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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
23 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Fayyad: "We have no political prisoners in our jails"
23 Aug 2009 - Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, stated Sunday that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is not holding any political prisoner in its jails. 

Al Aqsa Foundation: “Fundamentalists broke into the Al Aqsa Mosque”
23 Aug 2009 - The Al Aqsa Foundation for Waqf (Endowment) and Heritage reported Sunday that a group of fundamental Israeli settlers broke into the Al Aqsa Mosque from Al Mughrabi Gate, toured in the area and prayed in the yards of the mosque. 

Peace Now: “Settlement construction continues as usual
23 Aug 2009 - This is a semiannual report prepared and published by the Israeli Peace Now Movement on Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. (January – June 2009). The report shows in details the ongoing construction and expansion of settlements and polices in this regard. 

Abbas orders the release of 200 political prisoners
23 Aug 2009 - According to the Maan News Agency, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, had ordered the release of 200 political prisoners detained by his security forces in the West Bank. The order comes as an act of good-will as the Muslims are marking the holy month of Ramadan.  

Zionist group holds a meeting to 'counter' the Arabs in the Negev
22 Aug 2009 - The Arabs48 news Website reported that a Zionist organization calling itself Ha-Shomer Ha-Hadash (The New Guard), held a meeting on Thursday to ‘counter’ what they described as ‘the Arab embezzling of Israeli lands in the Negev and the Galilee”. 

Egyptian teams conclude talks with Palestinian leaders in Damascus
22 Aug 2009 - Egyptian delegates, in charge of holding talks with different Palestinian factions in an attempt to restore unity, concluded a round of talks on Friday with Hamas leaders and leaders of different Palestinian factions stationed in Syria. 

The Elders to market Obama’s Peace Plan
22 Aug 2009 - Senior world leaders of the Elders organization, including former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, intend to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next Monday in an effort to market the peace plan of U.S. President Barack Obama. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Peres: Hezbollah stockpiling, but Israel doesn`t want war
23 Aug 2009 - President uses interview with Kuwaiti daily to invite Syrian President Bashar Assad to negotiate. 

Egypt summons Israel diplomat over border shooting
23 Aug 2009 - IDF troops fired at Egyptian soldier earlier this month, apparently mistaking him for infiltrator. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Jewish religous groups ’enter Al-Aqsa compound’
8/23/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Jewish religious groups entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday, according to the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage. The group sent a statement explaining that the incident was unprecedented, because Jewish religious groups have never in the past entered the compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The month of fasting and prayer began on Saturday. Israeli authorities have not commented on the report. The Al-Aqsa Foundation called on Palestinians from Jerusalem and inside the Green Line to come to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to protect it. Last Thursday the websites of Jewish religious groups published images showing a wedding party which that was secretly staged inside the Al-Aqsa compound. The groups have also entered the compound for religious rituals and lectures about the archaeological. . . 

Electricity crisis in Gaza intensifies during Ramadan
8/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - For the past three years Gazans have dealt with an increased strain on their power grid during the month of Ramadan, usually eating their two meals (one at dusk and another at dawn) in the dark. The chronic electricity shortage in Gaza is primarily the result of Israel's ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. The only power plant in Gaza was bombarded in 2006 by an Israeli airstrike. While subsequent repairs have brought the plant back into working order, it operates at only two-thirds capacity because Israel restricts the amount of European Union-supplied industrial fuel allowed through the Nahal Oz crossing point. Diesel smuggled from Egypt is of insufficient quality to fuel the plant. The power plant's total output is 55 megawatts. About a year and a half ago Egypt built a line to carry electricity into the Rafah and Khan Younis districts, in the southern Gaza Strip, which provides 17 megawatts. 

PA police: Settlers opened fire at Palestinian near Ramallah
8/23/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - An Israeli settler opened fire on a Palestinian near the West Bank village of Silwad, outside of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority police said on Sunday. No injuries were reported in the incident, which appeared in the daily report of the police media office. The report also states that Israeli forces installed a military checkpoint between the city of Nablus and the village of Asira Ash-Shamaliyya. The checkpoint was later removed without arrests or other incidents reported. The police also said that Israeli soldiers also attacked Yousif Jamal Astah, 18, while he was standing in front of his house in the city of Tulkarem. According to the report, the youth suffered severe bruises. In addition Israeli forces raided the house of Abed Ar-Ra'ouf in the city of Qalqiliya overnight, the police said. No arrests were reported. 

Researcher says he believes Swedish paper’s organ report
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - While many have opted to stay out of the ongoing breakdown in Israel-Sweden relations over an article making unusual allegations against Israel's military, one Palestinian official said he believed its reports of "organ harvesting" could be true. In a statement on Friday, prisoners' affairs researcher Abed An-Nasser Farwana insisted that certain elements in the provocative but back-page article in Sweden's daily Aftonbladet tabloid confirmed his personal suspicions. "All the facts and testimonies, particularly with regard to [Israeli] occupation forces isolating [prisoners], killing hundreds after seizing them, shooting prisoners and holding bodies in the 'numbers cemetery,' validate what the newspaper has published," said the researcher, who has made unorthodox claims in the past. Ma'an could not confirm his latest allegations, nor have any prominent. . . 

Peace Now: 596 new structures in WB settlements in six months
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel has illegally built 596 new structures in West Bank settlements and plans to build major new settlement in East Jerusalem, Israeli advocacy organizations reported on Sunday. The semiannual settlement monitoring report from Peace Now shows that illegal construction is continuing on land seized from Palestinians from the West Bank, often in contravention of stated attempts to slow or halt building. Many of the 596 units of new building "is construction based on old plans that were approved years ago. This is meant to bypass the "˜settlement freeze,' without needing to approve a new plan that must receive the defense minister's approval," the report states. This revelation is especially significant in the wake of reports that Israel may, in a concession to US calls for a total freeze, declare a moratorium on new construction in settlements. 

UN report details grim effects of Israeli blockade on Gaza
8/23/2009 - GAZA CITY, 23 August 2009 (IRIN) - A new UN report describes the devastating humanitarian impact of two years of Israel's "unprecedented blockade on all border crossings in and out of the Gaza Strip. "Released in August by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Jerusalem, the report details the rapid deterioration of livelihoods, food security, education, health, shelter, energy and water and sanitation inside Gaza. "The blockade has 'locked in' 1. 5 million people in what is one of the most densely populated areas on earth, triggering a protracted human dignity crisis with negative humanitarian consequences," said the report. Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, Israel closed all Gaza's border crossings, and imposed import and export restrictions and a travel ban to and from Gaza.

Israel: New anti-missile defense system set for installation
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's new anti-missile defense system will arrive within the next ten days, and is set to be operational sometime over the next year, according to a report on Israel Radio on Sunday. An officer in the Israeli military's artillery corps told the station that the "Iron Dome" system would be operational within ten months, and that it would be installed along the Gaza Strip border to detect incoming projectiles from the territory. Based on radar-detection technology, the Iron Dome was designed in 2007 by an Israeli company called Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, was created to intercept short-range shells and projectiles. The project has been controversial, due both to its reported cost of 210 million US dollars and questions over effectiveness. However, the country's military has said tests conducted since the summer of 2008 have demonstrated the system works. 

Erekat: E Jerusalem settlements threaten two-state solution
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel has undermined the very possibility of a two-state solution with a reported plan build a major new settlement on Palestinian land East Jerusalem, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday. According to the newspaper Haaretz, the plan calls for the construction of 104 housing units on the land where the former West Bank headquarters of the Israeli police was housed in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. The new colony is to be named Ma'aleh David. Under a plan reportedly approved by the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality, the new buildings will be connected with the existing settlement of Ma'aleh Zeitim. Together the compound will be occupied by some 200 Jewish families, forming the largest settlement in East Jerusalem. "Israel's continued settlement expansion in East Jerusalem is an out and out land grab that threatens the very. . . 

Lieberman: Peace unlikely, but I won’t obstruct deal
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Foreign Minister said on Sunday that although he does not believe that Israel will sign a peace deal with the Palestinians in the near future, he will not personally stand in the way of negotiations. "A Palestinian state within two years is not a realistic goal," the foreign minister told a press briefing on Sunday. "There are those who believe in this and I don't want to disturb [them]," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper Haaretz. Lieberman, an ultra-nationalist politician and a resident of an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, has taken positions that are antithetical to any negotiated solution with the Palestinians. In the past he has called for the forced expulsion of Palestinians. "I'm willing to allow for a period of time during which there will be another attempt to arrive at a Palestinian state,. . . 

Israeli PM: Talks with Palestinians by October
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes talks with Palestinians will begin by the end of September, according to the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. In remarks at his government's weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu suggested the turmoil between Israel and the United States was beginning to fade, the paper reported. According to the prime minister, "a certain closeness" has been building between the two countries in the lead-up to his meeting with US envoy George Mitchell next week, according to the newspaper. Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel had undermined the very possibility of a two-state solution with a reported plan build a major new settlement on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem. According to the newspaper Haaretz, the plan calls for the construction of 104 housing units on. . . 

Abbas orders release of 200 Hamas prisoners
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the Palestinian security forces to release 200 Hamas-affiliated prisoners as a Ramadan gesture. Ma'an also learned that Abbas believes the release of prisoners would be necessary to lay the groundwork for a potential unity deal with Hamas. It also emerged on Sunday that an upcoming round of unity negotiations have been postponed. The move follows a decision by Hamas authorities in Gaza to release 50 Fatah-affiliated prisoners in a similar goodwill gesture. Other sources told Ma'an that Abbas told the Egyptian security delegation that recently visited Ramallah, "I am telling you on behalf of Fatah that we accept all of Hamas' stipulations on condition that Hamas agree on holding legislative and presidential elections in 2010. " The Egyptian delegation, according to the source, was surprised at this response and immediately. . . 

Hamas-Fatah talks postponed
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An upcoming round of Hamas-Fatah unity talks has been postponed until after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Egypt's official MENA news agency said on Sunday. The talks had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday in Cairo. MENA quoted an Egyptian security official saying that the postponement came after the visits the Egyptian security delegation visited Ramallah and Damascus which last week. The Egyptian delegation, led by General Muhammad Ibrahim, met separately with Hamas and Fatah officials in Ramallah and Damascus. Ibrahim's team also met with President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan. It also emerged on Sunday that President Abbas has ordered the Palestinian security forces to release 200 Hamas-affiliated prisoners as a goodwill gesture in advance of the talks. 

Hamas: Abbas violating 2005 agreement by calling for PNC meeting
8/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas accused President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday of breeching past agreements to reform the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by calling for a meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in August. Abbas called for the meeting of a quorum of the 669-member PNC in order to appoint new members of the PLO's Executive Committee. He called for the meeting to take place in the West Bank, much like the recent Fatah congress in Bethlehem. Hamas, an Islamist movement that is formally excluded from the PLO, is calling for the implementation of a 2005 agreement to reform the umbrella organization that is at present dominated by Abbas' Fatah faction. "Such calls complicate the Palestinian situation and add more obstacles which impede reconciliation efforts," Hamas said of Abbas' call a statement. 

Israeli Civil Administration official suspected of accepting bribe
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli police suspect an employee at the West Bank's Civil Administration of accepting bribes in exchange for granting work permits, according to Israeli news sources. The employee, now suspended, had been in charge of granting work permits for Palestinians to work inside Israel, and was on loan from the Israel Employment Service, according to Haaretz and Ynet. Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, the head of the Civil Administration, alerted police and launched an internal investigation into the allegations after receiving information suggesting misconduct two months ago. The investigation is now being carried on by the Jerusalem District Prosecution. The employee has admitted to the allegations, and furnished names of the Palestinians who he had accepted bribes from. Investigators recommended on Sunday that the prosecutor's office indict the worker. 

Crisis looming between MoH and employees
8/23/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Union of Medical Workers, and the Union of Doctors declared on strike on Sunday protesting what they said was the unwillingness of the Health Minister to address the employees' concerns. The concerns, voiced last week by Palestinian Workers' Union Chief Bassam Zakarneh were over "health employees appointed to cover shortages in the hospital who are not paid overtime, do not receive a risk bonus, and must pay for the extra cost of transportation on their own. " Osama An-Najjar, head of the medical workers' union, accused the ministry on Sunday of "targeting union activities" and deliberately avoiding direct dialogue. On Monday 24 August from 8:30am to 12pm all lab, pharmacy, blood bank, anesthesia, x-ray, and physiotherapy departments will stop work, union officials said. 

Qalqiliya police release 12 Hamas detainees
8/23/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - Preventative security forces in Qalqiliya released around 12 Hamas affiliates on Saturday afternoon, according to Palestinian security sources. One of the sources said the release came after an order by President Mahmoud Abbas that 200 of the Islamic movement's detainees be freed as a Ramadan goodwill gesture. The detention of Hamas members by the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority's security forces has been considered a major sticking point in resolving a two-year divide within Palestine that began in 2007. Ma'an also learned that Abbas believes the release of prisoners would be necessary to lay the groundwork for a potential unity deal with Hamas. It also emerged on Sunday that an upcoming round of unity negotiations had been postponed. The move followed a decision by Hamas authorities in Gaza to release 50 Fatah-affiliated prisoners in a similar goodwill gesture. 

PSE declines: Al-Quds Index down 0.98 points (0.2%)
8/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) in the West Bank city of Nablus decreased slightly on Sunday. The Al-Quds Index closed at 501. 34, marking a decline of 0. 98 points (0. 2%). A total of 298,941 shares, valued at 493,953. 2 US dollars, were traded over the course of 172 trades. The shares of 19 companies were traded. The shares prices ofseven companies rose while those of six others declined. The top five gainers were JPH by (3. 81%), NCI by (3. 70%), PIIC by (2. 63%), PEC by (2. 22%), and AMB by (1. 64%). The top five losers were ISBK by (4. 05%), LADAEN by (3. 33%), PRICO by (1. 54%), PIBC by (0. 83%), AIB by (0. 81%). [end] 

The National

Survival a victory for Gaza football club
22 Aug 2009 - Al Shams Sports Club now offers a footballing course that helps to draw out youngsters still in a state of shock from the war.

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.

Aljazeera

Gaza schools reopen amid problems
23 Aug 2009 - Shortage of school materials and crowded classrooms threaten education quality.

Egypt spy cell trial adjourned
23 Aug 2009 - Next hearing set for October of 26 men accused of plotting attacks on behalf of Hezbollah.

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...

Palestine News Network

Palestinians receive Ramadan with empty pockets as holy month coincides with opening of school year
23 Aug 2009 - Nablus / Amin Abu Wardeh for PNN – The markets of the northern West Bank city of Nablus have sprung to life with the onset of Ramadan and the new academic year. The Muslim holy month and the start of the school year came within a day of each other. The financial burden on families is tremendous, but the markets are bustling although...

Books and paper banned from entering Gaza as new academic year begins, 200 more schools needed
23 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – With the academic year about to begin, the Gaza Strip is falling short on schools. During the major Israeli attacks of late December and January, many schools were destroyed or partially destroyed. They have not been repaired or rebuilt because reconstruction materials are still banned under the siege.Palestinian Legislative Council member and Chairman of the People’s Committee against the...

Medical Association threatens open-ended strike against Health Ministry if demands not met 
22 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – The Palestinian Medical Association is threatening an open-ended strike beginning the first week of next month. The target of the strike proposed for the sixth of September is the Ministry of Health.The Medical Association released a statement Sunday reading in part: “After exhausting all possible ways and means to address the outstanding issues with the Ministry of Health, which...

Israelis are taking Silwan south of Al Aqsa, west and north are gone, and are now going for the east
22 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN – The Ir Amim Association revealed on Sunday morning a new settlement plan for East Jerusalem. A copy is being sent to the local committee for planning and construction in the Israeli-controlled municipality of Jerusalem. The site under threat of destruction is located east of Al Aqsa Mosque in Ras Al Amud for replacement by the...

Human rights report: at least 900 Palestinians have been denied family visits in prison for 2 years
22 Aug 2009 - PNN - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights headquartered in Gaza City issued its weekly report for the period of 13 through 19 August. The violations of human rights include the arrests of fishermen and the injury of a child in Gaza, and the destruction of three auto mechanic shops.PCHR - Israeli Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in...

Italy attacking Nativity Church deportees, Fateh criticized for not addressing issue at Conference 
22 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – The Palestinians deported and exiled by Israeli forces from the Church of Nativity are still outside. Some were deported to the Gaza Strip with instructions to not leave Gaza City and to not engage in any political activity. If they did, their fates would be more unknown than they are now.Those exiled to Europe have had as difficult time...

Greetings at beginning of Ramadan delivered with concerns over occupation and internal conflict
22 Aug 2009 - Nablus / Amin Abu Wardeh for PNN - With the first day of Ramadan come thousands of greetings by e-mail, as well as cards on paper, which is part of the normal ritual. The messages are mixed with the religious and political. Despite the religious aspect of the month of Ramadan, greetings mix between religious, ideological, national concerns and the general political situation.The...

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

HEALTH: Swine Flu Hits Ramadan Gatherings 
CAIRO, Aug 23 (IPS) - Muslims marked the start of the fasting month of Ramadan Saturday, but the global H1N1 pandemic has put a damper on religious festivities throughout the Middle East.

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.

Stop The Wall

New concrete wall in Ni’lin prompts fierce resistance
23 Aug 2009 - The regular march to the confiscated land in the village of Ni’lin was different this week, as Occupation forces have begun building a concrete wall in front of the fences and military road. Facing tear gas, live and rubber bullets and chemical spray, protestors cut sections of fence and clashed with soldiers. Six people were injured, including a medic who was hit with a sound bomb. [

Al-Ma’sara protestors march in solidarity with Jerusalemites
23 Aug 2009 - Many residents of al-Ma'sara village gathered again today after the Friday prayer in a protest that was joined by many international and Israeli activists and groups. The protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners calling for halting crimes against civilians, breaking the siege on Jerusalem and stopping the construction of the Wall and settlement on Palestinian land. [

PCHR Weekly Report

(13 - 19 Aug.  2008), information on boycott, divestment and sanctions
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

Plans for largest East Jerusalem settlement filed for approval
8/23/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - A plan for the building of a new settlement, Ma'aleh David, in the middle of an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem was filed for approval by the relevant municipal committee at the Jerusalem Municipality. The plan calls for the construction of 104 housing units on the land where the former headquarters of the Judea and Samaria police was housed in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. The new settlement is planned to be connected to an existing Jewish neighborhood, Ma'aleh Zeitim, and together will be occupied by some 200 families, forming the largest Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. The plan is being promoted by the right-wing group Elad. The land on which the new housing is planned was, until 18 months ago, the compound of the Judea and Samaria police headquarters, which has since moved to a new building in Area E-1. 

One arrested during demonstration against settlement expansion
8/23/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Palestine Solidarity Project, 21 August 2009 - Construction of a road has begun on Palestinian land right outside the settlement Karmei Tsur, between Beit Omar and Halhoul, about two weeks ago. The construction has happened between the edge of the settlement and a "security fence" that the military built three years ago. This agricultural land still belongs to the Palestinian families of Abu Maria, Soleiby, Awwad, Abu Ayyesh, and Sabarna. However, entry to their land since the building of the fence has required a permit from Israel, which most Palestinian families refuse to apply for, maintaining that the land is rightfully theirs. Friday, August 21, a group of Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals held a demonstration outside the fence. Palestine Solidarity Project organized the demonstration, in which about 35 people participated. 

A mass demonstration will be held outside Ofer prison in the West Bank
8/23/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Monday, 24 August 2009 at 9am: A mass demonstration will be held outside Ofer prison in the West Bank. Palestinians, alongside Israeli and international solidarity activists will gather in front of Ofer (on the Palestinian side) to protest against Israeli arrest and intimidation campaigns of Palestinians. Israeli forces have conducted arrest and intimidation campaigns on villages that resist Israeli apartheid infrastructure. According to a joint report from Addameer and Stop the Wall, Israeli forces have arrested 176 Palestinians from 5 villages alone in their resistance against construction of the Wall. The family of Na'el Barghouthi will be in attendance to demand for his release. Barghouthi was taken by Israeli forces on 4 April 1978 and has been behind bars for 31 years. An estimated 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners are currently being held in Israeli jails. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Swedish Jews: Israel gave IDF organ harvesting claims center stage 
23 Aug 2009 - BERLIN - Lena Posner, president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, said Sunday that Israel's demand that Sweden officially condemn the article that accused Israel Defense Forces of harvesting Palestinian organs "had blown the issue completely out of proportion. ... 

Elders of peace come to Israel for Mideast dialogue
23 Aug 2009 - The one thing common to members of the Global Elders, a forum of elder statesman, businessmen and peace activists, is that their future is behind them. Three of them have Nobel peace prizes in their cupboards. They are coming here, today, in the height of the summer heat, to listen to what plagues Israelis and Palestinians, and to try to convince them that there is another way. ... 

Netanyahu wants meeting with Abbas at UN
23 Aug 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would like to resume direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority following the United Nations General Assembly meeting in late September. ... 

Pro-Israel group: Obama settlements policy backs 'ethnic cleansing' of Jews
22 Aug 2009 - A pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S. has launched a project intent on shifting the focus of the Obama administration away from West Bank settlements, claiming they are not an obstacle to peace and that their evacuation would amount to "ethnic cleansing." ...

Israel hopes for direct peace talks next month
22 Aug 2009 - Israel is hoping to relaunch direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians by late September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. ...

The Guardian

West Bank settlers: who are they?
23 Aug 2009 - Ultra-Orthodox Jews They live in large, built-up settlements like Modi'in Illit, just north of Jerusalem, or Beitar Illit, just to the south. At least a third of West Bank settlers are now ultra-Orthodox. Their priority is...

Israeli settlers in Shdema, West Bank
23 Aug 2009 - A group of Israeli settlers are asserting their claim over Shdema, a former Israeli military base in the West Bank Rory McCarthy

West Bank: Slowly, determinedly, settlers bid to build new town
23 Aug 2009 - In the first of a series of exclusive reports examining settlements in the West Bank and their role in the middle east peace process, Rory McCarthy meets a group of Israelis who want to 'redeem' a...

West Bank settlements: an insurmountable obstacle on the road to peace
23 Aug 2009 - On a ridge high above the West Bank town of Nablus, a cluster of red roofs and neat white concrete homes mark the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh, its security patrols on alert for attackers like...

Ha'aretz National page

Tel Aviv rents have never been so costly
23 Aug 2009 - Renting an apartment in Tel Aviv has never been so costly. In the second quarter of this year, renters paid NIS 3,719 a month on average, up 8% over December 2008 and 15% more than two years ago. ... 

West Bank tourists can get visas if they visit Israel, too
23 Aug 2009 - The Interior Ministry promised the Tourism Ministry last week that tourists who declare that they intend to enter only the Palestinian Authority will have their passports stamped "Palestinian Authority only," while tourists who declare they intend to visit both Israel and the Palestinian Authority will have their passports stamped with a regular B2 tourist visa, according to an internal memo from a senior Tourism Ministry official. ... 

'Healthy' swine flu victim hospitalized nearly a week before death
23 Aug 2009 - Swine flu claimed its 13th Israeli victim yesterday, a 27-year-old woman who was otherwise healthy. In all but one of the other 12 deaths, the patient has had other illnesses that may have contributed to or even been the primary cause of death. ... 

Relief Web

Influenza A (H1N1): Eastern Mediterranean Region - WHO latest update, 23 Aug 2009
23 Aug 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

Easing of restrictions for Palestinians in the West Bank during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr holiday
23 Aug 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

Israel-OPT: UN report details grim effects of Israeli blockade on Gaza
23 Aug 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

YNet News

Group says Left 'distorting' east Jerusalem construction plan 
23 Aug 2009 - In response to claims that municipality OK'd construction of 104 housing units in Ras al-Amud, Fund for Israel Land says project 'not in heart of Arab population'; leftist council member: We'll urge US to stop plan 

Swedish daily publishes second article on 'IDF organ harvesting'
23 Aug 2009 - Family of Palestinian teen killed in 1992 tells Aftonbladet reporters IDF soldiers demanded NIS 5,000 to return his body and claimed stitches result of autopsy 

Egypt summons Israeli diplomat over border shooting 
23 Aug 2009 - Rare shooting incident on Egyptian-Israeli border provokes Egypt to invite Israeli charge d'affaires for talks, demand official Israeli apology for 'irresponsible Israeli behavior on border' 

PM: Talks with Palestinians to resume by end of September
23 Aug 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu tells cabinet he aims to reignite Israeli-Palestinian peace process by fall, but Foreign Minister Lieberman says he sees no real chance to striking peace with PA 

Suspected Hezbollah spies stand trial in Egypt
23 Aug 2009 - Trial of 26 Shiite group members suspected of plotting attacks on tourists begins; prosecutors say Lebanese suspects provided cell with money, technical expertise to collect information and acquire explosives to destabilize Egypt's security 

Daily Star

Settlements seen clouding Netanyahu visit to Europe
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Al-Qaeda 'very capable' of more US attacks
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Yemen says more than 100 Shiite rebels dead in north
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Palestinian unity talks in Egypt delayed yet again
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Israel curbs all Swedish media over 'blood libel'
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Iran MP seeks evidence of 'mass burials'
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Swine flu hits Ramadan gatherings across Mideast
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

US envoy pledges to help Darfur rebel groups unite
23 Aug 2009 - Western demands to freeze settlement-building seem likely to dominate talks Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu will hold with the US Middle East envoy and political leaders in Britain and Germany this week. On the eve of the visit, Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday.

Palestinian Information Center

Um Kamel asks Turkish authorities to publish title deeds of Palestinian lands
23 Aug 2009 - Fawzia Sidki Jaber, who was kicked out of her home in occupied Jerusalem, has asked the Turkish authorities to publish the title deeds of Palestinian lands, which are retained in the Ottoman archive.

Jewish settlers storm the Aqsa Mosque
23 Aug 2009 - Jewish settlers on Sunday stormed the Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem and offered rituals while roaming the holy site's plazas, the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said.

Barhoum: Fayyad's denial about political detainees sheer lies, deception
23 Aug 2009 - The insistent denial of the illegitimate government in Ramallah of Salam Fayyd on the presence of political detainees in its jails is a sheer lie and deception.

Khudari calls for sending ships anew to break the siege on Gaza
23 Aug 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular anti siege committee, has called on all foreign solidarity activists to consider sending ships anew to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Subaih: Jerusalem a red line
23 Aug 2009 - Ambassador Mohammed Subaih, the assistant Arab League secretary general, has underlined that the Palestine cause would top the agenda of the Arab League ministerial council on 29/9/2009.

Haneyya asks Arab, Islamic leaders to lift the siege on Gaza
23 Aug 2009 - Ismail Haneyya, the Palestinian premier, has asked the leaders of the Arab and Islamic countries to act to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and to end the suffering of the Palestinians.

Nine citizens and two Italian activists suffocate during Nil’in protest
23 Aug 2009 - Nine Palestinian citizens and two Italian activists suffered suffocation during the Weekly anti-wall protest in Nil’in village when IOF troops fired dozens of tear gas canisters.

Ministers and lawmakers call for stopping torture of Aziz Kayed
23 Aug 2009 - Palestinian ministers and lawmakers imprisoned in Israeli jails called on Mahmoud Abbas’s security apparatuses to stop torturing under-secretary-general of the cabinet Aziz Kayed.

Hamas congratulates Muslims, calls for supporting Jerusalem
23 Aug 2009 - Hamas Movement has congratulated the Palestinian people and the Muslims worldwide on the occasion of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, and urged for greater support for occupied Jerusalem.

IOF tightens the noose on occupied Jerusalem on first day of Ramadan
23 Aug 2009 - Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Saturday deployed large numbers of policemen and security forces at the entrances of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque, local sources said.

Los Angeles Times

In Iran, report of secret burials brings call for inquiry 
23 Aug 2009 - Reformist lawmaker Majid Nasirpour vows to examine allegations that 44 unidentified bodies were buried in a cemetery amid heavy security after post-election unrest. An Iranian lawmaker vowed Saturday to examine allegations that dozens of unidentified people killed in the recent post-election unrest were secretly buried last month in the country's largest cemetery. 

A Christian on the run in Egypt 
23 Aug 2009 - Maher El Gohary is something his Muslim compatriots can't fathom: a convert to Christianity. He and his daughter live like fugitives, moving frequently to avoid those who'd like to see him dead. It is a clear day along the coast, but in a bungalow off the beach, Maher El Gohary sits behind a locked door with an open Bible and a crystal cross, suspicious of every voice and sandal scraping past outside. 

Largest exhibition ever in Iran 
23 Aug 2009 - Position No. 6069: Black to play and win. From the game Peter Shaw - Yang-Fan Zhou, British Championship, Torquay 2009. 

New York Times

Ahmadinejad Nominee Is Wanted in ’94 Bombing
21 Aug 2009 - Iran’s defense minister nominee is wanted in the bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, confronting Iran with another challenge to its reputation. 

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

Misc

Plans for largest East Jerusalem settlement filed for approval
8/23/2009 - Ha'aretz - A plan for the building of a new settlement, Ma'aleh David, in the middle of an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem was filed for approval by the relevant municipal committee at the Jerusalem Municipality. The plan calls for the construction of 104 housing units on the land where the former headquarters of the Judea and Samaria police was housed in the neighborhood of Ras al-Amud. The new settlement is planned to be connected to an existing Jewish neighborhood, Ma'aleh Zeitim, and together will be occupied by some 200 families, forming the largest Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. The plan is being promoted by the right-wing group Elad. The land on which the new housing is planned was, until 18 months ago, the compound of the Judea and Samaria police headquarters, which has since moved to a new building in Area E-1. 

Books and paper banned from entering Gaza as new academic year begins, 200 more schools needed 
8/23/2009 - Uruknet - Gaza / PNN – With the academic year about to begin, the Gaza Strip is falling short on schools. During the major Israeli attacks of late December and January, many schools were destroyed or partially destroyed. They have not been repaired or rebuilt because reconstruction materials are still banned under the siege. Palestinian Legislative Council member and Chairman of the People’s Committee against the Siege, Jamal Al Khudari, said today that the Gaza Strip needs to build more than 200 new schools to accommodate students. Khudari told the press on the first day of school that population increase and scientific developments are adding to the necessity for more schools. In Gaza City the PLC member said Sunday, "The embargo and the Israeli closure of crossings, the prevention of the entry of raw materials, supplies and construction materials, have prevented the building of new schools, 

Arab-Israelis battle for Great Mosque at Beersheva 
8/23/2009 - Uruknet - Jonathan Cook - Israel’s treatment of Muslim, Christian places of worship is major source of friction with country’s Arab citizens. - The walls have been freshly plastered and painted white, the sculpted stone window frames are filled with frosted glass and the builders are hanging spotlights from the ceiling. The municipality of Beersheva, the capital of southern Israel, is racing to put the finishing touches to repairs of the city’s long-neglected and unused Great Mosque, built more than 100 years ago by the Ottoman rulers of what was then Palestine. But, over the protests of Beersheva’s thousands-strong community of Muslims, the Jewish-run municipality is not planning to restore the city’s only mosque to its former glory as a place of worship. It wants to convert it into a museum. The building’s fate now rests with the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule in the coming months on 

We will return. We will come back. We will never forget. 
8/23/2009 - Uruknet - Free Gaza team - A year ago, 44 of us saw the coastline of Gaza in the distance, after 30 hours of traveling across the Mediterranean Sea. We were jubilant. We had made it to Gaza. We had actually made it to Gaza. We had really, really made it to Gaza. We had MADE IT TO GAZA. From a distance, the shore looked like stalagmites had sprouted across the landscape. Every piece of sand, every section of pier, every chunk of rock was occupied by people. Thousands of Palestinians greeted us, blowing whistles and cheering and high-fiving each other. At first, just one small boat came out to greet us. Then every kind of vessel swarmed around our two small fishing boats, boys jumped in the water retrieving the balloons we had inflated, stuffing them inside their shirts and tying them onto their small boats. The balloons said FREE PALESTINE with a dove and an olive branch on them. 

West Bank: slowly, determinedly, settlers bid to build new town 
8/23/2009 - The Guardian - In the first of a series of exclusive reports examining settlements in the West Bank and their role in the middle east peace process, Rory McCarthy meets a group of Israelis who want to 'redeem' a patch of land near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour - Early in the morning, Nadia Matar drove to the hills south of Jerusalem, near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, and turned into a dusty, unmarked road. There she planted a sign which read "Welcome to Shdema". She drove on, stopping every few metres along the route to jam into the rocky ground a series of fluttering blue and white Israeli flags. Israeli soldiers let her pass unhindered as she drove up to the concrete ruins of what was until a few years ago the Israeli military base of Shdema. Here, just a stone's throw from Palestinian homes and only a few minutes from the city of Bethlehem, Matar and her friends are intent on building 

Jewish groups accuse Obama of promoting ’ethnic cleansing’ 
8/23/2009 - The Guardian - Pro-Israel lobby says White House demands over settlements should be viewed as anti-semitic and a danger to security - Hardline pro-Israel groups in the US have been confronting President Barack Obama's demands for a halt to settlement expansion by accusing him of promoting the ethnic cleansing of Jews and jeopardising Israel's security. Members of Congress allied with Israel and powerful lobby groups in Washington are also trying to shift the focus of administration policy from the Jewish settlements, arguing they are not an obstacle to peace, to demands for Arab governments to recognise Israel. The strategy, intertwined with a similar campaign by Israeli politicians and officials, has taken on added urgency because of Obama's demands, first laid down during a testy meeting in May with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, that Israel freeze all settlement construction in the West Bank. 

West Bank settlements: an impassable obstacle on the road to peace 
8/23/2009 - The Guardian - Ian Black, Middle East editor - On a ridge high above the West Bank town of Nablus, a cluster of red roofs and neat white concrete homes mark the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh, its security patrols on alert for attackers like the lone Palestinian gunman who mowed down four residents during the second intifada. Elon Moreh was founded in 1979, but the name is mentioned in Genesis as the site of the Patriarch Abraham's first sojourn in the promised land. It is one of 133 "official" Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem that are the focus of intensifying US-led attempts to restart the moribund Middle East peace process. It has not taken Barack Obama long to discover that in the high-octane politics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, few issues are as explosive as this: Binyamin Netanyahu, the Likud prime minister, is arguing hard over the precise meaning of a settlement "freeze" or the "natural growth" of the existing population. 

VIDEO - Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza Part 1 
8/23/2009 - YouTube - Part 1 of 3 deals with the human shield allegations - Palestinians claim children were used as human shields and hospitals targeted during 23-day conflict - The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive against Gaza earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields, the targeting of medics and hospita More. . ls, and drone aircraft firing on civilians. Three Guardian films based on a month-long investigation, add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including up to 300 children. 

VIDEO - Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza Part 2 
8/23/2009 - YouTube - Part 2 deals with the targetting of medics and medical facilities - Palestinians claim children were used as human shields and hospitals targeted during 23-day conflict - Medics and ambulance drivers said they were targeted when they tried to tend to the wounded. Sixteen of them were killed. According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of Gaza's 27 hospitals and 44 clinics were da More. . maged by Israeli bombs. Two clinics were destroyed. In one incident, paramedics were fired on by a tank using a shell filled with 8,000 lethal metal darts as they were carrying a wounded man to an ambulance. In a report released today, doctors for Human Rights Israel said there was "certainty" that Israel violated international humanitarian law during the three-week war in January, with attacks on medics, damage to medical buildings, indiscriminate attacks on civilians and delays in medical treatment for the injured. 

VIDEO - Guardian investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza Part 3 
8/23/2009 - YouTube - Part 3 of 3 deals with the drones targeting civilians - Palestinians claim children were used as human shields and hospitals targeted during 23-day conflict - The Guardian gathered testimony of missile attacks by Israeli drones on clearly distinguishable civilian targets. In one case a family of six was killed when a missile hit the courtyard of their house. Israel has not admitted to the use of More. . drones but military experts say their optical equipment is good enough to clearly identify individual items of clothing worn by targets. [end] 

Articles

The First Israeli Jew in Fatah’s Parliament 
Jonathan Cook, Uruknet 8/22/2009
      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.
     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 outside the Palestinian fold. more.. e-mail

Israeli trade in Palestinian body parts 
Gilad Atzmon, Redress 8/20/2009
      Gilad Atzmon argues that recent reports of Israel killing Palestinian civilians in order to trade in their organs may be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” for the Western media, which is changing its mood and is beginning to confront Israeli crimes.
     There is an old Jewish joke that tells the story of a dying Jewish merchant who calls his son to his sickbed just before he perishes. He tells him: “Listen to me Moisha’le, life is not just about money ... you can also do gold and diamonds.”
     Monitoring Israeli and Jewish news reveals a devastating fact: it is not just about money, it may also be about human organs. A few weeks ago we learned about a ring of American rabbis who had been arrested in New Jersey on suspicion of trafficking human organ trafficking. Rabbi Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, we read, enticed “vulnerable people to give up a kidney for 10,000 US dollars which he would turn around and sell for 160,000 dollars." Not bad, I thought to myself then. We are living in hard times, financial melt down, credit crunch, Wall Street is licking its wounds, the car industry is evaporating. Seemingly, kidney trafficking is still booming.
     In fact, the ring of rabbi in New Jersey didn’t take me by complete surprise. For years we have been hearing about Palestinians claiming that Israel is “deep into organ trafficking”. We also learned that the family of Alastair Sinclair, a Scottish tourist who hanged himself in an Israeli jail, “was forced to bring suit for his return with missing body parts." more.. e-mail


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
the future? the present? A Week in Gaza: August 7-13 2009
23 Aug 2009 - 1st published Saturday The family and friends from Ezbet Abd Rabboh, who are like a family to me, invited me to see their newest addition to the family: a healthy one-month-old boy . Time passes quickly in Gaza, and until today, I’ve not seen him. I’ve also not seen the slow progression away from post-traumatic stress in the older kids that lived through the hell of the winter Israeli attacks. Slowly and subtly, they are becoming stronger, though the emotional wounds are deep and not easy to erase. `Abdullah, at least, smiles now and stands taller with a straight back, without the hunched cower which was a product of the post-massacre...

Palestine Chronicle
Our Sons Plundered for Their Organs
23 Aug 2009 - By Donald Boström You could call me a 'matchmaker,' said Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, USA, in a secret recording with an FBI-agent whom he believed to be a client. Ten days later, at the end of July this year, Rosenbaum was arrested and a vast, Sopranos-like, imbroglio of money-laundering and illegal organ-trade was revealed. Rosenbaum’s matchmaking had nothing to do with romance. It was all about buying and selling kidneys from Israel on the black market. Rosenbaum says that he buys the kidneys for $10,000, from poor people. He then proceeds to sell the organs to desperate patients in the States for $160,000. The accusations have shaken the American transplantation business. If they are true it means that organ trafficking is documented for the first time in the US, experts tell the New Jersey Real-Time News. On the question of how many organs he has sold Rosenbaum replies: “Quite a lot. And I have never failed,” he boasts. The business has been running for quite some time. Francis Delmonici, professor of transplant surgery at Harvard and member of the National Kidney Foundation’s Board of Directors, tells the same newspaper that organ-trafficking, similar to the one reported from Israel, is carried out in other places of the world as well. 5–6,000 operations a year, about ten per cent of the world’s kidney transplants are carried out illegally, according to Delmonici. Countries suspected of these activities are Pakistan, the Philippines and China, where the organs are allegedly taken from executed prisoners....

Name's Khan? Too Bad for You
23 Aug 2009 - Aijaz Zaka Syed Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains, lamented French philosopher Jacques Rousseau. Inspired by Rousseau and other French philosophers, America’s founding fathers made Liberty, Equality and Justice the cornerstones of their Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, the first Secretary of State who went on to lead the country as its third President and is largely responsible for its incredibly powerful and immensely inspiring Declaration of Independence, borrowed from Rousseau to argue that, “all men are born equal,” arguably the most quoted phrase in modern political discourse. The opening of the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson declares: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Watching the circus of Shah Rukh Khan’s reception in the US unfold this week, I couldn’t help wonder how America’s founding fathers would have reacted to a guest being treated this way, that too someone with the popularity and following as India’s biggest superstar enjoys worldwide. Celebrated as the global brand ambassador of his country, the Bollywood big gun was rated last year as the planet’s biggest superstar by the Time magazine, ahead of Will Smith and Tom Cruise. In a delicious quirk of irony, the actor only recently finished shooting for his much-awaited movie, My Name is Khan, set in the US. The movie, being distributed worldwide by Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century...

The Bogie Horror Show
23 Aug 2009 - By Uri Avnery My first thought was: Good God, this man was responsible for the lives of our soldiers! The second thought was: What’s the big surprise? You always knew what kind of person he was! After all, during his years as the army’s Chief of Staff he quietly supported the setting up of “illegal” settlement outposts all over the West Bank! The third thought: And this person is now Vice Prime Minister and a member of the “Sextet” – the six ministers who constitute the real government of Israel. The occasion for these frightening thoughts was the participation of Moshe (“Bogie”) Ya’alon in a gathering of the Jewish Leadership Faction. “Peace Now is a virus,” he said there. And not only they. “All the media” are also a virus. They influence the public discourse “in a distorted manner, a lying manner”. The virus also includes “the elite” in general. In addition, the “politicians” are to blame. “Every time the politicians bring in the dove of peace, we, the army, have to clean up after it.” His summing up: “The Jews have a right to settle in any place throughout Eretz Israel.” And if this upsets the Americans, Ya’alon has a ready answer: “I am not afraid of the Americans!” All this was said a few days after Ya’alon paid a well publicized visit to the occupied territories, accompanied by Shas leader Eli Yishai and several other ministers of the extreme Right. This band visited the settlement outposts, which the...

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...

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