soldiers closed off the entrance to the village and prevented all access to the area. [end] 

Israeli forces invade Bili’n, detain Popular Committee organizer
8/20/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Israeli forces raided the village of Bil'in and seized Vice President of the Village Council and member of the Popular Committee against the Wall, 48-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh on Thursday morning. An infantry division stormed the man's house only hours after a children's demonstration walked toward soldiers guarding the separation barrier which weekly protests target, and chanted to soldiers, "We want to sleep," "Stop the night raids. "Abu Rahmeh's home was invaded shortly before 2am, ending with his arrest. His son 14-year-old son Nashmi Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh was arrested on 15 August. According to reports from the popular committee, about 25 soldiers with painted faces entered the village, and threw sound bombs at international activists who have remained in the village to witness the night raids. 

Hamas rejects rights group report on PA prisoner death
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The report on the death of Hamas member Fadi Hamadneh in Palestinian Authority (PA) custody conducted by the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq was "rushed and full of gaps," Hamas officials said on Thursday. Hamadneh died in the PA's Juneid in Nablus prison on or before 10 August. Following the death PA police said the 27-year-old man had hung himself. Following the death Hamadneh's family demanded an investigation, saying their son would have under no circumstances committed suicide. Hamas alleged that Hamdaneh died after being tortured by PA agents. The Al-Haq investigation detailed accounts of the discovery of the young man's death and the process that followed including the family's refusal to have an autopsy performed. Al-Haq published their report in Arabic on Tuesday Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement. . . 

Israeli forces, intelligence identify man detained Monday near Jenin
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained Ahmad Wasaf Sutki Abu Khanini from the Jenin area on Monday, saying he was wanted for his involvement in the death of Israeli taxi driver Gregory Rabinowitz on 10 May. The Israeli military spokesperson released a statement saying men identified as Mahmad Haldi and Mahmad Udah identified Abu Khanini as their partner. He was detained in a joint operation between the army and the Israeli intelligence services in the village of Arrana, the statement said. [end] 

Central Gaza clashes: Israeli ground forces raid Deir Al-Balah
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli ground forces breached Gaza's borders and penetrated into the outskirts of the coastal city of Deir Al-Balah on Thursday morning, clashing with local resistance forces. If correct, reports that Israeli troops entered at least a kilometer or more into the Gaza Strip would mark the deepest incursion since Israel withdrew after a major three-week offensive last January. Deir Al-Balah residents said they heard explosions in the area. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Israeli military officials denied reports of troop activity in the area on Thursday morning, but said there had been reports of a mortar shell fired in the northern Gaza Strip. 

Rafah and the Fatah falcons - Nasser Lahham
8/19/2009 - Bethlehem - The Al-Manar TV news anchor seemed surprised when a newly-elected member of Fatah Central Committee said, commenting on Hamas leader Osama Hamdan's criticism, "The shoe of a young Fatah supporter is equal a thousand of those who underestimate Fatah's struggles and criticize Fatah members who work in the PA's security services. " I was not surprised. Rather, I expected to hear tougher reactions because most of the new Central Committee members belong to what is known as "falcons within Fatah," the hardliners. The Palestinian arena is likely to see a new wave of jousting at the political and administrative levels. The new Central Committee will not hesitate to tie the rope to the last centimeter against Hamas. What this indicates is that Fatah people are fed up. They have lost hope for a reconciliation with Hamas despite their best attempts to display the opposite attitude on television. 

Swedish newspaper: Israeli soldiers harvested Palestinians’ organs
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Sweden's most popular newspaper published a report detailing facts around a group of Israeli soldiers harvesting the organs of Palestinians after seizing them from the West Bank and Gaza. The report in Aftonbladet details how Israeli soldiers detained young men who died in custody and whose bodies were returned with organs missing. The paper cites Palestinian sources, but Ma'an could not independently verify the claims. Fallout over the report was immediate. A rival Swedish publication accused Aftonbladet of anti-Semitism and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon denounced the article as "blood libel. "Interviewed by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday, journalist Donald Bostr'm said he wrote the article in a push for an international investigation around the allegations. 

US slams Israeli restrictions on Arab-American travelers
8/20/2009 - Right to Enter Campaign - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The US views Israeli rules targeting Arab-American travelers and restricting their access to the West Bank as unfair and unacceptable, the State Department said on Wednesday. "We have repeatedly told the Government of Israel that the United States expects that all American citizens to be treated equally, regardless of their national origin or other citizenship," the State Department said in a statement responding to an earlier question asked at a Washington press briefing on restrictions placed on Arabs and Palestinians in Israel. "We have let the Government of Israel know that these restrictions unfairly impact Palestinian and Arab American travelers and are not acceptable," the statement continued. The statement, released overnight, responded to restrictions recently imposed on American and other foreign passport holders at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge border crossing. 

Israel opens three Gaza border crossings
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities will open all three border terminals into Gaza to allow deliveries of food, fuel and some commercial goods to the besieged Strip on Wednesday. According to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian official in charge coordinating imports of goods, Israel will allow 88 to 98 trucks loaded with commercial goods and humanitarian aid through the Kerem Shalom crossing including 300 calves. Meanwhile, the Nahal Oz crossing will allow passage of limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel needed to run Gaza's only power station. Fattouh said that the Karni crossing will also be open for shipment of wheat and animal feed. Karni is usually closed. For his part, undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of National Economy Nasser Sarraj expressed disappointment at Israel's limitation on the types of goods that are allowed into Gaza. 

Report: Obama to meet with Netanyahu, Abbas in September
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - US president Barak Obama is planning to hold a tripartite meeting by the end of September with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an attempt to revive peace negotiations, an Israeli newspaper said. The Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv quotes ranking Israeli officials as saying that Obama plans to hold the meeting during the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting which both Abbas and Netanyahu will attend. Obama seeks a resumption of long-frozen final status negotiations, which were officially broken off when Israel launched its three-week offensive on the Gaza Strip in December. Israel and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority held a year of fruitless negotiations in 2007 and 2008. The newspaper added that the US administration recently increased pressure on Israel to freeze settlement completely in order to create conditions for resumed negotiations. 

Rumors on settlement freeze add up to status quo
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Whether or not Israel has agreed a limited "settlement freeze," the terms so far made public fail to comply with Israel's obligation to implement a comprehensive and immediate freeze on all settlement activities as stipulated in the 2001 Mitchell Report and the 2003 Road Map, the PLO Negotiations Affairs department said Wednesday. One rumored version of Israel's limited agreement with the United States on that country's proposed settlement construction freeze, is a "no new tenders / building permits" formula that would see already planned construction go ahead with no additional plans to be okayed during an unspecified period. Only one day after officials leaked information around an agreed limited settlement freeze Haaretz' business supplement, The Marker, said the Israeli department of government properties is expected to invite tenders for a. . . 

Analysts say Mubarak remarks may confirm 23 June swap report
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Informed sources predicting an imminent prisoner swap on 23 June may not have been far off, analysts said following a PBS interview with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak which aired Monday. In his interview, Mubarak revealed a deal with Israel for the return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had been imminent, but last minute Israeli wrangling stymied the plan, which would have seen Shalit transferred to Cairo in advance of the release of the first of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Analysts say Mubarak's comments over the captured Israeli, "Shalit. You know that he's our prisoner," may confirm Ma'an reports published on 23 June saying a swap would occur within the week, if not within hours. Egyptian leader seemed to confirm the report when he noted, "we were just about to secure his release in our custody and solve this problem, but external interventions, outside interventions hindered that. 

Turkey, Jordan warn Israel on Jerusalem settlements
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Turkey and Jordan re-voiced concerns Wednesday over Israeli insistence on continued settlement construction in Jerusalem following reports in the Hebrew press that tenders for construction were being accepted. "Israel needs to act with responsibility on the issue of settlers and especially developments in east Jerusalem," AFP quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as telling a news conference alongside his visiting Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh. "If there is genuine will for peace, it is time to openly display it," he added. [end] 

Report: Al-Qaeda groups say Hamas 'abdicated from Islam'
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Websites linked to Al-Qaeda criticized Hamas' operation against the Salafi group Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers for God) in the Gaza Strip on Friday, accusing the de facto government of "abdicating from Islam," CNN Arab reported on Wednesday night. The unnamed websites, which the report said were closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda, urged the group's followers to take action against Hamas. They specifically called on Osama Bin Laden and his assistant Ayman Al-Zawahiri. A statement on the website from unnamed sources, groups expressed condolences for the death of Sheikh Abdul Latif Moussa, the leader of Jund Ansar Allah. Moussa lead hundreds of supporters to a Rafah mosque on Friday and declared the area an "Islamic emirate. "Hamas-allied fe facto government police and members of Hamas' armed wing said they were forced to react to the group when shots were fired in a civilian area. 

PA: Israel has no role in protecting Abbas, Fayyad
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel does not provide protection for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas or Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, spokesman for the Palestinian Security Services Adnan Ad-Dameri said Thursday. His comment came following reports in the Israeli media detailing alleged coordination between the Palestinian Authority's offices in Ramallah and Israel's Israel's Shin Bet (security services) during the leaders' trips in the West Bank. "This news is not true," Ad-Dameri said over the phone, "the Israeli media says so to misrepresent and to harm the status of the Palestinian Authority. " He assured Israel has "nothing to do with the security of the Palestinian President. " Israel's Haaretz newspaper alleged a standing "agreement between Israel and the PA," under which a "team from the Shin Bet's VIP security unit" follow Fayyad and Abbas around the West Bank "whenever they are in Area C. 

Israel allows trickle of goods into Gaza
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel decided to open two border crossings into the Gaza Strip on Thursday, allowing supplies to trickle into the besieged territory. According to the Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh, Israel will allow 109 to 119 truckloads of commercial and agricultural goods through the Kerem Shalom crossing. He said 15 of the trucks will bring 300 calves. The animals are some of the 3,000 calves Israel pledged to allow into Gaza for the holy month of Ramadan. Fattouh added that the Nahal Oz crossing will be open to allow EU-supplied industrial diesel for Gaza's only power plant. He did not specify the quantity of fuel. The Karni crossing will be closed, Fattouh said. On Wednesday Israel reportedly rejected a Palestinian request to allow additional goods into the Gaza Strip as the month of Ramadan and the start of the school year approach, international news service Xinhua reported. 

Gaza patients return from Egypt
8/20/2009 - Rafah - Ma'an - After receiving treatment in Egyptian hospitals for various illnesses, 163 Palestinians have returned home to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Egyptian authorities allowed the patients to leave Gaza in a rare opening of what is essentially the only portal available for Palestinians to leave Gaza. Several thousand Muslim pilgrims, patients, and other passengers left through Rafah in the past two weeks. Egypt closed the crossing in June 2007 when Hamas took full control of Gaza. Since then the terminal has only been open on sporadic occasions. Separately an Egyptian security source told Ma'an that Egypt has agreed to allow 20 trucks into Gaza, through the Rafah crossing, carrying 268 tons of food, clothes, and blankets donated. The source said the following items will be allowed into Gaza: 174 tons of food aid from the Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines. . . 

Ramadan quiz-show funded by EU to test Palestinian knowledge on Europe
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Six days a week this Ramadan Palestinians will be entertained with anecdotes about EU history and tempted to brush up on their trivia as a new radio quiz show hits the air Saturday. The show, funded by the EU and produced by Ma'an, will run at 4pm throughout the month of Ramadan. Questions will focus on all aspects of life and history of the EU, with bonus questions on the role they play in Palestine. "This show is a fun way for us to take part in a long-established local tradition - the Ramadan Quiz - and at the same time challenge our Palestinian friends to see how much they already know, and maybe pick up a few new ideas about Europe, that rich and diverse continent, along the way," said the European Commission's press officer Alix de Mauny. "There is a long history of friendship between the European and the Palestinian. . . 

Gaza government to release 100 detainees as Ramadan gesture
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip decided on Tuesday to release 50 Fatah-affiliated detainees, who were allegedly detained for "security reasons," and 50 more criminal prisoners as a goodwill gesture ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The decision came during the government's 122th meeting headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The cabinet session addressed political and security issues, particularly Friday's battle in the city of Rafah between Hamas and the ultra-Islamic group Jund Ansar Allah, which left 24 dead. The de facto government expressed sorrow for what happened in Rafah, called the confrontation with Jund Ansar Allah inevitable because the group violated the law and "˜terrorized' the public. Security forces were compelled to respond, the government argued, in order to restore order in Rafah. 

Damascus: Palestinian faction leaders reject call for Ramallah meeting
8/20/2009 - Damascus - Ma'an - The Alliance ofLeaders of the Central Committees of Palestinian Forces attended an all-factions meeting headed by Hamas Political Bureau chief Khalid Mash'al in Damascus on Wednesday. Assembled leaders decided to reject an invitation for a National Council meeting in Ramallah, considering the meeting to be "illegal and illegitimate," and preferring a commitment by West Bank leaders to "what has been agreed upon in the national dialogue. " The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive committee, headed by Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas called for the meeting on 26 and 27 August. The officials suggested a meeting of factions' Secretaries General be called, similar to a 2005 meeting in Cairo, in an effort to rebuild the organization of factions. Prominent officials at the meeting included: Islamic Jihad's Secretary General Ramadan. . . 

Woman, Gazan, Christian to be appointed to Fatah’s Central Committee
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The three appointed members of the Fatah Central Committee will be a woman, a Christian and a Gazan, a member of the party's governing body, Muhammad Shtayeh, revealed Wednesday. Shtayeh spoke alongside other Central Committee members Sultan Abul Enen, Tawfiq At-Tirawi, as well as Fatah Revolutionary Council members Fahmi Az-Za'arir, Tawfiq Abu Khoseh and Muhammad Taha during an interview on Ma'an Radio Network. It was the first time Central Committee and Revolutionary Council members spoke to the public in such a format since the election results were announced on 12 August. The message from the show's guests was clear: the Central Committee is fixed, and will take as its program the next round of unity talks in Cairo. "Gaza will not be regained unless there are [national] elections and a national dialogue and not the dialogue of the deaf," members repeated was the slogan of the committee. 

PA, union leader spar over hospital worker conditions
8/20/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Ministry of Health issued a harshly-worded denial and denunciation on Thursday of a union leader's charges of violating workers' rights at a Ramallah hospital. Palestinian Workers' Union Chief, Bassam Zakarneh, had earlier said the ministry hired temporary workers who do not receive overtime pay, risk bonuses, or reimbursement for transportation. In a statement sent to Ma'an, the Ministry of Health described Zakarneh's complaints as a media campaign, and that "the general director, heads of departments and central units, and employees of Ramallah Hospital have all denounced these fabricated stories as lies. "However Zakarneh reiterated his support for the demands made by the Health Union, and rejected what he described as Health Minister Fathi Abu Moghli crossing the line by ordering of the head of the Health Union to the Attorney General without justification. 

Fifty Fatah members, criminals released from Gaza jails
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Fifty men including Fatah affiliates were released from de facto Hamas Government prison Wednesday, with another fifty to be released in the next 24 hours, police in the Strip said Thursday. The release of the prisoners follows promises of the de facto government to make a goodwill Ramadan gesture. They announced last week that 50 of those released would be Fatah affiliates, and 50 would be criminals. Security official with the de facto government's Interior Ministry Mohammad Lafi confirmed that the first 50 had been cleared for release, and the second 50 were having paperwork prepared. [end] 

Dahlan says not responsible for Gaza in new Fatah leadership role
8/20/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Fatah's controversial former Gaza security chief, Muhammad Dahlan, will have no responsibilities related to Gaza in his new role in the party's Central Committee, he told Ma'an in an exclusive interview. Dahlan is reviled by Hamas and other opponents of Fatah rule for what they considered an iron-fisted administration of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in Gaza. Dahlan left Gaza days before Hamas forces shut down the Preventive Security and other Fatah-backed institutions in fighting that left hundreds dead in 2007. Dahlan also dismissed allegation that he was elected to Fatah's governing body without the support of delegates from his native Gaza. "I received 540 votes from the West Bank which would have been enough to put me on the Central Committee. With these votes alone, I would have been in rank 16 even if the Gazans had not voted in. . . 

Mash’al meets Egypt envoy in unity push
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Hamas Political Bureau chief Khalid Mash'al met in Damascus on Thursday with a senior Egyptian official who is working to smooth relations with rival party Fatah. The Egyptian envoy, General Muhammad Ibrahim, is a top aide to Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, who is tasked with reuniting the disparate Palestinian factions. Agence France Presse said Ibrahim wants to develop a deal for the release of political prisoners held by both the Hamas administration in Gaza and the Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Both sides have arrested the others members in the two years since Hamas took full control of Gaza after winning parliamentary elections. The issue has been a stumbling block to previous attempts to restore unity. Another round of talks is scheduled for 25 August. 

Musical documentary Checkpoint Rock premiers in Ramallah
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - It is a "trip through a place which the world is always looking at but which we know almost nothing about," say the artists behind a new musical documentary that records the sounds and rhythms of life in and around the separation wall. The film, Checkpoint Rock, will premier Tuesday night in Ramallah's Al-Kasaba Theatre. It is set to be shown in Haifa, Acre and Nazareth over the next four days. It was directed by Fermin Muguruza, and produced by Javier Corcuera. The film moves from Palestinian cities, villages and camps to the neon lit streets of Tel Aviv recording the ways that "music hits the walls" of Palestinian society as it negotiates occupation. Featured artists include DAM from Jerusalem, AMAL Murkus from Nazareth, Khalas and Walaat from Acre, Sabreen from Jerusalem PR (Palestinian Rappers) from Gaza and the Jubrans from Ramallah as well as a dozen other bands and artists. 

PSE closes with gains, but most stocks fall
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange in Nablus closed with minor overall gains on Wednesday, with the Al-Quds Index standing at 504. 75, an increase of 0. 17 points, 0. 03%. Trading volume for Wednesday reached 218,017 shares, a total value of 381,838. 98 US dollars, over the course of 140 trades. The shares of 22 companies were traded. The share prices of six companies rose, while those of nine declined. The top five gainers were ARE by (4. 35%), LADAEN by (3. 33%), GMC by (2. 50%), PCB by (1. 25%), and PALTEL by (0. 55%). The top five losers were WASSEL by (3. 51%), PIIC by (2. 56%), AZIZA by (2. 04%), PADICO by (1. 57%), and AMB by (1. 56%). [end] 

Gaza: Residents complain of high prices as gov’t announces decline
8/20/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Official claims that Gaza food prices have gone down are being contradicted by Strip residents who say prices are higher than ever and that most goods are unaffordable for the average resident. According to citizens, the prices of lemons, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions have increased over the past months, and are no longer affordable for a population where 70% receive basic aid from the UN Relief and Works Agency. At the same time, however, the de facto government's Ministry of the National Economy released a report ahead of the start of Ramadan saying the price of basic goods have been stable over the past two months. The ministry quotes a report from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in Gaza said there was a 0. 1% rise in prices, and attributed the nominal increase to good governmental control of the markets. 

PSE closes down 2.43 points
8/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Stocks fell on the Palestine Securities Exchange in the West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday, ending a turbulent week of trading. At the close of trading, the Al-Quds Index stood at 502. 32, marking a decrease of 2. 43 points (0. 48%) over the last trading session. Trading Volume for Thursday reached 232,241 shares, a total value of 404,215. 44 US dollars over the course of 160 trades. The shares of 18 companies were traded, the shares prices of five companies rose, while those of eight others fell. The top five gainers were JPH by (4. 51%), GMC by (3. 66%), AZIZA by (1. 04%), AIB by (0. 82%), and BPC by (0. 54%). The top five losers were ARE by (4. 17%), NCI by (3. 57%), LADAEN by (3. 23%), AMB by (3. 17%), and BOP by (2. 15%). 

The National

The Jew on Fatah's governing body
20 Aug 2009 - A scholar seeks to help the group become a broad-based movement against Israel, modelled on the African National Congress.

Owner of Egypt's oldest bar does not touch a drop
20 Aug 2009 - As a non-drinking, practising Muslim who runs a bar, Sameh al Sheikh Aly is aware of the contradictions between his work and religion.

Netanyahu struggles to reach deal over settlements
20 Aug 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly facing a challenge from key political allies at home who are pushing for continued Jewish construction on territory Palestinians want for a future state.

Militant captured in Lebanon day after jail break
19 Aug 2009 - Lebanese security forces recaptured an accused Islamist militant, ending a day-long manhunt after his escape from Lebanon's high-security prison.

Aljazeera

Obama upbeat on settlements issue
18 Aug 2009 - After talks with Egypt's leader, US president says peace efforts moving in "right direction".

Inmate flees in Lebanon jail break
18 Aug 2009 - Member of Fatah al-Islam escapes from prison with help of fellow inmates.

Palestine News Network

Media freedoms organization says it was singled out by Hamas government after criticizing policy
20 Aug 2009 - PNN - The Information Ministry of the Hamas government issued a statement from the Gaza Strip against critics of its recent decision to ban the press from Rafah hospitals during the fight between Hamas security and the Islamic group calling for an “Islamic emirate.” The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said that it was one of the organizations targeted by...

With the approach of Ramadan MP Mona Mansour warns ask that traders not exploit need of citizens 
20 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - Along with the season of Ramadan comes price gouging by many merchants who take advantage of increased demand to double prices on common goods, including food. Palestinian Legislative Council member Mona Mansour, warned against raising prices on food during the month. In a statement to the press she called on traders to “not exploit the needs of citizens during...

Forty years after the fire at Al Aqsa Mosque, religious leaders concerned over continued threat
20 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – On the fortieth memorial of the fire at Al Aqsa Mosque, the Christian - Islamic body is asking for support not only of Islamic holy sites, but those of Christianity as well. Palestinian leaders of the Islamic and Christian faiths, Sheikh Taysir Tamimi and Bishop Atallah Hanna, were joined today by PA official on the issue of Jerusalem, Dr....

Families required by Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipality to destroy their own homes
20 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN - A report prepared by the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights noted today that from March until the end of July, 18 houses were destroyed by their owners themselves. The occupying Israeli administration has a new policy of requiring families who it deems in violation of permit laws to destroy their own homes, or...

If parents are imprisoned, who will provide for the children during Ramadan 
19 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - As Ramadan nears, concerns are raised toward the children of political prisoners. Some 9,500 to 11,000 Palestinians are behind the barbed wire and bars of prison camps. Conditions are getting worse says Ahmed Said Abd Rabbo, who also notes that familial visits are on the downturn.Saber Muhtaseb is concerned about his kids. All are in school, but who is...

New US plan to "resolve conflict in Middle East" asks Palestinians to sanction occupation
19 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – A new “plan for peace” is coming out of Washington that many consider to be disturbing at best. It includes keeping major Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank. The plan keeps the Israelis as occupiers, but with a few twists like in Oslo, such as political prisoners should be released. It seems to be asking Palestinians to sanction...

Open call for new logo design: boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign
18 Aug 2009 - In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations united behind a call to the world to impose Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it complies with international law. Now, the Palestinian BDS Campaign National Committee (BNC) is calling on YOU to design a BDS logo for the campaign!!This is an open call to all creative artists/designers who feel they can...

IRIN

OPT: Gaza mothers, newborns affected by Israeli blockade 
GAZA CITY Thursday, August 20, 2009 (IRIN) - Inadequate infrastructure, lack of equipment and a shortage of hospital staff are contributing to the deterioration of hospital care for mothers and newborns in Gaza, according to a July 2009 assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem.

OPT: Where cancer sufferers get only painkillers 
GAZA CITY Wednesday, August 19, 2009 (IRIN) - Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of As-Shifa, Gaza’s primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumours in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut.

Analysis: Humanitarian action under siege
DAKAR Tuesday, August 18, 2009 (IRIN) - On the first-ever World Humanitarian Day, as the UN spotlights fallen aid workers and growing humanitarian needs, experts say a trend toward integrating aid goals into broader social and security agendas has contributed to an erosion of “humanitarian space”. IRIN looks at why,...

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-US: Court Reins in Terror Finance Policy 
NEW YORK, Aug 20 (IPS) - A federal court this week ruled for the first time that the U.S. government cannot freeze an organisation's assets under a terror financing law without a warrant based upon probable cause and without telling the organisation the basis for its action and a meaningful...

DISARMAMENT: Egypt Rejects U.S. Nuclear Umbrella 
CAIRO, Aug 20 (IPS) - The spectre of a U.S. nuclear umbrella for the Middle East haunted the U.S.- Egyptian summit this week. In the run-up to President Hosni Mubarak's first Washington visit in five years, both the Egyptian leader and his senior aides categorically rejected an undeclared U.S. offer...

SPORTS: Women Carry a New Punch 
JERUSALEM, Aug 20 (IPS) - Thanks to Clint Eastwood's blockbuster film 'Million Dollar Baby', his heroine Hilary Swank helped raise significantly the profile of women who climb into the boxing ring.

MIDEAST: Israel Turns Dubiously to Africa 
JERUSALEM, Aug 19 (IPS) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been busy pursuing one aspect of the Obama Administration's agenda - carrying to Africa the U.S. message of accountability. With a rather different agenda, Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Liberman also has Africa in his sights.

Stop The Wall

Demolishing homes, building up settlements
20 Aug 2009 - This month, Occupation forces have issued new demolition orders to communities across the West Bank. A total of 49 residential structures are under threat, affecting families in the areas surrounding Hebron, Qalqilya, Salfit and Nablus. This effectively restricts the growth of Palestinian communities, and is motivated by the route of the Wall and preserving the surrounding land for settlement expansion. [

People march in al-Ma'sara
18 Aug 2009 - Al-Ma'sara's people held their weekly demonstration against the Apartheid Wall. Hundreds of people marched this week, struggling with the soldiers who consistently deny them the right to access their lands. [

PCHR Weekly Report

(13 - 19 Aug.  2008)
On 14 August 2009, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats opposite to Rafah beach.  As a result, a 12-year-old Palestinian child, who was at the beach, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head.

International Solidarity Movement

Amnesty International withdraws from Leonard Cohen’s Israel concert fund
8/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) - 18 August 2009 - New York, NY, August 18 - Amnesty International has announced today that it will abstain from any involvement in the Leonard Cohen concert in Tel Aviv and will not be party to any fund that benefits from the concert's proceeds. A number of media accounts had reported that Amnesty International was to manage or otherwise partner in a fund created from the proceeds of Cohen's concert in Israel that would be used to benefit Israeli and Palestinian groups. Amnesty International's announcement today followed an international outcry over the human rights organization's reported involvement in the Leonard Cohen concert fund, and an earlier international call for Cohen to boycott apartheid Israel. Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. . . 

Israeli forces begin construction of new cement wall on Ni’lin’s land
8/21/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Friday, 21 August 2009 at 12:30pm: A demonstration will be held against the new cement construction of the Wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. Israeli forces have begun placing 8 meter high cement blocks, in place of a fence that was built before. Since May 2008, residents of Ni’lin have been organizing and participating in unarmed demonstrations against construction of the Apartheid Wall. Despite being deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, the Occupation continues to build the Wall, further annexing Palestinian land. Ni’lin will lose approximately 2,500 dunums of agricultural land when construction of the Wall is completed. Israel annexed 40,000 of Ni’lin’s 58,000 dunums in 1948. After the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, the illegal settlements and infrastructure of Kiryat Sefer, Mattityahu and Maccabim were built on village lands and Ni’lin lost another 8,000 dunums. 

Israeli forces continue to target the leadership of Palestinian non-violent resistance
8/20/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 20 August 2009: Once again the night in Bil'in was disrupted by a raid ending with the arrest of one the members of the Village's Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. This occurred the night after the childrens demonstration where the children had chanted slogans like "We want to sleep," "Stop the night raids". The house of Bil'in Popular Committee member and vice president of the Bil'in village council, Mohammad Abu Rahma, (age 50), known by his friends as Abu Nizar, was raided shortly before 2am on Thursday morning. About 25 soldiers with their faces painted in black had come to the village on foot. The soldiers broke into Abu Nizar's home and forcefully took him from his bed where he and his wife were sleeping. They then beat and dragged him to the Annexation Wall where jeeps were waiting to pick them up. . . . As Haithem was filming the arrest, one soldier hit him, broke his camera and hit two of the activists. 

Bil’in’s children demonstrate against ongoing Israeli night raids
8/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Today, the first nonviolent demonstration for the children of Bil'in took place to protest against the night raids and the many arrests of young boys in the village. They carried banners and chanted slogans like "We want to sleep," "No more night raids," "Let us live," "We want Peace," and so on. The children lead the demonstration toward the Apartheid Wall with villagers and Palestinian and international activists following them. At the Wall they were met by two soldiers who were on regular duty at the Wall. Once they arrived at the Wall, the children continued their chanting as the soldiers watched. Two Jeeps arrived with reinforcement. Noticing that the gate, which gives access to the Wall, was open, five soldiers came through the door of the Wall to close it shut while the children chanted into their faces and activists challenged them about arresting children. 

Nablus-area residents to protest home demolition orders
8/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - This coming Thursday (20/08/09) the families and friends of those affected by the demolition orders detailed below, will hold a protest outside the courts in Beit El. They will be joined by residents of nearby villages and international solidarity activists. The rally will start between 9 and 10am outside the court. House demolition orders in Yetma: In the village Yetma south of Nablus in the West Bank, around 17 houses was given demolition orders from the Israeli Government, issued the 27th of July 2009. All houses were built after the Oslo process, and are located in the only part of the village that is considered to be area C according to the Accords. By the Israeli government, therefor, these houses are considered as having been built without a permit. This is their official reason for issuing the orders. However, the area is located no further than aproximetely 2 km from the border of the Israeli settlement Rahel. 

Six Arab families from East Jerusalem appeal eviction
8/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - The eviction of six Arab families from their apartments in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood this month stemmed from serious mistakes by the authorities, including the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, the former residents wrote in an appeal to the Jerusalem District Court. The families contend that the staff of the Bailiff's Office, who had orders to evict Maher Hanun and Abdelfatah Gawi, improperly evicted six other families as well. The eviction proceedings were filed on behalf of a Sephardi Jewish community organization that the court found had rights to the property dating from the Mandate period. Following the evictions, Jews moved into part of the property. The Magistrate's Court ruling stated that Majad and Halil Hanun were evicted because they were living there by virtue of being the sons of Maher Hanun. 

BlackRock divests from the West Bank
8/20/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Erik Hagen, Norwatch - The British bank BlackRock has divested from Lev Leviev settlement projects on West Bank. The divestment follows pressure by three Norwegian banks marketing BlackRock funds. BlackRock was second biggest shareholder in the controversial Israeli firm. When the British Embassy in Tel Aviv was looking for new premises and was offered the opportunity of occupying a building owned by the investment company Africa-Israel Investments, the ambassador refrained. The reason was that the company was also responsible for settlements on the occupied West Bank. Africa-Israel Investments' main owner is Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev. Now the UK bank BlackRock has followed in the footsteps of the ambassador. The bank was for a while the second largest shareholder in the Israeli investment company. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Lieberman to ask Sweden to print state rebuttal of IDF organ harvest article
19 Aug 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is expected to speak on Friday with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt, in order to issue his official condemnation of a recent article by a top Swedish newspaper that alleged that Israel Defense Forces soldiers kill Palestinian civilians in order to harvest their organs. ...

Iran lifts ban on UN inspectors at nuclear sites
19 Aug 2009 - Iran announced Thursday it will allow United Nations inspectors to visit a nearly completed nuclear reactor as well as grant greater monitoring rights at another atomic site, according to diplomats. ...

Obama urges renewed Mideast peace talks as soon as possible
19 Aug 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama wants Israel and the Palestinians to restart stalled peace talks as soon as possible and urged both sides and the Arab states to take steps to advance the process, the White House said on Thursday. ...

Families of U.S. hikers detained in Iran say they are are harmless
19 Aug 2009 - Three American hikers being detained in Iran carefully planned a hike that accidentally carried them into the country and are totally harmless, their families said Thursday. ...

U.S. 'deeply regrets' decision to free Lockerbie bomber
19 Aug 2009 - United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed the decision by Scotland to release the Libyan man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people. ...

The Guardian

Video: Hamas's 'cinema of resistance'
19 Aug 2009 - The first Hamas-produced film premiered in Gaza, depicting the life of Imad Aqel, who was held responsible for killing 13 Israeli soldiers and settlers

Abbas's Sudan trip is ethical | Nicholas Blincoe
19 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian president's visit despite the ICC's arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir may be realpolitik, but it is defensible The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, invites accusations of hypocrisy with his visit to Sudan today for talks...

Barack Obama hopeful Israeli and Palestinian leaders will resume talks
18 Aug 2009 - During Hosni Mubarak's visit, Obama said he is encouraged by progress in US efforts to renew Middle East talks Barack Obama said today he is encouraged by progress in US efforts to bring Israel and the...

Restricting visas will not help Israel | Seth Freedman
18 Aug 2009 - The decision to stop visitors to the Palestinian Authority entering Israel will deepen divisions without making the nation any safer At first glance, Israel's latest manoeuvre in its fight against terror is well intentioned, if completely...

Ha'aretz National page

Settlers who were taped beating Palestinians evade arrest
20 Aug 2009 - Despite the video footage and the international public outcry it generated, the Judea and Samaria police are closing the case of a severe beating of three Palestinians by masked settlers, without having managed to produce even a single suspect, according to the complete investigation file obtained by Haaretz. ... 

Dudu Topaz's brother slams media for coverage of his arrest, suicide
19 Aug 2009 - Disgraced TV star killed himself in jail, while on trial for plotting attacks on media execs.

Holocaust survivor now lives on Tel Aviv park bench 
19 Aug 2009 - For the last eight months, a 71-year-old Holocaust survivor has been sleeping on a bench in a downtown Tel Aviv park. ... 

Relief Web

Webcast: Press statement on the bombings in Iraq and informal comments to the media by the President of the UN SC on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question and on the situation in Sri Lanka
20 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

OPT: Gaza mothers, newborns affected by Israeli blockade
20 Aug 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 13 - 19 Aug 2009
20 Aug 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

YNet News

Soldiers won't eat in front of Palestinians
20 Aug 2009 - Defense establishment to ease restrictions on West Bank population during month of Ramadan, which begins Saturday. Troops instructed to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public 

Report: Mubarak opposes US defense umbrella
20 Aug 2009 - Al-Gumhoria newspaper says Egyptian president strongly objects to American proposal to Israel, Arab states to create nuclear umbrella against Iranian attack 

Lieberman: Sweden acting like in WWII
20 Aug 2009 - Foreign minister slams Scandinavian country's Foreign Ministry for dismissing ambassador's condemnation of newspaper that accused IDF soldiers of transplant organ theft. 'It's a shame Sweden fails to intervene in a case of blood libels against Jews,' he says 

Diplomats: Iran improves access to nuke activities
20 Aug 2009 - Sources say Tehran has has lifted ban, allowed UN inspectors to visit nearly completed heavy water reactor in Arak, as well as granting greater monitoring rights at uranium enrichment facility 

Netanyahu cuts vacation short to meet with Ya'alon 
20 Aug 2009 - Prime minister summons vice premier to Kirya base in Tel Aviv after minister referred to Israel's Left as 'a virus' 

Daily Star

Mitchell to finalize inclusive blueprint for Mideast peace
20 Aug 2009 - The White House said Thursday that Middle East envoy George Mitchell would finalize steps all parties can take to pave the way for Israeli-Palestinian talks in an upcoming visit to the region. President Barack Obama un veiled the scope of Mitchell's mission in a telephone call to Jordan's King Abdullah II, two days after his talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House.

Palestinian Information Center

Swedish newspaper reveals Israeli army murders Palestinians for their organs
20 Aug 2009 - Israeli officials have been railing against a leading Swedish newspaper for publishing a report claiming that the IOF murders Palestinians for their organs

Mansour: The Aqsa Mosque is exposed to real threats
20 Aug 2009 - Hamas lawmaker Mona Mansour stressed Thursday that the Aqsa Mosque is exposed to real threats as a result of the ongoing Israeli violations against it.

Families of detainees appeal for releasing their sons from Abbas’s jails
20 Aug 2009 - Families of political prisoners in the West Bank appealed on Thursday to all humanitarian organizations to support their just demands for the release of their sons from Mahmoud Abbas’s jails.

IOA closes Aqsa Mosque before youth during Ramadan
20 Aug 2009 - The IOA has announced that entry to the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem during the fasting month of Ramadan would be limited to Palestinian men above 50 years old.

JCSER: Israel forced 18 families to demolish their own homes in five months
20 Aug 2009 - The Jerusalem center for social and economic rights (JCSER) reported that Israel from the beginning of March until the end of July forced 18 Palestinian families to demolish their own homes.

Arab committee warns of IOF war exercises inside Arab cities
20 Aug 2009 - The popular committee in defense of freedoms, established by Palestinians in the 1948 lands, has warned of the military training conducted by IOF troops in their Arab cities and villages.

Palestinian citizen wounded in IOF incursion
20 Aug 2009 - A Palestinian civilian was wounded on Thursday in an incursion into the central Gaza Strip district by an Israeli occupation forces (IOF) unit, local sources reported.

Palestinian factions to take steps against call for holding PNC session
20 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian resistance factions decided to take a number of practical steps in response to the call for holding the Palestinian national council made by its head Salim Al-Zanoun.

Hebrew press: Abbas, Fayyad protected by Israel
20 Aug 2009 - Ha'aretz revealed that former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his illegitimate premier Salam Fayyad are guarded by "Israel's Shin Bet security service on some of their trips around the West Bank".

Campaign: MPs' place under dome of parliament not in jails
20 Aug 2009 - Fadi Al-Qawasme, the lawyer of Palestinian members of parliament held in IOA jails, has expressed absolute concern over the IOA administrative detention policy against released deputies.

Los Angeles Times

Ahmadinejad to retain Iranian foreign minister, a move likely to reassure Western diplomats 
20 Aug 2009 - Renominating Manouchehr Mottaki suggests Iran will not further harden its posture in negotiating with the West. Meanwhile, Syria's president visits Iran to meet Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will renominate Manouchehr Mottaki as foreign minister, an advisor said Wednesday, a move that suggests the Islamic Republic will not harden its already tough posture in negotiating with the West. 

New York Times

Ahmadinejad Submits a Cabinet of Acolytes
19 Aug 2009 - Facing persistent opposition, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran will shore up his circle of loyalists. 

Obama Sees ‘Positive Steps’ in Mideast
18 Aug 2009 - Speaking after a meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, President Obama said Israel was moving in the right direction on settlements. 

Iran's Release of Academic Puts Spotlight on French-Syrian Ties
18 Aug 2009 - France’s efforts to win the freedom of a researcher who was arrested in Iran on July 1 have underscored its readiness to see Syria in a regional mediation role. 

Misc

OPT: Where cancer sufferers get only painkillers 
8/20/2009 - IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - GAZA CITY, 19 August 2009 (IRIN) - Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of As-Shifa, Gaza’s primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumours in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut. In April, Arafat was permitted to travel to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem where he received three series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. He was scheduled to return for further treatment, but has not been granted permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza. “He is only given pain killers,” said Arafat’s father, Faraj Hamdona, explaining that that is all As-Shifa has to offer. According to a July 2009 report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem, Gaza doctors and nurses do not have the medical equipment to respond to the health needs. . . . 

Embattled Hamas Shows its Moderate Face 
8/20/2009 - Antiwar.com - Mel Frykberg - RAMALLAH – The Islamic resistance movement Hamas’s rule of Gaza is facing protracted political and military opposition from within Gaza, other Palestinian territories and abroad. On Saturday a guerrilla group put down the fiercest military challenge to Hamas rule since it took over the coastal territory in the June 2007 coup when it overthrew a Palestinian Authority (PA)-led unity government. Hamas had earlier won legislative elections in Gaza in 2006. On Friday after mid-day prayers members of the extremist group Jund Ansar Allah, meaning "Soldiers of God," and allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda, barricaded themselves inside a mosque filled with hundreds of worshippers and supporters in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The leader of the Salafist group Abdul Latif Moussa, surrounded by a number of armed and masked men including one with a suicide belt, declared the town an Islamic 

Swedish daily hits back at critics of IDF organ harvest story 
8/20/2009 - Ha'aretz - A Swedish newspaper provoked outrage in Israel and drew condemnation from Sweden's ambassador on Wednesday after it ran a story on transplant organ theft, a report an Israeli official branded anti-Semitic "hate porn". The editor of Aftonbladet, Sweden's largest daily newspaper, hit back hard, at both Israel and at the Swedish envoy for attacking his paper's coverage. Donald Boström, the Swedish journalist whose article accusing Israel Defense Forces soldiers of killing Palestinians to obtain their organs evoked outrage, denied on Tuesday that he was motivated by anti-Semitism. "I'm very sad to hear people accuse me of anti-Semitism," Boström told Haaretz on Tuesday. Aftonbladet, ran Bostrom's piece under the headline, "They plunder the organs of our sons". In the wake of the report and the furious public reaction, the Israeli embassy in Stockholm on Wednesday sent a sternly-worded diplomatic protest to the Swedish government. 

U.S. blasts Israeli restrictions on American travelers in West Bank 
8/20/2009 - Ha'aretz - The United States has harshly criticized new Israeli restrictions placed on foreign nationals entering the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge, calling the new regulations 'unacceptable'. A report on the restrictions appeared in Haaretz last week. Earlier this week, a senior official at the U. S. Embassy in Tel Aviv met with the head of the Foreign Ministry's consular division, Yigal Tzarfati, for clarifications on the new procedure, by which passports are stamped at the bridge with a directive limiting the bearer to areas of the Palestinian Authority only. The U. S. message was that such a procedure is harmful to U. S. citizens who come to the Palestinian Authority. At the meeting in Jerusalem, U. S. diplomats asked Tzarfati what the reason was for the restrictions, and a statement issued yesterday by the State Department said that "the United States expects that all American citizens be treated 

Palestinians teens visit Israel on ’Birthright Replugged’
8/21/2009 - Ha'aretz - Fourteen-year-old Jum'a Ismail lives 50 km from the Mediterranean but had never seen the sea. The Palestinian youth had never set eyes on an Israeli civilian or an airport. Juma'a's horizons expanded this summer, when he left Jalazoun refugee camp in the West Bank with "Birthright Replugged" on a trip taking Palestinian children to Israel to visit the villages of their ancestors. "It's an attempt to get out, while they still can," said the program's creator, Dunya Alwan. Once Palestinian children turn 15, they must carry Israeli-issued West Bank identity cards and are no longer able to travel through Israeli checkpoints without special permits. Birthright Replugged" is partially funded by the Carter Center's Peace Program, founded by former U. S. president Jimmy Carter. It takes groups of 20 Palestinian children into Israel twice yearly. 

Moshe Yaalon '[I’m] not afraid of the Americans' 
8/20/2009 - Political Theatrics - Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday summoned a minister who whipped up a political storm by suggesting the government oppose US demands for a settlement freeze. Netanyahu told Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon to report to him on Thursday evening, after the premier returns from vacation, public radio said. On Wednesday, Netanyahu lambasted the Vice Premier Yaalon, who told a closed-door meeting of far-right activists last week that he was “not afraid of the Americans” and that anti-settlement groups like Peace Now were “viruses” to Israel. “The remarks made by Minister Yaalon are unacceptable, neither in their essence nor in their style, and do not represent the government’s stance,” Netanyahu said in a statement. Many politicians were outraged by the remarks, which were made by Yaalon during a meeting with members of the Likud’s Jewish Leadership division, headed by Moshe Feiglin. 

Media freedoms organization says it was singled out by Hamas government after criticizing policy
8/20/2009 - Palestine News Network - PNN - The Information Ministry of the Hamas government issued a statement from the Gaza Strip against critics of its recent decision to ban the press from Rafah hospitals during the fight between Hamas security and the Islamic group calling for an “Islamic emirate. ”The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said that it was one of the organizations targeted by the Hamas criticism. MADA writes, “Although the statement did not mention MADA by name, it is clear that it was meant, because it is the only media organization which issued a press release in this regard, so we would like to clarify of the following:"- The prevention of journalists from coverage has not been done for their safety, as was claimed in the statement. This is not the first time that the Hamas government and its security forces have prevented journalists from covering certain events. 

Israeli troops brutally attack cameraman filming raid 
8/20/2009 - Press TV - Israeli soldiers brutally attack a number of peace activists, who were documenting an overnight raid on a Palestinian house in the West Bank town of Bil'in. The incident happened in the early hours of Thursday as 25 Israeli soldiers, with their faces painted black, were raiding the house of Mohammad Abu Rahma -- a member of the village's Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements. A number of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists were present at the scene with one of them filming the raid, which saw the Israeli soldiers breaking into the house, beating Rahma and dragging him out all the way to the separation wall where they dumped him into one of the vehicles that were waiting for them. During the course of the raid, the Israeli soldiers attacked the ISM members, brutally beat two of the peace activists and broke their camera. 

Netanyahu’s Defiance of U.S. Resonates at Home 
8/19/2009 - Washington Post - JERUSALEM, Aug. 18 -- For five months, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been fending off U. S. pressure to halt the expansion of West Bank settlements. Now he is reaping dividends for his defiance. Although Israeli leaders have historically been reluctant to publicly break with the United States for fear of paying a price in domestic support, polls show that Netanyahu's strategy is working. And that means that after months of diplomacy, the quick breakthrough that President Obama had hoped would restart peace talks has instead turned into a familiar stalemate. Arab states largely have rebuffed Obama's request for an overture to Israel until the settlement issue is resolved -- a stand that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak emphasized in a meeting with Obama on Tuesday -- and the Palestinians have said a settlement freeze is a precondition for resuming negotiations. 

Momentum Slows for Israel’s Barrier 
8/20/2009 - Washington Post - Cost, Legal Concerns and a Drop in Violence May Leave Controversial Project Unfinished - Linda Gradstein and Howard Schneider - MAALE ADUMIM, West Bank -- Cost overruns, court rulings and a decline in violence have led Israel to slow construction of a barrier through and around the occupied West Bank, and many analysts predict the project, which is a deep source of contention between Israelis and Palestinians, will not be completed. The last substantial work on the barrier, a network of fences and concrete walls flanked by a military patrol road, was finished in 2007. The construction underway now largely involves moving parts of it off Palestinian land in response to a series of Israeli Supreme Court rulings that found that the barrier had in some cases isolated families and sealed off villages from farmland to a degree that security concerns did not warrant. 

Swedish Article Suggesting Israeli Troops Kill Palestinians, Harvest Organs Infuriates Israel 
8/19/2009 - Huffington Post - JERUSALEM — Israel and the Swedish Embassy responded furiously Wednesday to a Swedish newspaper article that suggested Israeli troops killed Palestinians and harvested their organs. The article published Monday in Aftonbladet, Sweden's largest circulation daily, implies a link between those charges and the recent arrest in the U. S. of an American Jew for illicit organ trafficking. Later the reporter told Israel Radio he did not know if the allegations were trueHeadlined "Our sons are plundered for their organs," the story made news in Israel, where some commentators compared it to medieval libels that Jews killed Christian children for their blood. Daniel Seaman, who heads Israel's government press office, said the article played on "vile anti-Semitic themes. " The article was illustrated with a photograph of a dead Palestinian man with a line of surgical stitches running the length of 

Israel’s Peres: Russia to reconsider missile sale to Iran 
8/20/2009 - USA Today - MOSCOW (AP) — Israeli President Shimon Peres said Wednesday the Kremlin has promised to reconsider the planned delivery of air defense missiles to Iran that Israel and the U. S. fear could be used to protect Iran's nuclear facilities. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made the pledge during their talks Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Peres said. " President Medvedev gave a promise he will reconsider the sales of S-300s because it affects the delicate balance which exists in the Middle East," Peres told reporters via video link from Sochi. A Kremlin spokesman wouldn't immediately comment on Peres' statement. Russia has signed a contract to supply the powerful S-300 missiles to Iran, but has dragged its feet on delivering them. Israel and the United States fear that Iran could use the missiles to protect its nuclear facilities — including the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz 

Raytheon eyes new anti-missile system for Israel 
8/18/2009 - Reuters - System could be ready as soon as 2013 - HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, Aug. 18 (Reuters) - Raytheon Co (RTN. N), the world's biggest missile maker, said it was developing a new system that, if deployed, could boost Israel's defenses against Iran as soon as 2013 and beef up anti-missile bulwarks worldwide. The system could also help resolve a U. S. -Russian deadlock over Bush-era plans to extend into Europe the U. S. shield against ballistic missiles. The plan is to create a land-based version of Raytheon's existing Standard Missile-3, a mainstay of U. S. missile defense from the sea. It also would use a long-range Raytheon radar already deployed in Israel and Japan as part of yet another U. S. defense system. " Coming soon to a theater near you," the company said in a slide presentation on its would-be new SM-3 "ashore" interceptor missile. 


Articles

Quiet slicing of the West Bank makes abstract prayers for peace obscene 
Slavoj Zizek, The Guardian, International Solidarity Movement 8/18/2009
  On 2 August 2009, after cordoning off part of the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem, Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families (more than 50 people) from their homes; Jewish settlers immediately moved into the emptied houses. Although Israeli police cited a ruling by the country’s supreme court, the evicted Arab families had been living there for more than 50 years. The event "“ which, rather exceptionally, did attract the attention of the world media "“ is part of a much larger and mostly ignored ongoing process. 
     Five months earlier, on 1 March, it had been reported that the Israeli government had drafted plans to build more than 70,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank; if implemented, the plans could increase the number of settlers in the Palestinian territories by about 300,000 Such a move would not only severely undermine the chances of a... more.. e-mailWag The Dog, Again 
Philip Giraldi, Antiwar.com 8/13/2009
  Israeli media reports that visiting National Security Adviser General Jim Jones and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have told the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop complaining about Iran because the US is preparing to take action "in eight weeks" demonstrate that even when everything changes in Washington, nothing changes. President Barack Obama has claimed that a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a high priority but the Israelis and their allies in congress and the media have been able to stonewall the issue. Israel has made no concessions on its settlement policy, which is rightly seen as the single biggest obstacle to eventual creation of a Palestinian state, and has instead pushed ahead with new building and confiscations of Arab homes. Obama has protested both Israeli actions but done nothing else, meaning that Israel has determined that the new US president’s policies are toothless, giving it... more.. e-mail

Electronic Intifada
Bilin's unwavering spirit of resistance
21 Aug 2009 - The Ofer military base is not an easy place to get into. But after most of my friends and the father of the family I was living with, Mohammed Khatib (also a leading member of the Bilin Popular Committee) were arrested in a brutal night raid on the occupied West Bank village of Bilin, I was determined to go to their court hearing. Jody McIntyre writes from Bilin. 

In Gaza, only cancer sufferers get only painkillers
20 Aug 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of al-Shifa, Gaza's primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumors in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut. "He is only given pain killers," said Arafat's father, Faraj Hamdona, explaining that it is all al-Shifa has to offer. 

Can we talk? The Middle East "peace industry"
20 Aug 2009 - Upon finding out that I am Palestinian, many people I meet at college in the United States are eager to inform me of various activities that they have participated in that promote "coexistence" and "dialogue" between both sides of the "conflict," no doubt expecting me to give a nod of approval. However, these efforts are harmful and undermine the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel -- the only way of pressuring Israel to cease its violations of Palestinians' rights. Faris Giacaman comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Despite obstacles, Gaza students score well on exams
19 Aug 2009 - AMSTERDAM (IPS) - Call it that choice between looking at the half-full or half-empty part of the results. And it is almost half; 55 percent of schoolchildren passed their general secondary school examinations in Gaza this year. The results in the humanities section in the exams, the tawjihis as they are called, were four percent better than last year, and in the sciences they were better by two percent. So much for the impact of the Israeli bombardment last December-January, on most of the children anyway. 

In Gaza
love and friendship in Gaza
18 Aug 2009 - It’s not easy for anyone in this besieged Strip. Most are jobless, or if employed they haven’t been paid for a month, two months… And if paid, it’s sub-minimum wages, and everything is expensive here. It’s hot, there’s little relief, even at night, especially if you live in a cement block home and can’t get a breeze. The power outages don’t help, for if you happen to have a fan, they’re useless. Everything is broken, cracked, covered with dust (sandy place, Gaza), covered with pollution from the cars (no Egypt, but the petrol is bad and the cars cough a lot). And people, too, are broken, though they somehow defiantly...

Palestine Chronicle
The Hobson's Choice of Hamas
19 Aug 2009 - By Terrell E. Arnold In late 2005, the Bush administration, along with the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon, promoted parliamentary elections in Palestine. The goal, obvious if unstated, was to provide a popular credential for the government that would be run by the expected to be victorious candidates, members of the Fatah party of Mahmoud Abbas. Since Abbas had won with a decisive 62% of the votes in a January 2005 election to succeed the late Yasser Arafat, the parliamentary election of January 2006 looked like a slam dunk. Hamas, participating for the first time in a national election, along with five or six small parties stood against Fatah. The results, however, surprised most observers by giving the parliamentary majority to Hamas. Fatah won only 45 seats in the new parliament, while Hamas won an absolute majority of 74 in the 132 seat assembly. Various pundits agonized over why this occurred. The conventional wisdom was that, after all, Hamas was nothing but a terrorist group. It had no political experience and ran no candidates of known political caliber on the Palestinian scene. As often happens with conventional wisdom, however, this batch was false. Since its formation in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982-some say as an Israeli-designed counter to Fatah-Hamas had been busy in the countryside. In both the West Bank and Gaza it had developed effective networks for community support. In a manner of speaking, Hamas emulated the performance of Hezbollah in Lebanon, effectively embedding...

SA Calls to Boycott Israeli Dates This Ramadan
19 Aug 2009 - By Aisha Mouneimne – Cape Town Following a campaign launched this week by Friends of Al Aqsa calling on the boycotting of Israeli dates this Ramadan, the Cape Town based Muslim Judicial Counsel (MJC) on Wednesday urged the community to heed this call. “It is important for the community to take cognisance during this month, while dates are an important part of our culinary needs during Ramadan, dates are increasingly being imported from occupied Palestine and we need to be aware of this,” said Nabaweyah Malick, spokesperson for the MJC. Malick said most Muslim take it for granted that dates come from the Arabian Peninsula, but she said, with Israel’s leading fruit export being dates, South Africans need to become proactive in “checking their labels”. According to the MJC these labels include product marked with the names Israel, West Bank or Jordon Valley as well as any product that’s barcode begins with 729. She added that while she did not want to name particular supermarket chains known for stocking Israeli produce, she urged the community to become vigilant with checking labels, as “the majority of supermarkets do stock Israeli products.” Another issue of concern, said Malick, is the increase of Israeli goods imported via Namibia or Italy; meaning labeling could change in the process. “The only answer here is for consumers to do constant research on where their products are coming from,” she said. She noted that the date farms-like many other Israeli occupied farms, usually employ Palestinian children- forced...

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