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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
27 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Mother of abducted soldier tells rally Palestinians want Shalit freed
28 Aug 2009 - Israeli sources reported that hundreds of Israelis rallied in Mitzpe Hila, where the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, is originally from, as he his birthday is on Friday.  

Israeli man held by Lebanese forces
28 Aug 2009 - Israeli security sources stated that an Israeli man was arrested on Tuesday by Lebanese security forces as he was walking near the Lebanese border village of Aitaroun. 

Netanyahu: “We didn’t agree on settlement freeze”
28 Aug 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister denied on Thursday that Israel agreed on a settlement freeze during talks with the U.S. administration. His statement came after the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that settlement freeze is essential to resume the Middle East peace Process. 

Jimmy Carter and religious Jews fast in solidarity with people of Gaza under siege
28 Aug 2009 - Former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife fasted in solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip who are living under siege. 

Hamdan: "Hamas still waiting Israel's response on a swap-deal mediated by Germany"
28 Aug 2009 - Osama Hamdan, head of the International Relations Office at the Hamas movement, stated Thursday that his movement is still waiting Israel’s response to a prisoner-swap deal mediated by Germany. He also accused President Mahmoud Abbas of attempting to obstruct the deal. 

Gaza: The Israeli military kills a Palestinian fisherman and injures another
27 Aug 2009 - Palestinian Fisherman was killed on Thursday after noon and another injured as Israeli navy opened fire at them off Gaza City shore.

The Israeli military kidnaps 13 Palestinian civilians from the West Bank
27 Aug 2009 - Israeli troops kidnapped on Thursday 13 Palestinian civilians during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities.

Ha'aretz Defense page

Palestinians: Israel navy fire kills man off Gaza coast
27 Aug 2009 - Gaza health official says two Palestinian men were on land when they were fired upon by navy. 

IDF court tosses evidence given by Israeli with poor Arabic
26 Aug 2009 - Researcher finds that for decades, police who interviewed Palestinians needed only spoken Arabic. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Israeli forces seize 10 Palestinians overnight
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces reportedly seized 10 Palestinians in overnight raids in the West Bank on Thursday. According to Ynet, the so-called "wanted" Palestinians were taken from Jenin, Qalqilya, Nablus and Ramallah. They were "taken for questioning" at an unknown location. [end] 

Israeli forces shut down Bethlehem-area radio station
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian radio fixture Radio Bethlehem 2000 was shut down this week when Israeli forces seized their transmission equipment during a raid. An Israeli force of five patrols stormed Radio Bethlehem 2000's headquarters in Beit Jala on Tuesday, warning that they did not want to hear any further attempts to broadcast their programs. The Palestinian radio station has been operating in the occupied territories for 13 years, and said in a statement received by Ma'an that this is not the first time Israeli troops have confiscated their equipment. The statement called on local and international organizations to intervene, and condemned the raid as an attack on press freedom. An army spokesman told AFP that the Israeli Ministry of Telecommunications made the decision "because transmissions were disrupting communications at Ben Gurion airport," and said, "This. . . 

Medics say Israeli forces killed Gaza fisherman
8/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian man was killed and another injured on Thursday when Israel's navy shelled a fishing boat just off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, medical officials told Ma'an. However an Israeli military spokesman denied the navy had anything to do with the incident. He said naval forces did not fire on the boat, nor otherwise cause the death of a man onboard. But earlier Thursday Dr Mu'awiyah Hassanein, the director of emergency and ambulance services at Gaza's Health Ministry, said Israeli shells killed 25-year-old Muhammad Nady Al-Attar when his head was severed from his body. One other fisherman was injured in the incident, which reportedly occurred while the two were fishing. Al-Attar was buried later on Thursday after a funeral procession in his home town of Beit Lahiya. 

Israel announces this year’s Ramadan entry restrictions
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli police on Thursday announced restrictions for Palestinians traveling from the West Bank to East Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers on the first week of the holy month of Ramadan. Police said they would allow men over 50 and women over 45, in addition to holders of special permits from the Civil Administration, to enter occupied East Jerusalem, Palestine's capital. Meanwhile, Israel Radio reported that thousands of police forces would be deployed in the Old City of Jerusalem to keep order. [end] 

Gaza fighters attempt shelling of Israeli position
8/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two Palestinian militias said that they clashed with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. The Jihad Jibril Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC), claimed that they launched mortar shells at an Israeli military installation at Nahal Oz, near Gaza City. An Israeli military spokesperson said that one mortar shell was observed landing inside Palestinian territory in roughly the same area. No casualties were reported by either side. Meanwhile the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the military wing of the PFLP, reported clashing with Israeli forces near the Martyrs Cemetery, announcing it had fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an Israeli tank in the area. Responding to this report, the military spokesperson said that there were no Israeli forces operating on the ground in the interior of Gaza, and that the army was aware of no such clashes. 

Report: US dropped demands for East J’lem settlement freeze
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The US has dropped a demand that Israel freeze settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital, an Israeli newspaper reported on Thursday. The newspaper Haaretz, citing Israeli officials and Western diplomats, reported that US envoy George Mitchell capitulated to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal during their meeting in London on Wednesday. US President Barack Obama and his administration have been pressuring Israel to freeze settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories in order to create conditions for renewed peace negotiations. State Department officials have said in the past that their demand includes East Jerusalem. Israeli occupied and then annexed East Jerusalem during the June 1967 war. Palestinians and the international community do not recognize the legitimacy of Israeli control in the eastern half of the city. 

Israel opens two Gaza crossings
8/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - As usual, Israel decided to open two border crossings into the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday, allowing in small shipments of food, fuel and other goods. Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian official in charge of liaising with Israeli authorities, 97 to 107 trucks loaded with commercial goods and humanitarian aid will be delivered through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Meanwhile,the Nahal Oz terminal will be open to allow in limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel used to run Gaza Strip's only power plant. Fattouh added that the Karni crossing, formerly the largest crossing point for goods, will be closed. [end] 

Israeli soldiers seize Jenin-area man
8/27/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided the village of Arrabah on Thursday at dawn abducting one man, and, for many in the village, disrupted their meal before daybreak. Palestinain security sources told Ma'an that the troops seized Kamal Mustafa Ka'kour, a 22-year-old. They raided and searched the houses of Mo'tasem Muhammad Abu Obeid Thursday at dawn. Abu Obeid was detained last week at the eastern gate of Barta'a. Local sources reported that the troops overran the village during their morning meal just before daybreak. Residents were forbidden from eating and forced to remain outside their houses until they finished searching. The meal is an important part of the day during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from daybreak to dusk. 

Rights group says Gaza City office attacked
8/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights said unknown assailants damaged its offices and stole laptops belonging to two of its researchers on Thursday. In a statement, the organization said the stolen computers contained statements and complaints filed by residents of Gaza City. It did not elaborate on the statements' content. The commission said it had filed a complaint to the Hamas-run de facto police department regarding the incident, and that officers were swift to cooperate, rushing to the scene and starting an investigation. But the group also called on all involved parties to implement the law and bring the perpetrators to justice. [end] 

Palestinian refugees from Iraq arrive in Slovakia
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Ninty-eight Palestinian refugees arrived in Slovakia onThursday from the Al-Walid refugee camp on the border of Iraq and Syria. The United Nations sponsored the transfer to Slovakia, where they be housed in a temporary transit camp. Thousands of Palestinians who fled the war in Iraq have been stranded on the Iraq-Syria border. According to Israeli reports, "Palestinian refugees will spend six months in Slovakia during which they will learn English, and then will be distributed among the countries that agreed to receive them where some of them will be heading to Australia, United States, Canada, and other countries. " [end] 

Bomb blast reported near Ramallah: No injuries
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians reportedly set off an explosive device near the Israeli separation wall near the village of Beit Ijza, south of the city of Ramallah on Wednesday night. No one was injured but the wall was damaged. Separately, Israeli forces discovered a pipe bomb near Nablus. No one was injured there either. [end] 

Former Irish leader Robinson has high hopes for Mitchell
8/27/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - United States special envoy George Mitchell is just the man for the job of Mideast peacemaking, former Irish President Mary Robinson said in an interview in Ramallah on Wednesday. The first female president of Ireland was in the West Bank wrapping up a tour of Israel and Palestine with the Elders, a group founded by former South African leader Nelson Mandela in 2007. She worked personally alongside Mitchell during his previous tenure as US special envoy for Northern Ireland in the 1990s. "I have a lot of experience, and indeed have a strong friendship, with George Mitchell because of his wonderful work in Northern Ireland," Robinson told Ma'an, adding that she expected "the same degree of success as he and others had" in Europe. "I wish him all the best. " US President Barack Obama appointed the former US Senate majority leader as his special envoy for the. . . 

Abbas to tour Arab, European countries by year’s end
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas intends to carry out a tour that will include a number of Arab and European countries, according to a leading Palestine Liberation Organization official on Wednesday. Yasser Abed Rabu, the PLO Executive Committee's secretary-general, said Abbas would visit Tunis, Algeria, Morocco, Spain and France. Rabu added that the president's goals were to "rescue" the peace process from Israeli threats and settlement activity, and shore up support from the international community in favor of a just resolution to Palestinian aspirations for statehood. [end] 

Haniyeh: Palestinians withstood largest air attack
8/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh urged Palestinians to unite in opposition to Israel during an address in Gaza on Wednesday evening. He was speaking at an iftar, the sunset meal that breaks the daylong fast during Ramadan, held in honor of the families of those who were killed in the three-week Israeli war on the Gaza Strip last winter. According to official Palestinian figures, more than 1,500 people were killed in the onslaught. Some 5,000 people crammed into the Khaled Ben Al-Walid school in the town of An-Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, for the iftar. Haniyeh sung the praises of Palestinian "steadfastness" during the war. "The Palestinians withstood the greatest air attack," he said. Palestinian Legislative Council Member Abdul Rahman Al-Jamal welcomed Haniyeh and praised his leadership during the war and ongoing siege of Gaza. 

Hamas: PA forces detained two members
8/27/2009 - The reported detentions occured in Nablus and Qalqiliya. - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority forces detained two Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Thursday according to Hamas. In a statement sent to Ma'an, Hamas reported that the two men were taken from Qalqiliya and Nablus. [end] 

Palestinians pray in the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza
8/27/2009 - Palestinians rest and pray in the Great Omari Mosque, also known as The Great Mosque of Gaza. - The Great Mosque is located in the Daraj Quarter of the Old City in Downtown Gaza, and has been used as a religious place since the ancient Philistines. It became a Byzantine church in the 5th century AD before the generals of Caliph Omar, the Mosque's namesake, conquered the Levant in 635 AD. Here Palestinians rest as others read the Koran on the fifth day of Ramadan inside the walls of the mosque. It remains in active use by the residents of the area as a sanctuary and holy site. Muslims throughout the world are celebrating the fasting month of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, refraining from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn to dusk. 

Trading down Thursday at securities exchange
8/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange in Nablus declined on Tuesday, with the Al-Quds Index closing at 502. 48, a decrease of. 22 points (. 04%). Trading Volume for Thursday reached 620,597 shares for a total value of 431,978. 18 US dollars over the course of 388 trades. The shares of 23 companies were traded, the shares prices of 15 companies rose, and the shares prices of four declined. [end] 

The National

Israel and US close to deal' 
27 Aug 2009 - A settlement construction freeze could pave the way for further negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

Baathists say they only attack Americans
27 Aug 2009 - Exiles dismiss televised confession of suspect in bombings who said he took his orders from Baath Party officials in Syria.

Hariri says Hizbollah will be included in united front against Israel
26 Aug 2009 - The incoming prime minister-designate says that Lebanon needs a unity government which includes a role for Hizbollah.

Hizbollah will be in cabinet' says Hariri 
26 Aug 2009 - The Lebanese prime minister-designate Saad Hariri says Hizbollah will be part of the next cabinet whether Israel likes it or not. 

Aljazeera

Merkel pushes Israel on settlements
27 Aug 2009 - German chancellor urges Israeli PM to halt building plans in occupied territories.

Khamenei: 'No proof' of chaos plot
27 Aug 2009 - Iran's supreme leader says he has no evidence foreigners backed post-election violence.

Alternative Information Center

Between Political Statements and Reality on the Ground: Eighteen Months Since the Annapolis Conference
26 Aug 2009 - To read the whole report, click here .  INTRODUCTION “The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement. In the meantime, we have no intention to build new settlements or of expropriating...

Defend Academic Freedom: Defend the Right to Talk About Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions
26 Aug 2009 - On Thursday, August 20 the LA Times published an op-ed in which Ben Gurion University Professor Neve Gordon, a prominent political scientist and long-time peace activist, wrote that the question that kept him up at night,...

Portrait of a Lady: Encounter with Suad Amiry
26 Aug 2009 - The books Sharon and My Mother in Law (2003) and No Sex in the City (2007) are the two most famous creations of the complex and creative personality of Palestinian author and architect Suad Amiry. When...

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...

Palestine News Network

Human rights organization reports on continued Israeli violations that includes attack on media
27 Aug 2009 - PNN - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued its report for the period of 20 through 26 August 2009, which includes Israeli forces wounding nine Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and killed three. The full report follows:PCHR - Israeli Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Continue to Impose a Total Siege...

European Commission: Fayyad plan shows willingness to continue fulfilling Road Map responsibilities
27 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - After Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced his plan for resistance to occupation that includes a clear program of development, many lauded his initiative. European Commission Representative, Christian Berger, issued his statement in response: The European Commission welcomes Prime Minister Fayyad's government programme and we are looking forward to further discussions with our Palestinian partners on how we can best...

Amidst settlement expansion and increases in evictions and demolitions, women work for justice
27 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Sona Arouri - The Jerusalem Center for Women is among tens of groups working to save Jerusalem from being entirely overtaken and its Palestinian character destroyed. A new plan to build 104 Israeli housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras Al Amud will further displace the 14,000 Palestinians currently living there. The occupying Israeli administration recently served 55 families...

They wore hoods and black clothes, shouting: This is Israel here, not Palestine
27 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Jérôme Anconina - While the US administration and the main EU Foreign Ministries seem to be in favor of slowing down the colonization process of occupied or annexed territories, the Israeli government is still responding to those efforts with a flat refusal. We were asleep. I didn’t hear them come in the house. I opened my eyes, they were wearing hoods...

Number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons for more than 20 years reaches 106
27 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN – Prisons affairs expert Abdel Nasser Ferwana issued new statistics today indicating that there are now 106 Palestinians who have spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons. A former political prisoner himself, Ferwana said that the passing of 20 years by Ra’ed Al Sa’adi brings the number to 106.In his role of Director of the Department of Statistics in...

Jimmy Carter and religious Jews fast in solidarity with people of Gaza under siege 
27 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN exclusive – Former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife fasted in solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip who are living under siege. About going without for day Carter laughed it off and said, “I didn’t miss the food at all, but I missed water.”He said, “I spent all day thinking of the people of Gaza and the...

No water in Aida Refugee Camp and surrounding neighborhoods for a month, protests and pleas for help
26 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – The water crisis has not abated for years in Palestine and now Aida Refugee Camp has gone a month without the critical liquid. Residents of the northern Bethlehem refugee camp appealed to the Governor, Abdel Fattah Hamayel, and the President of the Water Authority in Bethlehem Simon Araj to resolve the problem.Water in some parts of the camp and...

IRIN

SYRIA: Cleansing the olive oil business
DAMASCUS Thursday, August 27, 2009 (IRIN) - Syria’s huge olive oil industry is leaving its mark on the environment. Waste products from olive oil processing mills which are not properly disposed of are causing soil and water pollution, and killing plant and animal life.

YEMEN: IDP camp situation worsens
SANAA Thursday, August 27, 2009 (IRIN) - The humanitarian situation in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in war-ravaged Saada and neighbouring governorates in northern Yemen is worsening due to a lack of basic services - water, sanitation and food - UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Ann Veneman said in...

YEMEN: Upcoming flash appeal to tackle IDP problem
SANAA Thursday, August 27, 2009 (IRIN) - The UN and international aid organizations are calling for more help to tackle the worsening humanitarian crisis in northern Yemen as a result of clashes between government forces and a Shia rebel group.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Obama Steers the Peace Train On 
JERUSALEM, Aug 27 (IPS) - It isn't formal yet, but it's bound to be soon - within the coming six weeks, Palestinians and Israelis will again be sitting down around the peace table.

TAJIKISTAN: Recalling the Good Old Soviet Union 
PAMIR MOUNTAINS, Tajikistan, Aug 27 (IPS) - The collapse of the Soviet Union has brought misery to Tajikistan's remote eastern half. People are being driven once again to live as nomads.

MIDEAST: Critical Healthcare Fails to Recover 
RAMALLAH, Aug 26 (IPS) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that unless the siege of Gaza is lifted and a political solution implemented, Gaza's badly damaged health system will go from very bad to worse.

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.

Stop The Wall

Join the annual Palestinian olive harvest!
26 Aug 2009 - The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and its popular committees are coordinating collective efforts to safeguard the annual olive harvest and are calling on volunteers to stand in solidarity with Palestinian communities and join in the harvest, which will begin 15 October 2009. [

Jerusalem in July: Bulldozers strike Silwan and Beit Hanina
26 Aug 2009 - Conditions did not improve for Jerusalem residents in July. Occupation forces continued to destroy Palestinian homes, especially in the hot spots of Beit Hanina and Silwan, while issuing threats promising more of the same in the coming months. Palestinian civil society was also targeted, with police closing down the Nidal Center in Jerusalem. [

PCHR Latest

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

PCHR Weekly Report

(20 - 26 Aug.  2008), information on boycott, divestment and sanctions
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded 9 others in the Gaza Strip.  Another Palestinian is also missing.  In the West Bank, one Palestinian civilian was wounded.

International Solidarity Movement

The 'Elders', Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu visit the Apartheid wall in Bil’in
8/27/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Bil'in village, West Bank: Former US president Jimmy Carter, Mrs. Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa visited the site of the Apartheid Wall on the land of the village of Bil'in. The Carters and Archbishop Tutu came to Bil'in together with their colleagues from The "Elders" delegation, former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Norwegian prime minister Gro Brundtland, former Irish president and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, Indian human rights activist Ela Bhatt, and renowned businessmen Richard Branson and Jeff Skoll. Former president Carter pointed to the land on the other side of the wall where the settlement of Modi'in Illit is being built: "This is not Israel; this is Palestine and settlements must be removed from Palestinian land so that justice will be restored in the area. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Suicide bomber lightly wounds senior Saudi prince
27 Aug 2009 - A suicide bomber lightly wounded a senior prince largely credited for Saudi Arabia's anti-terrorism campaign when he blew himself up just before going into a gathering of well-wishers for theMuslim holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi state news agency said Friday. ...

Filmmakers protest uncritical view of Tel Aviv at Toronto film festival 
27 Aug 2009 - Several Canadian filmmakers plan to withdraw their movies from next month's Toronto International Film Festival to protest a weeklong cinematic homage to Tel Aviv. ... 

Anshel Pfeffer / Why Lieberman took on Sweden 
27 Aug 2009 - Who takes the prize for the most breathtaking display of hypocrisy in the wake of the silly organ-trafficking story in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet? The tabloid's editors, who are still insisting that the half-baked "report" based on 17-year-old rumors should lead to an international inquiry? The Israeli government, which has persisted in transforming gutter journalism into a full-blown diplomatic incident? Or perhaps the Swedish foreign minister, who insisted that he was not going to condemn the report since freedom of the press is sacred (no one suggested he censor the paper), but took a different line when cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper were used by Muslims around the world to justify arson and murder? ... 

Ted Kennedy honored Rabin with dirt from brothers' graves
27 Aug 2009 - When the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died on Tuesday, came to Israel in 1995 to attend the funeral of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, he had brought with him earth from the graves of his brothers, Sen. ...

Poland marks 65th anniversary of Lodz ghetto liquidation 
27 Aug 2009 - Aged Holocaust survivors commemorated the 65th anniversary ...

The Guardian

Letters: Back to the future in the Middle East
27 Aug 2009 - Jonathan Freedland offers no hint of a solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, only unhelpful brooding over much-disputed interpretations of the past ( Comment , 26 August). While he mentions the dispossession of the Palestinians, he...

Playing ball on the West Bank
27 Aug 2009 - Basketball is popular among Palestinians, but the conflict in the region means the league there lacks competitors. So US players have been invited over to make up teams. Film-maker Hannah Murphy reports from the bleachers It...

US peace plan gives Israel too much | Peter Beaumont
27 Aug 2009 - The Middle East talks look like an act of grand displacement unless Obama stops giving Israel an unequal say It may be early days in the hammering out of the details of a new US-sponsored plan...

Letters: Palestinians let down by the west
26 Aug 2009 - Your special reports on the West Bank (24-26 August) should be essential reading for western diplomats and politicians who failed to take any effective action to end settlements. Besides making a peaceful solution more complex, settlements...

Ha'aretz National page

Maccabi Haifa to face Bayern and Juventus in Champions League group stage
26 Aug 2009 - Israeli soccer champion Maccabi Haifa was drawn on Thursday to face Bayern Munich, Juventus and Girondins Bordeaux in the group stage of the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League. ...

Peres: Refusal to enroll Ethiopian students a disgrace no Israeli can accept
26 Aug 2009 - President Shimon Peres on Thursday slammed the refusal by a number of schools in Petach Tikva to enroll Ethiopian immigrant children. ...

American tourist rescued after two days stuck in West Bank pit
26 Aug 2009 - A 27-year old American tourist was rescued Thursday after being stuck in a pit in the northern West Bank for two days. ...

Relief Web

Palestine: Meeting with Palestinian and Israeli Midwives, Midwives for Peace - project update
27 Aug 2009 - Source: MADRE

UN envoy welcomes Palestinian announcement on state-building agenda
27 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories

Crown Prince presents 12 tons of dates to Palestinian people in Lebanon
27 Aug 2009 - Source: Government of Saudi Arabia

YNet News

University urges lecturer who endorsed boycott to resign
27 Aug 2009 - Ben-Gurion rector says status of lecturer who spoke in favor of boycott of Israel won't be compromised, but urges him to reach conclusions. University president: Demand for resignation legitimate 

Report: Lebanese army arrests Israeli man
27 Aug 2009 - Security source says man with psychological problems detained while wandering near southern Lebanese border village of Aitaroun. UNIFIL says engaged with Lebanese army, IDF to try and solve matter 

Binyamin Council celebrates 30 years 
27 Aug 2009 - Thousands participate in rally marking three decades since establishment of Binyamin Regional Council. 'This is our home,' one of settlers says. 'Even if we left – where would we go? This is our country' 

UN council extends Lebanon force with same mandate 
27 Aug 2009 - Security Council sidesteps issue of whether peacekeepers could do more to stop Hezbollah building up armed presence in southern Lebanon 

Ukrainian couple deported after 18 years in Israel 
27 Aug 2009 - Oz Unit arrests couple due to false documentation. Pair previously received deportation warrant but went missing. Daughter allowed to stay since married Israeli 

Shalit's mother apologizes for 'failing to bring him back'
27 Aug 2009 - Captive's family marks his birthday without him for fourth time since he was kidnapped by Hamas. Aviva Shalit asks her son to forgive her 'for failing to protect you and preventing the great suffering you are going through' 

Israel: increase UN efforts in Lebanon
27 Aug 2009 - Following recent incidents in south Lebanon, UN Security Council discusses extended UNIFIL's mandate. Israeli Ambassador Shalev warns of continued Hezbollah armament, quotes Secretary-General Ban's letter stating organization violated Resolution 1701 

B'tselem

Testimonies: Settlers filmed attacking shepherd near Susiya
26 Aug 2009 - On 10 Aug. '09, settlers attacked a Palestinian shepherd from Khirbet Susiya and stabbed a B’Tselem worker who photographed them. The victims identified the assailants and filed a complaint with police, who were given all the footage of the event.

Testimony: Settlers assault Palestinian shepherds
26 Aug 2009 - On 4 July '09, near the Avigail outpost, settlers assaulted two shepherds from Shu'b al-Buttom, attacked their sheep and destroyed property. Police arrived only hours later and believed the victims only when shown a cell-phone video of the assault.

Daily Star

Germany warns Israel 'time is short' on settlements 
27 Aug 2009

Shell-shocked Gaza children flock to martial arts classes 
27 Aug 2009

PLO elects six new executive council members at landmark meeting 
27 Aug 2009

NATO: Greece-Turkey row endangering troops 
27 Aug 2009

Palestinian Information Center

Is the PLO playing with the Palestinian national cause?
27 Aug 2009 - The PLO and the PA are moving steadily toward compromising inalienable Palestinian rights.

Hamdan confirms German mediation in prisoner swap deal
27 Aug 2009 - Osama Hamdan, a member of Hamas political bureau, confirmed the news on the German mediation in the prisoner swap deal, stating that his Movement did not ask for changing the Egyptian mediator.

MP Halaika: Retaining Hamas MPs in detention targets eliminating its majority
27 Aug 2009 - MP Samira Al-Halaika has denounced the silence of human rights groups, international institutions and centers claiming to advocate democracy over the continued detention of Hamas MPs in IOA jails.

IOF troops kidnap Hamas member during raid on Arraba town
27 Aug 2009 - A large number of IOF troops raided at an early hour Thursday Palestinian homes in Arraba town, south of Jenin, and kidnapped a Palestinian citizen affiliated with Hamas.

Farhan: The holy places in Jerusalem passing through crucial stage
27 Aug 2009 - Dr. Ishaq Farhan, the secretary-general of the Jordanian Islamic action front party, warned that the holy places are passing through a crucial stage and the Zionist threats are aggravating.

Abbas's militias kidnap two Hamas supporters
27 Aug 2009 - Security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the former PA chief and Fatah leader, have kidnapped two West Bank citizens for supporting the Hamas Movement.

European campaign asks UNESCO, UNRWA to save Gaza school year
27 Aug 2009 - The European campaign to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip has asked UNESCO and UNRWA to immediately intervene to save the new school year in Gaza Strip from collapse.

Resheq: The elections should be held within national consensus
27 Aug 2009 - Ezzat Al-Resheq stated that his Movement is willing to stand for legislative and presidential elections, but within the scope of national reconciliation and consensus.

Haneyya: Freeing prisoners is at hand
27 Aug 2009 - Ismail Haneyya, the Palestinian premier, has expressed confidence that the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli occupation authority (IOA) jails was now nearer than ever before.

Barhoum: Abbas can no longer be trusted to lead the Palestinian people
27 Aug 2009 - The Hamas Movement has accused Mahmoud Abbas of misleading the Palestinian people after he called for the PNC to convene in Ramallah although it has lost its legitimacy a long time ago.

Los Angeles Times

Iran's supreme leader downplays foreign links to unrest 
27 Aug 2009 - Ali Khamenei, speaking at a college in a bid to calm political waters, says the post-election protests were planned far in advance but not engineered by Western governments. In a move seen as an attempt to woo disenchanted moderates and reformists back into the political establishment, Iran's supreme leader said in comments published today that he was unconvinced the leaders of the recent anti-government unrest were acting on behalf of foreign interests, distancing himself from assertions made by hard-liners. 

Iranian hard-liners target 2 major reform parties 
26 Aug 2009 - The prosecution in the trial of reform leaders urges the judge to outlaw the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Islamic Revolution Mujahedin Organization. Hard-line supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used Iran's judiciary to target two major moderate political parties Tuesday in their boldest attempt to excise the nation's reform movement from the political scene. 

Israel airstrike on Gaza tunnel kills 3 
26 Aug 2009 - The attack on the smuggling route to Egypt also wounds seven. Israel says the strike is in retaliation for a mortar attack in the south that wounded a soldier. An Israeli airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between the Gaza Strip and Egypt killed three Palestinians inside and wounded seven on Tuesday in the deadliest Israeli attack on the volatile border area in months, a Palestinian Health Ministry official said. 

New York Times

Germany and France Take Hard Line on Iran
27 Aug 2009 - On the eve of the publication of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran, the Western powers are threatening stronger sanctions on Tehran. 

Iran’s Factional Disputes Grow Increasingly Bitter
26 Aug 2009 - Presidential aides lashed out at two former presidents, an influential cleric said government officials had taken a “deviant path,” and a Web site reported that the Tehran prosecutor had been fired. 

Shiite Power Broker Dies, in Blow to Iraqi Party
26 Aug 2009 - Abdul Aziz al-Hakim had longstanding ties with Iran but was also a supporter of the U.S. invasion. 

Misc

Hariri says Hizbollah will be included in united front against Israel 
8/26/2009 - The National - BEIRUT // Lebanon needs a unity government that includes a role for the Islamic resistance movement Hizbollah to effectively ward off Israeli aggression, according to the incoming prime minister-designate, Saad Hariri. “I want to assure the Israeli enemy that Hizbollah will be in the government, whether the enemy likes it or not, because the interests of the country require that we all take part in this government,” he told supporters gathered for a Ramadan dinner at his Beirut home on Tuesday. The new Israeli administration led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that should Hizbollah participate in the unity government Mr Hariri has been attempting to form since June, it would consider all Lebanese government infrastructure to be legitimate military targets. Hizbollah and Israel have been engaged in an increasingly heated public relations battle that some fear could be a precursor to another round of violent conflict. 

Rumors of a Middle East peace breakthrough appear premature 
8/27/2009 - The National - Israel's predictions that it is close to reaching a compromise deal in response to US demands for a settlement freeze are being viewed with scepticism as prime minister Netanyahu insists Jerusalem's status is non-negotiable. " A report by The Guardian newspaper that Israel is close to a White House Middle East peace deal - linking a partial freeze on Israeli settlements to sweeping sanctions on Iran - has captured diplomatic attention in Europe, though some details are being met with scepticism," The Christian Science Monitor reported. " Most experts doubt the Obama team is ready to fuse the two crucial policies, particularly in the aftermath of Iranian elections. " Yet with French president Nicolas Sarkozy today suggesting 'reinforced sanctions' on Iran if Tehran's nuclear policy does not change by a September 20 UN summit, and expressing support for a Palestinian state and immediate freeze 

Israel and US ‘close to deal’ 
8/28/2009 - The National - RAMALLAH // Israeli media reports suggest that the United States and Israel are close to a deal on a settlement construction freeze to pave the way for a resumption of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. However, the deal as reported would not be the complete freeze that both Washington and the Palestinians have been looking for. This could complicate the resumption of negotiations and would leave Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president and head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, in an extremely awkward position. It would also be a blow to Barack Obama, the US president, as he seeks improved ties with Arab and Muslim countries. According to a report in yesterday’s Haaretz newspaper, the United States has dropped its insistence that Israel cease settlement construction in East Jerusalem. 

Bibi in control until Obama calls settlements illegal 
8/27/2009 - The National - In June, Barack Obama declared to the consternation of Israel that “the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements”. Since then the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has chipped away at the principle of a total freeze on settlement building with what looks like increasing success. After discussions in London with Mr Obama’s Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, the Israelis appear to have persuaded Washington to exclude East Jerusalem from the proposed settlement freeze. This means that, during the proposed peace talks, construction of homes for Jewish settlers will proceed apace within the boundaries of Jerusalem, which were greatly expanded by Israel to take in sections of the West Bank. Under what the Israelis call a “compromise” with Mr Mitchell, it looks like the freeze will turn into a moratorium of around six months. 

’Hizbollah will be in cabinet’ says Hariri 
8/26/2009 - The National - The Lebanese prime minister-designate Saad Hariri said yesterday Hizbollah will be part of the next cabinet “whether Israel likes it or not,” as his bid to form a government entered its eight week. “The national unity government will include the (ruling) March 14 alliance, and I also want to assure the Israeli enemy that Hizbollah will be in this government whether it likes it or not because Lebanon’s interests require all parties be involved in this cabinet,” Mr Hariri said at an Iftar feast to break the Ramadan fast last night. There has been an escalating war of words in recent days between Israel and Hizbollah, which fought a 34-day war in 2006 that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon and 160 Israelis. Earlier this month, Israel warned that the Lebanese government as a whole would be blamed for any attack from its territory if the Shiite militant group were part of the new government. 

U.S. drops demand for Israel building freeze in East Jerusalem 
8/27/2009 - Ha'aretz - BERLIN - The Obama administration has agreed to Israel's request to remove East Jerusalem from negotiations on the impending settlement freeze. According to both Israeli officials and Western diplomats, U. S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has recognized the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot announce a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem. The officials said the U. S. will not endorse new construction there, but would not demand Jerusalem publicly announce a freeze. Netanyahu presented a proposal on Wednesday for resolving the ongoing Israeli-American dispute over construction in the settlements. In a meeting with Mitchell, Netanyahu suggested a temporary freeze, reportedly for nine months, on construction in the West Bank, a government source said. Netanyahu also said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' reported willingness to meet with him was "a positive first step. " 

Netanyahu and Abbas both say ready for talks 
8/26/2009 - Ha'aretz - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said he was prepared to begin peace negotiations on every issue Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was interested in raising, but emphasized that he reserved the right to raise "core" issues of his own. Earlier Wednesday, Abbas said he was willing to accept Netanyahu's invitation to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. " If Abu Mazen [Abbas] really means what he has said, then this is a positive development," Netanyahu said, briefing reporters after flying to Berlin from London. "I've been saying for quite some time that I am ready to renew negotiations. " Netanyahu, who is on a four-day European tour, said he was open to discussing the future of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and permanent borders. He added, however, that he would raise during negotiations Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and 

Playing ball on the West Bank 
8/27/2009 - The Guardian - Basketball is popular among Palestinians, but the conflict in the region means the league there lacks competitors. So US players have been invited over to make up teams. Film-maker Hannah Murphy reports from the bleachers -- It is a Palestinian academic in London who, in an aside to his speech, mentions that the national basketball team has no one to play against due to the heavy travel restrictions of the West Bank. Intrigued, I come across a new website with details of 18 basketball teams in the West Bank, and six in Gaza. The small print in the bottom left-hand corner reads: "If anyone would like to come and help us, we would be grateful – T Awartani. "I attempt to contact Mr Awartani (I assume it is a man). Within a week, I receive an email from Tamara Awartani, 27, a Palestinian basketball player. She has created the site to raise the profile of the game there. 

Jumblatt: the Middle East bellwether 
8/27/2009 - The Guardian - The shift in allegiances of Lebanon's chameleon-like Druze leader has sent tremors through the country's political system - For almost three months the headlines of Lebanon's papers have told a similar story of the deadlock in forming a cabinet. The optimism that followed the victory of the March 14 alliance – made up of the Progressive Socialist party (PSP), the Future Movement and others – in June's elections has been lost in the maze of internal and external politics. Arguably one of the most significant turning points can be attributed to an astonishing shift in the allegiances of the PSP leader, Walid Jumblatt, on 2 August – from seemingly being Syria's arch-enemy in Lebanon to heading back into the Damascene fold. The ramifications of Jumblatt's departure from the (Saudi and US-backed) March 14 alliance continue to send tremors through the country's fragile political system. 

Israeli lawyer sues ’Aftonbladet’ in NY Court 
8/27/2009 - Jerusalem Post - Israeli lawyer Guy Ophir has filed a lawsuit against the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet over an article it published in which IDF soldiers were accused of harvesting organs from Palestinians. The $7. 5 million suit, which names the paper and writer Donald Bostrom, was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, according to Ophir, who said the article's allegations were anti-Semitic and amounted to "racist blood libel" against Jews and Israeli soldiers. " It's something Goebbels would have written," Ophir told The Jerusalem Post. He said he filed the suit in New York because the newspaper had representatives there; the paper is also distributed in New York, and the article made reference to a Jew from New Jersey arrested earlier this month on organ trafficking charges. "The lawsuit, it comes from anger," Ophir said, adding that he would donate any money from damages to charity, including the IDF. 


Articles

Neve Gordon and the Boycott of Israel 
Gideon Levy, CounterPunch 8/27/2009
      The Last Refuge
     The timing of the mini-maelstrom over an opinion piece by Neve Gordon, who teaches politics and government at Be’er Sheva’s Ben-Gurion University, calling for a boycott of Israel, was somewhat grotesque. Hardly have the throats dried of those calling for his dismissal, for his citizenship to be revoked, for his expulsion and, if all else fails, his stoning, when another petition has surfaced on the Internet, this one calling for a boycott of Ikea. A bad article on the back page of a Swedish tabloid is enough to produce a call here for a consumer boycott to which thousands sign their names. Turkey has barely recovered from the boycott that our package tourers imposed on it because its prime minister had the gall to attack our president, and already we are cruising toward our next boycott target. It’s our right.
     It’s a safe bet that most of the boycotters of Antalya and Ikea are the same people who want to tar-and-feather the Israeli professor who dared promulgate the use of the very same civic weapon. According to the Israelis who railed against Gordon, the imposition of a boycott is a legitimate, perhaps even effective, means of punishment that can be invoked against our enemies, real or imagined. Gordon, an Israeli patriot who served in the Paratroops and is raising his two children here, thinks that a 42-year-long criminal occupation should generate at least as much international protest as an article in a Swedish newspaper, and that this protest can and should be translated into concrete measures. The Israelis think that one scurrilous article is enough to warrant punishing everything Swedish, and that one comment by a prime minister is enough to do the same to everything Turkish. Gordon thinks the occupation is a sufficiently important motive to boycott everything Israeli.
     Since the time of the ban imposed in the Jewish community by Rabbeinu Gershom at the turn of the first millennium, which applies to offenses of considerably less severity than mistreating 3.5 million people - namely, marrying more than one woman, divorcing a woman without her consent and reading private correspondence without the owner’s consent - the boycott has been a just and appropriate civil weapon. And since the boycott of the apartheid regime in South Africa, the boycott has also been an effective weapon.... more.. e-mail

Israel turns up the heat to evict Bedouin from desert lands 
Jonathan Cook in Amra, Redress 8/27/2009
      Jonathan Cook looks at Israeli racism and apartheid in action in the Negev, where Bedouin citizens of Israel are being officially harassed and hounded out of their homes to make way for a nearby expanding Jews-only town.
     The inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Amra have good reason to fear that the harsh tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been imported to their small corner of Israel’s Negev desert. Over the summer, the Tarabin tribe, all of them Israeli citizens, have had the sole access road to their homes sealed off, while the dirt track they must use instead is regularly blocked by temporary checkpoints at which their papers and vehicles are inspected at length. Coils of razor wire encircle much of the village, and children as young as eight have been arrested in a series of night-time raids. “Four-fifths of our youngsters now have files with the police and our drivers are being repeatedly fined for supposed traffic violations,” said Tulab Tarabin, one of Amra’s 400 Bedouin inhabitants. “Every time we are stopped, the police ask us: ‘Why don’t you leave?’” Lawyers and human rights activists say a campaign of pressure is being organized against the Tarabin at the behest of a nearby Jewish community, Omer, which is determined to build a neighbourhood for Israeli army officers on the tribe’s land. “The policy in Israel is that when Jews need land, the Bedouin must move -- no matter how long they have been living in their homes or whether their communities predate Israel’s creation,” said Morad al-Sana, a lawyer with the Adalah legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority. “The Tarabin’s crime is that they refuse to budge. more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
Nahr al-Bared a test case for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
27 Aug 2009 - NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon (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. 

Prison walls
27 Aug 2009 - "Nasser says hello," the woman said as she stood in my doorway and smiled. I was barely able to choke out, "Say hello to him too." Nasser, the woman's husband, was in prison. He was arrested on 20 July during a peaceful demonstration in his West Bank village of al-Tuwani. He did nothing wrong, nothing but build a house on land he owns. A Palestinian need do nothing more to be treated like a criminal. Joy Ellison writes from al-Tuwani, occupied West Bank. 

An impossible reconciliation
27 Aug 2009 - It may not be unknown that Abbas and his Ramallah Authority can only function within specified parameters tailored for the convenience, indeed the security needs, of the occupying power and the pro-Israel policies of its foreign supporters. Hamas has no place within that tightly built scheme. Despite Hamas' willingness to enter the political system and play by the rules, the idea has been to eliminate the resistance movement from the equation completely, permitting it no political role whatsoever. Hasan Abu Nimah comments. 

Eviction of Israel's Bedouin parallels army's West Bank tactics
27 Aug 2009 - The inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Amra have good reason to fear that the harsh tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been imported to their small corner of Israel's Negev desert. Over the summer, the Tarabin tribe, all of them Israeli citizens, have had the sole access road to their homes sealed off, while the dirt track they must use instead is regularly blocked by temporary checkpoints at which their papers and vehicles are inspected at length. 

In Gaza
welcome, sit down, share our meal: Gaza Ramadan day 6
27 Aug 2009 - I wandered along near-empty streets, taking advantage of the immediately pre-maghreb quiet to appreciate the sea and sky without many people around. The sun almost down, I continued walking, streets even emptier except for the odd, mad taxi rushing to wherever their iftaar meal would take place.  Gaza is normally a bustling place, even when the fuel prices were highest, the streets were still crowded with people and horse and donkey carts. But tonight all were inside somewhere readying for the fast breaking. I wanted to walk, then to write, and I ended up at Delice, a coffeeshop/restaurant whose staff have been accommodating since I fist arrived in Gaza, allowing...

Palestine Chronicle
Fighting for the Right to Walk
27 Aug 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud - Gaza's troubles have somehow been relegated, if not completely dropped from the mainstream media’s radar, and subsequently the world’s conscience and consciousness. Weaning the public from the sadness there conveys the false impression that things are improving and that people are starting to move on and rebuild their lives. But nothing could be further from the truth. Since the conclusion of Israel’s war last year, the Palestinian Ministry of Health declared that 344 Gaza patients have reportedly been added to the swelling number of casualties. Khaled Abed Rabbu, once a young father of four is a precise living example, such an eloquent paradigm of what no human being ought to endure in this world laden with international human rights organizations, mediators, advocates and diplomats. His house was completely destroyed, as were two of his little girls. He buried 7 year old Soad and Amal, just two, soon after burying any hope that Samar his 4 year old daughter’s future would be any less bleak. According to an IslamOnline report, Khaled’s wife, Kawthar lined up the children in front of their house in the Jabaliya refugee camp, holding a white flag. But their internationally recognized gesture was disregarded by Israeli forces and the shelling of their home and family commenced. These miserable events unfolded at Christmastime last year, when the Rabbu family was reduced by nearly half. But since then, they, and a disgracefully large number of other such families, have somehow slipped our minds. Completely surrounded still,...

Israel Turns Up the Heat to Evict Bedouin from Desert Lands
26 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Amra The inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Amra have good reason to fear that the harsh tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been imported to their small corner of Israel’s Negev desert. Over the summer, the Tarabin tribe, all of them Israeli citizens, have had the sole access road to their homes sealed off, while the dirt track they must use instead is regularly blocked by temporary checkpoints at which their papers and vehicles are inspected at length.Coils of razor wire encircle much of the village, and children as young as eight have been arrested in a series of night-time raids. “Four-fifths of our youngsters now have files with the police and our drivers are being repeatedly fined for supposed traffic violations,” said Tulab Tarabin, one of Amra’s 400 Bedouin inhabitants. “Every time we are stopped, the police ask us: ‘Why don’t you leave?’” Lawyers and human rights activists say a campaign of pressure is being organized against the Tarabin at the behest of a nearby Jewish community, Omer, which is determined to build a neighborhood for Israeli army officers on the tribe’s land. "The policy in Israel is that when Jews need land, the Bedouin must move – no matter how long they have been living in their homes or whether their communities predate Israel’s creation,” said Morad al Sana, a lawyer with the Adalah legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority. “The Tarabin’s crime is that...

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['s] 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. 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 used...

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