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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Strip families demand answers [03-oct-2009 22:49 ECT]
3 Oct 2009 - Officials say video proves that despite his suffering, Shalit wasn't subjected to Hamas indoctrination.
'Israel hands Kremlin list of Russians helping Iran build nukes'
3 Oct 2009 - London Times report states PM delivered list to Moscow during secret trip to Russia last month.
Israel bombs Gaza weapons lab following Hamas rocket attack
3 Oct 2009 - IAF jets also destroy two smuggling tunnels near the Gaza-Egypt border town of Rafah early Saturday.
Families of Palestinian prisoners celebrate their return following Shalit video deal
2 Oct 2009 - Hamas, Fatah briefly set aside rivalry to throw welcome home parties for prisoners released Friday.
ANALYSIS / Shalit video means a deal with Hamas is a question of when, not if
2 Oct 2009 - Video was a clear tie-breaker for Hamas, who are reaping the rewards on the Palestinian street.
Qassam hits southern Israel in continuing Gaza border tension
2 Oct 2009 - IAF struck smuggling in southern Gaza earlier in the week, in response to yet another rocker launch.
10/3/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Beit Ummar farmers were barred from reaching their agricultural land to harvest grapes in Wad Ar-Rish by Israeli forces stationed in the area Saturday. Dozens of Israeli border guards were deployed in the area and told farmers the zone had been declared closed by the Israeli military, which occupies the West Bank. A number of international peace activists were at the scene alongside the farmers and Palestinian activists who were present to help them. Two internationals, from Germany and Britain, were detained for three hours after arguing with the Israeli soldiers and demanding a reason why the area had been declared closed. [end]
Badil demands PLO justify call to postpone action on Goldstone report
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights demanded an explanation from the PLO's Executive Committee over the Palestinian stance on the UN-mandated Goldstone report. A statement from the center, released Saturday, described the Palestinian stance as a "stunning blow" to the report which is called an "international achievement. " The Palestinian stance, according to Badil statement, is against the interests of Palestinian victims and against the higher Palestinian interest as well as efforts to incriminate Israel for its illegal actions. The Goldstone report represented a viable chance to take legal procedures against Israeli decision-makers who were responsible for the war crimes in Gaza, it said. The statement called for the formation of a Palestinian national committee to coordinate between the PLO and Palestinian human rights. . .
Palestinian rights orgs: ’Justice delayed is justice denied’
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A number of prominent Palestinian human rights organizations prepared a joint statement they intended to read at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday. However, that was before the Palestine Liberation Organization's decision to postpone debate denied them that right, they insisted, while 14 of them issued a separate statement the next day. The following is a joint recommendation from Palestine's human rights community that Israel and Hamas be dragged in front of the International Criminal Court for war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza. On 2 October 2009, the Palestinian leadership - under heavy international pressure lead by the United States - deferred the draft proposal at the Human Rights Council endorsing all the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission (the Goldstone Report).
Mayor says army obstructing annual harvest
10/3/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The mayor of Az-Zaytoon, Sa'eed Shreteh, demanded that official, civil and human rights institutions support farmers who he said were being persecuted by Israel's army and the settlers during their annual harvest. Shreteh told Ma'an that the Israeli army had prevented a number of farmers from reaching their land west of the town and asked ordered them not to return to the Wad Abu Qare area. "Such practices and violations practiced by the [Israeli] occupation's soldiers amount to persecution and attacks on farmers by settlers, which threatens the harvest, especially since most of the lands are planted with olive trees [targeted by settlers]," he added. Shreteh added that the purported practices were intended to confiscate 600-700 acres from the town's lands via attacks on farmers and forbidding them from entering their privately owned land.
Three Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip
10/3/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two separate air raids saw three strikes launched on areas in south and eastern Gaza Saturday morning, with no damage or casualties reported. Two of the strikes hit in the tunnel area of Rafah between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, while sources reported a third strike on an open area of the eastern Strip. A Hamas security official confirmed the strikes, and said there were no casualties, according to Reuters. The Israeli army also confirmed they were targeting the two areas, alleging the tunnels were being used for arms smuggling and that the open area east of Gaza City was in fact a weapons plant. [end]
Israeli court delays sentencing of Fatah lawmaker for 47th time
10/3/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - The Israeli military court at Salem delayed the trial of detained Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Tirawi for the 47th time on Thursday. The member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for the Fatah Bloc was taken from his home in the Balata Refugee Camp on 29 May 2007. He has been held without charge ever since. On 18 August 2007 the Israeli court indicted Tirawi on 17 counts including causing death, and possessing weapons and explosives; none of the charges have been heard. The court session lasted from 1pm to 6:30pm, and was attended by Hamas-affiliated lawmaker from Jenin, Khalid Suleiman. According to Tirawi's brother, the court decided after long discussions to postpone the trial until 24 October.
Farmers report more boar attacks in Salfit
10/3/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - An elderly farmer sustained moderate wounds on Friday after a boar attacked him at his olive grove in the village of Nazlat Zeid, southwest of Jenin. Officials at the Khalil Suleiman Hospital in the northern West Bank districtidentified the farmer as 75-year-old Mustafa Zeid Al-Kilani. After the incident, the head of Palestine's Agriculture Workers Union warned farmers about the wild animals, about which locals continuously complain to the Palestinian Authority. Hundreds of boars have been spotted roaming fields and have caused severe injuries, according to the union, which cited the case of a child who "narrowly escaped death" just days earlier. [end]
Islamic Movement head: Netanyahu a political madman
10/3/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The leader of the Islamic Movement inside Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, on Friday said Israeli religious groups may break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound next week during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Dozens of Palestinians were injured when Israeli police used batons and stun grenades to disperse protesters who reportedly threw stones inside the compound in objection to the arrival of settlers last week. "We consider ourselves in a state of alert, taking up positions at Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially from Sunday, 4 October until the end of the week," the sheikh said in a statement distributed by Al-Aqsa Foundation for Heritage and Rehabilitation. He called on Muslims, if allowed by authorities to access Jerusalem, to be present at the compound throughout the week. Salah warned of consequences he said could result from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. . .
PA: Soldiers assaulted teen at Ramallah checkpoint
10/3/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers at the Za'tara military checkpoint north of Ramallah seriously beat a young Palestinian, a Saturday report by Palestinian police said. The department report identified the young man as 18-year-old Marwan Mohammad Maraytah, who reportedly sustained serious bruising all over his body. The moderate injuries necessitated the youth's transfer to Yasser Arafat Hospital south of Salfit for treatment, according to police. [end]
Gaza center hosts activities for marginalized youth
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) held several festivals from 24-25 September 2009 for at-risk children in the Gaza Strip, according to a Monday news release. Most of the participating Palestinian kids came from marginalized areas along the border wall; the project targeted Al-Shoka, Al-Qarara, Al-Bureje and Umm Al-Nasser, the center said. Some 800 youngsters participated in the festivals, which PCDCR said "aimed to bring joy and happiness" to marginalized children's lives, to provide psychosocial support for at-risk youth, and to "get them out of the cycle of violence and the stress they are experiencing due to the deterioration of living and loss of security and safety" in Gaza. During the past two weeks, five Palestinians were killed and two injured, as violence escalated in the besieged coastal strip, according to a United Nations report released on Friday.
Palestinians in Ramallah petition for better Allenby conditions
10/3/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinians demanding better conditions at the West Bank-Jordan border crossing, the Allenby Bridge, launched a petition campaign in Ramallah Saturday. The "Karama" campaign (the bridge is known as the Al-Karama crossing in Arabic) began mid-September when a group decided to take action against the hours-long wait times, often in buses with no access to food, water or washrooms, with passengers forbidden to leave their bus. In order to make the crossing, Palestinians wait at the Palestinian Authority station for a bus to fill up to take them to the bridge. Once at the crossing, passengers disembark, go through metal detectors, and then board an Israeli bus to take them the rest of the way to the Israeli crossing point. Passengers disembark a second time, check their bags, have their belongings and passports checked by Israeli border guards.
Israeli forces arrest 11 from Jerusalem, Hebron areas
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained five Palestinians from the Jerusalem-area town of Beit Duqqu, and six from villages surrounding the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday night and Saturday morning. Eyewitnesses in Jerusalem said more than 17 Israeli military vehicles invaded Beit Duqqu, while soldiers entered several homes and ransacked them. Those detained were Ali Mohammad Ali Murar, Mohammad Faruq Sarhan Murar, Yezen Ibrahim Murar, Mohammad Ismail Murar and Husam Hamdi Husein. All were transferred to an unknown location. In the southern West Bank Israeli forces arrested six residents from the villages of Beit Awwa and Ash-Shuyukh. Troops surrounded and imposed a curfew on the area of Wad Ash-Shajna south of Hebron. Palestinian security sources said Israeli forces prevented the residents from leaving their homes under an order from the Israeli military commander.
Bereaved Gaza Strip families demand answers
10/3/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Families of Gaza war victims voiced their disappointment with the Palestinian request to postpone discussion of the Goldstone report at the UN Human Rights Council. "This is not a political issue," they said, countering US demands leading to the quashing of the resolution that the report "be discussed in a constructive and non-divisive manner. " In Jabaliya, the Samounis, Baloushas, Subbehs, As-Silawis, Rayyans and Abed Rabbos demanded respect for the Goldstone report, and that Israel be taken to the International Criminal Court for its actions. "This is a purely humanitarian issue," they insisted at a news conference in the Al-Salam neighborhood, "If Israeli leaders are not held accountable this could happen again. " "No one has the right to give up on our rights," one member of the Samouni family said.
Amnesty, HRW: US, Security Council must ensure justice is done
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The six-months between now and the next UN Human Rights Council meeting must be used by Israelis and Palestinians to conduct the independent investigations into war crimes they committed, as the Goldstone report suggested, and the governments must report their progress on their inquiries to the UN Security Council, Amnesty International suggested Saturday. Human Rights Watch echoed the call, saying US intervention to quash a vote on the report "obliges the United States and other governments blocking action at the council to press Israel and Hamas to commence credible investigations. " The calls were precipitated by representative of Pakistan to the UN Human Rights council Zamir Akram, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab group, the African group and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), requesting that discussion of the. . .
Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims; Jews only till Monday
10/3/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - The Ibrahimi Mosque was closed to Muslim worshipers Friday night and will not be re-opened for non-Jewish worship until Monday, Director of the Waqf in Hebron Zeid Aj-Ja'bari said Saturday. Israeli soldiers have been stationed outside the mosque since sundown Friday and blocked Muslim access to Muslim areas of the structure, divided in two since 1994 into discrete sections for Muslim and Jewish worshipers. Since the attacks at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Muslims have been worried that Israeli forces plan to take control over both the holy sites in the Old City and in Hebron. The Ibrahimi Mosque was closed for seven days during September, for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Aj-Ja'bari added.
PA security forces dismantle Israeli explosive
10/3/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Palestinian security forces in the West Bank district of Jenin dismantled an explosive device they say was left behind the Israeli army, police official said. The Jenin police department's public relations office said they informed Central Operations of the device at a farm in the town of Aj-Judeida. Bomb experts cleared the scene and dismantled the device, the office said. Radi A'sida, head of the security department in Jenin, urged residents to be cautious if they come across suspicious objects, and to contact local authorities immediately. [end]
Islamic Jihad predicts ’imminent’ Israeli attack
10/3/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Islamic Jihad's armed wing expects Israel to renew attacks on Gaza soon, an official alleged on Saturday. Abu Ahmad, spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, said "developments" had led the militant wing to suspect Israel was planning an imminent but unspecified incursion in "the coming days or weeks. "He did not elaborate. But he also applauded Thursday's agreement that saw 19 Palestinian women and girls released from Israeli prisons after Hamas produced a video proving that captured soldier Gilad Shalit was still alive. "The Al-Quds Brigades believe the big swap was honorable at every stage, as the resistance will never bow to Israeli pressure," he said. "We will not tolerate foreign intervention pushing a deal forward at any price. " He added that Islamic Jihad considered the partial swap a victory not only for the freed prisoners, but for Shalit's captors, as. . .
Gaza: UN sees rise in Israeli violence as state complains of 'rockets'
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - After Palestinian representatives postponed discussion of the Goldstone report Friday, the Israeli delegation to the UN submitted an official complaint to the body's Security Council and secretary general over what it called "escalating rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. "According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)'s weekly Protection of Civilians Report Gaza militants "continued to fire sporadic rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel, including military bases. " The past week saw at least two unsubstantiated Israeli announcements of projectile fire, with no damages, no injuries, and no evidence of the launch or an impact. Israeli media cited sources alleging the projectiles landed somewhere in the Negev desert. Friday night marked the first time in five days Gaza militant factions claimed to have launched. . .
PA minister: Our stance on UN report an embarrassment
10/3/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The official Palestinian stance on the UN-backed Goldstone report harmed Palestinian national interests and embarrassed supporters of the Palestinian people, Minister of Social Affairs Majida Al-Masri said Saturday. The first member of the caretaker government to speak out against the Palestine Liberation Organization move, Al-Masri called delaying discussion of the report to the March 2010 Human Rights Council meeting a move that "gave Israeli war criminals the opportunity to avoid the report's repercussions. " Al-Masri, a member of the politburo of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said the stance of the Palestinian ambassador to the UN "contradicts the Palestinian national consensus," adding that the delay had "angered friends and allies of the Palestinian people. She called in the Palestinian leadership to "consider what happened there a lesson to avoid repeating in the future.
Report: Maldives to relay Abbas message to Netanyahu
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Mahmoud Abbas recently asked the Maldive Islands president, Mohamed Nasheed, to pass along a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a MalÃ©-based newswire reported on Saturday. According to the independent news agency Minivan, the purported message reiterated the Ramallah-based Palestinian government's interest in reviving dialogue with Israel. In a telephone call with Nasheed last week, Abbas was quoted as telling the president that he wished to resume talks started during former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's administration. Abbas further requested that Nasheed discuss with Netanyahu his government's policy of constructing settlements in occupied territory, according to the news agency. "I have always, all throughout my life, been a very strong Palestinian supporter and there is nothing more that we would like to see other than a free and safe state of Palestine," Nasheed reportedly said.
Hamas official: Shalit deal to wrap up within weeks
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Hamas leader Mahmoud Az-Zahar said on Saturday that a comprehensive prisoner swap would be arranged between Israel and Palestinian factions within a matter of weeks, or months at most. In an interview with the German Der Spiegel magazine, quoted by AFP, Az-Zahhar added that he hoped negotiations would come to a conclusion as soon as possible. [end]
Al-Ahram: Conciliation agreement includes PA control of Gaza
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority will resume control of the Gaza Strip under the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement between Palestinian rival factions, official Egyptian sources told the Cairo-based Al-Ahram newspaper on Saturday. The proposal would see a higher Arab committee formed to supervise presidential and legislative elections as well as Palestinian National Council elections once the Gaza Strip was brought under the purview of Abbas. While Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said Friday his movement would be ready to sign the Egyptian agreement on 19 October, the party has maintained reservations about some of the outstanding issues Egyptian sources cited in the Cairo paper said were solidified. According to Al-Ahram, the agreement will include the return of Palestinian Authority security forces to the Gaza Strip,. . .
PFLP slams PA for postponing Goldstone report
10/3/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) slammed the role of the Palestinian Authority in postponing discussion Saturday of the UN-backed Golstone report by the UN Human Rights Council. The spokesperson described the PA decision as "irresponsible" and one that deeply harms the Palestinian struggle. He said the report exposed the nature of the Israeli occupation and its continuous violations of human rights in Palestine and that it deserved to be discussed. In his statement, the PFLP spokesperson said the PA request to delay the Goldstone report was putting to waste what could have been a major tool in the Palestinian struggle, and in fact encourages Israel and Israeli forces to continue to practice oppression against the Palestinian people. "There are no justifications for these actions," a statement said.
Sources: Hamas delegation returns to Gaza
10/3/2009 - Al-A'rish - Ma'an - Egyptian security sources said that a Hamas delegation headed by Khalil Al-Haya returned to Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Friday afternoon. They told Ma'an that "the delegation carried out a two-week tour of Egypt and Syria during which they held meetings with Egyptian officials to discuss the suspended points in the Palestinian internal dialogue and [Gilad] Shalit's issue. " The group travelled with Mahmoud Az-Zahhar several days earlier to hand over the Islamic movement's response to the Egyptian proposal and to urge its signing by the end of October, according to our sources. The sources added that the Hamas delegation was headed by Al-Haya, and included Salah Al-Bardawil, Kahled Abu Sedu, Mahdi Abed Ar-Razeq, Riyadh Al-Labban, and Ibrahim Abu Rezeq. Hamas has agreed to reconcile on issues over holding presidential, legislative and Palestinian. . .
Mash’al denounces Abbas over Goldstone report delay
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas leader in exile Khaled Mash'al on Friday denounced President Mahmoud Abbas for withdrawing support for UN investigator Richard Goldstone's report on alleged war crimes in Gaza. "We are shocked today," he said in Damascus on Friday evening. "This is a shame "¦ the blood of children and women in Gaza will curse those who renounced Palestinian blood. " The Hamas leader's televised address came during an event marking the Arab League's recent designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture. While criticizing the president over the PLO's stance toward the Goldstone report, Mash'al said Hamas was nonetheless determined to achieve a reconciliation deal with his Fatah rivals who control the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority. Mash'al also congratulated the 19 women released from jail the same day in exchange for a video of captured soldier Gilad Shalit,. . .
Five factions meet in Gaza over future of UN report
10/3/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Five Palestinian factions held a meeting in Gaza to discuss ways to leaders can push forward the recommendations of the Goldstone report for investigations of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Called to order by Islamic Jihad, the factions, including Hamas, the DFLP, the PFLP and the PPP, collectively expressed their condemnation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) decision to have debate over the report quashed at the UN Human Rights Committee on Friday. Daoud Shehab of Islamic Jihad said parties set a committee to find ways that would see a continued "pursuit of Israeli war criminals. " He said delegates decided to hold an expanded meeting next week to "determine how Palestinians seeking justice for the crimes committed in Gaza can proceed. " The delegations were composed of the following members: Islamic Jihad, Mohammad Al-Hindi, Khaled Al-Batsh,
PA economy minister refuses to confirm resignation reports
10/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority minister of national economy, Dr Bassem Khoury, on Saturday refused to confirm or deny reports he was planning to resign over the PA's involvement in a controversial move carried out by the PLO's ambassador to the UN. The Paris-based news agency AFP quoted an anonymous official close to the minister as saying that Khoury "has resigned to protest the Palestinian Authority's agreement not to discuss the Goldstone report [at the UN on Friday]. "However Khoury, a political independent, would not speculate on his future in government when pressed during a telephone interview with Ma'an late Saturday evening. Bowing to pressure from the West on Friday, the Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador to Geneva delayed until March a vote at the Human Rights Council that would have confirmed South African justice Richard Goldstone's comprehensive. . .
Five swine flu cases diagnosed in the West Bank; 292 total
10/3/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Head of the health care department in the Palestinian ministry of health As'ad Ar-Ramlawi said five new H1N1 cases were diagnosed in the West Bank Saturday. Two of the cases were in Ramallah, two in Bethlehem, the fifth case in Nablus, Ar-Ramlawi said. There have been 292 diagnosed cases of H1N1 in the West Bank since the start of the H1N1 pandemic. [end]
UN watchdog gains access to atomic site
3 Oct 2009 - Talks between Tehran and six world powers on nuclear inspections prove to be unexpectedly productive.
Anger over delay of Gaza report
3 Oct 2009 - Palestinian Authority has been criticised for agreeing to the deferral of UN Human Rights Council's response to judge's findings on war crimes.
Captured Israeli soldier looks well in brief video
2 Oct 2009 - Captured three years ago by Hamas, the Israeli soldier Cpl Gilad Shalit appears in a short video.
Hamas hands over video in exchange for prisoners
2 Oct 2009 - Hamas hands over a tape showing an Israeli soldier held captive since 2006.
Israel moves toward prisoner swap
2 Oct 2009 - Israel and the Palestinians are expected to take a first, tentative step toward swapping a captive Israeli soldier for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
3 Oct 2009 - Outrage after Palestinian Authority backs delay in voting on Gaza war report.
ElBaradei in Iran for nuclear talks
3 Oct 2009 - Discussions to include planned inspection of Tehran's second atomic facility.
Israel releases Palestinian women
2 Oct 2009 - Nineteen female detainees are freed in return for video of captured Israeli soldier.
3 Oct 2009 - Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Arab Association for Human Rights * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * ITTJIAH * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for...
Through Women's Eyes: Report on the Gender-Specific Impact and Consequences of Operation Cast Lead
2 Oct 2009 - The recent Israeli offensive—codenamed Operation ‘Cast Lead’ by the Israeli authorities—claimed the lives of 118 women, and injured 825 more. In total 1,414 Palestinians lost their lives, 1,177 (83%) of whom were civilians. A further 5,303...
2 Oct 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN - The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Royal Academy of Music in the city of Arhus, Denmark. The program is in conjunction with the Eastern Music Ensemble of the institute that is performing as part of a cultural week.Directors at the National Institute in Jerusalem said today that they seek to upgrade...
Demonstrations in western Ramallah invoke memory of Al Aqsa Intifada
2 Oct 2009 - Bil’in / Iyad Burnat - Yesterday’s weekly demonstration in Bil'in was inundated with gas, but no arrests were made. One protester was hit directly by a bouncing gas canister, which burned holes in her trousers and caused burns to her skin. Another demonstrator suffered from severe respiratory problems due to gas inhalation. These injuries are a small price to pay, say demonstrators, to...
Confrontations in Wadi Al Joz leads to the arrest of five youths in East Jerusalem
2 Oct 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN - Praying in East Jerusalem after days on the road and Israeli violations of human rights brought thousands to the Old City and Al Aqsa Mosque. Israeli restrictions prevented people from the entry points of the mosque under the claim of preventing demonstrations for the anniversary of the Al Aqsa Intifada.Israeli forces were deployed from the...
Praying in East Jerusalem after days on the road and Israeli violations of human rights
2 Oct 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh – Hundreds of people held prayers on the ground of East Jerusalem on Friday. The gates of the Old City were restricted by the occupying Israeli administration. After the Israeli-sponsored attack on Al Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, came the work to reclaim the sanctity of the place.Prayers at the gates of the Old City became the norm with...
Prisoner exchange takes place: one Palestinian to Gaza and 18 to Ramallah for video tape of Shalit
2 Oct 2009 - Beit Hanoun / PNN – The Israelis released officially on Friday morning 19 Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for receipt of a recent video tape of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit captured in the Gaza Strip in 2006. This exchange constitutes the first stage in a long process that could lead to the release of hundreds out of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners from...
WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (IPS) - While experts here are being deliberately tentative in their assessments of Thursday's meeting in Geneva between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany (P5+1), there appears to be a growing sense that the results could lay the basis for...
EGYPT: Virtually, Some Real Freedom
CAIRO, Oct 2 (IPS) - Egyptians critical of their government are using new media and the Internet to expose its improprieties and press for social change.
3 Oct 2009 - In the wake of another arrest, the people of Ni'lin confronted Occupation forces on their land on Friday, calling for national unity and demanding the release of all their prisoners. Soldiers rained tear gas on the protest, which continued for much of the afternoon. [
Protests continue in al-Ma’sara; three arrested in Bil’in last Friday
29 Sep 2009 - Weekly actions against the Wall were held in the villages of Bil'in and al-Ma'sara, with demonstrators calling for an end to settlement activity and Palestinian unity. Soldiers tear gassed marchers in Bil'in and arrested three people near the Wall. [
This report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) coincides with the 9th anniversary of the al-Aqsa Intifada, which erupted following the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque (the Holy Sanctuary) in occupied Jerusalem.
10/3/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - On Wednesday, 30 September 2009, the Israeli army murdered a Palestinian youth outside his school, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam high school in Yabad village, west of Jenin. This school had been closed from 2001-2006. Around 11:35am, a military jeep with the license plate number 655474 left the main road to turn into the access road to the school where a group of male students gathered close to the main entrance of the school. The jeep was driving at a fast speed and targeted Foad Mahmoud Naiyf Turkuman (age 17) who was crouching down close to a small concrete wall. According to eye witnesses (one of his teachers and three of his friends), the jeep hit Foad directly and pushed him against the wall. Due to the impact, Foad was thrown 2. 5 meters and fell to the ground in front of the vehicle. The driver of the jeep then drove his vehicle forward running two wheels over Foad's chest and torso of the already injured youth a second time.
ANALYSIS / Shalit footage adds pressure for Netanyahu
3 Oct 2009 - The reactions on the part of Noam Shalit and the Hamas leadership one day after the release of the first video footage of captive soldier Gilad Shalit testify more than anything to the long road still ahead before completing a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas. ...
End the Arab occupation of Israel
3 Oct 2009 - From Gideon Levy to Barack Obama, from Yariv Oppenheimer to Ismail Haniyeh, from Zahava Gal-On to Tzipi Livni - they all recite the same phrase: It's time to put an end to the "occupation." Once the "occupation" ends, peace will be sealed. Once the Jews are expelled from the heart of their country, redemption will come to Zion. From here emerges "the solution" - two states within the tiny piece of prized property that remains, the western Land of Israel, not the Greater Land of Israel. ...
Aviva Shalit: I hope video signals end of Gilad's captivity
3 Oct 2009 - Noam Shalit: It could be years before Gilad is free; Hamas: A prisoner exchange in imminent.
Hamas: Shalit to be freed in weeks or months
3 Oct 2009 - Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar has said captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be set free within weeks or two months at most, suggesting that the Islamic group might show greater flexibility in upcoming negotiations. ...
Hamas: Carter played key role in Shalit video deal
3 Oct 2009 - Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar credited former U.S. president Jimmy Carter with a central role in brokering a deal between Israel and Hamas which saw 20 female Palestinian prisoners traded for a video of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit , Channel 10 reported Saturday. ...
2 Oct 2009 - Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured near Gaza more than three years ago, appeared unhurt and in good health in a video recording received by the Israeli government yesterday. Shalit spoke, walked briefly towards the camera...
Video: Footage shows Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit looking healthy
2 Oct 2009 - Israel received a two-minute video of captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, after it asked Hamas for 'proof of life'. The following video is in Hebrew and will be translated shortly
Fatah and Hamas set for surface unity | Ben White
2 Oct 2009 - The two Palestinian factions may agree to an Egypt-brokered unity deal – but only by glossing over their core differences After half a dozen unsuccessful attempts, there is now a strong sense that Egypt has managed...
Israel frees Palestinian women after Gilad Shalit video
2 Oct 2009 - Nineteen female prisoners freed after Hamas hands over minute-long video of captured Israeli soldier Israel released 19 female Palestinian prisoners today in return for a video of a soldier captured by Palestinian militants near Gaza more...
Small beer at Taybeh, Palestine's only brewery
2 Oct 2009 - Taybeh, the only brewery in Palestinian territories, is thriving despite an array of unusual challenges As beer-making businesses go, the Taybeh brewery faces an unusual raft of challenges. It is the only brewery in the Palestinian...
UN delays action on Gaza war report
2 Oct 2009 - Palestinian leaders drop backing for resolution on document critical of Israel and Hamas The UN today put off action on a report criticising Israel's actions during the war in Gaza after Palestinian leaders suddenly dropped their...
In pictures: The Taybeh brewery in West Bank
2 Oct 2009 - The only domestic lager in the Palestinian territories comes from the West Bank village of Taybeh
3 Oct 2009 - The Israel Prisons Service is preparing to release today the 20th and last prisoner in the videotape deal with Hamas, in which Palestinian prisoners involved in attacks on Israelis were freed in exchange for a videotape of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. ...
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - now starring in Carlsberg beer ads
3 Oct 2009 - Carlsberg beer usually advertises using good-looking young men and women enjoying their alcoholic beverages in a pub or other enticing settings; but to attract more ultra-Orthodox customers, the firm has adopted a rather different public figure - former chief Sephardi rabbi and Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. ...
Gilad Shalit video / Footage with full English transcript
2 Oct 2009 - Hamas handed over video from September 14 in return for release by Israel of 20 female Palestinian prisoners.
3 Oct 2009 - Source: Government of Israel
Israeli planes strike Gaza tunnels and building
3 Oct 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet
Justice delayed is justice denied: Decision of Palestinian leadership and international pressure an insult to the victims
3 Oct 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Global Security: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
3 Oct 2009 - Source: Government of the United Kingdom
Violence against women: It's time for Congress to act
2 Oct 2009 - Source: Refugees International
UN Human Rights Council: Traditional values' vote and Gaza overshadow progress
2 Oct 2009 - Source: Human Rights Watch
3 Oct 2009 - British Times reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Moscow list of Russian scientists helping Iran build nuclear warheads during last month's secret visit to Russia
Mubarak urges Israel to open final status talks
3 Oct 2009 - Egyptian president tells al-Quwat al-Musallaha newspaper Israel should move straight to six 'final status' issues in talks with Palestinians, including border, status of Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security and water. 'What is required now is political will, particularly by leaders of Israel,' he says
Palestinian economy minister resigns
3 Oct 2009 - Palestinian economy minister Bassem Khoury steps down in protest of PA's agreement not to discuss Goldstone report, anonymous official says
Al-Zahar: Deal matter of weeks
3 Oct 2009 - Hamas official tells German Der Spiegel Palestinians want to wrap up prisoner exchange deal as soon as possible, saying closing of deal that would secure release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit is a matter of months at most
Aviva Shalit 'Hopes tape is beginning of end'
3 Oct 2009 - Family and friends leave Shalit family home to give parents chance to rest after watching video of captive son Gilad held by Hamas in Gaza. One visitor tells Ynet, 'They are hoping video was 'promo' Gilad's return home safe and sound'
Iran's president says Obama made a big mistake
3 Oct 2009 - Ahead of IAEA chief's visit to Tehran, Ahmadinejad says US counterpart erred in accusing Iran of hiding newly revealed nuclear plant
3 Oct 2009 - The head of the UN nuclear watchdog will head to Iran this weekend to pin down an Iranian pledge, made at talks with big powers on Thursday, to open a newly revealed atomic plant to inspections. The Geneva meeting, which also yielded agreement on follow-up talks later this month, lowered the tension a notch in a standoff over fears that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Israel, Palestine buoyed by prisoner swap
3 Oct 2009 - An Israeli soldier held captive for the past three years by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas smiled briefly and looked healthy in a two-minute Hamas video handed over to Israel on Friday. Gilad Shalit, abducted in 2006, was shown holding up a copy of the Arabic-language newspaper "Palestine" dated September 14.
Israel trying to dodge overseas prosecution
3 Oct 2009 - Stung by a damning UN report alleging war crimes in Gaza, Israel is taking extraordinary steps to fend off potential international prosecution of its political and military leaders, hiring high-powered attorneys, lobbying Western governments and launching a public relations blitz. Israel has dismissed the UN investigation into its winter offensive in the Gaza Strip as biased.
France seeks arrests in Moroccan political kidnap
3 Oct 2009 - The United Nations put off taking action on Friday on a UN report that accuses both Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes in Gaza, after US pressure aimed at getting the peace process back on track. The move is an early concrete result of the Obama administration's engagement in the Human Rights Council, which Washington joined in June.
Protests in Paris greet Armenian president
3 Oct 2009 - Violent protests broke out Friday at the start of Armenian President Serge Sarkisian's tour of Armenian communities worldwide, with demonstrators in Paris shouting "traitor!" at him and decrying his plans to establish ties with Turkey. Sarkisian embarked on the tour - which will also take him to the United States, Russia and Lebanon - to seek support for his landmark.
In Egypt, swine flu fears are buried under chronic rubbish threat
3 Oct 2009 - "Look, that's where the swine flu is going to come from," said a weary Marzouka Beshir, pointing to a pile of rubbish rotting under the blazing sun in Imbaba, a working class neighborhood in Cairo. In their overcrowded areas, overflowing with litter, many like this 52-year-old Egyptian woman, have trouble coming to grips with the dramatic measures taken by authorities to combat the A(H1N1) flu.
4 Oct 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of prisoners said that there are still 40 Palestinian women in Israeli jails after the release of 19 prisoners on Friday and the intention to release another one on Sunday.
Ghoul: PA request for delaying Goldstone's report proves its collusion
4 Oct 2009 - Palestinian justice minister Mohammed Al-Ghoul said on Saturday that the PA's refusal to adopt the UN fact finding commission's report at the UN human rights council proved its collusion in the war.
AI urges Ki-moon to refer Goldstone report to security council
4 Oct 2009 - Amnesty International called Saturday on Ban Ki-moon to refer the report of justice Richard Goldstone on Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip to the UN Security Council without delay.
Aqsa foundation warns of new Israeli scheme to storm the Aqsa Mosque
4 Oct 2009 - The Aqsa foundation for heritage and endowment that caters for Muslim holy shrines has warned of a renewed Israeli attempt to desecrate the Aqsa Mosque, urging Palestinian citizens to stay vigilant.
Bahar slams PA’s position toward Goldstone’s report
4 Oct 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the deputy speaker of the PLC, deplored the PA's withdrawal of its support for the UN report on Israeli war crimes in Gaza as connivance with the Israeli occupation.
Adloni: Aqsa Mosque a red line
4 Oct 2009 - Secretary general of the international Quds institution Akram Al-Adloni has said that the Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem are red lines which if crossed would lead to Islamic uprising.
Israeli air raid blasts foundry in southern Gaza
4 Oct 2009 - Israeli warplanes blasted a number of targets in southern Gaza near the borders with Egypt inflicting vast damage on a foundry and two tunnels, local security reported.
Mishaal slams Abbas for not supporting UN report on Israeli war crimes in Gaza
4 Oct 2009 - Khaled Mishaal strongly denounced Friday the authority of Mahmoud Abbas for withdrawing its support for UN investigator Richard Goldstone’s report on Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
Tafakji: IOA building another city under occupied Jerusalem
4 Oct 2009 - The IOA is building a city under Jerusalem that would go in harmony with Jewish religious beliefs, Khalil Al-Tafakji, director of maps department at the Arab studies' society in Jerusalem, said.
Fayyad gov't sacks seven teachers for political affiliation
4 Oct 2009 - The illegitimate government of Salam Fayyad in Ramallah has ordered the dismissal of seven teachers in the village of Til, Nablus district, for their political affiliation with Hamas Movement.
3 Oct 2009 - Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit appears healthy in a recent video. There is a tumultuous welcome in Gaza for one freed female Palestinian prisoner; 18 others are greeted in the West Bank. On a day of high emotion for both sides in the Middle East conflict, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip joyously welcomed home 19 female prisoners released by Israel in exchange for a video proving that an Israeli soldier captured three years ago and held in a clandestine jail is alive and well.
Deal buys Iran time to obscure activities at nuclear plant, officials say
2 Oct 2009 - After acknowledging the plant's existence, Iran has nearly a month to admit inspectors. Swifter access would have provided an advantage in information gathering, some officials say. Iran's promise to admit inspectors to a secret nuclear plant, though hailed as a major step this week by U.S. officials and their allies, may come too late to glean key information about its design and history, private experts and foreign government officials said Friday.
Israeli soldier held three years by Hamas appears healthy in video
2 Oct 2009 - In the televised video, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit appeals to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate his release. Official response doesn't suggest a swift resolution. Israelis today saw the first images of their country's celebrated hostage, a soldier who looked healthy in a televised video, declared he's being well treated by the Palestinians who captured him more than three years ago, and appealed to Israel's leader to bring him home.
Song Kun at Walter Maciel Gallery
2 Oct 2009 - Also reviewed: Constance Mallinson at Pomona College; Iranian artists at Morono Kiang Gallery and more. Paintings with a fuzzy, blissed-out, sun-bleached look have a venerable contemporary history, beginning with Vija Celmins and Gerhard Richter in the 1960s, continuing with Ellen Phelan in the 1980s and then on to Luc Tuymans more recently. Now, among others, add young Beijing painter Song Kun to the accomplished roster.
Hopeful signs emerge from talks with Iran
2 Oct 2009 - Tehran is said to agree to inspection of its new nuclear plant and to sending uranium to Russia for enrichment. The United States and other world powers said they made progress Thursday in high-level talks with Iran, taking fragile but potentially significant steps toward resolving the international showdown over Tehran's nuclear program.
3 Oct 2009 - A confidential U.N. analysis says that Iran has acquired “sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable” bomb, going well beyond the public position taken by Washington.
Syrian Visits Washington as Part of Regional Détente
3 Oct 2009 - Obama administration officials met with the Syrian deputy foreign minister in an effort to draw Syria away from its main ally in the region, Iran.
Israel Receives Video of Captured Soldier in Exchange for Release of Prisoners
2 Oct 2009 - Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas, appeared in good health in a video obtained in exchange for the liberation of 19 Palestinian female prisoners on Friday.
10/2/2009 - Ha'aretz - Israel should consider ousting Norwegian monitors from Hebron due to Oslo's "hostility" toward Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the cabinet Thursday. An overall reassessment of Israel's relationship with Norway is needed, he argued, and expelling the monitors could be one element of this. The monitors are part of an international observer group, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. TIPH was introduced into the city in 1994, by agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, after Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim worshipers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. At a meeting last week with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Lieberman protested Oslo's contacts with Hamas, as well as the celebrations Norway is sponsoring in honor of the 100th birthday of writer Knut Hamsun, who supported the Nazis during World War II.
What Freedom Looks Like in Palestine
10/3/2009 - Political Theatrics - Photos - “None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free. ” - Pearl S. Buck [end]
Gaza Report Vote Delay Angers Hamas, Delights US
10/4/2009 - Political Theatrics - Hamas officials have condemned as “betrayal” the Palestinian Authority’s decision to support a delay in voting on the UN-sanctioned report on Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) on Friday backed moves to postpone the vote at the UN Human Rights Council until March, saying the postponement would help in achieving greater consensus on adopting the report. “This … represents a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and confirms the extent of the collaboration between Abbas [Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas] and his aides with the Zionist enemy, against the Palestinian people,” Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas legislator, said on Friday. Fawzi Barhoum, a senior Hamas official, echoed al-Masri’s remarks, accusing Abbas of helping Israel protect its leaders from international prosecution over the 22-day aggression in December-January, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead.
Russia expels Israeli diplomat
10/1/2009 - UPI - JERUSALEM, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Russia expelled an Israeli diplomat, accusing him of espionage and compiling intelligence, officials said. Shmuel Polishuk, 58, who served in the Israeli Embassy in Moscow, is the first secretary of the group Nativ, a liaison group that encourages Jews in Russia and other Eastern European countries to immigrate to Israel, Maariv reported Thursday. Polishuk returned to Israel Tuesday, the newspaper said. Polishuk was detained last week by Russian intelligence officials and questioned, but later set free after it became apparent he had diplomatic immunity, the newspaper said. Russian officials told Polishuk he had five days to leave the country, the paper said. Israeli government officials tried to prevent the expulsion and in the end reached an agreement whereby Polishuk would "return to Israel," but would not be declared a "persona non grata" by Russia, the paper said. Sources told the paper Russian officials had increased surveillance on Israelis who work for the group.
Israel gets two German submarines
10/2/2009 - UPI - TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Israel has taken delivery of two German-made submarines capable of launching missiles with nuclear warheads. " We have received two Dolphin-class submarines built from Germany," Israel and Arab media reported quoting an anonymous Israeli military spokesman. Called U212s, the submarines were upgraded in Germany by Israeli technicians and engineers in order to enable them to carry nuclear warheads. Initially in 2006, when the sale was confirmed, the German government said the two vessels were not equipped to carry nuclear weapons. The submarines were ordered in 2005, and delivery was originally scheduled for 2010. With the latest delivery, Israel now holds five state-of-the-art U212s, designed for a crew of 35 and capable of launching cruise missiles that carry nuclear warheads to a distance of 2,810 miles.
EXCLUSIVE: Obama agrees to keep Israel’s nukes secret
10/2/2009 - Washington Times - President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said. The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr. Obama pledged to maintain the agreement when he first hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in May. Under the understanding, the U. S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs. Israel had been nervous that Mr. Obama would not continue the 1969 understanding because of his strong support for nonproliferation and priority on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Israel trying to dodge overseas prosecution
10/2/2009 - Google - (AP) – JERUSALEM — Stung by a damning U. N. report alleging war crimes in Gaza, Israel is taking extraordinary steps to fend off potential international prosecution of its political and military leaders, hiring high-powered attorneys, lobbying Western governments and launching a public relations blitz. Israel has dismissed the U. N. investigation into its winter offensive in the Gaza strip as biased, but its latest moves show it is clearly concerned. The U. N. report appears to have energized pro-Palestinian groups that have hoped for years to bring Israelis before courts in countries that recognize the concept of "universal jurisdiction" — trying people for crimes unrelated to their own territory or nationals. Most recently, British activists attempted this week to have Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrested during a trip to Britain for war crimes connected to his role in the Gaza war.
Obama agrees to cover up Israel’s nukes: report
10/2/2009 - Press TV - Israel has reportedly received an assurance by US President Barack Obama that it would not be pressured into accounting for its alleged nuclear arsenal or signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In a meeting with, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained President Obama's guarantee that the White House would continue a 4-decade-old secret deal to allow Israel keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, The Washington Times reported on Friday quoting officials familiar with the matter. " The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card," said a Senate staffer speaking on the condition of anonymity. "What this means is that the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel's nuclear program. " "However, it calls into question virtually every part of the president's nonproliferation agenda. "
Obama Reaffirms He Will Keep Israel’s Nukes ‘Secret’
10/2/2009 - Antiwar.com - Jason Ditz - President Vows to Keep World's Worst-Kept Secret - Following up on assurances he made in May, President Obama has reportedly ‘reaffirmed’ a secret understanding whereby he will not reveal the existence of Israel’s widely known nuclear arsenal, nor will he pressure Israel to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Though Israel has often, albeit accidentally, publicly revealed that they have nuclear weapons, the United States officially has followed a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with the arsenal, the only one of its kind in the Middle East. The revelation is likely to cause some international consternation, particularly since President Obama championed a bill at the UN Security Council only last week demanding that all the nations of the world to join the NPT. Despite this call, the US publicly and angrily rejected a resolution calling for Israel to join the NPT only a week before that, saying that it was “unfair.
Under Growing Pressure, UN Vote on Gaza Report Delayed Until 2010
10/2/2009 - Antiwar.com - Jason Ditz - US Pressure, Israeli Threats Convince PA to Drop Endorsement - Following the decision by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to withdraw its endorsement for the “Goldstone Report,” a United Nations report on war crimes in the 2008-09 war in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations will defer voting on the report until at least March of 2010. The PA insists that it has not abandoned the resolution entirely, but is simply giving itself more time to consider the issue. The move however, came under intense pressure from the Obama Administration and threats of economic sanctions from the Israeli government. President Obama had vowed to ensure that the war crimes detailed in the Goldstone Report would never lead to any charges against Israelis over their conduct in the war, and had warned the PA’s endorsement could harm peace talks.
New Doubt Cast on US Claim Qom Plant is Illicit
10/3/2009 - Antiwar.com - Gareth Porter - An Iranian assertion that construction on its second enrichment facility began only last year and further analysis of satellite photos of the site have cast fresh doubts on the Barack Obama administration’s charge that the construction of the plant near Qom involved a covert decision to violate Iran’s obligations to report immediately to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on any decision to build a new facility. At a Sep. 25 briefing on the site, senior administration officials refused to provide any specific information to back up the claim that construction had begun before the March 2007 Iranian withdrawal from an agreement requiring that it inform the IAEA immediately of any decision to build a nuclear facility. The U. S. charges on the Qom facility, coming a week before the first opportunity for negotiations with Iran on a full range of issues since 1981,
US Officials Hope to Spin IAEA Inspection Timetable as Threat
10/2/2009 - Antiwar.com - US Grudgingly Concedes Yesterday's Talks Were Positive, Issues Same Demands Over Again - As every other participant in yesterday’s talks touted them as a significant step forward, US officials have continued to maintain as skeptical a tone as they possibly could, maintaining that their patience remains limited and issuing the same demands for IAEA access that Iran had promised days ago. Despite the Administration’s false claims of having “uncovered” the facility, the revelation of the still under construction facility and the talks following it to arrange for inspections have been pretty routine, if mysteriously punctuated by repeated international demands for Iran to agree to arrange such inspections and repeated Iranian insistances that they already were doing so. Still, the timetable has provided plenty of excuse to speculate, including claims by David Albright that the few weeks of
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed to have Jewish past
10/3/2009 - Telegraph - The short note scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth. The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad's birthplace, and the name derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran's Ministry of the Interior. Experts last night suggested Mr Ahmadinejad's track record for hate-filled attacks on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past. Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said: "This aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's background explains a lot about him. " Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith. " By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society. "
Iran: More accomplished in one day of negotiations than in 8 years of threats
10/3/2009 - Salon.com - Glenn Greenwald - Here are two stories from the last 24 hours which provide an interesting and glaring contrast: McClatchy, reporting on yesterday's meeting with Iran in Geneva: Iran also pledged that within weeks it would allow the inspection of a previously covert uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, announced that he'd head to Tehran to work out the details. - Eli Lake, The Washington Times, this morning: President Obama has reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections, three officials familiar with the understanding said. The officials, who spoke on the condition that they not be named because they were discussing private conversations, said Mr.
UN watchdog gains access to atomic site
10/3/2009 - The National - Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, arrived in Tehran last night to arrange swift access for his inspectors to a recently disclosed uranium enrichment site after unexpectedly productive talks between Iran and six world powers. Iran’s agreement to allow scrutiny of the facility was reached at Thursday’s landmark meeting in Geneva. The international community has called for inspections within two weeks of the site, which is deeply etched into a heavily fortified Revolutionary Guards mountainside complex near Qom, a Shia holy city. Thursday’s meeting also resulted in a tentative but vital confidence-building measure under which Tehran would give up most of its declared stockpile of low-enriched uranium to Russia to be converted into material for a medical research reactor in Tehran, rendering the material unavailable for any bomb-making.
Israel moves toward prisoner swap
10/2/2009 - The National - JERUSALEM // Israeli prison vans began moving 19 Palestinian women toward border crossings with the West Bank and Gaza Strip today, where they will be freed if Hamas militants release a promised videotape offering a first glimpse of a long-held Israeli soldier. A 20th woman will be released to Gaza on Sunday as part of the exchange, Israel’s prisons service said. The deal is seen as a first, tentative step toward trading Sgt Gilad Schalit, 23, for hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. It could also herald an end to a crippling, Israel-led blockade of Gaza, which has prevented the territory from rebuilding after Israel’s winter war there. Israel imposed the blockade after Hamas, seized power in Gaza two years ago. It has refused to lift the embargo until the serviceman is freed. Sgt Schalit was captured in June 2006 by Hamas-linked militants in Gaza who tunnelled under the border
Captured Israeli soldier looks well in brief video
10/2/2009 - The National - TEL AVIV // Looking thin and drawn, with dark circles under his eyes, Cpl Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas three years ago, appeared in a video shown on Israeli television yesterday, the first breakthrough in long-running negotiations over a prisoner swap. The footage was part of a deal with Hamas, brokered by Egyptian and German mediators, in which Israel freed 19 female Palestinian prisoners from its jails yesterday and is due to release another woman tomorrow. The pact signalled a breakthrough in negotiations that could result in Cpl Shalit being swapped for hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. It could also be an initial step towards the easing of Israel’s crippling blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, imposed after Cpl Shalit was kidnapped. Furthermore, some commentators viewed the exchange as one of the only tangible agreements in recent years between Israelis
VIDEO - Footage shows Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit looking healthy
10/3/2009 - The Guardian - Israel received a two-minute video of captured soldier, Gilad Shalit, after it asked Hamas for 'proof of life'. The following video is in Hebrew and will be translated shortly. [end]
Israel, Palestine buoyed by prisoner swap
10/3/2009 - Daily Star - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An Israeli soldier held captive for the past three years by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas smiled briefly and looked healthy in a two-minute Hamas video handed over to Israel on Friday. Gilad Shalit, abducted in 2006, was shown holding up a copy of the Arabic-language newspaper “Palestine” dated September 14, in a classic “proof of life” gesture by Hamas in return for the release of 20 Palestinian women from prison in Israel. Wearing olive fatigues and seated in a plastic chair against a white background, the 23-year-old soldier read out a statement in Hebrew. His voice was subdued but he appeared calm and healthy. He was clean-shaven and his hair was trimmed. In the video, released to broadcasters, he said he was being “treated excellently” by his captors. “I have been hoping and waiting for a long time for the day I will be released, and hope that the current
Report: Al-Qaeda-linked groups reject Hamas proposal
10/2/2009 - YNetNews - Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports organizations loyal to al-Qaeda in Gaza reject ruling Hamas' proposal to disarm in exchange for pardon; demand Hamas release prisoners, return confiscated weapons - Attempts by the Hamas movement to disarm al-Qaeda linked gunmen in the Gaza Strip have failed, London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Friday. According to the report, sources in Gaza affiliated with the Jihad organizations said Hamas has not succeeded in forcing on them an agreement, according to which they would receive a full pardon and be able to join Hamas' ranks. Three leaders of the extremist organizations rejected the conditions set by Hamas after a number of meetings held between the parties. According to the leaders, Hamas' goal was to paralyze their organizations. The conflict between Hamas and al-Qaeda linked groups reached its peak in August, when Hamas security forces
Netanyahu’s ’yes we can’ moment
Rime Allaf, Al Jazeera 10/3/2009
Big speeches with grand accompanying events marking an ’umpteenth’ rekindling of the strangest and longest peace process have been Middle East fixtures for decades, as have the inevitable follow-up periods of analyses and projections.
No matter where the leaders in question stood on the scale of left to right, or to which party they belonged, little new ever emerged; peace talks had fallen into a vicious cycle of deja vu.
Not this time, however.
If only to recall the US president’s motto of change, and his rallying cry of "yes we can", credit must be given where credit is due: Obama has accomplished what no other US president before him managed to do.
Despite Israel’s refusal to comply with his demand to freeze settlement expansion - which amounted to a political slap in the face - Obama still hosted a meeting between the Israeli prime minister and the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
And he announced, in all seriousness, that "permanent status negotiations must begin, and begin soon".
For many observers, it beggars belief that the most powerful country in the world could be scorned in this manner by a much smaller one.
Israel itself has depended on US political patronage and financial aid to defy dozens of UN Security Council resolutions and the will of the vast majority of the real international community.
So early in his mandate, having been publicly humiliated by Israel, Obama backtracked and allowed its arrogance to reach new highs. more.. e-mail
Gloomy Prospects For Abbas
Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah, Desert Peace 10/3/2009
The mood at the Ramallah headquarters of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been visibly lugubrious following the “New York fiasco”, a reference to last week’s three-way meeting involving President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Most observers in occupied Palestine have viewed the outcome of the meeting as a political and propaganda victory for Netanyahu, a setback for Obama, and an outright defeat for Abbas. Following the tripartite meeting, which Palestinian sources intimate Abbas agreed to attend under duress, Obama urged the parties to resume stalled peace talks without preconditions.
The Palestinians interpreted the phrase “without conditions” as amounting to an American acknowledgment, however tacit and begrudging, that Israel won’t have to completely and perpetually freeze Jewish settlement activities before the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. The PA was further upset when Obama reiterated this view in his address before the UN General Assembly last week.
Some PLO officials, such as Yasser Abed Rabbo, chose to see the “glass half-full” in Obama’s statements, especially his reference to “pursuing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders”. Abed Rabbo said the PA was pleased with Obama’s decision to hold another round of preliminary talks in the interest of bridging gaps between the parties. He added, however, that the PA refused to retreat from its position that Israel would have to freeze all its settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem, before peace talks could resume.
“Our message is clear. We have not retreated from our demands, and relinquishing them will lead to a diplomatic disaster,” he said. more.. e-mail
Review: Gannit Ankori's "Palestinian Art"
2 Oct 2009 - In 2006 Israeli art historian Gannit Ankori published Palestinian Art (Reaktion Books LTD, London), a 200-plus page text that attempts to "emphasize the broad range and richness that characterize Palestinian art, as well as its specific manifestations and individual narratives. Maymanah Farhat writes for The Electronic Intifada, the first in a series reviewing recent surveys of Palestinian art.
Abbas helps Israel bury its crimes in Gaza
2 Oct 2009 - Just when it seemed that the Ramallah Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas could not sink any lower in their complicity with Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the murderous blockade of Gaza, Ramallah has dealt a further stunning blow to the Palestinian people. The Abbas delegation to the United Nations in Geneva (officially representing the moribund Palestine Liberation Organization) abandoned a resolution requesting the Human Rights Council to forward Judge Richard Goldstone's report on war crimes in Gaza to the UN Security Council for further action. Ali Abunimah comments for The Electronic Intifada.