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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
29 August , 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Palestine Radio: "Trilateral Abbas, Obama and Netanyahu meeting depends on full settlement freeze"
29 Aug 2009 - The Palestine Radio reported Saturday that the trilateral meeting between president Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.S. President, Barack Obama, is totally based on an agreement regarding a complete freeze of settlement activities. 

Troops invade Bil'in, kidnap two Palestinians
29 Aug 2009 - Israeli soldiers invaded Bil’in village, near the central West Bank City of Ramallah, on Saturday at dawn, broke into a number of homes and kidnapped two Palestinians. 

Archbishop Tutu: "Arabs paying the price of Germany's crimes"
29 Aug 2009 - In an Interview with Haaretz newspaper, Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated that Israel must learn from the Holocaust that it cannot gain security thought fences, walls and guns. 

Egypt: "Settlement freeze must include Jerusalem"
28 Aug 2009 - Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmad Abu Al Gheit, stated Friday that an official Israeli declaration of a complete halt of settlement construction, including in Jerusalem, must be made in order to resume the stalled peace process. 

Hamas delegates return to Gaza after talks with Egyptian officials
28 Aug 2009 - Hamas delegates, headed by Mahmoud Zahhar, returned to Gaza on Friday after holding urgent talks with senior Egyptian security officials on the latest developments regarding a possible prisoner-swap deal. 

The Israeli military attacks the weekly protest ion Nil'in
28 Aug 2009 - One young man was injured and dozens of Palestinians and internationals suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in N'ilin village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. 

Several injuries reported in Bil'in weekly noneviolent protest
28 Aug 2009 - Three nonviolent protestors were injured and dozens were suffocated after inhaling teargas fired by the Israeli army during the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall in Bil'in village, near the central West Bank. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

ANALYSIS / The IAEA report on Iran lacks the bottom line
29 Aug 2009 - Iran's nuclear program may have a military dimension, but the report avoids stating that unequivocally. 

IAF strikes Gaza smuggling tunnel after Qassam attack
29 Aug 2009 - Qassam hit southern Israel Saturday; Attack was one of several recent incidents along Gaza border. 

Can Netanyahu and Obama rein in both the Israeli right and Iran's clerics?
28 Aug 2009 - Netanyahu knows he will have to make concessions if the U.S. is to deal with the Iranian threat. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Soldiers invade Bil’in overnight, seize two Palestinians
8/30/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Dozens of soldiers raided the Ramallah-area village of Bil'in early Saturday and detained two Palestinians, according to a local official and an Israeli spokesman. "Two houses were raided simultaneously by at least 40 soldiers," said Iyad Burnet, head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, who added that the operation occurred at about 3:30am. He told Ma'an over the phone that the two young men, Ashraf Mohammad Jamal Tofik Al-Khatib, 29, and Hamru Hisham Burnat, 24, were seized from their homes for participating in weekly anti-wall protests. Approached by Ma'an, an Israeli military spokesman confirmed that two "wanted" Palestinians were indeed arrested in Bil'in overnight, but said he was unable to immediately confirm why. And while Burnet said it was news to him the army was looking for the two young men, he speculated that they were detained for participating in the protests there. 

Israeli forces raid Nablus, detain five Palestinians
8/29/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday morning and detained a Palestinian woman and four men, according to local sources. The Palestinian sources identified the detained woman as 26-year-old Ghufran Zamil, who was apprehended from her home on Sikka Street near the Al-Ein refugee camp. Sources close to Hamas explained that Zamil worked as a secretary for the Hamas-affiliated "Palestine" newspaper before it was banned by the Palestinian Authority. The other four detainees were identified as 33-year-old Sami As-Sadir, Muhammad Muna, Rami Al-Wazani, and Qasim Jarwan. [end] 

Day after ’Elders’ visit, three injured at anti-wall rally
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three Palestinians were injured and dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation at a demonstration against the separation barrier at Bil'in village on Friday. The protest came a day after the arrival of the Elders, a delegation of leaders brought together by the anti-apartheid activist and former South African president Nelson Mandela. In a statement, the Ramallah-area chapter of the Popular Committee Against the Wall identified three Palestinians it said were lightly injured: Rani Burnat, Omar Attamemi, and Zuhdya Al-Khatib. Soldiers opened fire with CS gas and at least one live shot into the air in response to an attempt by villagers to reach land owned by Bil'in that was seized by the Israeli military for a nearby settlement, the statement said. The demonstration started at the center of the village directly after Friday prayers, with participation of international and Israeli peace activists, according to the committee. 

Egypt FM: Israel must halt J’lem settlements before talks
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - East Jerusalem must be included in any Israeli settlement freeze before peace talks can resume with the Palestinians, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit announced in Stockholm on Friday. He also said the Palestinian capital was Arab "and it will continue to be so," the AP reported. Aboul-Gheit added that Arab countries, called upon by US President Barack Obama to make preliminary steps toward normalization with Israel, would not agree to anything before Israel stopped building settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, made similar remarks in Washington earlier in August. But he said Arab states would not normalize ties until an entire peace deal was signed with the Palestinians. Speaking with the daily Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, Mubarak said the experience of 1991's Madrid peace conference discouraged. . . 

Fighting for the right to walk
8/29/2009 - 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 Health Ministry 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. 

Hundreds of patients, others return to Gaza via Rafah
8/29/2009 - Al-A'rish - Ma'an - Egyptian authorities allowed 397 stranded Palestinians to reenter the Gaza Strip following Umrah prayers in Mecca on Thursday and Friday, authorities told Ma'an. Some 2,144 Palestinians traveled to Mecca for the annual Muslim pilgrimage this year, border officials explained. Meanwhile, 147 sick Palestinians seeking hospital treatment in Egypt reportedly returned to Gaza over the last two days, as well. At least five patients traveled from Gaza to Egypt, the border officials said. [end] 

Israel: Palestinian with knife arrested in Hebron
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Soldiers arrested a Palestinian outside Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque on Friday, according to Israeli news reports. The Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that border guard forces seized the Palestinian "who received a knife from another Palestinian" outside the mosque. It was not immediately clear what suspicions led to the detention, which the newspaper said was still being investigated, nor why only one of the two Palestinians allegedly involved was detained. [end] 

Israel: Projectile fired from Gaza struck western Negev
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A homemade projectile fired from northern Gaza struck an open field in the western Negev on Saturday, according to Israeli news reports. The Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the projectile landed in the Sdot Negev Regional Council area in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which might have been in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike early Tuesday morning that killed three Palestinians and injured nine others. The Israeli military said that attack came in response to mortar fire from Gaza. According to Israeli sources, Palestinians fired two or three mortar shells from northern Gaza at the Zikim military base, south of the city of Ashkelon, on Monday night. One Israeli soldier was reportedly injured in the head when he dove for cover. 

Report: Gaza fighters survive Israeli artillery attack
8/29/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinians said they witnessed an Israeli operation against gunmen near the Al-Bureij and Al-Maghazi refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday morning. An Israeli military spokeswoman denied the country's forces were in the area at the time, and said she had no knowledge of any such operation against Palestinian gunmen. Ma'an could not independently verify either conflicting report. Onlookers said artillery fire targeted a group of fighters east of Al-Bureij. They added that military vehicles, stationed at the eastern Gaza Strip border, opened fire with machine guns toward homes in the two camps. Whatever the case, no injuries were reported in the alleged incident. 

EU backs Fayyad plan for de facto Palestinian state
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's proposal for a de facto Palestinian state by 2011 has the support of the European Union, according to Christian Berger, a European Commission representative. "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 support it," he said in a statement. The initiative aims at consolidating the state-building achievements of the Palestinian Authority by 2011. "It also confirms the Palestinian Authority's commitment to the two-state solution, its willingness to fulfil its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and to respect its obligations under the Road Map," Berger noted. "The European Commission will continue steadfastly to support all efforts at Palestinian state-building. 

UN secretary-general: Palestinians need unity
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Palestinians need a united front to negotiate with Israel, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon insisted at a news conference in Vienna on Friday. "It will be crucially important that the Palestinian peoples are united among themselves and should be able to carry on these negotiations," Reuters quoted the UN chief as saying. Palestine has been internally split since 2007, when a brief but violent civil war left Hamas' de facto government in charge of Gaza and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority still in control of the West Bank. Noting that the Arab League-backed peace initiative already provided a cornerstone for negotiations, he added, "[A]t the same time we also value. . . bilateral negotiations between Israel and Palestinian authorities. " The initiative provides normalized relations with Israel and all Arab and Muslim countries on the. . . 

EU foreign policy chief Solana to visit Ramallah
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana is scheduled to take a four-day trip to the Middle East next week as part of renewed international efforts to end the conflict, his office said in a statement on Friday. Solana will visit Syria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon to hold talks with the leaders of these countries on the Middle East peace process, the statement said. In Damascus, Solana will meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, then he will leave to Israel to hold meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other foreign and defense officials on Monday. On Tuesday, Solana will head to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as well as meet with EU officials working in the occupied territories. He then heads to Beirut for meetings with Lebanese President Michel Sulaiman,. . . 

Egypt stops African migrants en route to Israel
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Egyptian border guards on Saturday stopped and arrested three Africans at Egypt's border trying to sneak into Israel, security sources in Cairo said. According to the sources, one of the immigrants was from central Africa, one from the Sudan, and one from Eritrea. They told interrogators that each paid about 2,000 US dollars to smuggling gangs who promised to help them. Separately, according to the same sources, a Sudanese man tried to cross the border from Israel to Egypt, south of the Rafah crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip, but was arrested by Egyptian security right after crossing over the border fence. [end] 

Mash’al won’t hold official talks in Jordan
8/29/2009 - Amman - Ma'an - Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mash'al is not scheduled to hold any official meetings during his visit to Jordan on Saturday, according to Mousa Abu Marzouq, his deputy. Mash'al's father, 91-year-old Abed Ar-Raheem Mash'al, died on Friday in Jordan and was expected to be buried there. Abu Marzouq told the Jordanian daily newspaper "Al-Ghad" that Mash'al would arrive in Amman for his father's funeral, and would stay two days for condolences. There will be no meetings with Jordanian officials as the visit is purely humanitarian, he said. Mash'al had been banned from the kingdom for over ten years. Jordan and Hamas have had poor relations since five of the Islamic movement's members, including Khaled Mash'al, were expelled to Qatar in 1999. In 2006, Jordan charged others with smuggling weapons from Syria. 

Abbas departs for tour of Europe, Arab states
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas will start a five-day visit to Arab and European countries in an effort to explain the Palestinian attitude toward a resumption of peace negotiations with Israel. He arrived in Amman on Friday, from where he was to depart later on Saturday. The tour comes ahead of the United Nations General Assembly meeting scheduled for September. Palestinians suspect US President Barack Obama may announce his vision for reactivating the peace process in the region. Abbas was expected to visit Qatar, Libya, Italy, Spain, and France before returning via Cairo and Amman. [end] 

In Jordan, thousands attend funeral for Mash’al’s father
8/29/2009 - Amman - Ma'an - Thousands of Palestinians attended a funeral procession for the father of Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mash'al in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Saturday. Abed Ar-Raheem Mash'al died at 91 on Friday in Jordan, and was buried there on Saturday. At his funeral was Salim Az-Zanoun, head of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), who expressed condolences on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, who hours earlier departed Amman for Qatar. Senior Jordanian figures were also in attendance, including the secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood. The elder Mash'al's son Khaled entered the kingdom on Saturday after he was granted special permission by Jordan's King Abdullah. The Hamas leader had been banned from entering for over ten years. The Hamas chief was not scheduled to hold any official meetings during his stay. 

Sources: Gaza minister’s son caught smuggling hashish
8/29/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Sources told Ma'an that Hamza Ahmad Al-Kurd, son of the de facto government's minister of social affairs, was recently caught smuggling 21 joints of hashish in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The sources explained that the Hamas-run government's prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, gave directives that the the minister's son be tried immediately despite his family connections. If convicted, Al-Kurd could face up to two years in prison. [end] 

Conciliation committee to meet Fatah leadership
8/29/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The secretary-general of the Conciliation Committee, formed to resolve the inter-Palestinian split that began in 2007, said on Saturday he would host Fatah's Central Committee for talks on ending the disunity. The official, Iyad As-Sarraj, said in a statement that the meeting would include specifically the Fatah's leaders who had participated in several rounds of dialogue in Cairo, as well as caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The independent committee, made up of representatives from both Gaza and the West Bank, includes a number of academics, presidents of universities, independent political figures and civil society members, including human rights organizations. The meeting will poll the views of Fatah members in the West Bank and examine the chances of finally resolving a unity agreement with the movement's rival Hamas party, which has controlled the Gaza Strip for two years, he said. 

The National

US denies making deal with Israel
29 Aug 2009 - The United States has denied reports that it is in the process of agreeing to compromise on its position that all Israeli settlement construction should be completely frozen.

Attack on Saudi royal highlights terror risks
29 Aug 2009 - Saudi Arabia tries to play down the attempted assassination of Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

Jordanian trial sends message to Iran
28 Aug 2009 - The prosecution reflects concern in the kingdom about the growing support for Islamic militant groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas.

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

Aljazeera

Israeli planes strike Gaza building
29 Aug 2009 - Israeli military say the building was used by Palestinians to carry out cross-border attacks.

Iran 'mass trial' prosecutor fired
29 Aug 2009 - Judiciary chief orders investigation into allegations of prisoner abuses.

Palestine News Network

Despite summer heat and military restrictions, thousands pray at Al Aqsa on first Friday of Ramadan
29 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN - Thousands of worshipers reached Al Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers suffering from fatigue. Temperatures were high on the first Friday of Ramadan, and crossing the Israeli military barriers that surround the city was difficult.The Islamic Waqf estimated that about 80,000 worshippers filled Al Aqsa Mosqu and the courtyards, gathering under the shade of trees to...

Western Ramallah town hit again early Saturday, two more arrests 
28 Aug 2009 - Bil’in / PNN - Early this morning Israeli forces again invaded Bil’in Village. The frequent night raids are the stuff of daytime protests that bring international supporters to Palestinian activists who are normally rallying against the Wall and settlements. Around 3:30 am Saturday several military jeeps entered the western Ramallah town through the gate in the Wall, and from the neighboring villages of...

Nothing goes in and out of the occupied areas or moves between its cities without his approval
28 Aug 2009 - Beit Sahour / Mazin Qumsiyeh - The Israelis named this week, Eitan Dangot to direct the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in the Israel army. He will be promoted to Major General and is a ruler of Palestinians. He is certainly more important and more powerful than Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. Nothing goes in and out...

Head of EU foreign policy taking meetings during regional visit beginning Sunday 
28 Aug 2009 - Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), will visit the Middle East from Sunday, 30 August to Wednesday, 2 September 2009. He will be taking meetings with Palestinian, Syrian, Israeli and Lebanese officials.The takes place in the context of the major push by the international community towards a resolution of the “Israeli-Arab conflict.”In Damascus on Sunday...

World Council of Churches declares occupation a sin against God 
28 Aug 2009 - Geneva (ENI). The general secretary of the World Council of Churches has said that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories should be declared a sin against God . Occupation along with the concomitant humiliation of a whole people for over six decades constitutes not just economic and political crimes but, like anti-Semitism, it is a sin against God, said WCC general secretary the Rev....

Nonviolent resistance pushes through volley of gas and explosives in protest of Wall
28 Aug 2009 - Na'lin / PNN – After Friday prayers, the first of this year’s Ramadan, nonviolent activists from western Ramallah’s Na’lin Village took to the streets and fields. They were protesting the Israeli confiscation of their land, the building of the Wall and encroaching settlements.Prayers were held today on land adjacent to that being confiscated for the Wall. Sheikh Murad Amira said that resistance to...

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...

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: In a Rotten State 
GAZA CITY, Aug 29 (IPS) - Abu Abed can't make a profit, and although 54 years old, he still has not married. "I can't pay my rent, I can't afford a wedding."

MIDEAST: Can Final Peace Deal Overcome Settlements Roadblock? 
WASHINGTON, Aug 28 (IPS) - The Barack Obama administration - perhaps the president himself - will reportedly be launching a new round of authoritative Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations sometime during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly session, which is scheduled to start in New York on Sep. 15.

MIDEAST: 'United' Jerusalem Has Two Faces 
EAST JERUSALEM, Aug 28 (IPS) - Israel says "united" Jerusalem will be the eternal capital of the Jewish state. However, a quick walk across the Green Line which marks the international border dividing the two parts of the city reveals a city very much divided.

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.

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. [

Ni'lin pushes soldiers back on the first Friday of Ramadan
29 Aug 2009 - On the first Friday of Ramadan, more than 150 people attended the weekly march against the Wall, reaching the new concrete barrier that protects the fences and sensors. Protestors stressed that the Palestinians are one people, and what the Israeli government is doing here is not different from what is happening all across Palestine, from Jerusalem to Ni’lin. [

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

Soldiers use ’sarukh’ against Ni’lin demonstrators
8/28/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Around 12:30 on Friday, 140 Ni'lin villagers, together with international and Israeli solidarity activists, gathered after the prayer to demonstrate against the Apartheid Wall. The march went through the fields of Ni'lin and reached the wall site without incident. The Wall was finished in May 2009 as an electric fence with video cameras and a road where the army patrol. Although it seems finished, last Monday Israeli forces began adding 8 meter high blocks of concrete. Right after the demonstrators have reached the wall, several army jeeps started shooting, using the multiple tear gas machine. Israeli soldiers kept shooting tear gas grenades from the road at the demonstrators and eventually they came into the fields through a Wall gate and threatened the protesters with live ammunition guns. All internationals and Israelis left around 5pm, although the demonstration went until 7pm. 

Israeli forces raid Ni’lin in the night, arrest one
8/28/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - On Tuesday, , at around 2:00 in the morning, a hundred Israeli soldiers with 8 jeeps invaded the Palestinian village of Ni'lin. They went directly to two family houses. The Israeli army came to the house of Abdallah As'ad Amira (19 years old), located at the main street of the village. At around 3:00 am, 6 soldiers came into his house and forced the rest of the family (5 sisters and his mother)to go into one room. Three soldiers stayed in the room with them, while other three went directly to the room of Abdallah and picked him up. They handcuffed, blind-folded him and put him into a military jeep. Outside of their home,  another 10 soldiers surrounded the house. "Everything happened very fast, the soldiers seemed to know perfectly where Abdallah's room was. We tried to give him water but the soldiers didn't allow us", remember one of his sisters. 

In village, Palestinians see model for their cause
8/28/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - The New York Times, 27 August 2009 - Every Friday for the past four and a half years, several hundred demonstrators "” Palestinian villagers, foreign volunteers and Israeli activists "” have walked in unison to the Israeli barrier separating this tiny village from the burgeoning settlement of Modiin Illit, part of which is built on the village's land. One hundred feet away, Israeli soldiers watch and wait. The protesters chant and shout and, inevitably, a few throw stones. Then just as inevitably, the soldiers open fire with tear gas and water jets, lately including a putrid oil-based liquid that makes the entire area stink. It is one of the longest-running and best organized protest operations in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it has turned this once anonymous farming village into a symbol of Palestinian civil disobedience, a model that many supporters of the Palestinian cause would like to see spread and prosper. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Report: Hamas gets days to respond to Shalit offer
29 Aug 2009 - The German mediator in the talks for the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit has presented Hamas with a new proposal to which Hamas would have three days to respond, according to German weekly Der Spiegel. ... 

Gideon Levy / Return Gilad Shalit, but not at any price
29 Aug 2009 - There is no need to waste more words on everyone's desire to see Gilad Shalit return home. There is also no need to spare praise for the noble struggle his family has been waging. Shalit should have been released at any price, but the struggle for his release does not have to be conducted at any price. Last week the leaders of the campaign to free him faltered. The demonstration at the Megiddo prison that prevented visits by prisoners' families was in poor taste. A few weeks earlier they also demonstrated at the Erez crossing on the Gaza border and blocked the passage of food and medicine to the besieged Strip. ... 

Bombs explode at two Hamas security compounds in Gaza
29 Aug 2009 - Unidentified persons set off bombs at two Hamas security compounds in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, causing no casualties, the Palestinian Islamist group said. ...

Israel: UN witholding details of Iran's nuclear program
28 Aug 2009 - The Foreign Ministry on Saturday issued a statement accusing the International Atomic Energy Agency of not publishing information gathered against Iran's nuclear energy program. ...

DJ AM, aka Adam Goldstein found dead in New York apartment 
28 Aug 2009 - DJ AM, the celebrity disc jockey who publicly acknowledged his history of drug addiction and had filmed a reality show in which he offered to help other addicts, was found dead in his apartment. He was 36. ...

The Guardian

Damaging Israel's priceless assets | Antony Lerman
29 Aug 2009 - Netanyahu's demonising of human rights groups – and European funding of them – does disservice to a proud Jewish history With the left in Israel in disarray and unable to mount any effective opposition to the...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

The IDF cleans up its act after years of polluting Israel
29 Aug 2009 - In the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps base in the center of the country, every time a soldier approaches a streetlight after dark the light goes on. When the soldier moves away, the light goes off. It isn't an part of an advanced system for detecting intruders, it's an electricity-saving measure based on a movement-detection device. ... 

Tel Aviv man becomes Israel's 17th fatality in swine flu epidemic
29 Aug 2009 - Israel recorded its 17th swine-flu fatality over the weekend with the death of a 49-year-old Tel Avivian at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. ... 

Education is worthless as long as Ethiopians remain shunned
29 Aug 2009 - There is only one subject that doesn't have to be studied, that is best lived, experienced. Math, English, even Bible study cannot be traded for life experience, and doesn't need to be. Civics is the only subject that can and should be put to the test of daily life. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Israeli planes hit suspected Gaza tunnel building 
29 Aug 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

UNICEF Syria 'training of trainers' workshops help young Palestinians make a difference
28 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Children's Fund

WFP hunger hotspots: OPT - 28 Aug 2009
28 Aug 2009 - Source: World Food Programme

YNet News

'Approve Shalit deal within 3 days'
29 Aug 2009 - Germany pressing Hamas to endorse Shalit prisoner swap, Der Spiegel reports Saturday 

Israel: IAEA hiding Iran info
29 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem issues angry response to latest atomic watchdog's report on Iran; account fails to reflect Tehran's concealment, deception efforts, Israel says, urges international community to adopt decisive position vis-?-vis Iranians 

Haredim, seculars clash in Jerusalem
29 Aug 2009 - Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox rioters block roads in protest of parking lot's opening on Shabbat 

Palestinian paper says Shalit deal finalized
29 Aug 2009 - Prisoner swap's details have been finalized, sides await Netanyahu government's approval, Palestinian newspaper al-Manar reports; Shalit expected to be transferred to Egypt in first phase of deal 

Iran says report confirms atomic work peaceful 
29 Aug 2009 - Tehran vows to resist political pressure in wake of atomic watchdog's latest report 

Jerusalem: Haredi riots resume; 2 arrested 
29 Aug 2009 - Ultra-Orthodox protests against Shabbat desecration continue in capital as rioters attempt to block entrance to Karta parking lot, hurl stones at cars moving on Bar Ilan Street. Woman, police officer hurt 

Qassam rocket fired at Israel 
29 Aug 2009 - Rocket lands near community in Sdot Negev Regional Council amidst talks of revived Mideast peace negotiations. No injuries or damage reported in attack 

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

Lion cub found dumped in Beirut wasteland 
28 Aug 2009

Gemayel calls for indirect border talks with Israel 
28 Aug 2009

Hizbullah seeks to calm storm, expresses regret over Fadlallah insults 
28 Aug 2009

Aoun deals blow to hopes for cabinet breakthrough 
28 Aug 2009

Solana to visit Beirut during Middle East tour 
28 Aug 2009

Jumblatt offers condolences to Kennedy family 
28 Aug 2009

Lebanon's industrial exports drop 25 percent in July 
28 Aug 2009

Iran slows atom fuel drive, boosts IAEA cooperation 
28 Aug 2009

Palestinian Information Center

Abbas’s election scare
29 Aug 2009 - Mahmoud Abbas has been vowing to organize general elections in January, giving the impression that these elections will be a magical cure for the many problems facing the Palestinian people.

IOF troops shell civilian homes in Gaza
29 Aug 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) shelled civilian homes and property east of Breij and Maghazi refugee camps in central Gaza Strip on Saturday but no casualties were reported.

IOF soldiers arrest 7 Palestinians including young woman
29 Aug 2009 - IOF at dawn Saturday rounded up seven Palestinians in various West Bank areas including a young woman near Nablus who was released from the jails of Mahmoud Abbas recently.

Tutu: Palestinians paying the price of Jewish holocaust perpetrated by the West
29 Aug 2009 - Nobel peace laureate Dezmund Tutu has said that Israel should learn from the holocaust that it would never secure peace through walls and guns.

Hebrew report: Israel built 150 housing units in eastern Jerusalem in six months
29 Aug 2009 - An Israeli organization monitoring the Israeli settlement drive in eastern Jerusalem has revealed that the IOA had built at least 150 housing units in occupied Jerusalem, particularly in the Old City.

IOF quelling injures 3 Palestinians including crippled man
29 Aug 2009 - IOF fired teargas canisters, sonic bombs and metal bullets to quell a peaceful march in Bil'in village, Ramallah district, protesting the separation wall that confiscated most of the village lands.

Abu Shaar: Allocate Friday sermons to the Aqsa Mosque
29 Aug 2009 - The PA Awkaf minister has called on Muslim preachers in occupied Palestine and the Arab and Muslim world to dedicate the Friday sermon to expose the Israeli practices against the holy Aqsa Mosque.

Hamas warns of dividing, internationalizing the Aqsa
29 Aug 2009 - Hamas Movement has warned of attempts to divide the holy Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews and to internationalize the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Haneyya extends condolences to Mishaal
29 Aug 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya on Friday telephoned Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas Movement, and extended heartfelt condolences over the death of Mishaal's father.

170,000 attend prayers at the Aqsa Mosque on the first Friday of Ramadan
29 Aug 2009 - Despite the Israeli occupation restrictions more than 170,000 Palestinian worshipers managed to make it to the Aqsa Mosque and attend the prayers on the first Friday of Ramadan.

Los Angeles Times

Iran's Ahmadinejad urges prosecution of opposition leaders 
29 Aug 2009 - The Iranian president appears to be defying Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had taken a more conciliatory stance toward dissenters. The U.N. nuclear watchdog issues latest report on inspections. Iran's hard-line president Friday demanded the prosecution of top opposition leaders, raising the political temperature anew just a day and a half after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sought to cool tensions in a conciliatory speech. 

Hard-line Iranian prosecutor fired 
30 Aug 2009 - Iran's new judiciary chief ousts Tehran prosecutor-general Saeed Mortazavi, who organized the trials against postelection protesters and opposition figures. A moderate is named to the post. Iran's new judiciary chief ousted the hard-line prosecutor behind the ongoing trials against opposition figures in Tehran, replacing him with a relatively moderate newcomer from the provinces, an Iranian news agency reported Saturday. 

Nuclear drive a casualty of Iran's turmoil 
28 Aug 2009 - Experts say Tehran is unlikely to speed up its program, giving the U.S. and its allies more time to work with. Iran's political crisis could prevent the nation from making any swift move to ratchet up its nuclear program, said analysts and officials, giving President Obama and Western allies more time to grapple with the issue. 

New York Times

Nuclear Agency Says Iran Has Bolstered Ability to Make Fuel but Slowed Its Output
28 Aug 2009 - The slowdown puzzled inspectors, and Iran offered no clues about whether technical problems or political considerations accounted for its action. 

France and Germany Warn of New Iran Sanctions
27 Aug 2009 - Two European leaders raised the possibility of tougher measures if Iran does not show a willingness to negotiate on its nuclear program. 

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

Tutu to Haaretz: Arabs paying the price of the Holocaust 
8/28/2009 - Ha'aretz - Akiva Eldar - "The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns," Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa told Haaretz Thursday. Commenting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement in Germany Thursday that the lesson of the Holocaust is that Israel should always defend itself, Tutu noted that "in South Africa, they tried to get security from the barrel of a gun. They never got it. They got security when the human rights of all were recognized and respected. " The Nobel Prize laureate spoke to Haaretz in Jerusalem as the organization The Elders concluded its tour of Israel and the West Bank. He said the West was consumed with guilt and regret toward Israel because of the Holocaust, "as it should be. " "But who pays the penance? The penance is being paid by the Arabs, by the Palestinians. 

Masked Israeli soldiers round up demonstrators
8/29/2009 - Big News Network.com - Israeli army forces are entering the Palestinian village of Bil'in at night and arresting residents. The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem says the soldiers arrive at the village, which lies west of Ramallah, with Israel Security Agency agents holding lists of persons suspected of involvement in weekly demonstrations held in the village against the construction of the Israeli Separation Barrier more commonly known as the Wall. According to testimonies given to B'Tselem, in some of the cases, the soldiers and ISA agents cuffed and blindfolded the detainees and took them out of the village, where they were questioned. Only later were they taken to detention facilities. Some of the detainees said that soldiers had beaten them. "Masked soldiers came to our house and took me out of it. A soldier asked for my ID card and told me to stand aside. 

University urges lecturer who endorsed boycott to resign 
8/28/2009 - YNetNews - 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 -- Ben-Gurion University will not fire Dr. Neve Gordon, who endorsed a boycott of Israel, but officials call on him to resign his post as head of the Political Science Department. University Rector Professor Jimmy Weinblatt met Thursday with faculty members who singed a petition supporting Gordon and told them he thinks it is not appropriate that Gordon continue on in his position and that he must reach the proper conclusions. However, Weinblatt stressed that Gordon's status as faculty member will not be compromised and that the University administration will no violate his civic and academic freedom of expression. ExplanationLecturer qualifies his call for ban on Israel / Ilana CurielDr. 

US denies making deal with Israel 
8/29/2009 - The National - RAMALLAH // The United States has denied reports that it is in the process of agreeing to a deal with Israel to resume Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that would see Washington compromise on its position that all Israeli settlement construction should be completely frozen. Israeli media had reported that Washington might be willing to let Israel continue settlement construction in East Jerusalem in exchange for a temporary freeze on similar construction elsewhere in the West Bank. The reported deal would have represented a step back from the Obama administration’s stance that Israel, in line with its road map obligations, should halt all settlement construction in the Occupied Territories and dismantle so-called settlement outposts, settlements established without express Israeli government permission. 

Merkel staunch on support as debate turns critical of Israel 
8/27/2009 - The National - BERLIN // Criticising Israel has long been virtually taboo for senior German politicians because of the Holocaust, and unwavering support for the Jewish state has been a firm part of German state doctrine for more than half a century. But Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Berlin today, his first since his election in March, follows unusually vocal attacks in Germany on Israeli policy that reflect a distinct shift in public opinion in recent years. Ruprecht Polenz, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, warned Israel last month that it risks “committing suicide as a democratic state” if it goes on building settlements in the Palestinian territories. Editorials in mainstream newspapers praised his comment and said Germany has a duty to warn Israel about the dangers of its settlement policy. 

’Just 4%’ of Jewish Israelis think Obama is pro-Israel 
8/28/2009 - Yahoo! News - JERUSALEM (AFP) – Only four percent of Jewish Israelis believe US President Barack Obama's policies are pro-Israel and 50 percent oppose a temporary freeze of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a poll out on Friday showed. The survey showed 51 percent considered Obama's administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, as compared with 50 percent in June, the Jerusalem Post said. The percentage of Jewish Israelis who consider Obama as pro-Israel was down to four percent from six percent in the June 19 poll. By comparison, 88 percent of those interviewed for the June survey thought former US president George W. Bush was pro-Israel. Obama has pressed Israel to freeze settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, causing friction with the close US ally. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted natural growth makes a total halt of housing construction in settlements impossible. 

Netanyahu calls for ’crippling sanctions’ against Iran 
8/28/2009 - Yahoo! News - BERLIN (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Thursday for "crippling sanctions" against Iran to stop its disputed nuclear work, on a solemn visit to Berlin marked by Holocaust remembrance. After talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Netanyahu expressed hopes for a quick resumption of Middle East peace talks as he warned of a mortal threat to Israel's survival posed by Iran. " There is not much time" to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions, he told reporters. " I think the most important thing that can be put in place is what the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called crippling sanctions. It is possible to put real pressure, real economic pressure, on this regime if the major powers of the world unite. " He said that even if the UN Security Council failed to approve tougher sanctions against Tehran over its sensitive nuclear work due to opposition from Russia or China, a "coalition of the willing" could enact its own measures. 

Iran is continuing nuclear activity, says United Nations watchdog 
8/28/2009 - The Guardian - Country 'fails to co-operate with energy inspectors' • West may target foreign petroleum supplies - The UN's nuclear watchdog reported today that Iran was continuing its uranium enrichment programme in defiance of UN security council resolutions, setting the stage for possible oil and gas sanctions by the west. In a report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also repeated its regular complaint that Iran was not co-operating with its inspectors over unanswered questions about evidence of efforts to militarise the programme and produce a warhead. In his last report on Iran before leaving his post, the IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, said the evidence pointing at military aspects of Iran's programme "appears to have been derived from multiple sources over different periods of time, appears to be generally consistent, and is sufficiently comprehensive and detailed that 

Syria still not cooperating fully, IAEA reports (Extra) 
8/28/2009 - M&C.com - Vienna - Syria is not fully cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency in clearing up questions about a possible secret nuclear reactor, the IAEA said in a report issued on Friday. Last year, the Vienna-based agency has found traces of man-made uranium at the al-Kibar site in the Syrian desert which was bombed by Israel in 2007 before IAEA inspectors could visit it. Damascus claims it cannot give the Vienna-based inspectors additional access because the al-Kibar site was a conventional military installation. However, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in his report that this argument was not valid under Syria's wide-ranging inspection agreement with his organization. Such agreements do not limit 'agency access to information, activities or locations simply because they may be military-related,' ElBaradei wrote. 


Articles

Damaging Israel’s priceless assets 
Antony Lerman, The Guardian 8/29/2009
      Netanyahu’s demonising of human rights groups – and European funding of them – does disservice to a proud Jewish history.
     With the left in Israel in disarray and unable to mount any effective opposition to the policies of the Binyamin Netanyahu government, Israel’s human rights groups occupy a more significant place than ever in the political landscape. They, and a handful of journalists, are the only organisations and individuals in Israel that have the moral authority and objective expertise to call the government to account for any human rights abuses suffered by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza at the hands of Israeli officials or settlers.
     While the Likud-led coalition can brush aside virtually any criticism from opposition groups in the Knesset, reports by human rights groups can get under its skin.
     Netanyahu made this perfectly clear on Wednesday when he mounted an outspoken attack on Breaking the Silence after meeting with Gordon Brown in London. Calling on the British government and other European governments to cease funding such groups, Netanyahu said: "They are breaking the silence regarding the only democracy in the Middle East with an independent judiciary and investigative media, which deals with these matters continually."
     Breaking the Silence is the organisation of veteran Israeli soldiers that interviewed those who participated in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Their testimonies "reveal[ed] ... the destruction of hundreds of houses and mosques for no military purpose, the firing of phosphorous gas in the direction of populated areas, the killing of innocent victims with small arms, the destruction of private property, and most of all, a permissive atmosphere in the command structure that enabled soldiers to act without moral restrictions." more.. e-mail

Israeli Organ Harvesting 
Alison Weir, CounterPunch 8/28/2009
      The New "Blood Libel"?
     Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.
     Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.
     In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1/
     An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”
     Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.
     The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information. 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
age-old co-existence: Gaza Ramadan day 8
29 Aug 2009 - I heard it all the time in the occupied West Bank back in 2007 , and I hear it here in besieged Gaza also: ‘we used to live with the Jews, side by side. We worked together, lived as neighbours.’ The theme of coexistence is bastardized by the Zionist media which likes to spin the ‘conflict’ in Palestine as an ‘age-old’ war between religions, instead of reporting the reality: the occupation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza under military occupation; the denial of Palestinian refugees right to return to their homeland; the imprisonment of over 10,000 Palestinian prisoners , many of whom are minors; the expansion of the...

Palestine Chronicle
Appeasing Israel - At What Cost? 
28 Aug 2009 - By Jeff Gates Barack Hussein Obama’s June 4th speech in Cairo was awaited with keen anticipation by a global population of 1.3 billion Muslims outraged at the abuse that Zionism has long inflicted on its neighbors—with U.S. support. Ten weeks have since passed. The potentially positive impact of his remarks was immediately offset when he appeared the next day at the Buchenwald death camp in Germany. The timing of that Holocaust photo-op resolved all doubts about who stage-manages this presidency. Media attention immediately shifted back to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the lead-up to the Cairo speech, Obama’s White House handlers enabled this right-winger to proclaim—from the White House—that peace with the Palestinians ranked a distant second to Tel Aviv’s concerns about Iran. Soon after the Cairo speech, Netanyahu reluctantly referenced a “two state solution”—though only under duress from Middle East envoy George Mitchell. Obama quickly portrayed as an “important step forward” this grudging referral to an agreed-to strategy. In truth, Netanyahu announced several giant steps backward. Rather than agree to negotiate a two state solution, he set preconditions certain to preclude two states, leaving nothing to negotiate. Again negating the potentially positive impact from Cairo, Obama praised the Israeli leader even as he insisted that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” where Jerusalem as “Israel’s capital will remain united.” Netanyahu also insisted on Israel’s right to colonize even more Palestinian land by expanding the very settlements destined to preclude a viable Palestinian state. By applauding this defiant...

Organ Theft Affair: Israelis Boycotting IKEA
28 Aug 2009 - By Kristoffer Larsson Swedish photojournalist Donald Boström has really infuriated the Israelis and its supporters. On August 17, Sweden’s most widely circulated newspaper, Aftonbaldet, carried an article by Boström entitled 'Our sons plundered for their organs.' The usual suspects immediately cried 'anti-Semitism,' claiming that the old blood libel accusation has been brought to life again. The Israelis have even threatened to sue him. Such reactions were anticipated, however. Innumerable hate mails have found their way into Mr Boström’s inbox since the publication, including death threats. More surprising is that Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, issued a condemnation of the article. It was 'as shocking and appalling to us Swedes as to Israelis,' the ambassador claimed in a press release that was later withdrawn, having attracted criticism from the Swedish foreign ministry as well as from the government. On top of that, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the Swedish government renounce the article, something which would be unconstitutional in Sweden. A statement from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman managed to tacitly draw the attention to—you guessed it!—the Holocaust: “It is regrettable that the Swedish foreign ministry does not intervene when it comes to a blood libel against Jews, which reminds one of Sweden’s conduct during World War II when it also did not intervene.” (I would urge Lieberman, himself a hard-core racist, to read Lenni Brenner’s excellent 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis.) Lieberman’s Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt blatantly refuses to cave in: “As a member...

Syria and Iran – Book Review
28 Aug 2009 - By Jim Miles Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East. Jubin M. Goodarzi. I.B. Taurus & Co. New York/London. 2009 In a well structured academic work, Jubin M. Goodarzi details the interactions of the two countries 'In response to acts of aggression orchestrated by Iraq (1980) and Israel (1982), in both cases with the prior knowledge and tacit support of the USA.' His position is that it has been 'a defensive alliance aimed at neutralizing Iraqi and Israeli offensive capabilities in the Gulf and Near East, and thwarting American encroachment in the Middle East.' While the work contains many reiteration of ideas, as necessitated by the many interweavings of different diplomatic efforts, they emphasize several ongoing themes: opposition to Israeli interests in the region (with Syria being the only active frontline state against Israel); support of the Palestinians (with major complications along the way vis a vis Beirut and Southern Lebanon); antagonism towards U.S. interests in the region (and their original tacit, now overt support of Israel); and the convoluted manoeuvrings between Arab countries, some aligned with Israel, some against, and both groups desperately balancing rhetoric and actions to maintain their own status and power within the region. Palestine Without too much effort, the reader will come away with the feeling that while the Palestinian cause is a genuine concern for Arab freedom, when it comes to the negotiations of the political elites, the Palestinians play a much diminished role. They become at times simply...

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,...

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