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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
8 September, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israeli court to release a Hamas prisoner, but would not allow him back home
9 Sep 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Tuesday that an Israeli court decided to release Sheikh Abdullah Yassin, from the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, but would now allow him to go back to Tulkarem, and instead wants to deport him to Bethlehem and certain restrictions and conditions. 

Abu Al Gheit: “Normalization with Israel possible should settlement construction stop”
9 Sep 2009 - Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmad Abu Al Gheit, stated Tuesday that Arab normalization with Israel is possible but depends on the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, and a complete halt of settlement activities in the occupied territories. 

Netanyahu to visit Cairo next week
8 Sep 2009 - Israeli sources reported that Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will be visiting Cairo next week to hold meetings with the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, and several senior Egyptian officials.  

The Israeli military kidnaps nine Palestinian civilians from the West Bank
8 Sep 2009 - Nine Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by Israeli troops Tuesday during morning invasions in several West Bank communities.

Israel kicks off the construction of 455 units for settlers in East Jerusalem
8 Sep 2009 - The Israeli government officially kicked off the construction of 455 units for settlers who will be living in a new neighborhood in the Mafseret Adumim, close to Maaleh Adumim settlement bloc in East Jerusalem. 

Israeli policemen conducting drills in preparation for the ninth anniversary of Al Aqsa Intifada
8 Sep 2009 - At least 1300 Israeli policemen of the northern brigade started Monday a special training in preparation for the ninth anniversary of the Al Aqsa Intifada as Arab resident of Israel are preparing to commemorate the 13 resident killed by the police in late September 2000. 

National Resistance Brigades calls for forming one brigade to unite all resistance groups
8 Sep 2009 - The National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), called for forming a national resistance brigade that joins all resistance groups under one umbrella to unit their struggle against the Israeli occupation. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

NGO Monitor: Gaza war probe tainted by anti-Israel ideology
8 Sep 2009 - Israeli researchers Richard Goldstone's former role in HRW casts doubt on neutrality of international probe. 

Transport Minister promises to invest millions in Jewish Hebron
8 Sep 2009 - Likud minister Katz says Israel 'supports settlements' won't be cowed by 'diplomatic compulsions'. 

Russian FM: No S-300 missiles on hijacked ship
8 Sep 2009 - FM Lavrov calls reports 'a complete lie,' despite sources in both Russia and Israel claiming otherwise. 

Gates: Arabs should strengthen armies to counter Iran threat
8 Sep 2009 - U.S. Defense Secretary says stronger Arab armies would help Iran rethink nuclear ambitions. 

Court delays decision on allowing Haredim to defer IDF service
8 Sep 2009 - Court to resume deliberation in 15 months after clarifying whether law has brought about change in enlistment patterns. 

Ma'an News

Israel preventing treatment of diabetic son, family says
9/8/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Parents of a 24-year-old diabetic man held in Israeli prison appealed to human rights organizations on Tuesday saying he was being denied treatment by prison officials. According to his brother Wael, Loay Ahmad Barakat from Al-Ayn Refugee Camp in Nablus lost his left hand due to lack of treatment while in prison and now is in danger of having his right leg amputated. Amputation is a common side effect of untreated diabetes, with poor blood circulation or untreated infections causing muscle deterioration. Loay has four years left of his seven-year sentence, and has repeatedly appealed to human rights organizations to witness his case. His mother reported the disease is preventing wounds all over his body from healing, and he is at very high risk of further amputations. 

Latest Israeli proposal to turn Jabal Al-Mukabbir into forest lands
9/8/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an -A joint Israel land department and Jewish National Fund project proposes turning the Al-Farouq neighborhood of Jabal Al-Mukabbir into forest land as part of the ongoing project of "greening Jerusalem," head of Jerusalem department in the Palestinian president's office, attorney Ahmad Rweidi said on Tuesday. According to the official,550 thousand dunums of Palestinian lands will be annexed by the municipality and declared forest land. Rweidi said thel plan was part of Israel's general policy to annex Palestinian lands and confiscate assets in Jerusalem's Old City and the surrounding neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Al-Joz, Silwan, and Jabal Al-Mukabbir. Ruweidi called the latest plan the "most dangerous yet," because it includes vast areas of land close to the walls of the old city. He said the plan was published in Hebrew newspapers and no residents were notified of the decision. 

PA Police: Israeli troops detain 9, overrun 5 governorates
9/8/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Israeli troops overran five of the West Bank's 12 governorates Tuesday, Palestinian Authority police reported, noting nine Palestinians were detained in the 12 hours since sunset. In the Ramallah governorate troops entered the Al-Jalzon Refugee Camp and raided half a dozen homes. Police identified 18-year-old Ala Saleh Abu Sharifeh as the one person detained during the raids. In the Tulkarem governorate troops overran the capital and raided the house of Ja'far Odeh, who was handed an order to present himself to Israeli intelligence. Troops then raided the house of Adnan Samara, also in Tulkarem city and detained Muhammad Munir Abu Safyeh and Abdul Latif Munir Abu Safyeh. Elsewhere in the governorate troops raided Saffarin village and invaded the homes of Adnan As-Safarini, Nael Ahmad Hassan and Talal Al-Haj. 

Israel extends closure of East Jerusalem community center
9/8/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israeli authorities extended the closure of the Nidal Centre for Community Development in Jerusalem's Old City for a year. The center's doors were welded shut on July 16 2009, the center, established in 2000 and affiliated with the Health Works Committees (HWCs), was evacuated and closed because it represented a "security threat" according to Israeli officers on the scene. Center Director Abu Seer said he was summoned by Israeli intelligence, and when he presented himself at the Russian Compound he was told there were charges against him alleging that he re-opened the center after its July closure. The initial closure document said the center was to be closed until 11 August 2009. After delivering the charges authorities at the intelligence center said Abu Seer was to close the center for a year, not counting the two months it had already been closed. 

Former prisoner exiled to southern West Bank in Israeli first
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - In an unprecedented Israeli judicial decision, a released prisoner from Tulkarem Governorate, in the northern West Bank, will be exiled to "Area C" in the Hebron Governorate. The verdict, passed down on 44-year-old Abdullah Fuqaha from the town of Kafr Al-Labad near Tulkarem, will see Fuqaha barred from cities, towns and most villages in the southernmost municipality. "Area C," as defined by the 1993 Oslo Accords, are areas under exclusive Israeli military and civil control. In the map above, areas that are completely white are "Area C," mostly in the south Hebron hills and bordering settlements, areas usually declared closed military zones and inaccessible to locals. Fuqaha, who worked as an Imam in his village mosque, is married and has seven children. He must now find a residence in "Area C" where he has no family, and inform Israeli authorities where he is living. 

UN report: Israeli war cost Gaza 4 billion USD
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A UN report published on Tuesday said poverty in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated to levels unseen since Israel occupied the territory in 1967. According to the website of the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the UN trade and development agency says 90% of Gaza's residents are currently beneath the poverty line and rates the damages caused by the Israel's three-week military offensive last winter at 4 billion US dollars, a sum it says is three times larger than the Strip's annual market performance. The agency reportedly says the operation halted all trade in the Gaza Strip, creating a deficit of around 88 million US dollars. This, in addition to material damages and loss of finances due to the siege and trade limitations later imposed on the Strip, make up the final sum. Gaza's production capabilities are also on a permanent downslide, the UN agency said, and its economy has been in recession for the last nine years. 

Israeli forces take three men from Nablus area
9/8/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained three young Palestinian men from the Al-Fari'a refugee camp north of Nablus after storming the camp early Tuesday morning. Local sources said troops ransacked several homes in the camp before detaining 23-year-old Alaa Subih, and his brother, 20-year-old Wael, and then 35-year-old Mahmoud Abu Al-Habal. [end] 

Israel to open two Gaza crossings Tuesday
9/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel will open two border crossings into the Gaza Strip Tuesday, allowing food and fuel into the besieged area, Palestinian crossings representative Raed Fattouh said. The Kerem Shalom crossing will allow an estimated 71 to 81 trucks of humanitarian aid and commercial goods into the area, while the Nahal Oz terminal will open to deliver limited quantities of industrial diesel and cooking gas, Fattouh said. Karni crossing, formerly the main terminal for the deliveries of goods, will be closed. On Monday all three crossings were open; they were closed Friday through Sunday. [end] 

Israeli troops detain Bethlehemite
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli troops detained a Palestinian man from Al-Khader village southwest Bethlehem, saying he threw an explosive device at Israeli cars passing from the nearby road on Monday night. Israel Radio said the troops took the man to unknown destination for investigations. [end] 

Israeli minister promises to invest millions in Hebron settlements
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz promised on Tuesday to invest millions of shekels to improve a road used by settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron. Katz specifically said he would improve a road linking the settlement of Kiryat Arba with the Ibrahimi Mosque, a site sacred to the three monotheistic religions because it is believed to be the burial place of the biblical Patriarchs, including Abraham. Half of the modern-day mosque has been taken over by settlers. "I came here to strengthen Hebron and our ties to the forefathers of our nation", Katz said during a visit to Hebron, according to the newspaper HaaretzAccording to the report the minister also said his government "supports settlement and our bonds will not be severed by diplomatic compulsions. "Katz was joined by Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Margi, with whom he toured settlements in the city Hebron and nearby Kiryat Arba. 

Intense Israeli security measures snarl Jerusalem traffic
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli police and military forces imposed checkpoints around Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, snarling traffic on two main highways. Israeli police later called off the state of alert. According to Israeli reports, the main traffic jams were on Route 1, leading to Tel Aviv, and Route 60, which leads south, linking Jerusalem with West Bank settlements near Bethlehem and Hebron. Israeli civil police and Border Police were seen searching all cars and travelers on these routes. Israeli forces began similar security measures in mid August after an Israeli soldier reported witnessing the kidnapping of another soldier at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport. The report later turned out to be false. 

Gaza prisoner support group sends letter to Sarkozy on Shalit deal
9/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Prisoners Supporters Organization (Ansar Al-Asra) sent a message to French president Nicolas Sarkozy demanding "fair treatment between Israeli prisoner Gilad Shalit and the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli centers. " The letter, delivered to the French Cultural Center in Gaza City on Sunday, said "It is not fair to send a letter to the Israeli prisoner Shalit for his birthday and not to send letters for thousands of Palestinian prisoners. Everyday there's a birthday for one of them, sometimes three or four or five "¦ You promised Shalit's parents you would work on releasing him but you didn't promise the Palestinian mothers to release thousands of their children. "If your sympathy with Shalit comes on the third year following his detention, we assure you that there are hundreds of prisoners who were arrested before Shalit was born who are still in prison"¦ It is justice, Mr. 

Netanyahu to request Mubarak pressure Abbas over peace talks
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Cairo early next week for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Prime Minister's office told Israeli press Tuesday. According to the Israeli online news site Ynet, Netanyahu will request Mubarak put pressure on Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and request he agree to start peace talks. Abbas cut off slow-moving peace talks with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when the former leader declared war on the Gaza Strip, killing 1,475 Palestinians in 22 days. Abbas refuses to re-start talks until illegal settlement construction in the West Bank is halted entirely. On Monday Netanyahu and his defense minister Ehud Barak okayed the building of some 450 settlement homes in the occupied area. Also on the agenda, the Israeli news source said, would be the issue of a prisoner swap securing the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. 

UAE sends 700 tons of Ramadan aid to Gaza; transported through Al-Ouja
9/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egyptian Authorities opened the Al-Ouja commercial crossing between Egypt and Israel to deliver 700 tons of humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The aid is part of a Ramadan donation from the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Association to provide food for Gaza's least fortunate residents. The aid will be transported through Al-Ouja, south of the Gaza Strip, then on to the Israeli crossings into Gaza, which are better equipped for food and commercial transfers. It was not immediately clear whether Israel had issued guarantees that the supplies would reach those it is destined for. The donation consists of 150 tons of flour, 150 tons of rice, 150 tons of sugar, 150 tons of raw spaghetti, 50 tons of lentils, and 50 tons of salt to be delivered to UNRWA for distribution. 

PA minister of economy will end talks with Israeli MK
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority Economic Minister Bassem Khoury said he would not hold any further meetings with Israeli Minister Silvan Shalom concerning economic cooperation between the two governments according to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Khoury told Ma'an in an interview after the meeting that meeting with Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom mainly dealt with issues of Palestinian daily life. He left the meeting last week initially enthusiastic about the series of talks of which there were to be three more before the end of the year citing "Protocol One of the Paris convention [which] demands a joint economic committee that discusses the Israeli and Palestinian economic situations. " Amidst criticism Khoury defended the talks maintaining that "the meeting was only meant to deal with a number of issues stemming from the. . . 

Egypt briefs US military officials on Gaza counter-smuggling effort
9/8/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - US military officials were briefed by Egyptian security officials about US-backed counter-smuggling efforts at the border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning. According to Egyptian security sources, the officials visited the border area to check up on the final stages of the installation of sensing equipment designed to locate underground tunnels used by smugglers. The officials held a meeting in a conference room at the Rafah Border Crossing. The Egyptian officials touted recent counter-smuggling successes including the seizure of more than 12 tons of TNT in the last several weeks. The explosives, discovered in caches near the border, were believed to be slated to be moved into Gaza. The sources said that the series of underground sensors along the border, designed to detect sound and movement, has already begun to work. 

Egypt: Settlement freeze would move Arab states toward normalization
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - An Israeli freeze on construction in illegal West Bank would make some Arab states more willing to move toward normalized relations with Israel, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Tuesday. "Certain countries will be prepared to move closer to Israel if it takes significant steps for the good of the Palestinians, and will demonstrate seriousness and willingness for serious contacts," Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying following talks with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. However, Aboul Gheit cautioned, "A settlement freeze in the West Bank is not of equal value to normalization, and will not bring this about alone. "The minister's comments came after US officials told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that they had succeeded in extracting "pledges" from a number of Arab states to move toward normalization of relations with Israel. 

Report: Norway official met Gaza Hamas leaders over Shalit deal
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A Norwegian security official traveled to the Gaza Strip last week to meet with Hamas leaders regarding a proposed prisoner exchange with Israel, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday. The reported meeting took place after it Germany became involved in mediating the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner swap involving the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. "The talks focused on the number of Palestinian prisoners that Israel would expel to some European countries including Norway," sources told Xinhua. Israel is prepared to release 450 Palestinian prisoners as soon as Hamas delivers Shalit to Egypt, the sources said, and will free another 550 once the soldier arrives in Israel. Palestinian fighters seized Shalit during a cross-border operation in 2006, and have held him since then, demanding. . . 

EU: Settlements are illegal
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The European Union said on Tuesday it is seriously concerned over Israel's recent approval of further expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank. "The European Union expresses its serious concern over Israel's approval of additional settlement construction," a statement from the EU's presidency, currently held by Sweden. "Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace. The European Union reiterates its call on Israel to immediately end settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem and including natural growth, and to dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001," the statement also said. The Israeli government approved the construction of 455 settler homes in existing West Bank colonies, in defiance of US and international calls for a total freeze on settlement building in order to pave the way for renewed peace negotiations. 

De facto Gaza gov’t advocates compost during fertilizer blockade
9/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Agricultural engineers of the de facto ministry of agriculture will begin to implement the use of compost to make up for the total blockade on fertilizers for the Strip's agricultural sector, head of the planning department said last week. The department received instructions from the de facto government in Gaza's Minister of Agriculture, Mohammad Ramadan Al-Agha, to "solve the problems around long term prevention of fertilizers entering the Strip," Nizar Al-Waheidi , head of the planning and policies department in the ministry of agriculture said. " I displayed the idea in front of two recent engineer grads, Shaher Ar-Refi and Mohammad Al-Muzein, who began research and assessments around the design of equipment" that would use available resources to manufacture fertilizer for the agricultural sector. 

PA police say Fayyad demanding readiness for liberated state
9/8/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Police were warned to be vigilant around the maintenance of human rights standards by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Monday, saying servicemen and women must be prepared to police a liberated Palestinian state. Director of the Palestinian Political Guidance Department Adnan Dmeiri announced Fayyad's pronouncement in a statement Saturday, adding that Fayyad's warning specifically warned against the use of police-issue weapons outside of police duty, noting violators would be punished if the high police standards were tarnished. [end] 

Barhoum: Hamas will welcome West Bank Fatah leaders to Gaza
9/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A delegation of high-ranking Fatah leaders from the West Bank will hold talks with Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip next week, according to Nabil Sha'ath, a member of Fatah Central Committee who is organizing the visit. Hamas said there has been no advance coordination with Hamas regarding the visit. However, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum welcomed the visit on the condition of coordination with Hamas and the people in charge. "It is too early to talk about any arrangements related to Fatah's organizational issues in the Gaza Strip in light of the elimination of Hamas in the West Bank. This must be addressed as part of the national reconciliation process which should include releasing politically-motivated detainees," Barhoum said. Earlier on Tuesday Sa'ath said in a statement that the meetings with Hamas will addresspolitical, social, health, and education issues. 

Egyptian paper leaks proposed plan for Palestinian unity
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A conciliation agreement and simultaneous presidential and legislative elections are part of the Egyptian-sponsored unity plan, the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Misriyyoun (The Egyptians) quoted Palestinian sources as saying on Tuesday. Elections, the report says, will adopt both proportional representation and constituency systems, but did not say what percentage each would hold in the proposed system. Unity talks on elections broke down with Hamas delegates demanding a 50-50 proportional/constituency divide, and Fatah members, who had initially demanded full proportional representation, only willing to go to 75-25 proportional/constituency. Under the leaked proposal, the unity deal will include Arab security forces supervising reconstruction of the Palestinian security services based on "professional and national standards. 

Where was Netanyahu during 14-hour disappearance?
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An Israeli news website published an unconfirmed report on Tuesday, citing Arab sources, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly visited an Arab country that does not have relations with Israel on Monday. Netanyahu disappeared for 14 hours on Monday, setting off speculation about his whereabouts. According to one theory, the prime minister was involved in secret and possibly sensitive negotiations with another Middle Eastern state. At the end of the day Netanyahu's office released the following statement: "The Prime Minister's military attaché reports that the prime minister is visiting a security installation inside Israel. "According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not join Netanyahu on the supposed tour of the facility, but worked at his own office in Tel Aviv for most of the day. 

PSE drops: Al-Quds Index down 1.08%
9/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange in Nablus dropped on Tuesday, with the Al-Quds Index closing at 489. 92, a decrease of 5. 35 points (1. 08%) over the previous session. Trading volume for Monday was 597,473 shares, a total value of 1,179,639. 61 US dollars, over the course of 308 trades. The shares of 17 companies were traded. The shares prices of seven companies rose ,while those of sevem others declined. The top five gainers were PICC by (4. 26%), QUDS by (3. 95%), PCB by (3. 90%), NCI by (3. 45%), and PEC by (2. 17%). The top five losers were JREU by (4. 85%), MIC by (3. 64%), PALTEL by (1. 89%), UCI by (1. 67%), and PRICO by (1. 45%). [end] 

The National

Arabs in Israel plan to strike on October 1
8 Sep 2009 - A growing number of 'racist' measures brought in by Netanyahu's government has the Arab leadership calling for first strike in years.

Israeli Right tries to stop freeze on settlements
8 Sep 2009 - Settlers and partymen attack Netanyahu over possible suspension of new construction to enable peace talks.

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.

Aljazeera

Lebanon PM's cabinet plan rejected
8 Sep 2009 - Opposition parties oppose line-up after it was submitted without their agreement.

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

Alternative Information Center

Outing Israeli Liberals from Their Political Closet: A Letter to Eytan Fox and Gal Uchovsky 
8 Sep 2009 - In two weeks your film The Bubble will be screened in the “City to City” tribute to Tel Aviv, which will open the prestigious Toronto Festival (mabruk!). In left-wing circles in Toronto and the film world...

Palestine News Network

W Ramallah village known for its nonviolent resistance targeted by Israelis: 3 months of night raids
8 Sep 2009 - Bil’in / PNN - Shortly after 2:30 am the Israeli military again invaded Bil'in, a village known for its nonviolent resistance to the Wall. The contingent of Israeli forces early this morning consisted of five jeeps and a military truck. Their target was a 16 year old boy. Hamaza Burnat was not at home at the time of the invasion. This is the...

After being attacked in Old City by Jewish extremists, members of the Armenian clergy face expulsion
8 Sep 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN - A group of Jewish extremists attacked on Sunday afternoon two young Armenians and destroyed a cross near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in East Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli settlers such as these have attacked for years members of the clergy in the Armenian Quarter. Today the Armenians who were assaulted Sunday are not being...

Campaign for release of bodies of the killed: 25 from Gaza held along with hundreds of others
8 Sep 2009 - Gaza / PNN – The issue of the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and the fate of missing persons has become a major campaign with a comprehensive campaign being called organized to retrieve them. Palestinian government Minister Magda Al Masri said today, “We do not accept the continued international silence on the subject of bodies of the killed.”Prisoners’ affairs researcher, Abdel...

PCHR publishes ‘Targeted Civilians’ a comprehensive report on Israeli military offensive on Gaza
8 Sep 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) today published ‘Targeted Civilians’ a comprehensive report on the latest Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009). The report is the result of extensive investigations, and documents numerous war crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) over the course of the offensive. The Arabic version of the report...

Settlement expansion as 3,000 settlers arrive amid seizure of 550 more dunams of Jerusalem
7 Sep 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that settlement expansion would continue, Israelis celebrated laying the foundation stone of a new settlement. Mvseri Adumim is now a part of occupied Jerusalem's 'E1' section at the existing Ma'ale Adumim Settlement bloc. At the same time, it was announced that another 204 Jewish settlers coming from North America are being received...

Head of National Council looking to solve internal strife by upping number of Hamas members 
7 Sep 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - President of the Palestinian National Council, Salim Zanoun is attempting to salvage hopes of internal reconciliation by increasing representation of Hamas. During a statement made after a his meeting with Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mousa in Cairo yesterday, Zanoun said that an initiative is being put forth to bring in more Hamas members to the National...

Palestinian heritage week begins in Colombia as part of Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture events
7 Sep 2009 - Bogota / PNN – With events for the celebration of “Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture 2009” not relegated to the occupied city, the Colombian capital of Bogota is host to a week of Palestinian heritage events. An exhibit of traditional Palestinian embroidery, clothing, fashion and shawls is scheduled to make stops in several universities as part of events planned by the Colombian...

IRIN

YEMEN: Saudi aid route for Saada IDPs?
SANAA Tuesday, September 08, 2009 (IRIN) - The humanitarian community in Yemen is considering using Saudi Arabia as an entry point for getting aid into Saada Governorate, northern Yemen, where fighting between Houthi rebels and government forces has been raging since 12 August.

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.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Business Seeks Ways Past Political Impasse 
RAMALLAH, Sep 8 (IPS) - Business between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is growing despite the political impasse over Israel's refusal to cease illegal settlement building in East Jerusalem and the Palestinian West Bank.

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.

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 Child in Beit Hanoun Town, Northern Gaza 06 September

International Solidarity Movement

How does Israel decide who gets a visa to Ramallah?
9/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Amira Hass, Ha'aretz - Sven Ouzman, a 39-year-old archaeologist from South Africa, violated the terms of his "Palestinian Authority only" visa six times, when unintentionally and for lack of choice, he drove on roads under full Israeli control, between Palestinian Authority enclaves in the West Bank. Ouzman, who was attending a conference of the World Archaeological Congress in Ramallah last month, was late for a lecture he was scheduled to deliver on the evening of August 9. He had arrived at the Allenby Bridge crossing on Saturday morning, August 8, after having passed through passport control on the Jordanian side and entering the Israeli-controlled area, but the Israel Airport Authority employees demanded he come back the next day. When he asked them why, "they were very rude and would not reply," Ouzman said this week by phone from South Africa. 

UN: Gaza in worst condition since 1967
9/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - YNet News - A UN report published Tuesday says poverty in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated to levels unseen since 1967. The UN trade and development agency says 90% of Gaza's residents are currently beneath the poverty line and rates the damages caused by the IDF's Operation Cast Lead at $4 billion, a sum it claims is three times larger than the Strip's annual market performance. The agency claims the operation halted all trade in the Gaza Strip, creating a deficit of around $88 million. This, in addition to material damages and loss of finances due to the siege and trade limitations later imposed on the Strip, make up the final sum. The agency's report claims the Strip has not been in such dire straits since 1967, and that the government has become the residents' main force of employment. Gaza's production capabilities are also on a permanent downslide, the UN agency says, and its economy has been recessing for nine years. 

Israeli forces raid Bil’in
9/8/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 8 September 2009 - Shortly after 2:30am, the Israeli occupation forces invaded the village of Bil'in again with five Jeeps and a military truck. They came to arrest Hamaza Burnat (age 16) but he was not at home at the time. This was the second time this week that the Israeli Army raided his house. Bil'in is a small village of 1,700 inhabitants near Ramallah in the West Bank. For nearly three months now, the Israeli occupation forces have been conducting night raids several times a week in this village arresting more than 20 people, mainly teenagers. On behalf of Iyad Burnat, the Head of the Popular Committee, we call on all the supporters to help us in our struggle by organizing demonstrations and sending messages to the Israeli Embassies demanding to stop these night raids in Bil'in. Our children cannot sleep at night because of sound bombs and tear gas being fired by the invading forces. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Ex-PA envoy to Cairo: Hamas has the upper hand 
8 Sep 2009 - It was worth waiting for Nabil Amr to quit from his positions as Palestinian ambassador to Cairo and Palestinian representative at the Arab League. A few days after the resignations last month, a new and hitherto unknown aspect of the tactics of Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority emerged. ... 

Top Russian rabbi spurns medal from 'anti-Semitic' Ukraine official 
8 Sep 2009 - One of Russia's chief rabbis on Sunday spurned an honor from the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod, formerly Ungvar, who has publicly made anti-Semitic statements. ... 

Yossi Melman / Why did Lieberman really go to Africa? 
8 Sep 2009 - The journey of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to five African states in nine days is taking place under a hidden cloud of domestic tension. The obvious aspect of the visit, which is stressed by the minister and his entourage, is Israel's willingness to assist countries in the continent to find solutions to their problems: hunger, insufficient clean water, epidemics. The less-publicized aspect is that quite a few ...

Israel authorizes building in another East Jerusalem neighborhood 
8 Sep 2009 - Three days after the U.S. administration criticized the decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to authorize the construction of hundreds of new housing units in settlements, the Israel Lands Administration published tenders for the construction of 486 apartments in the neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev in East Jerusalem. ... 

Hezbollah denies connection to Lebanese Ponzi scheme 
8 Sep 2009 - Hezbollah Tuesday denied any involvement in the dealings of a Lebanese businessman suspected of milking investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. ... 

The Guardian

Rawabi, the new Palestinian city that could rise on the West Bank
8 Sep 2009 - The artist sketches are striking. Sitting on a hilltop among the olive trees of the West Bank is a new town, carefully designed with tall apartment blocks, shaded pedestrian walkways, a concentric road network and abundant...

Israel's laws of persecution | Nimer Sultany
8 Sep 2009 - Israel is using the country's legal system to segregate and penalise its Palestinian citizens and prohibit Arab dissent Two cases brought before Israeli courts last week revealed the attitude of the establishment towards Palestinian Arab citizens...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Shalit letter offers no news, but reveals mental anguish 
8 Sep 2009 - "My health is deteriorating from day to day. It is especially difficult for me psychologically and this is bringing me down often - I am waiting for this unbearable nightmare in which I find myself to be over," wrote Gilad Shalit in his first letter in captivity some three years ago. ... 

Could you have won NIS 70m in the Lotto? Chances were 1 in 18,000,000
7 Sep 2009 - The chances of winning the grand prize of NIS 70,000,000 in Tuesday night's Lotto draw were about 1 in 18,000,000, according to the Mifal Hapayis national lottery. ...

Shalits reveal content of 2006 letter from Gilad
7 Sep 2009 - The family of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit has allowed public access to a letter he wrote just months after being taken captive by Palestinian militants in 2006. ...

Relief Web

OPT: August 2009 trip diary
8 Sep 2009 - Source: American Near East Refugee Aid

Faltering Palestinian economy needs bold new strategy, contends UN report
8 Sep 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Report on UNCTAD assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the oPt (TD/B/56/3)
8 Sep 2009 - Source: UN Conference on Trade and Development

YNet News

Amos Gilad: Israel will destroy Hamas if provoked
8 Sep 2009 - Defense bureau chief says firing of 60 km-range rockets by Hamas will prompt group's destruction 

Report: Fatah aided al-Qaeda's efforts against Hamas 
8 Sep 2009 - Gaza sources say Palestinian president's movement assisted al-Qaeda affiliated group to target Hamas building in retaliation for past clashes 

Barakeh justifies organs trafficking claims
8 Sep 2009 - Hadash chairman says he has 'right to question why Israel is keeping bodies of Palestinian martyrs' 

Palestinian Information Center

Israeli occupation demolish shelters in the village of Tawil abu Jarwal
8 Sep 2009 - Israeli occupation authorities demolished on Tuesday all the tents in the unrecognized village of Tawil abu Jarwal for the 31st time, leaving all residents under the burning sun.

Mansi deplores settlement expansion in Jerusalem and W. Bank
8 Sep 2009 - Palestinian minister of public works and housing Dr. Yousuf Al-Mansi strongly denounced the Israeli persistence in expanding settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israel plans to seize Palestinian lands in Al-Farouq neighborhood in J’lem
8 Sep 2009 - Informed legal sources revealed Tuesday a new Israeli scheme to seize hundreds of dunums of lands owned by Palestinian citizens in Al-Farouq neighborhood in Jabal Al-Makbar of occupied Jerusalem.

Khudari: The building of new settlement units is part of the siege on W. Bank
8 Sep 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, stated that the Israeli decision to building 455 new settlement units is part of the blockade imposed on the West Bank.

New York police arrest Jewish gang trafficking organs of Algerian children
8 Sep 2009 - An Algerian official revealed the New York police were able to catch a Jewish gang involved in the abduction of children from Algeria and trafficking of their organs.

Negev prison refuses to treat Palestinian detainee with gangrene
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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
8 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.

Los Angeles Times

Settlement permits placate Israeli hawks 
8 Sep 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's move may have been necessary to keep his governing alliance intact and the prospect of U.S.-brokered talks alive. With a green light to build 455 homes for settlers in the West Bank, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have contained unrest among his right-wing supporters over a likely deal with the Obama administration to limit the growth of Jewish communities on land claimed by the Palestinians. 

Ahmadinejad levels new broadside at opponents 
8 Sep 2009 - The Iranian president's fresh rebuke of political foes, along with continued defiance on the nuclear issue, suggests that recent postelection protests haven't prompted him to change his ways. Three months after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad derided his opponents as "dirt and dust," sending hundreds of thousands of angry protesters into the streets, he risked enraging them again Monday by likening them to "pollutants" staining "the gown of the revolution." 

New York Times

Iranian Opposition Offices Raided
8 Sep 2009 - Iranian authorities seized documents on prison abuse from the offices of two opposition leaders in Tehran this week. 

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

UN: Gaza in worst condition since 1967 
9/8/2009 - YNetNews - UN agency report says Gaza war cost residents $4 billion, 90% of them currently below poverty line - A UN report published Tuesday says poverty in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated to levels unseen since 1967. The UN trade and development agency says 90% of Gaza's residents are currently beneath the poverty line and rates the damages caused by the IDF's Operation Cast Lead at $4 billion, a sum it claims is three times larger than the Strip's annual market performance. The agency claims the operation halted all trade in the Gaza Strip, creating a defecit of around $88 million. This, in addition to material damages and loss of finances due to the siege and trade limitations later imposed on the Strip, make up the final sum. The agency's report claims the Strip has not been in such dire straits since 1967, and that the government has become the residents' main force of employment. 

The rise of Israel’s military rabbis 
9/7/2009 - BBC Online - VIDEOS - Israel's army is changing. Once proudly secular, its combat units are now filling with those who believe Israel's wars are "God's wars". Military rabbis are becoming more powerful. Trained in warfare as well as religion, new army regulations mean they are now part of a military elite. They graduate from officer's school and operate closely with military commanders. One of their main duties is to boost soldiers' morale and drive, even on the front line. This has caused quite some controversy in Israel. Should military motivation come from men of God, or from a belief in the state of Israel and keeping it safe? The military rabbis rose to prominence during Israel's invasion of Gaza earlier this year. Some of their activities raised troubling questions about political-religious influence in the military. Gal Einav, a non-religious soldier, said there was wall-to-wall religious rhetoric in the base, the barracks and on the battlefield. 

Haaretz probe: ’New’ settlement permits aren’t really new 
9/8/2009 - Ha'aretz - At the West Bank city of Ariel's adventure park, whose construction Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved, nothing special was going on yesterday. Children were trying out the climbing wall and the mayor was walking around, proud as a groom on his wedding day. The facility was actually only approved yesterday, but has been in existence for a year and a half before receiving construction permits. In fact, a demolition order was issued against it. Haaretz checked and discovered that these permits, are no more than another layer of permits on top of those already given, but that had not gone through for various reasons. In some places work was already underway. Haaretz has also learned that all construction permits were given on condition that the buildings go up within two months, or the permit will be rescinded. The adventure park in Ariel is only one of the approvals Barak gave yesterday. 

IDF general: Israel incapable of West Bank pullout 
9/7/2009 - Ha'aretz - Almost seven years after he was introduced to Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, initiated the establishment of the Sela disengagement administration to aid evacuees from Gaza and northern Samaria, and became one of the central figures behind the scenes in carrying out the plan - the head of the National Security Council at the time of the 2005 disengagement, Maj. Gen (res. ) Giora Eiland, is convinced that Israel is incapable of evacuating settlements on the West Bank. In his testimony before the state commission of inquiry on the handling of the Gush Katif evacuees, Eiland said: "On the level of the state, is the state capable, yes or no, of taking steps which are certainly politically controversial - the answer is certainly not. We are a neutralized country. What, that isn't clear? " The ex-general testified before the commission last Wednesday, whose members are retired Supreme Court Justice Eliyahu Matza, Prof. 

Israel’s war on Gaza killed 252 children, report claims 
9/9/2009 - The Independent - Israeli human rights agency challenges army's figures - The Israeli official figures seriously underestimated the civilian Palestinian death toll exacted during its onslaught in Gaza early this year, according to painstaking research to be published today. The first detailed casualty figures from an Israeli human rights organisation since the war ended puts the number of children under 16 killed in the offensive at 252 as opposed to the 89 cited by the military. B'Tselem says its fieldworkers gathered death certificates, photos, and testimonies relating to all 252 of the children. B'Tselem, which said it had carried out "months of meticulous investigation and cross-checks with numerous sources" has, unlike the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), made public the names of all those it said were killed in the war. It said that since the IDF had refused to furnish the agency with its own detailed 

Arabs in Israel plan to strike on October 1 
9/8/2009 - The National - Jonathan Cook - NAZARETH // The increasingly harsh political climate in Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government has prompted the leadership of the country’s 1. 3 million Arab citizens to call the first general strike in several years. The one-day stoppage is due to take place on October 1, a date heavy with symbolism because it marks the anniversary of another general strike, in 2000 at the start of the second intifada when 13 Arab demonstrators were shot dead by Israeli police. The Arab leadership said it was responding to a string of what it called “racist” government measures that cast the Arab minority, a fifth of the population, as enemies of the state. “In recent months, there has been a parallel situation of racist policies in the parliament and greater [condonation] of violence towards Arab citizens by the police and courts,” said Jafar Farah, the head of the Arab political lobbying group Mossawa. 

Israeli Right tries to stop freeze on settlements 
9/8/2009 - The National - TEL AVIV // Israeli right-wing politicians and settler leaders have launched a last-minute campaign this week to pressure the government to reject the US call for a freeze on construction of Jewish homes in occupied Palestinian territory. The efforts by the Right come just days before Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is expected to reach a compromise with the United States on a temporary halt to settlement activity. Israeli media reported yesterday that he is likely to agree to a lull of six to nine months in the occupied West Bank. George Mitchell, the top US envoy to the Middle East, is expected to arrive in Israel on Saturday to try to finalise a deal with the Israeli leader. An agreement on settlements is meant to pave the way for a possible tripartite meeting between Mr Netanyahu, Barack Obama, the US president, and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the western-backed Palestinian Authority, at the UN General Assembly in late September. 

Israeli settlement expansion may bring one-state solution closer 
9/8/2009 - The National - As Israel announced plans to expand settlements in the West Bank in anticipation of a settlement "freeze", the former US president, Jimmy Carter, who recently returned from a trip to the Holy Land, suggested that the implementation of a two-state solution is becoming increasingly unlikely. " A more likely alternative to the present debacle is one state, which is obviously the goal of Israeli leaders who insist on colonising the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 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. By renouncing the dream of an independent Palestine, they would become fellow citizens with their Jewish neighbours and then demand equal rights within a democracy. In this nonviolent civil rights struggle, their examples would be Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. " 

Witness The Beginning ~ Coup & Holy War 
9/7/2009 - Irish4Palestine - Today's post is very important, please read it and pass it on. People need to fully understand what is happening in the bigger picture. Just yesterday I wrote that Israel was actually beginning a “Holy War” and that seems to be happening. Yesterday it was reported that Terrorist Jewish Settlers actually make up the majority of the IDF these days, and when they were interviewed they made it quite clear that they view the conflict with Palestine as a “holy war” for Israel. Now, the irony of this is, were it reversed and Muslims calling for a “holy war” on Israel, the American media would be in overdrive with big massive headlines that read “Islamic Terrorists Call For Jihad on Israel” and of course Obama would make a speech and send American support for Israel. These IDF settlers have clearly stated that they follow the Military Rabbis and not the Israeli Government. 

IDF to probe Gaza ’white-flag’ deaths 
9/8/2009 - Jerusalem Post - The IDF Military Police has opened an investigation into Palestinian allegations that soldiers opened fire and killed two children who were waving a white flag during Operation Cast Lead earlier this year, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The complaint was filed by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights on behalf of the Abd Rabbo family from Jabalya, 4 m. north of Gaza City. Last Wednesday, the Military Police met with the father, Khaled, and mother, Suad, at the Erez crossing to the northern Gaza Strip, IDF sources said. The investigation is focusing on the claim that soldiers opened fire at close range on the Abd Rabbo family, killing two daughters and severely injuring a third, while ignoring the white flag that one of the family members was waving as a sign that they were civilians. Last month, Human Rights Watch published a report claiming that during Operation Cast Lead the IDF killed 11 Palestinians who were holding white flags. 


Articles

Unilateral Palestinian action 
Ghassan Khatib, Ma’an News Agency 9/7/2009
      When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon embarked upon a unilateral strategy that saw Israel consolidate its occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and withdraw from Gaza Strip settlements but put the Gaza Strip under a tight siege, it left the Palestinian side with a difficult political dilemma. 
     Israel’s unilateral strategy essentially signaled the end of any serious Israeli efforts toward a two-state solution. It frustrated Palestinian and international efforts to pursue bilateral negotiations as the means by which to arrive at an agreed-upon solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 
     Israeli unilateralism also marginalized the Palestinian leadership and contributed to the radicalization of Palestinian society. 
     In response, Palestinians have proposed two strategies: the first is to also abandon the internationally-agreed two-state solution process by refusing to continue with the interim period and the Palestinian Authority that was its product; the second is to unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders in line with international legality.
     That latter strategy was tried before by President Yasser Arafat, who used it as a tactic to pressure the Israeli side. He set a date for a declaration and even established a commission of legal experts to start drafting the constitution of such a state.
     The most recent initiatives in this direction, however, are very different because the players, the circumstances and the political environment are very different. more.. e-mail

Accountability and the Organ Theft Controversy 
Jonathan Cook, MIFTAH 9/7/2009
      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.
     The families’ fears that relatives, killed by the Israeli army, had body parts removed during unauthoriZed autopsies performed in Israel have been overshadowed by accusations of a "blood libel" directed against the reporter, Donald Bostrom, and the Aftonbladet newspaper, as well as the Swedish government and people.
     I have no idea whether the story is true. Like most journalists working in Israel and Palestine, I have heard such rumors before. Until Bostrom wrote his piece, no Western journalist, as far as I know, had investigated them. After so many years, the assumption by journalists was that there was little hope of finding evidence -- apart from literally by digging up the corpses. Doubtless, the inevitable charge of anti-semitism such reports attract acted as a powerful deterrent too.
     What is striking about this episode is that the families making the claims were not given a hearing in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during the first intifada, when most of the reports occurred, and are still being denied the right to voice their concerns today.
     Israel’s sensitivity to the allegation of organ theft -- or "harvesting," as many observers coyly refer to the practice -- appears to trump the genuine concerns of the families about possible abuse of their loved ones. more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
Palestinians in limbo in occupied East Jerusalem
8 Sep 2009 - OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (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. Down across the valley from the walled Old City, families have already started moving into some of the 91 apartments in this new 240-family compound of Jewish settlers. 

"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. 

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
Palestinian Embassy in London Silent as Israeli Land-grabs continue
8 Sep 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood - London 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. A year ago, campaigners urged the ambassador to get his act together or go home. He angrily retorted that he had "a plan of how to influence British Media to give us the Palestinians more exposure". Whatever the plan was, it hasn’t worked. Press releases and briefings are non-existent. It is many months since I last heard the ambassador on radio or TV, while his Israeli opposite number pops up on the national airwaves with nauseating regularity. And the Palestinians' precious shop window - their embassy website – never functioned properly and has now been taken down. What a way, as the Americans say, to run a f***ing railroad. So what’s going on? Littlewood to Ambassador, 27 August With so much happening both in Palestine and on the propaganda front, could you please bring me up to date on the Delegation's diplomatic and PR activities? We see no news releases, no attempt to set the news agenda and the website appears to have died despite earlier assurances that it would be given new life. This is most dispiriting for Palestine's friends and campaigners here in the UK, especially when the Israeli side are at full throttle with their distorted messages and briefings..... Ambassador to Littlewood,...

Zionism for Dummies
8 Sep 2009 - By William James Martin In pondering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have found that very few people actually have a basic understanding of the conflict nor could they define it in even rough approximating terms. In pondering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have found that very few people actually have a basic understanding of the conflict nor could they define it in even rough approximating terms. Thus one sometines hears that it is all about Arab/Palestinian ‘terrorism’ and suicide bombings and the ultimate goal of the terrorists-Palestinians is to ‘push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive” and that their motives are those of anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews. Those who hold this view see the conflict as one of the survival of the Jewish state amid a sea of irrational hatred. That is the view of the Zionists, and the one they would like for the world to accept. One also hears that the conflict is a religious one between Jews and Arabs and that it has been continuous for ‘thousands of years’. Neither is correct. The first Palestinian suicide bombing occurred in 1994, 40 days after the massacre by the Brooklyn native Baruch Goldstein of 29 praying Muslims at the Al Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The ’67 War and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip was 25 years old at that time. Thus an entire generation of Palestinians had grown to maturity knowing nothing but occupation before the first suicide bomber...

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...

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