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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
18 September, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Troops attacked the weekly protest at Nilin; scores suffered the effects of teargas inhalation
18 Sep 2009 - Scores of civilians suffered on Friday effects of teargas inhalation and nausea as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly protest against the Wall in the central West bank village of Nil'in. 

Dozens suffer effects of tear gas inhalation at the weekly Bilin protest
18 Sep 2009 - Dozens effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday during the weekly protest in the village of Bil’in central West Bank. 

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. 

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

Dozens suffer tear gas inhalation at anti-wall protest in Bil’in
9/18/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Dozens suffered tear gas inhalation during the weekly anti-wall protest in the village of Bil'in north of Ramallah on Friday, as locals joined international activists following prayers. Commemorating the 27th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila Refugee Camps in Lebanon, protesters rallied against the continued construction of the Israeli separation wall and West Bank settlements, as well as the continued night raids regularly conducted in the village. The group marched toward the gate separating the villagers from their lands, ready to demand permission to cross. The rally was met with teargas and sound bombs, several were treated for the effects of the noxious fumes. 

Masses turned away from Jerusalem checkpoints despite assurances
9/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hundreds of Palestinians attempting to gain access to Jerusalem were turned away from Israeli military checkpoints on Friday, the last ahead of the end of Ramadan celebration Eid Al-Fitr. Israeli sources estimated only 80,000 managed to gain access to the Haram Ash-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, that holds the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinian sources estimated the numbers at between 100-150,000, still way under the crowds that were anticipated. Israeli military personal had assured that despite a closure of the West Bank during the Israeli celebration of the Jewish New Year, men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 45 would be allowed to pass for worship. The last Friday of Ramadan is traditionally the busiest day of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, followed by Laylat Al-Qader, where Palestinians spend the night at the mosque's compound. 

Crossings closed; Gaza gets one day worth of pre-siege goods in week
9/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided to close all three crossing into the Gaza Strip Friday, Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh said. Fattuh added that the Israeli side decided to close all crossings because of the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashana. Gaza crossings will be closed from Friday through Tuesday; the next goods delivery is set for Wednesday. Over the last week between 343 and 393 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods were delivered into the Gaza Strip via Israeli crossing points, and minimum amounts of fuel were delivered on two of the last seven days. Fodder and wheat were also delivered twice. During the Ramadan season officials requested an increased number of goods be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip including some sweets for the end of Ramadan celebration and school supplies. Israel refused both requests. 

Nil’in anti-wall protest damages wall, marchers pass into stolen land
9/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - More than 100 of farmers, youth, international and Israeli peace activists marched against the Israeli separation wall Friday, and armed with car tires and home made ladder to climb the high wall they managed to burn one section and pull down three others. According to participants one of the youth passed over the wall and set fire to car tires, damaging the fence and the sensors attached to it. A second group of youth burned a stack of 10 tires at one of the gates in the concrete wall, with black smoke billowing toward the nearby settlement. "This is the first message sent from N'lin's people that the wall will not prevent them from going to their lands that was taken from them," a statement from the local popular committee said. The committee reported that groups of demonstrators were met by 70 soldiers and 15 jeeps. 

Palestinian teen killed as Gaza smuggling tunnel collapses
9/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an/Agencies - A Palestinian was killed when a smuggling tunnel collapsed underneath the Gaza-Egypt border on Friday afternoon. Mustafa Salehea, 19, was killed when the tunnel collapsed, according to Muawiya Hassanein, the director of emergency services in Gaza. He told AFP news agency that the collapse was an accident. Witnesses in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, said they heard an explosion in the area where the tunnels are located. The tunnels represent a lifeline for 1. 5 million Palestinians who have lived under an Israeli-imposed blockade since June 2007, when Hamas took full control of the territory by force. [end] 

US-mediated peace talks unlikely to resume
9/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an/Agencies - Shuttle diplomacy by US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell left the region on Friday night having failed to produce the conditions that would allow for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The main obstacle that remains is Israel's refusal to freeze construction in settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, a step the international community sees as a minimum condition for renewed talks. The settlements, illegal under international law, fragment the land mass of the West Bank, posing a formidable physical obstacle to a future Palestinian state. Mitchell met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu twice on Friday, but was reportedly unable to produce concessions on the settlement issue. In between, he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. 

Hamas: Egyptian plan is practical, elections should be postponed
9/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive- Hamas has no major issues with the recently released Egyptian proposal for Palestinian unity, party leader Ahmad Yousef said Friday. With a few notes it will guarantee the success of the next round of unity talks and protect the Egyptian vision from a failure to achieve Palestinian conciliation, the Foreign Minister for the de facto government in Gaza said ahead of an official response from the party. Yousef summed up the leadership's feelings around the document saying, "the attitude is positive; the Hamas official response will be a positive one and will be delivered after the Eid, it will be very similar to the other factions who have responded positively. "I expect that next round of dialogue will be the conclusion of all previous rounds" he added, stressing that " Hamas does not want the events that happened after Mecca agreement to be repeated. 

The Israelis of Bil’in: Joining Palestinians against the wall
9/18/2009 - Bil'in - Ma'an - For over four years the international media has reported on the weekly protests in the small West Bank village of Bil'in. They report that Israel has moved the separation wall so it annexes over 60% of the village, that the residents of Bil'in once worked the confiscated land as a source of livelihood and that after every Friday prayer there is a non-violent protest that gets dispersed by tear gas. What is left out from such accounts is that many who attend these West Bank protests are Israelis Jews. So what are these Israelis doing? They are breaking Israeli law by entering the West Bank, not to mention the newly relabeled "closed military zone" of Bil'in. " And perhaps even more daring, these Jewish protesters are breaking from the Zionist glue that professes that Israel can do-no-wrong"”especially when it comes to the treatment of Palestinians. 

UN: Israel removes 'a few' road blocks in Hebron area
9/18/2009 - Photos - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Following a communication from the Israeli military announcing the imminent removal of 100 roadblocks from across the West Bank, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) reported the "actual removal of a few of them in the Hebron area. "According to the UN body, Israel said the roadblocks, predominately earth mounds used to block the use of a road connecting villages in the West Bank, were set to be removed fromHebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Qalqiliya, Tulkarem and Jenin governorates. The Israeli army said it would remove 100 road blocks before the Muslim Eid, which marks the end of the month of fasting, Ramadan. The holiday starts Sunday. The Israeli military made the announcement that the blocks would be removed on Thursday. 

Rafah border opened for the fourth consecutive day
9/18/2009 - Photos - Gaza - Ma'an - Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing for the fourth consecutive day Friday, allowing passengers from both sides of the border to pass through. Palestinian sources crossing was opened in the early morning for the access of passengers, principally medical patients. The border was open Thursday but priority was reserved for international passport holders. An estimated 500 passed through the crossing into Egypt Thursday, and 1,400 the two days before that. [end] 

Al-Qassam member released after 3 years in Israeli prison
9/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces released member of Hamas' military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades 26-year-old Hassan Muhammad Al-Kafarneh from Beit Hanoun, marking the end of his three year detention. Hassan was arrested in an Israeli raid on Beit Hanoun in 2006. He will travel back to the Gaza Strip Friday, where friends and family from Beit Hanoun are gathered to receive him. 

Israeli troops detain five Palestinians in West Bank cities
9/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli troops detained five locals from the Nablus, Tubas and Jericho regions, taking all to unknown locations for questioning following the dawn detentions. Palestinian police said Israeli troops overran Qabalan village southeast of Nablus and raided the house of Salim Salameh Az'ar and detained his 18-year-old son Salameh, then took 33-year-old Jihad Salah Hamad from a second home. Troops stationed at the Huwara checkpoint detained 18-year-old Adham Omar Sheirif Hamdan from Asira village, accusing him of possessing a knife. In Jericho, the troops overran the city center detaining Gaza-born Shafiq Saleh Ar-Rawagh after raiding his house. Palestinians with Gazan identity cards are often targeted by Israeli soldiers. In Tubas, soldiers detained 22-year-old Samer Izzat hamed Abu Arrah from Aqaba village, he is a student at An-Najah University in Nablus. 

Restaurant explosion: Six critically injured to be treated in Israel
9/18/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The caretaker Ministry of Health in Ramallah confirmed the death of one young girl and the serious injury of six others who will be transferred to Israeli hospitals for treatment following the explosionof several gas containers in a northern Gaza restaurant Thursday. Head of public relations at the Palestinian Authority Ministry Omar An-Naser identified the victim as 7-year-old Anhar Shadi ash-Shanbari, who died after she sustained severe burns. She was transferred to local hospital where she was connected to respirators and officials organized her transfer to an Israeli hospital for treatment. She died before the transfer was organized. An-Nasser said the PA ministry coordinated with Israel to ensure the six seriously and critically injured were transferred to hospitals in Israel that are equipped to treat burn victims. 

Lebanon talks refugees with Mitchell on massacre anniversary
9/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Palestinian refugees were the top of US Special Envoy George Mitchell's list during a 20 minute sit down with Lebanon's President Michel Suliman Wednesday, the day marking the 27th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres. Michell told Suleiman that Lebanon, whose Phalangist faction 27-years earlier entered two Palestinian refugee camps and slaughtered thousands of civilians with Israeli support, would not bear the brunt of the refugee issue. "US efforts toward peace would not come at the expense of Lebanon," a statement from Suleiman's office said following the meeting. Mitchell made no comment. The two discussed the latest developments in Mitchell's pursuit to halt Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and, according to the Lebanese press, stressed "continuous US support and aid to Lebanon on all levels and in all areas. 

PA announces Student Assistance Fund with Kuwait following strikes
9/18/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Kuwait pledged 7 million US dollars for the foundation of a Student Assistance Fund supporting Palestinians in access to higher education, Palestinian Authority Student loans official Abdel Karim Az-Zaghir announced Thursday. The fund, 2 million dollars of which is expected to arrive immediately, will provide scholarships to Palestinian students. The first installment is meant to help pay for the first year of university. Between 2000 and 2001 Kuwait sponsored 220,500 students with a total of 133 million US dollars in scholarships. Manager with a loans support office in the Ministry of Education Raed Tuqan said the ministry is currently accepting applications for 2009-2010. He said students must write a letter explaining their financial conditions, and noted that the student's average had to be above 65%, and they should not be receiving aid from any other organization. 

Serry to UN: Palestine can be state in 2 years, needs world support
9/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry, and UN envoy to the Middle East Quartet told the Security Council that he believed Palestinians would be able to successfully create a state in two years, noting "all parties must cease finding excuses and rise to their responsibilities. ""The Palestinian government is resolved to complete preparation for statehood in less than two years. I am convinced they can do it, if indeed they haven't already," Serry said speaking in New York on Thursday. During his briefing ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting next week, Serry called the Palestinian Authority "more than a partner for peace" saying the were "ready to meet their responsibilities. " The speech was made in response to the unveiling of a plan prepared by Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on 25 August, that lays out. . . 

Former Al-Aqsa fighters granted amnesty by Israel
9/18/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an Exclusive - Thirty former Al-Aqsa fighters with Fatah's armed wing will be partially or fully pardoned Friday by Israeli military personnel, informed Palestinian sources confirmed. Most of those set for pardon will be released from the Juneid prison west of Nablus. The former fighters voluntarily joined an amnesty program where they signed an agreement swearing off armed struggle against Israel and handed in their weapons in exchange for a promise from Israel that they would no longer be pursued. The names will be announced officially after consultation with a US mediator, but preliminary names are released below. Of the 30, 10 were partially pardoned, 11 can sleep at their houses but must check in at PA headquarters according to a schedule, 7 are still under probation before being totally pardoned and 2 are totally pardoned. 

Allenby Bridge Eid hours to start at 7am Palestinian time
9/18/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - The Palestinian police department confirmed that operating hours on the Jordan-West Bank crossing at the Allenby Bridge would begin at 7am Palestinain time and end at 5pm on Sunday. Operating hours will return to normal, 7am to 9:30pm Sunday to Thursday, closing at 10:30am Fridays and Saturdays, on the second day of Eid. 

PA releases 15 Hamas affiliates in Qalqiliya, says more to come
9/18/2009 - Qalqilyia - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority police forces began the process of releasing some Hamas affiliates from West Bank jails following a decision issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday night. Reports have so far indicated only that "dozens" are slated for release, pailing in comparison to a gesture Thursday by the de facto government's Minister of Justice Muhammad Al-Ghoul which saw 170 released from a jail in Gaza City. Fifty of the freed men were labeled "security prisoners" while the remaining 120 were said to be "criminals. "Speculation at the scene was that both categories included Fatah affiliates. The gestures on both sides of Palestine come days ahead of the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan celebration. In Qalqiliya 15 Hamas affiliates were released Thursday night, and officials said others would be released from different West Bank prison facilities, including more from Qalqiliya on Friday. 

DFLP: Unity talks with all parties to start first week of October
9/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The next round of Fatah-Hamas unity talks will start in the first week of October and are expected to be comprehensive, with all Palestinian factions at the negotiating table, member of the central committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) Talal Abu Tharifa said. Heading into the talks Abu Tharifa noted it was the priority of his party to see elections held on 25 January 2010, saying it is a "constitutional requirement that cannot be passed over," and that "delaying these elections would be a shock to the Palestinian public. "He affirmed the necessity to hold the elections based on the principle of full proportionate representation "to guarantee that all will participate in making the Palestinian decision," and to prevent the elections from being stolen by any party. 

Hamas, Jihad rally for Jerusalem Day in Gaza
9/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas and Islamic Jihad staged demonstrations and festivals in Gaza on Friday marking the worldwide Jerusalem (Al-Quds) Day. "Jerusalem will be the eternal capital of the Palestinian state. We will not give it up no matter the how much time passes. It will be an Arabic and Islamic city," said Palestinian Legislative Council Deputy Speaker Ahmad Bahar, addressing a rally in the Grand Omari Mosque in Gaza City. During his speech Bahar said he held Britain responsible for injustices committed against Palestinians because of its "declaration of Palestine as a national homeland for the Jews. " Bahar also said he rejected US calls for Arab states to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for a freeze on settlements. This, said Bahar, is "a very strange issue. " Senior Islamic Jihad Leader Khader Habib said, "we rally today in support of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem. . . 

Firefighters battle major fire in Qalqiliya
9/18/2009 - Qalqilya - Ma'an - Firefighters managed to put out a massive fire in a carpentry workshop in the town of Hajja, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Friday evening. The Palestinian Authority Civil Defense Department said that five fire trucks from Qalqiliya and other towns were sent to Hajja. It took firefighters several hours to contain the blaze, due to the large quantities of wood in the workshop. The damage was estimated at 200,000 Israeli shekels. The facility belonged to Hamza Abed Al-Latif Jumma. The Civil Defense Department said it launched an investigation into the cause of the fire. [end] 

The National

Thousands defy Iranian rally ban
18 Sep 2009 - Tens of thousands of Iranian government supporters and dozens of opposition activists hold coinciding marches on Quds Day in Tehran.

Mitchell fails to reach agreement
18 Sep 2009 - A Palestinian official says the US Middle East envoy ends his latest trip without agreement on terms for renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

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.

Aljazeera

Iranians rally on 'al-Quds Day'
18 Sep 2009 - Opposition supporters defy warning to protest at annual Palestinian solidarity rally.

Israel pressured on nuclear sites
18 Sep 2009 - UN body calls on Israel to open up nuclear sites and sign non-proliferation treaty.

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...

Palestine News Network

Holy Land Trust invites you to World Without Wars march 14 October
18 Sep 2009 - Invitation Holy Land Trust along with World Without Wars Cordially invites you to join the World March for Peace and Nonviolence which will take place in Bethlehem on the 14th of October 2009 The gathering place will be at the Nativity Square at 4:30 pm where the march will start, reaching to Aida Camp For more information please contact us at ranaj@holylandtust.org (...

Israeli forces target town known for nonviolent resistance, steal flags and posters used in protests
17 Sep 2009 - Bil’in / Iyad Burnat - Shortly after 1:30am Wednesday Israeli forces again invaded western Ramallah’s Bil'in, a town known for its nonviolent resistance to occupation. Soldiers 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 living in the town attempted to intervene to aid the family. They...

Interview with Sheikh Suleiman Yasseen Mohammed Burnat in western Ramallah’s Bil’in
17 Sep 2009 - Bil’in / Iyad Burnat - According to Sheikh Suleiman Yasseen Mohammed Burnat, the father of Hamaza Burnat (age 16), his house has been invaded at night five times so far within the past three months, usually around 3am. It was raided twice two months ago, and three times within the last two weeks. At every invasion, the soldiers left a military order at...

Israelis impose comprehensive closure on West Bank and Gaza Strip for Jewish new year Rosh Hashana
17 Sep 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – The Israeli government issued a declaration that it would impose a comprehensive closure of all Palestinian borders through Sunday. With the Gaza Strip already under siege, the mandate affectively applies to only the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Travel into Jerusalem is also now more difficult, with only humanitarian cases being allowed after consultation with the District Coordinating Office.Many...

Israeli demolition of 55 homes in Nablus is both illegal and immoral, states human rights group
17 Sep 2009 - Nablus / PNN – The occupying Israeli administration is moving forward with the demolition of 55 houses in the Sawiya district of Nablus. The Center for Human Rights and Democracy issued a statement of “grave concern”, saying that such destruction will open the door to more.“The Israeli decision constitutes a serious turning point in the development of Israeli attacks on Palestinian human rights,”...

Arrested for failure of prisoner exchange talks, Minister of Education returning from Israeli prison
17 Sep 2009 - Nablus / PNN – The Palestinian Minister of Education is being released from prison. He is not the first Palestinian official to be imprisoned by the Israeli government that has specifically targeted Legislative Council members. “Where on the planet could you get away with arresting someone else’s members of Parliament,” asked a Palestinian Legislative Council member as his colleagues were being dragged off...

Letter from Bethlehem University after strikes come to an end and classes are back in session
17 Sep 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - After the strikes ended that were led by the Bethlehem University Student Senate, classes are back in session. Even the governor had been involved in attempting to ameliorate tensions that had the city on edge. Among the major issues for the Student Senate was the refusal by the University to allow students to register for classes if they owed...

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's Mercurial Leader Keeps U.N. Guessing 
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 18 (IPS) - Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, who will be making his maiden appearance before the United Nations next week, has been described as a gadfly with a penchant for stirring up controversies.

POLITICS: Obama and Netanyahu Still Tussling over Priorities 
NEW YORK , Sep 18 (IPS) - As world leaders prepare to gather here for the all-star "general debate" at the U.N. General Assembly on Sep. 23, two of them - U.S. Pres. Barack Obama and Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu - are still tussling over whether to prioritise their anti-Iran...

ENVIRONMENT: Cairo Sinking in Garbage 
CAIRO, Sep 18 (IPS) - Garbage collectors in Cairo's Giza district have resumed work, but it could take weeks to clear the 25,000 tons of garbage that accumulated during their month-long strike, and longer still to solve the underlying problems.

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.

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

UN body urges Israel to allow nuclear inspection
18 Sep 2009 - Arab states in the United Nations nuclear assembly on Friday won narrow approval of a resolution urging Israel to put all its atomic sites under the world body's inspection and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty. ...

German FM calls Ahmadinejad 'a disgrace' for denying Holocaust
18 Sep 2009 - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest denial of the Holocaust on Friday, calling him a disgrace to his country. ...

Hezbollah chief vows never to recognize Israel
18 Sep 2009 - The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, vowed on Friday that his Shi'ite militant organization would never recognize Israel and that no Arab state had the right to do so either. ...

WATCH: Obama calls for peace ahead of Rosh Hashanah
18 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." ...

NYC hotel cancels banquet after learning Ahmadinejad on guest list
18 Sep 2009 - New York's Helmsley Hotel said on Friday it canceled a banquet set for next week when it learned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on the guest list, saying the man who called the Holocaust a lie was not welcome. ...

The Guardian

Settlements row throws Middle East peace talks into doubt
18 Sep 2009 - • US envoy fails to get deal ahead of Obama meeting • Palestinians insist on total freeze on construction A high-stakes meeting between President Barack Obama and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart peace talks...

Video: US fails to win freeze on Israel's settlements
18 Sep 2009 - The US Middle East envoy shuttled between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but could not broker a deal on a halt to settlement building in Palestinian territories

Video: Palestinians flock to al-Aqsa mosque on last Friday of Ramadan
18 Sep 2009 - Palestinians try to get into Jerusalem, amid tight Israeli security, to perform the last Friday prayer of Ramadan at the al-Aqsa mosque

Israel's Gaza blockade crippling reconstruction
18 Sep 2009 - Eight months after war, import restrictions are delaying aid and causing 'de-development', leaked UN report says A leaked UN report has warned that Israel's continued economic blockade of Gaza and lengthy delays in delivering humanitarian aid...

Ha'aretz National page

Maybe Israel just needs to acknowledge Palestinian pain
18 Sep 2009 - Many of Israel's supporters around the world have spotted an alarming trend in the debate on Middle East peace. Call it the "Back to '48" approach, which argues that any attempt to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is doomed unless it gets to the root of the problem, tackling not only the "1967 file" - ending the occupation, plus or minus a chunk of land here or there - but also the "1948 file," consisting of the issues left outstanding by Israel's birth. ... 

Spain leads Israel 2-0 in Davis Cup semifinals
17 Sep 2009 - David Ferrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero both won their opening singles matches in straight sets Friday to give Spain a 2-0 lead over Israel in the Davis Cup semifinals. ...

2000 year old amphitheatre discovered near Tiberias 
17 Sep 2009 - A 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre was finally revealed after 19 years of excavation work since its first discovery. ...

Relief Web

Press conference by Head of Palestinian Refugee Agency on its anniversary events
18 Sep 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

A Palestinian State in two years: Institutions for economic revival
18 Sep 2009 - Source: World Bank

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report, 09 - 15 Sep 2009
18 Sep 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

YNet News

US: Goldstone Report unfair to Israel 
18 Sep 2009 - State Department says UN-appointed team probing Israeli offensive in Gaza complied uneven report which 'focuses overwhelmingly on Israel's actions while keeping Hamas' deplorable acts down to generalized remarks' 

Shalit activists hold Rosh Hashana dinner near PM's home
18 Sep 2009 - Dozens gather outside Benjamin Netanyahu's Jerusalem home to mark kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit's fourth Jewish new year in captivity 

Nasrallah: Eradicate cancerous Israel 
18 Sep 2009 - Hezbollah chief addresses followers in special speech marking end of Ramadan, 'al-Qods day,' slams moderate Arab nations seeking normalization with Israel. 'No one has any right to give away one inch of Palestinian land,' he says 

IAEA urges Israel to allow nuclear inspection 
18 Sep 2009 - International Atomic Energy Agency says Jerusalem must join Non-Proliferation Treaty, allow it to monitor its facilities. Iranian ambassador hails decision as 'triumph'; 'Israel will not cooperate with this resolution,' says Atomic Energy Commission official 

Kremlin source: Netanyahu made secret trip to Moscow 
18 Sep 2009 - Despite previous denial by Russian government, Moscow source confirms visit by Israeli prime minister in early September, adding it focused on arms deals with Iran, Syria. Keeping visit a secret was Jerusalem's idea, says source 

Palestinians: Zero chances for Abbas-Netanyahu meeting
18 Sep 2009 - Following meeting between Abbas-Mitchell meeting, Ramallah sources say without clear Israeli declaration on halt to settlement construction, coveted three-way summit between US, Israeli and Palestinian leaders will not take place 

'German mediator demanded secrecy on Shalit talks' 
18 Sep 2009 - London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reports Berlin official mediating between Israel and Hamas on prisoner exchange deal said any leak would cause negotiations to fail 

Police on high alert ahead of High Holidays
18 Sep 2009 - West Bank placed under general closure, police to boost activity in crowded areas, synagogues to be secured by volunteers, and traffic police to be deployed throughout country to ensure safe, peaceful holidays 

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

Foreign Ministry talks to Syria, UK 
18 Sep 2009

Nasrallah urges caution on cabinet formation 
18 Sep 2009

Hariri calls for cabinet progress after Eid al-Fitr 
18 Sep 2009

FDI in Lebanon up 32 percent to $3.61 billion 
18 Sep 2009

NATO proposes new era of cooperation with US, Russia 
18 Sep 2009

US presses Russia on Iran after missile shift - report 
18 Sep 2009

Obama abandons view of Iran, not Europe defense - analysts 
18 Sep 2009

IAEA urges nuclear inspections in Israel 
18 Sep 2009

Palestinian Information Center

A criminal state that must be isolated, boycotted
18 Sep 2009 - Israel is unusually furious over the publication this week of the Goldstone report which accuses the apartheid regime of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip

Hamas calls all resistance factions to reply to violations of Jerusalem and Aqsa
18 Sep 2009 - Hamas called on all Palestinian factions to retaliate to the violations by the Israeli occupation and settlers against the holy city of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

Anti-wall protesters commemorate the Sabra and Shatila Massacres
18 Sep 2009 - Tens of anti-wall protesters suffered breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling tear gas fired at them by the IOF during the weekly protest at the village of Bilin to the west of Ramallah.

Bietawi: The Aqsa is ours and we'll defend it to death
18 Sep 2009 - The prominent Muslim leader Sheikh Hamid Al-Beitawi has asserted Thursday that the Aqsa Mosque was and would remain for Muslims and that the Palestinian people were ready to die defending it.

Asad: Israel never wanted a "just peace"
18 Sep 2009 - Syrian president Bashar Al-Asad said on Wednesday that the Israeli accelerated judaization of Jerusalem was indeed the practical implementation of the "Jewish state" scheme.

50 injured in a fire at a restaurant in Jabalya refugee camp
18 Sep 2009 - Fifty people were wounded on Thursday evening at one of the restaurants in the Jablya refugee camp n the northern Gaza Strip according to Palestinian medical sources.

Palestinian girl sexually assaulted by Israeli prison guard
18 Sep 2009 - An 18-year-old Palestinian girl, imprisoned at Hasharon, was sexually assaulted by an Israeli prison guard, according to a statement by the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners Affairs.

Hundreds of protesters east of Gaza city demand release of prisoners
18 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
18 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
18 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..

Los Angeles Times

Opposition and pro-government marchers face off in Tehran 
19 Sep 2009 - Protesters stage their first major demonstration in six weeks, with tens of thousands flooding the streets in boisterous crowds, upstaging the government's annual pro-Palestinian rally. Tens of thousands of protesters swarmed the streets of Tehran and at least two other Iranian cities Friday, audaciously turning an annual rally in support of the Palestinian cause into the first major demonstration against the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in six weeks. 

Obama overturns Bush-era plan for missile shield in Eastern Europe 
18 Sep 2009 - President Obama scraps the proposal designed to counter a possible Iranian threat, saying that new intelligence on Tehran's missile capabilities calls for a change in strategy. President Obama scrapped his predecessor's plans for a European-based missile shield to defend against Iran, saying Thursday that new intelligence showed the Islamic Republic was proceeding more quickly to develop short- and medium-range missiles, requiring more "cost-effective" sea-based interceptors instead. 

Russia unlikely to offer concessions in response to U.S. halting of missile shield 
18 Sep 2009 - Moscow had been anticipating Obama's decision, which it sees as correcting an error. Its Iran policy is not expected to change. When President Obama came to Moscow in July, he hinted that Russia's best chance to stop the U.S. from building a missile shield in the region was to help stifle Iran's nuclear ambitions. 

New York Times

Amid Large Protests, Iran Leader Calls Holocaust a Lie
18 Sep 2009 - The protests by opposition supporters were the largest in two months and came on an annual day of support for the Palestinians. 

Unable to Bridge Gaps, Officials Say Mideast Talks May Stall
18 Sep 2009 - The extent of an Israeli settlement freeze in the West Bank and Jerusalem and the limited scope of the negotiations led to the deadlock, officials said. 

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. 

Misc

Settlements row throws Middle East peace talks into doubt 
9/18/2009 - The Guardian - US envoy fails to get deal ahead of Obama meeting • Palestinians insist on total freeze on construction - A high-stakes meeting between President Barack Obama and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to restart peace talks was yesterday in doubt after the US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, failed to win an agreement on a halt to Jewish settlement construction. In the last four days Mitchell has met Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, four times seeking an agreement to stop settlement building in the Palestinian territories. Israel offered a freeze, but only with broad caveats. The Palestinians, taking an unusually firm line, said that was not enough. Obama had hoped to bring Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas together at a meeting at the UN in New York next Wednesday. It would have restarted peace talks between the two sides for the first time in nearly 

Boycott Derails Jerusalem Rail Line 
9/17/2009 - Counterpunch - Jonathan Cook - Rail Firm Pays Price for Link to Settlements - An ill-fated light railway under construction in Jerusalem was originally heralded by Israeli officials as a way to cement the city’s “unification” four decades after the city’s Palestinian half was illegally annexed to Israel. But the only unity generated among Jewish and Palestinian residents after four years of disruptions to the city’s traffic and businesses is general agreement that the project is rapidly becoming a white elephant. After engineering problems, rows between the contractors and the municipality and delays caused by archaeological discoveries along the route, completion of the first 14km section of track is not expected until the end of next year at the earliest -- more than 18 months behind schedule. The budget overspend is estimated at more than $500 million. 

VIDEO - Remi Kanazi Performs Israel/America: A Rambling Poem 
9/17/2009 - GRITtv - Poet Remi Kanazi, editor of Poets For Palestine, performs "Israel/America: A Rambling Poem. "Remi Kanazi is editor of the recently released collection of poetry, Poets For Palestine. He will be touring the US and Canada this fall on the upcoming Poets For Palestine tour. [end] 

Do You Ever Feel Like The Walls Are Closing In? 
9/18/2009 - Uruknet - In a further restriction on political debate, journalists at SBS have been directed not to use the term "Palestinian land" when describing the occupied territories, writes Jake Lynch - So narrow has political debate become here in Australia over the Israel/Palestine conflict that attempts to remind Australians of basic facts, well accepted in the global community, are falling foul of censorship — silenced by the swish of a bureaucrat's pen. Journalists at public broadcaster SBS have been told, in a missive from their head of news, that the station's Ombudsman has ruled out the use of the phrase "Palestinian land" to describe the occupied territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The status of these territories "remains the subject of negotiation", the memo says, and should be described solely with reference to their geographical location, for instance: "Israeli settlements on the West Bank". 


Articles

Sinking the Goldstone Report 
Nadia Hijab, Counterpunch 9/18/2009
      Timing is everything.
     On Monday, the United States assumed its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council -- the one the Bush administration had cold-shouldered, then boycotted. The U.S. representative declared in Obamaesque tones, "Make no mistake: The United States will not look the other way in the face of serious human rights abuses."
     And on Tuesday, Justice Richard Goldstone and his team submitted the report of their fact-finding mission into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during Israel’s December-January offensive against Gaza -- a report requested by the Council itself.
     The Goldstone Report could derail the Obama administration’s hopes of a two-state solution. Unless, that is, someone can sink it. An unlikely set of allies may come together to do so: Israel, given the findings against it of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity; the United States, to defend Israel as well as its own plans for the Middle East; Egypt; and the Palestinian Authority.
     It would be quite hard to sink the Goldstone Report. One reason is the team’s impeccable credentials. Goldstone, a South African Jew with close ties to Israel, served as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Another member, Hina Jilani, participated in the commission of inquiry on Darfur. Israel and its supporters always complain that no one looks at other countries’ abuses. Well, this team has.
     Moreover, the Goldstone Report is painstakingly even-handed. It finds evidence of war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity not just against Israel but also against Palestinian armed groups. And it criticizes both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for human rights violations in their crackdowns on each other’s members. more.. e-mail

Let’s try something else 
Samir Ghattas, Ma’an News Agency 9/18/2009
      In three months time, we’ll mark the anniversary of UN Resolution 181 of 1947, which provided for the partitioning of Palestine into two states, a Jewish one and an Arab one, with Jerusalem being an international zone. 
     David Ben-Gurion agreed to Resolution 181 although it gave him 56 per cent of historic Palestine on which he had hoped to establish the Jewish state. The area given to the Jews didn’t include any of the biblical sites sacred to the Jews. It didn’t include Hebron, the traditional burial place of Abraham. It didn’t include the West Bank, which the Jews refer to as Judea and Samaria. It didn’t even include Jerusalem, seat of the alleged Third Temple.
     The Arabs rejected the partition scheme. Since then, the Palestinian state, originally envisioned on 42.4 % of historic Palestine, has shrunk to 22 per cent or less of the original whole - even before it has seen the light.
     The Arabs and Palestinians yearn for a Palestinian state, and have gone about achieving it in more than one way. But so far, every single strategy they have adopted has failed.
     The first strategy lasted from 1948 to 1967. It aimed at creating a Palestinian state on the entire historic land of Palestine, assuming that Israel would be defeated and annulled. This strategy failed twice, in 1948 and again in 1967. The late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who fought in the first war, agreed after the 1967 defeat to UN Resolution 242. This was a turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was Resolution 242 that gave birth to all the peace treaties and settlement schemes that followed. more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
Abu Wael's farm
18 Sep 2009 - In Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, farmers sow the seeds of wholesome provision, for themselves and their families and their people, and the Israeli forces destroy it. So the farmers come back to plant. And the tanks and bulldozers come back to destroy it again. And the farmers come back to plant. Marryam Haleem writes for Live from Palestine. 

Boycott movement derails Jerusalem's transit system
18 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" four decades after the city's Palestinian half was illegally annexed to Israel. But the only unity generated among Jewish and Palestinian residents after four years of disruptions to the city's traffic and businesses is general agreement that the project is rapidly becoming a white elephant. Jonathan Cook reports. 

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. 

In Gaza
powerless: Gaza Ramadan day 28
18 Sep 2009 - “It’s the worst feeling, to see my mother ill like this and knowing there is nothing we can do to help her. No one, no country will help her. Because she is Palestinian. From Gaza.” This is the story of a mother from Gaza. But it is the story of all Palestinians from Gaza who are ill and need medical treatment outside, treatment which is unavailable because of the Israeli and Egyptian siege on Gaza and the winter 2008/2009 Israeli massacre of Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that 356 Gaza Palestinians have died due to prohibited access to medical care. The latest deaths include a 3 year old...

Palestine Chronicle
Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: From Deprivation to Violence
18 Sep 2009 - By Dalal Mawad In 1948, one hundred thousand Palestinians fled from Palestine to find refuge in Lebanon. Provisional camps were built at that time to provide them with shelter. Their number has increased over the years to more than 400 000 refugees, 53% of them living in one of twelve camps throughout the country. Today, more than half a century later, they continue to be refugees, awaiting their return while living in the most degrading and demeaning human conditions. Their appalling socio-economic conditions are not only a violation of human rights but are also a danger to Lebanon’s security and stability. Chronic health failure is reported by 19 percent of refugees in Lebanon, a rate higher than in Syria and Jordan. Palestinians rely more widely on UNRWA and NGOs for medical assistance than refugees elsewhere. But, UNRWA, the only safety net available to many refugees for baisc health care, is beset by a lack of funds and available doctors. It is estimated, that among refugees aged 15 to 24 years, more than 40 percent are unemployed. Lebanese law forbids Palestinians from working in 72 professions. These include private sector “free professions” like engineering, medicine, law and all public sector jobs. Even very low skilled jobs like garbage cleaning and guarding buildings have been added to the list of prohibitions. As for the remaining unskilled jobs, Palestinians need to obtain a work permit and very few permits have been issued. Add to that, a law ratified by the Lebanese government that...

The UN: International Law Versus the Law of the Jungle
18 Sep 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood - London 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: "My greatest frustration this year has been the Palestine situation. The Question of Palestine continues to be the most serious and prolonged...

Israel Stuck on Repeat
18 Sep 2009 - By James Gundun How many organizations must sound alarm before Israel gets the message? Ignoring Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International is easy, but B’Tselem and the UN too? Is it possible that all these groups are lying about the Gaza war and that Israel’s version is the truth? The human rights controversy has become a treadmill - no matter how long Israel runs it can never elude the allegations. Why doesn’t Israel realize it has more to lose by dodging than confronting the mayhem of Gaza? Why does it overlook the benefits of ending this gruesome story? The questions never end, the doubts never end. Israel can proclaim the IDF is the world’s most moral army as America nods approvingly in the background, but doing so ignores basic principles of counterinsurgency. Nobody is listening. Fundamentally Israel isn’t battling the UN or human rights groups, but the Palestinian people and Muslims at large. Israel inflicts damage upon itself in the eyes of Palestinians when it criticizes human rights groups for their bias. In fact, Israel has cut itself numerous times in Gaza, another story stuck on repeat. The UN’s investigation is the latest example. After three weeks of investigating, hundreds of interviews, and thousands of documents, a UN team headed by Richard Goldstone released its findings this week to little fanfare. The 574 page report devoted the majority of space to Israeli violations, immediately prompting condemnation from Israel and America, the only Western state to come to its rescue (another...

Israel/America: A Rambling Poem
18 Sep 2009 - By Remi Kanazi Every time I think of 9/11 I see burning flesh dripping off the bones of Iraqi children in Fallujah Now Gaza I tend to memorialize the forgotten The collateral damage eclipsing our unpunished crimes Maybe it's because I'm a numbers guy Because if I had a dollar for every time an Iraqi died since 2003 I'd be a millionaire And don't get me wrong Sometimes I don't know who I hate more The governments in the West Or the politicians in the East Who sell their souls quicker than the oil they export Straw men who use Palestine as a tool to line their pockets And don't give a nickel to their people Quisling governments Who stitch mouths shut for a check from Washington and AIPAC How can you be their prototypical anti-Semite If you are signing peace accords to oppress your own people? And then Orientalists and idiots talk about how We can't have democracy in the Middle East Because of what happened in Gaza A Hamas boogyman wrapped in democratic elections Rahm Emanuel wants to educate me and my people about democracy gone wrong Why doesn't try implementing one Israel first? Instead of bowing down to terrorists like his father and the IDF Lauding a third rate, racist, European society that's imploding quicker Than its moral standing in the world Enlightened like 1950s Afrikaners and slave traders Just because the house is beautiful Doesn't mean the bones you built it on have fully decomposed The...

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