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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
19 November, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Hamas Will Not Sign Egyptian Unity Document
IMEMC 19 Nov 2009 - Friday November 20, 2009 - 01:45, Member of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Mohammad Nassr, said that the movement will not sign the Egyptian Unity deal for Palestinian reconciliation, and added that Hamas wants to achieve unity based on clear principles far away from external dictation.

Dr. Tibi: “Jerusalem Municipality Planning Additional 15.000 Units For Settlers”
IMEMC 19 Nov 2009 - Friday November 20, 2009 - 01:37, Arab member of Knesset, Dr. Ahmad Tibi, stated Thursday that the Jerusalem municipality is planning to construct additional 15.000 housing units for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.

The Israeli military kidnapped two civilians from Hebron city
IMEMC 19 Nov 2009 - Thursday November 19, 2009 - 17:22, The Israeli military kidnapped on Thursday two Palestinian civilians during home searches in Hebron city.

An Israeli man stabs a Palestinian in east Jerusalem
IMEMC 19 Nov 2009 - Thursday November 19, 2009 - 16:55, A Palestinian man sustained moderate wounds on Thursday afternoon as an Israeli man stabbed him in Jerusalem.

A number of Israeli air raids at targets in the Gaza strip leave three injured
IMEMC 19 Nov 2009 - Thursday November 19, 2009 - 16:00, Three Palestinians were injured on Thursday at dawn when Israeli jetfighters attacked a number of targets at several locations in the Gaza Strip.

Israel To Construct New Neighborhood In Nof Zion Illegal Settlement
IMEMC 19 Nov 2009 - Thursday November 19, 2009 - 04:10, Regardless of the statements of U.S President, Barack Obama, slamming Israel decision to construct 900 units in Gilo illegal settlement, the Israeli government decided to implement a plan to construct a new neighborhood in Nof Zion illegal settlement, in Jabal Al Mukabbir Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

Ma'an News

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza
11/19/2009 - Gaza/Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli warplanes bombed the Gaza Strip in three locations early on Thursday, according to the country's military and Palestinians in the coastal Strip. A military spokesperson said the strikes targeted a "weapons manufacturing facility in the southern Gaza Strip and two smuggling tunnels in the Rafah border area. " Sources in Gaza confirmed that two tunnels were bombed, in addition to a facility said to be operated by Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades. Medics at Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, and the larger Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis said however that no one was injured in the attacks. The military spokesperson said that the strikes were successful, and were in response to the launch of what Israel terms "rockets" emanating from the Gaza Strip. 

Settlers bid to return to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A new settler-backed initiative is demanding a resumption of an Israeli presence at the site believed to be the tomb of the biblical patriarch Joesph in the West Bank city of Nablus. "It is already nine years since Joseph's Tomb was burned, plundered and abandoned. It's time to remove the shame," read a flyer distributed by the new organization, Gar'in Shchem, on Thursday, according to Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper. The group aims to build support for their campaign before setting up a protest tent near the Israeli military's Samaria (northern West Bank) Division headquarters and finally organizing a march on Nablus. "There is no longer a security hindrance," said organizers, according to Army Radio. "This is Israeli territory according to every law and we intend to return there at any cost. 

Israeli forces seize five from West Bank
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in Bethlehem and Tulkarm early on Thursday in addition to seizing three Palestinians during raids on Wednesday night in the West Bank, according to Israel's own figures. The Palestinian police media office reported that forces stormed Tulkarm and detained 35-year-old Issam Ahmad Iteiwi, originally from Gaza, and caused damage to his house. Israeli forces also raided Beit Fajjar in the south of Bethlehem and detained 21-year-old Abdullah Ibrahim Thawabteh after storming his house. During raids on Wednesday evening, two of the three detained were reportedly taken from Jenin and another from Hebron. They were detained because of their status as "wanted" people. On Tuesday night 24 Palestinians were taken from their homes in several West Bank locations. 

Rights groups: Israeli ambulance rules discriminate
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Human rights groups are calling on the Israeli government to cancel instructions preventing ambulances from entering Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem without a police escort. According Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances "must wait in a Jewish neighborhood adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood and may not enter it to transfer the injured or the sick person to the hospital until a police escort arrives, even in life threatening situations. "  In many cases, patients face long delays in receiving treatment, and must be transferred by their own family's cars, risking complications or increased severity of illness, the rights advocates say. In a news release on Thursday, Adalah said the procedures "violate the first rule in the work of emergency crews, which is to provide medical aid. . . 

Images from the Silwan home demolition
11/19/2009 - Photos - On 18 November Israeli bulldozers and hydraulic demolition excavators wrecked the homes of Khalid Ar-Ruweidi and Muhammad Awwad in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on 18 November. The destroyed buildings housed 18 people, who are all homeless as a result of the demolitions. In 2008 there were 87 home demolitions in East Jerusalem targeting Palestinian homes, while at the same time 14,651,216 shekels (3. 86 million US dollars) was collected in fines for "illegal" construction by Palestinians in the same area, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICHAD). So far in 2009, at least 27 buildings have been wholly or partly demolished. Each building was home to between one and six families. 

Hamas: PA detains 16 more supporters
11/20/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Hamas movement said on Thursday that the Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) detained 16 of its supporters in the West Bank over the last two days. In a statement the movement said the detentions took place in the Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Tulkarem areas. Since Hamas seized full control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the PA has consolidated power in the West Bank, arresting members of opposing parties and banning Hamas from public demonstrations or other displays of affiliation. Hamas authorities in Gaza have also clamped down on Fatah activity, allegedly arresting members of the group and banning its activities. Arrests as a method of political repression in both the West Bank and Gaza have been a stumbling block in efforts to reunite the rival movements. 

PalTel-Zain merger scrapped
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem/Amman - Ma'an - The board of directors at the Palestinian Telecommunications Company (PalTel) announced on Thursday that an agreement with Jordan's Zain Telecommunication Network had been cancelled. In May, the two mobile giants signed a deal described as the largest commercial deal in the history of the Palestinian territories. In a brief statement that followed a board meeting in Amman on Thursday, PalTel announced that it had cancelled the summer agreement because Zain was unable to fulfill its basic conditions. PalTel operates Jawwal, a mobile network with 1. 5 million subscribers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Over the summer, PalTel became Zain's exclusive owner when it bought 100 percent of Bella Investment Group's stake of which Zain Jordan owned 96. 516 percent. Zain bought 56. 53 percent of PalTel in the deal, while 3. 

Three injured in Gaza tunnel
11/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Three Palestinians were injured overnight while working in the tunnels nearthe Gaza-Egypt border town of Rafah, sources said on Thursday. Medical sources in Abu Yousif An-Najjar hospital told Ma'an that three citizens were moderately injured in working inside a tunnel. On Monday, A Palestinian man was killed as the result of electric shock inside a smuggling tunnel near Rafah. [end] 

Suspect arrested in East Jerusalem stabbing
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - An Israeli teenager was arrested on Thursday for stabbing a 42-year-old Palestinian in East Jerusalem the same day, according to news reports. Police told the Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth that the attack occurred near the René Cassin High School on Levy Eshkol Blvd. , a road in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ramat Eshkol. Israel's Jerusalem police chief, Eli Kazri, identified the alleged attacker only as a 16-year-old wearing a kippah. He said the boy fled the scene in the direction of Ramat Eshkol but turned himself in later. The unidentified Palestinian sustained moderate injuries, Magen David Adom paramedics were quoted as saying. He was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, the newspaper said. The Palestinian was waiting for a bus before the attack, he reportedly told medics on the scene, when the teen stabbed him in the stomach. 

Gaza to export flowers as Israeli siege continues
11/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli officials informed Palestinian crossings authorities that flower would be permitted for export from the Gaza strip starting 23-24 November, while commercial and humanitarian goods destined for Gaza continue to be restricted. Flowers were last exported from Gaza on 14 February 2009, following a request from the Netherlands. For three years, most of the flowers produced in Gaza have been fed to local livestock as exports were shut down following the Hamas take-over of the area in 2007. There was no indication as to how many flowers would be permitted to be sold from the Strip to the international communty, or on whose initiative the relaxed rule is proceeding. Palestinian officials were informed of the move on Thursday, noting the flowers would be flown to their point of sale from Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. 

EU slams settlement expansion as illegal
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Swedish presidency of the European Union said on Wednesday it was "dismayed" at Israel's plans to build 900 new units in a West Bank settlement on land that Israel claims is inside Jerusalem's city limits. "The presidency recalls that settlement activities, house demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem are illegal under international law," a statement from the presidency said. "Such activities also prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and threaten the viability of a two-state solution. "Israel announced earlier this week it plans to build the new homes in the settlement of Gilo, south of Jerusalem on land mainly owned by Palestinians in Bethlehem and its surrounding villages. Crucially, the EU's executive also "recalls that the European Union has never recognized the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 nor the subsequent 1980. . . 

Report: Israel pursuing two possible peace-talk tracks
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli officials are reportedly cobbling together both a new peace talk plan and working on a program involving French mediation, Israeli media reported Thursday. The Hebrew daily newspaper Ma'ariv said Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak were working on a proposal to resume peace talks, while former member of the Israeli Knesset Yossi Beilin is allegedly working on a deal to secure French partnership in peace talks. The first plan, Ma'ariv reported, follows meetings between Peres and Barak with US and EU officials. The plan would be a two-phase initiative with a Palestinian state being declared on "provisional borders" on approximately half of the land Israel occupied in 1967. The plan allegedly details a gradual pull-out plan from other Palestinian areas, leading up to a second phase: the definition of Palestinian borders. . . 

Israel may allow Palestinian housing units
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's Jerusalem Municipality on Thursday publicized plans to build 5,000 housing units for Palestinians. The construction proposals, which had yet to be approved by any local or district community, were aimed to build houses for Palestinians largely in Tel Edassa ad As-Sawarha. Smaller plans were being considered for Deir Al-Amud and Al-Muntar in Beit Safafa, near the Gilo settlement, according to news release circulated by the municipality. Between 50 to 72 houses were being planned for construction in Abu Tor and Tzur Bahker, both in East Jerusalem, the release stated. Additionally, Jabal Mukaber was expected to see development for housing complexes, although it was unclear if the proposal would be impeded by Israel's recently approved construction in the Nof Zion settlement. The municipality made clear that none of the plans had been officially approved and remained subject to approval. 

Abbas to lobby Latin America for UN state recognition
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Member of Fath's central committee Nabil Shaath said on Thursday that "the Palestinian leadership is intensifying its efforts to endorse recognition of the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. "Shaath said in a statement that "a Palestinian delegation headed by President Mahmoud Abbas will leave to Latin America on Saturday in an intensive tour aimed at throwing support behind endorsing recognition. "He added that a Palestinian delegation headed by Abbas would participate in a socialist conference in Saint Domingo, Cuba, as well. 

Barghouthi: Negotiations doomed to fail
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Negotiations with Israel will achieve nothing, jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi told Reuters in an interview published on Thursday. Through written messages passed from the prison via his lawyer, Bargouthi urged Palestinians to embark on popular and diplomatic campaigns to achieve statehood, the news agency reported. "Betting on negotiations alone was never our choice. I have always called for a constructive mix of negotiation, resistance, political, diplomatic and popular action," he said, according to Reuters. Calling for a popular campaign against settlements, Bargouthi cited Israeli policies in Jerusalem, the Gaza blockade, land expropriation and Israel's "racist" West Bank wall as indications talks would achieve little. He also called on Hamas to sign a reconciliation agreement, which Fatah signed last month, that would end the two-year. . . 

Palestine set to take control of own postal system
11/19/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestine was allocated a postal code by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) following successful talks with the International Bureau in Berne, Switzerland, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced Wednesday. Head of the Mission to the union Mahmoud Diwan said the move would help guarantee the independence of the Palestinian postal system when it is re-launched, and make it distinct from the Israeli system. Currently, mail destined for the West Bank and Gaza from international locations must be posted "care of" or "via" Israel. Only when couriering packages within the West Bank or from the West Bank to Gaza is labeling "Palestine" acceptable. "The Universal Postal Union has taken a series of decisions and steps that aim to facilitate the exchange of direct mail between Palestine and other countries," Diwan said on his return from the meetings. 

Four convicted of murder, one for collaboration
11/19/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Four men were convicted of murder at the Nablus Criminal Court on Thursday, while another was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for collaboration at a military court in the north. The four men were found guilty of kidnapping a man from his home on 7 December 2006, before beating and torturing him to death. The court, presided by Judge Sa'ed Al-Hamadallah, originally sentenced the four men to 15 years hard labor and compensation to the family of the victim, however the sentenced was reduced. The convicted were identified by the initials only, as MY, MK, AS and GD. A fifth suspect in the murder was found innocent during the proceedings. Additionally, a military court in the northern provinces commuted a death sentence for a convicted collaborator to seven years, on account of his confession and poor health. 

Official says Hamas won’t sign unity deal
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas will not sign a proposed unity agreement with its Fatah rivals, a member of its politburo said on Thursday. "The reconciliation proposal does not include any program or political strategy that would guarantee national unity," Hamas leader Mohammad Nasser announced. In a statement, he added that "the reconciliation was suspended because of Egypt's insistence on Hamas signing despite our reservations. . . It was tailored for settlements, Quartet conditions, and the so-called Oslo group. " "The Egyptians submitted a proposal different than the one we agreed to," he said, pointing to several words and terms that had been switched around. "For instance, 'rebuilding the security apparatus in the West Bank and Gaza;' in the new proposal, we discovered the word 'building' replaced the prior reference, changing the meaning. 

PSE rises: Al-Quds Index up 0.29%
11/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Stocks increased on the Palestine Securities Exchange in the West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday. The Al-Quds Index increased 1. 42 points (0. 29%). Trading volume for was 740,200 shares traded for a total value of 1,958,607. 79 US dollars in 478 trades. The shares of 27 companies were traded. The share prices of ten companies rose, and 14 declined. The top five gainers were GCOM by 4. 81%, ARE by 4. 00%, NCI by 3. 33%, JPH by 1. 82%, JCC by 1. 75%. The top five losers were PRICO by 5. 00%, PCB by 4. 76%, WASSEL by 4. 69%, PLAZA by 4. 62%, and LADAEN by 2. 94%. [end] 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Jewish teen apprehended over Jerusalem stabbing of Arab man
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Assailant fled scene shortly after stabbing victim in stomach; police not yet clear on motive for attack. 

IDF strikes Gaza smuggling tunnels, weapons facility
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - IDF spokesman says strike carried out in response to a Qassam fired into Israel on the previous day. 

Border cops suspected of beating Arab in Jerusalem cemetery
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Pair suspected of striking man in East Jerusalem cemetery with truncheons and guns, as well as kicking him. 

Barak vows to fight IDF refusal, without cutting yeshiva funds
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Defense Min.: Government should mull steps to take against hesder yeshiva rabbis who preach refusal. 

Gaza charity offers $1.4 million for capture of IDF soldiers
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Hamas-linked group sent an e-mail calling on people living in Israel to try take soldiers hostage. 

Netanyahu: Israel is world's 'most threatened country'
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - PM notes faster economic growth needed to finance increasing burden of state's defense needs. 

Panel suggests scrapping bereaved parents' consent for combat service
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Subject arose following the death of Capt. Asaf Ramon in an IAF F-16 crash two months ago. 

IDF refusal will bring about Israel's collapse, warns Netanyahu
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Some 15 lawmakers sign on to proposal to curb army mandate; two soldiers jailed for pro-settler sign at base. 

Netanyahu: Israel is Iran's first target, but not its last
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - During navy tour, PM warns of Iran threat and visits boat that raided 'Hezbollah arms ship.' 

IDF troops hang sign at base: We won't evacuate settlers
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Move comes month after soldiers from same brigade waved pro-settler banners during graduation ceremony. 

Lieberman: PA playing ugly 'double game' with Israel
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - FM accuses PA of pressuring Israel to crush Hamas, then submitting complaints to international court. 

Turkey and Israel hold joint drill, in apparent ease of tensions
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Jordan also takes part in rescue exercise; Turkish daily 

Netanyahu: If Palestinians act unilaterally, so will Israel
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - PM tells Saban Forum there is no substitute for talks, appeals to Palestinians to negotiate at once. 

Report: Missing Iran general abducted by Mossad, being held in Israel
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Iranian website: Ali-Reza Asgari taken to Israel to get information about Iran nuclear program, Ron Arad. 

Iran MP: We could produce our own missile defense system
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Lawmaker says Iran will soon be able to produce system if Russia does not deliver S-300 air defense missiles. 

IDF Chief Rabbi: Troops who show mercy to enemy will be 'damned'
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Brig. Gen. Rontzki also tells yeshiva students that religious individuals made better combat troops. 

IDF chief: Army open to looking into Goldstone claims
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Ashkenazi says Israel must explain the war's justice as it is possible we will be forced to act again in Gaza. 

ANALYSIS / Next round of Gaza hostilities will be more intense
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - To halt rocket fire, IDF will have to combine massive firepower with deployment of ground forces. 

Hamas: Israel fabricating pretext for new Gaza war
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Spokesman says IDF report of Hamas test-firing rocket is intended to cover up 'previous crimes' in Gaza. 

IDF Chief: Israel will fight in Gaza again if needed
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Hamas tells Red Cross: Israel planning another war in Gaza'; Palestinian militant killed by IDF at border. 

Uruknet

Breaking the vessels
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - ...But what if it did happen? What if Abbas would actually announce the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, ask the nations of the world to recognize it and then apply for admission to the UN? The Palestinians are caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the steadily tightening...

Israel's legal mechanisms for stealing Palestinian land
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - The Israel Land Administration (ILA) is the kind of government agency that would attract very little attention in most countries. In Israel/Palestine, however, this relatively innocuous sounding organization plays a pivotal role in the conflict. Why is it so important? Established in 1960, the ILA manages a full 93% of Israeli land, including land owned by...

423 Palestinian kids suffering in Israeli jails
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Palestinian Minister of Social Affairs Majidah Al-Masri said on Thursday that 423 Palestinian children are currently living in what she described as "difficult and painful circumstances" in Israeli prisons. Accusing Israeli jailers of committing acts of psychological abuse and molestation, Al-Masri said that in addition to the strife of the children of Gaza, "the children in...

Short History of Israeli Right Wing Terrorism
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Yaakov (Jack) Teitel is not the first and probably not the last Israeli terrorist to target Palestinians or Israeli supporters of peace. Furthermore, many of these Jewish terrorists came from the ranks of the West Bank settlers. Read on for a partial list of Israeli groups and individuals who took violent action to sabotage peace. Following...

Israel begins work on new tunnels to storm Al Aqsa Mosque
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - The Al Aqsa Foundation for Endowments and Heritage revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities began excavation works at Al Sharaf alley, tens of meters west of the Al Aqsa Mosque, in preparation for the construction of two tunnels and two electric elevators to connect between the alley, which was confiscated by the Israeli authorities in 1967,...

Feature: Shot With My Hands In The Air
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Earlier this year, Khamis Fathe Abu Rahmah, aged 27, was shot in the head with a high-velocity tear gas canister whilst participating in a non-violent demonstration at the wall in Bil'in, a Palestinian village. It was the same weapon the Israeli Occupation Forces would use to murder his close friend Bassem Abu Rahme, in the same...

The Architecture of Apartheid
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - The word "Revenge" is scrawled in Hebrew on a Palestinian school in Hebron. The windows are covered with screens and the play yard obstructed with more screens tipped with barbed wire, to obstruct the stones regularly pelted down by Jewish settlers. The space between the school and the neighboring building is blocked off with large, wooden...

Barghouthi: Negotiations doomed to fail
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Negotiations with Israel will achieve nothing, jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi told Reuters in an interview published on Thursday. Through written messages passed from the prison via his lawyer, Bargouthi urged Palestinians to embark on popular and diplomatic campaigns to achieve statehood, the news agency reported. "Betting on negotiations alone was never our choice. I have...

Palestinians accuse Israel settlements of diverting water
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Auja, West Bank - The Hmoud family once prospered in this arid Palestinian farm village by cultivating banana and eggplant crops, earning enough to send a son abroad for medical school and to build a house with a showy staircase and a two-story window. But drought has decimated the spring that is Auja's only agricultural water...

Jahalin Bedouin suffer without representation
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Beyond the demolitions in its suburbs and the frequent, violent clashes around the al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem is the scene of a quieter shame. Southeast of the holy city live the Jahalin Bedouin, a community that has been repeatedly displaced and transferred, now enduring unimaginable poverty beside Jerusalem's largest garbage dump. An embarrassment to Palestinians and Israelis...

Extensive Israeli Campaign Against Palestinian Civil Construction Activities in Area C; New Demolition Orders Issued Against 60 Palestinian Houses, Apartments and other Civilian Facilities in the West Bank
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Israeli Occupation Forces have escalated their systematic campaign against Palestinian civilian construction activities in areas under their full control according to the Oslo Accords signed by the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993. Areas classified as Areas C in the West Bank are currently subjected to extensive Israeli campaigns aimed at...

Rights groups: Israeli ambulance rules discriminate
Uruknet November 19, 2009 - Human rights groups are calling on the Israeli government to cancel instructions preventing ambulances from entering Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem without a police escort. According Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances "must wait in a Jewish neighborhood adjacent to the Palestinian neighborhood and may not enter...

Palestine Telegraph

Israel defends its "illegal" settlement expansion
Palestine, November 19, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - The Israeli construction of 900 housing units in occupied East Jerusalem is part of a "routine building programme", an aide to the prime minister has said in reaction to US criticism.

Israel bombs Gaza food-tunnels
Gaza, November 19, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli warplanes have pounded a building near the town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip and destroyed two tunnels in the city of Rafah along the Egyptian border.

'My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story' by Ramzy Baroud to be Released Next Month
UK, November 19, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - A Gaza book, regarded as a ‘people's history of Gaza' which has won many endorsements prior to its release, will be marketed in the US as a ‘trade title', publisher and author said.

French FM Signs Deal to Rebuild Gaza Hospital
Jerusalem, November 19, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Wednesday signed a two million euro (three million dollar) reconstruction project for a Gaza hospital heavily damaged during Israel's offensive.

UN: "Israel should respect its commitments, stop settlements"
US, November 18, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the Israeli Government's decision today to expand Jerusalem's Gilo settlement, stressing that it was built on Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.

The National

Tide of global trade rises in Suez
The National 19 Nov 2009 - Egypt sees signs of hope as revenue from the canal – an indicator of the health of commerce – nears the pre-crisis record of $5.3bn.

The legal legacy of a ‘hedonist’
The National 19 Nov 2009 - In an unprecedented case, the former prime minister Ehud Olmert faces trial for graft, while some of his ministers have been sentenced.

Bekaa body may finally end hostage riddle
The National 19 Nov 2009 - Investigators are carrying out DNA tests on the remains of a man thought to be the journalist Alec Collett, kidnapped in Lebanon in 1985.

Iran says it will not send uranium abroad
The National 19 Nov 2009 - Government decision expected to anger US, which had called on Tehran to accept deal that would delay its ability to make bombs

Gilo expansion sabotages peace talks
The National 19 Nov 2009 - Palestinian officials say plans to build 900 housing units in East Jerusalem are a direct challenge to international community.

Army faces friction over evacuations
The National 19 Nov 2009 - Israel's leaders say the nation's security is in danger as longas refuseniks continue to defy orders to dismantle Jewish outposts in the West Bank.

A state for all its citizens, not a state of all the Jews
The National 19 Nov 2009 - Alan Philps: The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand, a professor of history at Tel Aviv University. When it was first published in Israel last year, it spent 19 weeks in the bestseller list, thanks in part to furious denunciations by academic historians. It has just appeared in English, and the provocative title does not disappoint.

Aljazeera

Boycott targets settlement products
AlJazeera 19 Nov 2009 - Palestinian authorities seek to implement ban on goods made in Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Suspicions over Iran doctor's death
AlJazeera 19 Nov 2009 - Opposition websites highlight Pourandarjani's role in probe into alleged prisoner abuses.

Israeli rockets hit Gaza tunnels
AlJazeera 19 Nov 2009 - Two tunnels in southern Gaza Strip struck by Israeli aircraft.

US warns Iran over nuclear standoff
AlJazeera 19 Nov 2009 - Reaction follows Iran's refusal to send low-grade enriched uranium abroad for processing.

Alternative Information Center

Extensive Israeli Campaign Against Palestinian Civil Construction Activities in Area C; New Demolition Orders Issued Against 60 Palestinian Houses, Apartments and other Civilian Facilities in the West Bank
Alternative Information Center 19 Nov 2009 - Israeli Occupation Forces have escalated their systematic campaign against Palestinian civilian construction activities in areas under their full control according to the Oslo Accords signed by the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)...

Palestine News Network

EU 'dismayed' by Israel's decision to build new houses in Gilo
PNN 19 Nov 2009 - BRUSSELS (EJP)---The Swedish EU presidency voiced dismay after Israel decided decision on the construction of new houses in Gilo, in East Jerusalem. In a statement issued Wednesday, the EU recalled that “settlement activities, house demolitions and evictions in East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.” Such activities also prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and threaten the viability of a two-state...

Israeli aircraft hit Gaza after rocket attacks
PNN 19 Nov 2009 - JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli aircraft struck a weapons-manufacturing facility and two smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, in response to recent rocket attacks on Israel, the military said. Palestinian security officials reported no injuries.Israel went to war against militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza last winter to quash eight years of rocket and mortar fire that terrorized southern Israel and killed...

Obama says Israeli settlement building "dangerous"
PNN 18 Nov 2009 - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama (http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/barackobama) put fresh pressure on Israel on Wednesday to curb its settlement projects, saying continued building could lead to a dangerous situation with embittered Palestinians. I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security, I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors, Obama told Fox News....

Palestinian families harassed in South Hebron
PNN 18 Nov 2009 - Israeli settlers in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank harassed a Palestinian family walking home, then beat and robbed two internationals who accompanied them. The two young parents and their three small children were returning from the nearby city of Yatta to their home village of Tuba. At 11am they encountered two members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) just south...

Mideast: Ban Ki-moon deplored Israel's decision to expand settlements 
PNN 18 Nov 2009 - New York, 18 Nov. (AKI) - United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon deplored the Israeli Government's decision to expand Jerusalem’s Gilo settlement, stressing that it was built on Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. “The Secretary-General reiterates his position that settlements are illegal, and calls on Israel to respect its commitments under the Road Map to cease all settlement...

France says Abbas 'indispensable'
PNN 18 Nov 2009 - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider his decision not to stand for re-election. After meeting Mr Abbas, Mr Kouchner said he was indispensable in resuming peace talks with Israel. Mr Kouchner is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to push forward stalled peace talks. Israel has been criticised by the US and UN...

Boycott targets settlement products 
PNN 19 Nov 2009 - The Palestinian Authority has called on the public to boycott several large supermarket chains in the West Bank that carry Israeli products. The decision targets upscale markets in Ramallah, in an attempt to pressure the stores to discontinue the sale of fruits and vegetables grown and processed in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.According to the Palestinian authorities, customers are not aware...

Jerusalem Post

Effie Eitam's US campus speaking tour draws plaudits... and protests
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - "It doesn't matter if you brought in Yossi Beilin or Ehud Barak," says one organizer. "People who are demonizing the State of Israel will try to stifle free speech."

Prosecution drops case against Messer
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - The attorney was suspected of collaboration with close friend Olmert in the "Investment Center" affair.

Report: Huge progress in Schalit deal
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - Hamas reportedly gives mediators new list of prisoners after Israel rejects 70 of 450 on last list.

PM: I want a final accord with PA, not an interim agreement
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - Netanyahu says courageous Palestinian leadership needed for final agreement; PMO sources: PM to announce 10-month settlement moratorium soon.

Israel urging world on Iran sanctions
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - World powers to discuss 'pressure track' after Iran rejects uranium export deal; US won't amend offer.

Global Agenda: Safe as houses
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - Israel did the right thing by forgoing a tax break on residential mortgages.

'Arab rock-throwing a daily problem'
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - Residents of east Jerusalem's Ma'aleh Zeitim apartments claim vehicles being stoned near daily.

After five months of study, Yishai still in no rush to deposit Jerusalem Outline Plan
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - 

Analysis: City boasts 5,000 new homes for east Jerusalem - but fails to say when
Jeruslalem Post 19 Nov 2009 - 

IRIN

MIDDLE EAST/ASIA: Crunching the swine flu numbers 
IRIN DUBAI Wednesday, November 18, 2009 (IRIN) - More people have died from H1N1 influenza in Iran than in any of the 22 countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region, according to WHO’s 14 November update.

EGYPT: Out of the slum and into joblessness
IRIN CAIRO Tuesday, November 17, 2009 (IRIN) - When government workmen came in a truck to take Ahmed Mohamed’s furniture to his new home just outside Cairo, the 32-year-old fisherman was overjoyed: His dream of quitting the slum where he had lived for years seemed to be coming true.

In Brief: Israel transfers calves to Gaza as a ‘humanitarian gesture’ 
IRIN TEL AVIV Sunday, November 15, 2009 (IRIN) - Israel’s Ministry of Defence has accepted agriculture minister Shalom Simchon’s request to transfer some 7,500 calves into Gaza for Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday on around 27 November this year and symbolised by the slaughtering of animals to distribute meat to the...

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: West Is East, When Israel Decides 
IPS JERUSALEM, Nov 18 (IPS) - Along a wall not about to come down - a hotel no longer a hotel, but an outpost.

Stop The Wall

Medic beaten, youth destroy fence in Ni'lin
Stop The Wall 19 Nov 2009 - More than 200 people participated in the protest that the Ni’lin popular committee organizes every week on Friday. In response to the recent tearing down of the Wall in both Qalandiya and Ni'lin, a large contingent of soldiers were waiting for the protestors, and immediately started fire huge amounts of tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and also live ammunition. Despite this, a group of youth managed to cut up parts of the fence and partially damage the gate. [

Update on Mohammed's dentention
Stop The Wall 19 Nov 2009 - 58 days since his arrest, Mohammad remains imprisoned and under interrogation. He has not been charged, and the military courts continue to renew his period of detention. Following a two-week ban on any lawyer visits, which serve as Mohammed’s only contact with the outside world, contact has been reinstated. Today, Mohammed was finally been allowed to contact his family. [

PCHR Weekly Report

(12-18 Nov. 2009)
PCHR During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child and wounded 6 civilians, including two children, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Settler incursions of Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah
11/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 18 November 2009 - On Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 10:30am, one of the settlers who are occupying the Ghawi family house in Sheikh Jarrah, climbed over a wall in order to enter the neighbouring Palestinian property. Amal Qassem, who lives in the house, was shocked to discover the settler in her backyard and another settler handing tools and a ladder over the wall to him. They stated that they were going to repair water leaks in the wall and refused to leave. Amal Qassem reported the trespassing to the police who arrived 30 minutes later. Only after that the settlers finally left. Later that day, at 2pm, another two settlers living in the occupied Gawi family house, attempted to enter a Palestinian property across the street. Claiming they had the right to enter, they opened the gate leading to the house owned by the Kurd family and walked through, making their way to the half of the 

Bil’in: Undercovers arrest Palestinian youth at his workplace
11/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Popular Struggle Coordination Committee - In an escalation of the recent arrest campaign conducted by the Israeli military in attempt to crush the popular struggle against the Wall in the village, an undercover army unit invaded Bil'in this morning and arrested a local youth, 19 year old Mohammad Yassin. In the morning hours of Thursday, 19 November 2009, a civilian Isuzu pickup with undercover soldiers dressed as Palestinians, drove into the village of Bil'in, searching for residents suspected of organizing and participating in the village's weekly demonstrations. At around 9am, the soldiers arrived at the garage where Yassin works and arrested him. The arrest involved the beating of Yassin himself, as well as of his brother and his mother, who assumed that the disguised soldiers were just random by-passers attacking their kin. 

Burin celebrates successful olive harvest, despite numerous settler attacks
11/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 18 November 2009 - On Wednesday 18 November, the village of Burin (south of Nablus) celebrated the successful conclusion of its olive harvest. More than 400 villagers came together to hear speeches by locals and nationally renowned politicians (including member of Knesset Mohammed Baraka, general secretary of Hadash), as well as to see the young men of the village dance the Dabke, the traditional dance of Palestine. A large stage with sound system had been set up outside the local boys' school and the festivities commenced at around 11am. Braving weather that seemed to change every 5 minutes from pleasantly warm to freezing cold, the villagers listened to speeches and music in clear view from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, one that has caused its fair share of problems for the village during the harvest. Only 6 days before the event, settlers from Yitzhar attacked the fields of Burin, cutting down 97 trees. 

Gaza braces for bitter winter
11/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada - EZBT ABBED RABBO, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza living in tents and damaged homes face a wet, cold and miserable winter as Israel's blockade of the coastal territory continues to prevent the importation of building and reconstruction material. During the last few weeks Gazans were given a brief reprieve from the oncoming winter as an unseasonal snap of warmish, sunny weather held off winter rain and plummeting temperatures. But, during a tour of northern Gaza last week, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Maxwell Gaylard, and the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) called on Israel to open its border crossings immediately to avert a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation on the ground. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Rabin precedent allows freeze on construction in E. Jerusalem 
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Under a precedent established by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, the prime minister is authorized to freeze construction for Jews in East Jerusalem. Following pressure from then U.S. president Bill Clinton, Rabin agreed to halt the expropriation of hundreds of dunams of land meant to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem. ... 

Sources: Progress on Shalit is real, but not all reports accurate 
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - While Israeli media reports on negotiations for the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit are limited by almost draconian military censorship, media outlets around the world have been reporting progress in the talks. ... 

Report: Abbas says Israel secretly talking with Hamas
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that Israel is currently conducting secret negotiations with Hamas, Channel 10 reported. ...

Comment / Is the Israel lobby doing more harm than good? 
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Three years ago I was invited, along with 30 other guests - mainly politicians and journalists - to a private dinner party given by one of Britain's richest Jews at a Jerusalem hotel. After a mediocre steak and some fantastic wine, we were addressed by our host. The British media were a disgrace, he told us, "real Goebbels-style." Their coverage of the Second Lebanon War had totally ruined his summer holiday. And the British politicians, many of whom he had donated to in the past, were with few exceptions "all pusillanimous hypocrites" who had criticized Israel's "disproportionate" response to Hezbollah's attacks. ... 

Mendel Kaplan, 'giant in the Jewish world,' dead at 73
Ha'aretz 20 Nov 2009 - Leading South African-Israeli philanthropist Mendel Kaplan died Thursday in Cape Town after suffering a stroke on Tuesday. He was 73. ...

The Guardian

Letters: Feedback on Israel lobby inquiry
The Guardian 19 Nov 2009 - David Cesarani ( A frisson of conspiracy , 18 November), is absolutely right that our investigation for Channel 4, Inside Britain's Israel Lobby , was followed by a deluge of pretty horrible antisemitic comment on a range of websites....

A UDI won't mean Palestinian statehood | Victor Kattan
The Guardian 19 Nov 2009 - The Palestinian Authority lacks the support to issue another unilateral declaration of independence it should not be hasty The Palestinian Authority has been making some rather strange decisions lately. In October, it opposed the Goldstone report...

Israel's ultra-Orthodox out of sync | Seth Freedman
The Guardian 19 Nov 2009 - The Haredi community's legal challenge against Intel for operating on Shabbat is putting jobs at risk Following this year's summer of discontent in Jerusalem, trouble looks set to flare again in the capital in the wake...

Obama declines to set Guantnamo closure date in Fox News interview
The Guardian 19 Nov 2009 - President criticises Afghan government and Israeli settlement building, and says he won't read Sarah Palin's book Barack Obama has backed away from his pledge to close the US prison at Guantnamo Bay by the end of...

Ha'aretz National page

Extremist Haredim promise to renew Shabbat battle against Intel 
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - The agreements reached this week between Intel and the Committee of Rabbis for the Sanctity of Shabbat will not guarantee a calm Saturday around the factory on Har Hotzvim in Jerusalem. ... 

International legal precedent: No private prisons in Israel
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - The High Court of Justice put an end to years of controversy Thursday by ruling that privately run prisons are unconstitutional. ...

Health Ministry finds severe flaws at Ichilov Hospital's ICU 
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - A recent Health Ministry report found "systemic failings" in the functioning of the intensive care unit at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. The hospital said in response that lessons have been learned and implemented. ... 

Children of suspected 'starving mother' smuggled out of Israel
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Three children of the Jerusalem woman suspected of systematically starving her 3-year-old son were secretly smuggled to London on Wednesday. The boy at the center of the affair was not one of them, however. ...

Prosecution closes corruption case against Olmert confidant Messer
Ha'aretz 19 Nov 2009 - Uri Messer, the close confidant and attorney of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, will not be charged in the investment center corruption affair, the State Prosecutor's Office announced Thursday. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Improving delivery of justice for juveniles: European Union signs MoU with Ministry of Social Affairs
Relief Web 19 Nov 2009 - Source: European Commission

OPT: UNRWA emergency appeal progress report, Jul – Dec 2008
Relief Web 19 Nov 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

What a drama! UK funds drama workshop for young Palestine refugees in Lebanon
Relief Web 19 Nov 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Jordan/OPT: Inauguration of Zarqa Girls School - Address by Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General
Relief Web 19 Nov 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: House demolitions create fear for Palestinian family
Relief Web 19 Nov 2009 - Source: Mennonite Central Committee

MADRE Year End Report
Relief Web 19 Nov 2009 - Source: MADRE

YNet News

Hamas reportedly submits new prisoner list 
YNet News 19 Nov 2009 - Fox News: Hamas presents new names after Israel rejects release of 70 prisoners on previous list 

'Starving mom's' 3 children leave Israel
YNet News 19 Nov 2009 - Authorities say that while departure was lawful it was not announced, express concern that mother accused of starving her child may flee country 

Palestinian says court trying wrong men
YNet News 19 Nov 2009 - PA police officer says two soldiers accused of assaulting him are not guilty 

Tehran slams Gilo construction plans
YNet News 19 Nov 2009 - Iran: Israeli plans to construct new homes in Jerusalem neighborhood 'unforgivable' 

Hassan Nasrallah re-elected as Hezbollah leader
YNet News 19 Nov 2009 - Shiite group says elections were delayed due to 2006 war with Israel; Naim Kassim also re-elected as deputy leader 

Jewish teen stabs Arab man in Jerusalem
YNet News 19 Nov 2009 - Arab suffers moderate abdomen wounds, evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem; assailant escapes, later turns himself in 

Daily Star

US warns Iran of consequences as nuclear talks flounder
Daily Star 19 Nov 2009 World powers could have a package of measures against Iran "within weeks," US President Barack Obama said on Thursday, warning Tehran of consequences for its failure to respond to an offer of a nuclear deal. However, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki dismissed talk of further punitive sanctions, saying the West had learned from past failures.

Egypt recalls ambassador from Algeria as soccer bitterness escalates
Daily Star 19 Nov 2009 Egypt on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Algeria for consultations as part of a growing diplomatic row caused by a bitter soccer rivalry between the two Arab nations that has sparked violence among fans. Egyptian fans were attacked after Algeria won a make-or-break World Cup qualifying game Wednesday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Barghouti calls for popular, diplomatic Palestinian action to achieve statehood
Daily Star 19 Nov 2009 Peace negotiations with Israel have failed and the Palestinians must launch popular and diplomatic campaigns to achieve statehood, Marwan Barghouti said in an interview from his prison cell. Still popular and articulate despite five years behind bars, the 50-year-old activist is seen by some as a Palestinian Nelson Mandela, the man who could galvanize a drifting and divided national movement if only he were set free by Israel., Peace negotiations with Israel have failed and the Palestinians must launch popular and diplomatic campaigns to achieve statehood, Marwan Barghouti said in an interview from his prison cell. Still popular and articulate despite five years behind bars, the 50-year-old activist is seen by some as a Palestinian Nelson Mandela, the man who could galvanize a drifting and divided national movement if only he were set free by Israel.

Israeli air strikes target Gaza tunnels, wound three
Daily Star 19 Nov 2009 Israeli warplanes bombed two smuggling tunnels and a military training compound in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, wounding three people, said officials in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement. An Israeli Army spokeswoman confirmed the air strikes against the smuggling tunnels and said strikes had also been carried out against.

Israel no longer trusts Turkey to mediate peace - Erdogan
Daily Star 19 Nov 2009 Israel no longer trusts Turkey to mediate peace talks with Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, signaling how much relations have deteriorated between the regional allies in recent months. Erdogan singled out Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to trust Ankara, unlike his predecessor Ehud Olmert, and also said.

Karzai sworn in to second term, vows to fight corruption
Daily Star 19 Nov 2009 Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sworn in for a second term on Thursday and vowed to combat corruption, bring security and reach out to political rivals, under Western pressure to restore legitimacy. Karzai took the oath of office as the US-led war stretches into a ninth year, leaving record numbers of soldiers and civilians dead and with Taliban control extending deeper into the country after an election mired in fraud.

Palestinian Information Center

PA police arrest journalist
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Palestinian Authority (PA) police have arrested Walid Suleiman, a Hebron-based journalist on suspicion of “inciting against the PA” and “undermining vital Palestinian interests.”

Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian building in Issawiya town
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Israeli bulldozers demolished Wednesday afternoon a Palestinian residential building in Aqaba neighborhood of Issawiya town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.

IOA allows limited quantity of cooking gas in Gaza for the first time in a month
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has allowed entry of a limited quantity of cooking gas into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday for the first time in a month.

Bardawil: No breakthrough in prisoners' exchange deal
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Spokesman for Hamas's parliamentary bloc Salah Al-Bardawil denied news reports about achieving a substantial breakthrough in the prisoner swap talks brokered by Germany and Egypt.

Dweik: I am not afraid of any arrest threats, and I will be assuming my duties
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Dr. Aziz Dweik said Wednesday that there are indirect threats to arrest him, stressing that he does not fear these threats and will remain assuming his duties until the elections of a new PLC.

IOF raids wound 3 Palestinians, IOF soldiers round up dozens in Gaza
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Israeli warplanes pounded the tunnels area in Rafah and a position for the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, at dawn Thursday wounding three citizens, local sources reported.

Aqsa foundation unveils building of elevators and tunnels reaching Aqsa Mosque
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - The Aqsa foundation revealed that the IOA in occupied Jerusalem started to build elevators and two tunnels connecting Al-Sharaf neighborhood with Al-Buraq plaza and Al-Maghariba gate.

Mishaal: Hamas preparing new political initiative
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Khaled Mishaal has said that Hamas was preparing a new political initiative that would reject the futile negotiations and adopt resistance to regain Palestinian rights.

Netanyahu: The obscene liar
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Israel must not be allowed to translate its pornographic lies into a license to commit a holocaust against the Palestinian people and other peoples of the Middle East.

Bardawil: The PLC will go on with its duties until electing a new parliament
PIC 19 Nov 2009 - Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil highlighted that the Palestinian legislative council (PLC) would continue to assume its parliamentary duties until the election of a new council.

Los Angeles Times

Nuclear fuel won't go abroad, Iranian says 
LA Times 19 Nov 2009 - Comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki may be a dismissal of a U.S.-backed plan, or an attempt to haggle. Iran's foreign minister vowed Wednesday that his nation wouldn't allow any of its enriched uranium supply out of the country, the most definitive statement so far on an international proposal to exchange the bulk of Iran's nuclear material for fuel rods fitted for a Tehran medical reactor. 

Jerusalem housing plan draws U.S. fire 
LA Times 18 Nov 2009 - The White House, which is trying to foster peace talks, says it is 'dismayed' by an Israeli housing panel's approval of a plan to build 844 new homes in a part of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians. Israel's plan to add 844 homes to a part of Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians drew sharp international protest Tuesday as U.S. officials denounced it as a blow to their already troubled effort to restart peace talks. 

New York Times

Real Estate Shopping Is Used as Political Theater on Jerusalem’s Contested Ground
New York Times 19 Nov 2009 - The conundrum of Jerusalem was fully in evidence as a Brooklyn lawmaker talked of buying into a Jewish apartment complex in a Palestinian neighborhood. 

Mideast Peace Talks Hang in Balance Over Abbas
New York Times 19 Nov 2009 - The Israeli security establishment is alarmed over the possible departure of President Mahmoud Abbas, whom it considers a true moderate. 

Misc

Israel brushes off Obama criticism over Jerusalem 
11/18/2009 - Antiwar.com - AP News - Pushes forward with east Jerusalem construction - Israel broke ground on a new housing complex for Jews in east Jerusalem on Wednesday, brushing off President Barack Obama's criticism that construction in the disputed part of the holy city undermines efforts to relaunch Mideast peace talks. The groundbreaking came a day after Israel defied American, European and Palestinian demands to stop settlement activity by announcing it will press forward with construction of 900 apartments in another Jewish area in east Jerusalem. Speaking to Fox News in Beijing on Wednesday, Obama criticized the plan to build hundreds of homes in Jerusalem's Gilo neighborhood, saying such moves make it harder to achieve peace in the region and embitter the Palestinians in a way he said could be dangerous. The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast 

West Is East, When Israel Decides 
11/19/2009 - Antiwar.com - The family received no compensation for the takeover. - JERUSALEM — Along a wall not about to come down — a hotel no longer a hotel, but an outpost. The three-story, 36-room Cliff Hotel used to be a favorite for Western pilgrims in search of the "authentic Holy Land flavor" because of its extensive gardens; it was a favorite also among Jerusalem Palestinians for wedding parties. Perched on a hillock opposite the biblical Mount of Olives, The Cliff offered (still offers) imposing views — eastward through the Judean desert down to the Dead Sea and up the mountains of Moab across the Jordan River; southwards to the church spires of Bethlehem; and westwards to the walled Old City and the Golden Dome of the Rock. Five years ago, in the wake of the Palestinian Intifadah uprising, Israel began to build its concrete security wall to fend off would-be bombers coming into Jerusalem. 

Hamas-linked group offers cash for Israeli capture 
11/18/2009 - Antiwar.com - AP News - Hamas-loyal Gaza group offers $1. 4 million bounty for capture of an Israeli soldier - A Gaza charity headed by the interior minister of the militant Hamas group on Wednesday offered $1. 4 million to any Arab citizen of Israel who abducts a soldier. Palestinians have frequently called on Israeli Arabs to abduct Israeli soldiers, but this is the first time that money has been offered. The Waad group from Gaza offered the bounty for Israeli soldiers in an e-mail sent to Palestinian media. The organization, which supports Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, is headed by Hamas' Interior Minister Fathi Hamad. The minister did not return messages seeking comment. The charity could presumably raise the cash through its connections with Hamas. The militant group is thought to have millions of dollars at its disposal, both through its tight control of Gaza and support from Iran and other allies. 

Real Estate Shopping Is Used as Political Theater on Jerusalem’s Contested Ground 
11/18/2009 - New York Times - JERUSALEM — Dov Hikind, a member of the New York State Assembly, was in this disputed city on Wednesday looking for property to buy. He said he was most excited about a new apartment complex overlooking the Old City called Nof Zion. At noon, Mr. Hikind led a group of about 50 American Jews in laying a cornerstone for the next phase of Nof Zion, with construction scheduled to start next spring. “I want to buy here,” Mr. Hikind said. “I might make a deal while I am here this time. ”More than a real estate deal, though, it would be a statement: Nof Zion, a private Jewish project, is in Jebel Mukaber, a Palestinian Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, in territory Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war. Israel claims sovereignty over all Jerusalem; the Palestinians demand the eastern part as the capital of a future state. 

Mideast Peace Talks Hang in Balance Over Abbas 
11/18/2009 - New York Times - JERUSALEM — Two weeks after the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, vowed not to run for re-election and hinted that he might resign, the Middle East peace process has sunk into a deep crisis amid urgent efforts to revive it. The Israeli security establishment is in a state of alarm over the possible departure of Mr. Abbas, whom it considers a genuine moderate. Some of its top members are urging their government to make far-reaching offers — “not just lifting a few roadblocks,” in the words of one — that would persuade him to stay in power and resume negotiations with Israel on a solution that involves creating an independent Palestinian state. Palestinian leaders are looking elsewhere for salvation. Aware of their own weakness, but also of rising disillusionment abroad with Israel over West Bank settlement growth and its war in Gaza in January, they are hoping to turn frailty to their 

Israeli air strikes wound three in Gaza - Hamas 
11/18/2009 - The Star (Malaysia) - GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli warplanes bombed two smuggling tunnels and a military training compound in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, wounding three people, said officials in the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the air strikes against the smuggling tunnels and said strikes had also been carried out against what she called two weapons manufacturing facilities near the Gaza town of Khan Younis. " The strikes are in response to continued recent rocket firing into Israel from the Gaza Strip. In the past month some 15 rockets have been fired into Israel," the spokeswoman said. Israel carries out sporadic air strikes against smuggling tunnels that run underneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and are used to bring weapons and supplies into the coastal territory. 

Erekat: Gilo construction shows why Israel not partner for peace 
11/19/2009 - YNetNews - Chief Palestinian negotiator says controversial plan to build hundreds of housing units in southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood 'provides 900 more reasons why hopes for salvaging two-state solution and restarting genuine negotiations are rapidly fading. ' Qureia: Final nail in peace process' coffin - Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed the international criticism of Israel's plan to build hundreds of housing units in Jerusalem's southeastern Gilo neighborhood. He said the Gilo project "provides 900 more reasons why hopes for salvaging the two-state solution and restarting genuine negotiations are rapidly fading, and why Israel is not a partner for peace. "The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, for their hoped-for state and have refused negotiations until Israel stops settlement construction in these areas. 

VIDEO - The Israel Lobby 
4/2/2007 - Tegenlicht/YouTube - An episode of the Dutch documentary program "Tegenlicht" about the Israel lobby in the USA. - For many years now the American foreign policy has been characterized by the strong tie between the United States and Israel. Does the United States in fact keep Israel on its feet? And how long will it continue to do so? Is one allowed to question that reality, or is the pro-Israel lobby so strong, financially and politically, that the relationship with Israel is taboo and therefore unmentionable? And what happens to those who dare expose the unmentionable? In March 2006 the American political scientists John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Steve Walt (Harvard) published the controversial article 'The Israel Lobby and US foreign policy'. In it they state that it is not, or no longer, expedient for the US to support and protect present-day Israel. -- Links: Tegenlicht

Israelis Imprison Cat For Aiding Palestinian Prisoners 
11/19/2009 - Political Theatrics - An Israeli prison,The Nakab, located between Egypt and Israel has booked one cat in solitary confinement as punishment for its services and assistance to prisoners who are serving sentences in solitary confinement. According to the Israeli officers,the cat was aiding prisoners by moving light objects (i. e. letters,bread etc) between the cells of prisoners. It turns out that the cat had been providing its services to prisoners for several months until it was exposed recently and so the prison administration decided to place the cat in solitary confinement – the same way they do to the prisoners. There are dozens of cats living between the cells and rooms of the Palestinian prisoners in several Israeli prisons and private prisons, and apparently the cats are trying to help them. 

Abbas: 'Mideast Deal Won’t Happen With Me' 
11/19/2009 - Political Theatrics - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week countered Israeli and American claims that a Middle East peace deal could be reached before the end of his term. In an interview with Egyptian television on Wednesday, Abbas denied that either side has been pleading with him persistently to remain in office against his declared plan not to run for presidency in the Palestinian Authority’s next election. “If [Israeli and U. S. ] intentions are sincere, then I am still here and have been here for years. They could have reached a deal with me already,” said Abbas. “If Israel is prepared to advance peace on the basis of prior agreements and in accordance with the outline laid out in the road map, then it can do so with any Palestinian leader that succeeds me. ”Abbas said he had made clear during talks with U. S. President Barack Obama that he did not seem himself as likely to convince Israel to halt construction in West Bank settlements. 

Defense Min. turns blind eye as Israelis sell arms to enemies 
11/19/2009 - Ha'aretz - Israeli arms dealers have negotiated and sold military equipment to a number of countries defined by Israeli law as enemy states in recent years with the full acknowledgment and approval of the Defense Ministry, Haaretz has learned. The ministry has okayed negotiations and sales between Israeli dealers and several Arab states including Iraq, Libya and Yemen, say the sources. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz recently approved the Tel Aviv District State Prosecutor's Office decision to close an investigation against dual Israel-U. S. citizen Shlomi Michaels, whose company, the Kurdistan Development Organization (KODO), was suspected of illegal arms deals with Iraq. A police spokesman confirmed they had opened an investigation into Michaels dealings in 2006. Michael's company Kodo used to be partly owned by former MK Dani Yatom, who is also a former head of the Mossad secret service. 

Major powers to meet after Iran snubs nuclear deal 
11/19/2009 - The Raw Story - AFP - Major world powers are to meet in Brussels on Friday to discuss Iran's rejection of a nuclear fuel deal, a top EU official said, after US President Barack Obama warned of "consequences" for Tehran. Iran, meanwhile, hit out at the United States amid mixed signals from world powers and an apparent new deadlock in efforts to allay Western concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme. " Tomorrow (Friday) in Brussels there will be a meeting of the three plus three at the level of political directors, hosted by the European Union," said EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana's spokeswoman. UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany are leading talks aimed at persuading Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. On Wednesday, Iran rejected a proposal for it to send more than 70 percent of its stocks of low-enriched uranium abroad under 

Israel, Hamas wary on talk prisoner swap imminent 
11/18/2009 - Reuters - GAZA (Reuters) - Israel and Hamas reacted cautiously on Wednesday to reports a deal to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip might be concluded by the end of this month. Sources on both sides told Reuters there were hopes that a deal, which would commence a process of exchange lasting some weeks, might be struck by the end of next week, when the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha begins. But they cautioned there was no certainty the complex bargain would be finalized. The U. S. -funded Arabic television channel Al-Hurra quoted unidentified sources as saying a German and Egyptian-mediated agreement to exchange captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for Palestinians held in Israeli jails would be clinched by Eid. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office put out a statement following the report which said negotiators were working "through 

Obama renews threats against Iran 
11/18/2009 - Press TV - US President Barack Obama says the door is still open for Iran to accept the IAEA-backed proposal on a nuclear fuel deal but warned of “consequences” if Tehran does not change its mind. The mid-October nuclear draft discussed in Vienna envisages Iran shipping out its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to be further enriched and returned to the country for the Tehran medical research reactor. The idea was first floated by the Obama administration. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced on Wednesday that Iran would not send its enriched uranium abroad to be further processed for Tehran's reactor. He said Iran was instead considering swapping the uranium on its soil. " Iran will not send its 3. 5-percent-enriched uranium out of the country," ISNA quoted Mottaki as saying. "That means we are considering exchanging the enriched uranium inside Iran. 

Mossad learned of Syrian nuke facility from laptop’s hard drive 
11/17/2009 - World Tribune - Israel’s Mossad intelligence service obtained details of Syria’s covert nuclear facility by secretly obtaining data left on the laptop computer of a Syrian official who visited London, according to a German magazine report. The U. S. National Security Agency played a key role in identifying the Syrian nuclear facility at al Kibar after communications between Syria and North Korea were intercepted in the spring of 2004, Germany’s Der Spiegel reported Nov. 4. However, the intelligence coup on the facility was scored by Israel’s Mossad at the end of 2006 a high-ranking Syrian government official, kept under observation by Mossad stayed at a hotel in London's posh Kensington district and left his computer behind in the hotel room. “Agents installed a spy program on the laptop, a Trojan horse that secretly steals data,” Der Spiegel report. 


Articles

Palestinians accuse Israel settlements of diverting water 
Joshua Mitnick, Christian Science Monitor 11/18/2009
      Israel settlements use more than four times as much water as Palestinians and the absence of a peace agreement is stalling negotiations to improve the situation.
     Auja, West Bank - The Hmoud family once prospered in this arid Palestinian farm village by cultivating banana and eggplant crops, earning enough to send a son abroad for medical school and to build a house with a showy staircase and a two-story window.
     But drought has decimated the spring that is Auja’s only agricultural water source, and fields once filled with palm trees are now empty. Village residents have been forced to find work in the greenhouses near Jewish settlements that are hooked up to Israeli water mains.
     "This before you is barren land," says Mahmoud Hmoud, standing in parched field littered with plastic sheeting. "Ten years go it was blooming."
     Long a hot-button in the parched Middle East, the need for a water-rights compromise here has become more acute after years of dry winters, as Palestinians struggle with what they say are insufficient quotas and Israel mulls steep tax hikes on home and garden usage. Both sides blame each other for failing to honor the 1995 interim agreement still in effect. Though potential solutions exist, little progress can be made until the peace process – stalled for nearly a year – is restarted.
     Two straws, one glass of water
     The dispute partly focuses on rights to a "mountain aquifer" underneath the hilltops of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It collects rainwater, most of which then flows through subterranean rock formations across the Green Line into Israel proper. more.. e-mail

A state for all its citizens, not a state of all the Jews 
Alan Philps, The National 11/19/2009
      It is not often that an Israeli history book is translated into Arabic with a view to finding a mass readership. And it is even rarer when that book is to be translated into two other major languages of the Islamic world, Turkish and Indonesian, not to mention Japanese, Russian, German, Italian and Portuguese.
     The work is The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand, a professor of history at Tel Aviv University. When it was first published in Israel last year, it spent 19 weeks in the bestseller list, thanks in part to furious denunciations by academic historians. It has just appeared in English, and the provocative title does not disappoint.
     Sand’s thesis is simple: the founding myth of Israel, set out in the 1948 declaration of independence, that the Jewish people were exiled by the Romans in the first century and have the right to return, is a lie. There was no exile. Judaism was a successful proselytising religion, taking advantage of a weariness in the Greco-Roman world with its pagan gods. So the Jews are a religious community, the vast majority being converts.
     The idea of a Jewish people, the author writes, was created in the 19th century at a time when the disparate peoples who lived in France, Italy or Germany were creating their own national myths as the basis for nation-states. The narrative of the Jews as a people descended from the Biblical Hebrews was hijacked by the Zionists. It is used to this day to bolster the settlement project in the occupied territories.
     Sand is a specialist in European history, so his work has been treated with condescension by specialists. Simon Schama, the historian and documentary maker, writes with academic hauteur that serious historians stopped believing in the exile many years ago, so Sand is presenting “truisms as though they were revolutionary illuminations”. more.. e-mail


Electronic Intifada
Bantustans and the unilateral declaration of statehood
Electronic Intifada: 19 Nov 2009 - From a rumor, to a rising murmur, the proposal floated by the Palestinian Authority's (PA) Ramallah leadership to declare Palestinian statehood unilaterally has suddenly hit center stage. It's no exaggeration to propose that this idea, although well-meant by some, raises the clearest danger to the Palestinian national movement in its entire history, threatening to wall Palestinian aspirations into a political cul-de-sac from which it may never emerge. Virginia Tilley comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Jahalin Bedouin suffer without representation
Electronic Intifada: 19 Nov 2009 - Beyond the demolitions in its suburbs and the frequent, violent clashes around the al-Aqsa mosque, Jerusalem is the scene of a quieter shame. Southeast of the holy city live the Jahalin Bedouin, a community that has been repeatedly displaced and transferred, now enduring unimaginable poverty beside Jerusalem's largest garbage dump. Kieron Monks reports. 

British TV documentary tackles taboo of Israel's lobby
Electronic Intifada: 19 Nov 2009 - For the first time a mainstream British television program has tackled the Zionist lobby head-on. Channel 4's Dispatches , broadcast on 16 November, promised to hold the pro-Israel lobby up to rigorous public scrutiny and it succeeded. Presented by Peter Oborne, former political editor of the right-wing weekly The Spectator , Dispatches revealed the cozy relationship between Britain's pro-Israel lobby and both the Conservative and Labour parties as well as its attempts to stifle criticism of Israel in the press. Diane Langford reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

Sounds and struggle: Solidarity through music
Electronic Intifada: 18 Nov 2009 - On Wednesday, 11 November, more than 200 persons packed into La Sala Rossa, a slightly operatic Montreal venue, as part of the ongoing concert series "Artists Against Apartheid," which is held in solidarity with the call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions from Israeli apartheid and is organized by Tadamon!, a Montreal collective working in solidarity with Palestine. Tyler Nadeau writes for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
where is the buffer zone?
19 Nov 2009 - At 8:30 on November 15, a number of young men went as usual to the land near Gaza’s northern border with Israel, intending to catch birds. Amjad Hassanain, 27, was among the bird-catchers hunting near the border fence when Israeli soldiers began shooting. The shots which missed the other bird-catchers hit Hassanain, grazing his shoulder. Cameraman Abdul Rahman Hussain, filming in the vicinity, reports having seen the group of bird-catches head north. “We were near the former Israeli settlement of Doghit,” said Hussain, referring to the area northwest of Beit Lahia in Gaza’s north. “I had gone to the border area to photograph a young bird-catcher. We were about 400...

Palestine Chronicle
What's Faith Got to Do With it?
19 Nov 2009 - By Aijaz Zaka Syed - Dubai Just when relations between the United States and the Islamic world appeared to be improving slowly but decisively, thanks to President Barack Obama, it seems we are back to square one. The Fort Hood shooting, allegedly by a second generation Arab American army psychiatrist killing 13 US Army men and women, has in one swift move undone all the hard work by Muslim Americans to bridge the gulf with mainstream America. Since Obama took over, the US media and officials have been uncharacteristically restrained, avoiding references to religion in discussions and comments on the war on terror. All that is history now. For the no holds-barred US media and the shrill Republican neocons, it's as though Fort Hood has opened floodgates to all the anger, hatred and sheer malice towards Muslims pent up for sometime. From personally blaming Obama for the attack to blasting politically correct pantywaists who are inviting the 'Islamofascists' to take over Christian, white America, the media and the bored Republicans have pounced on the usual suspects like hungry wolves. Kosher Joe Lieberman, who once dreamed of being the first Jewish president, wants the US military investigated for "dereliction of duty". Republican Peter Hoekstra vows to unmask "cover-ups in the White House." Columnist Michelle Malkin blasts the US Army for its "blind diversity" that embraces a faith like Islam, which "equals death." Another Jewish columnist Jonah Goldberg argues, "there's a powerful case to be made that Islamic extremism is not some...

Zionist Control of Britain's Government: 1940-2009
19 Nov 2009 - By William A. Cook 'After so many years of setting the tone, bribing UK politicians and controlling the BBC they (Zionists) are used to being untouchable.' (Gilad Atzmon, “Britain Must de-Zionist Itself Immediately,” Nov. 17, 2009, MWC News). This week the British people listened to the Daily Mail’s Peter Oborne present, on Channel 4, his devastating account of the Jewish lobby’s control of their government. Now we know that virtually all the principal politicians in the UK of both parties, like their brothers across the lake in our House and Senate, take “contributions” from the Israeli lobby machine ensuring that the Anglo-American mid-east policies follow the dictates of the Israeli government. Gilad Atzmon responded to this report in his article “Britain must de-Zionise itself immediately,” noting that this control has been in place for so many years the lobby feels “untouchable.” How many years are “many” one might ask? In 1941, the High Commissioner of Palestine, Harold MacMichael, Senior Palestine Mandate officer for the British Mandate forces in Palestine, sent the following “Top Secret” “Memorandum on the Participation of the Jewish National Institutions in Palestine in Acts of Lawlessness and Violence” to the Secretary of State, dated October 16th, a report prepared by The Palestine Police, Criminal Investigation Department: The memorandum illustrates—indeed, brings into full limelight—the fact that the Mandatory is faced potentially with as grave a danger in Palestine from Jewish violence as it ever faced from Arab violence, a danger infinitely less easy to meet by the methods...

Abbas Election Pullout Raises Questions
18 Nov 2009 - By Stu Harrison President of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, said on November 5 that he would not run in the presidential election scheduled for January 24. Abbas has been the United States and Israel’s favored negotiations partner. Since the Oslo accords between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel in 1993, Abbas has been a key Palestinian negotiator pushing for a two-state solution to the Palestinian struggle. Under a two-state solution, Palestinians would accept a statelet based on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, divided from each other and cut up by growing Israeli-settlements and Jewish-only roads. Until Oslo, the demand of the Palestinian movement was for one state over historic Palestine in which all citizens, regardless of race or religion, could live in equality. A two-state solution would leave almost 80% of historic Palestine as the exclusive territory of the Jewish state of Israel, which was formed in 1948 after the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians from their lands. The West Bank and Gaza were invaded and occupied by Israel in 1967. The US backed Abbas’s party, Fatah, in a 2007 coup over the Hamas led-unity government. Hamas had won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Assembly elections. The coup was successful in the West Bank, but the elected Hamas-led government held on to power in Gaza. The US labels Hamas as a terrorist organization and an unsuitable partner for negotiations. Abbas’s willingness to act as a US-favored proxy, combined with Israel’s refusal to grant any concessions to Palestinian...

Frustration with Obama Increasing 
18 Nov 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington There is growing frustration, inside and outside the United States, with the otherwise attractive Obama administration primarily because of its failure to bring about any measurable change in U.S. policy especially in the Middle East. Hopes are continuously raised but have yet to be fulfilled. The spirited American leader has moved crowds with his ideas, here and abroad as illustrated during his current East Asia tour but none of these ideas have materialized. This has led some to look for alternative courses, skirting an American involvement, as hard as this may seem to be. ‘While much attention has been paid to the feud between the (rightist) Fox News Channel and the White House, The New York Times observed last Monday,’ the Obama administration is now facing criticism of a different sort from ... progressive hosts on MSNBC (a popular TV channel) who are using their nightly news-and-views-cast to measure what (Rachel Maddow, a liberal host) calls ‘the distance between Obama’s rhetoric and his actions.’ The paper continued: ‘While they may agree with much of what Mr. Obama says, they have pressed him to keep his campaign promises about healthcare, civil liberties and other issues.’ The same is true in the Arab world, where the lackluster Palestinian leadership agreed, reportedly at U.S. urging, to shelve the Goldstone Report that charged Israel, and to a lesser extent Hamas, of war crimes during the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip last December. The naive Palestinian expectation apparently was...

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