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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
17 September, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

PCHR Weekly report: One Palestinian dead, 6 injured by Israeli attacks
18 Sep 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 10 - 16 Sep. 2009, one Palestinian died from Israeli-inflicted wounds, and 6 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire.  In addition, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.  

Israeli Prime Minister attacks UN Report on Gaza; Goldstone defends report
18 Sep 2009 - After a United Nations fact-finding mission released a report this week condemning Israel's wanton attacks on civilians during its invasion of Gaza in January, the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the report as a "kangaroo court", despite the fact that his government refused to participate in any aspect of the UN investigation. 

Hamas government released 200 prisoners
18 Sep 2009 - Acting on orders by Ismail Haniyya, prime minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, the Hamas- controlled security froes in the Gaza Strip released 200 prisoners as an act of good will as the Muslims mark the Al Fitir Feast. 

Abbas, Mubarak to meet Saturday
18 Sep 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is expected to meet his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo this Saturday for talks on the American peace efforts, and the issue of resuming reconciliation talks between Fateh and Hamas movements. 

British trade unions back boycott of Israel
17 Sep 2009 - A Congress of Britain’s largest trade unions, representing 6.5 million workers, have voted overwhelmingly to commit to build a mass boycott movement for disinvestment and sanctions on Israel, until the Israeli government agrees to a negotiated settlement based on justice for Palestinians. 

40 injured as restaurant cooking tank explodes in northern Gaza Strip
17 Sep 2009 - At least 40 Palestinian civilians were injured when a cooking gas tank exploded inside a restaurant in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli military attacks in the West Bank leave five Palestinians injured
17 Sep 2009 - Five Palestinian civilians were reported injured on Thursday at dawn, during attacks by the Israeli military targeting a number of West Bank communities. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Warning: Terror group planning attacks on Israelis in India
17 Sep 2009 - Counter Terrorism Bureau issues travel warning, advises Israelis already in India to avoid crowded areas. 

Secret IAEA document: Iran has ability to make atom bomb
17 Sep 2009 - UN nuclear watchdog dismisses report, saying it has no proof Iran has covert atomic weapons program. 

Report: South Korea weighs purchase of Israeli radar system
17 Sep 2009 - $200 million deal would be one of the largest ever carried out between Israel and South Korea. 

Top IDF officer: Iran has taken over Hezbollah
17 Sep 2009 - Israeli intelligence: Hezbollah currently weakened, key positions manned by Iranians. 

Israel frees Hamas West Bank political official
17 Sep 2009 - Al-Shaer one of dozens of Hamas leaders Israel arrested to put pressure on group to free Gilad Shalit. 

Ma'an News

Kinsmen of injured Palestinian detained for protesting settler attack
9/17/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israeli troops overran the Wadi Helwa neighborhood of East Jerusalem at dawn on Wednesday, detaining at least five residents who participated in a protest last week against the shooting of Ahmad Syiam. Syiam, 45, and a 14 year old boy were shot when an armed Israeli opened fire on a group of Palestinians in the Silwan neighborhood on 11 September. The shooter was detained by Israeli forces at the scene, and told investigators that he "felt threatened" by the presence of the Palestinians. The incident sparked brief clashes in the area. Syiam's family gathered Palestinians in Silwan for a protest on the site where the shooting occurred, which went off without incident. Later Thursday evening the family home was invaded and the following relatives detained. . . The men and woman were told they would remain in prison until Friday to ensure they do not organize any further protests. 

Night of Power at Al-Aqsa draws more than 300,000 faithful
9/17/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Amidst amassed Israeli troops, at least 300,000 Palestinian worshipers stood overnight at the Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark the Night of Power, or Laylat Al-Qader, believed to be the nigh of the year when the Prophet Muhammad received the first verses of the Qur'an from the Angel Gabriel. Israeli military personnel were deployed throughout the Old City in advance of expected crowds, and checked ID cards of Palestinian worshipers as they entered the Noble Sanctuary, or Haram Ash-Sharif. The faithful from across the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel crowded into the compound, hoping to receive blessings from God through prayer throughout the night. Hundreds of Jerusalemite scouts and first aid crews were also in the Old City, attending to several worshipers who fainted from exhaustion during the night. 

Six Palestinians injured by Israeli soldiers, settlers
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - At least six Palestinians were injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers on Thursday in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and the village of Awarta, south of Nablus according to Palestinian Authority police. Twenty-year-old Ashraf Gazi Faleh Awwad arrived at a hospital with bruises as a result of beatings by settlers on the main street of the Awarta village, the police said. Sixteen-year-old Uday Riad Muhammad reached the Alia government hospital in Hebron after being beaten by Israeli soldiers near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the center of the city of Hebron. In Bethlehem four young men arrived at the Beit Jala government hospital after being beaten by Israeli soldiers at the Rachel's Tomb checkpoint. Police identified the men as 21-year-old Muhammad Khalid Takatka from Beit Fajjar, Muhammad Hammad Abu Khalifeh from Dheisha Refugee Camp, 25-year-old Nidal Issa Al-Khatib and Ahmad Abdullah An-Najjar from Bethlehem. 

Soldiers raid Bil’in activist’s home
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided the home of an activist West Bank village of Bil'in, known for its lively nonviolent protests against the separation wall Israel is building on the town's land. Shortly after 1:30am Thursday morning Israeli troops entered the village, west of the city of Ramallah. The soldiers sealed off the house of Abdullah Mahmoud Aburahma, coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall in an attempt to detain him. The soldiers sealed off the house to residents of the village and international peace workers in the village, threatening to arrest them if they attempted to interfere with the operation. In the past foreign activists living in the village have attempted to prevent arrest of Palestinians from the village during a series of nighttime raids. Aburahma was not home when the troops overran his home, and soldiers ransacked at least three rooms during the search. 

Israel to lock down West Bank for Jewish holiday
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Starting Thursday at 11:59 and ending Sunday at 11:59 Israeli force will put the West Bank on lockdown as Israelis celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana. An Israeli military spokesperson said special considerations would be made on Friday 18 September, the last Friday of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Permits issued for Palestinians to visit Israel will be honored at the checkpoints Friday, and men over 50 and women over 45 will be permitted to enter the Israeli controlled areas as usual. Those most effected by the Israeli closure will be Palestinian workers who have permits to work in Israel. The permits will not be honored during the closure. A further exception, according to the Israeli military spokeswoman, was holders of special permits for workers preparing olive groves for the harvest. She said 2,500 of the permits were issued. 

British Trade Union passes resolution to boycott Israeli products
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Pending a negotiated settlement based on justice for Palestinians the British trade unions (TUC) passed a resolution voting to boycott all Israeli products. The motion was passed Thursday morning at the Annual Congress in Liverpool. The union, which represents 6. 5 million workers, will boycott, and divest from any involvement with Israeli companies. According to reports from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, the motion also called for the TUC General Council to "put pressure on the British government to end all arms trading with Israel and support moves to suspend the EU-Israel trade agreement. " A British high court recently quashed a case seeking the government justify and explain its continued sale of arms to Israel. Both the boycott and arms case came as a response to the Israeli war on Gaza that killed at least 1,400 Gazans during December and January. 

Sheikh Sabri issues Fatwa prohibiting Al-Aqsa excavations
9/17/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Head of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem Sheikh Akrama Sabri issued a Fatwa at noon on Thursday prohibiting the continued excavation of tunnels beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City by Israeli authorities. The announcement came during a press conference held by the Al-Aqsa Foundation at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem, which unveiled photos of the excavations that are ongoing digging beneath the Haram Ash-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary. Accordint to the documentation, tunnels up to 600 meters long snake from beneath the mosque to the Silwan neighborhood. Sheikh Sabri noted that Fatwas had already been issued that prohibited Muslim families from accepting compensation for homes threatened with demolition, the sale of Palestinian-owned real estate to those who wish to rid the area of Palestinians, and prohibited Muslims from working on the separation barrier. 

Palestinian media impressed with NYT photo
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians called the New York Times publication of a shocking photo depicting an Israeli settler throwing wine on a Muslim woman in downtown Hebron a "powerful statement," and highlighted the shot on the front page of Al-Quds, one of the three major dailies in the region. The photo, front page below the fold, was run with only a short caption noting its publication the day before in a the New York Times. The Times ran an article on West Bank settlers, which noted the often vicious behavior settlers exhibited toward their Palestinian neighbors. Online news agencies also picked up the photo, which many felt represented the nature of the settler-Palestinian relationship. 

Reactions to Goldstone report highlight gaps in stance on human rights
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel dismissed, condemned and declared itself immune to the recently released Goldstone report for the UN Human Rights Council this week, while Palestinian rights organizations focus on the ramifications of the report, and the war it examined. Operation Cast Lead was directed at both the armed elements in Gaza responsible for projectile launches toward Israel and "on the people of Gaza as a whole," a coalition of human rights organizations in the Palestinian territories said in a joint statement Wednesday. The coalition made the comments in response to the UN-mandated fact finding mission report around war crimes and human rights violations committed during the Israeli offensive in December and January. The UN-mandated Goldstone report, released Tuesday, concluded that war crimes were committed by both the Israeli military and armed elements in Gaza. 

Gaza: Two crossings closed, Kerem Shalom to transport 75-85 truckloads
9/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities will open one crossing into the Gaza Strip Thursday, keeping the two other regularly open crossings shut, Palestinian official Raed Fattouh said. The three regularly open transfer points are Nahal Oz, used to transfer fuel into the Strip, Karni crossing, which has conveyor belts for the transport of flour, grains and animal fodder, and the Kerem Shalom crossing, for the transport of all other aid and commercial goods. The fuel and fodder crossings have opened only twice since Sunday. They are closed Thursday, Friday is generally a slow day at the crossings due to the Muslim holiday, Saturday the crossings are closed for the Jewish Sabbath. On Thursday the one working crossing will see the transport of 75-85 truckloads of goods into the Strip. Before the Israeli siege, at least 400 truckloads per day were transferred into the area. 

Israeli forces detain three Palestinians entering West Bank settlement
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained three Palestinian youth when they entered the Israeli settlement of Mezad, Israeli sources reported, alleging all three youth were also carrying knives. An Israeli report said the youth used the knives to cut the fence surrounding the guarded settlement, which is deep in the West Bank northeast of Hebron. The youth were taken in my the Israeli forces guarding the settlement, and transferred to an unknown location for interrogation. [end] 

Israeli forces report 3 incidents of stone throwing in WB, East Jlem
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces reported three separate incidents of stone throwing int he West Bank and Jerusalem Wednesday, noting there were no injuries and some damages. Palestinian youth were allegedly behind the launching of small rocks at settler cars on the Israel-only highway 60 that runs through the West Bank. The road is part of the multi-million dollar segregation system being constructed in the West Bank to separate Palestinians from Israeli setters. The incident took place east of Hebron, and lightly damaged the settler's car. Israeli forces said they were searching for the youth responsible. In East Jerusalem border police reported being the target of stone throwers in two different locations. One incident was reported in the Shu'fat Refugee Camp, an area annexed by Israel as part of East Jerusalem, but lying on the far side of the Israeli separation wall, effectively denying residents access to municipal services. 

Jordanian prisoner of Israel returns home following release
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Sa'd Lathem Aiesh, a Jordanian prisoner of Israel, arrived at his home in Amman Wednesday after being released by the Israeli military last weekend. The number of Jordanian nationals held in Israeli prisons is now 27 with a further 29 seized individuals missing. [end] 

US remains hopeful around tripartite meeting in NY
9/17/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The White House remains optimistic around setting down a tripartite meeting between Israel, Palestine and the United States on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York next week, despite the failure of US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to secure Israeli commitment on a settlement freeze, the Palestinian precondition for a re-start of peace talks. "I don't know if I can give you the exact number of yards we have advanced the ball [on an Israeli agreement that would bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table], but I understand that we have advanced the ball. We need another set of downs on Friday to advance it further, to push it across the line," US Near East Department Spokesperson Ian Kelly said Thursday. Mitchell left Israel and Palestine Wednesday afternoon for Lebanon, where he met President Michel. . . 

Islamic Jihad in Gaza: Armed resistance is the answer
9/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Nafez Azzam said on Thursday that armed resistance is the only way to truly resist Israeli occupation. Azzam's statements were made during an inspection tour of his Islamic Jihad forces in the eastern part of the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. "Our Islamic religion encourages us to defend and protect our people," said Azzam during an address to his militia. Azzam encouraged them to fight for their county especially during Ramadan adding that, "these Ramadan days are so special, and people should give their all for their nation. " The Islamic Jihad movement has embraced armed struggle throughout its history. The group rejects the Olso peace agreements with Israel, and does not participate in Palestinian Authority elections. 

Abbas and Mubarak to discuss Mitchell’s push for peace talks in Cairo
9/17/2009 - Cairo - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Egyptin counterpart Hosni Mubarak will meet in Cairo Saturday to discuss American peace efforts as well as the impending return to Fatah-Hamas unity talks in October. Palestinian ambassador in Cairo Barakat Al-Farra announced the meeting Thursday, saying in a statement that Abbas and Mubarak would sit together before the start of the UN General Assembly meeting next week and discuss the American appeal for a resumption of peace negotiations currently being pushed by US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. Mitchell was in Cairo Thursday morning for talks with Mubarak and several other senior statesmen, and traveled to Jordan Thursday evening for talks with Jordan's King Abdullah. Mitchell will return to Israel and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, and will likely also meet with Abbas during the trip. 

Gaza charity: PA must freeze our accounts, we were taken over by Hamas
9/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Head ofIshraqa, a Gazan charitable society, Wasfi Naser, urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to freeze the society's accounts following what he described as a takeover by the de facto Hamas run Ministry of the Interior. Naser said he received a phone call from representatives of the de facto Ministry of the Interior last week telling him that they had appointed a new board of directors for the society. Ishraqa currently supports aproximately 250 orphaned children in northern Gaza by raising funds from charities in the EU, US, and Canada. Naser asked that the Ministry of Interior restore control of the charity to the original board of directors who were elected, and always send their financial reports to the ministry. He said he hopes there can be a swift resolution of the seizure. 

Holiday gesture: Hamas releases 170 prisoners in Gaza
9/17/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Hamas-controlled Palestinian government in Gaza released 170 prisoners on Thursday in a goodwill gesture ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Fitr. Minister of Justice Muhammad Faraj Al-Ghoul told reporters at the Ansar security compound in Gaza City that 120 of the prisoners were ordinary criminals, while 50 were what he called "security prisoners. " Al-Ghoul, in a short statement to the media, also called on the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to release prisoners. Al-Ghoul also dismissed a journalist's suggestion that the release of the prisoners was a gesture to Fatah. President Mahmoud Abbas, he said, should release political prisoners regardless of the actions of the government in Gaza. Hamas security men then brought the prisoners from the cinderblock barracks of the compound, briefly displaying them to the media. 

Seventeen school children diagnosed with H1N1 in Nablus, Ramallah
9/17/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - The Palestinian Ministry of Health diagnosed 17 new cases of the H1N1 virus in Nablus and Ramallah, officials announced Thursday. Head of the health care department in the ministry As'ad Ar-Ramlawi 12 of the new cases were children from Nablus' Islamic School, which was closed down this week after seven students were diagnosed with the virus. The following day another seven children were confirmed to have H1N1, along with one of the student's mothers. A total of 21 students from the school have so far presented with the virus, as well as six of their relatives. In Nablus, a total of 27 individuals have tested positive for H1N1. New cases have also presented in Ramallah, where five cases have been diagnosed in kindergarten-aged children from three different preschools. The schools are closed Thursday as families prepare for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan's month of sunrise to sunset fasting. 

The National

Many delays on Jerusalem rail line
17 Sep 2009 - An ill-fated light railway under construction in Jerusalem was originally heralded by Israeli officials as a way to cement the city's unification . 

Muslim Brotherhood faces rift in Jordan
17 Sep 2009 - Balance of power in play as Hamas tries to increase its clout within the organisation, while moderates want to end the overlap.

In Egypt, few revel in the country's 6251st year
17 Sep 2009 - Those who celebrate find each new year to be a source of pride, but the number of revellers who take part are limited.

Israel on defensive after Gaza report
16 Sep 2009 - Officials denounce the UN investigation that alleges war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed on both sides of offensive.

Aljazeera

Egypt jails US couples for adoption
17 Sep 2009 - Two couples jailed for trying to illegally adopt Egyptian children.

UN: Israel terrorised Gazans in war
16 Sep 2009 - Palestinian groups also accused of war crimes, though Israel given harsher criticism.

Alternative Information Center

Neve Gordon's Academic Freedom 
16 Sep 2009 - It’s not easy to find a country in the Middle East whose universities honor academic freedom as we know it in most Western countries. Syria is a police state, comparable in some ways to North Korea...

The Goldstone Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
15 Sep 2009 - Executive Summary To examine the whole report, click here . A. Introduction 1. On 3 April 2009, the President of the Human Rights Council established the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict with the...

Palestine News Network

Implementation of UN Fact finding mission recommendations crucial for justice
17 Sep 2009 - Amnesty International - All relevant UN bodies must act promptly and in coordination to implement the recommendations of the UN-mandated Goldstone report on violations of international law committed in Gaza and southern Israel in late December and January, Amnesty International said today. “The UN Human Rights Council should endorse the report and its recommendations and request the UN Secretary-General to refer it...

Ramadan iftar in Megiddo Prison: five pieces of potato for every 10 people
16 Sep 2009 - Jenin / Ali Samoudi for PNN - Five pieces of potato for every 10 prisoners is the Ramadan breakfast, iftar, at Megiddo, says Hilal Zidan who was released yesterday after spending seven months in the Israeli prison. He told PNN that portions are meager at best during the holy month.The 27 year old said that despite the warm reception he received at his...

UN fact finding mission receives support from human rights groups for its work and recommendations
16 Sep 2009 - PNN - Several human rights organizations support the work and recommendations of the United Nations fact-finding mission that issued its results in a report on Tuesday. The Israeli government condemned the UN and is not honoring its findings. Palestinian human rights organizations are demanding effective judicial redress and the protection of victims’ rights.The following statement was issued today by several Palestinian human...

Mitchell and Netanyahu come to standstill on settlements, plan to meet again on Friday
16 Sep 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Talks between the US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are yielding few results. They ended Wednesday’s meeting without reaching an agreement on the resumption of negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli officials.They agreed to meet again Friday, according to a spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister.After refusing to halt settlement expansion...

Thunderstorms and rain expected to relieve drought conditions with advent of Eid al-Fitr
16 Sep 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – After a hot summer that saw a continuation of the water shortage, rains are predicted. Severe drought and summer heat are expected to be broken by storms Saturday, Sunday and Monday alongside Eid al-Fitr, which is expected to begin Sunday.Yousef Abu Asaad, Director General of Meteorology, told PNN today that rising temperatures are expected during the day while clouds...

Thousands of worshippers crowd Old City markets and Al Aqsa Mosque for night of prayers 
16 Sep 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN – Much of the night in Jerusalem was filled with thousands of visitors from the city and the West Bank. It was Laylat al-Qadr, the night that comes toward the end of Ramadan during which families pray together for hours. Al Aqsa Mosque was full, as were the markets of the Old City.Buses had brought in...

Extremist settlers claim religious right to Palestinian land, say they will never agree to freeze
16 Sep 2009 - Bethlehem / Munjed Jaddo for PNN – Across the occupied West Bank the heads of settlement blocs are saying that even if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to a temporary settlement freeze, they will not. The Israelis are speeding up settlement expansion as the United States President Barack Obama attempts to slow it. Backing away from his earlier position and that of...

IRIN

Analysis: Looming water crisis in Gaza
GAZA CITY Tuesday, September 15, 2009 (IRIN) - Unless urgent action is taken, the supply of water fit for human use in the Gaza Strip will be depleted in 5-10 years, according to the Gaza Coastal Municipal Water Utility (CMWU) and UN agencies working there.

In Brief: DRC’s North Kivu Province becoming riskier for aid workers
NAIROBI Monday, September 14, 2009 (IRIN) - Security incidents against humanitarian workers in North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have increased by 26 percent since January compared to the same period last year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Analysis: Shebaa Farms key to Levant hydro-diplomacy
BEIRUT Thursday, September 10, 2009 (IRIN) - The politics of the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, a rugged sliver of mountainside wedged between Lebanon, Israel and Syria, have long overshadowed what some Lebanese environmentalists call “the real issue” of the disputed area: its water resources.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: Libya Brings Focused Agenda to U.N. Presidency 
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 17 (IPS) - Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki of Libya, the newly-anointed president of the 192-member U.N. General Assembly, hails from a country with a mostly radical and far-reaching political agenda.

MIDEAST: Textbooks Become a Dream 
GAZA CITY, Sep 17 (IPS) - A chronic shortage of school supplies, and severely overcrowded classrooms are crippling Gaza's educational system as tens of thousands of children begin a new school year.

GULF: Gender Discrimination in Citizenship Rights 
MANAMA, Sep 17 (IPS) - There is inequality in citizenship laws for women and men in the Gulf Arab states.

MIDEAST: Gaza's Water Supply Near Collapse 
RAMALLAH, Sep 16 (IPS) - The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned that Gaza's access to safe supply of drinking water could cease at any time. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says outbreaks of disease could be triggered as a consequence.

Stop The Wall

Ni’lin protestors destroy sensors, cut through fence
13 Sep 2009 - The struggle of the village of Ni’lin is still continuing, despite the hot weather, the month of the fasting and new concrete wall. During the demonstration, protestors confronted soldiers and destroyed segments of the Wall, cutting fences and wrecking electronic sensors. [

Two injured in Bi’lin weekly protest
15 Sep 2009 - The weekly demonstration went as normal this week in Bil’in, with Occupation forces firing on unarmed demonstrators as they approached their isolated lands. Two were injured and dozens more affected by tear gas during the action. [

PCHR Latest

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Support Work and Recommendations of UN Fact Finding Mission: Demand Effective Judicial Redress and the Protection of Victims’ Rights
PCHR

PCHR Weekly Report

(10- 16 Sep. 2009)
During the reporting period, a Palestinian civilian died of a previous wound he had sustained by IOF in Hebron.  Additionally, 6 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded by IOF and settlers in the West Bank.

information on boycott, divestment and sanctions
PCHR Strongly Condemns New Israeli Settlement Plans in the West Bank 08 September

International Solidarity Movement

Israeli forces raid Bil’in, beat Popular Committee member
9/16/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Around 1:30am, the Israeli army invaded Bil'in. Soldiers came to the home of Abdullah Mahmoud Abu Rahme , coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, to arrest him. Abu Rahme was not at home at the time and soldiers proceeded to destroy belongings in his house. When another member of the Popular Committee, Mohammad Khatib, arrived to check on Abu Rahme's wife and 3 small children, Israeli forces severely beat him. Khatib was taken to Ramallah hospital for medical treatment. International solidarity activists were prevented from entering the home and a Palestinian cameraman trying to film the invasion was pushed around and had his camera broken. Israeli forces destroy the home of Abdullah Abu Rahme Afterward, soldiers raided the home of Abdullah's brother, Khaled Abu Rahme, threatening to continue harassment until Abduallah is arrested. The army also trashed a room in Khaled's home, stealing banners and flags used during weekly demonstrations. 

Settlers attack Nablus-area village of Burin
9/16/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Settlers set fire to Burin property - On the evening of Sunday 13 September at approximately 21:00 masked settlers from the illegal settlement of Bracha, armed with guns, set alight tyres and sprayed gasoline on the roof of a house under construction in the village of Burin just south of Nablus. Palestinians in neighbouring homes saw the blaze and retreating settlers and called the local fire brigade who came to extinguish the flames. International activists then joined local Palestinians in a 24 hour vigil of the house which has come under constant attack since the beginning of its construction a year go. At 2am in the morning international activists and Palestinians witnessed two settlers on the upper Burin road near to the home. The group managed to chase the settlers away before any damage was done. At 4. 30am 2 settlers again approached the home and were seen throwing stones before being chased from the scene. 

Settler shoots Nablus-area shepherd
9/16/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 15 September 2009 - Nader was shot in the chest while trying to protect his brother - On the morning of Tuesday 15 September, at approximately 8:30am, a Palestinian shepherd from the Palestinian village of Einabus, to the south of Nablus, was shot and two others beaten by Israeli settlers. 11 settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement, 3 of them masked and all armed with M-16s attacked Hazzaì Allan and his sheep as he grazed his flock on a hill close to the village, killing 15 sheep and stealing 10 more. The settlers ordered Hazzai down on to the ground, beating him and spraying him and his dog with pepper spray. Hazzai's brother Nader responded to a distress call Hazzai had managed to make and was shot in the chest while attempting to protect his brother from further beating. Villagers attempted to chase the settlers away and a third man, Abdil Rhamn, the nephew of Nader, was beaten with heavy grazing to the head. 

Goldstone testimonies revealed
9/16/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - YNet News - An in-depth look into the Goldstone Report probing the events of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza reveals the official first-hand testimonies from the days of the war. The testimonies were given by family members who lost their loved ones and eyewitnesses to the fighting, and they shed some personal light on what happened in Gaza. All testimonies where deemed credible by the United Nations-appointed inquiry team, and were compatible with other reports received. Here are just some of the testimonies:The shooting of Iyad al-Samoni - On the night of January 4, 2008, Iyad al-Samoni stayed with his wife, five children and 40 other members of his extended family in one a relative's house. Around 1am, sounds were heard coming from the roof, and some four hours later, Israeli soldiers came down the steps, knocked on the door and entered the house. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Goldstone findings will put Netanyahu on defensive at UN
17 Sep 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminisced how, at the start of his tenure as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in 1984, he met the Lubavitcher rebbe who told him that "you are going to the house of darkness but you must remember that even in the greatest darkness, if you light a small candle, it will shed its light to great distances." ... 

In Rosh Hashanah greeting, Obama calls for `lasting peace` 
17 Sep 2009 - In a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews the world over, U.S. President Barack Obama called for the rejection of "the impulse to harden ourselves to others' suffering," urging empathy and "compassion to those in need." ... 

Spain indicts three alleged former Nazi guards for genocide 
17 Sep 2009 - A Spanish judge on Thursday indicted three alleged ex-Nazi death camp guards who all lived for many years in the United States, charging them with being accessories to genocide and crimes against humanity. ...

Netanyahu asks world to reject Goldstone findings 
17 Sep 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rejected a United Nations report alleging Israeli war crimes during its three week offensive in Gaza last winter, warning world leaders that they and their anti-terror forces could be targets for similar charges. ...

Goldstone: Punish commanders who broke laws in Gaza 
17 Sep 2009 - The head of a United Nations commission that charged Israel with committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip during its offensive there earlier last winter wrote Thursday that soldiers and commanders must be held accountable for serious violations during the fighting. ...

The Guardian

Letters: Scrutiny of US foreign policy
17 Sep 2009 - Worries over US and British troops in Afghanistan ( Report , 17 September) are on the rise as more and more soldiers – and civilians – are killed in this terrible conflict. Concerns also remain over US-Iranian relations;...

Letters: Conflict continues over Gaza
17 Sep 2009 - One wonders whether the prime minister and the foreign secretary noticed that on Tuesday a UN commission headed by Richard Goldstone published findings that Israel had and indeed is still committing war crimes and almost certainly...

Obama guilty of naivety, says former Israeli diplomat
17 Sep 2009 - Dan Gillerman says US president's recent actions reveal his 'inexperience in foreign policy' One of Israel's most senior former diplomats has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama, accusing the US president of "naivety and inexperience...

Israel: TUC boycott on goods produced in illegal settlements is 'slap in face'
17 Sep 2009 - Israeli embassy says boycott will harm 'Jew and Arab alike' and calls for TUC to 'hang its head in shame' A targeted boycott of Israeli goods originating from illegal settlements agreed by the TUC today to...

Ha'aretz National page

Ministry bans use of biometric device to monitor school kids
17 Sep 2009 - The Education Ministry has forbidden the Tzafit high school in Kibbutz Kfar Menahem to use a biometric device intended to identify students entering the dining room, and to erase the fingerprint data bank formed for this purpose, following a query from Haaretz. ... 

Hapoel Tel Aviv defeats Celtic 2-1 in Europa League soccer
17 Sep 2009 - Maaran Lala scored the winning goal in the 88th minute to clinch a 2-1 victory for host Hapoel Tel Aviv over Scotland's Glasgow Celtic in the opening match of the teams' Europa League group play. ...

Victim of 2005 Hadera bombing dies of her wounds
16 Sep 2009 - Larisa Grischenko, 39, died on Wednesday from critical wounds sustained four years ago in a terror attack at the Hadera market. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Netanyahu demands world support vs. UN Gaza report
17 Sep 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

Palestinian Rights Committee discusses developments in Occupied Territory, political process, report of UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza
17 Sep 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

OPT: Upcoming Middle East Quartet meeting offers 'important opportunity' to lay basis for progress towards resumed negotiations, durable peace, UN SC told
17 Sep 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

YNet News

King of Jordan urges Israel not to obstruct peace 
17 Sep 2009 - 'There is a need to prevent any Israeli plan that seeks to disrupt launch of peace talks by continuing settlements,' Jordanian king tells visiting US envoy Mitchell 

UK minister to Ynet: We do not support boycotts against Israel
17 Sep 2009 - Following labor unions' decision to support ban on importing Israeli goods produced in 'illegal settlements,' British Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson says boycotts 'unhelpful and polarize the debate,' but adds, 'UK also clear on settlements being illegal and an obstacle to peace' 

US: Serious concerns about Goldstone Report conclusions 
17 Sep 2009 - Ambassador to UN Rice says Washington 'carefully reviewing' report claiming Israel committed war crimes in Gaza, adds, 'This is a time to work to cement progress towards resumption of Israel-PA talks' 

Obama sends Israel holiday greeting
17 Sep 2009 - 'Let's reject impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, make a habit of empathy,' greeting says 

Israelis in India warned of possible terror attacks
17 Sep 2009 - Counter Terrorism Bureau says Pakistan-based group that carried out Mumbai attacks looking to target Israelis, westerners 

IDF completes drill with new computer system
17 Sep 2009 - System improves officers' decision-making ability by displaying maps of battlefield, movement of troops 

'Starving mother' meets son
17 Sep 2009 - Jerusalem woman charged with abusing her toddler son brings him gifts, candy. Her attorneys hope meeting marks beginning of process at the end of which he’ll return to her custody 

B'tselem

Israel Must Investigate 'Operation Cast Lead'
15 Sep 2009 - With the publication of the Goldstone Committee report today, human rights organizations in Israel are studying the report and its conclusions, and they call upon the Israeli Government to take the report seriously and to refrain from automatically reject

Daily Star

Qabalan urges cabinet 'capable of partnership' 
17 Sep 2009

Sfeir: Without goodwill cabinet formation will drag 
17 Sep 2009

Hariri wants cabinet talks 'kept away from media' 
17 Sep 2009

Lebanon aims for Guinness records as part of bid to lay claim to hummus, tabouleh 
17 Sep 2009

Egypt court jails US couples over illegal adoptions 
17 Sep 2009

At Gaza's only spa, the well-heeled find measure of relief 
17 Sep 2009

dTurkey, Syria boost ties, agree to scrap visa requirements 
17 Sep 2009

Obama understands that security lies in cooperation, not in bigger weapons 
17 Sep 2009

Palestinian Information Center

Hundreds of protesters east of Gaza city demand release of prisoners
17 Sep 2009 - Hundreds of Palestinian citizens participated in a protest organized by PCAS on the Palestinian side of Al-Shujaiya (Nahal Oz) crossing to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners..

IOF troops, settlers escalate attacks on Palestinian civilians
17 Sep 2009 - A 20-year-old Palestinian youth in the village of Orta, south of Nablus, was hospitalized on Thursday after a group of Jewish settlers ganged up on him in the village's main street.

Brockmann slams Abbas’s delegation to UN
17 Sep 2009 - Miguel Brockmann, the head of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, expressed Wednesday his disappointment at the UN’s failure to address the Palestinian cause..

American delegation arrives in Gaza
17 Sep 2009 - An American human rights and media delegation arrived in Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening, after overcoming several Egyptian hurdles, in a show of solidarity with the Strip's inhabitants.

Haneyya: The mentality that governs W. Bank is autocratic
17 Sep 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya stated Wednesday that the mentality that governs the occupied West Bank is autocratic and does not believe in political partnership and joint action at all.

Hamas: Failure of Mitchell reflects weakness of American position, IOA arrogance
17 Sep 2009 - Hamas has said that the Palestinian people were paying the price of the weakness of the American administration and their slackness in dealing with the Israeli occupation authority (IOA).

Abu Halabiya: Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque at serious risk
17 Sep 2009 - Palestinian lawmaker Dr. Ahmed Abu Halabiya warned Wednesday that the Aqsa Mosque and the other holy places are at serious risk that requires immediate action to save them.

Ramadan asserts Muslim attachment to Jerusalem
17 Sep 2009 - As the month of Ramadan draws to a close, many Palestinians are devoting the last ten days of the holy month to gaining more spiritual enrichment through I’tikaf

Scottish MP slams Israel for kidnapping Palestinian lawmakers
17 Sep 2009 - Scottish lawmaker Hugh O'Donnell strongly denounced the arbitrary policy of kidnapping Palestinian lawmakers and their detention in Israeli jails for more than three years.

PCHR: 1,019 IOF assaults on Palestinian media
17 Sep 2009 - The Palestinian center for human rights (PCHR) has said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) had launched hundreds of attacks on Palestinian media and journalists in a bid to "silence the press".

Los Angeles Times

Israel rebuffs inquiry into Gaza war crime allegations 
17 Sep 2009 - Government leaders attempt to discredit a report by a U.N. panel that accuses both Israelis and Palestinians of committing atrocities during last winter's conflict. Israel on Wednesday rejected a call by a United Nations panel to open an independent inquiry into its wartime conduct in the Gaza Strip and launched a diplomatic campaign to thwart any prosecution of its soldiers at an international criminal tribunal. 

Powerful Iranian cleric barred from delivering Quds Day prayers 
17 Sep 2009 - Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who supports the opposition movement, will be replaced by Ahmadinejad and an ally on the day of solidarity with Palestinians, reports say. Anti-government rallies are planned. A powerful cleric who supports Iran's opposition movement has been barred from delivering Friday prayers during Quds Day in Tehran, an annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian cause that is being turned into a protest against authorities in a move that suggests the declining influence of Iranian moderates within the political elite. 

Lebanon's Saad Hariri renominated as prime minister 
17 Sep 2009 - He backed away from the nomination last week, saying rival politicians were thwarting his attempt to form a unity government. But he agrees to give it another try. Lebanon's president designated Saad Hariri prime minister on Wednesday, asking the Saudi- and U.S.-backed politician to take on the tough job of forming a new government for a second time. 

New York Times

Israel Rejects Call for Gaza Inquiry
16 Sep 2009 - Israeli officials bluntly dismissed a U.N. mission’s recommendation that an investigation be launched into violations of human rights law during the war. 

Iran Opposition Leader Sidelined From Rally
16 Sep 2009 - Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was barred from an event in a move that suggests hard-line leaders fear it could turn into an opposition rally. 

No Deal, but Middle East Envoy Sets Further Talks
16 Sep 2009 - The White House’s Middle East envoy, George J. Mitchell, was set to leave Israel on Wednesday without agreement on a settlement freeze. 

Misc

Gaza: Textbooks Become a Dream 
9/17/2009 - Uruknet - Mel Frykberg - GAZA CITY, Sep 17 (IPS) - A chronic shortage of school supplies, and severely overcrowded classrooms are crippling Gaza's educational system as tens of thousands of children begin a new school year. Israel's hermetic sealing of the strip, as part of its blockade against Hamas, has prevented most supplies of paper, textbooks, notebooks, ink cartridges, stationery, school uniforms, school bags, and computers and their spare parts. " Through our education system the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is spreading the message of universal respect for human rights, peaceful coexistence and tolerance in an atmosphere that since the blockade has become increasingly desperate and radicalised," says UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness. " The best way for Israel to prevent us spreading that message to the 200,000 Gazan children at our schools is to block us sending in educational supplies," Gunness told IPS. 

VIDEO - IDF brutes invade Bil’in, night-time raid, injuring those present SEE FILM 
9/17/2009 - Uruknet - Haitham Al Katib - Shortly after 1:30 am, Israeli forces invaded Bil'in again. They raided the house of Abdullah Mahmoud Aburahma in an attempt to arrest him. However, he was not home at the time. Palestinian and international activists intervened by jumping over the wall into the garden since the soldiers had shut the gate closed. Some international activists were threatened with arrest unless they move back. The soldiers had sealed off the house while operating inside. They forced open two doors breaking the locks and destroying the doors. They trashed several rooms and beat Mohammed Khatib who had come to the rescue of Abdullah's family. He was taken to hospital in Ramallah for treatment and returned to the village later. Military reinforcement arrived in five Jeeps. Outside the house, one Palestinian activist, Emad Burnat, who was filming, was pushed to the ground. 

UK trade unions overwhelmingly pass boycott vote 
9/17/2009 - Uruknet - Palestine Solidarity Campaign - In a landmark decision, Britain's trade unions have voted overwhelmingly to commit to build a mass boycott movement, disinvestment and sanctions on Israel for a negotiated settlement based on justice for Palestinians. The motion was passed at the 2009 TUC Annual Congress in Liverpool today (17 September), by unions representing 6. 5 million workers across the UK. Hugh Lanning, chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: "This motion is the culmination of a wave of motions passed at union conferences this year, following outrage at Israel's brutal war on Gaza, and reflects the massive growth in support for Palestinian rights. We will be working with the TUC to develop a mass campaign to boycott Israeli goods, especially agricultural products that have been produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. " 

U.K. labor unions back Israel boycott in wake of Gaza war
9/17/2009 - Ha'aretz - British labor unions on Thursday agreed to support a boycott of some Israeli goods in response to the offensive in Gaza last winter. The boycott, proposed by the Fire Brigades Union, calls for a ban on importing goods produced in some Israeli settlements, an end of arms trading with Israel and disinvestment from some companies. A motion to be debated on Thursday at a conference of labor union officials also condemns the actions of Hamas. About 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in the December-January offensive, which sought to stop rocket fire by Gaza militants on southern Israeli towns. Thirteen Israelis also died, including four civilians. In May of this year, Norway's largest labor union urged the Scandinavian country to lead an international boycott of Israel if it did not reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. 

Ask and you shall receive: the US appears willing to help Israel stonewall the Goldstone report 
9/17/2009 - Mondoweiss - Israel’s request in Haaretz: Israel on Wednesday asked a number of senior members of the Obama administration to assist in curbing the international fallout from the Goldstone Commission report released this week, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. . . Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue Wednesday with U. S. special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, while Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon discussed it with U. S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and other senior officials. And the US response as reported by Reuters: The United States has "serious concerns" about a U. N. investigator’s report accusing Israel and Palestinians of war crimes during their Gaza war, the U. S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday. "The United States is reviewing very carefully what is a very lengthy document," Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters. 

When life gives the Israel lobby lemons . . . 
9/17/2009 - Mondoweiss - You might think the Goldstone report which found that Israel may have committed crimes against humanity in Gaza would be viewed as a setback by the Israel lobby. Think again. Check out this fundraising letter AIPAC sent out this afternoon to cash in on the damning report: Dear, It’s an abomination! After years of silence while Israeli towns were bombarded with more than 6,300 Hamas rockets and mortars, the U. N. Human Rights Council (HRC) this Tuesday issued a report accusing Israel of committing war crimes during its defensive operation against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip this winter. Help Israel defend its right to self defense! Renew your AIPAC commitment now before our fiscal year ends in 12 days. RENEW NOW -- Israeli President Shimon Peres said the report “makes a mockery of history and fails to distinguish between aggressor and those acting in self-defense. 

Tel Aviv suburb starts anti-miscegenation patrol to ‘assist young girls in the habit of mingling with men from minorities’
9/17/2009 - Mondoweiss - Check out this illustrative news story from Mississippi, 1963 Tel Aviv, today. The great Israeli blogs Promised Land and Dimi’s Notes report that the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva has established a patrol unit to break up dates between Palestinians and Jews. Dimi Reider explains and provides a translation of a Yediot Ahronot article on the program: "But while the Zionist Agency is talking the talk, Petah Tikva municipality is walking the walk – the patrol walk. The city hall there is establishing a patrol unit to break up Arab-Jewish dates. What follows is a translation of the relevant excerpt from a local Yediot Ahronot paper. “Minority men” is a depressingly transparent euphemism for Arabs, and I tried to preserve the stale and clumsy language of the original: Municipality will locate girls going out with men from minorities - The youth department of the Petah Tikva municipality set up 

UN says Israel should face war-crimes trial over Gaza
9/16/2009 - The Independent - Donald Macintyre - Israel targeted "the people of Gaza as a whole" in the three-week military operation which is estimated to have killed more than 1,300 Palestinians at the beginning of this year, according to a UN-commissioned report published yesterday. A UN fact-finding mission led by the Jewish South African former Supreme Court Judge Richard Goldstone said Israel should face prosecution by the International Criminal Court, unless it opened fully independent investigations of what the report said were repeated violations of international law, "possible war crimes and crimes against humanity" during the operation. Using by far the strongest language of any of the numerous reports criticising Operation Cast Lead, the UN mission, which interviewed victims, witnesses and others in Gaza and Geneva this summer, says that while Israel had 

Adalah to Supreme Court: Prohibiting Palestinian Arab Prisoner Citizen of Israel from Marrying Palestinian Woman Prisoner from the OPT is Illegal
9/18/2009 - Adalah - On 9 September 2009, Adalah filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel on behalf of Mr. Muayad Bushnak, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel imprisoned in an Israeli prison, against a decision of the Tel Aviv District Court prohibiting him from marrying a Palestinian woman prisoner from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the grounds that she does not have a permit to reside in Israel. In the appeal, Adalah Attorney Abeer Baker argued that the woman's lack of a permit is irrelevant because she is a prisoner incarcerated in an Israeli jail she has the right to benefit from the constitutional rights granted to each prisoner. These rights include her right to marry, her right to receive health care, her right of access to the courts and any other fundamental right of a prisoner. Mr. Bushnak is serving a two and a half year prison sentence during which he is working for the prison medical center as a medical assistant for disabled prisoners. 

Adalah to Supreme Court: Arab Landowners of Lajoun Entitled to Return of their Private Property Confiscated by the State in 1953
9/18/2009 - Adalah - On 10 September 2009, the Supreme Court of Israel held a hearing on an appeal filed by Adalah on behalf of 486 Arab landowners in Lajoun against a 2007 District Court decision, which refused their demand to return 200 dunams of their land. The District Court rejected the claimants’ main argument that the state's confiscation of their land is fundamentally invalid and that the land must be returned to the original owners, because it has not been used for “essential settlement and development needs,” in accordance with the order issued by the Minister of Finance in 1953. The District Court also ordered the Justice Ministry to register the land in the name of the Development Authority, a state body. Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Adel Badir submitted the lawsuit to the District Court and the appeal to the Supreme Court. 

Following Lawsuit by Adalah, Sawt el-Amel and the Tel Aviv University Human Rights Clinic, Labor Court Issues Temporary Injunction Preventing Dismissal of Arab Railway Workers
9/17/2009 - Adalah - On 9 September 2009, the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court issued a temporary injunction preventing the firing of Arab railway inspectors by the Israel Railway Company on the grounds that they have not performed military service. A lawsuit, as well as the request for an injunction, was submitted on behalf of the workers by Adalah, Sawt el-Amel (The Laborers' Voice) and the Tel Aviv University Human Rights Clinic. The court ruled that the imposition of such criterion as a condition for continued employment discriminates against Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, as they are not obliged to perform military service. Further the court found that the inspection job is purely a civilian post and does not require any military experience. Among the new criteria proposed by the railway company as an alternative to military service is having worked at an institution with a clear hierarchal structure and having worked in shifts for a year and a half continuously. 


Articles

UN General Assembly president 'frustrated' in his attempts to end blockade of Gaza 
Stuart Littlewood, Uruknet 9/17/2009
      Farewell, Fr Miguel... and thank you for trying.
     Outgoing United Nations General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockman says he was obstructed by leading UN members from trying to improve the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
     "My greatest frustration this year has been the Palestine situation," he told the 192-nation assembly in his final address on 14 September before handing over the one-year presidency to Libyan diplomat Ali Treki.
     He found it "disgraceful" the way influential members of the UN Security Council had shown "passivity and apparent indifference" about the long and cruel Israeli blockade of Gaza.
     Fr Miguel is not your usual time-serving career diplomat. In 1961 was ordained a priest in the Catholic church. In 1962, he obtained a Master of Science degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism (Pulitzer Institute). He served for over a decade as Nicaragua’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, during which he spearheaded his Government’s claim in the International Court of Justice against the United States for supporting military and paramilitary actions against his country. The Court ruled in Nicaragua’s favour.
     Not only a man of words, then, but a man of action.
     UN’s lack of commitment in resolving the Palestine Question "a scandal"
     Palestinians in particular, and those concerned about foreign affairs in general, will find the unedited version of his parting speech, where it relates to the Holy Land, well worth reading.... more.. e-mail

'They’re baaaaack....' 
Stephen M. Walt, Foriegn Policy 9/11/2009
      When I started blogging back in January, one of my early posts questioned the belief that Obama’s election had ended talk of military action against Iran. I though this view was "almost certainly premature," because I didn’t think a rapid diplomatic breakthrough was likely and I knew that advocates of a more forceful approach would soon come out of the woodwork and start pushing the new administration to get tough with Tehran. 
     Well, I hate to say I told you so, but ... Right on cue, Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal had an op-ed from former Senators Dan Coats and Chuck Robb and retired Air Force general Chuck Wald, recommending that Obama "begin preparations for the use of military options" against Iran’s nuclear facilities. They argue that keeping the threat of force "on the table" is the only way to achieve a diplomatic solution, but they also make it clear that they favor bombing Iran if diplomacy fails. In their words, "making preparations now will enable the president, should all other measures fail to bring Tehran to the negotiating table, to use military force to retard Iran’s nuclear program."
     Will we ever learn? As other commentators have noted, many of the most vocal advocates of military action against Iran tend to be the same groups and individuals who saw 9/11 as a good excuse to invade Iraq and start trying to "transform" the Middle East. Plenty of people agree that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a problem, but the loudest voices calling for the threat or use of force tend to be either Israeli hardliners or American neocons. Gee, who woulda thought! It’s equally unsurprising that the United Jewish Communities sponsored an "Iran Advocacy Day" in Washington yesterday, featuring appearances by key administration officials and prominent legislators. Its purpose, of course, was to highlight the danger of a nuclear Iran, put pressure on Obama to take a tough line, and to rally support for stiffer sanctions (at a minimum). M.J. Rosenberg called it just right: "it marks the start of the fall push on Iran." more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
UK trade unions overwhelmingly pass boycott vote
17 Sep 2009 - In a landmark decision, Britain's trade unions have voted overwhelmingly to commit to build a mass boycott movement, disinvestment and sanctions on Israel for a negotiated settlement based on justice for Palestinians. The motion was passed at the 2009 TUC Annual Congress in Liverpool today (17 September), by unions representing 6.5 million workers across the UK. 

Gaza's water supply near collapse
17 Sep 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned that Gaza's access to safe supply of drinking water could cease at any time. The World Health Organization (WHO) says outbreaks of disease could be triggered as a consequence. 

UN investigators make strong case for Gaza war crimes
16 Sep 2009 - UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - A four-member United Nations fact-finding mission, which has just concluded an investigation into last year's brutal conflict in Gaza, makes a strong case for war crimes charges against Israel for its unrelenting 22-day military attacks on Palestinians, largely civilians, including women and children. The charges stem mostly from serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. 

A turning point for the US solidarity movement
16 Sep 2009 - This weekend at the eighth annual US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation national organizers' conference held in Chicago, delegates from the approximately 300 member groups that make up the US Campaign voted in favor of an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The vote, and the deep collective breath of relief that followed, will go down in history as the moment US-based Palestine solidarity activists overcame tactical differences that had long hindered us, to finally come together to confront Israeli apartheid. Nada Elia comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
gifts: Gaza Ramadan day 27
17 Sep 2009 - It gets a bit ridiculous with Palestinians insisting on giving away merchandise, belongings, wall-hangings…anything to guests in gestures of friendship and hospitality [a note on this: don't ever light-heartedly compliment something that isn't bolted down in your hosts' home or they will take it down/off and give it to you]. Abu Mahmoud, the taxi driver with the signature flashing red heart mounted in his taxi [which he also tried to dis-mount and give to me after seeing my fascination with it], insists on not taking a fare each time, instead trying to pin us down for a meal at his home: “I’ll show my wife how you cook,” he says,...

Palestine Chronicle
Lebanon's Palestinians 27 Years after the Massacre
17 Sep 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Martyr's Square, Shatila Camp 'Our lives in Palestinian Refugee camps, now 27 years after the Massacre at Sabra-Shatila, sometimes becomes nearly impossible to endure. Circumstances may change for the worse, our livelihoods diminish, our Zionist occupiers become more cruel and violent, but the work and compassion for our Palestinian brothers and sisters continues. For all people of good will the struggle for justice and the work of Resistance goes on. The cause of Palestine endures, the Right of Return still lives and the dream shall never die.' -- Hiba Hajj, student, Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, Beirut Author’s note: Yesterday, this observer, along with British surgeon Dr. Swee Ang Chai and Nurse Marion Looi Pok, true global medical heroines during and following the 1982 Massacre at Sabra-Shatila had the honor to pass the afternoon with our longtime friend, Dr. Bayan al Hout whose husband Shafiq, one of the most respected and loved founders of the Palestine Liberation Organization passed away quite suddenly on August 2, 2009. Her now classic volume, "Sabra and Shatila: September 1982" by Bayan Nuwayhed Al-Hout, 2004, available from Pluto Press, London, is highly recommended by the Sabra Shatila Foundation for those who seek a deeper understanding of the exact sequence of events during and surrounding the Massacre. For more than 15 years Bayan painstakingly interviewed survivors and eye witnesses, sometimes furtively and ignoring threats while trying to avoid the swarms of intelligence agents who moved into West Beirut and the Palestinian camps in...

Democracy at Gunpoint
17 Sep 2009 - By Aijaz Zaka Syed - Dubai What a farce! Can it get any better than this? Once America's darling, Hamid Karzai appears to be inching towards victory in yet another ‘democratic election’ that has been like going on – forever. In the latest update, Afghan election commission has put Karzai’s vote share at 56 per cent. Which seems to have come as a bit of a shock to the Coalition of the Willing. They had been hoping to dump Karzai and move on with another ‘moderate and democratic leader’, Abdullah Abdullah. The West’s disappointment over Abdullah’s flop show despite all the help he got from friends in high places is almost comical. And Abdullah has turned on his former boss and ally to accuse him of stealing the election. Abdullah should know. After all, he was part of the same clique not long ago. Ironically, for all this talk of stealing the election, this may have been the closest Karzai has come to a real election. Confronted with the looming possibility of the wily Tajik, Abdullah, replacing Karzai, the Pashtun majority apparently rallied behind the President. Karzai had never been a favorite option but pitted against Abdullah, he clearly looked attractive to his fellow Pashtuns. However, America and its ever-obliging allies seem to have lost all interest in the President of Kabul. By repeatedly protesting – however mild and ineffective in nature – against the coalition’s murderous attacks targeting innocent civilians and suggesting talks with the Taliban, Karzai has raised...

How Low Will Israel Stoop in Its Propaganda War?
16 Sep 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood - London 'The Israel Project', a US media advocacy group, has produced a revised training manual to help the worldwide Zionist movement win the propaganda war, keep their ill-gotten territorial gains and persuade international audiences to accept that their crimes are necessary and conform to 'shared values' between Israel and the civilized West. It’s a Clever Document The manual teaches how to justify the slaughter, the ethnic cleansing, the land-grabbing, the cruelty and the blatant disregard for international law and UN resolutions, and make it all smell sweeter with a liberal squirt of the aerosol of persuasive language. It is designed to hoodwink us ignorant and gullible Americans and Europeans into believing that we actually share values with the racist regime in Israel and that its abominable behaviour is therefore deserving of our support. Israel is hoping for a PR massacre. The other side - the Palestinian Authority and the PLO - don’t take communications seriously and have neglected to correct Israeli distortion. They are happy, it seems, for Israel’s one-sided definitions to prevail, which of course makes the task for Israel so much easier. This latest propaganda offensive is potentially the 'coup de grace' to finish off the tormented Palestinians. See it here . And the manual will no doubt serve as a communications primer for the army of cyber-scribblers that Israel’s Ministry of Dirty Tricks is recruiting to spread Zionism’s poison across the internet. This quote at the beginning sets the tone: "Remember, it’s not what...

Perpetual Grief over September 11th
16 Sep 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud The anniversary of the infamous tragedy of 9/11, 2001, and the subsequent ramifications indeed induce, throughout the world, a plethora of feelings of sorrow. The 9/11 event should have never taken place. Regardless of the situation, targeting civilians is unconditionally reviled. No matter where we stand on war, and how do we wish to rationalize and define extremism, and even terror, we must pause to remember those who died on that day, and the many, many more who died in the months and years that followed. Sadly, we must even pause today for those who will die tomorrow, to avenge the victims of the twin towers. 9/11 was a tragedy that should have been studied within the parameters of US foreign policies vis-à-vis Muslim countries, in the Middle East region in particular. If we wish not to venture that far, then an honest look at the period that followed the first Gulf War of 1990-91, and the tragic sanctions that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, is certainly warranted. Anger, when becomes protracted and multifaceted, is at risk of inspiring extremism and rationalizing terror. But there are other facets to be examined when political violence is to be scrutinized. 9/11 cannot be divorced from surrounding events, preceding tragedies or subsequent ones. By not doing so, one undermines the seriousness of the tragedy. And while one simply cannot pardon blind hate or terror, how can one honestly argue that the millions who perished in Iraq,...

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