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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
25 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

U.S. Military officials in Egypt to present plan to counter tunnels
26 Aug 2009 - Egyptian security sources reported Tuesday that American military experts arrived at the Al Arish International Airport and headed, while heavily guarded, to the Rafah border terminal where they met senior Egyptian security officials. 

Netanyahu: “Jerusalem is out eternal capital, settlers have the right to live a normal life”
25 Aug 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated Tuesday after a meeting with the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, that the “United Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jews”, and that Israel will not accept to jeopardize its sovereignty on the city. 

Palestinian man wounded by Israeli military fire near Gaza city
25 Aug 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported on Tuesday evening that a Palestinian resident was shot and wounded by Israeli military fire, near the Nahal Oz crossing, east of Gaza City. 

Israeli MP says "illegal" settlements in the West Bank to be evacuated by winter
25 Aug 2009 - Daniel Ben Simon, a Member of the Israeli Parliament, from the labor party said on Tuesday that all settlements, deemed illegal by the Israeli government, will be evacuated in the coming few months. 

The Israeli Military kidnaps five civilians during morning invasions in the West Bank
25 Aug 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped on Tuesday five Palestinian civilians during morning invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities.

Fayyad to the Times: “Palestinian State to be established within two years”
25 Aug 2009 - Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, stated in an interview with the Times in London, that the Palestinian Authority wants to establish a de-facto Palestinian state within two years, regardless of the failing peace talks. 

Three brothers killed, eight wounded in Rafah shelling
25 Aug 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported that three brothers were killed, and ten residents were injured, in an Israeli shelling that targeted the tunnels area in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Hamas: Only breakthrough in Shalit deal is German mediation
25 Aug 2009 - Netanyahu nearing deal, as Palestinian pundits says Hamas may show flexiblity on Israeli demands. 

Barak vows outposts will be evacuated within weeks
25 Aug 2009 - Labor MK Ben-Simon says party will campaign in cabinet if evacuation not complete by winter session. 

Philippines arrests rebel leader over plot against Israel embassy
25 Aug 2009 - Leader of Abu Sayyaf-linked group allegedly planned attacks on Israeli, American and British embassies. 

Jailed Palestinians barred visits as Shalit campaign mounts
25 Aug 2009 - Israel has temporarily halted family visits at Shikma and Hadarim prisons, as Shalit activists hold rally. 

Israeli TV broadcasts footage of Hamas men executing rebels
24 Aug 2009 - IDF soldier lightly wounded as mortar shells hit Israel in wake of cross-border shooting incident. 

Ma'an News

Unions demand meeting with Fayyad after firing of labor leader
8/25/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Three major labor unions demanded an urgent meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday after the firing of the leader of the Health Professions Union. Tensions have been rising between Health Minister Fathi Abu Moghli and the Health Professions Union over what labor activists say are violations of workers' rights. 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 health workers’ union, accused the Health Ministry on Sunday of “targeting union activities” and deliberately avoiding direct dialogue. According to the union, An-Najjar was then fired. 

Israeli airstrike kills three in Gaza
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli airstrikes overnight on a smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah killed two Palestinians and injured nine others. According to medical sources Nael Ali Batiniji, 22, and Mansour Ali Batiniji, 32, and Ibrahim Batiniji 24, arrived dead at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. The three were brothers. Rescue workers were still searching for more bodies in the rubble of the tunnel. The medics also said nine injured people were taken to hospitals in ambulances after the strike. Witnesses said that the Israeli warplanes struck in the early morning hours, completely leveling several tunnels. The Israeli military confirmed that it bombed the tunnel in a statement, saying that the strike was in response to "mortar fire," from the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli sources, Palestinians fired two or three mortar shells. . . 

Israel cancels prison visits in concession to Shalit supporters
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israel Prison service cancelled scheduled family visits of Palestinian prisoners at two prisons on Tuesday as a result of demonstrations by supporters of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Palestinian families will be unable to visit their relatives jailed at Hadareim and Shikma prisons as a result of a demonstration by a group calling themselves an "Army of Shalit's Friends. " The Israeli demonstrators were calling for Israel to impose harsher sanctions on Palestinian prisoners in order to convince Hamas to release Shalit, who has been held by Palestinian fighters in Gaza since 2006. The protests were to coincide with Shalit's 23rd birthday. The Ministry of Prisoner's affairs in Gaza described the decision as a sign of inability to reign in extremist settler groups in the country saying, "Israeli authorities boast of their power against unarmed prisoners and deprive them of family visits. 

This Week In Lieberman: Harvesting outrage
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Scandinavia has kept Israel's sidelined foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, uncharacteristically busy this week. Pausing for a moment his daylong tirades against Sweden on Sunday, Lieberman accused Norway of promoting anti-Semitism for marking the birthday of a "pro-Nazi" author. "I was amazed at the Norwegian government's decision to celebrate the 150th birthday of Knut Hamsun, who admired the Nazis," Lieberman said of his second least favorite Nordic nation, while speaking at a local school. "I remember that in the Durban-II conference," the foreign minister added, regarding a UN racism summit he boycotted but evidently watched closely. "The Norwegian representatives were among the few who didn't walk out, and today I realize it's not a coincidence. " "How low can you go? " Lieberman queried his audience of school children who, had they been following the. . . 

Netanyahu: Israel will not accept limits on sovereignty over Jerusalem
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Tuesday that he would not halt the construction of illegal settlements in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Netanyahu told reporters at a London news conference, "Is not a settlement. It is the sovereign capital of the State of Israel. We have been building in Jerusalem for 3,000 years. " "Israel will not accept limits on its sovereignty," in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said, speaking alongside British counterpart Gordon Brown after a meeting at 10 Downing Street. Israel annexed East Jerusalem after occupying it along with the rest of the West Bank in June 1967. The annexation has never been recognized as legitimate by the international community. Britain, along with the US and most other countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. 

Fatah elects Erekat, Qureia to PLO leadership
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah's Central Committee has elected peace negotiators Ahmad Qureia and Saeb Erekat to represent the party on the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). These decisions were made at a meeting on Monday night. Erekat was elected to the Fatah Central Committee, while Qureia was voted off it in an election earlier this month. A member of the Fatah Central Committee, Mahmoud Al-Aloul told Ma'an that the central committee nominated a few other people for the PLO Executive Committee. These nominations will be discussed during a meeting this evening, he said. In the same regard, Fatah leader Jamal Muheisin confirmed that Muhammad (Abu Maher) Ghneim was elected secretary of the Central Committee, Fatah's highest decision-making body. With regard to dialogue with Hamas, Muheisin asserted that Fatah would be ready for resuming dialogue because rivalry only serves Israel. 

Israeli forces detain Palestinian man near Jenin
8/25/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man from the northern West Bank town of Birqin, southwest of Jenin, on Monday morning, according to local Palestinian sources. The detainee was identified as 25-year-old Munadil Mansour, who was seized from his home after Israeli troops ransacked it. The sources added that invading forces shouted through loudspeakers their demands that the family evacuate their home for inspection. Separately, soldiers stormed Jenin city and its refugee camp, firing gunshots into the air. No arrests or injuries were reported in those incidents. Israeli forces raid Palestinian cities and towns on an almost nightly basis, seizing so-called wanted Palestinians for interrogation. Under Israeli law, it is legal to detain Palestinians for up to six months without charge. On Thursday morning, soldiers raided the village of Bil'in and seized. . . 

Palestinian workers injured in Israel after police chase
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Twelve Palestinian workers from the West Bank were injured in a car accident near a Kibutz in the Negev desert in Israel on Monday after Israeli border guards chased them. According to Israeli sources, border guards perceived three cars as suspicious and chased them. During the chase one car overturned and the workers in the car were injured. In the same regard, Israeli forces detained three Arab residents of the city of Rahat, also in the Negev, on charges of helping Palestinian workers sneak into Israel from the West Bank. Israeli authorities claimed the workers injured in the road accident were had entered without work permits. Medical sources said two of the injured Palestinians sustained moderate wounds and the rest were slightly injured. 

Israel cancels family visits for Palestinians in two prisons
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Israel Prison Service has decided to cancel family visits for Palestinian political prisoners at two jails on Tuesday after protesters threatened to stop the families. In doing so, Israel is violating the Geneva conventions. According to the Website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Israeli supporters of captured soldier Gilad Shalit planned to hold demonstrations at two prisons where so-called "security prisoners" are held. The protesters, calling themselves an "Army of Shalit's Friends" planned the protests, calling for Israel to impose harsher sanctions on Palestinian prisoners in order to convince Hamas to release Shalit, who has been held by Palestinian fighters in Gaza since 2006. The protests were to coincide with Shalit's 23rd birthday. 

Israel opens two Gaza crossings
8/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel decided to open two border crossings to allow food and fuel into the besieged Gaza Strip. Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh said that the Kerem Shalom crossing will be open for 81 to 91 trucks carrying goods including food. The Nahal Oz terminal will also be open for fuel, including cooking gas, he said. Karni crossing, formerly the main portal for deliveries of goods, will be closed, Fattouh said. [end] 

Egyptian police arrest man on Israel border near Gaza
8/25/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian border police arrested a young man on Tuesday morning attempting to illegally enter Israel south of the Gaza Strip, Egyptian security sources said. The sources asserted that the potential border-crosser surrendered after police fired warning shots in the air. The arrestee was identified as a 20-year-old from the Ash-Sharqiya region who was working in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and Gaza. According to an investigation the young man was trying to get into Israel to look for work after meeting men in the southern Sinai who had promised to help him cross the border in exchange for 1000 US dollars. Egyptian authorities kept the young man in detention and he is expected to be sentenced one to two years on charge of illegal immigration attempt according to Egyptian law. Over the past seven years, Egyptian statistics say, about 18,000 Egyptian. . . 

Bethlehem University students strike over aid, admissions policies
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Student leaders at Bethlehem University in the West Bank threatened to "escalate" a strike over financial aid on Tuesday. "The council stopped the studies today as well since the early morning and then emptied the university, striking against the administration's decisions and the statement posted by Brother Peter Bray," said Student Senate leader Anan Jawabreh in an interview with Ma'an. The strike means that students refuse to attend classes. The Student Senate has also banned professors from teaching. Jawabreh also claimed that university guards had banned journalists from entering the campus, which he denounced as a violation of press freedom. In speeches delivered on the campus on Monday, Student Senate members said they are demanding that the university "stop discriminating" in admissions policies against applicants who are the children. . . 

Ma’an and UNESCO conduct safety training for Gazan journalists
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The UN's cultural organization UNESCO supported Ma'an Network in providing safety training to 38 Palestinian journalists from the Gaza Strip this summer. In the wake of Israel's three-week war last winter and ongoing tensions among rival Palestinian factions, the Gaza Strip continues to be one of the world's most hostile environments to work in media. The group of 38 journalists was divided into two groups, which each received a two-part training: an initial phase at the Al-Quds hotel in Gaza dealing with first aid and stress management, and a second phase addressing how to deal practically with situations of armed conflict. Twenty-eight men and seven women, primarily camera operators, photographers, and field reporters, from 20 different media organizations participated in the training. 

Israeli troops shoot Gazan man
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies- Israeli soldiers reportedly shot a Palestinian along the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on Tuesday near the Nahal Oz crossing point. Israel's military said the soldiers fired warning shots into the air, but the man did not stop or otherwise respond. The soldiers then shot the man, wounding him. According to Israel Radio, soldiers administered first aid on the scene, and then transported the wounded man to a hospital inside Israel. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, the man will be turned over to security forces for further interrogation after his release from the hospital. Palestinian sources have not confirmed the report. 

DFLP women train in military tactics at southern Gaza base
8/24/2009 - Female operatives of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) training in the Rafah district of the Gaza Strip. Since its formation in 1969 the DFLP has played an active role as a constituent member organization of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Front's ideological focal point is Marxist, as its founders were particularly inspired by the grassroots revolutionary thought of Mao Zedong. The DFLP held its 5th national congress from February to August 2007, where the Central Committee reelected its founder, Nayef Hawatmeh, as general secretary. One of the last high-profile attacks made by DFLP fighters was in 2001 at a military base near the Israeli settlement of Neve Dekalim in southern Gaza, the largest such settlement in the occupied coastal strip. The base and settlement were subsequently evacuated as part of Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005. 

PRC fighters ’clash with Israeli forces’ in Gaza
8/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) said that their fighters engaged in a 15-minute skirmish with Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip early on Monday morning. In a statement received by Ma'an the PRC's armed wing, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, said that fighters clashed with Israeli soldiers who advanced into the At-Tahliyah area, north of the Al-Waha area. According to the statement, both sides used machine guns. No casualties were immediately reported. Israeli authorities have not commented on the report. [end] 

Israel: Two rockets fired from Gaza
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli sources said that two "rockets" were fired from the northern Gaza Strip on Monday evening. According to the news website Ynet, the projectiles landed near the Ashkelon Beach Regional Council. The same report states that one soldier was mildly wounded after sustaining a head injury while running for cover. It is unclear whether the projectiles were homemade "Al-Qassam" rockets, or mortar shells. No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the reported attack, which was the first in two weeks. [end] 

Israeli forces kill Gazan man
8/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces shot two Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon, killing one of them. The shooting took place in the Al-Atatra area north of the town of Beit Lahiya. Mu'awiya Hassanein the head of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry said that one critically injured man was taken in an ambulance to Kamal Udwan Hospital in northern Gaza. Ambulances were unable to immediately reach the other man who lay on the ground bleeding and eventually died. Hassanein identified him as Ata Al-Hasoumi, 20. Medics told Reuters that the man was a farmer. Israeli military sources told reporters that two "suspicious" people had approached the border with Israel and ignored warning shots. Meanwhile, Israeli sources said that two projectiles were fired from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel. 

Israel: Ramallah radio cut over airport interference
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Radio transmissions from Ramallah were severed on Sunday following claims from air traffic controllers they were causing disturbances at Israel's airport near Tel Aviv, Army Radio reported on Monday. However Muhammad Abu Halawa, the director of audiovisual broadcast in the Palestinian Ministry of Information, contradicted the Army Radio report. He said no Ramallah-area radio station had been shut down to his knowledge. Officials from Ben Gurion International Airport reportedly filed a complaint with the Communications Ministry over the transmissions, which they said were interrupting communication between aircraft and the control tower there. In a joint effort, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli Civil Administration found the transmitters and cut the broadcast, Army Radio said. 

PA: Abbas’ son did not meet Israeli officials
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office denied reports on Monday that Abbas' son held secret meetings with Israel officials related to reinitiating peace negotiations. Saudi Arabia's Ukath newspaper said on Monday that Abbas' son met in secret in Israeli officials in hopes of arranging a meeting between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of UN General Assembly meeting in New York next month. Commenting on the report, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo said there are no conditions to resume peace negotiations with Israel because of the Israeli government's positions. Last Wednesday the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported that US President Barack Obama, who wants a renewal of negotiations, is hoping to meet with Abbas and Netanyahu separately while the two are in North America for the UN meeting. 

US sees 'progress' as Obama envoy meets Netanyahu
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The United States State Department said that it believes progress has been made in efforts to restart Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, on the eve of a key meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "What [US Envoy] George Mitchell is trying to do is lay the foundation that will lead to the resumption of meaningful negotiations," State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly told a Washington news briefing on Monday. "We're getting closer to an agreement. But any reports that we've come to an agreement, or that we expect one on Wednesday necessarily, I would have to call premature," he said, referring to Wednesday's meeting in London between President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, and Netanyahu. "But I will say that we hope that this particular phase of the discussions will end very soon," Kelly added. 

Rafah crossing open Wednesday and Thursday
8/25/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egypt announced on Tuesday that the Rafah crossing will be open on Wednesday and Thursday to allow travelers to enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt. On Wednesday, patients and injured people will return to Gaza after they received medical treatment in Egypt. Thursday will be dedicated to the passage of Palestinians returning from foreign travel. In addition to this, according to Jasir Al-Mashukhi, communications director at the Rafah crossing, an agreement was made between Egypt and the Hamas-run Gaza government that the first group of pilgrims returning from Mecca will be allowed cross to Gaza on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Al-Mashukhi added that Saudi Arabia agreed to receive 6,000 Gazan Umra pilgrims during Ramadan. Passports have been sent to Jordan for visas, and once they are ready, the Egyptians will be asked to open the Rafah crossing one more time during Ramadan to allow them to travel to Mecca. 

Gaza schoolgirls say Hamas cracking down on dress code
8/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Responding to multiple reports on Sunday that the de facto government was cracking down on dress in Gaza's schools, Hamas on Monday denied making any recent policy changes on uniforms or expulsions. A spokesman for the Hamas-run Education Ministry in Gaza, Khaled Radi, reiterated that his office had not received instructions from the de facto government imposing conservative dress codes on schoolgirls. Radi said the reports on Sunday likely originated from an incident in which a school headmistress punished a handful of students for not dressing conservatively enough. He said the headmistresses of several schools had been contacted to confirm that their decisions did not come from the ministry. The conflicting reports led Ma'an to visit a number of schools in Gaza City to find out what was really going on. 

PA releases five Hamas men in Qalqiliya
8/25/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an Exclusive - Palestinian Military Intelligence released five more Hamas-affiliated detainees on Monday in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya, according to security sources. The sources told Ma'an that the release was in response to an order by President Mahmoud Abbas to release 200 Hamas prisoners in a goodwill gesture at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. On Sunday the Palestinian Authority (PA) released 12 Hamas prisoners in accordance with the same order. The men released on Monday were: Wael Ibrahim Ahmad, Omar Ibrahim Dawoud, Salah Ad-Din Rashid Hussein, Ali Ahmad Al-Jede, and Ibrahim Rafiq Shawahneh. In a statement released on Hamas-linked websites on Monday, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said it was too early to judge Abbas' order. The Gaza-based spokesperson also said that implementation of the decision is critical, and called for the release of all political prisoners by the PA. 

Fatah leader Hussam Khader calls for three month 'truce' with Hamas
8/25/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Fatah leader Hussam Khader called for what he termed a three-month "truce" with Hamas on Monday in an effort to reunite the rival parties. In a statement Khader said he welcomed President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to release 200 Hamas members from prison as a "positive step," urging the release of all political prisoners in the West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza. The former lawmaker also welcomed Hamas' decision to release 50 Fatah members from jails in Gaza as a step that could advance negotiations between the two parties. Khader's statement said that Abbas proved he is a president "for all Palestinians. " An advocate for reform within his own party, Khader is from Balata Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Nablus. He was released from an Israeli prison in August 2008. 

Six candidates vying for 11 seats on PLO executive committee
8/25/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Members of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) will meet in Ramallah on Wednesday to elect new members of the PLO's Executive Committee. PNC chairman Salim Az-Za'noun told a news conference on Monday that 11 candidates are competing for six open slots on the 18-seat Executive Committee, the PLO's highest decision-making body. Az-Za'noun, speaking at the Palestinian Media Center in Al-Bireh, outside of Ramallah, mentioned the names of five candidates: democracy activist Hanan Ashrawi, former Interior Minister Abdul Raziq Al-Yahyah, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, Labor Minister Ahmad Al-Majdalani, and Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi. Az-Za'noun also said that prominent Fatah leader Ahmad Quriea, who recently lost an election for his party's. . . 

Fayyad unveils plan for de facto state by 2011
8/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad unveiled his plan to establish a de facto state within two years on Tuesday. Fayyad's plan is to build up the apparatus of a state in the West Bank and Gaza even before Israel has withdrawn its forces from Palestinian land. He said the Palestinian Authority wants to take "positive steps "¦ despite the occupation. " "This is on the path to freedom," he said at a Ramallah news conference on Tuesday. "The Palestinian government is struggling determinedly against a hostile occupation regime. . . in order to establish a de facto state apparatus within the next two years," he said. "To make this dream come true we have to extend all efforts to make this state exist," he also said. Fayyad added that "anti-settlement and anti-wall committees" should be involved in this process of state-building, promising to involve "all sectors and all segments" of society. 

Zahhar heads Hamas delegation to Cairo
8/25/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Hamas leaders left the Gaza Strip on their way to Cairo on Tuesday for a new round of talks regarding Palestinian national unity. The delegation, led by senior official Mahmoud Zahhar, will meet with Egyptian security officials to determine the fate of negotiations with the rival Fatah movement. An Egyptian security official told Ma'an that the Hamas delegation included three other people in addition to Zahhar. The group arrived at the Rafah Border Crossing at 12pm and crossed to the Egyptian side. Egyptian security forces then escorted them to Cairo. A Hamas-Fatah summit originally scheduled for this week was postponed until after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began last weekend. Palestinian sources said they expected the Zahhar delegation to visit other countries after finishing talks in Cairo. 

PA releases 13 more Hamas detainees in Qalqiliya
8/25/2009 - Qalqilia - Ma'an - The Palestinian General Intelligence Service has released 13 Hamas members from prison in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya over the last three days, a security source told Ma'an. The source said the release came in accordance with President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to release 200 Hamas detainees from Palestinian Authority custody in the West Bank. The Preventive Security Service in Qalqilia released 12 detainees on Sunday while the Military Intelligence Service released five on Monday bringing the overall number of detainees released in Qalqiliya to 30. In a statement released on Hamas-linked websites on Monday, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said it was too early to judge Abbas' order. The Gaza-based spokesperson also said that implementation of the decision is critical, and called for the release of all political prisoners by the PA. 

The National

Netanyahu stands firm on issue of Jerusalem
25 Aug 2009 - The Israeli leader makes it plain that the question of East Jerusalem would not form part of any future peace talks with the Palestinians.

Release of prisoners paves way for Palestinian unity negotiations
24 Aug 2009 - Yet again a breakthrough emerges in efforts to bring the estranged Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, back to unity negotiations.

Netanyahu faces stout opposition to outposts
24 Aug 2009 - While Israel hopes to push for a harsher stance against Iran, western allies will demand an end to settlements in the West Bank.

Aljazeera

Palestinian PM plans for statehood
25 Aug 2009 - Fayyad hopes building new infrastructure and institution will force Israel's hand.

Netanyahu adamant on Jerusalem 
25 Aug 2009 - On European tour, prime minister outlines Israel's conditions for peace.

Alternative Information Center

Interview with Dr. Uri Davis, Newly Elected Member of Fatah Revolutionary Council
25 Aug 2009 - Dr. Uri Davis was recently elected to the Fatah Revolutionary Council, during the Fatah Party Conference held earlier this month . I had the chance to talk to him personally this week in East Jerusalem. Over a...

Israel's Offensive Defense: Attacking Human Rights Organizations and Solidarity Groups as Pressure on Israel from the U.S. Administration Continues
24 Aug 2009 - The military offensive on Gaza, the change in the US administration and the formation of an extreme Right government in Jerusalem boosted voices that criticize Israel worldwide.  Following the war in Lebanon, the so called “Ad-Dahia...

BOYCOTT! Stands with Dr. Neve Gordon for BDS and Against Oppression
24 Aug 2009 - BOYCOTT! would like to extend its support and appreciation to Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva for publishing his position in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in an LA Times Op-Ed ....

Education for Blindness: Memories from a Combat School in Israel 
24 Aug 2009 - Two weeks ago, the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronot awarded, in a screaming main headline, grades to school principals in Israel. Not for educational achievements, but for the percentages of enlistment into combat units amongst their...

Palestine News Network

Terrified Paintings?! Traditional dance mixes with modern dance and theatre
25 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Palestinian events have a common thread; that is they often involve debkeh. The traditional dance is a breakout move at weddings, is performed by children at events throughout the country, and is the stuff of local dance troupes.At Dar Annadwa this week the traditional Palestinian folklore dance is being mixed into a theatrical dance. By combining the old style...

In series of war crimes Israeli forces fire at teenagers in Gaza, 16 year old dead
25 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN - The High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are not fulfilling their obligations, says a prominent Palestinian human rights organization, PCHR. The attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, however the scale may be lower than it was in late December and January, or even last year.Israeli violence is escalating as at least four Palestinians were killed in less...

Brothers killed and another missing as Israeli forces bomb tunnel in southern Gaza Strip's Rafah
25 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN - This morning an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel near the Salah Addin Gate in in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Two brothers, 30 yearold Mansour ‘Ali Al Batniji and 20 year old Na’el ‘Ali Al Batniji, were killed. Their 35 year old brother Ibrahim is missing. At least six more Palestinians were injured.The tunnels...

As nonviolent activist remains unconscious in hospital, Israelis declare his shooting "act ...
25 Aug 2009 - If a process by which unarmed civilian demonstration is classified by Israel as an ‘act of war,’ then clearly Israel admits that it is at war with civilians... Israel Declares the Shooting of Tristan Anderson to be an “Act of War” http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/08/20/18617440.php (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/08/20/18617440.php) On August 18th, the Israeli Ministry of Defense informed American activist Tristan Anderson’s family and legal counsel that it...

Ramallah’s Birzeit University accepts enrollment of 9,000 students, new academic year ...
25 Aug 2009 - Birzeit / PNN – The new academic year is about to start in the West Bank. Today the President of Birzeit University announced the opening of 2009 – 2010. The Ramallah area university has a reputation for being among the top-tier Palestinian schools and this year is bringing in 9,000 students, 2,000 more than last.Four-thousand eight hundred new students applied.Dr. Nabil Qassis, university...

Nonviolent movement in Bil'in surprised at behavior of soldiers during weekly demonstration 
25 Aug 2009 - Bil’in / Iyad Burnat – Last Friday’s demonstration did not evoke the usual aggressive response from the occupation forces. As protesters arrived at the Wall in western Ramallah’s Bil’in Village, only two Israeli soldiers were visible and they remained in their shelter.A single military jeep was parked to the left of the door in the Wall and one to the right. It was...

Unfair distribution, poor quality and quantity, is part of water discussion in UNDP
24 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Water continues to be a major issue in the Middle East, long known to be the most valuable regional commodity, far more scarce and in demand that oil. The Israeli administration planned the route of the Wall in the West Bank based on water resources. It is known there that Israeli settlers used several times more water than do...

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

MIDEAST: Non-Story Sets Off Ripples of Trouble 
JERUSALEM, Aug 25 (IPS) - It's not so much the proverbial making-a-mountain-out-of-a-molehill, but Israel finds itself climbing out of a stinky dung heap and onto a slippery diplomatic minefield.

LEBANON: Shattered Camp Revives Under Military Eyes 
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon, Aug 25 (IPS) - Palestinian refugees at Nahr Al-Bared in North Lebanon are living under tight military siege two years after a war destroyed the refugee camp. It has now become a test case for a new approach in Lebanon's security policy towards Palestinian refugee camps.

MIDEAST: Settlers Push Palestinians to Sleep on the Street 
EAST JERUSALEM, Aug 24 (IPS) - Israel's continued policy of Judaising East Jerusalem in order to establish facts on the ground before the future of that part of the city is decided, has left dozens of Palestinians homeless and sleeping on the streets.

EGYPT: Christians Split Over Presidential Scion 
CAIRO, Aug 24 (IPS) - Leaders of Egypt's Coptic Christian Church have voiced support for Gamal Mubarak, son of President Hosni Mubarak, as preferred candidate for president. Concurrently, however, some Coptic activists are calling for demonstrations against what they see as official state bias against Christians.

Stop The Wall

Popular resistance conference in al-Ma'sara
25 Aug 2009 - From the 13 – 15 of August, university students from across the West Bank gathered in al-Ma'sara to discuss popular resistance in the West Bank. Youth heard lectures on the history and means of grassroots resistance to the Wall and discussed ways in which work against the Wall in their respective districts. Participants also marched with the people of al-Ma'sara in the weekly action against the Wall. [

Demonstration against the settlements in Burin
24 Aug 2009 - The people of Burin held another demonstration this week in protest of the ongoing theft of their land. Villagers marched this Friday to their fields, confronting soldiers who refused to allow them onto their land. Demonstrations come in response to settlers from Barcha and Yizhar who, with the protection of Occupation forces, have taken over 50 dunums this month for agricultural pursuits, stealing more land from the besieged village. [

PCHR Latest

Israeli Escalates Violence: At Least 4 Palestinians Killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip
PCHR

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

At least 4 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip
8/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns attacks perpetrated by Israeli forces in the evening of 24 August, and the morning of 25 August 2009. Three Palestinians were killed while a fourth is missing consequent to Israeli gunfire in the northern Gaza Strip and aerial bombardment along the Egyptian border, south of Rafah. . According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 15:15 on Monday, 24 August 2009, Israeli troops positioned to the northwest of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip (along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel) fired at two Palestinian civilians from Beit Lahia who got close to the border. Sa'id "˜Ata al-Hussumi, 16, was instantly killed by two bullets to the chest, and Mas'oud Mohammed Tanboura, 19, was seriously wounded by several bullets to the chest. 

How settlements in the West Bank are creating a new reality, brick by brick
8/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Rory McCarthy, The Guardian - There is a hilltop east of Jerusalem with striking views down into Jericho, across the dry slopes of the West Bank and on to the Dead Sea. From the red ochre of the rock came the name Ma'ale Adumim, Hebrew for the Red Ascent. Today it is a city of more than 30,000 people, with red-roofed apartment blocks, shopping malls, a public swimming pool and ancient olive trees sitting on neat roundabouts. A major highway runs down the hill, across the valley up into the centre of Jerusalem and beyond, connecting conveniently to Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean coast. The rise of Ma'ale Adumim captures the success of Israel's vast settlement project and the extent of the challenge posed to any future Palestinian state by the settlements and the often overlooked infrastructure of Israel's occupation. In March 1975 there was no Ma'ale Adumim. After Israel captured and occupied the West Bank in the 1967 war the site was earmarked as a an industrial park. A

Evicted Palestinians camp by home taken by settlers
8/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - The Washington Post - Fresh dates and chicken soup were served up at dusk on the sidewalk in the well-heeled suburb of Sheik Jarrah this week, as the evicted Palestinian al-Ghawi family spent another night camped outside their former home. Their stone house in Arab east Jerusalem, in a district of consulates and trendy restaurants, is now home to Jewish settlers, who moved in as they were being kicked out on Aug 2. The furniture and belongings of the seven-member family were tossed on the street. Their neighbor offered shelter. But the al-Ghawis refuse to give up and go away. On the third day of Ramadan, when the world's one billion Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, they gathered with a group of supporters for the traditional evening meal. Eaten exactly at dusk to break a day of fasting, iftar - Arabic for breakfast - is usually a home-cooked meal eaten inside the home. 

Investment giant BlackRock divests from Leviev’s Africa-Israel due to Israeli settlements
8/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Adalah-NY - In another stunning blow to Israeli settlement-builder Lev Leviev, the Israeli business magazine Globes Online has reported that BlackRock Inc. , one of the world's largest investment management firms, has divested from Leviev's Africa-Israel Investments. The Globes article follows a similar report by the Norwegian news service Norwatch. The move comes after a nearly two-year long global boycott campaign of Leviev's businesses that developed in response to the billionaire's construction activities in at least four Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank, all of which violate international law, and his abusive labor practices in the diamond industry in Angola and Namibia. In an August 23 article, Globes noted that BlackRock has been under pressure from three Norwegian financial institutions to remove Africa-Israel from its portfolio of funds offered to investors. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

U.S. mulls Peres plan for Palestinian state with interim borders
25 Aug 2009 - The American administration is said to be studying President Shimon Peres' plan for the establishment in the near future of a Palestinian state with temporary borders, with guarantees and a timetable for a permanent agreement that will include solutions on all core issues. ... 

U.S. says it's nearing deal with Israel on settlements
25 Aug 2009 - Israel and the United States are closing the gaps over the contentious issue of West Bank settlement construction, senior American officials who are intimately involved in the matter told Haaretz on Tuesday. ... 

Netanyahu assails group which alleged IDF wrongdoing in Gaza
24 Aug 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a scathing attack on Tuesday against a leftist human rights organization comprised of Israeli army veterans who have collected testimonies from soldiers who served in the Palestinian territories. ...

Sweden to probe complaints against IDF organ harvesting article
24 Aug 2009 - Sweden's Ministry of Justice announced Monday that it will examine complaints submitted in response to an article in popular Swedish newspaper that claimed Israel Defense Forces soldiers kill Palestinians in order to steal their organs. ... 

WATCH: Lebanese civilians oust Hezbollah men in border village
24 Aug 2009 - Residents of a southern Lebanon village evicted a number of Hezbollah operatives who sought to establish positions and store arms in the town. ...

The Guardian

Letters: No ethnic cleansing
25 Aug 2009 - With regard to your article ( Obama policy faces 'ethnic cleansing' claims , 24 August), the author refers to an old version of The Israel Project's message guides written by one of our research experts, using the term "...

US takes on Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear programme in one massive gamble
25 Aug 2009 - Washington's plan to link two intractable problems raises international hopes of deal to restart the Middle East peace process The Obama administration's approach to two of the world's most intractable and dangerous problems, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...

Obama may have to try a wholly new approach on the Middle East | Jonathan Freedland
25 Aug 2009 - Unless talks address the core, existential issues of 1948, optimism about a new Middle East effort is likely to fade fast Surely the heart should give a cheer at the hints and signals that suggest Barack...

Barack Obama on brink of deal for Middle East peace talks
25 Aug 2009 - • US to adopt much tougher line over Iran's nuclear ambitions • Israel to freeze construction of settlements on West Bank • France and Russia offer to host Middle East peace conference Barack Obama is close...

Ha'aretz National page

Schools that exclude Ethiopian immigrants could lose funding 
25 Aug 2009 - The Education Ministry is preparing to immediately pull all funding for private Orthodox schools that refuse to enroll Ethiopian immigrant children, according to various ministry sources. ... 

Israeli researchers make dramatic breakthrough in treating heart disease 
25 Aug 2009 - Israeli researchers have made a dramatic breakthrough in treating heart disease, growing heart muscle in rats' abdomens and using it patch the hearts of rats that suffered heart attacks. ... 

Health Ministry to discuss readiness for H1N1 outbreak
25 Aug 2009 - The Health Ministry will hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the readiness of intensive care units at hospitals in view of the spread of the H1N1 virus (commonly known as swine flu). Hospital representatives are expected to present ministry officials with their emergency plans for dealing with an outbreak of the flu, while stressing that they anticipate a serious shortage of beds in the ICUs. ... 

Relief Web

Top UN envoy welcomes Palestinian efforts to build up state institutions
25 Aug 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Syria: Palestine refugees enter the welding workforce in Homs
25 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: UAE Red Crescent provides food for Gaza during Ramadan
25 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

YNet News

Shalit's sister joins IDF Wednesday
25 Aug 2009 - Kidnapped soldier's young sister to enlist in army Wednesday amidst reports of significant progress in talks over his release. Hamas official says 'German experience in prisoner exchange deals has an effect, and things are moving forward' 

Fatah source: Fayyad stole Abbas' thunder 
25 Aug 2009 - Palestinian prime minister's 'Palestine plan' speech has non-Fatah politician position himself as force to be reckoned with but some chide him for claiming authorities that are not his own 

Lebanese villagers recorded driving away Hezbollah men 
25 Aug 2009 - Footage taken by IDF shows Hezbollah members attempting to take over houses in southern Lebanese village, locals fighting back, kicking out intruders 

Shalit activists not optimistic over reported progress
25 Aug 2009 - While Hamas says German mediation has advanced talks for Israeli soldier's release, head of Shalit campaign says, 'We've been at this point before' 

PM: We've been building in Jerusalem for 3,000 years 
25 Aug 2009 - Netanyahu, UK's Gordon Brown meet in London, as pro-Palestinian rally crowds entrance to Downing 10. British premier urges halt of settlement construction, PM stresses: 'Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is the sovereign capital of the State of Israel' 

MKs, leftists tour West Bank outposts
25 Aug 2009 - 'If outposts are not removed by end of Knesset's summer recess, Labor will reconsider path in coalition," MK Ben-Simon says. Rightist lawmaker in response: He contracted 'Peace Now virus' 

Daily Star

British PM upbeat after Netanyahu talks
25 Aug 2009 - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged visiting Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze settlement building Tuesday, but said he was "increasingly confident" of progress on Mideast peace. At the same time the hawkish Israeli leader, on the first full day of a European trip aimed at placating critics, reiterated that Jerusalem remains non-negotiable.

Senior reformist confesses in Iran's political trial
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

Elder statesmen push to resume Middle East peace talks
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

Israeli airstrike on Gaza smuggling tunnel kills three
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

Top rebel on Iran's death row claims US ordered attacks
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

No enrichment boost in Iran since May, says IAEA
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

Yemen's war on Shiite rebels compounds instability
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

Eritreans rescued off Italy face fines under new immigration law
25 Aug 2009 - A prosecutor demanded on Tuesday "maximum punishment" for a senior reformer accused of acting against national security, a crime punishable by death, in Iran's fourth mass trial of moderates since a disputed election. Saeed Hajjarian, disabled since an assassination attempt in 2000, was among several prominent opposition figures in the dock charged with fomenting huge street protests that followed June presidential polls.

Palestinian Information Center

Ministry of prisoners slams Israel for suspending visits in Hadarim and Shikma
25 Aug 2009 - The ministry of prisoners’ affairs deplored the Israeli prisons authority for barring Palestinian families from visiting their sons in the prisons of Hadarim and Shikma.

IOA to establish special military courts for Palestinian minors
25 Aug 2009 - The Israeli judiciary is currently preparing for the establishment of a special military court for Palestinian children in the West Bank that would be the first of its kind since 1967.

Hamas: The Israeli bombing in Rafah a crime against humanity
25 Aug 2009 - The Hamas Movement condemned Tuesday the Israeli bombing in Rafah which caused civilian casualties as “a crime against humanity".

Health ministry: 400 patients facing death due to shortage in dialysis solution
25 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza Strip has appealed to human rights groups and health institutions to immediately send chemical solutions necessary to operate dialysis machines.

Israeli air raid on tunnels kills three brothers, injures seven citizens
25 Aug 2009 - Three Palestinian brothers were killed and seven other citizens were injured when Israeli warplanes bombed at dawn Tuesday border areas between Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah.

Farwana: Aftonbladet’s report should be invested
25 Aug 2009 - Specialist in prisoners’ affairs Abdelnasser Farwana has called on the Palestinian ministry of prisoners and all concerned to think seriously about how to invest the report published by Aftonbladet.

Netanyahu aide: Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem not for discussion
25 Aug 2009 - A senior official in the delegation of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on a European tour has said that his government would not allow Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem to be discussed.

Palestinian farmer killed in IOF shooting
25 Aug 2009 - A Palestinian farmer was left to bleed to death in northern Gaza Strip after IOF fired at him and his colleague and blocked any attempt to evacuate him, medical sources reported.

Hamad: There are contacts with Egyptian officials to open the Rafah crossing
25 Aug 2009 - Dr. Ghazi Hamad, said that contacts with the Egyptian side were ongoing to ensure the opening of the Rafah crossing for stranded passengers and those on their way to perform Omra.

Senior Israeli official arrested for taking bribes from Palestinian workmen
25 Aug 2009 - The Israeli military censorship allowed media outlets to report about the arrest of a senior official on a charge of issuing work permits to Palestinian workmen in exchange for bribes.

Los Angeles Times

Tuesday's Highlights 
25 Aug 2009 - P.O.V.: Filmmaker Georgi Lazarevski's new documentary 'This Way Up' explores the social, economic and religious barriers resulting from the security wall being constructed by Israel on the West Bank ( SERIES Hell's Kitchen: The chefs roll dice to determine which ingredients they will use in a dish (8 p.m. Fox). 

UCLA professor Kara Cooney hosts 'Out of Egypt' on Discovery Channel 
24 Aug 2009 - The six-part series, which examines similarities among several ancient civilizations, premieres Monday night at 9 p.m. She's an assistant professor at UCLA who specializes in ancient Egyptian art and architecture. But Kara Cooney doesn't teach only in the lecture hall. She teaches on the small screen too. 

Article about organ harvesting sparks Israel-Sweden tiff 
24 Aug 2009 - Sweden, citing a right to free expression, refuses to condemn suggestions that Israeli troops harvested the organs of dead Palestinians. Israel says the article could incite violence against Jews. Israel, already on the defensive over European criticism of its policies, has picked a diplomatic fight with Sweden over an unsubstantiated newspaper "expose" suggesting that Israeli soldiers harvested the organs of Palestinians who died in army custody. 

New York Times

Iran Resumes Mass Trial of Opposition Figures
25 Aug 2009 - The opposition says defendants in the trial have been forced to make confessions and has denounced the proceedings as a “show trial.” 

Reformer in Iran Publishes Account of a Prison Rape
24 Aug 2009 - While the young man was not identified, his charges were graphic and emotional, and documented official indifference — even callousness — toward his account. 

Bank of Israel Raises a Lending Rate
24 Aug 2009 - The bank’s governor cited signs of global growth as a reason to increase the lending rate to 0.75 percent. 

Misc

Israeli Settlers Push Palestinians to Sleep on the Street 
8/25/2009 - Antiwar.com - Mel Frykberg - EAST JERUSALEM – Israel’s continued policy of Judaizing East Jerusalem in order to establish facts on the ground before the future of that part of the city is decided has left dozens of Palestinians homeless and sleeping on the streets. Hundreds more are at risk, amid allegations of document forgery by Israeli settlers who have taken over Palestinian homes. Israeli riot police have forcibly evicted 53 Palestinian refugees, including 20 children, from their homes in the East Jerusalem suburb Sheikh Jarrah. Many sustained injuries during the process. The refugees are from the Hanoun and al-Ghawi families. At the beginning of August the neighborhood was placed under curfew and declared a closed military zone. Media crews were prevented from entering the area, and those that filmed from a distance were roughed up by soldiers and police. 

State Dept: Israel, Palestinians Close to Renewed Peace Talks 
8/24/2009 - Antiwar.com - Not for Another 16 Years if Israel's Foreign Minister Is to Be Believed - The US State Department says that envoys from Israel and the Palestinian Authority are close to reaching a deal to renew the long-stalled peace negotiations, something the Obama Administration has sought despite considerable pessimism among the two participants. Israeli officials say they have almost reached an understanding with the US on settlement disputes. Israel will agree to freeze new construction in the West Bank for 9-12 months, not including East Jerusalem, and all the construction projects going on now will continue. But comments only yesterday from Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who one would have thought would be an instrumental part of these peace negotiations, sounded a considerably more pessimistic note. Lieberman condemned the notion of a peace deal, saying there was “no chance” and that there wouldn’t be peace in the next 16 years. 

Survivors of Israel’s attack on USS Liberty tell their stories 
8/24/2009 - McClatchy Newspapers - COLUMBIA, S. C. — Jim Kavanagh was scraping and repainting a satellite dish atop the USS Liberty when an Israeli plane flew overhead on June 8, 1967. The 19-year-old seaman waved to the allied aircraft before heading below deck to shower off sweat and sea salt. Little did he know the Liberty was moments away from a bewildering ambush that would kill 34 U. S. sailors. More than 42 years later, the Israeli attack — the subject of a new book by a first-time S. C. author — is a continual source of frustration for Kavanagh and two other Carolinians who survived the incident. Three days before the attack, war had started in the Middle East, pitting Israel against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in a conflict that would become known as the Six-Day War. The Liberty, a World War II freighter recently converted by the Navy into a spy ship, was cruising more than 12 miles off the Egyptian coast, eavesdropping on Egyptian war communications. 

Israel prevents Palestinian families from visiting jailed kin 
8/24/2009 - Ha'aretz - In response to the growing pressure generated by the grassroots campaign on behalf of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, the Israel Prison Service announced that it will not allow Palestinians incarcerated for security-related offenses in two correctional facilities to receive their loved ones and relatives for visits on Tuesday. Palestinian relatives will not be able to see inmates at the Hadarim and Shikma prisons. Visits to Palestinians jailed at Megiddo Prison will be held as scheduled. Adallah, the Arab human rights organization, criticized the IPS decision on Monday as "fawning, populistic, and illegal. "The head organizers of the campaign urging the government to win Shalit's release plan on stepping up their public relations efforts. Last weekend, top campaign officials announced that they were launching a new Web site in which volunteers could propose and organize events, protests, demonstrations, and the like. 

Israel’s main source of water faces dire shortage 
8/25/2009 - Ha'aretz - The Water Authority has instructed Mekorot, the national water company, to pump only 132 million cubic meters of water from Lake Kinneret this year - about one quarter of the annual average, sources in the agriculture sector said. This would be the smallest amount pumped from the Kinneret since the National Water Carrier went into service in 1964. The Water Authority wants to begin the coming winter with the Kinneret no lower than it was last year at that time. The level of the lake is currently about 45 centimeters lower than it was at this time last year, but it is unlikely it will maintain this level; the Water Authority predicts that the level will fall to 214. 87 meters below sea level, lower than the "black line" below which the lake's pumps cannot operate properly. Meanwhile, the Water Authority has informed farmers that they intend to decrease the water ration to farmers by only 

Palestinians Set Plan to Build a State 
8/25/2009 - New York Times - JERUSALEM — The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, unveiled a government program on Tuesday to build the apparatus of a Palestinian state within two years, regardless of progress in the stalled peace negotiations with Israel. The plan, the first of its kind from the Palestinian Authority, sets out national goals and priorities and operational instructions for ministries and official bodies. Mr. Fayyad said it was meant to hasten the end of the Israeli occupation and pave the way to independent statehood, which he said “can and must happen within the next two years. ”There was no immediate official Israeli comment, with the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Europe. But two Israeli officials reacted with consternation over what they saw as a unilateral action. The United States consul general in Jerusalem expressed approval for the plan. 

MAP - Israeli settlements: a new reality, brick by brick 
8/24/2009 - The Guardian - How Israel has expanded its presence in the West Bank since 1967 - Facts on the Ground: Israeli settlements - 1967 - 1987 - 2005 // Israeli land use: Closed military areas - Israeli-designated nature reserves - Roads primarily for Israeli use - Areas enclosed by the barrier. . . . . 

West Bank: A settler’s story 
8/25/2009 - The Guardian - When Benny Raz moved house 15 years ago, Karnei Shomron seemed like an obvious choice. It sits on a hilltop surrounded by rocky slopes stretching to the horizon and is only a few minutes' drive from the major cities of central Israel. Discounted prices meant he could upgrade to a spacious, seven-bedroomed house with a view. To make it even more tempting the government gave him a subsidised mortgage. In this small, quiet town of fewer than 5,000 people was a country club, with swimming pool, tennis courts, green public parks and a fresh mountain breeze. "We came here and saw a beautiful place and so we bought a house," said Raz, 56. Karnei Shomron is, however, also deep inside the occupied West Bank, a Jewish settlement not far from the Palestinian city of Nablus and, under international law, illegal. But when Raz and his family moved here in 1994 they and their neighbours did not consider themselves settlers. 

Hidden costs of Israel’s investment in the West Bank 
8/25/2009 - The Guardian - For the last 42 years, the Israeli government has spent billions of pounds building settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, along with the infrastructure and security to support them. That includes subsidised housing loans, discounts on the price of land, as well as grants and tax benefits for industries and farms based in settlements. But at what cost to Israel? While the government builds houses in settlements there are still housing shortages inside Israel, particularly in Jerusalem and particularly for the rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox community. There are also broader poverty challenges within Israel, particularly in the so-called development towns, which are far in both distance and quality of life from major coastal cities such as Tel Aviv. The cost of the settlements is hard to calculate because it is buried in different ministry budgets, but estimates run to between 100bn and 120bn shekels (£16bn-£19bn) over the last four decades. 

VIDEO - Israeli settlers: ’This land belongs to the Jewish people’ 
8/23/2009 - The Guardian - Rory McCarthy- A group of Israeli settlers are asserting their claim over Shdema, a former Israeli military base close to the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, in the West Bank. [end] 

CARTOON - Brown upbeat on Middle East peace prospects after Netanyahu talks 
8/26/2009 - The Guardian - Steve Bell - Steve Bell on Gordon Brown's meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu at Downing Street. [end] 

BACKGROUND - Abu Kabir Operating Organ Warehouse
1/4/2002 - All Business - January 4 2002, Israel National News - State Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein ordered police to launch an investigation against Prof. Yehuda Hiss, the nation's senior pathologist and director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute. Hiss is accused of a long list of charges, from inappropriate behavior as a medical professional to criminal acts such as the illegal sale of and dealings in organs and body parts, removing organs from deceased persons without consent, and misrepresenting organs in returned bodies. Allegations made against Hiss in some cases include his taking organs without consent, placing the cardboard center of toilet paper rolls and metallic rods in their place to fill the voids in the body and hide the theft of the organs. A court-ordered search of the institute revealed large supplies of stored organs taken illegally from bodies. 

Iran to keep up its cooperation with UN nuclear watchdog 
8/25/2009 - Daily Star - Reuters - TEHRAN: Iran will continue to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, apparently confirming Tehran had given inspectors access to a reactor under construction after barring visits for a year. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi also called on the West to seek “interaction” rather than impose more sanctions on the Islamic Republic, state Press TV reported. Tehran has repeatedly shrugged off the impact of such measures. “Nothing can prevent us in pursuing our legal nuclear rights,” he told a conference. US President Barack Obama has given Iran until September of this year to take up a six-power offer of talks on trade benefits if it shelves sensitive nuclear enrichment, or face harsher sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due to release a report on Iran’s disputed nuclear program this week. 

The Fatal Quiet: Netanyahu Leaves Divided Israel for Europe Trip
8/25/2009 - Der Spiegel - Some Israelis say that they have almost never had it this good, while others say that the prospects for peace could hardly be worse. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who pays his first official visit to Berlin this week, has divided the Jewish state and is openly quarreling with the West. For once, there is good news from the Holy Land. But in the Middle East, what may seem positive today could lead to even more catastrophic developments in the future. Tel Aviv's beaches are packed with tourists, the hotels in Jerusalem are booked solid, and Israel is reporting record numbers of visitors for the first two weeks of August. The country's robust economy has returned to positive numbers this quarter. Even more important, an almost total calm has descended on Israel. Rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip have dwindled, there have been almost no Palestinian terrorist attacks from the West Bank, and the weapons have been silent on the Lebanese border. 

Israel to actively participate in a NATO operation 
8/22/2009 - The Palestine Telegraph - For the first time, Israeli occupation army will actively participate in a NATO operation in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Active Endeavor maritime operation. The decision to send an Israeli Navy ship was made recently by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israeli occupation army Chief of General Staff Lt. -Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and commander of the Navy Adm. Eliezer Marom. It has not yet been decided which ship would participate in the operation. Last year, the Israeli navy sent an intelligence officer to sit in NATO's Active Endeavor operations room based in Naples. NATO launched Operation Active Endeavor in the wake of 9/11 and has succeeded in bringing together a number of countries from the Mediterranean, at a center in Naples to share information concerning "naval terror and suspicious ships" in the region. Morocco and Algeria - like Israel, members of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue 

Netanyahu stands firm on issue of Jerusalem 
8/24/2009 - The National - David Sapsted, Foreign CorrespondentLast Updated: August 26. 2009 1:18AM UAE / August 25. 2009 9:18PM GMTLONDON // Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, flatly ruled out any Israeli concessions over the occupation of East Jerusalem yesterday. After a meeting in London with his British counterpart, Gordon Brown, the Israeli leader made it plain that the question of East Jerusalem would not form part of any future peace talks with the Palestinians. Mr Brown backs the US president Barack Obama’s call for a halt to the building of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories and attempts to hammer out a freeze on construction will continue today when Mr Netanyahu meets George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East. But Mr Netanyahu made it plain yesterday that, were Israel to agree to a construction halt in the West Bank, he would not limit Jewish building in East Jerusalem. He said after his meeting with Mr Brown: “Jerusalem is not a settlement and Israel will not accept limits on its sovereignty there. 


Articles

Israeli fascism 
Uri Avnery, Ma’an News Agency 8/23/2009
      My first thought was: Good God, this man was responsible for the lives of our soldiers! 
     My second thought: 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 setting up illegal settlement outposts all over the West Bank. 
     My 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 them. "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 Yisrael [the Land of Israel]." And if this upsets the Americans, Ya’alon has a ready answer: "I am not afraid of the Americans." more.. e-mail

Derailing injustice: Palestinian civil resistance to the 'Jerusalem Light Rail' 
Omar Barghoutti, Jerusalem Quarterly File 8/25/2009
      "I believe that this [Jerusalem Light Rail] should be done, and in any event, anything that can be done to strengthen Jerusalem, construct it, expand it and sustain it for eternity as the capital of the Jewish people and the united capital of the State of Israel, should be done." - Ariel Sharon, August 2005
     Introduction
     “Swimming against the tide” is regarded by many cultures, including Arab culture, as unwise, if not altogether irrational and desperately futile; swimming against the tide and hoping to reach your desired destination would, then, defy common sense and call into question one’s sanity. Taking this defiance to a new level, the Palestinian civil society campaign for Boycott, Divestment
     and Sanctions (BDS)1 and its international supporters in the solidarity movement have been contributing to resisting Israel’s multi-faceted oppression against the indigenous people of Palestine by mobilizing international civil society to apply effective, nonviolent and sustained pressure against it until it fully complies with its obligations under international law and respects Palestinian rights.
     The campaign against the “Jerusalem Light Rail” is a case in point, that tellingly illustrates the potency and potential of such a struggle as well as the challenges stacked up against it.
     Realizing Herzl’s Vision
     According to its official brochure,2 the Jerusalem Light Rail, JLR, is intended to fulfill Theodore Herzl’s vision of Jerusalem: “modern neighborhoods with electric lines, tree-lined boulevards… a metropolis of the 20th century.” The other crucial element of Herzl’s Eurocentric vision for the entire land of Palestine as a Jewish state was even more faithfully adhered to by the project planners. more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
Settlement builder Leviev dealt divestment blow
25 Aug 2009 - In another stunning blow to Israeli settlement-builder Lev Leviev, the Israeli business magazine Globes Online has reported that BlackRock Inc., one of the world's largest investment management firms, has divested from Leviev's Africa-Israel Investments. 

Gaza mothers, newborns struggle under siege
25 Aug 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Inadequate infrastructure, lack of equipment and a shortage of hospital staff are contributing to the deterioration of hospital care for mothers and newborns in Gaza, according to a July 2009 assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jerusalem. WHO attributes the dismal state of Gaza's healthcare system to the Israeli blockade since June 2007, when Hamas took over control of the territory. 

Palestinians in Israel fight to reclaim Beersheva's Great Mosque
25 Aug 2009 - The municipality of Beersheva 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. Jonathan Cook reports. 

The pitfalls of Palestinian national consciousness
25 Aug 2009 - The sixth congress of the Fatah movement, held in Bethlehem earlier this month, gave us a front row seat to the closing act of an important period of Palestinian nationalism. The failure of the Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fatah) to achieve any of its declared goals was symbolized in its holding the conference under occupation. This reflects not only the demise of Fatah -- the faction that dominated the Palestine Liberation Organization for decades -- but the general demise of contemporary Palestinian nationalism. Haider Eid comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
secrets of Qatayef: Ramadan day 3
25 Aug 2009 - Walking along Gaza’s streets there’s always something to notice. Today it was a man, piping batter into rounds on a large electric hotplate to cook what look like pancakes. Qatayef . I stop to chat and photograph the process, batter turning golden, one of the owner’s sons deftly flipping the rounds from hotplate to table. Nearly everything in Gaza is improvised for want of the real thing, thanks to the unavailability of everyday items, banned by Israel. Abu Rami, the owner, pipes the qatayef batter through half a bottle, spout-side down. It does the job. He explains the sweet, how to make it and what filling to stuff it with, the...

Palestine Chronicle
Smooth Sailing for Obama Ahead?
25 Aug 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh The extended honeymoon that Barack Obama had enjoyed on assuming office at the White House last January is now over. The American president is expected to unveil several important decisions next month on various domestic and international issues that will put a label on his presidency that may determine the length of his stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, four or eight years. The extended honeymoon that Barack Obama had enjoyed on assuming office at the White House last January is now over. The American president is expected to unveil several important decisions next month on various domestic and international issues that will put a label on his presidency that may determine the length of his stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, four or eight years. There is no doubt that he will have to tread softly, but decisively, in these coming weeks, be they on such crucial issues as dealing with health-care insurance or foreign policy, particularly the Middle East. The fact, as reported by the Zogby Interactive poll, that President Obama’s “job approval rating has sunk to a record low of just 45 percent” may diminish his wielding power, especially in Congress despite the fact that his Democratic Party controls both houses. More striking, 51 percent of likely voters now say they disapprove of his job performance. No doubt the severe economic downturn and the growing American unpopularity in foreign lands, two issues that he unfortunately inherited from the Bush administration, may tie his hands in...

Boycotting the Claims of Benjamin Pogrund
25 Aug 2009 - By Frank Barat Benjamin Pogrund piece (See Guardian , August 24), arguing that "Boycotts only harden Israeli opinion", is a groundbreaking work of distortion of history, denial of facts, propaganda, disinformation and could have been written by Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime minister of Israel. Benjamin Pogrund should know better. He is wrong on pretty much every single argument he makes. Apartheid entirely applies to the State of Israel policies towards the Palestinians. We are here talking about "The Crime of Apartheid" (as defined by the 2002 Rome statute of the International Criminal Court). "inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." It lists such crimes as murder, enslavement, deprivation of physical liberty, forced relocation, sexual violence, and collective persecution. [1] Anyone who has recently been to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza knows that the above definition clearly describes Israel's policies towards the Palestinians and its "Arab minority" (understand Palestinians currently leaving in Israel, 20% of Israel's total population). There are many examples available, the more recent one being the eviction of 2 Palestinian families from occupied East Jerusalem to make space for Jewish only accommodations. He then goes on and describes this "conflict" as a "national-religious" struggle between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians". Again Mr. Pogrund uses right wing propaganda and the over...

Abbas Failed To Do the Honorable Thing 
24 Aug 2009 - By Hasan Afif El-Hasan Nations and organizations reward success. They elect and re-elect leaders who deliver and advance the interests of their constituency and they terminate the tenure of the failure, the incompetent and the corrupt. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had to step down when he was investigated for alleged corruption, and for his mishandling of the war against Hizbullah. In February 2001, the Israelis booted Ehud Barak out of office because of his failure to deal with the Palestinians and replaced him with Ariel Sharon by the widest margin in Israeli history. President Jimmy Carter, who later was awarded the Noble Peace Prize, negotiated the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel but he lost the second term election to Ronald Reagan for his failed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. President George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War but he lost the election to Bill Clinton for reneging on a campaign promise not to raise taxes. Tony Blair resigned both his leadership of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister for the low approval of his role in the Iraqi war. Egypt and Israel but he lost the second term election to Ronald Reagan for his failed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. President George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War but he lost the election to Bill Clinton for reneging on a campaign promise not to raise taxes. Tony Blair resigned both his leadership of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister...

Long Struggle to Reclaim Beersheva's Great Mosque
24 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Beersheva 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 whether to give the go-ahead to the municipality or insist on the mosque’s return to local Islamic authorities from whom it was confiscated 61 years ago. Muslim campaigners, however, are not hopeful. After seven years of foot-dragging by the judges, they fear the court will not risk setting a precedent that might force the return of dozens of other Islamic holy places seized decades ago by Israel. “There is so much paranoia from the government, the municipality and the courts about Muslims using this mosque again,” said Nuri al Uqbi, a 67-year-old Bedouin activist in Beersheva. “It was built with money raised from the local Bedouin and we should have the right to pray in it.” Israel’s treatment...

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