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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
21 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Farwana: “All facts on the ground prove Swedish report correct”
22 Aug 2009 - Former Palestinian detainee, researcher Abdul-Nasser Farwana, stated that all facts on the ground, since decades, prove that the Israeli occupation executed Palestinian detainees after they surrendered and refused to hand their bodies to their families. Hundreds of bodies were transferred to the families days, months or even years after the fact, and when the bodies were sent back, they were missing vital internal organs. 

Scores suffered tear gas inhalation As Israeli troops attack Nil'in weekly protest
21 Aug 2009 - Dozens of Palestinians and internationals suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in N'ilin village near the central West Bank.

Dozen were suffocated by tear gas at the weekly demonstration in Bil'in
21 Aug 2009 - Dozen were suffocated with tear gas on Friday when Israeli troops attacked the Bil'in villagers, central west Bank, and their international and Israeli supporters. 

Mitchell to place "final touch" on Obama's plan before Middle East Trip
21 Aug 2009 - The White House reported that the U.S. Special Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, will be placing the final modifications on a document that would be considered the base of resuming Palestinian-Israeli Peace talks, before he heads to the Middle East in the coming few weeks. 

Israeli Court extends remand of Laila Taha
21 Aug 2009 - The Israeli District Court extended the remand of Laila Taha, the daughter of former member of Israeli Knesset, Wasel Taha, until next Monday to place her under further interrogation. 

PCHR Weekly Report: Palestinian child wounded; 28 civilians abducted by Israeli forces
21 Aug 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of  13 - 19 August 2009, a Palestinian child was wounded by a gunshot wound to the head when Israeli forces fired at fishing boats in Rafah.  Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank. 

General outlines of Obama's Peace Plan
21 Aug 2009 - Palestinian Legislator, Hasan Khreisha, stated that he received a draft of the American Peace Plan which is still being formulated by U.S. President, Barack Obama, who intends to present the final plan next month, The Palestine News Network, reported. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Settler leader presses outpost residents to evacuate
21 Aug 2009 - Residents of Bnei Adam expected to evacuate after 'father of outposts' threatens to cut off gas supply. 

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. 

Ma'an News

International arrested in Beit Ummar-area protest, residents attacked
8/21/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli forces broke up a peace march and arrested an international solidarity activist in the Hebron-area settlement of Karmi Zur on Friday. Soldiers used what was described by participants as excessive force and attacked residents and internationals marching in protest of Israel's refusal to allow local farmers to cultivate their lands, much of which abuts the settlement. The international, an American of Palestinian origin, was detained and later released, with warnings that he was not to enter the West Bank for two weeks. He was not charged. The warning comes at the same time as American consular officials expressed concern over the recent use of stamps prohibiting Palestinian and Arab Americans from entering any area other than the West Bank. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Solidarity Project and protest organizer Muhammad Awad said soldiers attacked residents. . . 

Women’s delegation on East J’lem evictions: Words not enough
8/21/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The international community must "suspend all military aid to Israel and suspend investment in settlements in the West Bank," former EU parliament Vice President Luisa Morgantini said on Friday outside the homes of evicted East Jerusalem Palestinians. "It's not enough to call for a stop to the settlements. We need the international community to take concrete action," she said. Morgantini was part of a high-ranking international women's coalition which called for the world to take action to reverse Israel's forcible eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. The members of the tripartite International Women's Commission (IWC) spoke alongside members of the now-homeless Ghawi and Hanoun families. They included the former foreign minister of Iceland, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir,. . . 

Ramadan: Israel to extend checkpoint hours, permit family visits
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - In accordance with a "general policy to improve the quality of life of the Palestinian population," on the occasion of Ramadan, Israeli military authorities will lengthen checkpoint operation hours and open the Bethlehem checkpoint for Palestinian citizens of Israel so they can visit family, a statement from the Israeli military said Thursday. The following checkpoints on secondary road systems designated for Palestinian travel through the West Bank will have extended hours: Jalama crossing to Jenin to be open until 24:00 daily - Beit Mishpat crossing to Ramallah to be open until 24:00 daily. The rest of the 63 manned checkpoints prohibiting movement will remain in place. None of the dirt mounds or road gates restricting movement between villages will be removed, and construction of the separation wall will continue. 

Delays at Allenby see women, children trapped in buses for hours
8/21/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - More than 700 travelers heading to the West Bank from Jordan were delayed at the Allenby Bridge for at least four hours, eyewitness travelers reported Friday. No drinking water or washrooms were provided for the travelers, including women and children, as changes to the bus system transporting travelers from the Jordanian to the Israeli side of the West Bank border caused massive delays. Passengers were not allowed even to disembark from the busses as they waited at the border, and many fear delays will only increase as the day progresses. [end] 

Prisoner with advanced cancer to be released from Israeli facility
8/21/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli authorities released 22-year-old prisoner and cancer patient Hamza At-Taraireh from the Bani Ne'em detention center Thursday, Prisoners Society lawyer Khaled Al-Araj announced. At-Taraireh was being treated in a prison hospital at the Ramleh institution, and had to be isolated due to a compromised immune system, according to a second lawyer with the society Shireen Nasser. The young man was diagnosed with throat cancer in April 2009, following months of complaints and treatment of only painkillers. [end] 

Gaza crossings shut down first days of Ramadan
8/21/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - All crossings into the Gaza Strip will be closed Friday, they will remain closed Saturday, seeing no goods transferred on the first days of Ramadan. Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh said the decision was communicated by Israeli crossings officials. The closures follow refusals by Israeli authorities to allow additional goods for Ramadan and the start of the school year into the Strip. [end] 

Six Palestinians abducted by Israeli forces in northern WB
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces seized six Palestinians from the Nablus and Tulkarem areas Thursday night. Raids on West Bank areas continued into Friday morning. Israeli sources said the six taken were "transferred to investigation centers for questioning. " [end] 

Bethlehem deportees: 2000 Euro a month not enough
8/21/2009 - Rome/Madrid - Ma'an - Bethlehem deportees declared an open hunger strike at the Palestinian embassy in Italy in protest of what they say are difficult living conditions in Europe. Half a dozen of the men deported to Europe following the Israeli siege of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem say they are not receiving enough money from the Palestine Liberation Organization to cover their cost of living. Spokesman of the deportees Jihad Ij'arah told Ma'an thatthose deported to Italy say Palestinian official's "ignoranceand carelessness" over their situation has resulted in many of the men having their water and electricity cut off from their homes and others being threatened with eviction as they are unable to pay high rents in European cities. The deportees are reportedly entitled to 2000 Euro each month, with an additional 150 Euro to provide for their families, most of who remain in the West Bank. 

Obama, King Abdullah discuss Jordan’s role in peace process
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - US President Barack Obama spoke with King Abdullah of Jordan Thursday and agreed on the need to launch Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as soon as possible and work together to achieve the goal, White House Press officer Robert Gibbs said. The consensus between the leaders was that Israel, the Palestinians, and Arab states should take steps simultaneously to create a context in which negotiations can succeed. Obama noted US Envoy George Mitchell would follow up on the issue during his meeting with Netanyahu in London in the coming week, and with other Arab leaders during his next trip to the region. About the prospects for peace talks Gibbs said, "We're hopeful, and understand that the road ahead will not be easy; it's a complex and emotional set of issues that we look forward to working through. 

Egypt: Massive smuggled goods depot discovered near Gaza
8/21/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egyptian security forces on Friday said they had discovered the largest store of goods ever prepped for transfer to Gaza via the Strip's vast network of smuggling tunnels. Speaking with Ma'an's correspondent in Cairo, Egyptian security sources claimed the storehouse, filled with goods estimated to be worth millions of US dollars, was discovered along the border with Gaza as the result of a tip. "We received information on a secret storehouse 200 meters from the border with large amounts of goods set to be smuggled to Gaza through tunnels, and in exchange for large amounts of money," said one official familiar with the operation. He explained that security forces stormed the facility soon after learning its location, and that it was "the first time such a large amount of goods worth millions of dollars was being smuggled to Gaza on the occasion of Ramadan. 

Bethlehem deportees: Hunger strike against Italy, not the PA
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians deported from Bethlehem during the 2002 siege of the Nativity Church insisted on Friday their hunger strike at Palestine's embassy in Rome was meant to pressure Italy, not the Palestinian Authority. The hunger strike, which began on Thursday, was started to pressure Italian authorities to abide by conditions the prisoners said were promised to them, including living a decent life in Italy and eventually returning to Bethlehem, following their agreement in 2002 to end their shelter inside the Church of the Nativity in exchange for guarantees they would not be killed or jailed by Israel. The three Palestinians involved in the strike were identified as Mohammad Abu As-Sa'eed, Khaled Abu Nejmah, and Ibrahim E'beyat. They were deported to Europe as part of an agreement that would see Israel end its siege of Bethlehem in exchange for the Palestinian militants' deportation to Europe and Gaza. 

PNC may appoint new members
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A meeting of PNC members will address replacing six Executive Committee members who have passed away in past years during a 26 August meeting in Ramallah. President of the Palestinian National Council Salim Al-Zanoun confirmed reports published in local media, saying only that the issue would be discussed, and would not confirm whether new representatives would be appointed. The PNC is a 669-member body within the Palestine Liberation Organization, made up of the members of the elected Palestinian Legislative Council and other PLO leaders. The body is responsible for drafting PLO policy and is responsible for electing members to the 18-member PLO Executive Committee and the PLO Central Council. Earlier in the week an all-factions meeting of PLO members in Damascus decided to boycott the meeting. 

Haniyeh: Hamas backs Egyptian unity efforts
8/21/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egypt's efforts toward Palestinian conciliation have the full backing of Hamas, de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh insisted in Gaza City on Friday afternoon. "We support every Egyptian effort aimed at achieving Palestinian conciliation," he said. "And we affirm the necessity of removing all obstacles preventing the dialogue from succeeding. " Among those obstacles is the issue of political prisoners held by the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, he said. But he suggested that the holy month of Ramadan would be a better time than ever to restore national unity. Speaking on the 40th anniversary of an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, when an Israeli extremist set it ablaze in 1969, Haniyeh also urged Arab leaders to step up protection of the mosque and act against other alleged Israeli assaults. 

Egyptian delegation meets Mash’al in Damascus
8/21/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - An Egyptian security delegation held one last round of talks with Hamas leaders in Damascus shortly before returning to Cairo on Friday, according to sources in Cairo. The talks with Hamas and various factions were thought to be related to resolving the ongoing internal split in Palestine, which in 2007 left the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority with control over the West Bank and Hamas with Gaza. Egyptian sources told Ma'an the delegation had met the head of Hamas' politburo office in Damascus, Khaled Mash'al, and leaders of several other factions in Syria. The sources noted that Egypt's security delegation had earlier held a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, as well as with senior members of Fatah in Ramallah, on a proposed national unity agreement that Egypt wants finished by 25 August. 

Tubas: Clan clash kills one, injures 38, sees five homes burned
8/21/2009 - Tubas - Ma'an - A clan clash in Tubas caused the death of a young man and incineration of five houses Thursday night. Palestinian Authority police arrested five in connection with the death of the 23-year-old Husny Ziad Abed Sawafta. An additional 38 were injured. Sawafta was shot point blank with a 9mm. The police said Sawafta's family set fire to the homes to avenge the death of their son, and the fires lead to street-side brawls. [end] 

Mufti: Ramadan fasting starts Saturday
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Saturday will be the first day of fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinian Mufti Mohammad Husein announced Friday. The Palestinian Ifta house released an official statement congratulating the Arab and Muslim world and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the occasion of Ramadan. Muftis from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the Sunni Waqf of Iraq also announced Saturday would be the first day of Ramadan, while Libya, Turkey, and Balkan countries announced that Friday would be the first day of fasting. Addressing the issue locally, the Palestinian Astrological Society announced that it has two locations set up from which the moon will be observed to mark the start and end of Ramadan. The first is in the village of I'raq Bourin near Nablus while the other is near E'ien A'reek near Ramallah. 

Jordan’s Queen Rania voted world’s 76th most powerful woman
8/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Jordan's Queen Rania, who is of Palestinian origin, was voted the 76th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine in its Wednesday edition. Number one was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed by Sheila Blair. Queen Rania is the top ranking Middle Eastern woman, with Israel's Arison Investments Chief executive Efrat Peled coming in 94th, and the UAE's Minister of the Economy Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi at 95th. Queen Rania was described by Forges as "the globe's most tech-savvy monarch," citing her twitter and Facebook pages, and her series of films on YouTube that explored shared medieval heritage between Jordan and Europe. [end] 

The National

Strangers in their own land
21 Aug 2009 - Hamas' tightening conservative grip across all sections of society may prompt some secular Palestinians to leave their homeland.

The battle for the mosque at Beersheva
21 Aug 2009 - In a fight familiar to communities across Israel, Beersheva's thousands of Muslims are struggling to save their sole house of worship from becoming a museum.

The Jew on Fatah's governing body
21 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.

Aljazeera

Iran defence nominee 'a wanted man'
21 Aug 2009 - Argentine prosecutor complains that Ahmad Vahidi is a suspect in a 1994 bombing.

UN 'inspects Iranian nuclear site'
21 Aug 2009 - Tehran lifts ban on allowing IAEA to inspect nuclear reactor site, diplomats say.

Alternative Information Center

Recent Home Demolitions in the Negev Highlight Bedouin Struggle Over Land
21 Aug 2009 - Israeli forces demolished several homes belonging to families of the Bedouin Tlalka tribe settled near Highway 40 in the Negev between the Lehavim and Gorel junctions, adding to what the Association for Civil Rights in Israel...

Palestinian Shops in Jerusalem’s Old City Close in Protest of Israeli Harassment
21 Aug 2009 - Palestinian shopkeepers in the Old City of Jerusalem closed their businesses on Wednesday, 19 August, protesting what they deem to be arbitrarily-applied fines and disruptions by Israeli forces.  In recent weeks, municipal authorities have begun enforcing...

Israeli Policy of Ethnic Cleansing: Veteran Arab Village to Make Way for New Haredi City in Wadi Ara 
19 Aug 2009 - Recently plans have been greatly accelerated to establish a Haredi (Jewish ultra-orthodox) city in Wadi Ara, between Harish and Katzir. These latter two cities were already included in the 1990s in the “star plan” of Ariel...

Amnesty International Withdraws from Leonard Cohen’s Israel Concert Fund
19 Aug 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...

Israeli Authorities Extend the Closure of Nidal Center for Community Development-Jerusalem for a Month
19 Aug 2009 - The occupation authorities have extended the closure of the Nidal Center for Community Development for another month and renewed its warning to the centers employees not open the center or carry out any community development activities...

Israeli Authorities Declare Shooting of Tristan Anderson an “Act of War”
19 Aug 2009 - The Israeli Ministry of Defense informed American activist Tristan Anderson’s family and legal counsel that it considers his shooting during a nonviolent protest in the West Bank village of Nil’in, which left him critically injured, an...

Palestine News Network

Bil’in children demonstrate at Wall against night raids and arrests, next night another was taken
21 Aug 2009 - Bil’in / Iyad Burnat – This week the children of western Ramallah’s Bil’in demonstrated against the night raids that are keeping them awake. Boys and adults in the village are being taken, organizers of the nonviolent resistance movement say, to prevent their participation in the weekly demonstrations that have made the village known throughout the world.During Wednesday’s demonstration the kids of the town...

The Dead Sea is for us: Palestinian youth affirm right to walk on beach despite Israeli actions
20 Aug 2009 - Bethlehm / Hiba Lama for PNN - A group of Palestinian youth went to the Dead Sea in an affirmation of their right to utilize its waters. On the beach they celebrated their right to wander on the sand. A political message was communicated: the sea Dead is for us, not them. One of the young organizers of this week’s celebration, Tariq Za'anun,...

Settler violence on the rise as reported in human rights study 
20 Aug 2009 - Nablus / Amin Abu Wardeh for PNN – Statistics on settler crimes are disturbing as the latest study shows a remarkable increase. Israeli settlers are dotted throughout the West Bank in settlements. All of them are illegal under international law, but they exist none the less. Jewish extremists are acting in such a way that it is considered by many in the West...

Daughter of former member of Israeli Knesset taken prisoner: arrest purely political, says dad 
20 Aug 2009 - Nablus / PNN – The Israeli Magistrate's Court extended the detention of Laila Taha until Monday after prosecuters were found to have no evidence against the woman. She is the daughter of former Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset, Wasil Taha, and was arrested earlier this week by the Israeli intelligence service and police on suspicions of violating a blackout imposed by a court...

From "What Really Happened": examples of hate speech
20 Aug 2009 - 1. There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies ¬not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a...

Women's Commission returns to Al Hanoun and Ghawi families to call for action to stop evictions
20 Aug 2009 - On Friday 21 August 2009, members of the tripartite International Women's Commission (IWC) for a Just and Sustainable Palestinian-Israeli Peace, bringing together Palestinian, Israeli and international women leaders, will show solidarity with the Al Hanoun, Ghawi and Al Kurd families they first visited on Monday 17 August 2009 in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The purpose of this second visit...

Jahalin Bedouin School Khan El Ahmar: Legal Status of "Car Tyres & Mud" school
20 Aug 2009 - Angela Godfrey-Goldstein - • Stop work order issued by Civil Administration 23rd June 2009• Demolition order issued shortly thereafter 23rd July 2009 • Petition against demolition filed 4th August, 2009 by Adv. Shlomo Lecker• Interim court order given; State asked to respond to petition within 7 days• 11th August, 2009 State asked for 14 day extension to respond, stating it would not...

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

RIGHTS-US: Teenage Terror Plot or Wild Imagination? 
ATLANTA, Georgia, Aug 21 (IPS) - Following a seven-day trial, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 23, was convicted in a U.S. federal court earlier this month on several counts of providing material support to terrorists and the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET), a designated foreign terrorist organisation.

MIDEAST: Republicans Attack Obama on Palestine Policy 
WASHINGTON, Aug 21 (IPS) - Former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has been in Israel and the occupied West Bank this week, stridently criticising Pres. Barack Obama's policies of pushing for an Israeli settlement freeze and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

EGYPT: Differences 'Narrowing' Over Nile Waters 
CAIRO, Aug 21 (IPS) - Signs are emerging of some narrowing of differences over the sharing of Nile waters.

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...

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

Bil’in demonstrates against the Apartheid Wall
8/21/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Bil'in Popular Committee - Dozen were suffocated with tear gas by occupation soldiers during their participation in the weekly demonstration that was called by the People's Committee to resist the wall. Participants of the demonstration were people of the village, international activists and Israeli peace movement's members. Demonstrators raised Palestinian flags and banners calling for ending the occupation, stopping wall and settlements constructions, land confiscation, night raids and arrests. Participants, walked in Bil'in streets, chanting slogans and calling for national unity. Demonstrators walked toward the wall and when they get close to the gate, the occupation soldiers started firing tear gas, causing suffocation. On the other hand, the Israeli army force raided the village of Bil'in today's morning and arrested Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Rahma (48 years). . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Freed Lockerbie bomber vows to prove his innocence 
21 Aug 2009 - The former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing vowed on Saturday to present new evidence before he died that would exonerate him of any involvement in the attack that killed 270 people. ...

Iranian cabinet nominee wanted in 1994 Argentina terror attack 
21 Aug 2009 - The man Iran's president has named to be defense minister is wanted in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, and his nomination drew an outcry Friday from Argentina and Jewish groups. ...

Sweden summons Israel envoy for talks over IDF organ harvesting article
21 Aug 2009 - Sweden's foreign ministry has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Stockholm in a bid to solve the developing crisis between the two nations over a recent article by a top Swedish newspaper alleging that Israel Defense Forces soldiers kill Palestinian civilians in order to harvest their organs. ... 

Obama in Ramadan message: U.S. unyielding in support for Palestinian state
21 Aug 2009 - The United States is "unyielding" in its support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a special video message to the Muslim world on Friday to mark the beginning of Ramadan. ... 

U.S.: Iran still not providing full cooperation on nuke obligations
20 Aug 2009 - Iran is still not fulfilling its obligations related to its nuclear activities, despite allowing United Nations inspectors access to a reactor and allowing an upgrade to monitoring at a uranium enrichment plant, a senior Obama administration official said on Friday. ...

The Guardian

Time to boycott Israel | Neve Gordon
21 Aug 2009 - For the sake of our children, I am convinced that an international boycott is the only way to save Israel from itself Israeli newspapers this summer are filled with angry articles about the push for an...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

TV star Dudu Topaz laid to rest in Tel Aviv day after suicide
21 Aug 2009 - Leading Israeli television personality Dudu Topaz was laid to rest on Friday morning at Hayarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv, one day after he hanged himself in the shower of his prison cell. ...

4-year-old girl becomes Israel's twelfth swine flu casualty
21 Aug 2009 - A four-year-old resident of the village of Umm al-Ganam died Friday after suffering from complications of swine flu. ...

PA police rescue Israeli woman from abusive Palestinian boyfriend
20 Aug 2009 - An Israeli Jewish woman was rescued Friday afternoon by Palestinian Authority security forces after her boyfriend trapped her in his house in the West Bank city of Hebron. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Leaving Gaza
21 Aug 2009 - Source: Oxfam

WFP hunger hotspots: OPT - 21 Aug 2009
21 Aug 2009 - Source: World Food Programme

Middle East: UNTSO Deployment (as of Jun 2009)
21 Aug 2009 - Source: UNCS

YNet News

Iran terror suspect gets defense post
21 Aug 2009 - Official wanted in connection with bloody Buenos Aires bombing gets nod from Ahmadinejad; Argentina Prosecutor: Nomination not surprising, Iran has always protected terrorists 

Swedish foreign minister: We're not anti-Semitic
21 Aug 2009 - Carl Bildt rejects calls to condemn unsubstantiated story accusing Israeli troops of plundering Palestinian organs, draws parallel to Muhammad cartoon outrage; 'Freedom of expression very strong in our constitution,' he says 

Germany: Settlements major impediment to peace
21 Aug 2009 - German Foreign Ministry calls for urgent progress on settlements in order to advance peace 

Israel, Palestinians trade blame for peace deadlock 
21 Aug 2009 - Day after US President Barak Obama renews call on parties to resume negotiations, senior Israeli official says, 'Palestinian side has prevented return to talks by making unprecedented preconditions'. Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat rejects charge, saying, 'Stopping settlement activity is Israeli obligation, not Palestinian condition' 

Daily Star

Palestinians and Israelis trade blame over peace deadlock
21 Aug 2009 - Israel and the Palestinians traded blame Friday for failure to resume stalled peace talks after US President Barack Obama renewed his call on both sides to resume talks as soon as possible. A senior Israeli official said the Palestinians had rejected repeated calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume talks that have been frozen for eight months.

Relatives of US hikers held in Iran launch website
21 Aug 2009 - President Hamid Kar zai's campaign and chief rival Abdullah Abdullah both said on Friday they had won Afghan istan's election, with US officials warning the candidates to keep a lid on simmering tensions. Both camps said unofficial counts by campaign workers showed they had won enough votes from Thursday's election, which went ahead despite Taliban threats of violence.

Tehran allows UN inspectors access to nuclear reactor
21 Aug 2009 - President Hamid Kar zai's campaign and chief rival Abdullah Abdullah both said on Friday they had won Afghan istan's election, with US officials warning the candidates to keep a lid on simmering tensions. Both camps said unofficial counts by campaign workers showed they had won enough votes from Thursday's election, which went ahead despite Taliban threats of violence.

Palestinian Information Center

Bayareq foundation provides 1,500 trips to Aqsa Mosque
22 Aug 2009 - The Bayareq foundation that caters for the Aqsa Mosque has announced Thursday that it would mobilize 1,500 bus trip from the 1948-occupied lands to the Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

Hindi rejects two-state solution, says resistance only path for victory
22 Aug 2009 - Dr. Moahammed Al-Hindi said on Thursday his Movement's rejection of the US-sponsored two-state solution, describing it as the most dangerous scenario to liquidate the Palestinian issue.

Salah calls for popular chains to protect the Aqsa Mosque
22 Aug 2009 - The Well-known Muslim leader in the 1948-occupied Palestinian land Sheikh Raed Salah has called on the Palestinian people to form popular chains to protect the Aqsa Mosque..

Mishaal confirms to Egyptian delegation Hamas's commitment to reconciliation
22 Aug 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, head of the political bureau of Hamas, along with a delegation of the movement met on Thursday with an Egyptian security delegation..

Swedish newspaper reveals Israeli army murders Palestinians for their organs
22 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
22 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
22 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
22 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
22 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
22 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.

Los Angeles Times

Downward spiral of Israel's Dudu Topaz ends in apparent suicide 
21 Aug 2009 - The actor-comedian, accused of arranging the beatings of two TV execs and an agent who rebuffed his comeback attempt, is found hanging from an electrical cord in prison. The day before his final act, the entertainer once known as Israel's "ratings king" was escorted from his cell to a hastily arranged meeting with his lawyer. 

Iran's Ahmadinejad softens tone before Cabinet vote 
21 Aug 2009 - With some analysts predicting a tough fight in parliament to get his 21-member Cabinet approved, the Iranian president gives a prime-time TV interview, praising his nominees. Iran's embattled leader toned down his rhetoric, softened his voice and attempted to directly woo the people in a live prime-time television interview Thursday before what most analysts predict will be a fierce fight with parliament over his proposed Cabinet. 

Tom Ridge says he was pushed to raise terror alert level 
21 Aug 2009 - The former Homeland Security secretary says in his new book that he was pressured by other administration officials to raise the threat level in the weeks before the 2004 presidential election. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush's Cabinet to raise the nation's terrorism alert level just before the 2004 election. 

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. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Lebanon: Militant Is Recaptured
19 Aug 2009 - Lebanese commandos caught a fugitive from an Islamic militant group, Fatah Islam, a day after he broke out of a high-security prison in a spectacular escape. 

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. 

Misc

Recent Home Demolitions in the Negev Highlight Bedouin Struggle Over Land 
8/21/2009 - Alternative Information Center - Israeli forces demolished several homes belonging to families of the Bedouin Tlalka tribe settled near Highway 40 in the Negev between the Lehavim and Gorel junctions, adding to what the Association for Civil Rights in Israel estimates at more than 130 house demolitions carried out by the Israeli government in unrecognized Bedouin communities since 2007. The houses leveled were located on land that is currently the subject of court proceedings to determine legal ownership; according to leader of the Association for the Protection of Bedouin Rights, Nuri el-Okvi, a decision had not yet been reached, and demolition authorities therefore preempted and predetermined legal processes. The demolitions, carried out early 18 August, form part of a larger dispute between the Israeli government and what it deems “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev desert; to date, the state of Israel has 

Palestinian Shops in Jerusalem’s Old City Close in Protest of Israeli Harassment 
8/21/2009 - Alternative Information Center - Palestinian shopkeepers in the Old City of Jerusalem closed their businesses on Wednesday, 19 August, protesting what they deem to be arbitrarily-applied fines and disruptions by Israeli forces. In recent weeks, municipal authorities have begun enforcing a law barring businesses from displaying goods on tables and racks in front of their stores, entering shops to harass business owners and issuing fines in excess of 1,000 NIS. Shopkeepers stated that this constitutes the fifth time police have actively attempted to enforce the law, but claim that the fines have been handed down arbitrarily and that incursions by the authorities severely disrupt business directly leading up to the high-traffic shopping month of Ramadan. These measures further depress and strain the already deeply struggling Palestinian business community in East Jerusalem, many of whom have had to close their stores and 

American family vows to sue Israel
8/21/2009 - Press TV - The family members of a US peace activist, who was hit by an Israeli high-velocity tear gas canister on his head in the West Bank, have vowed to file a lawsuit. After the incident, the Israeli government said that they could not be held responsible for such an act committed by their soldier as the victim was injured at a demonstration against the separation wall (also known as the Apartheid Wall) in the West Bank village of Ni'lin. Although Tristan Anderson's shooting occurred during a civilian demonstration, Tel Aviv has labeled the protest in question as 'an act of war'. There were no armed hostilities involved in the March 13, 2009 demonstration, in which Anderson was shot. Just one month after Anderson's case, Bassem Abu Rahme, an organizer with the Anti-Wall campaign in Bil'in village, was fatally shot in the chest with a tear gas canister. 

Iran lifts ban on nuclear inspectors 
8/21/2009 - Boston Globe - UN report is due in matter of days - AP - VIENNA - Iran has lifted a yearlong ban and allowed UN inspectors to visit a nearly completed nuclear reactor and has granted greater monitoring rights at another atomic site, diplomats said yesterday. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors visited the nearly finished Arak heavy water reactor last week, the diplomats said. They added that Iran agreed last week to agency requests to expand monitoring of the Natanz uranium enrichment site, which produces nuclear fuel that can be further enriched into warhead material. The diplomats demanded anonymity because their information was confidential. Iran is softening its position days before the release of a new report on its facilities from the international watchdog group. It is unclear whether the increased access is an attempt to influence how much unsubstantiated information would be released in the report. 

U.S. group invests tax-free millions in East Jerusalem land 
8/17/2009 - Ha'aretz - One noteworthy donor to its Friends organization is casino magnate Irving Moskowitz, a well-known supporter of rightist causes, who also owns the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem. - American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, a nonprofit organization that sends millions of shekels worth of donations to Israel every year for clearly political purposes, such as buying Arab properties in East Jerusalem, is registered in the United States as an organization that funds educational institutes in Israel. The U. S. tax code enables nonprofits to receive tax-exempt status if they engage in educational, charitable, religious or scientific activity. However, such organizations are forbidden to engage in any political activity. The latter is broadly defined as any action, even the promotion of certain ideas, that could have a political impact. 

'Where does the hatred come from?' 
8/20/2009 - LobeLog.com - Eli Clifton and Daniel Luban - This fall, U. S. law enforcement personnel will have their final chance to take advantage of a rare opportunity. Participants will travel to Israel to receive “homeland security training,” but the counterterrorism briefings and martial arts practice sessions are only one part of the package. The program also includes visits to Christian religious sites in the Holy Land — an aspect likely to be especially attractive to Christian Zionists — along with other sites such as the Knesset and the Israeli “security fence”. The Israel program is run by Security Solutions International (SSI), a group that has attracted controversy due to its ties to Islamophobic propaganda groups — as well as its apparent view that indoctrinating first responders with alarmist information about Islam is an essential part of counterterrorism training. 

Articles

Israel still strangles the Palestinian economy 
Sam Bahour, The Wall Street Journal 8/20/2009
      Palestinians are as eager as anyone to see positive economic development for their tormented country. But they know full well that real economic progress awaits their release from Israeli military occupation (West Bank, East Jerusalem) and siege (Gaza Strip).
     Consider the recent media promotion of the Netanyahu government’s view that the occupied West Bank is witnessing rapid economic growth. Thomas Friedman picked up on that theme in his New York Times column, as did Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in this newspaper. The selective economic data they provide ignore the reality: Occupied Palestinian territory is not a sovereign country where traditional economic measures apply.
     I was the manager who oversaw the establishment of the first modern mall in the West Bank—the Plaza Shopping Center in El Bireh. I can attest that the success of a West Bank mall rests on a thin layer of elite consumer privilege poised precariously over a chasm of widespread disempowerment. Until West Bank Palestinians gain free and open access to the world economy, beyond the markets of the occupying power, major enterprises in Palestinian towns will suffer.
     Objective analyses by the World Bank suggest that Israel’s repressive practices will not permit the Palestinian economy to develop meaningfully.
     On water, a bank report from April 2009 notes that the "availability of water resources is highly disparate, with fresh water per capita in Israel approximately four times that of WBG [West Bank and Gaza]."
     On mobility: "In the West Bank, restrictions on movement of people and access to natural resources has stifled economic growth."

Can we talk? The Middle East 'peace industry' 
Faris Giacaman, Electronic Intifada 8/20/2009
      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.
     When I was a high school student in Ramallah, one of the better known "people-to-people" initiatives, Seeds of Peace, often visited my school, asking students to join their program. Almost every year, they would send a few of my classmates to a summer camp in the US with a similar group of Israeli students.According to the Seeds of Peace website, at the camp they are taught "to develop empathy, respect, and confidence as well as leadership, communication and negotiation skills -- all critical components that will facilitate peaceful coexistence for the next generation." They paint quite a rosy picture, and most people in college are very surprised to hear that I think such activities are misguided at best, and immoral, at worst. Why on earth would I be against "coexistence," they invariably ask.
     During the last few years, there have been growing calls to bring to an end Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people through an international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). One of the commonly-held objections to the boycott is that it is counter-productive, and that "dialogue" and "fostering coexistence" is much more constructive than boycotts.


Electronic Intifada
Uri Davis: perpetual thorn in Israel's side
21 Aug 2009 - If a single person deserves the title of serial thorn in the side of the Israeli state, Uri Davis, a professor of critical Israel studies at al-Quds University on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, might be the one to claim it. The crowning moment for Dr. Davis arrived last weekend when he became the first Israeli Jew to be elected to one of Fatah's governing bodies, the Revolutionary Council. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Gaza attacks replayed on Edinburgh stage
21 Aug 2009 - In the august surroundings of Rainy Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland with its wood-paneled walls, lofty beams and grey stone architecture, Israel's devastating attack on Gaza is being replayed. The university dining hall has been reincarnated as a temporary theatre for the duration of Edinburgh's festival season with the drama, Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea , performed daily to a mixed audience of the concerned and the curious. Neville Rigby reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

S. Africa: War crime suspects must think twice
21 Aug 2009 - The international condemnation over Israel's winter invasion of Gaza and allegations of war crimes has made it increasingly uncomfortable, if not difficult, for members of the Israeli military to travel abroad. A recent incident in South Africa reveals the power and limitations of attempts to enforce international law and to hold war criminals accountable. Sayed Dhansay comments for The 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
iftaar dates
21 Aug 2009 - * How my day ended yesterday . Not having looked out of my building’s stairs windows in quite a while, yesterday I finally noticed the flattened neighbouring multi-storey building. During the Israeli attacks on Gaza this winter, I only a few times slept in my building, staying instead at the Red Crescent office, or at the hospitals, or at the news agency building. The afternoon was a little nicer. I’d gone to Saha, to see how people were preparing for Ramadan. And despite hearing what I’d expected to hear –on the effects of the siege, war, unemployment… of life in Gaza and that Ramadan would be far from special and lovely...

Palestine Chronicle
Boycotting Israel: The Only Way to Save Our Country
21 Aug 2009 - By Neve Gordon Israeli newspapers this summer are filled with angry articles about the push for an international boycott of Israel. Films have been withdrawn from Israeli film festivals, Leonard Cohen is under fire around the world for his decision to perform in Tel Aviv, and Oxfam has severed ties with a celebrity spokesperson, a British actress who also endorses cosmetics produced in the occupied territories. Clearly, the campaign to use the kind of tactics that helped put an end to the practice of apartheid in South Africa is gaining many followers around the world. Not surprisingly, many Israelis - even peaceniks - aren't signing on. A global boycott can't help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism. It also brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory position of approving a boycott of one's own nation. It is indeed not a simple matter for me as an Israeli citizen to call on foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements, faith-based organizations, unions and citizens to suspend cooperation with Israel. But today, as I watch my two boys playing in the yard, I am convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself. I say this because Israel has reached a historic crossroads, and times of crisis call for dramatic measures. I say this as a Jew who has chosen to raise his children in Israel, who has been a member of the...

The First Israeli Jew in Fatah's Parliament
21 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth If a single person deserves the title of serial thorn in the side of the Israeli state, Uri Davis, a professor of critical Israel studies at al Quds University on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, might be the one to claim it. The crowning moment for Dr. Davis arrived last weekend when he became the first Israeli Jew to be elected to one of Fatah’s governing bodies, the Revolutionary Council. It is a public relations breakthrough for Fatah – which held its sixth congress last week, this time under occupation in the West Bank city of Bethlehem – in which Dr Davis clearly takes some pride. His presence on the 120-member council, sometimes referred to as the Palestinian parliament, is unlikely to make a significant difference to Fatah’s policies, which will continue to be largely dictated by Mahmoud Abbas, the president, and his inner circle. But it does have huge symbolic significance. His polling in the 31st place for one of 80 seats contested by more than 600 Fatah members, he said in an interview, challenged Israel’s suggestion that the Palestinian people and its leaders regard the Jews as their enemies. Or as one local Palestinian pundit noted of the vote’s message: “It is not Judaism that Palestinians are fighting, it is Zionism.” It also finally puts Dr. Davis in a position from which he hopes to shake up the complacency that has bedevilled the Fatah leadership and the PLO in their neglect of supporters...

How Israel Wages Game Theory Warfare
21 Aug 2009 - By Jeff Gates In 2005, the Nobel Prize in Economic Science was awarded to Israeli mathematician and game theory specialist Robert J. Aumann, co-founder of the Center for Rationality at Hebrew University. This Jerusalem resident explains: “the entire school of thought that we have developed here in Israel” has turned “Israel into the leading authority in this field.” Israeli strategists rely on game theory models to ensure the intended response to staged provocations and manipulated crises. With the use of game theory algorithms, those responses become predictable, even foreseeable—within an acceptable range of probabilities. The waging of war “by way of deception” is now a mathematical discipline. Such “probabilistic” war planning enables Tel Aviv to deploy serial provocations and well-timed crises as a force multiplier to project Israeli influence worldwide. For a skilled agent provocateur, the target can be a person, a company, an economy, a legislature, a nation or an entire culture—such as Islam. With a well-modeled provocation, the anticipated reaction can even become a powerful weapon in the Israeli arsenal. For instance, a skilled game theorist could foresee that, in response to a 911-type mass murder, “the mark” (the U.S.) would deploy its military to avenge that attack. With phony intelligence fixed around a preset goal, a game theory algorithm could anticipate that those forces might well be redirected to invade Iraq—not to avenge 911 but to pursue the expansionist goals of Greater Israel. To provoke that invasion required the displacement of an inconvenient truth (Iraq played no...

Time to Speak Openly and Freely
21 Aug 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh The historic conference of Fateh, the Palestinian Liberation Movement, held in Bethlehem earlier this month, generated widespread optimism in the region, including Israel, due to the dethroning of the old guard that has been blamed for tolerating the cruel status quo imposed by Israel and its ineffectiveness since signing the inconclusive peace accord with Israel in 1993. What was sorely missing from the conferees? Exchanges and the subsequent coverage by the various correspondents, regional and international, including some Americans who were in the region, is any mention of the consequences of the harsh Israeli policies. Mazen Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian professor of biology at Bethlehem University, wrote in his blog ( http://qumsiyeh.org ) about the failure to expose the miserable conditions in the birthplace of Jesus Christ. He pointed out that the Bethlehem district lost more than 85 per cent of its land to the Israeli colonial settlements and the apartheid wall that snakes around us and captures most of the good natural resources, the agricultural lands, the water and more? The professor, who had previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee and Duke and Yale universities, added that more than half of the "residents in this shrinking ghetto of Bethlehem are refugees or displaced people (and) nearly 35,000 are the refugees from the original frenzy of ethnic cleansing that happened between 1947-1949 and their descendants." Another 30,000, he underlined, represent displaced people who moved into the remaining shrinking enclave when their lands were stolen by...

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