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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
8 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

EU Foreign Ministers Support Division Of Jerusalem
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 09, 2009 - 03:51, Foreign Ministers of the European Union declared Tuesday support for dividing Jerusalem to be the capital of both Israel and the future Palestinian State. They said that a solution should be found to enable this concept.

Israeli Police Apprehends Three Fundamentalists Suspected Of Stabbing An Arab Man
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 08, 2009 - 21:20, The Israeli Police in Jerusalem apprehended last month three fundamentalists, including two minors, on suspicion that they stabbed an Arab man in Mea Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem. The news were published Tuesday after a gag order was lifted.

Palestinian PM Welcomes EU Call Regarding Jerusalem
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 08, 2009 - 18:37, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad welcomed the call of the European Union to make Jerusalem a capital of two states.

Al Maqt, A Detainee Behind Bars Since 24 Years
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 08, 2009 - 11:37, Former detainee, specialist in Detainees’ Affairs, Abdul-Nasser Farawna, stated that detainee Sidqi Al Maqt, from the Golan heights, is hoping a prisoner-swap deal would free him after 25 years in captivity and oppression in Israeli prisons.

Settlement Leaders To Fight Settlement Freeze
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 08, 2009 - 10:07, Leaders of Jewish settlement in the occupied territories said they will do all what they can to counter the Israeli Government’s decision to temporarily freeze settlement activities in the occupied territories.

Netanyahu claims Syria Dropped Golan Withdrawal As Precondition
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 08, 2009 - 08:38, Israeli media sources reported that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Syria dropped an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Golan Heights as a precondition to resume indirect peace talks.

Ma'an News

Islamic Jihad: Jenin leader dodges assassination
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Islamic Jihad said a leader in its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, survived an assassination attempt near the West Bank city of Jenin on late on Sunday night. In an announcement carried on Islamic Jihad websites, the group also said that three of its members were arrested in the town of Al-Yamoun. The websites described how dozens of Israeli military vehicles stormed Al-Yamoun, on Sunday, following a group of undercover forces entered the village in Palestinian-plated cars and besieged home of Bajis Hamdiya. Explosions and gunshots were heard in the area until dawn, the statements said. Israeli soldiers occupied several homes and roofs surrounding Hamdiya's home before they broke into the home. However, Islamic Jihad sources said, he managed to sneak out unharmed. A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said that on Saturday night, Israeli forces. . . 

Woman detainee kept in isolation for insulting prison guard
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A woman Palestinian prisoner has been kept in solitary confinement following a verbal incident with an Israeli prison guard, the Hussam prisoners association said on Tuesday. Wafa' Al-Lubs, 26, has been held in solitary confinement at the Ar-Ramlah prison for 100 days and has been prevented from making or receiving phones calls or visitors after she verbally assaulted a prison guard, the association said. Al-Lubs' father contacted the Hussam association to visit his daughter, who expressed his deep concern for her, having received no news on his daughter. Three months ago, Al-Lubs was permitted to have surgery for a nervous system condition that affects her left hand and fingers, following three years of continued pressure on the Israeli Prison Services by fellow detainees. Al-Lubs was born on 8 July 1984 in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, and was. . . 

Report: Netanyahu okays Israel-Egypt border wall
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the construction of a wall along the border between Israel and Egypt, Israeli media reported on Tuesday. The decision came, according to Israeli daily Ma'ariv, after consultations involving security, political, and financial officials in Israel. Netanyahu believes construction of a barrier will stop smuggling and the migration of Africans seeking work or asylum in Israel. The decision, according to Ma'ariv, was made as a result of an increase in the number of African immigrants crossing into Israel. "The only place in the world where it takes tens of meters walk to cross from the third world to the first world is Israel's southern borders," Netanyahu was quoted as saying in the report. According to Ma'ariv, the plans for the border wall will be ready in early summer, and there is more than one option for the nature of proposed barrier. 

Israel detains youth with grenade; detains 11 overnight
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man at Atsion, south of Bethlehem, at noon on Tuesday. The man, who was not identified, was allegedly found in possession of a grenade and a knife. He was then transferred to the Israeli intelligence for investigation. Additionally, the Israeli military said on Tuesday it detained 11 Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank. One was detained in the Nablus area, another in Qalqiliya, seven in the Ramallah area and two were taken from the Bethlehem area. The detainees were not immediately identified. The Palestinian Authority police confirmed that three Palestinians were detained in the Nablus and Bethlehem areas. The media office of the Palestinian police department said Israeli troops raided the Kalbona building in Nablus and entered four apartments. 

EU said city’s status must be negotiated, Barghouthi replies: What is left to negotiate?
12/7/2009 - Mustafa Barghouthi told Ma’an that the draft leaked to media on Tuesday was weak compared with an original draft introduced by Sweden. “It’s disappointing. The original draft was much better,” he said. Barghouthi said the call for negotiations was inappropriate at a time when “the most extreme right-wing government is obstructing peace negotiations. ” He said the government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set “impossible conditions” on all issues, including Jerusalem, borders, settlements, and water. “What is left to negotiate? ” “What we need today is pressure on Israel similar to the pressure that was applied on Apartheid South Africa,” Barghouthi said in a phone interview. Barghouthi declared: "Israel’s Government has shown the flimsiness of this announcement; Israeli Defence Minister Barak approved the construction of 28 new public buildings. . . "-- Link: Full text of the conclusions of EU council of Foreign Ministers

Two Gaza crossings open, as four remain closed
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday, while Karni remained closed, a Palestinian crossings official said. The official, Raed Fattouh, said around 100 truckloads of commercial merchandize and humanitarian aid would be allowed through Kerem Shalom. Furthermore, limited amounts of domestic gas and industrial diesel for Gaza's sole power plant would be permitted via both the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings. Since 2007 Israel has maintained a near total closure of its borders with Gaza, slashing imports of vital goods and banning the Strip's 1. 5 million inhabitants from traveling. There are six border crossings into the Gaza Strip, where Egypt and Israel control the flow of movement of goods and humanitarian aid. Egyptian authorities have been complicit in Israel's devastating blockade on. . . 

Eritrean migrant shot on Egypt-Israel border
12/8/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian border police shot and injured an Eritrean immigrant on Monday evening while he attempted to cross into Israel on the Sinai desert border. Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that the man was injured during an exchange of fire between Egyptian border police and traffickers hired to smuggle migrants into Israel. The incident occurred to the south of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. The wounded immigrant was evacuated to a hospital in Al-Arish where he underwent surgery for a critical gunshot wound, the sources added. Last Tuesday Egyptian guards killed another migrant also on theborder with Israel. At least 17 migrants have been killed at the border since May. 

Gaza doctor dies of H1N1
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A doctor became the fourth person to die of the H1N1 flu in Gaza, the de facto Health Ministry said on Tuesday Hasan Khalaf, the deputy minister of health in the Gaza administration said Dr Mahmud Haddad, 55, a blood vessel specialist at Gaza's Ash-Shifa Hospital had been diagnosed before his death with H1N1, in addition to respiratory problems caused by smoking. Haddad entered the intensive care unit of Ash-Shifa before being transferred to an Israeli hospital where he died on Tuesday, Khalaf said. The first cases of H1N1 in Gaza were confirmed on Sunday. [end] 

Committee: Egypt to open Rafah crossing for Gaza students
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip to allow Palestinian students to enter and leave for 48 hours, according to the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee on Tuesday. According to a statement released by the committee, the move was undertaken by the Egyptian authorities to allow Palestinian students from Gaza to continue their studies abroad. A number of Palestinian students and patients have been stranded on either side of the Rafah crossing, as Egyptian authorities intermittently open the only people crossing terminal into Egypt. The border crossing has been closed to Palestinians for the last month. This particular issue, the committee added, had been discussed with the Egyptian side for a number of weeks. Additionally, the de facto Ministry of Interior in Gaza explained that the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee. . . 

Israeli police: 3 arrested for stabbing Palestinian
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Three ultra-Orthodox Israelis, including two minors, were arrested last month for allegedly stabbing a Palestinian Jerusalemite for "nationalistic motives" in west Jerusalem last year, according toIsraeli media on Tuesday. The unnamed victim, 31, was critically injured after the assailants inflicted stab wounds all over his body as he was finishing work at a banquet hall in Mea Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of West Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday. The victim told police that after finishing his shift at 1am on 12 December 2008, four men wearing the kippa - the Jewish skullcap - began stabbing him after asking for the time. The news was revealed on Tuesday after a gag order was lifted on the case, Haaretz said, that the Israeli police arrested the three attackers three months prior, following an undercover investigation. 

PFLP fighters claim ambush on Israeli forces in Gaza
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, claimed responsibility for an attack on Israeli soldiers east of Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza. According to a statement released by the paramilitary group, combatants of the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades clashed with Israeli forces near the Kisufeim governorate boundary. The attack was described as a normal reaction to the "crimes of the occupation" on its 42nd anniversary, the statement added. [end] 

Syrian prisoner hopes to be freed in Shalit deal
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - After nearly a quarter century in Israel's custody, Syrian prisoner Sidqi Al-Maqt hopes he will be freed in an expected prisoner swap between Israel and the captors of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, according to former Palestinian prisoner Abdul-Nasser Farawana. Farawana said he spoke with Al-Maqt's family in the occupied Golan Heights. According to a statement, they discussed the latest updates about the prisoner swap as well as the possibility that Al-Maqt could be included in the deal, as he remains the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israel's jails. Farawana called upon Shalit's captors to insist on giving the prisoner swap deal an Arab dimension "since the prisoners' cause is a national pan-Arab cause which can't be divided according to geographic, partial, national, or sectarian affiliations. " 

No new PA envoy to Lebanon
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas did not address the issue of appointing a new PA envoy in Lebanon during talks in Beirut on Monday, according to Palestinian sources close to the talks. The sources explained that an appointment would have to be discussed and approved by the Palestinian cabinet. The Lebanese daily Al-Liwa reported that Abbas said off the record that the appointment would also have to be approved by the Lebanese government. The previous Palestinian envoy to Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, stepped down from his post and returned to the West Bank in August when he was elected to the Fatah Central Committee during the party's conference in Bethlehem. As for establishment of Palestinian embassy in Lebanon, the sources explained that this would require a decision by the Palestinian cabinet. 

Mash’al in Yemen for unity talks
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A Hamas delegation headed by senior leader Khalid Mash'al arrived on Monday evening in Yemen for talks with officials on efforts to restore Palestinian unity and oppose Israel. Yemen's official news agency SABAquoted Mash'al saying he would brief President Ali Abdullah Saleh on recent developments in Palestinian affairs. "The Hamas movement is keen on reconciliation and it is impossible to face the Zionist entity without internal unity," he was also quoted as saying. Mash'al said Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, particularly in Jerusalem, should compel Hamas and Fatah to form a united front. He also said that Hamas and all Palestinians support security and stability in Yemen. Mash'al, the head of Hamas' political bureau, resides in exile in Syria. After coming to power in elections in 2006, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. . . 

US consul general visits Bethlehem
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The US consul general in Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein visited the West bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday and met with the governor Abdul-Fattah Hamayil and security commanders. The Palestinian hosts updated the US official on the situation in Bethlehem especially what they said was daily suffering created by Israeli military incursions, confiscation of Palestinian lands and natural resources, as well as military checkpoints. The governor highlighted that despite all Israeli violations, the Palestinian Authority (PA) complied with all its commitments to impose security in the area. He asserted that Bethlehem, like other West bank districts, has enjoyed stability and security which international monitors have confirmed. However, he added, Israel hasn't complied with the minimum of what has been agreed on. 

EU: Jerusalem must be capital of two states
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday called on Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a solution wherein Jerusalem would become the capital of both their states. "If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states," EU foreign ministers agreed in a statement to released on Tuesday. “The European Union will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. '' the ministerial resolution said. The statement also expressed "readiness, when appropriate, to recognise a Palestinian state. " The EU ministers said they “takes positive note of the recent decision of the Government of Israel on a partial and temporary settlement freeze as a first step in the right direction. . . . -- Link: Full text of the declaration

Sari Nusseibeh secures funding for Al-Quds University in Beirut
12/8/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - President of Al-Quds University Sari Nusseibeh headed a delegation to Lebanon during the past week to secure funding for a number of university projects, a news release issued by on the Jerusalem university's website announcedon Tuesday. During the delegation's visit to Beirut, Nusseibeh signed an agreement with the Jerusalem International Foundation, which will provide Jerusalem's only Palestinian university with the funding for university projects underway in the near future. The delegation visited several research foundations in Beirut including the Center for Palestinian Studies, the Bahith Center, and the Zaytuna Foundation where Nusseibeh discussed the means for future cooperation in the field of research. The Al-Quds University delegation to Lebanon comprised Nusseibeh's consultant Dr Hamza Theib, Dean of the Islamic Studies faculty Dr Sa'id Al-Qaq, and Islamic Studies lecturer, Dr Mousa Al-Basit. 

Hamas: Resistance is the peoples’ choice
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The first and second Palestinian intifadas proved that resistance is the Palestinian peoples' strategic choice to confront Israeli occupation, said Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif Al-Qanou on Tuesday in a statement marking the 22nd anniversary of the first Palestinian Intifada. "On the anniversary of the intifada which coincides with the anniversary of Hamas, we assure that we will carry on the jihad and the resistance," he said. Al-Qanou added that the Hamas movement considered the first Palestinian Intifada, which started in 1987 in Jabaliya, northern Gaza as thwarting the "breaking the bones" strategy of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The Hamas spokesman further praised the resolve of the Palestinian people and their resistance to the Israeli occupation, as well as their patience with the siege on Gaza that Israel initiated three years ago against the 1. 

Full text: EU foreign ministers statement on Middle East
12/8/2009 - The following is the full text of the conclusions of the Council of the European Union's foreign ministers, adopted at their meeting in Brussels on 8 December. - Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process - (FAC, 8 December 2009) - 1. The Council of the European Union is seriously concerned about the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process. The European Union calls for the urgent resumption of negotiations that will lead, within an agreed time-frame, to a two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. A comprehensive peace, which is a fundamental interest of the parties in the region and the EU, must be achieved on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative. 

Abbas in Lebanon: Peace is the only alternative
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas spoke of the necessity for a return to negotiations with Israel where they last stalled, based on 1967 borders and in accordance with US President Barak Obama's administration, he said during a press conference in Lebanon on Tuesday. "There is no alternative for peace but peace itself," Abbas said, and further called for a settlement freeze as the first initiative to resuming the negotiations. He considered every stone on Palestinian land to be illegal, he added. Before Abbas ended his visit to Lebanon, he spoke of the history of negotiations since Oslo noting that "the negotiations are long," "But the Palestinians are determined on peace and pursuing with Palestinian elections is necessary to resolve the controversy and unify the Palestinian position so that there won't be exploitation or extortion. 

Hamas: PA detained 11 members
12/8/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas said on Tuesday that the Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority forces arrested 11 members of the Islamic movement in the West Bank in the past two days. In a statement received by Ma'an, Hamas said PA forces detained the movement's supporters from Ramallah, Nablus, Salfit, Hebron and Tulkarem. [end] 

DFLP says not represented in Cairo talks
12/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), was not represented in the delegation of members of the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee in Cairo, according to a statement released by the movement on Tuesday. Despite not having a member of its faction sent as part of delegation sent to Cairo to discuss the Egyptian sponsored reconciliation document to end the Hamas-Fatah rivalry, the DFLP said it welcomed all efforts to resume national dialogue to end rivalry and achieve national unity, the statement added. Additionally, a senior DFLP source described the recent Swedish proposal declaring East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders as "a step in the right direction. "  

PA forces and police seize 45 illegal cars
12/8/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority forces and police impounded 45 illegal vehicles and arrested five in connection with the vehicles on Tuesday, in Deir Abu Mash'al northern Ramallah. Following numerous complaints made by residents of Deir Abu Mash'al, PA police and forces proceeded to the area where the illegal cars were kept, confiscating the vehicles and detaining those alleged to be responsible for the crime. Residents of the village told Ma'an that they were satisfied with the swift response they received from the PA forces and police. [end] 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Turkish forces prevent Hezbollah attack on Israeli target
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Defense sources: Planned attack was meant to avenge assassination of top Hezbollah operative Mughniyeh. 

Rabbi who encouraged soldier insubordination summoned for hearing
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Crisis between IDF, hesder yeshivas centers around calls on students to refuse to evacuate settlements. 

Israel arrests wanted Islamic Jihad terrorist
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Zalach Buchari is suspected of involvement in attacks, including 2002 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. 

Israel Navy soldier dies in training accident at Ashdod Port
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Soldier pulled from water after comrades noted signs of distress over course of routine exercise. 

Israel border guards kill Israeli civilian trying to enter Gaza
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Man, possibly mentally unstable, drove to Erez border crossing and ran toward border fence trying to scale it. 

Hamas: Israel has 2 days to accept Shalit deal
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - German mediator reportedly brings final Hamas offer to Israel; Hamas denies French doctors visited Shalit. 

Israel reportedly preparing to leave northern Ghajar
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Foreign Ministry official met UNIFIL chief last week to set conditions for withdrawal, says Ch. 2. 

IDF: Gaza militants fired new kind of rocket at Israel
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Defense source identifies rocket launched at Negev earlier Sunday as S5K, weapon less precise than Qassam. 

'The Freeze' is just another scene in Israel's masquerade
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Nothing will move so long as Tel Aviv, its inhabitants do not let their voice be heard on settlements' future. 

IDF chief set to visit India to strengthen military ties
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - During visit, which is part of a five-day Asia tour, Ashkenazi will meet with government officials and his Indian counterpart. 

Israel rejects Russian request to give PA armored vehicles
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Matter was raised with officials in 2005 but no progress was made due to opposition from Israel's defense. 

IDF troops wound Palestinian at protest against West Bank fence
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Demonstrator moderately wounded near Na'alin; army says troops opened fire after protestors hurled fire bombs. 

Revealed: The secret war over IDF officers' exorbitant salaries
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - News of battle comes after revelation of shady deal in which army arranged NIS 3m pension for MK Shai. 

IDF draws up doctrine on missile threat protection
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - In a report last year, state comptroller criticized the lack of an operational plan. 

Did top Hamas officials discuss the Shalit deal with Nasrallah?
Ha'aretz 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 Dec 2009 - Ashkenazi: Changing demographics in Israel require the IDF to construct 'new models of service.' 

Uruknet

Armageddon Is Coming To East Jerusalem
Uruknet December 8, 2009 - This was the ominous warning issued yesterday by Rabbi Arik Asherman, director of Rabbis for Human Rights who believes that "if nothing changes, Jerusalem will burn." His remarks come in response to a court decision on Monday permitting Israeli settlers to take possession of another Palestinian home in the East Jerusalem region of Sheikh Jarrah. This...

Free Iran Labor Leader, Pedram Nasrollahi!
Uruknet December 8, 2009 - Workers, organizations and institutions defending human rights, honorable and freedom loving people! A new phase of arrests and detentions of workers and workers' rights activists has started [in Iran]. Workers' representatives of the Haft-Tapeh Sugarcane Co. syndicate were taken to jail for merely defending the workers' demands to meet their needs. The detainees of the May...

Action Call for anniversary of Israel's massacres in Gaza
Uruknet December 8, 2009 - December 27th-January 18th 2009-2010 marks the one-year anniversary of Israel's brutal 'Operation Cast Lead' against the people of besieged Gaza. The 22-day attack left more than 1,400 dead, the vast majority of them civilians, including nearly 400 children, over 5000 injured, displaced 50,000 and made 20,000 homeless (until today). Some 3,600 homes were completely destroyed and...

All I want for Christmas is an end to apartheid - Top ten brands to boycott
Uruknet December 8, 2009 - While there are many Israeli and multinational companies that benefit from apartheid, we put together this list to highlight ten specific companies to target. Many of these produce goods in such a way that directly harms Palestinians - exploiting labor, developing technology for military operations, or supplying equipment for illegal settlements. Many are also the targets...

Iranian Revolution: Act II Continues
Uruknet In solidarity with the Iranian university students! Salute to all the heroic students, every one of whom is a leader and a fighter! In unison with millions of students in Iran, we salute the freedom loving spirit of Shariat Razavi, Ghandchi and Bozorgnia! People in Iran continue their fight. The state trembles at every one of these anniversaries. As reported...

How Israel Slipped the Snare of "Particular Concern" Through the State Department Looking Glass
Uruknet December 8, 2009 - Leave it to the State Department to soft-pedal religious extremism in the Middle East. Oh not in, say, Iran or Saudi Arabia. In the most recent edition of the department's annual Report on International Religious Freedom, both are designated "Countries of Particular Concern," members of a select group chastised for their extreme intolerance. Which is as...

The US cash behind extremist settlers
Uruknet 8 December 2009 - Last month, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organisation called the Hebron Fund, which supports Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied city of Hebron, held a fundraiser at the New York Mets' stadium, Citi Field. The fundraiser went forward despite calls for its cancellation from grassroots human rights organisations from the US, Palestine and Israel. The fact that the Hebron...

LRC: "14 Homes Demolished In Jerusalem In November"
Uruknet December 08, 2009 - The Land Research Center (LRC) of the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem reported that the Israeli authorities conducted 187 against Jerusalem in November, and demolished 14 Palestinians homes in addition to issuing orders to demolish 170 homes. The center prepares and publishes its reports in cooperation with the Civil Coalition to Defend Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem....

Muslim and Christian figures in J'lem warns of grave Israeli moves against Aqsa
Uruknet December 8, 2009 -- The high Islamic council, the council of Awqaf and Islamic affairs, heads of churches and Christian and Muslim figures warned Monday of serious Israeli intentions to impose a fait accompli at the Aqsa Mosque and give part of it to Jews. During an emergency meeting held in the old city of occupied Jerusalem, the attendees added...

IRAN ~~ THE REVOLUTION BETRAYED
Uruknet I will start this post with a poem written over 26 years ago..... The Revolution Betrayed © Steve Amsel The Shah is dead - Long live Khomeini, The Shah is dead - Glory to the people, We rejoiced with you on your victory, The foreign intruders have finally vanished. Almost five years have passed, You should have so much to...

Is it a flogging offence to send friendly greetings to Gaza's beleaguered PM?
Uruknet December 8, 2009 - The great Viva Palestina convoy is on its way. It left London on Sunday, with the media doing their best not to notice despite photo opportunities and a press event laid on in front of the Houses of Parliament. The hundred or so vehicles, carrying humanitarian aid, are expected to arrive in Gaza on 27 December...

Palestine Telegraph

Swine Flu Deaths Reach 4 in Gaza
Gaza, December 8, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Dr. Mohammed Al-Haddad, 55, died today after he had been infected with swine flu. He was transferred to the Israeli hospitals to receive treatment, while 15 cases still taking medication in Gaza. Hassan Khalaf, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that Dr. Mohammed, the director of Blood Vessel Department at...

Israel to build wall on border with Egypt
Palestine, December 8, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to build a wall on the border with Egypt to prevent African migrants from changing Israel's racial balance. Netanyahu believes building a wall along the southern borders with Egypt is an "unavoidable and strategic" measure, which Tel Aviv must take to ensure that thousands of migrants...

IOF Detain 11 Palestinians in West Bank
West Bank, December 8, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - At Tuesday dawn, the Israeli occupation forces continued its detaining assault on West Bank towns, villages and camps. They detained 11 Palestinians after breaking into their homes and tampering with their contents. "The Israeli occupation forces detained the Palestinians claiming that they are "wanted". Pointing out that one of them was detained...

German Mediator in Gaza for Deal Negotiations.
Gaza Strip, December 8, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) --The German mediator, negotiating  prisoners exchange between Israel and Hamas, arrived in Gaza to meet with Hamas leaders to deliver Israel's response to them. Hamas has earlier demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. An informed Palestinian official said negotaitions have reached a "...

H1N1 Kills 2 in Gaza
Gaza, December 7, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Hassan Khalaf, deputy of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, confirmed that two swine flu cases died today morning. He pointed out they were suffering from underlying health problems such as pneumonia, kidney failure and they have not immunity. Dr. Asad Al-Ramlawi, the spokesman for the campaign against swine flu, declared that the...

The National

Cairo warns Iran over nuclear ambiguity
The National 8 Dec 2009 - Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, warned Tehran yesterday athat t was endangering the stability of the region over its nuclear programme.

West Bank settlers block freeze-order officials
The National 8 Dec 2009 - Inspectors held up for hours trying to serve papers ordering a halt to construction amid growing threat of violence against Palestinians.

Dark waters
The National 8 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.

Aljazeera

EU backs Jerusalem as joint capital
AlJazeera 8 Dec 2009 - Foreign ministers agree city should be capital of both Israel and Palestinian state.

Iran police 'clash with protesters'
AlJazeera 7 Dec 2009 - Riot police fire tear gas at opposition supporters in central Tehran, witnesses say.

Palestine News Network

No glitz or glam at Gaza's first ever film festival
PNN 7 Dec 2009 - The Gaza Strip launched its first ever film festival on Saturday and although it was a far cry from the usual glitz and glamour associated with film festivals, it offered something far more real and substantial – namely exposing Israeli crimes. With the participation of several countries from the Arab world and internationally the documentary film festival kicked off despite several hiccups,...

Israeli troops kill Israeli trying to enter Gaza Strip
PNN 7 Dec 2009 - An Israeli man was shot dead on Monday morning while trying to climb a border fence and enter the Gaza Strip, an Israeli military spokesman said. The man drove to area and parked his car, then tried to climb the border fence. Border guards called for the man to stop and fired warning shots but he ignored them and continued to climb...

Palestine Needs Your Help. A letter from Justice for Palestine Association
PNN 7 Dec 2009 - Dear Supporter We need your help today to support people in Palestine, especially the people of Gaza in their fight for survival. Earlier this year, Justice for Palestine Association delivered its first convoy of medicine to Gaza. As an exiled Palestinian, this was my first visit in many years to Gaza. I was truly shocked to see how much everyday life for...

West Bank settlers reject Netanyahu plea for support 
PNN 7 Dec 2009 - Jewish settlers have rejected an attempt by the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to defuse tensions over a pause in building in the West Bank. They vowed to continue a civil disobedience campaign stopping inspectors from entering settlements, now in its third day. Speaking on Israeli radio, settlers described the meeting with PM as difficult and emotionally charged . The settlers have scheduled a...

Jerusalem Post

Barak employed illegal migrant worker
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - Defense Minister says Filipino woman was hired only occasionally.

Settlers: Security forces treat us as enemy
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - Council of Jewish Communities head Dani Dayan: They treat us as if we are their foes.

Peace Now rallies in support of moratorium outside IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - Protesters bear signs saying "Settlements: not Obama's problem, not the world's problem, our problem."

Thousands gear up for anti-freeze protest in J'lem
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - "We want to deliver a message to the Likud ministers that what they did is unacceptable."

Home Front Command readying for Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan missiles
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - Hamas may fire rockets up to 80 km in a future conflict; IDF preparing information kits for citizens and working with local authorities.

Israel relieved at amended EU statement
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - EU calls for "negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states."

Livni would have ceded more than Barak
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - According to Channel 10, opposition leader would have offered less than former PM Olmert.

ADL: Egyptian media anti-Semitic
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - Foxman: Alarming attitudes undermine US efforts to improve relations between Israel, Arab world.

Did US group raise funds for Hamas?
Jeruslalem Post 8 Dec 2009 - Congressman Brad Sherman urges probe into NGO he suspects raised terror group funds on campuses.

IRIN

In Brief: First swine flu cases confirmed in Gaza
IRIN TEL AVIV Monday, December 07, 2009 (IRIN) - Nearly seven months after the first H1N1 influenza cases were registered in Israel and the West Bank, five cases of the disease were confirmed in the Gaza Strip on 6 December, according to the Palestinian health authority.

ISRAEL: HIV-positive migrants lack access to care - NGO 
IRIN TEL AVIV Monday, December 07, 2009 (IRIN) - A prominent local NGO working on HIV-related issues says HIV-positive asylum-seekers and migrants face difficulties in accessing free AIDS services in Israel, including treatment.

SYRIA: Tough new law against killer tobacco
IRIN DAMASCUS Thursday, December 03, 2009 (IRIN) - A much tougher anti-smoking law in Syria, signed by President Bashar al-Assad and due to come into force in early 2010, will outlaw smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars, hospitals, sports halls and cinemas.

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.

MIDEAST: Europe Steps In to Pressure Israel 
IPS JERUSALEM, Dec 8 (IPS) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterpart Salam Fayyad have both been scrambling earnestly to win the backing of European leaders in advance of what could be a major EU policy shift that aims at creating new impetus for Palestinian-Israeli peace prospects.

PCHR Weekly Report

(25 Nov.- 02 Dec. 2009)
PCHR During the reporting period, 6 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.- PDF

International Solidarity Movement

VIDEO - Armageddon is coming to East Jerusalem
12/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Palestine Monitor, 5 December - This was the ominous warning issued yesterday by Rabbi Arik Asherman, director of Rabbis for Human Rights who believes that "if nothing changes, Jerusalem will burn. " His remarks come in response to a court decision on Monday permitting Israeli settlers to take possession of another Palestinian home in the East Jerusalem region of Sheikh Jarrah. This is the fifth family to be evicted in a neighbourhood where more and more Israeli flags are appearing atop of freshly occupied Palestinian homes. Yesterday Rabbis for Human Rights organized a demonstration in Jerusalem protesting the courts decision bringing together 150 Israeli and international activists from organizations such as ICHAD, EAPPI and Anarchists against the Wall. As they marched through the streets in West Jerusalem, they received a mixed reaction from passer bys. Some cheered them on whilst others shouted "˜traitor', spat at demonstrators and at one point a hose was turned on the crowd from behind the curtain of an upstairs apartment. 

Israel: End arbitrary detention of rights activist
12/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Human Rights Watch, 4 December - The Israeli military appeals court should end the administrative detention of Mohammed Othman, a West Bank rights activist, and order his release, Human Rights Watch said today. Israeli authorities have detained Othman without charge for more than two months on what appear to be politically motivated grounds. On the basis of secret evidence that Othman and his lawyers were not allowed to see, a military court confirmed a military order that consigned Othman to three months administrative detention without charging him with any crime. Othman has no criminal record and, to the knowledge of Human Rights Watch, has never advocated or participated in violence. His detention period, which may be renewed, ends on December 22. "The only reasonable conclusion is that Othman is being punished for. . . 

Palestinian reflections on American political ideology
12/6/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Haider Eid, Palestine Chronicle. 3 December - The Palestinians have ‘realized,' thanks to Hilary Clinton, that the US is biased towards Israel. According to the American Secretary of State, negotiations between "the two parties" should resume without preconditions. The Americans have even praised Netanyahu's "unprecedented concessions!" Gone is the sweet talk of the American president Barak Obama; gone is the euphoria following his "ground breaking" speech in Cairo university. We are back to square one. The question that begs for answers is why does America hate us Palestinians? Do the American people really believe that we have no rights even though those rights are enshrined in international law? Does President Obama truly believe that we are only a nuisance? American hegemonic political philosophy judges a belief by its effects not its causes. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Comment / Netanyahu's freeze is like Obama's Afghanistan policy
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - There is a lot of similarity between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to freeze construction in the settlements and U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan. ... 

UN: Israel needs to produce more solar energy
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Political criticism of Israel within the United Nations is nothing new, but the organization has opened a slightly more benevolent front: Cristophe Bouvier, regional director for Europe at the UN Environment Program, summoned an Israeli delegate to complain that although Israel is among the leading developers of solar energy technology, it hardly uses alternative energy sources itself, relying instead overwhelmingly on fossil fuels. ... 

Egypt building iron wall on Gaza border to stop tunnel smuggling
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Egypt has begun the construction of a massive iron wall along its border with the Gaza Strip, in a bid to shut down smuggling tunnels into the territory. The wall will be nine to 10 kilometers long, and will go 20 to 30 meters into the ground, Egyptian sources said. It will be impossible to cut or melt. ... 

U.S.: Fate of Jerusalem should be decided only by Israel, Palestinians
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Shortly after European Union Ministers announced their support for the division of Jerusalem between Israel and a future Palestinian state on Tuesday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that the fate of Jerusalem should only be determined by Israel and the Palestinians in talks. ... 

Meshal: Shalit deal hindered by Israel's 'obstinacy'
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - The deal to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for captured Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit is facing obstacles caused by "Israeli obstinacy," Khaled Meshal, the political leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, said on Tuesday. ...

The Guardian

Cairo human rights group attacks Arab states
The Guardian 8 Dec 2009 - Respected body's second annual report condemns Arab League for remaining silent on grave human rights violations Human rights in the Arab world have deteriorated over the last year as governments flaunt progress on women's issues while...

Europe softens Middle East statement after condemnation from Israel
The Guardian 8 Dec 2009 - EU foreign ministers agree to drop call in draft document for east Jerusalem to be capital of future Palestinian state European foreign ministers today agreed a watered-down statement on the Middle East so that it now...

The US cash behind extremist settlers | Andrew Kadi and Aaron Levitt
The Guardian 8 Dec 2009 - The Hebron Fund is raising vast sums for Israeli settlements that violate the Geneva convention, with little scrutiny Last month, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organisation called the Hebron Fund , which supports Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied city...

Peace must begin with the plight of Palestine's refugees | Karen AbuZayd
The Guardian 8 Dec 2009 - Sixty years after the UN moved to address the fate of the dispossessed, we need to accept that the injustice endures Sixty years ago today the United Nations general assembly voted into existence a temporary body...

Building peace without Obama's interference | Tom Gross
The Guardian 7 Dec 2009 - A promising, independent Palestine is quietly being developed, with Israeli assistance It is difficult to turn on a TV or radio or pick up a newspaper these days, without finding some pundit or other deploring the...

Light in the Israel-Palestine darkness | Seth Freedman
The Guardian 7 Dec 2009 - Initiatives such as the Jerusalem Interest-Free Microfinance Fund bridge a cultural gulf as well as helping economically Sitting in a hotel lobby in East Jerusalem, Jafar Sabbah is strident in his assertion that both Israeli and...

Israel accused of interrogating medical patients from Gaza
The Guardian 6 Dec 2009 - Palestinians interrogated and held without charge Questioning is a security measure, government says Israeli security agents held a Palestinian patient for three weeks without charge, interrogated him repeatedly and offered access to hospital care if he...

Israeli resentment grows on trees | Seth Freedman
The Guardian 6 Dec 2009 - The Jewish National Fund has donated 3,000 trees to a Palestinian housing project much to the fury of its traditional supporters The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is no stranger to controversy, its sectarian approach to charity...

Ha'aretz National page

Golda Meir proposed limiting aliyah of handicapped Polish Jews
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - In 1958, then-foreign minister Golda Meir raised the possibility of preventing handicapped and sick Polish Jews from immigrating to Israel, a recently discovered Foreign Ministry document has revealed. ... 

Report: Barak employed unlicensed migrant worker 
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his wife Nili Priel have been employing an unlicensed migrant worker from the Philippines, Israel Radio said Tuesday. The worker was dismissed following the report. ... 

Trying to sell land nobody wants won't lower housing prices in Israel
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - From his first day on the job, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias has vowed to step up the sale of state land to the public. He says he aims to lower housing prices. In interviews he reiterates his vision of freeing up vast tracts of land for sale. But reality is at odds with the promises: The Shas minister is working hard to create two new cities for the religious community while trying to offer inferior land with various encumbrances elsewhere. ... 

Amira Hass / How Israel manipulates its citizens 
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - Would any of the settlers who opposed the Civil Administration inspectors this week be living in the territories had the governments of Israel not established and encouraged them? Would the Gush Katif evacuees have moved to mobile homes in Ariel in the expectation of spacious permanent housing had the government clearly declared that this was forbidden - because the settlements will be evacuated in the near future for a peace agreement - and that evacuation-compensation money would not be paid to anyone who moves to the West Bank? ... 

Government supports referendum on Golan pullout
Ha'aretz 8 Dec 2009 - The Knesset is gearing up to vote on Wednesday on an amendment to a law requiring a referendum ahead of any Israeli territorial withdrawal. The amendment is expected to be approved, as the government has already approved it by ministerial committee. ...

Relief Web

Humanitarian Update: Regional Office for the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, Nov 2009
Relief Web 8 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

OPT: Council Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process
Relief Web 8 Dec 2009 - Source: European Union

OPT: Identical letters dated 1 Dec 2009 from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN addressed to the SG and the President of the SC (S/2009/614)
Relief Web 8 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

Germany supports solar installation project in the Palestinian territories
Relief Web 8 Dec 2009 - Source: Government of Germany

OPT: Confronting dispossession - Creating facts in the mind
Relief Web 8 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Gaza government impose permission on Palestinian travelers via Erez crossing: The undersigned human rights organizations call for revoking this measure, preventing violations of the right to free movement and access
Relief Web 8 Dec 2009 - Source: Al-Dameer, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

YNet News

Barak summons Rabbi Melamed
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - Defense minister says will decide future of military's arrangement with hesder seminary schools after meeting with controversial head of Har Bracha yeshiva 

US on EU: J'lem to be negotiated in final-status agreement
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - Noses are wrinkled in Washington to European foreign minister's communiqu? calling on Jerusalem to be divided between Israel and Palestinian state. Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley: Our position on Jerusalem is clear, and we believe it's final-status issue 

Students, militia clash in 2nd day of Iran protest
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - (Video) More than 200 detained as anti-government rallies continue at universities throughout Islamic Republic. Top prosecutor says, 'So far, we have shown restraint. From today, no leniency will be applied.' Opposition leader Mousavi confronts harassing militiamen: 'Kill me!' 

MK Yacimovich: Ariel not an outpost 
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - Students at West Bank college pleasantly surprised by Labor member's speech in support of upgrading institution's status to that of university. 'Ariel is a city in Israel that was established by all of Israel's governments through the generations,' she tells conference 

Fayyad: EU decision – first step towards statehood 
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - PA, Israel welcome European Union foreign ministers' decision stating any decision regarding Jerusalem's status must follow talks 

Ne'eman in Knesset: Support alternative litigation system
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - Justice minister draws public criticism for calling for Torah law to be instated in Israel. In Knesset speech, Ne'eman explains he was referring to proposed financial courts 

Palestinians boycott Israeli settlement goods
YNet News 8 Dec 2009 - Economic minister says, 'Consuming settlements' products is wrong, nationally, economically and politically.' Israeli Foreign Ministry: Move counterproductive, will only hurt peace prospects 

Daily Star

EU says Jerusalem 'future capital of two states'
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 EU nations agreed Tuesday that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state, assuaging Israeli anger over earlier mention of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Jerusalem, which is occupied by Israel, should provide "the future capital of the two states," as part of a negotiated settlement, European Union foreign ministers agreed in a text released after talks in Brussels., EU nations agreed Tuesday that Jerusalem should be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state, assuaging Israeli anger over earlier mention of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Jerusalem, which is occupied by Israel, should provide "the future capital of the two states," as part of a negotiated settlement, European Union foreign ministers agreed in a text released after talks in Brussels.

Students, Basij forces clash in second day of Iran protests
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Pro-government militiamen assaulted university students demonstrating for a second straight day Tuesday and hardliners on motorcycles harassed the top opposition leader at his office, signs of a possible intensified crackdown after the biggest anti-government demonstrations in months. The new unrest came as Iran's top prosecutor warned of even.

Israeli minister: Jewish law must become binding
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Israel's justice minister said religious law must become binding in the country, causing a stir Tuesday that reflects the divide between the country's secular and religious communities. Yaakov Neeman, an observant Jew, told a rabbinical conference Monday that the Bible contains "a complete solution to all the things we are dealing with.", Israel's justice minister said religious law must become binding in the country, causing a stir Tuesday that reflects the divide between the country's secular and religious communities. Yaakov Neeman, an observant Jew, told a rabbinical conference Monday that the Bible contains "a complete solution to all the things we are dealing with."

Iran accuses US of abducting its nuclear scientist
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Tehran Tuesday accused the US of abducting an Iranian nuclear scientist who went missing in Saudi Arabia during a minor Muslim pilgrimage, and said Riyadh must also be held accountable. Shahram Amiri reportedly disappeared from the holy city of Medina in June, three days after landing in Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki accused Washington of kidnapping Amiri., Tehran Tuesday accused the US of abducting an Iranian nuclear scientist who went missing in Saudi Arabia during a minor Muslim pilgrimage, and said Riyadh must also be held accountable. Shahram Amiri reportedly disappeared from the holy city of Medina in June, three days after landing in Saudi Arabia. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki accused Washington of kidnapping Amiri.

Arab countries flop on human rights - report
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Human rights deteriorated across the Arab world in 2009 with torture widely practiced in several countries, namely Egypt, an Arab watchdog said Tuesday. The 230-page report by the independent Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies surveyed 12 countries and said that most of them repressed human rights activists, press freedoms and discriminated against religious minorities.

Al-Qaeda 'holding' European hostages
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Al-Qaeda's North African branch claimed Tuesday it was holding four European hostages seized late last month, as a security source said the hardline cell holding three Spaniards killed a British hostage earlier this year. Frenchman Pierre Camatte was seized November 25 in Mali while the three Spaniards were kidnapped four days later in neighboring Mauritania.

Palestinian Information Center

Muslim and Christian figures in J’lem warns of grave Israeli moves against Aqsa
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The high Islamic council, the council of Awqaf and Christian and Muslim figures warned of serious Israeli intentions to impose a fait accompli at the Aqsa Mosque and give part of it to Jews.

Palestinian female prisoner in solitary for more than 100 uninterrupted days
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The parents of female prisoner Wafa Al-Bes said that their young daughter has been in solitary confinement in the Israeli Ramle prison for more than 100 consecutive days.

Heavy casualties among Israeli troops east of Khan Younis
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday ambushed Tuesday morning Israeli troops near Kissufim crossing northeast of Khan Younis causing many casualties among them.

IOF demolish eight homes, number of tents in Negev region
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday demolished eight Palestinian homes as well as tents and uprooted dozens of olive saplings in different areas of the occupied Negev region.

Sheikh Beitawi slams PA for hosting beauty contest for Palestinian girls in WB
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - Sheikh Hamed Al-Beitawi, the head of the association of Palestinian scholars, strongly denounced the Palestinian Authority (PA) for sponsoring a beauty pageant for Palestinian girls in the West Bank.

Hamas urges donor countries to fulfil their obligations towards UNRWA
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Hamas office of refugees’ affairs appealed to the donor countries to fulfil their financial obligations towards the UNRWA in order to be able to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees.

Israel to construct wall on borders with Egypt, rounds up 11 citizens
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Israeli government has decided to build a security wall along the borders between Egypt and Palestine occupied in 1948 at the pretext of checking the infiltration of thousands of Africans.

Abu Hashish: Haneyya gov't does not restrict freedom of travel
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian government in Gaza does not restrict the freedom of movement for its citizens but only regulates the procedure, Hassan Abu Hashish, the government's spokesman, said on Monday.

Khudari calls for human rights convoys to Gaza to activate prisoners' issue
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari has urged human rights groups worldwide to send convoys to the Gaza Strip with the basic aim of activating the question of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Health ministry: 3 citizens died of swine flu, nine others got the virus
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian health ministry has announced that three Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have died of the swine flu (H1N1 virus) while nine others were being treated for the same disease.

Los Angeles Times

Iran streets and campuses erupt in protest 
LA Times 8 Dec 2009 - The demonstrations are more widespread than those after the disputed June 12 election, which is still the main cause of the outrage. Security forces refrain from deadly force, but there is violence. Campuses across Iran erupted in protests Monday as defiant college students chanting anti-government slogans clashed with security forces armed with clubs in a forceful new round of confrontations over the nation's disputed June presidential election. 

Misc

Operation Cast Lead: An Eyewitness Account
12/8/2009 - Political Theatrics - ByAdmins Comments: The following is a copy of an exchange between myself and a Palestinian male named Abdallah who is currently living in the Gaza Strip. This is a personal account filled with very raw and emotional accounts, and due to these facts the interview was conducted over a 4 day period. I began the conversation by asking typical questions concerning logistics; Abdallah is from a small village in Gaza known as Dair Al Balah which has a population of around 62,000 men ,women and children. I must say, before you continue on to the interview, that this was a very stirring dialogue and there were moments where breaks were taken in order for Abdallah to compose himself so we could continue the interview. This was not just a war, but a massacre and it is still fresh on the minds of not only Gazan’s but all Palestinians. The following is a PoliticalTheatrics exclusive not found anywhere else but here. . . . 

Israeli Occupation Forces Demolish Eight Homes, Tents In Negev Region
12/8/2009 - Political Theatrics - PIC - The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday demolished eight Palestinian homes as well as tents and uprooted dozens of olive saplings in different areas of the occupied Negev region. Different Palestinian local sources reported that Israeli bulldozers knocked down seven homes and uprooted dozens of olive saplings in Al-Araqeeb village and demolished another home in Umm Mitnan village. They also said that the Israeli troops tore down tents of Palestinian citizens in the village of Taweel Abu Jarwal for the 37th time and delivered 13 demolition orders against homes in an area near the village of Umm Numeila. “We rebuild as soon as the troops who demolish leave the area. We will not leave our land for it is our life or be deterred by demolitions in all circumstances, though we were left in the rain and cold,” Mohamed Talalqah, one of Taweel Abu Jarwal residents, said. 

Turkey To Israel: Cross Our Airspace To Bomb Iran & We Will Respond Like An Earthquake
12/8/2009 - Political Theatrics - Arab Times - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stated that if Israel crossed over into Turkey’s airspace in order to bomb Iran then their answer to Israel shall be like that of an “earthquake“. Erdogan’s response was due to a question, in an interview with Lebanese newspaper “Al Safir”, over information indicating that Israel had violated Turkish airspace in the process of spying against Iran. Erdogan continued,saying that certainly “the information [stating that Israel was using their airspace to spy on Iran] is incorrect,” but he stated that, “if Israel did so, they will receive a response equal to that of an earthquake. ”He also said it was not reasonable that Israel went to Gaza and “swept” the population and later had the audacity to believe that they would still be permitted to train with Turkish defense forces after they have wrought havoc on the Gaza Strip. 

Europe softens Middle East statement after condemnation from Israel
12/8/2009 - The Guardian - EU foreign ministers agree to drop call in draft document for east Jerusalem to be capital of future Palestinian state - European foreign ministers today agreed a watered-down statement on the Middle East so that it now stops short of an explicit call for east Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state but still contains strong criticism of Israel. Israel had condemned a leaked draft statement by Sweden, holder of the rotating EU presidency, mentioning east Jerusalem as a future capital for the Palestinians. EU foreign ministers reverted to more familiar wording that said: "If there is to be genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states. " Sweden had wanted the EU to provide sufficient support for the Palestinians to encourage them to return to long-stalled negotiations with Israel, but this latest statement from Brussels seemed unlikely to achieve that. 

Cairo human rights group attacks Arab states
12/8/2009 - The Guardian - Respected body's second annual report condemns Arab League for remaining silent on grave human rights violations - Human rights in the Arab world have deteriorated over the last year as governments flaunt progress on women's issues while evading and actively blocking broader reforms that guarantee dignity for all, says a report. Beyond issues facing individual countries, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies blames Arab governments and member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference for working in concert within UN institutions to undermine international mechanisms and standards for the protection of human rights. The CIRHS is an independent body whose work is respected by western-based human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Its report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, attacks the Arab League for supporting the Sudanese. . . . 

Expatriate Palestinians irate over revoked residency permits
12/7/2009 - CNN - Jerusalem (CNN) -- In 1954, Mahmmoud Hujaij was born with the help of a mid-wife in a small East Jerusalem house. Half a century later, he is fighting for the right to continue living in the city of his birth. On a 2006 trip to visit his sister and ailing mother, Israeli authorities informed Hujaij that his residency permit in Jerusalem had expired. " They called me and said 'oh, you are not living in Jerusalem you are living outside the country,'" Hujaij recounts. "They said you have to give up your ID and leave within 30 days. '"The slender, white-haired Palestinian had broken an Israeli law, which strips Palestinians of their Jerusalem residency if they spend more then seven years living overseas, or if they acquire residency or citizenship in another country. Hujaij had spent some sixteen years living in the U. S. 

Turkey differs with US over Iran
12/8/2009 - AlJazeera - The month of December is turning out to be crunch time for Barack Obama, the US president, as four of the key issues which have marked his presidency - Afghanistan, Iran, healthcare reform, and climate change - will have reached a critical stage in the weeks before Christmas. Last week, Obama laid out a new strategy for Afghanistan, hosted a jobs summit, and made a pitch to Democratic Senators to pass his healthcare reform legislation. Next, he will give a major speech on the economy, and zip over to Oslo, Norway to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize (the irony of receiving the prize a week after ordering 30,000 new troops to fight the Taliban has been lost on no one in Washington). Then he will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark for the global climate change summit. The Senate is trying to pass healthcare reform before Obama takes off for holiday vacation in Hawaii. 

Unemployment Highest in Hebron, Khan Younis, PCBS Says
12/7/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - RAMALLH, December 7, 2009 (WAFA)- Labor Force Survey Results from (July- September, 2009) by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) revealed that unemployment rate registered the highest in Hebron governorate among the West Bank Governorates, while Khan Younis Governorate registered the highest among Gaza Strip governorates. The survey sample of this round is based on the 2007 census sampling frame 7,677 households were selected to represent the Palestinian society of which 6,745 households completed the questionnaires (4,521 in the West Bank and 2,224 in Gaza Strip). PCBS said, “According to the ILO standards, the labour force participation rate in the Palestinian Territory during the 3rd quarter of 2009 was the same as the 2nd quarter of 2009 (41. 6%) (compared 41. 6% during the 3rd quarter of 2008). 

Delegation from National Red Cross Societies Visits PRCS-Lebanon
12/7/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - BEIRUT, December 7, 2009 (WAFA)- A delegation comprising members from national Red Cross Societies who took part in the 5th PRCS Partnership meeting held in Al Bireh on October 26 &27 visited PRCS branch in Lebanon in order to get better acquainted with humanitarian services provided by the Society. The delegation, composed of members from the German, Norwegian, Belgian, Dutch and Swedish Red Cross Societies as well as from IFRC and ICRC, was welcomed by Mr. Mohamad Othman, Secretary of the branch and by the directors of several of the branch's Departments and the head of International Relations and Planning at PRCS. The delegation visited Chatila Refugee Camp in Beirut, Yaffa Medical Center, Haifa Hospital in Burj Al Barajna Refugee Camp near Beirut and Al Hamshari Hospital in Sidon. It was briefed on health and humanitarian conditions of refugees as well as on services provided to them by PRCS. 

Encountering Peace: 2 Capitals for 2 States for 2 Peoples, Israeli Writer Says
12/8/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - JERUSALEM, December 8, 2009 (WAFA)- “Resolving that Jerusalem will be the capital of two states is not only doable, it is the only way that Jerusalem will be recognized as the capital of Israel,” wrote Gershon Baskin co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, in the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post. “Not one country in the world recognizes our capital, Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel”, Baskin argued. Even the United States footnotes the following on the State Department Web page: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950. The US, like nearly all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv. UN Security Council Resolution 478 declared the 1980 Jerusalem Law that declared Jerusalem to be Israel's 'eternal and indivisible' capital null and void, affirming that it was a violation of international law. 

Call for Joining Efforts to Build Palestinian Independent State
12/8/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - NEW YORK, December 8, 2009 (WAFA)- Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, called on Monday all Member States to join Palestine in its effort to build Palestinian independent State, to establish justice and peace in their homeland. In his statement at the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, to discuss the Assistance to the Palestinian People Mansour said: We reiterate our call on all Member States to join us in our effort to build our independent State, to establish justice and peace in their homeland. This is undoubtedly a test of our resilience as an oppressed people, and equally a test of international credibility. He stated, the Palestinian people and their leadership are deeply grateful for this invaluable assistance. But, today, as we convene to discuss this matter, we believe it is imperative to ask important questions:. . . . 

PCBS: Cultivated Area in OPT Amounted to 1,854 Thousand Dunums
12/8/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - RAMALLH, December 8, 2009 (WAFA)- Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) revealed that the cultivated area with field crops, fruit trees, vegetables, and cut flowers in the Palestinian Territory amounted to 1,854 thousand dunums. PCBS said, a statistical data on agriculture statistics in the Palestinian Territory for the agricultural year 2007/2008, data reveals that the cultivated area with field crops, fruit trees, vegetables, and cut flowers in the Palestinian Territory amounted to 1,854 thousand dunums (1 dunum=1000m2) , compared with 1,835 thousand dunums in 2006/2007. It noted, fruit trees constituted 63. 2% from the total cultivated area of the Palestinian Territory. While field crops and vegetables comprised 26. 7% and 10. 1% of the cultivated Palestinian areas respectively; 72. 0% of the cultivated area in Gaza Strip relies on irrigation compared with only 8. 

Olive harvest concludes with festival, new report
12/6/2009 - Stop The Wall - Several weeks ago, the olive harvest concluded with a festival in the Nablus area village of Burin. Under the banner “our enemies are the settlements and our path is resistance”, the festival celebrated the end of the harvest with traditional dance and music from local groups and a number of speakers. Both party representatives as well as grassroots activists attended the festival, where they praised farmers and their steadfastness (sumud) in the face of the ongoing assault by soldiers and settlers. The settlers near Burin are especially infamous, meaning the village is attacked frequently; last month 1,200 trees were burned or cut by settlers, and 3,000 faced the same fate the month before. Speakers then turned to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), demanding that it take up its responsibility to protect and support the farmers. -- Link: Download the Olive Harvest 2009 report (PDF)

Repression allowed, resistance denied
12/6/2009 - Stop The Wall - This fact sheet is a concise summary of the much longer report, Repression Allowed, Resistance Denied and explains the violent tactics used by Occupation forces against Palestinians who engage in protest against the Wall. This fact sheet covers in brief the main sections of the report, including the history of the popular resistance against the Wall, violent repression of anti-Wall protestors, arrests and detentions, and recommendations for action. All of these are examined in greater detail in the report, along with interviews, statistics and analysis. -- Link: Download the fact sheet (PDF) [end] 

VIDEO - One beaten and threatened with arrest; al-Ma’sara defies soldiers
12/5/2009 - Stop The Wall - Today, the weekly demonstration against the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements in al-Ma’sara and the surrounding villages in the south of Bethlehem was met by an unusually high number of soldiers, who had arrived in a military bus and additional jeeps. Again, the intended march to the lands of the villages was cut off by a row of barbed wire; however, this week, the barrier had been moved further into the village and spread diagonally across the main street, allowing for more soldiers to line up behind it. The stepped up military presence clearly forbade military aggression. Nonetheless, the local protestors, who were again joined by international and Israeli activists, walked peacefully to the barrier and began to honor a Palestinian who was twice run over by a settler in Hebron last week after allegedly stabbing two settlers. 

Former Congressman Findley Speaks Out about Israeli Lobby
12/8/2009 - BrasscheckTV - If Americans knew, 2006 - The most propagandized country on earth, the US - Sixty years of massive, ongoing, coldly calculated human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. That's the legacy of the State of Israel. Americans pay the bills for this tyranny and our hopelessly corrupt news media and elected officials go along with it because it's politically expedient. Includes trailer and whole film. -- Links: Full video at Google Videos and Video at IfAmericansKnew. org

AUDIO - The Information Underground Interviews Cynthia Mckinney, Blows The Lid Off Of The Israel Lobby
12/8/2009 - The Information Underground - Listen to one of the few courageous people in Congress, former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, talk about the hidden and very powerful impact of the Israeli lobby on this country's Middle East policy. [end] 

No new PA envoy to Lebanon
12/8/2009 - Palestine Media Center - President Mahmoud Abbas did not address the issue of appointing a new PA envoy in Lebanon during talks in Beirut on Monday, according to Palestinian sources close to the talks. The sources explained that an appointment would have to be discussed and approved by the Palestinian cabinet. The Lebanese daily Al-Liwa reported that Abbas said off the record that the appointment would also have to be approved by the Lebanese government. The previous Palestinian envoy to Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, stepped down from his post and returned to the West Bank in August when he was elected to the Fatah Central Committee during the party’s conference in Bethlehem. As for establishment of Palestinian embassy in Lebanon, the sources explained that this would require a decision by the Palestinian cabinet. Abbas, according to the same sources, told Lebanese president Michel Suleiman that he placed expectations. . . . 


Articles

The US cash behind extremist settlers 
Andrew Kadi and Aaron Levitt, The Guardian 12/8/2009
      The Hebron Fund is raising vast sums for Israeli settlements that violate the Geneva convention, with little scrutiny.
     Last month, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organisation called the Hebron Fund, which supports Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied city of Hebron, held a fundraiser at the New York Mets’ stadium, Citi Field.
     The fundraiser went forward despite calls for its cancellation from grassroots human rights organisations from the US, Palestine and Israel. The fact that the Hebron Fund likely raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for extremist Israeli settlers at a major US venue with little public scrutiny is a troubling sign for those who hope that the US can play a constructive role in achieving a just peace in the Middle East.
     Perhaps more worryingly, according to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius: "A search of IRS records identified 28 US charitable groups that made a total of $33.4m in tax-exempt contributions to settlements and related organisations between 2004 and 2007." Some of the larger organisations, including Friends of the Ateret Cohanim and Friends of Ir David, both leading the Jewish settler takeover of Palestinian East Jerusalem, are based in New York City.
     Israeli settlements violate the Geneva convention’s prohibition against an occupying power transferring its population into occupied territory, and Israeli settlement expansion directly contradicts the US call for a settlement freeze.
     Hebron’s Jewish settlers, who are supported by the Hebron Fund, are openly fundraising in New York City. Under the protection of the Israeli military, they are expanding settlements in Hebron’s Old City and driving out the Palestinian residents. more.. e-mail

Decrypting the Palestinian Political Crisis: Old Strategies against New Enemies 
Emilio Dabed, Dissdent Voice 12/7/2009
      Chile 1970-1973, Palestine 2006-2009
     You said we’d never defeat them: On the contrary, we needed to help them defeat themselves. No one is defeated from the outside; every defeat is internal…they have fallen into the whirlpool of defeat, and it’s up to us to keep them going in this direction. – Elias Khoury, Bab al-Shams
     The explanations given by Israel to justify the onslaught on Gaza in last December were confused. The goals advanced by military and political Israeli apparatus varied, depending either on the person speaking or on the moment in which they were stated: from overthrowing the Hamas-led government and annihilating the movement, to putting an end to the launching of Hamas rockets from the Strip, to destroying Hamas’s military capabilities, to stopping the smuggling into Gaza, and so on.
     However, none of these stated objectives were met. The Hamas government remains in Gaza. Indeed, immediately after the cease fire was declared, the TV screens showed the Gaza police putting order on the streets while the armed resistance groups were firing rockets into Israel again. The message was clear: Hamas government holds power in Gaza, its capability to fire on Israel was far from being destroyed and the underground economy of Gaza continued to grow, becoming more and more sophisticated.
     But despite these facts, the Israeli establishment triumphantly declared that its war objectives were reached.1 How do we reconcile these statements with the reality? Should we interpret it as a sort of “cognitive dissociation”, a tendency to hold as “reality” what is constantly belied by the facts? Indeed this is a resilient historical trend in Israeli policy. However, there is another possible explanation: the objective may have been different, one that had more important and far-reaching consequences than simply overthrowing the Hamas government or obtaining some provisory gains – an objective that Israelis could not openly admit without contradicting its supposed stance – widely spread by Israeli propaganda- of “self-defense” and its eagerness for a “just and lasting peace." more.. e-mail

Gaza Freedom March tops 1,000 participants 
Medea Benjamin, Ma’an News Agency 12/8/2009
      Over 1,000 delegates from 42 countries have signed up to participate in the 31 December Gaza Freedom March that will mark the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion and call for an end to the siege that has brought 1.5 million people to the edge of disaster.
     Organizers cut off registration on 30 November to give the Egyptian officials enough time to clear the group for entry into Gaza, but also because the numbers were becoming unwieldy. "œNo one has ever taken a group this size into Gaza," said coordinator Ann Wright, whose skills as a retired U.S. army colonel are coming in handy organizing the logistics for such a massive group.
     Since the registration closed on 30 November, organizers have been besieged every day with people begging to be added to the list. "œI have to turn down 15-20 people every day," said Emily Siegel. "œIt has been an insane few weeks, with emails pouring in from people all over the world who want to join. I feel terrible turning them away but we started out thinking we would take 300 people and now we have over 1,000.
     The international delegates hope to join some 50,000 Palestinians inside Gaza, including students, teachers, health workers, women"™s groups, farmers and fishermen. The march will start in a neighborhood in northern Gaza in which nearly every building was devastated during Israel"™s attack and continue for three miles to the Erez border with Israel. At the same time, Israeli and Palestinian activists will be marching toward the Erez crossing from the Israeli side. Upon reaching the border, participants on both sides will release balloons, fly kites and wave flags to demonstrate their solidarity with one another. more.. e-mail


Hizballah's call for legitimacy
Electronic Intifada: 8 Dec 2009 - Last week Hassan Nasrallah delivered a speech over video link from an unknown location, as he frequently does. The leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamic resistance and political group Hizballah addressed the audience in Beirut to present the group's new manifesto, their first since 1985 when the group unveiled its initial open letter. Matthew Cassel analyzes. 

Refocus the debate on the dispossession
Electronic Intifada: 7 Dec 2009 - From my perspective as the head of the agency mandated to assist and protect Palestine refugees, it is particularly vexing that the prevailing approach fails -- or refuses -- to accord the refugee issue the attention it deserves. Over 60 years, dispossession has faded from the focus of peace efforts. The heart of where peace should begin is absent from the international agenda, pushed aside as one of the "final status" issues, one which belongs to a later stage of the negotiation process. Karen AbuZayd comments. 

Israel denies Bedouin right to elections
Electronic Intifada: 7 Dec 2009 - Some 35,000 Bedouin residents of Israel's southern Negev have been denied the right to hold their first local council election after the Israeli parliament passed a law at the last minute to cancel this month's ballot. The new law gives the government the power to postpone elections to the regional council, known as Abu Basma, until the interior ministry deems the local Bedouin ready to run their own affairs. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Bilin teenager: "They arrested my father to discourage the struggle"
Electronic Intifada: 7 Dec 2009 - The end of November marked the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, a time to see family and friends and for people to eat together. But for many Palestinians, the Eid was not so festive. Rajaa Abu Rahmah, aged 19, only has one wish this holiday -- to see her father Adeeb Abu Rahmah freed from prison. Jody McIntyre spoke to Rajaa to see how the family were coping during Eid al-Adha.

Washington's New Lebanon Policy: A Christmas Guide
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Dec 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Beirut 'There is no obstacle to cooperation with any official in the new Lebanese unity government with the exception of Hezbollah,' Nicole Shampaine, the Director of the US Department of State's Near East Affairs Bureau Office for Egypt and the Levant 12/3/09. Beirut: Lebanon’s first Sunday morning in December was cold, cloudy and rainy as this politically exhausted country’s’ new Prime Minister, Saad Eddine Hariri, donned a gray track suit, with matching Nike running shoes and joined hundreds of pro-Hezbollah runners, two dreamy Jordanian princesses and 33,000 others from 73 countries as well as all 18 Lebanese confessions for the annual ‘friendship first, competition second’, 42 km Beirut Marathon. Despite the weather, the atmosphere was warm as Christmas decorations were being hung with care across Lebanon in Christian, Shia, Sunni and Druze neighborhoods. Saad, telling race watchers on the sidewalks, “I know I won’t win but I want to participate anyway. We have to bring Lebanese together, and sport is a very important event that can bring them together actually passed on the 42 km course in favor of the 10 km event—but then, how many politicians anywhere, used to the good life, can even run two km these days. To many Lebanese, their new Prime Minister’s openness and sports ethic, symbolizes a new and promising atmosphere at Lebanon’s Grand Serail, also known as Government Palace, the Headquarters of the Prime Minister located a few blocks from Parliament. A positive and welcomed change from the tensions...

Jews Against Zionism
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Dec 2009 - By Stephen Lendman - Chicago They're numerous, outspoken, and range from secular to orthodox to one group calling itself "True Torah Jews Against Zionism." They believe that "traditional" Jews don't support Zionism, an ideology they call "contrary to Jewish law and beliefs and the teachings of the Holy Torah." They say Zionism: -- advocates "a political and military end to the Jewish exile;" -- fosters "pseudo-Judaism" based on secular nationalism; -- coercively seeks "armed materialism" in place of "a Divine and Torah centered understanding;" -- endangers all Jews worldwide; -- wants to disassociate Jews and traditional Judaism from ideological Zionism; and -- calls Israel a "Zionist State," not a Jewish one. They: -- cite their concern for "peace and safety of all people throughout the world including those living in the Zionist state" and in Occupied Palestine; -- say from ancient times until 100 years ago, Jews and Arabs lived in peace and friendship until Zionism changed the relationship; -- believe Zionists abandoned the Torah and traditional Judaism, demanded political sovereignty over the Holy Land, and aroused anger in the Arab world; and -- Torah Jewry doesn't recognize or support a Zionist state; nor do they represent world Jews; even the name "Israel" is a "forgery," they believe, because the Torah forbids violence in the words of the prophet Isaiah who said: "And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. No nation will lift its sword against any other, nor will they learn warfare...

Israel's Bedouin Denied Right to Elections
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Dec 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Some 35,000 Bedouin residents of Israel’s southern Negev have been denied the right to hold their first local council election after the Israeli parliament passed a law at the last minute to cancel this month’s ballot. The new law gives the government the power to postpone elections to the regional council, known as Abu Basma, until the interior ministry deems the local Bedouin ready to run their own affairs. Legal and human rights groups say the move is an unprecedented violation of Israel’s constitutional principles. Taleb a-Sana, a Bedouin member of Israel’s parliament, has written to its speaker warning that “it is not possible to have democracy without elections”. The vote in Abu Basma was scheduled to take place six years after the council was established under the transitional authority of a panel of mostly Jewish officials appointed by the interior ministry. Critics say the government changed the law specifically to avoid bolstering the position of the Bedouin residents, who are engaged in a legal battle with the state for the return of ancestral lands confiscated decades ago. “The Bedouin have a claim on a large area of the Negev and the government wants someone ruling the council who is on its side until the case is settled to the state’s advantage,” said Thabet Abu Ras, who was head of an empowerment scheme for Abu Basma’s residents until 2007. The residents of Abu Basma are among 90,000 Bedouin in the Negev desert who have been...
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