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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
7 September, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israeli settlers hold 'groundbreaking ceremony' for major new settlement in East Jerusalem
8 Sep 2009 - A few Israeli protesters from the group 'Peace Now' were the only visible opposition to a gathering of hundreds of extreme rightwing Israeli settlers, government ministers and Knesset (Parliament) members who carried out a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, under the protection and with the full support of the Israeli police, of a planned new settlement called Mevaseret Adumim. 

Mezan Center: "Army kidnapped five children in Gaza"
8 Sep 2009 - The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reported that undercover forces of the Israeli army kidnapped on Sunday five Palestinian children in an invasion to Beit Lahia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Abdul-Qader: "U.S. stances weak, unable to stop settlement expansion"
8 Sep 2009 - Hatem Abdul-Qader, in charge of the Jerusalem file at the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, reported Monday that the week stances of the United States are not enough to oblige Israel to stop its illegal settlement activities.  

Israeli settler killed in a traffic accident near Ramallah
8 Sep 2009 - Palestinian sources reported that an Israeli settler was killed and another was seriously wounded after a Palestinian ambulance collided into a settler’s vehicle near Bet El settlement, north of Ramallah. 

Israeli settlers uproot 50 olive trees in central West Bank
7 Sep 2009 - Israeli settlers uprooted 50 olive trees on Monday near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian sources said.

The Israeli military kidnaps four civilians during morning attacks in the West Bank
7 Sep 2009 - Four Palestinian civilians were kidnapped on Monday morning by Israeli troops during invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities.

Israeli Defense Minister to allow settlement expansion – settlers say it's not enough
7 Sep 2009 - The Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, is scheduled to announce that he will allow the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank by several hundred units before implementing a temporary six-month hold on further expansion. But Israeli settlers, who live on Palestinian territory in contravention of international law, have called the plan a 'mockery', arguing that they should have a right to expand without restrictions. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF colonel to settlers: Stop calling soldiers 'Nazis' at checkpoints
7 Sep 2009 - Soldiers said they were subject to insults when they asked settlers to undergo security checks. 

IDF general: Israel incapable of West Bank pullout
7 Sep 2009 - Giora Eiland testifies before state commission of inquiry on handling of Gush Katif evacuees. 

Barak meets Shalit grandfather, after saying 'wailing' must stop
6 Sep 2009 - Defense Min. came under fire for comments last week, nowtells bereaved families: Shalit family is noble. 

'Israel assumes missing airman Ron Arad is still alive'
6 Sep 2009 - PMO responds to classified MI report claiming navigator died sometime in mid-1990s, decade after capture. 

Hamas leader Meshal: Progress on Shalit deal still long way off
6 Sep 2009 - Hamas leader meets Egypt intel chief in Cairo for talks on abducted IDF soldier, Palestinian reconciliation. 

Ma'an News

Police: Israeli curfews, raids, assaults reported overnight
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces imposed a curfew on the town of Ar-Ram, north of Jerusalem, raided other Palestinian communities and installed additional checkpoints across the West Bank on Saturday night. According to the Palestinian police, soldiers raided the home of Abdul-Raoof Maslamani a Palestinian with a Jerusalem ID card, in Ar-Ram. As Maslamani was not found at home, soldiers left a warrant summoning him for interrogation by intelligence services. In the Ramallah area, the police said, soldiers erected a checkpoint at the road between the towns of Rafat and Qalandiya. Separately, Israeli forces raided the town of Beituniya, also near Ramallah and stormed the Ash-Shu'la building for inspection. No arrests were reported. In the northern West Bank, Israeli forces imposed a curfew on the village of Huwwara, south of Nablus, on the pretext that local youths hurled a Molotov Cocktail at a military patrol. 

Medics: Israeli blockade risks Gaza cardiac patients’ lives
9/7/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The lives of hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will be put at risk if Israel does not allow the delivery of a spare part needed to repair an instrument used to treat cardiac patients, medical officials said on Monday. The only one of its kind in the Gaza Strip, the device at the European Hospital in Khan Younis is required for cardiac catheterization, the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart. "One of the electronic panels of the cardiac catheterization machine has been out of order since the beginning of September. This is dangerous for hundreds of cardiac patients who are awaiting procedures," said Dr Muhammad Habib, the director of the catheterization department at the European Hospital. According to Habib, shipment of the new electronic panel from The Netherlands, where the machine was manufactured, will take more than a month. 

Settlers uproot olive trees from Palestinian land near Ramallah
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli settlers uprooted 50 olive trees near the Palestinian village of Al-Maghayir, north of the city of Ramallah on Monday afternoon, according to Israeli radio. Israel's military believes the attack was a preemptive response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to reduce construction in West Bank settlements. Netanyahu is expected to announce some curbs on settlement expansion later this week. On Monday, his government approved the construction of 500 new homes in the settlements, which are illegal under international law. Last Thursday 150 olive trees were found uprooted in the same village, which lies near the unauthorized settler outpost of Nofe Yarden. On Friday, clashes were reported in the area, when, according to settlers, Palestinians stormed the outpost and set fire to a mobile home. No one was reported injured. 

Israel to house former Gaza settlers in new Jordan Valley colony
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Work began on a new Israeli settlement in the Jordan Valley on Sunday to house settlers who were removed in 2005 from one of Israel's former colonies in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that workers began working on the first 20 units in the new settlement, called Maskiot, in the northern Jordan Valley. Maskiot is the site of a former Israeli army base established in the 1980s. In 2002 it was abandoned and a number of religious settlers set up camp there. When then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally decided to remove settlers from the Gaza Strip, residents of the former outpost of Shirat Hayam, along the southern Gaza shore near Khan Younis, moved to Maskiot. In December of 2006 Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz approved the construction of 100 housing units in the new settlement. 

Israeli forces, aircraft strike northern Gaza
9/7/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli special forces backed aircraft raided the northern Gaza Strip and abducted two residents, minutes before the end of Sunday's Ramadan fast, witnesses and the Israeli military told Ma'an. The incursion took place in the Bedouin village in the town of Beit Lahiya. The witnesses said the two residents appeared to be in their twenties. While in an open area near the town, they were grabbed by Israeli operatives, who took them to an undisclosed location. Israeli aircraft participated in the raid, firing at least one missile in what appeared to be an attempt to cover for the operation, witnesses said. The An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Poplar Resistance Committees said that they detonated two explosive charges near Israeli undercover unit. It was unclear if there were any injuries among the Israelis. 

Israeli forces raid Azzun, sparking clashes
9/7/2009 - Qalqiliya - Israeli forces raided the town of Azzun, east of the city of Qalqiliya Sunday evening, imposing a curfew in the town. As a result of the incursion violence erupted between the town's youth and the Israeli troops who fired gunshots, stun grenades, and tear gas. Eyewitnesses said Israeli forces were pelted with stones and Molotov cocktails. One military vehicle was seen ablaze prompting Israeli troops to open heavy fire. No casualties have been reported. Israeli forces have been imposing a crippling siege on the town for one month closing all its entrances with cement roadblocks, and earth mounds. [end] 

Mash’al: Arab states must not rush to normalize Israel ties
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Senior Hamas leader Khalid Mash'al on Sunday warned Arab states to be wary of Israel's proposal to temporarily slow settlement construction in exchange for normalization of ties, describing it as a "dangerous equation. ""There is an Israeli effort to avoid the American demands, Mash'al said, referring to US call for a total settlement freeze. "We warn against any Arab rush toward normalization. " Speaking during a news conference in Cairo on Sunday, Mash'al said he welcomed the Obama administration's calls for a settlement freeze, but said he awaited concrete US measures in the peace process The Hamas political chief was referring to reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to demand a normalization of relations with Arab states in exchange for a partial freeze on illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Archbishop: Palestinian Christians must remain in Palestine
9/7/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - In his Sunday sermon at the Church of the Holy Sepulchure in Jerusalem, Orthodox Archbishop Attallah Hanna urged young Palestinian Christians to stay in the country in fulfillment of what he said was a patriotic duty. Hanna spoke to an audience that included some 1,000 pilgrims from Russia and Romania, local Palestinian congregants, and a number of Christian clergy. During the sermon Hanna welcomed the visitors and then turned to address young Palestinian Christians, urging them to remain "steadfast in this land. Emigration is prohibited and rejected. "  "The Palestinian Christian," he said, "is obligated to stay in his homeland in spite of all circumstances and to contribute to the liberation of the homeland and the establishment of [the Palestinian state]. Hanna was referring to a wave of Christian Palestinian emigration in recent decades. 

Israeli Defense Minister approves new West Bank settler homes
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - In direct violation of international law, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved permits on Sunday and Monday to build 455 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank. The new housing, which was ordered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be built in six settlements. The settlements in question include Har Gilo (on the outskirts of Bethlehem), Modi'in Illit (built on the land of the village of Bil'in) and Ariel (deep in the West Bank south of Nablus). Israel says it intends to keep each of these settlements in any eventual peace agreement with the Palestinians. They permits are first ones issued since Netanyahu took office in March. Later this week, Netanyahu is expected to announce a partial reduction in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements. 

Israeli forces shoot youth in legs, detain him
9/7/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces shot and injured 18-year-old Muhammad Massa'id in Tubas Friday evening, then took the youth to a detention center despite his injury. Eye witnesses said Massa'id was resisting capture when forces shot him from a short range, injuring both his legs. Forces then took the youth, bleeding, into a military vehicle. The family of the injured boy said they would hold Israel responsible for the health of their son. [end] 

Israel opens probe into Gaza ’white flag’ killings
9/7/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Following a formal complaint, the Israeli military has begun an investigation into the deaths of two Palestinian children who came under fire while carrying white flags to signal their civilian status, a human rights group says. According to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, one of four groups that filed a demand for a criminal investigation, Israeli military police interviewed Khalid Abed Rabbo and his mother, Su'ad Abed-Rabbo, at the Erez Crossing on 2 September. Al-Mezan said that the interviews mark the start of an investigation into the killings which took place during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's three-week assault on the Gaza Strip last winter. According to Al-Mezan's own investigation, Israeli soldiers opened fire at close range at the Abed Rabbo family, killing two of Khalid Abed Rabbo's daughters and severely injuring a third. 

Three Gaza Strip border terminals open Monday
9/7/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel will open all three of its border terminals with the Gaza Strip for commercial shipments and humanitarian aid deliveries on Monday, Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh said. Sixty-four to 74 trucks of merchandise are set to enter the Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, while Nahal Oz will be open for fuel and cooking gas deliveries, Fattouh said. The crossings official added that the Karni terminal, which is usually closed, will operate for trucks loaded with wheat and animal feed. Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided to open all three border terminals with the Gaza Strip on Monday for commercial shipments and humanitarian aid, according to Palestinian crossingsFattouh said 64 to 74 trucks of merchandise would be delivered to the Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. 

Police: Multiple Israeli incursions overnight
9/7/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Palestinian police have released a report describing a string of incursions by the Israeli military into West Bank cities and towns on Monday. Israeli forces stormed Nablus and Balata Refugee Camp at dawn, where soldiers fired stun grenades and tear gas saying that youth were throwing stones at them. There were no injuries. The military also raided Kharbatha Al-Musbah, a village outside Ramallah. Clashes broke out between Israeli soldiers and a group of young men, prompting the soldiers to fire into the air. There were no injuries or detentions. In Jenin, an Israeli force fired optical bombs into an area planted with trees along the road between the town of Yabud and the Dutan Refugee Camp. An Israeli military checkpoint was set up at the entrance to Al-Fawwar Refugee Camp in Hebron where soldiers injured Ahmad Basem Salim. 

Israeli killed by Palestinian ambulance near Ramallah
9/7/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - An Israeli settler was killed when he was struck by a Palestinian ambulance on Monday afternoon near the West Bank settlement of Bet El, north of the city of Ramallah, medical officials said. Palestinian medics said the private ambulance was racing to the scene of a car accident near the village of Sinjil, north of Ramallah, striking two Israelis on the bypass road near Bet El. One of the Israelis died immediately and the other was seriously injured. Israeli ambulance crews retrieved the wounded man, taking him to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem, West Jerusalem. The ambulance driver turned himself into the Israeli police. [end] 

Mortar shell reportedly fired from Gaza
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip reportedly landed across the Green Line in Israel on Monday evening. Reports said the shell landed in Israel's Eshkol Regional Council, east of the Gaza Strip. No injuries or damage were reported. No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the reported shelling. Israel frequently reacts to such cross-border fire by launching airstrikes in Gaza. Last December Israel launched three weeks of aerial bombardment and a ground invasion in response to the mortars and homemade projectiles. After months of relative quiet, there has been a minor flare up in violence along Gaza's borders. In the most recent incident, Israeli soldiers backed by warplanes seized two Palestinians they suspected were planting an explosive device along Gaza's northern border on Sunday night. 

Elections countdown puts pressure on post-Ramadan Cairo talks
9/7/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an Report- Political analysts have warned of an increased threat of internal violence as the 25 January deadline for Palestinian legislative and presidential elections nears. Political figures and observers are concerned about the prospect of holding presidential and legislative elections using the "complete proportional representation system" as it was formulated in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' 2 September 2007 presidential decree. At the time the decree went uncontested, and would see the West Bank and Gaza Strip counted as one constituency in electoral vote counting. Unless Hamas and Fatah negotiators agree on an alternative voting system during the coming dialogue session in Cairo at the end September, elections law says voting must proceed. Failure of the post-Ramadan dialogue, analysts say, will result in the immediate activation of the 2007 elections protocol. 

Carter: One-state solution ’more likely’
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Former US president Jimmy Carter said on Sunday that Palestinian leaders were "seriously considering" a one-state solution to their struggle for self-determination. "A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea," Carter wrote in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post newspaper. Carter recently returned from a visit to the Middle East with a delegation of world leaders that included Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Brazilian President Fernando Cardozo. "By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy," he wrote. "In this non-violent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. 

Swedish FM cancels Israel visit amid 'organ harvesting' row
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has cancelled a visit to Israel amid an ongoing dispute over a newspaper report that accused Israeli soldiers of removing organs from the bodies of Palestinian detainees. In an announcement late on Saturday Bildt said "bad timing" was the reason for the cancellation of the visit, which had been scheduled for Friday 11 September. However, a source at the Israeli Foreign Ministry told the Haaretz newspaper that the real reason was concern in Stockholm that the Bildt would receive a cold reception in Israel. Relations between Israel and Sweden have been strained since mid-August when the mass-selling newspaper Aftonbladet printed a report of Palestinians' allegations that Israel had returned the bodies of slain Palestinians with their chests sown up. Israeli officials demanded that the Swedish government denounce the. . . 

Kibbutz activists want Palestinians to join prisoner swap protest
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli Kibutz movement called for organizing a joint demonstration with Palestinians and Israelis aimed at speeding up a prisoner swap deal, according to Voice of Israel radio. A leader in the Kibbutz movement said demonstrators would be on either side of the Erez crossing in northern Gaza. There the demonstrators would exchange presents: hundreds of packages to be delivered to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody while others will be sent to the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Palestinian fighters seized Gilad Shalit during a cross-border operation in 2006, returning with him to Gaza, where he has been held ever since. Hamas, the dominant party in Gaza, is demanding the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the soldier. There are an estimated 11,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. 

PA foreign minister hosts new Danish representative
9/7/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki hosted the new representative of Denmark to the Palestinian Authority Lars Rehof on Sunday. The two discussed the status of the Palestinian territories, and international efforts to reach a peace agreement based upon the Arab Peace Initiative of Beirut in 2002. Al-Maliki stated the necessity of discussing unresolved issues, and working toward permanent agreements that could lead to a two-state solution. The minister also criticized the Israeli government for its increased settlement activities in east Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent announcement that he would build hundreds of new residential units in the West Bank despite US and international disapproval. He also mentioned Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman's comments that peace with the Palestinian people would take 16 years. 

Accused cult leader Jaerock Lee leads pro-Israel ’crusade’
9/7/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Amidst a beaming glimmer of flashing lights stood Korean Evangelist leader Dr Jaerock Lee, at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Sunday night. On Dr Lee's self-described "crusade to Israel," the controversial pastor brought at least 3,000 of his followers, from over 36 different countries to an international multicultural festival and mass prayer rally. In the past, Dr Lee has made bizarre assertions that he has divine powers and can medically heal illnesses including as cancer and now swine flu. Responding to a question from Ma'an, Dr Lee reaffirmed these claims on Sunday night, adding that he "only obeys the will of God. "  In a sermon in 1998, Dr. Lee also claimed to be "sinless and exempted from dying. "While his supporters describe him as being "very likeable, very humble," Dr. Lee's Manmin Joong-ang Church was ejected from the Christian Council of Korea. . . . 

Report: Arab states pledged to normalize Israel ties
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell has obtained pledges from Arab states for various steps toward normalized relations with Israel, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said on Monday. Quoting anonymous US officials, the newspaper said some of the pledged steps are more significant than others. Israeli officials also told Haaretz that they are not clear what steps may have been pledged. If Arab states offered these gestures, it could represent a change in official policy toward Israel. In a Saudi-backed Peace Initiative adopted by the Arab League in 2002, the Arab world offered Israel full normalized relations in exchange for a withdrawal from all territory occupied in 1967 (including the West Bank, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heighs) and the creation of a Palestinian state. The disclosure comes days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message 

Hizb Ut-Tahrir: Hamas and PA are equally illegitimate
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Pacifist Islamic movement Hizb Ut-Tahrir released a statement on Sunday arguing that "elections under occupation" would be "abominable and criminal act" regardless of being held upon national agreement or not. The comments came in response to Gaza government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's remark last week that "elections in the West Bank without national agreement would be a criminal act. " Haniyeh himself was responding to President Mahmoud Abbas' declaration that he plans to proceed with elections as scheduled in January. Hizb Ut-Tahrir, worldwide movement favoring the peaceful creation of a transnational Islamic state, sees both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza as illegitimate. The group has a small but devoted following in the West Bank and Gaza. The statement also criticized Haniyeh saying he would not oppose a Palestinian. . . 

PA agriculture minister hospitalized
9/7/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian Minister of Agriculture Ismail Deiq was hospitalized because for medical issues related to diabetes on Sunday. Deiq was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. Sources close to the minister said that by fasting for Ramadan, his diabetic condition worsened, causing him to be hospitalized for treatment and follow-up. [end] 

PA releases six Hamas detainees
9/7/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - Palestinian Military Intelligence six Hamas detainees in the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya released on Sunday evening according to local security sources. The source identified the released detainees as Shahir Ali Dawood, Hakam Salim, Khaldoun Sakhin, Khalid Yamin, Kamil As-Sadda, and Sali Khadrawi. Palestinian Authority security services in the Qalqilya district have released 46 Hamas affiliated detainees since President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the release of 200 of the men in August. [end] 

Fatah leaders to visit Gaza within days in bid for unity
9/7/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A group of senior Fatah leaders from the West Bank plan to travel to Gaza this week in an a bid to mend relations with the rival Hamas movement, Ma'an has learned. A Fatah official said that the delegation could include Palestinian National Council official Salim Za'noun, PLO official Nabil Sha'ath, Fakhri Bseisu, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, and former security chief Jibril Rajoub. The source would not confirm that the leaders were scheduled to hold meetings with Hamas leaders in Gaza. "There will be no problem if they meet," the source said. Egypt has brokered several unsuccessful rounds of negotiations between Hamas and Fatah in hopes of ending a two-year political schism. The split began when Hamas, after winning parliamentary elections, took full control of Gaza in 2007, shutting down security forces loyal to Fatah. 

PA destroys 45 tons of spoiled food and settlement goods
9/7/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Palestinian customs agents destroyed 45 tons on Monday of what they said were spoiled foodstuffs and products from Israeli settlements which are banned in the Palestinian market. According to officials, the expired products included chocolates, dates, jams, juices, coffee. Most of these products were found to have been labeled with false expiration dates. The products which were determined to have come from Israeli settlements were mineral waters, pickles, fireworks, biscuits, and toys. The governor of Hebron Hussein Al-Araj attended the destruction of the products, along with representatives of the ministries of health, economy, Preventive Security, Civil Defense, police, liaison office, Military Intelligence Service, Political Guidance, and civic society institutions. 

Union leader: Retirees to receive pensions before Eid
9/7/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority (PA) employees Union leader Bassam Zakarneh announced Monday that the August and September pensions for retirees will be paid before Eid Al-Fitr, the holiday at the end of Ramadan. He reported this during a meeting with the General Director of the PA Finance Ministry Hajj Abdel Nasser Ata. A prior issue over the timely payment of salaries was resolved with the help of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Zakarneh explained that the Finance Minister previously announced that retired workers who had not filled out the necessary "life needs" forms were not paid in August, and that he would be stop the salaries of those who continued to fail to fill out the forms. Zakarneh called on all retired workers to fill out the forms in order to receive their usual salaries, and thanked Fayyad for being especially understanding during Ramadan. 

Study: 126,000 Palestinian adults, mainly women, are illiterate
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Despite a decrease in the illiteracy rate by 57. 6% since 1997, still there are 126,000 illiterate adults in the Palestinian territories, three-quarters of them women. According to a report released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on the eve of International Illiteracy Day, 8 September, 75. 7% of illiterate Palestinian adults are women. In 2008, the illiteracy rate among individuals 15 years and older in the West Bank and Gaza reached 5. 9%. Among men the rate of illiteracy is 2. 9%. Among women, it is 9. 1%PCBS' that illiteracy rates vary in urban localities, rural localities and refugee camps: 5. 2%, %7. 5 and 5. 9% respectively. The overall rate of illiteracy among individuals 15 years and older decreased in the period 1997-2008 from 13. 9% to 5. 9%. It decreased among males from 7. 

Ar-Rayhan group sells out first stage of Ramallah-area housing project
9/7/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - A new housing development project will be launched in Ramallah this week, with a projected 2,000 housing units in a new development north west of the city center, developers at the Palestinian Investment Fund announced. The development will be called the Ar-Rayhan Housing Suburb, and marks the second such development to be set outside the growing city. The first phase of the project will see the construction of 250 units. The Ar-Rayhan suburb falls under the PIF's national program for suitable housing, which aims to build 30,000 housing units within the next ten years, 2,000 of which will be in the Ar-Rayhan development. PIF officials said that when complete, the units will accommodate some 10,000 people. General director of the Ar-Rayhan Company, Munif Itreish, said "construction in the suburb will be carried out many in stages, the first one of which will be concluded within 18 months. 

Despite sweltering heat, 59,000 tourists visited Jericho in August
9/7/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - Despite temperatures often soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), more than 59,000 tourists visited the West Bank city of Jericho during the month of August, according to the Palestinian police. Foreign tourists accounted for 23,207 of these. In addition, 9,660 citizens of Israel (mainly Palestinian Arabs) visited the city, along with 16,627 domestic Palestinian tourists. The police report also noted an increase in the number of occupied hotel rooms in the city. Some nine thousand people stayed in hotels in August:2,522 foreigners, 3,238 from inside Israel, and 3,048 locals At 258 meters below sea level, Jericho is the world's lowest city in elevation and is also thought to be the site of the world's oldest continuously inhabited human settlement, about 10,000 years old. The city boasts 117 historic and archaeological sites, in addition to 25 parks, swimming pools and recreational areas. 

PSE drops: Al-Quds Index down 0.53%
9/7/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange in Nablus dropped on Monday, with the Al-Quds Index closing at 495. 27, a decrease of 2. 64 points (0. 53%) over the previous session. Trading volume for Monday was 608,010 shares, a total value of 1,102,949. 71 US dollars, over the course of 292 trades. The shares of 20 companies were traded. The shares prices of five companies rose ,while those of 10 others declined. The top five gainers were QUDS by (4. 11%), ARAB by (3. 45%), GMC by (2. 56%), BOP by (1. 39%), and ISBK by (1. 39%). The top five losers were TRUST by (4. 46%), MIC by (3. 51%), WASSEL by (3. 51%), PIIC by (2. 08%), andPADICO by (1. 60%). [end] 

The National

Water sinks below political positions
7 Sep 2009 - Israel has the upper hand over the scare resource, but Palestinian insistence on making water rights paramount may not be the best policy.

Gaza resistance in rapid-fire rhyme
6 Sep 2009 - Young Palestinian rap artists use their music to expose the stark realities of life in the occupied territories.

Roman ruins put Nahr al Bared camp rebuild at risk
5 Sep 2009 - A lawsuit filed by the Free Patriotic Movement in Lebanon threatens the rebuilding of a Palestinian refugee camp.

A wet land, a parched land
5 Sep 2009 - In a lush Jewish settlement the grass is always green while Palestinian farmers and their crops go thirsty, resentful of the Israeli water pipes that cross their land.

Aljazeera

Israel defies US over settlements
7 Sep 2009 - Government approves construction of 455 new homes in occupied West Bank.

Iran snubs proposed nuclear talks
7 Sep 2009 - President says no more discussions on nuclear issue as UN watchdog admits "stalemate".

Palestine News Network

BU Students counter Student Senate strike, demand to attend class
7 Sep 2009 - Dissatisfied with Student Senate actions during its two-week-long strike at Bethlehem University, another group of students is demanding their right to attend class. The other students, organizing via Facebook groups, determined to convene at the University at 8:45am in opposition to actions by members of the Student Senate. In a statement on Facebook, the students said, “We should go together in order...

Former political prisoners frequent targets of re-arrest at Container Checkpoint outside Bethlehem
6 Sep 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Some seven Palestinians are arrested per day at Israeli military checkpoints dotted throughout the West Bank, reports the Ministry of Detainees and Ex Detainees. Director of the Department of Information in the Ministry, Riad Ashkar, noted that the occupying forces maintain 630 checkpoints within the West Bank, including 93 fixed military checkpoints and 537 barriers composed of sand and...

Outreach program of Art Dubai focuses on children in need
6 Sep 2009 - Founded in 2007, START is guided by the United Nations charter on the rights of the child that states all children have a right to creativity and self-expression. Reaching out to refugee and orphaned children, START delivers a year-round program in the Middle East. Organizers say they focus on getting children to make their own art, visit museums and galleries and meet...

Prisoner Society: postpone hearings at Salem military court, others extended without charge
6 Sep 2009 - Nablus / PNN – Calls are international to abolish the practice of Administrative Detention, a renewable sentence in Israeli prison imposed without charge or trial that can be extended at will. The Palestinian Prisoner Society said today that the Israeli military court of Salem issued rulings recently extending the sentences of several people.The Salem military court, built on northern West Bank lands, extended...

Masters and doctoral students say they appreciate efforts of Palestinian leaders to resolve crisis
6 Sep 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – Palestinian graduate students in doctoral and masters degree programs are considering the efforts of Palestinian leaders in resolving the current crisis with the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The students are spread out in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Sudan, but made a collective decision to fight decisions made by the...

Human rights organization: Israeli forces willfully kill a child in N Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun
6 Sep 2009 - PCHR - On Friday afternoon, 4 September 2009, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a 14-year-old child, Ghazi al-Za’anin, in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF troops shot the child from close range, while he was walking with his family. This child was the second to be killed by IOF in less than a week. Palestinian Centre for Human...

Call for Seventh Annual Week against the Wall: unite against Apartheid, break the siege in Gaza
6 Sep 2009 - Bil'in / Iyad Burnat - The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, its popular committees and member organizations call on activists to launch a week of global mobilization against the walls of apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza from November 9 to 16 2009. We call on all organizations, networks, institutions, unions and concerned media to mobilize during the 7th Week against the...

IRIN

YEMEN: Children bear brunt of Saada conflict
SANAA Monday, September 07, 2009 (IRIN) - Living with a host family in the capital Sanaa, Hamid al-Dhahiri never thinks about returning to his home village in Saada Province where fighting between the army and Houthi rebels claimed the lives of his wife and two of his six children on...

YEMEN: Humanitarian situation worsens after short-lived truce 
SANAA Sunday, September 06, 2009 (IRIN) - Conditions for thousands of displaced families in northern Yemen continue to deteriorate as a 4 September truce between government troops and Shia rebels to allow relief items in lasted only four hours.

YEMEN: Huda Omar, "My children cry out for food day and night"
SANAA Sunday, September 06, 2009 (IRIN) - Huda Omar, 30, fled war-torn Somalia by boat in 2006 to Oman, where she spent more than two and a half years before paying traffickers to smuggle her to Yemen.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Stolen Room Offers a Split View 
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM, Sep 7 (IPS) - In the early morning sunlight, the smoky window of the plush new apartment reflects back a golden tinge from the Dome of the Rock that stands at the heart of Islam's third holiest shrine.

US-ISRAEL: New Settlements Plan Heightens Tensions 
WASHINGTON, Sep 5 (IPS) - The White House reprimanded the Israeli government Friday over reports that Israel plans to build hundreds of new housing units in West Bank settlements, the latest in a series of showdowns between Washington and Jerusalem over settlement construction.

IRAQ: Stormy Times as U.S. Withdraws 
WASHINGTON, Sep 5 (IPS) - Political violence in Iraq killed 456 Iraqis in August, the highest monthly death toll since July 2008. And with the U.S. showing no sign it plans to reverse the troop withdrawal that is now well underway, numerous struggles for power are shaping up inside Iraq.

MIDEAST: Israelis Target Medical Teams 
JELAZON, West Bank, Sep 3 (IPS) - Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Nayif's mother broke down as she spoke to IPS. Nayif died after being shot three times in the chest by Israeli soldiers Monday night.

Stop The Wall

Norwegian Pension Fund divests from Elbit Systems!
3 Sep 2009 - The Norwegian Pension Fund has announced its decision to divest $6 million from the Israeli firm Elbit Systems. The firm contributes surveillance technology to the Wall as well as military equipment to Occupation forces. This is an important victory for the BDS movement, and Elbit has been the target of a long campaign, with Stop the Wall working closely with Norwegian activists in the divestment effort. [

BNC logo-design competition (September 8 deadline)
3 Sep 2009 - In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations united behind a call to the world to impose Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel until it complies with international law. Now, the Palestinian BDS Campaign National Committee (BNC) is calling on YOU to design a BDS logo for the campaign!! [

PCHR Latest

IOF Willfully Kill a Child in Beit Hanoun Town, Northern Gaza
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(27 Aug.- 02 Sep.  2009)
During the reporting period, IOF killed two Palestinian civilians, including a child, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.  Two members of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) were also killed in the Gaza Strip, and Hamas accused IOF of killing them.

information on boycott, divestment and sanctions
IOF Willfully Kill a Palestinian Child in al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp, North of Ramallah 01 September

International Solidarity Movement

Israeli forces shoot live ammunition during Ni’lin demonstration, injuring 2
9/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 4 September 2009 - Once again the residents of Ni'lin went out to protest against the Wall Israel has build on there land. The protesters were met by tear gas, stinky water, rubber coated steal bullets and live ammunition. Two people were hit with live ammunition and another two with rubber coated steal bullets. Many suffered from tear gas inhalation. At one o'clock, after the weekly Friday prayer,residents of Ni'lin joined by Israeli and international activists went out to protest against the illegal Apartheid Wall Israel has build on their land. The people went chanting and carrying Palestinian flags out in their olive groves, expressing their rights to their land. They managed to reach the 8 meter high concrete wall and on spot tires were put on fire and a Palestinian flag put on top the wall. 

Jane Fonda joins boycott of Toronto film festival over homage to Israel
9/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 5 September 2009 - Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and Eve Ensler have joined the growing list of artists who are boycotting the Toronto film festival over a program honoring Tel Aviv's 100th anniversary, gossip blogger Perez Hilton reported on Friday. The three have added their names to a letter aimed at festival officials claiming that Tel Aviv was built on violence, ignoring the "suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants," Hilton reported. Several Israeli films are being screened at the festival's new City to City event, which this year celebrates Tel Aviv's centennial. Culture critic Naomi Klein and director John Greyson are among those who had already announced their protest over the homage to Tel Aviv. Two-time Oscar winner Rabbi Marvin Hier, who founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the boycott "an attack on the heart and soul of Israel. 

Israeli forces raid Bil’in in the night
9/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 5 September 2009 - Israeli forces frequently raid Bil'in during the night - Around 2:30am, the Israeli occupation forces invaded Bil'in again. They raided two houses but no arrests were made. They raided the house where Khamse Yaseen (age 16) lives and attempted to arrest him, but he was not at home at the time. They also raided the house where Yaseen Mohammed Ali Yaseen (age 21) lives but could not find him either. During the raid at both houses, Palestinian and international activists challenged the soldiers standing guard outside. They were told that they were in a "closed military area," were not allowed to film, and that they had to go home. Since the photographer, Hamde Abu Rahma, who showed his Press ID, continued to take photos, the soldiers pointed the guns at him and chased after him at some point. After intense arguing on both sides, the soldiers eventually retreated having not succeeded in arresting the wanted men. 

Two photographers hurt in Na’alin protests
9/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - Two photographers were lightly injured during a demonstration on Friday against the separation fence near the West Bank village of Na'alin. One of the injured was noted Israeli artist David Reeb. The other was Palestinian photographer Muhammad Amira. About 250 Israelis and Palestinians attended the Na'alin demonstration. A smaller protest was held in the nearby village of Bilin. Protesters began throwing rocks at Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Border Police forces, who responded by firing rubber-tipped bullets and teargas grenades. Protesters said yesterday the IDF used live munitions as well. Reeb, who has attended the protests since they began, four years ago, had surgery to remove shrapnel from his leg and was set to be discharged from hospital today. He said yesterday he did not believe the soldiers were targeting him. 

IOF willfully kill a child in Beit Hanoun town, northern Gaza
9/7/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 6 September 2009 - On Friday afternoon, 4 September 2009, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a 14-year-old child, Ghazi al-Za'anin, in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF troops shot the child from close range, while he was walking with his family. This child was the second to be killed by IOF in less than a week. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) investigations, and eye-witness testimony, indicates that, at approximately 13:40 on Friday, 4 September 2009, Maher Ghazi al-Za'anin drove his four children, including Ghazi, 14, to their farm, 500 meters away from the border with Israel, in the northeast of Beit Hanoun town. Before arriving at the farm, al-Za'anin and his children stepped down from the car and approached their land on foot. On their way to the farm, they were surprised by an Israeli military jeep that stopped opposite to them. 

Support the Gaza Freedom March
9/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Endorse the Gaza Freedom March! Sign the Pledge Below! Israel's blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law that has led to mass suffering. The U. S. , the European Union, and the rest of the international community are complicit. The law is clear. The conscience of humankind is shocked. Yet, the siege of Gaza continues. It is time for us to take action! On January 1, 2010, we will mark the New Year by marching alongside the Palestinian people of Gaza in a non-violent demonstration that breaches the illegal blockade. Our purpose in this March is lifting the siege on Gaza. We demand that Israel end the blockade. We also call upon Egypt to open Gaza's Rafah border. Palestinians must have freedom to travel for study, work, and much-needed medical treatment and to receive visitors from abroad. As an international coalition we are not in a position to advocate a specific political solution to this conflict. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Palestinians: Israel vow to halt settlements is void
6 Sep 2009 - Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday that Israel's decision to construct nearly 500 new housing units in the West Bank prior to declaration of a settlement freeze further undermined any belief that it is a credible partner for peace. ...

Hezbollah rejects offer to take one-third of Lebanon cabinet 
6 Sep 2009 - Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri handed the president his proposed line-up for a national unity government on Monday in a move swiftly rejected by opposition factions including the powerful Hezbollah. ...

Barbados holds hearing over murder of Hadassah Canada president
6 Sep 2009 - A Barbados court on Monday held a preliminary hearing against a man suspected of murdering the president of Hadassah Canada earlier this year, the Ottawa Citizen reported. ...

For Israel, a New Year, and a new left
6 Sep 2009 - Click here for more articles by Bradley Burston ... 

Can a U.S.-Israel deal on settlements stop the settlers?
6 Sep 2009 - So? Did the Americans know in advance about Israel's intention to authorize 500 more housing units in the West Bank? And how long will the freeze - the temporary limitations on construction - last? ... 

The Guardian

Binyamin Netanyahu approves construction of homes in West Bank
7 Sep 2009 - Israel officially approved the construction of hundreds of new homes in the West Bank, its defence ministry said yesterday, deepening an already unprecedented rift with the US over Israeli settlement expansion. The construction is the first...

Divestment can work | Seth Freedman
7 Sep 2009 - The targeted boycotting of businesses involved in Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories is legitimate The Norwegian government's divestment from Elbit Systems is an entirely appropriate response to Elbit's business involvement with the occupation of the...

Israel rushes to approve new settlement homes before US-brokered freeze
6 Sep 2009 - • Ministers back Netanyahu stance on West Bank expansion • PM wins 'strategic delay' deal to appease rightwingers Israel's defence ministry will approve the construction of 500 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank this...

Settlement deal set to focus on the West Bank
5 Sep 2009 - George Mitchell, the US envoy to the Middle East, will return to Jerusalem this week for talks on a temporary Israeli suspension of settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, despite a highly public row breaking...

Ha'aretz National page

Infrastructure Minister Landau: Arabs are the occupiers 
6 Sep 2009 - National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan for a partial construction freeze in the West Bank, deeming the Palestinians "occupiers" and declaring any bounds on settlements a "violation of human rights." ...

Prosecution accuses Katsav of using 'fear' tactics on victims
6 Sep 2009 - The Tel Aviv District Court lifted the gag order Monday on opening remarks made on the first day of Moshe Katsav's trial last Tuesday on charges of rape, indecent assault and sexual harassment committed against three female employees while he was tourism minister and president. ...

Store manager stabbed to death by former employee in Ramat Gan
6 Sep 2009 - A Ramat Gan store manager was stabbed to death on Monday by a former employee apparently disgruntled over unpaid wages. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Ehud Barak approves 500 new illegal settlement homes on Monday while Arab states eye closer ties?
7 Sep 2009 - Source: Palestine Monitor

OPT: Factbox - Facts about Israel's Jewish settlements
7 Sep 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Israel authorises new settler homes in West Bank
7 Sep 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

YNet News

Beinish: There is air of contempt for human life
7 Sep 2009 - At ceremony opening Israel Bar Association's judicial year Supreme Court president addresses recent wave of violence sweeping nation; defends courts, which are accused of causing problem by handing down light sentences. 'Causes of delinquency rooted in social failures, tough socio-economic background' 

PA minister says won't meet with Shalom again
7 Sep 2009 - Following criticism over last week's meeting with Israeli Regional Development Minister in effort to boost economic peace, Palestinian National Economy Minister says for the time being, there will be no more sessions 

Rightist try to enter Hebron 'disputed house'
7 Sep 2009 - In response to government's plans to freeze construction in settlements, rightists arrived at disputed structure in West Bank city, attempt to break in; two detained. Extreme rightist Itamar Ben Gvir says, 'youths' motivation won't be curbed' 

Fayyad: We need to will Palestinian state
7 Sep 2009 - Following Israel's silence, Fatah's criticism of his plans to set up de facto Palestinian state within two years, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad give interview to Newsweek, saying, 'Who else is going to build it if we don't? We should quit accepting things as fate' 

New neighborhood launched in disputed E1 area
7 Sep 2009 - Hundreds of people, including ministers, MKs and Yesha Council heads attend symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for 'Mevaseret Adumim' neighborhood in disputed area outside Jerusalem. 'We won't be the world's sucker anymore,' Deputy Minister Porush says, 'This is our answer to international pressure on settlements' 

Lebanon opposition rejects Hariri gov't move 
7 Sep 2009 - Prime minister-designate presents list of 30 ministers to President Michel Suleiman. List includes 15 ministers from Hariri camp, five from Suleiman's camp and 10 representatives from Hezbollah-affiliated parties 

Daily Star

UNICEF's new Lebanon envoy visits Sleiman 
7 Sep 2009

UNRWA employees strike in South Lebanon 
7 Sep 2009

Hariri submits cabinet line-up proposal to Sleiman for approval 
7 Sep 2009

UN nuclear watchdog warns of 'stalemate' with Iran 
7 Sep 2009

Israel authorizes new settler homes in West Bank 
7 Sep 2009

Security forces restore order in restive Gabon city 
7 Sep 2009

Anti-Israel comments cloud Egypt's bid to lead UNESCO 
7 Sep 2009

Arrest of arms dealer exposes smuggling of prohibited items into Iran 
7 Sep 2009

Palestinian Information Center

Negev prison refuses to treat Palestinian detainee with gangrene
7 Sep 2009 - The Israeli Negev prison authority refused to allow treatment of a Palestinian detainee who has been suffering from gangrene for five months, his relatives said.

Israel releases coordinator of Jerusalemite popular committee
7 Sep 2009 - The IOA released on Sunday Ihab Al-Jallad, the coordinator of the Jerusalemite popular committee, after he was detained on a charge of participating in the weekly march organized in the holy city.

Barak endorses 455 new housing units in West Bank settlements
7 Sep 2009 - Israeli war minister Ehud Barak approved Monday the construction of 455 new housing units in the major settlements in the West Bank.

Information ministry: Journalist detained on legal basis
7 Sep 2009 - The information ministry in the Gaza Strip has said that the detention of journalist Ala'a Al-Mashharawi was due to a legal charge and had nothing to do with politics or his profession.

Hamas holds IOA fully responsible for consequences of escalated aggressions
7 Sep 2009 - Hamas has held the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) fully responsible for consequences of the escalation in its military aggressions on the Gaza Strip.

Friends of humanity demands Israel to release Ghoul and Zamil from its jails
7 Sep 2009 - Friends of humanity international called on the Israeli occupation authority to immediately release the two female Palestinian prisoners Raja’a Al-Ghoul and Ghofran Al-Zamil from its jails.

Khudari asks Egypt to open Rafah border crossing permanently
7 Sep 2009 - Independent MP Jamal Al-Khudari has asked the Egyptian leadership to open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza Strip on permanent basis to alleviate Gaza people's suffering.

Press reports: Plan underway to resettle Palestinian refugees in Kurdistan
7 Sep 2009 - Serious efforts are currently underway to resettle Palestinian refugees in Kurdistan in northern Iraq, Iraqi and Palestinian sources said.

Mishaal warns of confining Arab-Israeli conflict to settlement issue
7 Sep 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the head of Hamas political bureau, warned Sunday of the seriousness of confining the Arab-Israeli conflict to the issue of settlement expansion.

IOF troops kidnap three citizens in northern Gaza
7 Sep 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped three Palestinian citizens near the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Lahia during an incursion on Sunday evening, local sources reported.

Los Angeles Times

Iran announces plan to purge universities of Western influences 
7 Sep 2009 - Humanities curricula will be revised to bring them more in line with Islamic principles, an official says. Critics say the move is based on 'fascism and totalitarianism.' A hard-line deputy of Iran's supreme leader announced steps Sunday to purge Iranian universities of Western influences even as the government faced accusations of "fascism and totalitarianism" leveled by the country's former president. 

Iran's Mousavi urges continued civil disobedience 
6 Sep 2009 - The opposition leader tells supporters to keep up the 'struggle against cheaters and liars.' He demands a government investigation of the disputed presidential election. Iran's leading opposition figure Saturday called on his supporters to continue acts of peaceful civil disobedience, in his first major statement in weeks. 

West Bank settlement growth looks likely 
5 Sep 2009 - A decision by Israel's Netanyahu to build hundreds of new homes prompts a U.S. expression of 'regret.' Israel signaled its intention Friday to build hundreds of new homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, provoking a new clash with the Obama administration and complicating a U.S. effort to restart Middle East peace talks this fall. 

New York Times

Israel Approves Settlement Construction
7 Sep 2009 - The move to allow 455 new homes to be built in the West Bank could pave the way for a construction moratorium demanded by the U.S. 

Nuclear Agency Said to Be in ‘Stalemate’ With Iran
7 Sep 2009 - The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said his agency was in a “stalemate” with Iran as it faces a deadline to respond to an offer of nuclear talks or face more sanctions. 

Hamas Fights Over Gaza’s Islamist Identity
5 Sep 2009 - Officials in the Hamas-led government have pushed back some efforts by guardians of religious morality, but it remains unclear for how long. 

Misc

Defiant Israel to build 455 new settlement homes 
9/7/2009 - The Raw Story - Israel on Monday gave the go-ahead to build hundreds of new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank, defying warnings that the move jeopardises any resumption of Middle East peace talks. Defence Minister Ehud Barak authorised the construction of 455 units, most of them in the large settlement blocs that Israel has said it wants to keep in the event of a final peace agreement. The move -- coming just days ahead of a planned visit to the region by US Middle East envoy George Mitchell -- has sparked criticism that it will undermine US-led efforts to restart the stalled peace process. " Israel's decision. . . nullifies any effect that a settlement freeze, when and if announced, will have," top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement. " It further undermines faith in the peace process, and the belief that Israel is a credible partner for peace. " 

Oslo pressured to dump Africa Israel as well
9/8/2009 - Ha'aretz - A day after Norway announced its divestment from holdings in electronics defense company Elbit Systems for ideological reasons, human rights organizations are calling on Oslo to dump its holdings in Africa Israel Investments as well. Norway's problem with Elbit Systems is its provision of equipment to monitor the separation fence between Israel and the Palestinian territories. The human rights organizations' problem with Africa Israel is the role of subsidiary Danya Cebus in building homes in West Bank settlements, reports the Adnkronos International Web site. The human rights organization Adalah argues that the Africa Israel group, led by Lev Leviev, is violating international law through its construction activity in the territories. The Norwegian government owns $1. 1 million worth of Africa Israel stock, according to figures from Norway's central bank, Norges Bank. 

Israel gets tough on intermarriage 
9/7/2009 - The National - Jonathan Cook - NAZERETH, ISRAEL // The Israeli government has launched a television and internet advertising campaign urging Israelis to inform on Jewish friends and relatives abroad who may be in danger of marrying non-Jews. The advertisements, employing what the Israeli media described as “scare tactics”, are designed to stop assimilation through intermarriage among young diaspora Jews by encouraging them to move to Israel. The campaign, which cost US$800,000 (Dh2. 9 million), was created in response to reports that half of all Jews outside Israel marry non-Jews. It is just one of several initiatives by the Israeli state and private organisations to try to increase the size of Israel’s Jewish population. According to one of the advertisements, voiced over by one of the country’s leading news anchors, assimilation is “a strategic national threat” and warns that “more than 50 per cent of Diaspora youth assimilate and are lost to us. 

Water sinks below political positions 
9/7/2009 - The National - Does the demand by Palestinians for their water rights in the West Bank hinder practical steps that can be taken to meet their water needs and protect the aquifers that both the Palestinians and Israel share? Is it not counter-productive – even self-destructive – to forsake short-term co-operation, given the endemic over-drilling and creeping contamination of the underground reservoirs? Are Palestinian officials, in short, engaging in water follies? Israel certainly thinks so. Its scientists and water experts, who meet regularly with their counterparts from across the Middle East, including Iran, point to Israel’s pace-setting advances in water technology and management. They say this knowledge can be shared more extensively when collaboration replaces confrontation. This know-how is indeed impressive. Israel leads the world in the recycling of wastewater. Some 70 per cent of the water currently consumed by Israel’s shrinking agriculture sector is recycled sewage; in five years, nearly all of it will be. 

Gaza resistance in rapid-fire rhyme 
9/6/2009 - The National - GAZA CITY // It is the first day of Ramadan and four rappers from the Palestinian hip-hop group Darg Team, crammed into a stifling apartment in Gaza City’s Maqusi Towers, break early what should be a day-long fast by smoking several rounds of shisha. Today they are recording a new song for the soundtrack to a Swiss documentary on the Gaza Strip – and, the young MCs insist, they need the heavy smoke to harden their vocal cords before rapping. Gaza City seems an unlikely place to hear western-style hip-hop, but it is in these apartment towers in the north of the city where Gaza’s rap scene was born nearly a decade ago and continues to thrive today. Gaza-based rappers took both first and third place in a recent national hip-hop contest held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This year, the Darg Team, whose name stands for Da Arabian Revolutionary Guys and is pronounced “darj”, grabbed international headlines with its popular track, titled 23 Days, an angry and poignant critique of Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza last winter. 

Palestinians ’seriously considering’ one-state 
9/6/2009 - Yahoo! News - WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former US president Jimmy Carter said Sunday Palestinian leaders were "seriously considering" a one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following a visit to the Middle East. " A majority of the Palestinian leaders with whom we met are seriously considering acceptance of one state, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea," Carter wrote in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post. " By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbors and then demand equal rights within a democracy," he explained. "In this non-violent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. " Carter noted that in doing so, Palestinian leaders were taking into consideration current demographic trends. 

Palestinian embassy in London strangely silent as Israeli terror-strikes and land-grabs continue 
9/6/2009 - Redress - Stuart Littlewood - Stuart Littlewood views the abject failure of the Palestinian embassy in London to promote the Palestinian cause to the British public and to counter the lies and propaganda of Israel. He shares a recent exchange he had with the Palestinian ambassador which shows that the embassy remains in deep coma. - "The inevitable conclusion is that the regime in Ramallah has gagged its London operation and instructed it not to cross swords with the Israelis. Otherwise Ramallah would have ensured its London operation had all the skills and resources needed to match the enemy and make a creditable impact here at this important hub in the Western world. " As if they didn’t have enough problems, tormented Palestinians suffer the added misfortune of being represented here in London – the media capital of the Western world – by the most invisible and silent embassy it is possible to imagine. 

’We tried to kill Carter and Blair’ 
9/7/2009 - Jerusalem Post - The leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group in the Gaza Strip revealed on Sunday that his men recently tried to assassinate former US president Jimmy Carter and Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair. Mahmoud Taleb, a former commander of Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, also threatened that his supporters were planning to launch attacks on Hamas. Taleb, who is wanted by Hamas's security forces, has been in hiding for more than two years. Several attempts by Hamas to arrest him have failed, prompting the movement to detain many of his friends and relatives. A veteran journalist in the Gaza Strip described Taleb as the Palestinian Osama bin Laden. The journalist said that Taleb's group was seeking to establish an Islamic "emirate" in the Gaza Strip. Last month, Hamas's security forces killed Abdel Latif Moussa, founder and head of a similar fundamentalist group called Jund Ansar Allah. Moussa was killed along with 30 other Palestinians, most of them his supporters, during a standoff in the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip. 

New Iran sanctions likely after nuclear watchdog says talks at stalemate 
9/7/2009 - The Guardian - Mohamed ElBaradei ignites row with France and Israel over allegations that he suppressed evidence on weapons - A new round of international sanctions against Iran looked almost inevitable today after the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, said talks with the Islamic republic were at a "stalemate", and the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appeared to rule out a compromise. ElBaradei delivered a despairing account of Iran's nuclear compliance at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but he also ignited a simmering row with France and Israel, when he accused "some member states" of making "politically motivated" allegations against him. French and Israeli officials have both accused ElBaradei of suppressing damning evidence of Iranian attempts to build nuclear weapons. 


Articles

The Elders’ View Of the Middle East 
Jimmy Carter, Washington Post 9/6/2009
      During the past 16 months I have visited the Middle East four times and met with leaders in Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. I was in Damascus when President Obama made his historic speech in Cairo, which raised high hopes among the more-optimistic Israelis and Palestinians, who recognize that his insistence on a total freeze of settlement expansion is the key to any acceptable peace agreement or any positive responses toward Israel from Arab nations.
     Late last month I traveled to the region with a group of "Elders," including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and Mary Robinson of Ireland, former prime minister Gro Brundtland of Norway and women’s activist Ela Bhatt of India. Three of us had previously visited Gaza, which is now a walled-in ghetto inhabited by 1.6 million Palestinians, 1.1 million of whom are refugees from Israel and the West Bank and receive basic humanitarian assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Israel prevents any cement, lumber, seeds, fertilizer and hundreds of other needed materials from entering through Gaza’s gates. Some additional goods from Egypt reach Gaza through underground tunnels. Gazans cannot produce their own food nor repair schools, hospitals, business establishments or the 50,000 homes that were destroyed or heavily damaged by Israel’s assault last January.
     We found a growing sense of concern and despair among those who observe, as we did, that settlement expansion is continuing apace, rapidly encroaching into Palestinian villages, hilltops, grazing lands, farming areas and olive groves. There are more than 200 of these settlements in the West Bank.
     An even more disturbing expansion is taking place in Palestinian East Jerusalem. Three months ago I visited a family who had lived for four generations in their small, recently condemned home. They were laboring to destroy it themselves to avoid much higher costs if Israeli contractors carried out the demolition order. On Aug. 27, we Elders took a gift of food to 18 members of the Hanoun family, recently evicted from their home of 65 years. The Hanouns, including six children, are living on the street, while Israeli settlers have moved into their confiscated dwelling. more.. e-mail

East Jerusalem: the indignity and illegality of eviction 
Mary Robinson, The Elders 9/2/2009
      As our visit to the Middle East was ending, one of the most poignant encounters we had was with Maher Hanoun and his family in East Jerusalem. For several nights three generations of Hanouns have been sleeping in the street – the women and children in cars and the men encamped on the pavement. They were evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem on 2 August 2009 following an Israeli court ruling. 
     We brought the family food and drink for Iftar, a special time for Muslims during the month of Ramadan as it is the evening meal at which their daily fast is broken. The moment was rendered even more moving as we heard of the difficulties that the Hanouns have experienced since their eviction. 
     The family are refugees who have lived in their home in Sheik Jarrah since 1948. Now they have not only been evicted, but have watched Jewish families being shown the property and encouraged to move into a home that for generations they called their own.
     These houses are situated in occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian families that lived in these buildings did so legally, and their presence is supported by international law. This is encapsulated in UN Security Council resolutions 446 and 478 which call upon Israel not to transfer members of its civilian population into occupied Arab territories or to change the character and status of Jerusalem. more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
"Scare tactic" campaign aims to bring US Jews to Israel
7 Sep 2009 - The Israeli government has launched a television and Internet advertising campaign urging Israelis to inform on Jewish friends and relatives abroad who may be in danger of marrying non-Jews. The advertisements, employing what the Israeli media described as "scare tactics," are designed to stop assimilation through intermarriage among young Diaspora Jews by encouraging their move to Israel. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Israel destroys Gaza boats and lives
7 Sep 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Until last Monday, Omar and Khaled al-Habil were the owners of a 20 meter fishing trawler staffed by five or six fishermen at a time, but employing around 18 in cycles. But that morning the vessel came under heavy Israeli navy machine-gun fire, and then shelling. The trawler caught fire. "It's destroyed, completely destroyed," says al-Habil. 

Why we back the boycott call
7 Sep 2009 - When we decided to pull our film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne International Film festival following our discovery that the festival was part-sponsored by the Israeli state, we wrote to the director, Richard Moore, detailing our reasons. Unfortunately he has misrepresented our position and did so again last week on the Guardian's Comment is free by stating that "to allow the personal politics of one filmmaker to proscribe a festival position ... goes against the grain of what festivals stand for," and claiming that "Loach's demands were beyond the pale." Filmmakers Ken Loach, Rebecca O'Brien and Paul Laverty comment. 

Accountability and the organ theft controversy
5 Sep 2009 - The hyperventilating by Israel's leaders over a story published in a Swedish newspaper last month suggesting that the Israeli army assisted in organ theft from Palestinians has distracted attention from the disturbing allegations made by Palestinian families that were the basis of the article's central claim. Jonathan Cook comments. 

In Gaza
born ziggit? Gaza Ramadan day 17
7 Sep 2009 - Raghad, just one year old, is already ‘ ziggit min el dinnia ‘, fed up with life, says her father. No, she wasn’t born this way. But just possibly, at this tender age, Raghad is ziggit. Certainly she has reason to be. Her family lives in Khan Younis camp, which like all Palestinian refugee camp comprises tight alleys serving as paths leading to houses, and poorly constructed, over-crowded cement homes, too cold in winter, too suffocatingly hot in summer. Her father has bicycled to busy Khan Younis city streets, to buy iftaar foods. He’s proud of his daughter and happy to share her with the camera. But he has a...

Palestine Chronicle
Our Gift of Silence
6 Sep 2009 - By Ahmed Barqawi The lack of subtlety in Israel's policy of aggression and land theft towards the Palestinians can only be attributed to our gift of silence, one for which the Israelis' are appreciative and fully exploitive of. AFP -Agence France-Presse- reported last Monday that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had sent a letter to the family of Israeli captive Gilad Shalit on the occasion of the soldier’s twenty-third birthday which coincided late last month. In his letter; Sarkozy vowed France's relentless efforts for the freedom of the Shalits’ son, expressing that his thoughts are with them and their son especially on his fourth birthday spent in captivity. How heartwarming it must be for Gilad's parents, Aviva and Noam, to have on their side the unyielding support of the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world today, the chief resident of the Elysse palace himself, one can imagine the sort of comfort and consolation that they feel to have renowned world leaders carrying their son's "cause" around, campaigning for it on every possible international platform that there is, and why won’t they feel that way; their son garners a great deal of media attention (including Arabic ones), receiving honorary citizenships left and right from the cities of Paris, Rome and Miami, and his “problem” is actually talked about and discussed incessantly in the same hallways and corridors that hold talks of major international issues like the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. Candle vigils are held...

The Tortoise and Obama: Racing Against Time in the Middle East
6 Sep 2009 - By James Gundun Nobody likes anti-climax, except for maybe Israel. After heightened speculation that President Obama was hammering out his own Middle East peace plan, the smoke cleared and left nothing behind. Apparently Obama has no new plan, only the desire to mediate negotiations between Israel and Palestine. But was it wise to flicker out after all the buildup? President Obama has very low odds of signing a two-state solution in two years, which apparently is the deadline he’s set. Israel is more like the hare in this race, confident of winning and prone to lapses in judgement. Never believing the Palestinians will catch up, Israel has grown accustomed to acting unilaterally without fear of reprisal from America or the international community. But while Israeli is in a rush to beat the demographic trends of Palestinians, President Obama is in an even greater rush to win Muslim popularity. Everyone knows how this fable ends. Obama will encounter fierce resistance from the Palestinians if his intention is to mediate a two-state solution within a two year deadline. Without a new plan Obama is signaling he’s going to stick with Israel, the only actor celebrating the status quo. Of all the arenas he has stepped into, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is most immune to Obama’s oratory. Beautifully crafted rhetoric won’t convince either side to compromise on core demands like Jerusalem or the rights of refugees. What he needed was a moderate plan and courage. Now President Obama is resting his full weight on...

Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination - Book Review
6 Sep 2009 - By Jim Miles The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination The Struggle for Palestine and the Roots of the Israeli-Arab Conflict. Jeremy R. Hammond. Lulu, 2009. The story of Palestine is poorly represented in western media, generally taken out of context and generally - as a strong cohort to the lack of context - with a strong bias in favour of the Israeli perspective. That perspective in short is that of Arab terrorist aggression against the ‘democratic’ Israeli state, the victim. There is an increasing library of well written material that denies that simplistic view and ties it into the longer course of Zionist history. A new addition to this library, “The Rejection of Palestinian Self-Determination” provides a concise, clear, and valuable summary to the context. It highlights the Zionist intent to deny the Palestinians their lands and their democratic rights, using several methods of persuasion. The argument of the Arab people being “barbarians” and lacking in “modernity” is accompanied by the even more illusory position that the land was essentially unoccupied. The corollary is that from the biblical perspective, the land belonged to the Jewish people, a belief that provided much sanctimonious support from western countries. From that, the Palestinians were consistently denied the right of self-determination, regardless of the fine sounding rhetoric of the League of Nations and the various committees and commissions that worked on the problem. Jeremy Hammond has provided an excellent precis of the many letters, commissions, agreements, and discussions that occurred prior to the nakba. Well...

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