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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
2 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

84 Structures To Be Built In West Bank Settlements
IMEMC 2 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 03, 2009 - 00:46, The Israeli cabinet decided on Wednesday evening to build 84 more homes in a number of illegal West Bank settlements. The decision came while Israel vowed a 10-month freeze of settlement activities.

Sheikh Sabri Barred From Al Aqsa Mosque For Six Months
IMEMC 2 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 03, 2009 - 00:21, The Israeli Authorities in Jerusalem handed Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, head of the Higher Islamic Committee in Jerusalem, a restriction order preventing him from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque, in East Jerusalem, for six months.

Hamas fighter Reported dead in the Gaza Strip
IMEMC 2 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 02, 2009 - 16:22, The ruling Hamas movement in the Gaza announced that one of its fighters were killed on Wednesday morning.

Settlers Fake Foundations to bypass the government decision on settlement freeze
IMEMC 2 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 02, 2009 - 16:16, In order to bypass government freeze of settlement construction , dozens of "Fake Foundations" were established in West Bank settlements in recent days.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians in response to the settlement freeze
IMEMC 2 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 02, 2009 - 13:59, During an anti settlement construction freeze rally, scores of Israeli settlers hurled, on Wednesday, stones at Palestinian cars in northern West Bank.

Israeli Spy Imprisoned By The U.S Demands Executing Palestinian Detainees
IMEMC 2 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 02, 2009 - 05:07, Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy imprisoned by the United States harshly attacked talks on the release of hundreds of Palestinian detainees in exchange for the release of the prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, and said that Israel should instead execute the detainees.

Ma'an News

Elderly Palestinian attacked by Israeli soldiers, left bleeding
12/2/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers beat a 75-year-oldPalestinian on Wednesday as he was trying to access his land adjacent to Israel's electric barrier west of Deir Al-Ghusun, in the northern West Bank the victim told Ma'an. Ahmad Jaber Ghanem was left bleeding at the scene of the incident, after Israeli soldiers assaulted him and refused medical assistance. An ambulance associated with the Palestinian Red Crescent was called by locals shortly after the incident and transferred Ghanem to the Thabit Thabit Hospital in Tulkarem, where Ghanem was treated for moderate injuries sustained to the head and face. Ghanem told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers repeatedly deny him access to his land near Israel's electric barrier, despite having the necessary permit granting him entry. The electric barrier forms part of Israel's internationally condemned separation wall. . . . -- Link: Medics: Israeli forces shoot, detain Gaza man

Medics: Israeli forces shoot, detain Gaza man
12/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces shot and detained a Palestinian on the Gaza Strip's northern border on Wednesday morning, a government medical official said. Muawiyah Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Gaza Health Ministry, told Ma'an that the Israeli forces opened fire on a man who has not yet been identified, injuring him. Hassanein said the soldiers denied a Palestinian ambulance permission to retrieve him, leaving him bleeding near the border. An Israeli military spokeswoman said that Israeli forces shot the man after he ignored warning shots for approaching the border. She said soldiers administered initial medical treatment before transferring him to Barzilai hospital in the city of Ashkelon. Hassanein said the Health Ministry is in contact with the Israeli military to find out the wounded man's to try to return him to Gaza. -- Link: Elderly Palestinian attacked by Israeli soldiers, left bleeding

VIDEO - Shock follows footage of settler running over Palestinian
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - An amateur video shocked Palestinians on Tuesday, catching what appeared to be an Israeli settler repeatedly running over a wounded Palestinian at a gas station in Hebron last week. The Palestinian, an unidentified man shot several times following an alleged knife attack at the station, appeared to be staggering when a silver Mercedes ran him down, stopped, reversed, and ran him over again. The video was reportedly taken on Thursday, although at the time, Israeli representatives made no mention of the settler's alleged attack, telling reporters only that a Palestinian man had been shot after he stabbed and lightly injured two settlers. A military spokesman told Ma'an that after the two Israelis were hurt, a soldier shot and injured the Palestinian, who was taken to the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem. 

Israeli court to Al-Kurd family: Settlers will stay in your home
12/2/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The Israeli Central Court heard and rejected Wednesday the petition of the Al-Kurd family seeking the eviction of Israeli settlers from their home. The home, vacant following a court order demanding the Al-Kurds leave the building following a demolition order from Israel's Jerusalem municipality, was taken over by Israeli settlers on TuesdayWednesday, and denied the plea treplied on Wednesday to the petition of Al-Kurd family from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood where they called the Israeli court to issue an order to evacuate the settlers from their own home that was dominated by the settlers on Tuesday. Jerusalem affairs official with Fatah Hatem Abdel Qader said the decision came only hours after the court heard the petition from the Al-Kurd family lawyers Hosni Abu Hassanein and Sami Irshid, then the lawyers with the settler group. 

Expired food confiscated in Nablus and Tulkarem
12/2/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Palestinian customs officials seized a large quantity of expired goods and products manufactured on illegal Israeli settlements in Nablus and Tulkarem on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the Palestinian police department. During an inspection of market places, the customs officials confiscated one ton of expired chocolate, in addition to clothes and children's toys brought from nearby Israeli settlements, according to the head of public relations for the police department in Nablus, Haytham Al-Zein. All products manufactured on Israeli settlements are banned from Palestinian markets, Al-Zein pointed out. The customs officers are investigating all traders who purchase illegal settlement goods or who sell produce deemed not fit for consumption, in order to guarantee the Palestinian publics' safety, Al-Zein added. 

Israeli forces demolish two homes north of West Bank
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli media sources said two Palestinian homes were demolished in Israel on Wednesday, and seven bystanders were detained as they attempted to prevent crews from destroying the properties. Israel's news site Ynet said the demolition took place near Jabal Al-Faqoua, Gilboa, in Israel just north of Jenin. The buildings were allegedly illegal, and were demolished. [end] 

Thousands in East Jerusalem lost residency rights
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's Interior Ministry stripped 4,577 Palestinians of their right to live in East Jerusalem in 2008, reports said, an all time record in 42 years of occupation. The state-figures were made public in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday. The total was 21 times higher than the average of the previous 40 years. In the first 40 years of Israeli occupation Israel revoked residency rights of 8,558. More than double that number lost their ID cards in 2008 alone. The Interior Ministry told Haaretz that the increase stemmed from a 2008 decision by the previous Israeli government to investigate the legal status of thousands of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. The 250,000 Palestinians with Israeli-issued East Jerusalem identity cards have the same legal status as people who immigrated to Israel legally, but are not entitled to citizenship, Attorney Yotam. . . -- Link: Israel stripped thousands of Jerusalem Arabs of residency in 2008

Israeli forces storm Al-Aroub Refugee Camp; detain three
12/2/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli forces assaulted two Palestinians and detained three others from across the West Bank in the early hours of Wednesday, a Palestinian police statement said. Israeli forces entered the Al-Aroub Refugee Camp, storming the roofs of homes and firing rubber bullets and tear gas, before withdrawing and detaining Shehab Ahmad At-Tity, 20, according to the information office of the Palestinian police department. No injuries were reported, the statement added. In Tulkarem, Faisal Nasif Taqatqa, 19, was transferred to hospital after being beaten by Israeli forces at the Anata checkpoint while an unidentified Palestinian was also transferred to Hebron Hospital after Israeli forces assaulted him, according to the statement. Two more were detained at the Al-Hamra checkpoint at the entrance of Jericho. 

Hamas fighter dies in Gaza
12/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas' armed wing said one of its members died early Wednesday during what it described as a "Jihad mission" in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. In a statement, the Al-Qassam Brigades said 37-year-old Yasser Sabri Radi, a resident of the An-Nuseirat Refugee Camp, died during the mission. The statement did not disclose further details. On Monday night a member of Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, was killed when a car exploded in the Ash-Shati Refugee Camp near Gaza City. The Israeli military said it had no connection to the blast. [end] 

MoH demands release of detained, injured Palestinian
12/2/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - PA Minister of Health Fathi Abu Moghli called on international institutions and organizations to immediately intervene Wednesday, to secure the release an injured Palestinian, detained as he was traveling to seek medical treatment in a Jerusalem hospital. Ahmad Samir Salim Asfour was detained at the Erez/Beit Hanoun checkpoint in northern Gaza on 24 December, whilst en route to undergo treatment for diabetes-related digestive and pancreas trouble as well as a disability sustained during the Israeli war on Gaza where a nerve was lacerated and he lost use of his arm. The Minister of Health called on the Israeli Health Minister to intervene, highlighting that Asfour's detention violates international agreements and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Dr Omar An-Nasser, the director of public relations for the PA Ministry of Health said the ministry was following up on Asfour's current state of health. 

EU envoys: Israel severing Jerusalem from West Bank
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - EU envoys condemn the Israeli government and the Jerusalem Municipality's discriminatory policies in East Jerusalem and recommend implementing measures to strengthen the PA's presence in the city in a classified report leaked in Israeli media on Wednesday. The EU report, which is updated annually by EU representatives in Jerusalem and Ramallah, was presented to EU institutions in Brussels recently, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, which stated that the report is never published due to Israeli pressure "for fear the publication would further undermine the European public's already negative view of Israel. " The report charged both the Israeli government and the Jerusalem Municipality of undertaking premeditated measures to alter the city's demography in favor of Jewish residents and "sever East Jerusalem from the West Bank" by backing right-wing. . . 

Settlers march on Nablus amid construction slowdown
12/2/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Angry at their government's decision to curb construction in illegal West Bank settlements, Israeli settlers marched from their colonies toward the city of Nablus on Wednesday, hurling stones at Palestinian cars. Witnesses at the Huwwara military checkpoint south of Nablus said Israeli soldiers stopped all traffic in and out of the city when demonstrating settlers began to arrive. Two settlers were reportedly arrested by Israeli forces. No injuries were reported. An Israeli security source said"there had been incidents" when military inspectors went Wednesday to enforce the recently-declared construction slowdown. Israeli military inspectors visited at least two settlements on Wednesday, including Beit Aryeh near Ramallah and Elon Moreh north of Nablus. In the latter they issued six stop-work orders on planned buildings. 

Two Gaza crossings open
12/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities allowed between 97 and 107 truckloads of goods and limited amounts of fuel into the otherwise besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Palestinian sources said. Raed Fattuh, the Palestinian official charged with liaising with Israel on the entry of goods into Gaza, said the truckloads of humanitarian and private sector goods will be allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Nahal Oz crossing will also be open for the transfer of limited amounts of fuel including cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza's power plant. The crossing has been mainly closed since October, with only three announced openings for fuel deliveries. Israeli officials said they would be shutting down the crossing and moving infrastructure to the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Karni crossing, formerly Gaza's primary shipping terminal, will be closed. 

Israeli prison officials release Tulkarem man after almost three years
12/2/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli forces released 23-year-old Muhammad Anbas from prison on Wednesday, following a two-year and ten-month term in the Neveg prison. Anbas is from the Tulkarem Refugee Camp, he was detained on 21 April 2007. [end] 

Egyptian security services seize weapons cache on border
12/2/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian security services raided a weapons cache near the Rafah border with Gaza on Wednesday that were en route to Gaza via the smuggling tunnels, according to Egyptian security sources. The Egyptian security services uncovered and confiscated two belts lined with explosives, six bombs, and five unspecified explosive materials, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the sources told Ma'an that the Egyptian authorities detained six Palestinians in Al-Arish City for infiltrating Egypt through the tunnels and smuggling large quantities of goods into the Gaza Strip last month, adding that the six detained were in possession of 10,000 US dollars and 10,000 shekels. The sources stressed that investigations into the incident are ongoing. 

Rafah crossing opens for Palestinian pilgrims
12/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was opened on Wednesday to allow homebound Palestinians returning from Hajj to enter, according to Ghazi Hamad, the head of the crossings department for the de facto Gaza government. Three groups of pilgrims are expected to arrive into Gaza on Wednesday, Hamad said, noting that efforts have been undertaken to ensure that Palestinians are allowed to transit into Gaza throughout the week. Barakat Al-Farra, the Palestinian ambassador to Egypt, announced earlier that all preparations have been completed to receive Palestinian pilgrims and that the Egyptian authorities, as well as the Palestinian embassy in Cairo, have implement all necessary procedures to guarantee a swift return home for Palestinians from Gaza who have returned from Mecca. 

Fadwa Barghouthi: No word on Marwan’s release
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The wife of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi said on Wednesday that she has received no official word on her husband being released as a part of a prisoner exchange. Fadwa Barghouthi told Ma'an in an interview said that she trusts the Palestinian negotiators on the prisoner issue, and hopes that a deal will be concluded in a "fair manner. "  She specifically said she hopes large numbers of long-term prisoners are released. She urged the media to take care in their handling of the prisoner issue because reports could influence the negotiations. A popular figure among Fatah's grassroots, Marwan Barghouthi is one of approximately 1,000 Palestinians who could be released in a prisoner exchange between Israel and the captors of soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza. On Wednesday the London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat reported that Israel will only release Barghouthi on the condition that he is sent into exile. 

Qureia: Return to talks would be pointless
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's intransigence and rejection of international law means that a return to negotiations atpresent would be pointless, senior PLO official Ahmed Qureia told EU envoy Christian Berger on Wednesday. "As a result of the ongoing violations and Israel's refusal to recognize the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, as well as its rebuffing of its commitments under the Road Map plan and under international law, returning to negotiations will be meaningless," the official said, according to a statement from his office. "The international community must define the terms of the two state solution based on relevant international law and treaties. "  Qureia, head of the Jerusalem Affairs Department and a member of the PLO Executive Committee, discussed with Berger a Swedish proposal for the EU to declare east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. 

Palestinian MK: Settlers crying over trick freeze
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Knesset Member Muhammad Barakah accused settler leaders of crying over nothing, calling the recent construction-ban in the settlements a "temporary trick" and settler reactions a lot of posturing, during the Knesset meeting Wednesday. "Your tears are adulterous and your settlement plans are only temporary, [the freeze] will pass by quickly; the freeze announcement is only a trick," Barakah told the assembled leaders in the Knesset. The MK delivered a speech at a session dominated by discussion of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent bill that launched orders to halt some settlement construction in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, for ten months. Settlers in the West Bank have staged violent demonstrations and local leaders have publicly ripped up the "stop work" orders delivered by Israeli military personnel over the past week, leading to the arrest of several settlers. 

Hamas: PA detained 5 affiliates in West Bank
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas officials accused the Palestinian Authority security services of detaining five of the party's affiliates from locations across the West Bank. The five were taken from the Tulkarem, Nablus and Hebron areas, according to a statement from Hamas officials. The allegations come as unity talks continue in stalemate as earlier rumors of a post-Eid resumption turn out to have been false. [end] 

Ma’an chief to Bethlehem governor: Focus is on declaration of state
12/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Bethlehem Governor Abdul Fattah Hamayel visited Ma'an headquarters in Bethlehem on Wednesday, where he spoke with Chief Editor Nasser Lahham on the importance of the Palestinian plan to declare statehood. Lahham spoke passionately about the commitment of Ma'an to covering all facets of the progress toward the declaration of a Palestinian state, including the work of Palestinian officials in Geneva with the WTO, the Universal Postal Union and at the UN. "We are closely following the reactions of the international community, particularly the European Draft resolution that may soon be presented at the UN," Lahham said. Hamayel addressed ways the municipality could cooperate with the news agency and keep journalists abreast of the latest developments in state building and diplomacy. The governor was attended by his media advisor, Munjid Jado. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Did top Hamas officials discuss the Shalit deal with Nasrallah?
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Hezbollah TV station says delegation met with Iran-backed group's leader for talks on U.S. Mideast policy. 

Lebanon cabinet lets Hezbollah keep its weapons
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Decision signals group still has no intention of disarming; report: Lebanon army shoots at IAF warplanes. 

From Mishnah to MI: Haredi yeshiva graduates enlist in IDF
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Seventy yeshiva graduates serve in unique program that brings ultra-Orthodox into Intelligence Corps. 

IDF chief wants to enlist Arabs, Haredim in national service
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Ashkenazi: Changing demographics in Israel require the IDF to construct 'new models of service.' 

IAF considers buying $65m aircraft capable of vertical take-off, landing
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - On combat missions the V-22 was included for the first time in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Pre-army students to Netanyahu: Don't free hardened terrorists for Shalit
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Court: Details of Shalit swap must stay secret; Report: Israel to free 17 East Jerusalem Arabs in deal. 

Ban 'dismayed' at East Jerusalem eviction of Palestinian family
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - UN chief's comments come after Jewish family's claim to home results in eviction of Palestinians. 

Ex-IDF officer: I claimed to be a pedophile to get out of army
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - 24-year-old soldier said he molested 17 children before enlisting, but retracted confession after arrest. 

How does the U.S. help fund pro-settler IDF troops?
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land has offered NIS 1,000 a day to any soldier who fights evacuation. 

New IDF unit to fight enemies on Facebook, Twitter
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Top IDF spokesman's Office official: We must show the totality of IDF actions without a filter. 

Medics: Explosion in car kills Gaza militant
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Two wounded in incident, which seems to be accident involving militants; doctor: Explosives in car caused blast. 

Hezbollah chief: Armed struggle is best way to end occupation
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Nasrallah's comments come amid criticism in Lebanon of Hezbollah's refusal to disarm. 

Chief justice: Still no point in naming prisoners in Shalit swap
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Beinisch calls deal 'complex;' bereaved parents to High Court: Will our kids' killers be freed for Shalit? 

Two Border Policeman charged with beating Arab youth
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Suspects detained 10 days ago for allegedly assaulting youth passing by them in Jerusalem's Old City. 

Israel likely to free 980 Palestinians for Shalit
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Shalit parents meet FM, say neither 'encouraged nor ill at ease'; soldier reportedly to be brought to Egypt. 

Shalit deal / What would Israel do if Iran captured an IAF pilot?
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Israel must prepare for the possibility that if it strikes Iran's nuclear sites, not all of the pilots will come back. 

Hezbollah leadership split amid fears of fresh IDF attack
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Fearing repeat of mistakes made in 2006, top militants slam civilian leaders, Lebanon media report. 

Security officer for IDF General Staff suspected of attempted rape
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Officer at rank of captain arrested on suspicion of trying to rape 22-year-old near Tel Aviv nightclub district. 

Palestinian killed as IAF strikes Gaza rocket launchers
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - 3 additional gunmen seriously hurt; IDF: Targeted rocket-launching squad was preparing to fire at Israel. 

IDF foils terror attack along Egypt border
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Infiltrator carrying bomb flees to Egypt; Gaza militants fire 5 mortars into Negev, causing no injuries. 

Uruknet

[uruknet.info] Time Marches on but not for Obama
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - It is par for the course for the mainstream American media to adopt the U.S. official line on U.S. foreign policy, especially when it concerns the Arab-Israeli conflict, rather than take an independent stance. This does not mean, much to the delight of some foreign policy observers, that this position is universally true since there are...

[uruknet.info] Israel lobby: the blog edition
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - At the risk of stepping into Stephen Walt's territory, I'd like to highlight one of the most remarkable developments in the Israeli blogosphere: the Second International Jewish Blogger Convention that took place in Jerusalem on Sept 13th and brought together 300 bloggers from Israel and the diaspora. The Israeli government and civil society alike have recently...

[uruknet.info] Using Photos of Abu Zubaydah's Torture to Intimidate and Threaten Other Prisoners
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - The set-up of Abu Zubaydah as an Al Qaeda bigwig may have been meant, among other things, for use in intimidation and torture of other prisoners. Andy Worthington recounts how a prisoner captured with Zubaydah, Omar Gharmesh, reported to another prisoner in Syria's infamous Palestine Branch prison, where they were sent via "extraordinary rendition," that he...

[uruknet.info] Ethnic cleansing, pure and simple
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - Israel stripped over 4,500 Jerusalemite Palestinians of their "residency rights" in 2008. This marks a huge acceleration of a policy that has been in force since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. In these 41 years, Israel has now stripped over 12,000 Palestinians of their "permits" to live in Jerusalem, 35 per cent or so of...

[uruknet.info] Israeli court to Al-Kurd family: Settlers will stay in your home
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - The Israeli Central Court heard and rejected Wednesday the petition of the Al-Kurd family seeking the eviction of Israeli settlers from their home. The home, vacant following a court order demanding the Al-Kurds leave the building following a demolition order from Israel's Jerusalem municipality, was taken over by Israeli settlers on TuesdayWednesday, and denied the plea...

[uruknet.info] 60% of Gazans no daily access to drinking water
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - Israel's continuing blockade of Gaza has left thousands of schoolchildren without desks and the population exposed to million of tonnes of raw sewage, MPs heard. International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said refusing to allow desk parts into Gaza was "bizarre" and the Government was pressing Israel to give full access to humanitarian aid. The situation for...

[uruknet.info] The question of Terminology in the Zionist propaganda to colonize Palestine
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - By terminology I mean roughly the semantic or the concepts which are mental representation or abstract ideas produced to explain things. My point is to unearth some of the Zionist terminology used in the Zionist propaganda which has sadly dominated the western media for decades and brainwashed millions in Europe and the USA. The function of...

[uruknet.info] Obama, the Biggest Threat to Al-Aqsa in 90 Years?
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - ...From the evidence presented above, it appears that Obama has promised to facilitate full control of all of Al-Quds Al-Sharif including Masjid Al-Aqsa to the Israelis while employing his charm and rhetorical skills to placate Muslims' reactions. The hope is that with the aid of technology and spin the political repercussions will be managed. The bottom-line...

[uruknet.info] Shock follows footage of settler running over Palestinian, twice
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - An amateur video shocked Palestinians on Tuesday, catching what appeared to be an Israeli settler running over a wounded Palestinian at a gas station in Hebron last week. The Palestinian, an unidentified man shot several times following an alleged knife attack at the station, appeared to be staggering when a silver Mercedes ran him down, stopped,...

[uruknet.info] Ahrar center: Israel uses many torture means against Palestinian prisoners
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - Al-Ahrar center for human rights and prisoners' studies stated Tuesday that Israel uses internationally-prohibited means during the detention of Palestinians much more than tying hands of prisoners behind their backs as admitted by the Shin Bet lately. Director of the center Fouad Al-Khafsh cited as an example that Israeli officers do not confine to tying the...

[uruknet.info] Thousands in East Jerusalem lost residency rights
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - Israel's Interior Ministry stripped 4,577 Palestinians of their right to live in East Jerusalem in 2008, reports said, an all time record in 42 years of occupation. The state-figures were made public in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Wednesday. The total was 21 times higher than the average of the previous 40 years. In the first...

[uruknet.info] Overview about Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Uruknet December 2, 2009 - The aim of the report is to enlighten a wider audience about the reality of Israeli settlements inside the Palestinian Territory, although many political and security reasons exist to protect the facts around them, which has let the problem constantly grow up in the almost complete indifference of the international community. Israel has used a complex...

Palestine Telegraph

Hamas commander killed in central Gaza
Gaza, December 2, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - A senior commander for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Hamas movement, has died in the central Gaza Strip. "Yasser Sabri Radi, 37, a field commander in the Qassam Brigades from Nuseirat Camp in central Gaza, was martyred on Wednesday morning while undertaking a jihad-related task," AFP quoted a...

Expulsion of Palestinians at record high
Jerusalem, December 2, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - The number of Arab residents of East Jerusalem Al-Quds stripped of their residency rights by the Israeli Interior Ministry strikes an all-time record. Last year, the ministry revoked the residency of 4,577 Palestinian residents of the illegally annexed neighborhood, the Israeli daily Haaretz said on Wednesday, compared with the 8,558 Arabs stripped of...

Zinedine Zidane to visit Gaza in March
Gaza, December 2, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Retired international soccer star Zinedine Zidane will be paying a visit to the Gaza Strip as part of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) efforts to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The three-time FIFA Footballer of the Year is scheduled to travel to the blockaded enclave in March 2010 as a UNICEF...

Israeli tanks target houses in Gaza
Gaza, December 1, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli army tanks have opened fire on houses and farmlands in the northern sector of the Gaza Strip, according to a report. A number of Israeli tanks commenced firing Monday afternoon while withdrawing from an area southeast of the town of Beit Hanoun, which they had entered in the morning, witnesses told Ma'an...

Vietnam asks Israel to stop expanding settlements in Palestine
UK, December 1, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Ambassador Hoang Chi Trung, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam at the UN, has urged Israel to immediately stop expanding settlements and dismantle check-points in the West Bank.

The National

Britain praises Tehran over sailors’ release
The National 2 Dec 2009 - Iran freed five British sailors detained last week when their racing yacht drifted accidentally into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf.

Hizbollah given right to remain an armed force
The National 2 Dec 2009 - Lebanon’s president stresses need to deal with Israel as a top priority, as he and allies debate country’s security situation.

Dark waters
The National 2 Dec 2009 - World Sign of a self-determined Egypt, tool of foreign profiteers, emblem of a populist movement, and reminder of its failure – 150 years after work began on the Suez Canal, Maria Golia tallies the project’s many faces.

The legal legacy of a ‘hedonist’
The National 2 Dec 2009 - In an unprecedented case, the former prime minister Ehud Olmert faces trial for graft, while some of his ministers have been sentenced.

Bad blood between Egypt and Algeria runs deeper than football
The National 2 Dec 2009 - Violence is latest incident in escalating diplomatic row between Egypt and Algeria, whose two World Cup qualifying matches this week inflamed decades-old tensions.

Israel not happy with EU’s leaked Jerusalem proposal
The National 2 Dec 2009 - Bloc says reaching peace requires finding a way to settle the future status of the city 'as the capital of the two states'

Aljazeera

Iran releases British sailors
AlJazeera 2 Dec 2009 - Tehran officials confirm yachtsmen's illegal entry into Iranian waters was mistake.

Iran says IAEA resolution 'illegal'
AlJazeera 2 Dec 2009 - "Superficially powerful" countries forced UN body to pass resolution, Ahmadinejad says.

Alternative Information Center

2009 Journalist Conference in Israel: No News 
Alternative Information Center 2 Dec 2009 - I did not partake in the Journalist Conference that occurred this week in Eilat and was sponsored by the Tel Aviv Journalists’ Association and the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Actually, I also did not...

Palestine News Network

EU to recognize East Jerusalem as capital of Palestinian state 
PNN 1 Dec 2009 - European Union foreign ministers are expected to officially call next week for the division of Jerusalem, to serve as the capitals of both Israel and Palestine. A draft document authored by the current holder of the rotating EU presidency, Sweden, and implying that the EU would recognize a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, has been obtained by Haaretz. Jerusalem is waging a...

Jerusalem Post

'Iranian terror network in S. America'
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - "The Iranians are moving fast," says Argentinean prosecutor. "We see a much greater penetration."

Washington Watch: Is Lebanon becoming a terrorist state?
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - It provides terrorists sanctuary from extradition or prosecution, headquarters and diplomatic cover.

Lebanon: Hizbullah has right to arms
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - All gov't ministers vote for policy statement, in sign group has no intention of meeting UN resolution.

Paris has 'strong reservations' about Swedish Mideast proposal
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - French envoy tells Post "the text is not an EU text"; draft resolution would recognize east J'lem as capital of future Palestinian state. 

Barak tries to reassure settlers
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - Says building will resume after freeze; enclosing porches and installing air conditioners allowed.

'Barghouti refuses to be deported'
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - Israel reportedly agreed to free Fatah operative for Schalit if he is deported upon release.

MKs nix bill on Hamas prisoners' conditions
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - 

JNF donation to Rawabi sparks uproar
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - First planned Palestinian community lies about 6 miles north of Ramallah and is expected to house 40,000 people and employ 10,000.

Analysis: New manifesto reveals a more sophisticated, confident Hizbullah
Jeruslalem Post 2 Dec 2009 - The group has secured the perimeter of the Iranian-financed state-within-a state that it maintains in Lebanon.

IRIN

SYRIA: Drought response faces funding shortfall 
IRIN DAMASCUS Tuesday, November 24, 2009 (IRIN) - With a few weeks left before the end of this year’s planting season, UN officials have raised concerns over the lack of funds to help drought-hit farmers and herders in northeastern Syria.

LEBANON: Sex workers still shun condoms
IRIN BEIRUT Tuesday, December 01, 2009 (IRIN) - Four years ago, at 16, Rana's husband forced her into prostitution. Despite the risks of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Rana, like many local sex workers - estimated to number at least 6,000 - often did not use condoms.

ISRAEL-OPT: Travel restrictions eased
IRIN TEL AVIV Thursday, November 26, 2009 (IRIN) - The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has announced that restrictions on the West Bank's population in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) will be eased during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha between 26 November and 2 December.

Inter Press Service

US-IRAN: Moving Again Toward Confrontation 
IPS WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (IPS) - Iran's announced intention to build 10 new nuclear enrichment plants has been deemed "unacceptable" by the administration of President Barack Obama, which warned Monday of increased pressure on Tehran if it does not soon accept Western proposals to curb its nuclear programme.

BOOKS-US: Hawkish "Israel Lobby" More Bark Than Bite? 
IPS WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (IPS) - The Nov. 25 announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a "moratorium" on settlement construction brought very different responses from the Jewish American "pro-Israel" groups J-Street and the heavyweight American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), calling attention to the increasing divide within the American...

PCHR Weekly Report

(19-24 Nov. 2009)
PCHR During the reporting period, 9 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 

International Solidarity Movement

Israel stripped thousands of Jerusalem Arabs of residency in 2008
12/2/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Haaretz - Last year set an all-time record for the number of Arab residents of East Jerusalem who were stripped of residency rights by the Interior Ministry. Altogether, the ministry revoked the residency of 4,577 East Jerusalemites in 2008 – 21 times the average of the previous 40 years. In the first 40 years of Israeli rule over East Jerusalem combined, from 1967 to 2007, the ministry deprived only 8,558 Arabs of their residency rights – less than double the number who lost their permits last year alone. Thus of all the East Jerusalem Arabs who have lost their residency rights since 1967, about 35 percent did so in 2008. According to the ministry, last year's sharp increase stemmed from its decision to investigate the legal status of thousands of East Jerusalem residents in March and April, 2008. The probe was the brainchild of former interior minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) and Yaakov Ganot, who headed the ministry's Population Administration. 

VIDEO - Israeli police demolish the only shelter of evicted Palestinian family for the fourth time
12/2/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - At approximately 9am this Wednesday, four police vehicles containing eight Jerusalem police and four border police armed with automatic weapons came to Sheikh Jarrah and demolished the Gawi tent for the fourth time. The demolition took place as there were several people sleeping in the tent. The police failed to alert those sleeping to their destructive actions. The Palestinian family's possessions were confiscated and removed in police pick-up trucks and golf carts. One hour later, a British national was arrested. The Gawi family has lived in the tent for four months now, since 2 August 2009 when they were forcefully evicted from their home, now occupied by settlers. This action comes in the wake of yesterday's settler invasion of the front section of the al-Kurd family home. As the settlers moved some of their possessions from the occupied Gawi home to the newly-confiscated al-Kurd home, the police were destroying and stealing the blankets, chairs, mattresses, lights and shelter from the evicted Gawi family. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

How ElBaradei misled the world about Iran's nuclear program 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - This week, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei ended his controversial and unsuccessful term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. His last days on the job caused a great deal of consternation, even more than the rest of his 12 years in the bureau overlooking the Danube, at United Nations headquarters in Vienna. ... 

Netanyahu thought likely to veto Lieberman choices for top posts 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering rescinding the appointments of Alon Pinkas as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations and Shai Bazak as consul general in New York. ... 

Kuwaiti daily: Shalit in Egypt, prisoner swap underway 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - The Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Jarida reported early Thursday that Hamas transferred abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit to Egypt a few days ago as part of a prisoner exchange for his release. ...

Ukrainian academic: Israel imported 25,000 children for their organs 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Stories appearing on several Ukrainian Web sites claim Israel has brought around some 25,000 Ukrainian children into the country over the past two years in order to harvest their organs. ... 

Celtic fans urged to wave Palestinian flags at match against Tel Aviv club
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Scottish trade unions called on supporters of Celtic soccer club to wave Palestinian flags at their Europa League home match on Wednesday against Hapoel Tel Aviv in "solidarity with suffering Palestinians". ...

The Guardian

Call for Celtic fans to wave Palestinian flags at match against Israeli team
The Guardian 2 Dec 2009 - 'Extremely concerned' Glasgow club urges supporters to ignore Scottish TUC request Scottish trade unions have called on supporters of Celtic to wave Palestinian flags at Europa League home match tonight against Israel's Hapoel Tel Aviv in "...

Video: Amateur video shows man run over twice by angry Israeli
The Guardian 2 Dec 2009 - Witnesses say Palestinian victim had earlier stabbed two Jewish settlers. All three were taken to to a Jerusalem hospital

Israel's just fears of a Palestinian state | Carlo Strenger
The Guardian 2 Dec 2009 - A return to 1967 borders would put most Israelis in rocket range. The EU needs to see that a two-state solution is complex There are indications that the EU foreign ministers will formally recognise East Jerusalem...

East Jerusalem should be Palestinian capital, says EU draft paper
The Guardian 1 Dec 2009 - Israel accuses EU of destroying prospects of renewed peace talks with document seen as an effort to strengthen Abbas An EU document stressing that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state brought...

Freeze won't hurt Netanyahu | Benjamin Pogrund
The Guardian 1 Dec 2009 - Israel's rightwingers are furious, but that doesn't mean the prime minister's halt to settlement building means much in practice Israeli rightwingers are furiously condemning the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, for his 10-month freeze on building houses...

Ha'aretz National page

Israeli study: How do people feel when they hear their national anthem? 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - National anthems have become a controversial issue in a number of countries. In France, far-right politicians accused immigrant athletes of not knowing how to sing the anthem. During the last U.S. presidential campaign, Barack Obama was accused of not putting his hand over his heart while the "Star-Spangled Banner" played. And in Israel, MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) attacked MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), claiming he does not know "Hatikva." ... 

Ari Shavit / Netanyahu is positioning himself left of Rabin 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu made history twice. The first time was when he adopted the two-state solution in his Bar-Ilan speech, and the second was when he decided last week to freeze settlement construction. The Palestinians dismiss his steps and the Europeans say they're not enough. The skeptics are skeptical and the cynics are cynical. But the truth is that Netanyahu circa 2009 is situating himself to the left of Yitzhak Rabin circa 1995. ... 

NIS 60 million water treatment plant set to cleanse Jordan River of sewage
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - A section of the Jordan River containing Israel's first Kibbutz and important archaeological sites has been plagued by sewage for years, but work has now begun on a NIS 60 million Bitanya treatment plant due to open in about two years. Treated wastewater will combine with salty springwater from the Kinneret and freshwater from the Yarmuk River to be used for agriculture in the Jordan Valley. ... 

Editorial / Israel mustn't encourage organized settler lawlessness 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - The settler leaders' lawless behavior after the decision to temporarily and partially freeze settlement construction in the West Bank reminds us of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's metaphor of a "villa in the jungle" to describe Israel's place in the region. Only a few kilometers from Tel Aviv, the laws of democracy give way to the law of the jungle. Once again it turns out that only an ultra-thin layer separates the rebels and tree cutters in the illegal outposts from the core of the settler establishment. ... 

Ethiopian students still denied places at Petah Tikva schools 
Ha'aretz 2 Dec 2009 - Eleven new immigrants from Ethiopia have yet to be placed in Petah Tikva schools, and some have been waiting as long as three weeks for an assignment. ... 

Relief Web

Message from the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Karen Koning AbuZayd, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Relief Web 2 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

UNRWA holds pledging conference amid serious concerns over funding shortfalls threatening to cripple field operations
Relief Web 2 Dec 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

UNHCR Iraq Fact Sheet Oct 2009
Relief Web 2 Dec 2009 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Letter dated 23 Nov 2009 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN addressed to the Secretary-General (A/ES-10/470–S/2009/605)
Relief Web 2 Dec 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly, UN Security Council

OPT: Joint letter to Assistant Secretary of US State Department Michael Posner on the US State Department Annual Human Rights Report
Relief Web 2 Dec 2009 - Source: Al-Dameer, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Israeli settlers block government inspectors
Relief Web 1 Dec 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

YNet News

Husband: All female Palestinian prisoners to be freed
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - Husband of Qahira Saadi, sentenced to life in prison for her part in Jerusalem suicide attack that left three Israelis dead in 2002, says all female Palestinian prisoners to be released in exchange deal. 'They were told they can start packing,' he says 

Barak: Settlements are part of Israel
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - In meeting with four West Bank council heads, Defense Minister Ehud Barak stresses that 'settlement blocs are inseparable part of Israel in all future negotiations with Palestinians'. Vows council heads can continue to authorize infrastructure construction, small changes 

Litzman to PM: Allow construction in haredi settlements
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman requests PM, Defense Ministry allow construction in ultra-Orthodox settlements of Beitar Illit and Modi'in Illit due to housing crisis in community, says received encouraging responses, believes 'it will be possible to build within a week' 

Mazuz: Don't let Israel become third world country
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - Attorney general speaks before fellow legalists for last time in Eilat conference, praises decision to put off division of AG's role, urges his successors to fight for 'preservation of Israel's character as law-abiding state' 

Alfei Menashe council head chides Yesha Council's 'childish behavior' 
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - Hasdai Eliezer defies settler leaders, agrees to meet Defense Minister Barak; says: 'My past experience with such dilemmas has taught me that dialogue is better' 

Netanyahu meets with Likud activists 
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - Prime minister tries to curb possible internal opposition against settlement freeze by holding marathonic meetings with party activists. Netanyahu quoted as saying 'Americans drove me crazy, they wanted a freeze in Jerusalem as well' 

492 units to be approved in settlements
YNet News 2 Dec 2009 - Civil Administration to publish list of 84 buildings approved for construction despite settlement construction freeze, according to instructions by political echelon approved months ago 

Daily Star

Defiant Iran dashes deal, vows to enrich own uranium
Daily Star 2 Dec 2009 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday Iran would enrich uranium to a higher level itself, apparently ruling out a UN-brokered deal meant to minimize the risk of Tehran producing material for atomic bombs. Western diplomats said Iran accepted in principle two months ago a plan for it to send 75 percent of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia and France to be further enriched.

Israeli police arrest mayor of West Bank Jewish settlement
Daily Star 2 Dec 2009 Israeli police arrested the mayor of a West Bank Jewish settlement on Wednesday after protesters blocked security forces from entering the community to enforce a construction freeze. The showdown was the most serious incident of settler unrest since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week announced the 10-month building freeze, which bars the construction of new homes in West Bank settlements.

Iran releases five detained British yachtsmen
Daily Star 2 Dec 2009 Five British yachtsmen landed in Dubai late on Wednesday following their release from detention after Iran accepted they inadvertently strayed into the Islamic Republic's territorial waters. International media staked out a yacht marina in the debt-laden emirate, where their boat was expected to dock after being towed back across the Gulf.

Palestinian Information Center

Thomas Friedman’s gallimaufry of lies
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - it is really sad and lamentable that dishonest, or pathologically dishonest, journalists like Friedman are allowed to poison the American discourse unchallenged.

IOF kidnap son of Hamas official in Jenin
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped at dawn Wednesday the son of senior Hamas official in Israeli jails Jamal Abul Haija during an incursion into the town of Beit Qad east of Jenin.

Ahrar center: Israel uses many torture means against Palestinian prisoners
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - Al-Ahrar center for human rights stated that Israel uses internationally-prohibited means against Palestinian prisoners much more than tying their hands behind their backs.

Hebrew press: IOA confiscated 4,577 Jerusalemite IDs
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has withdrawn the IDs of 4,577 Palestinian inhabitants of occupied Jerusalem depriving them of the right of living in their city, Hebrew press reports said.

Nasif slams Abbas’s militias for harassing MP Mansour and her family
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - Senior Hamas official Rafat Nasif condemned Tuesday Mahmoud Abbas’s security apparatuses for harassing Palestinian lawmaker Mona Mansour and her family in Nablus as a cowardly and mean act.

Mishaal: Respected leadership provides cover for resistance
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chief of Hamas, has said that politics and resistance in the Palestinian arena complement each other and do not conflict.

Mizan: IOA blackmail Palestinian patients at crossing points
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - The Mizan center for human rights has accused Tuesday the Israeli occupation authorities of blackmailing Palestinian patients at Beit Hanon (Erez) crossing point..

Khudari: Arab and International efforts to break Gaza siege “shy”
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - Palestinian MP Dr. Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, has described the Arab and international efforts in breaking the unjust siege as “shy”

Bardawil: all news about a prisoner exchange deal are test balloons
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - Dr. Salah al-Bardawil, a Hamas leader and member of the PLC, said on Tuesday, that all information published lately about the negotiations over a prisoner-exchange deal were test balloons..

Egyptian architect implements wooden Gaza house on the ground
PIC 2 Dec 2009 - An Egyptian architect Dr. Hisham Juraisha has practically implemented his idea of building wooden houses in Gaza Strip to provide thousands of Palestinian families with much needed shelter..

Los Angeles Times

Israel forces detain Jewish settlement mayor 
LA Times 2 Dec 2009 - The mayor of the West Bank settlement is arrested as he and others seek to keep Israeli government inspectors from enforcing a building moratorium aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Israeli security forces arrested the mayor of a Jewish settlement Wednesday as he and other residents tried to prevent government inspectors from entering the community to enforce new restrictions on building in the West Bank. 

Iran frees 5 Britons caught in Persian Gulf on racing yacht 
LA Times 2 Dec 2009 - Iranian interrogators decide the boaters' intrusion was a mistake. They were arrested last week. Iran has released five British nationals who were arrested after allegedly straying into Iranian territorial waters while on their racing yacht last week, state radio said today. 

Poizner pushes Iran divestiture 
LA Times 2 Dec 2009 - Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner plans to outline how firms must unload their holdings in some multinational firms that do business in Iran. 'This is a loophole that I'm going to close,' he says. California insurance companies that own stock in some multinational companies that operate in Iran soon may have to sell their holdings or face penalties. 

New York Times

Israel Arrests Settlers Fighting Freeze
New York Times 3 Dec 2009 - A 10-month moratorium on settlement construction was meant to help restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks but has so far succeeded only in pitting the settlers against the state.

Jewish Nationalists Clash With Palestinians
New York Times 2 Dec 2009 - The confrontation in East Jerusalem came after the Israelis took over a house by court order in a predominantly Arab area.

Israel to Recruit More Building Inspectors to Enforce a Freeze on West Bank Construction
New York Times 30 Nov 2009 - Israel’s defense minister told his staff to recruit dozens of new building inspectors to supervise the government’s temporary construction freeze in West Bank settlements.

Misc

Record number of Palestinians lost Jerusalem IDs in 2008
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AFP - JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel last year stripped a record number of Palestinians of their Jerusalem residency status, and the accompanying freedom of movement and insurance benefits, government figures revealed on Wednesday. In 2008, a total of 4,577 Palestinians lost the so-called "blue ID," the Israeli identification card that entitles holders to national insurance and freedom of movement throughout the country, according to the interior ministry which issues the cards. By comparison, 8,558 Jerusalem Palestinians lost their residency status between 1967, when Israel captured the Arab eastern part of the city, and the end of 2007, the figures showed. Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, which Israel later annexed in a move not recognised by the international community, hold Israeli IDs but not passports. They are entitled to all the insurance benefits of Israeli citizens and can vote in municipal -- but not national -- elections. 

Hamas commander dies in tunnel collapse: medics
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AFP - GAZA CITY (AFP) – A senior fighter from the armed wing of the Islamist Hamas movement died on Wednesday in a tunnel collapse in the central Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian medics and the armed group. " Yasser Sabri Radi, 37, a field commander in the Qassam Brigades from Nuseirat Camp in central Gaza, was martyred on Wednesday morning while undertaking a jihad-related task," the group said in a statement. The statement did not specify the cause of death, but Palestinian medics said Radi died in a tunnel collapse. The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas which has ruled the Gaza Strip since June 007, is believed to use networks of tunnels throughout the territory to hide out, store weapons and launch attacks. In June 2006, fighters from Hamas and two other armed Palestinian groups tunnelled under the Gaza-Israel border and attacked a military post, killing two. . . . 

UN Palestinian refugee agency faces deficit
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AFP - GAZA CITY (AFP) – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Wednesday it was facing an "unprecedented" budget deficit that could force it to cut back on services to more than 4. 7 million people. " There is an unprecedented deficit in the UNRWA budget, and our balance has hit zero for the first time since our establishment 60 years ago," said Adnan Abu Hasna, the Gaza spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency. " If this deficit continues and if donors do not increase their assistance to UNRWA we may have to cut back on some of the programmes we provide for refugees in the entire Middle East, not only in Gaza and the West Bank," he told AFP. UNRWA provides vital services, including food aid, health care and education, to more than 4. 7 million Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. 

Israeli police arrest settler leader in West Bank
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AP - JERUSALEM – Israeli police arrested the mayor of a West Bank Jewish settlement on Wednesday after protesters blocked security forces from entering the community to enforce a construction freeze. The showdown was the most serious incident of settler unrest since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week announced the 10-month building freeze, which bars the construction of new homes in West Bank settlements. Settler leaders have vowed to defy the order, which Netanyahu says is meant as a confidence-building gesture to get peace efforts with the Palestinians back on track. Confronting the settlers could help Netanyahu convince skeptical Palestinians and a wary Obama administration that he's serious about resuming talks. The Palestinians are refusing to talk peace with Netanyahu and say his settlement freeze is a sham because it excludes certain projects as well as east Jerusalem, the section of the holy city they claim as a capital. 

Israel FM excludes freeing intifada chief for captive Shalit
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AFP - JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel's ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday ruled out freeing one of the Palestinians' most popular leaders in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. " I can guarantee to you that (Marwan) Barghuthi will not be released," Lieberman said in a radio interview rebroadcast by public television. " We have no intention of releasing him because he is not just a murderer, he is a king of murderers. " Marwan Barghuti, who was elected to the governing body of the secular Fatah party of Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in August, is currently serving five life sentences for murder for his role in the second Palestinian intifada that erupted in 2000. He is widely seen as the uprising's architect, although he has said he opposed attacks on civilians inside Israel, including the scores of suicide bombers sent in by armed groups. 

Obama to welcome Lebanon’s president
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama will welcome Lebanon's President Michel Sleiman to Washington later this month, the White House has said. Sleiman will visit the White House on Monday, December 14, as the Obama administration tries to reignite its Middle East peace push and back Lebanon's fragile democracy and territorial integrity. Obama wants to bring up "a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including efforts to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Lebanon, achieve a comprehensive regional peace, and implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions," the White House said on Wednesday. Washington has been a strong supporter of western-backed Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri who formed a new unity government last month after more than four months of difficult negotiations with the Hezbollah-led opposition. 

Lebanon cabinet adopts policy statement
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AFP - BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanon's cabinet on Wednesday adopted a policy statement granting Hezbollah the right to use its arms against Israel, despite the reservations of Christian ministers in the Western-backed majority. " The council of minister today adopted the proposed policy statement," Information Minister Tarek Mitri said in a news conference after a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace. Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government is now to face a vote of confidence in parliament on Monday, press reports said. Five Christian members of the majority, including those of the Phalange Party and Lebanese Forces, "expressed reservations" around a clause in the statement on Hezbollah's arsenal, Mitri said. They argue the arsenal undermines state authority and runs counter to UN resolutions. A 13-member cabinet committee tasked with drafting the policy statement, which will be made public. . . . 

Hezbollah strikes softer tone in second manifesto: analysts
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AFP - BEIRUT (AFP) – Hezbollah's new political platform signals a shift in its position as it seeks to portray itself as an integral part of Lebanon's domestic scene rather than an Iranian proxy, analysts said Tuesday. " The manifesto is reassuring as it shows Hezbollah's integration with Lebanese political life," said Paul Salem, who heads the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East Centre. " In the first manifesto, it posited itself straight out as a proponent of an Islamic republic, whereas this document strikes a balance between the party's ties to Lebanon and its ties to Iran," Hezbollah's main backer, Salem told AFP. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Monday announced his party's second manifesto since 1985. The first manifesto called for the establishment of Islamic rule in Lebanon, but the party leadership has toned down its rhetoric in recent years as it gained political clout. 

China: More talk, not sanctions, needed on Iran
12/2/2009 - Yahoo! News - AP - BEIJING – China said Tuesday that more dialogue, not sanctions, is needed to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program. Iran announced Sunday that it plans to build 10 more uranium enrichment facilities. That brought quick condemnation from officials in Europe and the U. S. , which has been pressing China to take a stronger stand on the issue. A China Foreign Ministry spokesman told a regular news conference Tuesday that sanctions "are not the goal" of new U. N. pressure on Iran. " We should properly resolve this issue through dialogue," spokesman Qin Gang said. "All parties should step up diplomatic efforts. " The U. N. 's nuclear agency on Friday passed a resolution demanding that Iran halt all enrichment activities — a demand from the U. S. , Russia, China and three other powers. The support of China and Russia was key, as Moscow and Beijing have traditionally either prevented new. . . . 

VIDEO - ‘Israel: A Rogue State’ segment on CNN
12/2/2009 - P U L S E - As mild as this CNN report is, would it have appeared on CNN in the US rather than its International Edition? CNN’s Paula Newton here in a segment with Israeli scholars Avi Schlaim and Shlomo Sand who rightly characterise Israel as a rogue state. Unfortunately the execrable Mark Regev appears in the second half, presumably for ‘balance’; nevertheless the fact that these two critical scholars appeared on network corporate news is a small signpost. (Some readers in the US have reported they can not watch the video via CNN’s Daily Motion channel from which the clip below is sourced. If so, you should be able to watch it from CNN’s site: Link follows. ) Meanwhile, another israeli of conscience, Shulamit Aloni, has also notably spoken out and called her fellow citizens a “nefarious people … What we are doing in the West Bank is worse than all the pogroms done to the Jews. "-- Links: Watch CNN Video and Avi Shlaim and Shlomo Sand in conversation with Jacqueline Rose

VIDEO - Avi Shlaim and Shlomo Sand in conversation with Jacqueline Rose
11/17/2009 - P U L S E - Event description: Few modern conflicts are as attached to history as that of Israel and Palestine. Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford will be in conversation with Shlomo Sand, professor of contemporary history at Tel Aviv University, at the Frontline Club for a seminal evening of discussion. Avi Shlaim’s new book, Israel and Palestine focuses on the causes and consequences of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, while Shlomo Sand’s international best-seller The Invention of the Jewish People unravels the mythologised history of the Jewish people to find that the Israelites were never exiled from the promised land, and therefore have no right to return. The book concludes that the present-day Palestinian Arabs are the true heirs of the biblical Jews. This is a once-only opportunity to hear these two eminent historians discussing their individual perspectives on. . . . 

Video shows Palestinian man hit in car attack
12/2/2009 - AlJazeeraEnglish\YouTube - Violence erupted in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday when a Palestinian man entered a petrol station at the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba in the occupied West Bank and stabbed two settlers. But that was not the end of the story. According to the Israeli army, the Palestinian was then shot by a soldier, after which a car, apparently driven by a settler, ran over the wounded Palestinian, twice, with Israeli soldiers all around. 

Morgantini: Israel Must End Siege, Appear Before ICJ
12/2/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - RAMALLAH December 2, 2009 (WAFA)- The former Vice-President of the European Union, Louisa Morgantini, said that Israel must end the siege on the Gaza Strip and that it is necessary that it appears before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). She told WAFA after a press conference held on the occasion of launching the launch of the book, 'Palestine’s Guernica', that Israel must cease all forms of settlement activities because they are is completely illegal, and that its decision to halt settlement activities for a period of ten months is not serious. She stated that Israel uses this method to gain more time, where it continues to throw many families in Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of East Jerusalem out of their homes, and continues the demolition of houses. She continued: The book 'Palestine Guernica', which reviews and documents the events surrounding the recent war on Gaza last. . . . 

One Palestinian Memorizes Names of 4,000 Dead, World Only Remembers Shalit
12/2/2009 - Political Theatrics - Al Intiqad - PT Admins Comment: I have taken the liberty of translating the following out of its original Arabic context. It is a must read for anyone who remembers Gilad Shalit yet forgets all the Palestinians who have died since the outbreak of the first Intifada. -- A young man by the name of Tariq Darwish ,a 21 year old from the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, is a rare individual – reason being,he has memorized the names of Palestinian martyrs, their date of birth,the date they died and how they died. Approximately,it is estimated that the number of Palestinian martyrs who were killed during Al-Aqsa Intifada tops more than seven thousand martyrs; more than half of them died in the Gaza Strip and the ones who died in the last war are said to number around 1,500 martyrs. The total number of names which Tariq Darwish has memorized,including the details mentioned. . . . 

Report: Pollard proposes killing Palestinian prisoners until Shalit freed
12/2/2009 - Ha'aretz - Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard made clear that he strongly opposed the prisoner exchange deal to free Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, reported the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Pollard has been in an American jail for over 20 years for spying for Israel while serving as a U. S. Navy intelligence analyst. Pollard met with Likud activists Moshe Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett at his prison in North Carolina. Instead of talking about freeing Palestinian prisoners, Pollard said, "Netanyahu should take the list of prisoners Hamas requested and kill one of them every day until they release Gilad from prison. "In a letter sent to the Jerusalem post and published last week, Pollard wrote, " Why is the life of one Israeli captive deemed so precious that Israel's leaders are willing to dispense with all logic and morality in order to redeem him? " "As long as Israeli leaders demonstrate. . . . " 

Israel stripped thousands of Jerusalem Arabs of residency in 2008
12/3/2009 - Ha'aretz - Last year set an all-time record for the number of Arab residents of East Jerusalem who were stripped of residency rights by the Interior Ministry. Altogether, the ministry revoked the residency of 4,577 East Jerusalemites in 2008 - 21 times the average of the previous 40 years. In the first 40 years of Israeli rule over East Jerusalem combined, from 1967 to 2007, the ministry deprived only 8,558 Arabs of their residency rights - less than double the number who lost their permits last year alone. Thus of all the East Jerusalem Arabs who have lost their residency rights since 1967, about 35 percent did so in 2008. According to the ministry, last year's sharp increase stemmed from its decision to investigate the legal status of thousands of East Jerusalem residents in March and April, 2008. The probe was the brainchild of former interior minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) and Yaakov Ganot, who headed the ministry's Population Administration. 

How does the U.S. help fund pro-settler IDF troops?
12/1/2009 - Ha'aretz - The Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land, the organization that offered every soldier refusing to evacuate a settlement, and the Kfir Brigade soldiers who publicly demonstrated their opposition to evacuation, NIS 1,000 for every day they spend in military prison, is a registered non-profit organization and has a license to operate. The group receives donations from a U. S. based group that are tax exempt. No comment was available from the organization. The Global Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land, established in 2003 and rising to fame during the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, melds positions of the extreme right wing and the messianic Hassidic Chabad sect. The group is headed by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, a Chabad Hassid of the messianic stream, who lives in Kiryat Gat. In recent years the group began offering monetary rewards to soldiers and civilians. 

Adalah, PHR-I and Haifa University’s Prisoners’ Rights Clinic: Despite State Claims, the Conditions in 'Posta Vehicles' for the Transport of Prisoners Remain Inhuman and Degrading (PDF)
11/24/2009 - Adalah - On 1 November 2009, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) and Haifa University’s Prisoners’ Rights Clinic submitted an updated motion to the Supreme Court of Israel on a petition submitted by the organizations on 14 February 2008 demanding an improvement in the conditions in which prisoners are transported in Israel Prison Service’s (IPS) “posta” vehicles. In the motion, the petitioners presented the Supreme Court with new facts that demonstrate that the conditions in which prisoners are transported remain inhuman and degrading, despite the state’s claims that significant changes have been made in the system of prisoner transport since 2007. The petitioners argued that the IPS continues to violate its duty to protect the rights of prisoners and to provide them with minimal standards that do not affront their right to human dignity. 


Articles
Perpetual predicament 
Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah, Al-Ahram Weekly 11/26/2009
      Delayed elections will not resolve the deep national crisis facing the Palestinians.
     Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to formally announce the postponement of Palestinian general elections until further notice.
     One PA official close to Abbas was quoted this week as saying that Abbas had no choice but to delay the polls. "The president has reached the conclusion that it is impossible to hold elections without the Gaza Strip. We are also not sure if Israel would allow the people of Jerusalem to participate in the elections."
     A few weeks ago, Abbas issued a decree calling for "presidential and legislative elections" to be held in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip on 24 January 2010. However, a standoff in reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas, and especially a seemingly hopeless peace process with Israel, eventually prompted the PA leader to announce that he wouldn’t take part in the upcoming elections. In a series of recent interviews with Arab and foreign media, Abbas emphasised that his decision was no bluff and that he was likely to end his political career. "Perhaps they [the elections] will be delayed by a year, or less, I don’t know. What I am saying now is that I will not be a candidate," the PA leader said during an interview with the BBC Arabic Service.
     Abbas said the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leadership would take unspecified "measures" to avoid a constitutional vacuum when his term of office expires on 25 January 2010. The PLO leadership, including Fatah, has been trying in vain to convince Abbas to reconsider his decision. Fatah leaders said they wouldn’t choose a successor to Abbas, which would further exacerbate a political and constitutional crisis facing both the PA and the PLO, endangering the continued survival of the former. more.. e-mail

Resistance in focus 
Omayma Abdel-Latif in Beirut, Al-Ahram Weekly 11/26/2009
      The arms of the Lebanese resistance remains in focus amid reports of a possible shift in the US approach to Hizbullah. 
     Lebanese political forces continue to haggle over the details of a ministerial statement that will define the mandate of the new coalition government for the next three and half years. Although there are several contentious issues, particularly those pertaining to the economic situation and the privatisation of some state-owned sectors, the most contentious issue remains Hizbullah’s arms. There is consensus among key political actors, including the president and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, on relegating the issue to national dialogue sessions. Christian 14 March forces, armed and backed by Maronite Patriarch Sfeir, insist, however, that a distinction be made between Hizbullah’s arms and the notion of resistance. According to one Lebanese observer, this will prove futile since the heavyweights in government are sticking to the formula mentioned in previous ministerial statements that "the Lebanese resistance is the honest and true expression of the Lebanese people’s right to liberate their land and defend their dignity." Anything less will not be ratified by the Lebanese opposition. The utmost that ministers belonging to the Lebanese Forces and Al-Kataib (the Phalange Party) can achieve is to register their reservations.
     This debate comes amid two important developments relating to Hizbullah this week. The resistance movement held its general conference for the first time since 2004. The proceedings were not material for media coverage as they have been shrouded in secrecy. Conference resolutions, however, indicated that there is hardly any change within leadership level of the movement. All major positions remain held by current occupants. Hassan Nasrallah was re-elected secretary- general, a position he has held since 1992. Sheikh Naim Qasim was re-elected deputy secretary-general. Mohamed Raad, head of the Hizbullah parliamentary bloc re- joined the resistance’s Shura council (Majlis Shura Al-Qarar).... more.. e-mail


Boycott of Ahava Dead Sea products makes an impact
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2009 - The international campaign to boycott Ahava beauty products has recently won the support of a Dutch parliamentarian and an Israeli peace group. During the past few months, activists in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Israel, the United States and the Netherlands have campaigned against the sale of Ahava products because of the company's complicity in the Israeli occupation. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

"My Name is Rachel Corrie" and Israel's waning impunity
Electronic Intifada: 2 Dec 2009 - Insidious pressures and overt threats have created a hostile environment to telling Rachel Corrie's story and of course, the countless tragic stories of Palestinians. They are emblematic of a determination to maintain ignorance about the realities of life in Palestine, and a desire to perpetuate the notions of Israeli innocence, virtuousness and victimhood. In maintaining any hold to this myth, we are preventing the stories of Palestinian lives from reaching the light of day. Charlotte Silver writes for The Electronic Intifada. 

Australia hosts war criminal Ehud Olmert
Electronic Intifada: 1 Dec 2009 - The news that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Australia and was welcomed by the honorable members of our parliament came as somewhat of a shock. It is one thing to have allowed a man charged with corruption and suspected of war crimes into Australia at all; it is another thing that he was listed as a distinguished guest in Hansard -- the official record of parliamentary proceedings -- and received a resounding "hear, hear" from our elected representatives. Sonja Karkar comments. 

Israeli authorities deport African American political activists
Electronic Intifada: 1 Dec 2009 - Al-Awda New York, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, condemns the racist denial of entry to Palestine of African American political activists Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Naji Mujahid by the Israeli occupation. Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a former US political prisoner and leader of the Black Panther Party, and Naji Mujahid, a student activist from Washington DC were deported en route to the International Conference on Palestinian Political Prisoners in Jericho that was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Prisoners and ex-Prisoners Affairs. 

quiet with the philosopher
In Gaza: 2 Dec 2009 - After stopping in at the Jabaliya/ Dawwar Zimmo Red Crescent office yesterday, to catch up with some of the bravest people I know –the medics– I went by Ibrahim’s Gaza War cemetary . Run  the Commonwealth War Graves Commission , the cemetary grounds have been kept for over five decades by Ibrahim, and now by his sons. My reason for stopping by yesterday was to gather some information on gravestones for someone outside of Gaza.  But actually,  I just like the place, particularly Ibrahim. He’s a mixed bag: a grandfather, a philosopher, a host –100% Palestinian–, enthusiastic like a child, a teacher… From the first visit, Ibrahim has extended an open welcome...

Solving the Problems of the Middle East on Sherbrooke Street
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Dec 2009 - By Alfred Warkentin – Montreal All agree. Only America is important. There's a current of opinion in the Middle East that says: "If you want peace, you don't want justice." Peace, peace, but there is no peace, despite decades of peace prizes. The record is dismal. The Nobel people count on President Obama doing more for peace in the future because of the prize awarded him. That too is a doubtful proposition. Sometimes it is easier for decision makers in Washington to get the big picture from the sticks. Take a bus trip on Sherbrooke Street bus in Montreal. (I am, for the sake of clarity, condensing scenes, time periods and characters.) The Gaza Crisis itself had been over for months. Judge Goldstone had delivered his report. President Obama had been awarded the peace prize. Ms. Clinton had visited the region. The Middle East was at rest, although Mr. Abbas had indicated he wasn’t in for the long haul. The bus lurched to a stop. Working his way through the overflow mass in the aisle was Jonathan, a student. He stopped and stood beside me. Staggering toward us was Abdulrahman. Abdulrahman was from the Middle East. He was dark and dusky, the opposite of Jonathan. Like Jonathan he was taking international relations. I introduced them. They shook hands. “Alf,” Jonathan asked, “what’s your take on Gaza?” I shrugged. Said Jonathan: “Of course you use disproportionate force. Only that way can you win the peace. Israel is in the Middle East...

Hezbollah's New Manifesto: The 'Rebirth'
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Dec 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - South Beirut, Lebanon Like many liberation and resistant movement 'Manifestos', 'Charters' or 'Declarations' issued to the public early in its founding - the African National Congress, Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas, Algerian FLN, and various “Sons of Liberty” groups during the American Revolution, come to mind - Hezbollah has been criticized by its detractors over the years for some language in its 1985 “Open Letter” manifesto. Some have urged Hezbollah to remove ‘controversial language” such as the call for an Islamic Republic in Lebanon- even though the Party has made clear that establishing an Islamic Republic of Lebanon is no longer a priority and emphasizing that Lebanon’s diversity is respected, valued and permanent. Others have called Hezbollah’s 1985 manifesto ‘too religious” and too dogmatic for a broad international appeal political document. The 'Rebirth' Manifesto Ideas for Hezbollah’s original 1985 Manifesto evolved over 30 months following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, during which the new resistance movement worked to establish itself in the turbulent period of military invasions, occupations and numerous internal and external conspiracies against it. Many secret discussions were held concerning all manner of subjects including what the new organization would be called. Many favored the name “The Islamic Movement of Lebanon” but before the matter came up for a vote, another of the more than 20 new local resistance groups preempted that name. Others thought the name “Nation (Umma) of Hezbollah” was more inclusive. Under time pressure to agree on a name before the...

Time Marches on but not for Obama
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Dec 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington It is par for the course for the mainstream American media to adopt the U.S. official line on U.S. foreign policy, especially when it concerns the Arab-Israeli conflict, rather than take an independent stance. This does not mean, much to the delight of some foreign policy observers, that this position is universally true since there are few liberal groups, including American Jewish organizations, who do stick their neck out but regrettably with little impact in the halls of government. Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell lauded the recent offer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go along with a partial settlement freeze in the occupied Palestinian territories although he excluded occupied Arab East Jerusalem, where several recent episodes of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arab citizens from the Holy City have occurred. “U.S. praises Netanyahu plan,” was the headline in The Washington Post on November 26 for the Israeli offer for a 10-month freeze on colonial expansion in the occupied West Bank where about 300,000 Israeli settlers have been living following the 1967 war. The half-baked Israeli offer would also allow the completion of 2900 housing units there as well as continue expansion into East Jerusalem which is slated to become the Palestinians’ capital city. The reaction of several American columnists was mainly noteworthy for the lack of any criticism of the limited Israeli offer. Writing three days later, Thomas L. Friedman chose to focus in The New...

Will the Church Act to Save the Children of Gaza This Christmas?
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Dec 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London (Open letter to: The Most Rev. and the Rt. Hon. the Archbishop of Canterbury, Spiritual leader of the Anglican Church) Dear Archbishop, Two years ago, on returning from Gaza and the West Bank, I wrote about the dire conditions and the British government's complicity in the crippling blockade, and reminded prime minister Gordon Brown that Gaza was formerly entrusted to Britain under mandate, which was reason for us to feel a special responsibility. I urged him: “Go see for yourselves the misery, the human tragedy and the devastation you have heaped on these nice people. Feel the pain and weep. “Then amaze us. Do something courageous for once. Lift the cruel siege. End the 90 years of betrayal that has so shamed Britain." That was before the horrific blitzkrieg launched by Israel last December/January, in which at least 350 children were murdered and thousands more maimed or made homeless. Gazans have to exist in circumstances that are simply indescribable. You know that the Strip is still under daily bombardment, the promised reconstruction has still not begun, all borders remain sealed to form a vast concentration camp and marauding Israeli warships machine-gun Gaza fishermen in their own waters. Today I was disgusted to learn that chocolate, which few can afford but all regard as a great delicacy, especially at Muslim holy festivals such as Eid, is prohibited by Israel and banned from entering Gaza. It has to be smuggled in at great risk through the tunnel...
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