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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
9 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Dweik Calls On EU Parliamentarians To Launch International Campaign Against The Siege
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 10, 2009 - 02:15, Head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik, called on European Parliamentarians to hold an international campaign against the illegal Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and to support the Palestinian people and their elected leadership.

Seven Palestinians Ordered Out Of Jerusalem For 45 Days
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 10, 2009 - 01:51, The Israeli Authorities decided to expel seven Palestinians, from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in East Jerusalem, out of the city for 45 days.

Jewish Terrorist Stands Trial In Jerusalem
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 10, 2009 - 01:22, The Jerusalem District Court initiated on Wednesday the trial of Jewish terrorist, Yaakov Teitel, after official charges of two murders, five attempted murders, weapons violations, arson and incitement to commit crimes and acts of violence were filed against him.

Army Claims Foiling Jerusalem Bombing
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 09, 2009 - 23:46, The Israeli army claimed it arrested on Wednesday a Palestinian youth carrying explosives while heading to Jerusalem to carry out a bombing.

Bethlehem University Student Not Allowed To Complete Her Study
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 09, 2009 - 23:19, The Israeli High Court of ‘Justice’ decided on Wednesday to prevent Bethlehem University student from the Gaza Strip from completing her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration after accusing her of ‘illegally staying in the West Bank”

Body of a Palestinian man killed in 1976 by Israeli troops to be released
IMEMC 9 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 09, 2009 - 19:32, The Israeli authorities agreed to release the body of Mashour Al-Arouri, a Palestinian killed by Israeli troops in 1976, Palestine News Agency reported on Wednesday. The Israeli high court ruled that the body should be released after Israel kept it for 33 years for unknown reasons.

Ma'an News

Israeli court: Bethlehem student won’t leave Gaza
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam will not be allowed to enter the West Bank to finish her studies, a three-judge panel on Israel's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. In late October, the student was pulled out of a public bus on her way to Bethlehem because her place of residence is listed as Gaza on her ID card. Her lawyers argued that her detention and subsequent deportation to Gaza was an illegal move. Israeli forces should have no control over which Palestinian area those with Palestinian Authority residence cards live, they contend. Azzam was granted a permit to visit Jerusalem in 2005, and then nearby Bethlehem, an area under Palestinian Authority control, before her permit expired. She lived in the West Bank from 2005 until 29 October 2009. Hesitant of setting a precedent, the State of Israel had urged its military to resolve the case itself,. . . 

Israel bans EU MPs from Gaza
12/9/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel banned a delegation of European members of parliament from entering the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing on Wednesday, despite previously approving the visit, the EU said. "Israel had yesterday afternoon granted final permission for all members of our delegation to travel," the European Parliament group said in a statement. "However, some three hours later entry for all members of the delegation was rescinded 'on security grounds,' without further explanation," "We insist on a full explanation of the security risks claimed by Israel," the statement continued. "We received the news of the cancellation with bewilderment and dismay. " "It is extremely curious that the cancellation came within a few hours of the announcement of the EU Council statement re-affirming Europe's strong position in favor of an independent Palestinian state based. . . 

PA: Kouchner weakened EU declaration on Jerusalem
12/9/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - A top Palestinian Authority (PA) official criticized French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Tuesday evening for weakening a Swedish proposal on the status of Jerusalem during the EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels. The secretary-general of the Palestinian Presidency At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim said, "We criticize France's Foreign Minister Kouchner for his stance toward the status of Jerusalem. " "We consider his attitude to be contradicting that of the French president, who said more than once that East Jerusalem was part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967," Abdul-Rahim added in a statement. Abdul-Rahim said that because of Kouchner's position, the EU foreign ministers watered down the original Swedish draft statement, such that the final statement does not take a "clear position" on the borders of a Palestinian state. 

Egypt FM blames Israel for delaying prisoner swap
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit blamed Israel for delaying a prisoner exchange deal involving a captured soldier in remarks published on Wednesday. He told the Kuwaiti daily As-Siyasa. "There are ideas to release one thousand [Palestinian] prisoners but the delay is due to Israel's complications. "  "When these complications are over this process will be carried out," he said, referring to a prisoner exchange. Israel has been negotiating indirectly with Hamas in hopes of freeing captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Palestinian fighters in Gaza since 2006. Recent media reports suggest the parties are close to a deal. Egypt has acted along with Germany as the mediator on the issue. Speaking at a news conference in the Bahraini capital of Manama on Tuesday, however, Aboul Gheit refused to comment further on Shalit. 

Netanyahu: PA strategy is to delay talks
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday of rejecting peace negotiations as a means of avoiding concessions. "It seems that the Palestinians have adopted a strategy of rejecting negotiations with Israel in order to avoid the demands of Israel and the international community which require compromises on their part," Netanyahu told his Security Cabinet at a meeting in Jerusalem. "But this is a mistake," Netanyahu added. " There can be no genuine solution without direct negotiations with Israel, in the framework of which, we will reach agreements and arrangements between the sides. "Israeli intelligence and security officials briefed Netanyahu's cabinet on the impasse vis-à-vis negotiations with the Palestinians. In November Netanyahu declared a partial slowdown on the expansion of West Bank settlements. . . 

Israeli tanks stage limited incursion in southern Gaza
12/9/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli tanks and a bulldozer operated in Palestinian territory near the city of Khan Younis in Gaza, witnesses said. Palestinians in the area said the vehicles proceeded 200 meters beyond the Green Line and combed the area. The border areas in Gaza witness near-daily incursions and shelling by the Israeli military. [end] 

Knesset moves toward required referendum on withdrawal
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli Knesset passed a "continuity" bill on Wednesday allowing the Knesset to ensure that a measure calling for a national referendum on withdrawal from occupied territory, currently at the plenum stage, will not be kicked back to the committee stage if the government is dissolved. The proposed bill in question currently states that any governmental decision to withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights and East Jerusalem requires a national, public referendum. The bill has yet to be officially passed and remains at the discussion stage on the plenum floor. The new law adopted by 68 MKs on Wednesday, which has been described as similar to an American "pocket veto" by a government source, allows for the bill on withdrawal to continue on the required legal course in the event of the Knesset being dissolved. 

Israeli forces seize PFLP members in Nablus raid
12/9/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - The Israeli army seized several members of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) during an incursion in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday night, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. PFLP sources linked the operation to the negotiations toward a potential prisoner swap which could involve the release of the party's secretary general, Ahmad Sa'adat, from an Israeli prison. The sources said Mussa Salama, 47, and Wa'el Al-Faqeeh Abu As-Sabe, 45, were both from north of Nablus. Another PFLP affiliate, Ziad As-Sal'ous, was detained at the Huwwara military checkpoint while returning to Nablus from Ramallah. Maysar Itiany, 45, an activist in prisoner and human rights, and her brother Abdul-Nasser Itiany, 38, were seized from their home in the Rafidiya neighborhood of Nablus. 

Hamas: PA detained 15 members
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Hamas movement said on Wednesday that Fatah-allied Palestinian security forces detained 15 members of the Islamic faction in the West Bank during the past two days. In a statement,Hamas said that Palestinian Authority forces seized its members from the areas of Nablus, Hebron, Qalqiliya and Salfit. [end] 

Two Gaza crossings open; four remain closed
12/9/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings to allow limited consignments of goods into the blockaded territory. A Palestinian official on the committee that liaises with Israel on the entry of goods, Raed Fattouh told Ma'an that Israel will allow between 94-104 truckloads of humanitarian aid and goods for the commercial and agricultural sectors. He said limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial fuel for the Gaza power plant will be allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing. In addition, Israel will permit 100 truckloads of wheat and animal feed through the Karni crossing. Israel decided to keep the Nahal Oz crossing closed, which was formerly the main fuel transfer point, Fattouh said. On Tuesday Israel decided to open Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz while keeping Karni closed. 

Palestinians from Europe among Gaza Freedom March delegates
12/9/2009 - Brussels - Ma'an - Palestinian members of the Council of Europe will participate in the Gaza Freedom March, which is scheduled to enter the Gaza Strip on 31 December, in an attempt to break the crippling siege imposed on the Strip for three consecutive years. The march will coincide with the first anniversary of the Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip. Secretary-general of Palestinians in the Council of Europe, Adel Abdullah said, "A large delegation representing the council from Britain, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, and Ireland will join the Gaza Freedom March. "  "Suffering in the besieged Gaza Strip is increasing day after day, particularly after the Israeli military offensive which destroyed all infrastructures and thousands of homeless people are living in tents during the winter. . . " 

Al-Aqsa fighter sentenced to 12 years in prison
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An Israeli military court sentenced 24-year-oldAbdul Qader Mohammad Zaqut to 12 years in prison on Tuesday. Zaqut was member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah in the West Bank city of Nablus. [end] 

Nylon products from Israeli settlement confiscated in Salfit
12/9/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Two tons of plastic nylon bought from Israeli settlements were confiscated by customs officers in coordination with the Palestinian police on Wednesday in Salfit. Abdul Hamid Mezhar, head of the customs department at the Ministry of Economy, said that products manufactured on illegal Israeli settlements threatened Palestinian traders and the economy. The customs officers said that the confiscated nylon would be destroyed in front of the media. [end] 

OCHA: 664.4 million needed for humanitarian aid in Palestine
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - UN agencies, as well as international and national NGOs in the occupied territories, appealed on Wednesday for 664. 4 million US dollars to fund humanitarian aid programs in the area, particularly for the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank where the Separation Wall, Israeli settlements and various other restrictions imposed by Israel have had damaging effects on Palestinians' livelihoods, according to a statement released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory continue to face a crisis of human dignity," stated the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the territories, Maxwell Gaylard. "The continued erosion of livelihoods and the denial of basic human rights together are compelling Palestinians to become more and more dependent on international aid," he explained. 

Israeli forces detain Palestinian in possession of explosives
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces shut down the Qalandiya checkpoint from Jerusalem into Ramallah because a Palestinian was found with two pipe bombs, eyewitnesses said. The Palestinian was then detained by Israeli forces, and the explosives were disarmed without any injuries, the eyewitnesses added. According to an Israeli military spokesperson, the Palestinian in question was found with six pipe bombs and a knife. The Qalandiya checkpoint has been reopened. Meanwhile, a Palestinian child was detained by Israeli military and security forces for attempted assault, according to an Israeli military spokesperson. The child, 13, was detained after pulling out a knife and threatening a security guard, the spokesperson said, at the illegal West Bank settlement of Revava. The spokesperson was not forthcoming as to where the boy was being detained, or if he was able to meet with a lawyer. 

Egypt, Bahrain say East Jerusalem is Palestinian capital
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Egypt and Bahrain reiterated their support for East Jerusalem to be confirmed the capital of a Palestinian state on Tuesday, as European foreign ministers issued a declaration calling for negotiations over the city's fate. At a news conference in Manama, Bahrain, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit said: "I still haven't reviewed the EU statement. As long as it is similar to our expectations then that would be great. However, if some European countries support other ideas then we will be annoyed. "  "When we talk of a Palestinian state this means that East Jerusalem is the capital and anyone who contradicts this is supporting the Israeli occupation. " For his part, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khaled Ibn Ahmad Al Khalifa said he agreed with Aboul Gheit, adding, "We have noticed that Jerusalem was mentioned twice on the international agenda: once in Obama's speech and again in the EU. 

Erekat: EU proposal basis for meaningful negotiations
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat welcomed on Wednesday the conclusions adopted by EU on the status of Jerusalem, and said it provided the basis for a resumption of peace talks based on international obligations. "The EU has released a basic blueprint for the resumption of meaningful negotiations. If these principles are translated into reality, negotiations should resume," Erekat said in a news release. "Hopes for peace are rapidly fading as illegal settlement construction continues to take what's left of the West Bank, as Israel continues to forcibly annex East Jerusalem and attack its Palestinian residents, and as tensions continue to escalate as a result of the occupation," Erekat pointed out. Erekat particularly praised the EU's reaffirmation of the terms of reference of the peace process, the June 4, 1967 border, the illegality of Israel's. . . 

Swedish consul: EU statement not changed from draft
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Sweden's Consul General in Jerusalem Nils Eliasson downplayed reports on Wednesday that the language of an EU statement on the Middle East peace process had changed significantly from its original form which his country authored. "There are very little substantive differences between the two," Eliasson said during an interview at Ma'an's Bethlehem television studio. "I feel that it has been used as an excuse to avoid some of the main items of the conclusion yesterday to argue that it was weak compared to the original draft," he added. Sweden, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, introduced the ministerial statement which was adopted by the Union's 27 foreign ministers during a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. The statement reiterated that the EU never recognized Israeli control over East Jerusalem, and calls for Jerusalem to. . . 

Abbas: No prisoner deal yet
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that a potential prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas was stalled on the issue of which Palestinian prisoners would be released in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier. "We as the Palestinian Authority are not a party in the negotiations for an exchange but, to our knowledge, there are talks between the two sides," he told reporters in Sharm Ash-Sheikh after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, according to AFP. "They are stopping at the details and numbers of prisoners and the type of people," Hamas demands, he said, according to the agency. Abbas is not involved in the indirect negotiations, which are mediated by Germany, with Egypt also playing a role. Recent media reports suggest that there has been progress in the negotiations toward a deal that would include the release of Israeli soldier. . . 

Khreisha: PLO can extend Abbas’ term
12/9/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The PLO's Central Council is authorized to extend president Abbas' term as he is president of both the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, the second deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Hassan Khreisha said on Wednesday. But, Khreisha told Ma'an that the Central Council is not authorized to extend the PLC's term because the body is supposed to remain in charge until new lawmakers are elected. Khreisha pointed out that late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat extended his term, and thus it is legal for Abbas to do the same. Khreisha criticized those who focus on the possibility of a constitutional vacuum when Abbas steps down, arguing that extending Abbas' term "will not solve any problems," in terms of the internal political crisis. The official said that the division between his Fatah party and Hamas must be resolved independently, in order to set the stage for negotiations. 

Abbas, Mubarak discuss unity efforts
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas discussed with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday the recent developments in Palestinian politics and Cairo's efforts to reunite feuding Palestinian factions. The meeting in the Red Sea resort town of Sham Ash-Sheikh also addressed Israeli settlement expansion and Abbas' plan to ask the UN Security Council to pass a resolution mandating the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The Palestinian Ambassador in Egypt Barakat Al-Farra told the Palestinian Authority official news agency WAFA that the summit was intended to coordinate the two countries positions on the peace process, and the implementation of the decision of the Arab follow-up committee to ask the Security Council to make a pronouncement on the creation of a Palestinian state. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit and Intelligence Minister. . . 

PA officer sentenced to death for collaboration
12/9/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - A Palestinian military court in Ramallah sentenced a security officer to death by firing squad on Wednesday after he was found guilty of collaboration with Israel, Palestinian judicial sources said. Identified only by the initials AD, the condemned was sentenced to death in accordance with article 131 of the Palestinian Military Law of Punishment of 1979. The defendant confessed to having been recruited by the Israeli intelligence service in 1992 to spy on Palestinian activists and fellow security officers concerning armament and movement. His information led to the detention of two Palestinian activists by Israeli forces, according to Palestinian judicial sources. AD, born in 1968 in a Ramallah district, was an adjutant in the Palestinian national forces and was detained by the Palestinian Military Intelligence service on 30 June 2000. 

PFLP: Hamas prevented celebration of 42nd anniversary
12/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Hamas movement in Gaza intends to prevent a celebration marking the 42nd anniversary in Gaza of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), according to a member of the leftist's faction, Rabah Muhana, during a Ma'an radio interview on Wednesday. "The main reason for preventing us from carrying out the ceremony is that Hamas is not sold on political diversity, which is an incorrect stance," said Muhana, member of the PFLP's political bureau. "However, the ceremony will be held in the Ar-Remal neighborhood in central Gaza, despite all obstacles. "  Muhana further stated that the PFLP wished to address the Palestinian people, demanding that they return to a "deep and comprehensive national dialogue in order to identify a political strategy based on international legitimacy that would treat our people in a fair way, affirming their rights. 

Egyptian document: Notes may be integrated
12/9/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Head of Egyptian Intelligence Omer Suleiman confirmed on Wednesday the possibility of applying notes on the Egyptian reconciliation document, a stance that was previous denounced, following a meeting with the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee in Cairo on Tuesday. "There is a possibility to integrate any notes on the Egyptian proposal within the framework of implementing and applying the Egyptian proposal for Palestinian reconciliation," Suleiman said. During an interview with Ma'an, Secretary of the reconciliation committee, Iyad As-Sarraj described Suleiman's comments as "as positive and honest" adding that a further meeting will be held on Wednesday with Muhammad Wakil, undersecretary of the Egyptian Intelligence, to follow up on certain issues concerning Palestinians, he said. A delegation of members of the Palestinian Reconciliation Committee headed. . . 

Police: 10 drug traffickers arrested in Qalqiliya
12/9/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - The anti-narcotics unit in Qalqiliya detained 10 alleged traffickers on Wednesday, according to a statement from the public relations department of the Palestinian police. The anti-narcotics unit rushed to the scene following a tip-off, where they stormed a house and detained 10 people in possession of unspecified quantities of drugs with the intention to be sold, the statement said. The statement added that the drugs had been confiscated, and an investigation was underway to discover with whom the detained dealers purchased the narcotics. [end] 

Number of returning Gazan pilgrims reaches 4,225
12/9/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - The total number of Palestinian pilgrims from Gaza returning from Mecca through the Rafah crossing has reached 4,225 on Wednesday, while 1,000 are still expected, according to Egyptian security sources at the crossing. "Two groups of pilgrims arrived at the Rafah crossing. The total number of groups returning has reached 24, including 21 which arrived at Al-Arish airport, while three have arrived Cairo airport," the sources told Ma'an, adding that the 1,000 pilgrims are expected within the next 48 hours. Security sources confirmed that the Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing in both directions on a set day each month for three days in the coming months, to allow stranded Palestinian students to travel. The Rafah crossing will be opened on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week to allow patients who have completed their treatment at Egyptian hospitals to return to Gaza, the sources added. 

Palestinian racers head to Jordan to race
12/9/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian car racers left the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday with their own cars to participate in the Aqaba race on Friday, sponsored by Jordanian Prince Faisal Ben Al-Husein, the head of the Jordanian board of motorsports. Khaled Kadura, head of the Palestinian Motor sports Federation, accompanied the racers with federation members Yousef An-Natsheh, Ghassan Safy, Ashraf Marar and Maram Masrougy. Racers from all over the West Bank will participate in the Jordan race including, Fady Abu Sba' from Jenin, Fady Jarar, Maher Bashtawi, Tareq Sarsour, Jamal Tufaha and Yazan Hmouda from Nablus, Bader Abu Allan and Bethlehemite Palestine Hero, 2006,Joseph Handal. Women racers include Marah Zahalka from Jenin and Nour Daod from Ramallah. Palestine Hero, 2009, George Sa'adeh and Ibrahim Al-Bajjeh will not accompany the top ten racers or join the race. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Experts say Iran has clear path to nuclear weapons
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Harvard University simulation showed U.S. will not attack Iran and U.S.-Israel relations will deteriorate. 

Iran: We`ll hit Israel`s nuclear sites if attacked
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Iran nuclear official criticizes new UN nuke observatory on border; calls it a form of 'espionage.' 

Alleged Jewish terrorist Yaakov Teitel goes on trial in Jerusalem
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - 'He caused us terrible damage, but did not succeed in blotting us out,' says alleged victim's mother. 

Barghouti: Shalit deal is on verge of completion
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Abbas: No deal yet between Israel and Hamas on Shalit due to disagreements over Palestinian prisoners. 

Court names IDF chief's guard suspected of attempted rape
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Guard is Capt. Erez Efrati, 30, of Moshav Batzra; he is suspected of attacking a woman in Tel Aviv 11 days ago. 

Turkish forces foil Hezbollah attack on Israeli target
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Plot exposed a month ago; defense sources: Attack was meant to avenge assassination of Mughniyeh. 

Rabbi who encouraged soldier insubordination summoned for hearing
Ha'aretz 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 Dec 2009 - Hezbollah TV station says delegation met with Iran-backed group's leader for talks on U.S. Mideast policy. 

Uruknet

Khiaban No. 57: Looking back at Student Day 2009
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - ... 16th of Azar has passed. With the widespread and courageous presence of the people in the streets. People who, despite the [undeclared] military law and the military occupation of the streets, took to the streets and fought for their presence in public spaces and shouted out their demands. 16th of Azar has passed. With the announcement...

Who will save Gaza's children? Never mind Copenhagen, an environmental catastrophe is going on right now - contaminated water is poisoning babies in Gaza
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - Among all the complex and long-term solutions being sought in Copenhagen for averting environmental catastrophe across the world, there is one place where the catastrophe has already happened, but could be immediately ameliorated with one simple political act. In Gaza there is now no uncontaminated water; of the 40,000 or so newborn babies, at least half...

IOF troops bulldoze lands in Gaza
Uruknet December 9, 2009 -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday and bulldozed Palestinian cultivated lands, locals reported. Local sources told PIC reporter that four IOF tanks escorted two bulldozers 200 meters into Palestinian lands. Meanwhile, the Hamas Movement said in a monthly report monitoring IOF aggression that the IOF troops...

Video: Israelis protest settlement freeze
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - As talks continue over the release of Galid Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas, Israeli settlers have been demanding access to land that does not legally belong to them. Many Israelis are angry at a proposed partial-freeze on building new settlements in some parts of the occuptied West Bank, prompting thousands of protesters to...

The case of Berlanty Azzam : Israel's High Court Decides: Berlanty Azzam Not Allowed to Finish Her BA at Bethlehem University 
Uruknet December 9, 2009: · Despite the fact that the State did not produce the requested documents, Israel's High Court of Justice accepted the State's refusal to allow Berlanty to complete her degree. · Israel admits that it has no security concerns about Berlanty and that she was removed only because the address on her identity card is in Gaza. ·...

The Great Wall of Israel
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - Much is heard of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the story of the determined, long-term nonviolent resistance of many Palestinian villagers to the loss of their lands, striking as it may be, is seldom told. Here's my report from just one village on the West Bank. At no time since its 1967 West Bank occupation...

Targeting Civilians In Gaza
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an "independent legal body dedicated to the protection of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in the Occupied Territories." It issues frequent press releases, statistics, fact sheets, documents, and reports like its October 22, 2009 English version of "Targeted...

Israeli prisons as revolutionary universities
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - Let me start by saying that the role of the Palestinian prisoners' movement in educating its cadre, and thereby contributing to Palestinian "national education" is a large topic, and one worthy of much more discussion and research. As a Palestinian political prisoner who has spent the past 20 years in Israeli jails I would like to...

Another EU policy statement will not stop Israel's colonization
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - Israel started a preemptive campaign against a EU statement on the Middle East session even before it was formally presented for discussion by EU ministers this week on whether to adopt it. Israeli spokesmen expressed outrage at what they saw as an EU effort to "divide" Jerusalem, and claimed that the European position would "harm the...

ANOTHER WALL THAT MUST FALL
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - Even before it's completed.... IT MUST FALL! The reasons Netanyahu (see report below) gives for construction of the proposed wall are nothing but LIES! The wall is to guarantee the further imprisonment of the people of Gaza.... no other reason. The crossings into Egypt are the only ways out of the existing prison camp. Israeli Defense...

More investors abandoning Lev Leviev and Africa-Israel
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - Israel started a preemptive campaign against a EU statement on the Middle East session even before it was formally presented for discussion by EU ministers this week on whether to adopt it. Israeli spokesmen expressed outrage at what they saw as an EU effort to "divide" Jerusalem, and claimed that the European position would "harm the...

Anti-Semitism up, Islamophobia down" a New Academic Research Says 
Uruknet December 9, 2009 - ....As much as Israel uses every possible means to drag us all into an endless war against Islam, the Europeans are coming to terms with the devastating reality of Zionist murderous brutality. Some 45.7% of the Europeans either "somewhat or strongly" agree that "Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians." In case someone...

Palestine Telegraph

IOF invade East Khan Younis
Khan Younis, December 9, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli military vehicles invaded East Khan Younis Wednesday for a limited distance south Kisofeem, in Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses confirmed that 4 Israeli tanks and 2 bulldozers invaded 200m across the lands alongside the borders. They added that the Israeli military vehicles are currently centralized near Al-Teamat in Abassan village. The Israeli bulldozers...

21 Palestinian refugees fled to Finland
Syria, December 9, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - 21 Palestinian refugees fled to Finland on Tuesday morning after the Arab states refused to host them. They stayed in Iraqi-Syrian border since 2006 after they had displaced from Iraq, Palestinian agencies reported. The agencies pointed out that the refugees fled to Finland from Damascus International Airport. They were happy as they eliminated...

Christians, Muslims warn of moves against Al-Aqsa
West Bank, December 9, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Christian and Muslim figures have warned that Israel intends to impose a fait accompli at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as part of its Judaization campaign that targets East Jerusalem Al-Quds. During an emergency meeting held in Jerusalem Al-Quds on Monday, the attendees stated that such serious moves against the Al-Aqsa Mosque will raise...

President Abbas meet Omar Soliman
Ramallah, December 9, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - President Abbas met the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS) Omar Soliman in Sharm Al-Sheikh on Tuesday night. He provided him with information about the efforts which the Palestinian authority exerts to urge the International Security Council to issue a decision of establishing the Palestinian state and its capital Jerusalem. Besides,...

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...

The National

Israeli minister says settlers' resistance 'natural'
The National 9 Dec 2009 - Remarks come as West Bank settlers step up protest against the order for a temporary construction moratorium.

Iran looms large at Manama talks
The National 9 Dec 2009 - Ahead of a high-powered security conference, participants call on Tehran to clarify its intentions and act with greater transparency in its nuclear ambitions.

Israelis shot mental patient 'under controversial military directive'
The National 9 Dec 2009 - The shooting of Yakir Ben-Melech as he climbed a security fence into the Gaza Strip allegedly followed rules designed to stop soldiers becoming prisoners

Aljazeera

Israeli MPs pass referendum bill
AlJazeera 9 Dec 2009 - Knesset approves first reading of a law to pull out from east Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

Jordan's king appoints new PM
AlJazeera 9 Dec 2009 - Palace aide Nasser Lozi to form a new cabinet, after resignation of former government.

Iran frees three detained Belgians
AlJazeera 9 Dec 2009 - Men arrested for "gathering intelligence" released after two months in custody. 

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

Alternative Information Center

Alternatives, Becoming a Victim of Journalist’s Propaganda Or…?
Alternative Information Center 7 Dec 2009 - According to the National Post (“Funding for leftist group to be cut,” John Ivison, Saturday, 5 December 2009), Alternatives would be the next solidarity organization whose program would be rejected by the Minister of International Cooperation,...

Palestine News Network

Share Jerusalem With the Palestinians, European Union Tells Israel
PNN 9 Dec 2009 - In a rare, partial diplomatic victory for Israel in the face of international pro-Palestinian sentiment, European Union foreign ministers have dropped from a draft statement a call for eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Instead the statement, to be adopted by E.U. heads of government at a summit in Brussels later this week, now says Jerusalem should...

International Participation in December 31 Gaza Freedom March Tops 1,000 As Registration Closes
PNN 9 Dec 2009 - Over 1,000 delegates from 42 countries have signed up to participate in the December 31 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 November 30 to give the Egyptian officials enough time to...

Yasmine Elmasri 
PNN 8 Dec 2009 - Yasmine Al Massri is a Palastinian French actress, Video artist, and a dancer, born in Lebanon, who graduated and lived in Paris, got her Diplome Nationale Superieure, from l'Ecole des Beaux Arts de Paris. She got her first acting chance with a Lebanese movie called Caramel with director Nadine Labaki, that got her the red carpet in Cannes Film Festival, and four...

True Sound of Palestine
PNN 8 Dec 2009 - Khaled Jubran was born in Galilee in 1961. After studying Musicology,Music theory and Composition, and teaching at Jerusalem's Rubin Academy, in 1994 he founded and headed the Arabic music department of the Palestinian National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah as well as being a member of its Oriental Music Ensemble. In 2001, he founded the Urmawi Centre for Mashriq Music, named after...

Gaza swine flu outbreak kills three
PNN 8 Dec 2009 - Three people have died from swine flu in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry has revealed. A baby and two women were confirmed as the fist deaths from the H1N1 virus in the densely populated Palestinian territory, a spokesman said. Gaza is under a tight Israeli and Egyptian blockade, tightened since Hamas took over the strip in 2007. World Health Organisation...

West Bank settlers block freeze-order officials
PNN 8 Dec 2009 - RAMALLAH // Hundreds of settlers yesterday blocked the entrances to two settlements in the occupied West Bank to prevent Israeli government inspectors from serving construction freeze orders in line with a government order issued in late November. It was the second time in two days that settlers had defied police and tried to prevent inspectors from serving the orders to freeze building. Israeli...

Jerusalem Post

Peres to Turkish envoy: Hamas readying for next war
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - Eager to enhance relations, ambassadors from EU, Ghana, Turkey and Greece present credentials.

Iranian minister threatens Dimona
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - UN Security Council meets Thursday to discuss possibility of further sanctions on Iran.

Hamas preparing advanced rockets and 'offensive' tunnels
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - Latest Israeli assessments show any future conflict in Gaza will involve new Iranian weaponry and a vast network of underground tunnels.

Thousands protest freeze in J'lem
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - 'We shouldn't be the ones being evacuated,' MK Ben-Ari says at rally against moratorium.

Analysis: Protest tells the tale of lessons learned
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - The message 'Don't make the same mistake twice' has meaning both for Netanyahu and the settlers.

Korean student with valid visa jailed when trying to re-enter Israel
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - 

IDF thwarts potential terror attack
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - 20-year-old Palestinian man arrested at Kalandia checkpoint after troops find 6 pipe bombs in bag.

Israel, Vatican to negotiate sites
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - Last Supper room unlikely to move to Holy See's hands in talks headed by deputy FM Ayalon.

'Israel can't hold vote on stolen land'
Jeruslalem Post 9 Dec 2009 - After referendum bill passes, Syrian sources say "every Israeli action in the Golan is illegitimate."

IRIN

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.

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.

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.

International Solidarity Movement

High Court: Gaza student cannot complete studies in West Bank
12/10/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Amira Hass, Haaretz, 9 December - The High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday to deny a Palestinian student from Gaza who has been studying in Bethlehem permission to complete her university degree in the West Bank. Berlanty Azzam, 22, has been in the West Bank since 2005 and has only two months of studies left in order to complete her Bachelor's degree in business administration. In late October, however, the Israeli authorities expelled her back to Gaza claiming that that she was illegally staying in the West Bank. Azzam petitioned against her expulsion with the assistance of Gisha, a legal center for freedom of movement, but the High Court accepted the Israeli authorities' decision to deny Azzam a chance to remain in the West Bank to continue her education. The authorities did not claim security charges against Azzam. 

Israeli forces arrest four prominent grassroots activists during Nablus night raid
12/10/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 9 December - The Israeli military kidnapped nine Palestinians from the Nablus region in the early hours of Tuesday, 9 December 2009, including four leading civil society activists. The Israeli army in the force of 200 armed soldiers invaded several districts of Nablus city, refugee camps and a nearby village in a coordinated operation last night, raiding houses of targeted grassroots activists and arrested nine. Eight of them are currently held at the Huwara military detention center, another one has been detained at the Hasharon prison. Amongst the arrested are four leading grass roots organizers from Nablus, a fifth activist from Awarta village and four children from Al-Ein Refugee Camp. Their families remain in the dark as why these activists have been taken from their homes, though the targeting of active members of civil society is immediately apparent. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Knesset votes overwhelmingly in favor of Golan referendum 
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - The Knesset on Wednesday voted to advance an amendment that would require a referendum on any withdrawal from sovereign Israeli territory, such as the Golan Heights. ... 

Is Angelina Jolie sponsoring Jordanian orphans? 
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Famous actress and philanthropist Angelina Jolie has been secretly supporting seven Jordanian children and is considering buying them a house, Contact music website reported on Wednesday. ...

Ari Shavit / Obama awarded Nobel because he's a Democrat, liberal and black
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Today a grotesque ceremony will be held in Oslo. An American president who has not yet managed to make peace anywhere in the world will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He will be awarded the prize even though he is personally responsible for scores of targeted killings and much slaughter of civilians in aerial bombardments. He will be awarded the prize even though he has just decided to escalate one of the two ineffectual wars he is conducting. He will be awarded the prize only because he is a Democrat, a liberal and a black man who defeated the Republicans and cast George W. Bush out of the White House. ... 

Nobel Prize could be albatross for bruised, battered Obama
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - U.S. president to accept Nobel Peace Prize in ceremony on Thursday in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. 

High Court: Gaza student cannot complete studies in West Bank 
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - The High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday to deny a Palestinian student from Gaza who has been studying in Bethlehem permission to complete her university degree in the West Bank. ...

The Guardian

Nuclear row: Tehran threatens to target Israel
The Guardian 9 Dec 2009 - Iran's defence minister has threatened to target Israeli nuclear and other "unconventional" sites if it comes under attack. Ahmad Vahidi's warning came after Iran accused western-backed Saudi Arabia of handing over a missing Iranian nuclear scientist...

Who will save Gaza's children? | Victoria Brittain
The Guardian 9 Dec 2009 - Never mind Copenhagen, an environmental catastrophe is going on right now contaminated water is poisoning babies in Gaza Among all the complex and long-term solutions being sought in Copenhagen for averting environmental catastrophe across the world,...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Secular, ultra-Orthodox jockey over swath of land in Jerusalem
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - The secular residents of Jerusalem's Ramot neighborhood are vying with the ultra-Orthodox for dominance over land earmarked for hundreds of apartments and a sports center. ... 

Gideon Levy / Let's face the facts, Israel is a semi-theocracy
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - The storm over remarks made by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is in many respects a tempest in a teapot, which has for a long time taken on holier aspects than it seems. Neeman wants Torah law, or in other words, he wants Israel to be a country governed by Jewish religious law, halakha. In any event, Israel is already a semi-theocracy. The Israelis who were frightened by the minister's remarks and who love viewing their country as liberal, Western and secular are forgetting that our life here is more religious, traditional and halakhic than we are prepared to admit. ... 

Rightist MK to Netanyahu: Jews are not popsicles to be frozen 
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - Over 10,000 right-wing protesters gathered on Wednesday in Paris Square in Jerusalem near the Prime Minister's residence to demonstrate against the temporary settlement freeze. ...

After two-year delay, Apple's iPhone officially hits shelves in Israel 
Ha'aretz 9 Dec 2009 - After two years of delays, and thousands of purchases of "jailbroken" and "unlocked" models from abroad, iPhone will officially launched in Israel at midnight Wednesday, with a party set to last through the night. ...

Golda Meir told Poland: Don't send sick or disabled Jews to Israel
Ha'aretz 9 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. ... 

Relief Web

World: Financing of WHO's Emergency Activities (as of 04 Dec 2009)
Relief Web 9 Dec 2009 - Source: WHO

Over $664 million is needed for humanitarian assistance for Palestinians
Relief Web 9 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Palestinians face West Bank settler rage
Relief Web 9 Dec 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

Israel continues to deny Palestinians' fundamental human rights
Relief Web 9 Dec 2009 - Source: Al-Dameer, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: No elections in West Bank if vote rejected in Gaza - Abbas 
Relief Web 9 Dec 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Impoverished Gazans migrate in search of livelihoods 
Relief Web 9 Dec 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

YNet News

Officer: Enforcing freeze is main mission 
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - Shomron Brigade Commander Colonel Itzik Bar says while dealing with enforcement requires maximum planning, attention, fighting terror is still top priority 

Iran's Khamenei named 'dictator of the year'
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - Oslo University 'honors' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his achievements in 'inspiring hostility among nations, increasing human suffering.' University professor says prize's aim to remind world of ongoing genocide, torture 

Man accused of spying on IDF chief to be released?
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - Defendant's attorneys claim client's rights as detainee violated since prosecution failed to file non-disclosure order regarding evidence within 100 days since indictment. Prosecution claims order awaits defense minister's signature 

German ex-diplomats: Constant support of Israel must cease
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - Former German ambassadors call for assertive stand against Israel’s settlement policy; say Israel cannot have peace, keep hold on territories 

90% drop in rocket attacks since Cast Lead
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - IDF data shows 242 rockets, mortar shells fired at Israel from Gaza since forces left Strip almost one year ago. Since end of operation, IDF struck 143 targets in Gaza 

Expelled Palestinian student's petition to finish school denied 
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - High Court rules Berlanty Azzam cannot return to West Bank to finish her university degree, adding ruling in her favor would be biased towards other Gaza students whose petitions were denied 

Rightists protest freeze in Jerusalem
YNet News 9 Dec 2009 - Thousands gather near Prime Minister's Residence to protest construction freeze in settlements, carry signs saying, 'No entrance for Bibi's inspectors'. Samaria Regional Council head says, 'Bibi, we will build with or without you' 

Daily Star

Israeli objections stall prisoner swap
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday there was no deal for now between Israel and Hamas on freeing an Israeli soldier held in Gaza. Abbas, speaking after talks with President Hosni Mubarak, also said a EU call for talks with Israel on the status of Jerusalem was important but fell short of Palestinian expectations after changes to an earlier draft.

Iran threatens to strike Israel's nuclear sites if attacked
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Iran would strike back at Israeli weapons manufacturing sites and nuclear installations if Israel attacked the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying on Wednesday. Israel has refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve an international dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

Jewish settlers protest against slowdown in building
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Thousands of Israeli demonstrators rallied outside the Israeli prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday to protest a 10-month moratorium on new building permits for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. Settlers and right-wing politicians expressed outrage that the government should limit Jewish construction on what they consider the biblical land of Israel.

Jordan's king appoints new PM, government quits
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Close US ally Jordan's King Abdullah asked former palace aide Samir al-Rifai to form a new cabinet to push forward economic reforms before parliamentary polls later next year, officials said Wednesday. The new government comes after an abrupt move by King Abdullah last month to end parliament's life in mid-term.

EU parliament members denied entry into Gaza
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 The European parliament demanded Wednesday that Israel explain why it prevented a delegation of MEPs from travelling to the Gaza Strip despite initially authorizing the visit. "Israel had yesterday afternoon granted final permission for all members of our delegation to travel. However, some three hours later entry for all members of the delegation.

Riyadh 'deplores' Iran charge of abducted scientist - report
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Saudi Arabia rebuffed charges that the US abducted an Iranian nuclear scientist on a pilgrimage to Mecca, a Saudi newspaper said Wednesday, while a leading Iranian politician branded the act "terrorist behavior." Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali told Ash-Sharq al-Awsat that he was "stunned by the declarations and allegations" from Tehran, which he "deplored."

Palestinians struggle to build in occupied West Bank
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 In the occupied West Bank, a bedouin community whose school is made out of car tires and mud faces the same problem as a developer planning a new Palestinian town: building controls imposed by Israel. As Israel enforces a partial, temporary freeze on building in its West Bank settlements, Palestinians and their government are struggling.

Tough election challenge to Mubarak unlikely in 2011, analysts say
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Former nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei's bombshell that he is considering running for Egypt's presidency in 2011 will not translate into a competitive election, even if he succeeds in entering the race. But the move could signal that the 67-year-old former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency wants to use his international stature., Former nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei's bombshell that he is considering running for Egypt's presidency in 2011 will not translate into a competitive election, even if he succeeds in entering the race. But the move could signal that the 67-year-old former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency wants to use his international stature.

The women who guard other women in conservative Egypt
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Her hair neatly tucked under a Muslim headscarf, Dawlat al-Amine practices aikido regularly in a Cairo gym where she and her female colleagues learn martial arts to protect other women. The blackclad "ladyguards" provide a niche service to women who have broken through the Arab world's glass ceiling and achieved fame and fortune.

Iraqi leaders under fire over blasts
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Iraqi leaders came under fire Wednesday from enraged MPs for failing to prevent Baghdad blasts which killed 127 people, while police said the attackers were backed by groups in Syria or Saudi Arabia. Tuesday's spate of bombings, which accounted for more dead in one day than violence throughout the month of November, undermined the government's claims of improved security ahead of March 7 elections., Iraqi leaders came under fire Wednesday from enraged MPs for failing to prevent Baghdad blasts which killed 127 people, while police said the attackers were backed by groups in Syria or Saudi Arabia. Tuesday's spate of bombings, which accounted for more dead in one day than violence throughout the month of November, undermined the government's claims of improved security ahead of March 7 elections.

Aoun pays visit to Assad, urges greater bilateral cooperation
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 Syrian President Bashar Assad and Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun emphasized on Wednesday the importance of promoting Lebanese-Syrian bilateral ties and cooperation between both countries on the regional and international levels. Aoun's visit to Syria came as the Lebanese Parliament was evaluating the Cabinet policy., Syrian President Bashar Assad and Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun emphasized on Wednesday the importance of promoting Lebanese-Syrian bilateral ties and cooperation between both countries on the regional and international levels. Aoun's visit to Syria came as the Lebanese Parliament was evaluating the Cabinet policy.

EIU forecasts Lebanon's real GDP growth at 5.8 percent in 2010
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in 2009 that Lebanon has proven its ability to buffer external shocks, and the year turned out to be one of the best for the country in terms of economic performance, and consequently real GDP growth. The report was published by Bank Audi Weekly Monitor. The EIU forecasted an economic growth in Lebanon., The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in 2009 that Lebanon has proven its ability to buffer external shocks, and the year turned out to be one of the best for the country in terms of economic performance, and consequently real GDP growth. The report was published by Bank Audi Weekly Monitor. The EIU forecasted an economic growth in Lebanon., The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in 2009 that Lebanon has proven its ability to buffer external shocks, and the year turned out to be one of the best for the country in terms of economic performance, and consequently real GDP growth. The report was published by Bank Audi Weekly Monitor. The EIU forecasted an economic growth in Lebanon.

Beware of a brittle Iran
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 In the aftermath of Iran's controversial presidential election in June, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the dubious claim that his country was the "most stable" nation in the world. But the government's crackdown on renewed opposition demonstrations in the country this week, nearly six months after the vote, shows that the regime is still terrified of the enormous., In the aftermath of Iran's controversial presidential election in June, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the dubious claim that his country was the "most stable" nation in the world. But the government's crackdown on renewed opposition demonstrations in the country this week, nearly six months after the vote, shows that the regime is still terrified of the enormous.

Islamic, secular NGOs share goals
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 A study on Islamic movements in Lebanon released on Wednesday, showed that these groups have many goals in common with civil society organizations, such as tackling corruption, fighting the misspending of funds and advocating a fair election law. The aim of the study, which was designed and implemented by civil society organization the Masar Association in cooperation., A study on Islamic movements in Lebanon released on Wednesday, showed that these groups have many goals in common with civil society organizations, such as tackling corruption, fighting the misspending of funds and advocating a fair election law. The aim of the study, which was designed and implemented by civil society organization the Masar Association in cooperation., A study on Islamic movements in Lebanon released on Wednesday, showed that these groups have many goals in common with civil society organizations, such as tackling corruption, fighting the misspending of funds and advocating a fair election law. The aim of the study, which was designed and implemented by civil society organization the Masar Association in cooperation.

Something is rotten in the United States
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 "America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen," said Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, "but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success." The father of psychoanalysis was never afraid of generalizations and now the Beirut Art Center (BAC) is similarly fearless in the theme of its new show: "America." The aim is to put the US on the couch., "America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen," said Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, "but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success." The father of psychoanalysis was never afraid of generalizations and now the Beirut Art Center (BAC) is similarly fearless in the theme of its new show: "America." The aim is to put the US on the couch.

Can the Maronites reinvent themselves?
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 In the shambles that is the Maronite leadership, Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has over the years been a beacon on the matter of Lebanon's sovereignty. His inflexibility has served the country well, and this was demonstrated again in the blunt remarks he made this week on Hizbullah's weapons. However, Sfeir made two other statements that showed.

Privatization mostly sidelined in ministerial statement
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 After weeks of labor and excruciating and painstaking debate on every paragraph, line, word and period, the ministerial committee finally released the long-awaited Cabinet declaration which will be endorsed this week by Parliament without any modification. The divided ministers were at loggerheads over two main themes: resistance and privatization., After weeks of labor and excruciating and painstaking debate on every paragraph, line, word and period, the ministerial committee finally released the long-awaited Cabinet declaration which will be endorsed this week by Parliament without any modification. The divided ministers were at loggerheads over two main themes: resistance and privatization.

Is Israel a democracy? It's conditional
Daily Star 9 Dec 2009 On December 6, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI, website www.acri.org.il) released a 73-page report on democracy and human rights in Israel, entitled on "Human Rights - On Condition, Democracy - On Condition." The chapters of the report develop the characteristic list of an authoritarian state: "Freedom of Expression - as long as you have nice things to say.

Palestinian Information Center

Pakistani poets pay tribute to Palestinian resistance
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - Noted poets of Pakistan while rendering their verses at a function stressed the need to highlight the cause of Palestine’s liberation before the world..

Nudity at last
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - In a brazen disregard for Muslim (and Christian) sensibilities, the PA is reportedly allowing a westernized group of women to organize a beauty queen contest in Ramallah later this month.

Erdogan: Turkey will strongly retaliate if Israel violates its airspace
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - Turkish premier Recep Erdogan warned that his country would strongly respond if Israel violated its airspace, saying that this retaliation would be like an “earthquake.”

IOF troops bulldoze lands in Gaza
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday and bulldozed Palestinian cultivated lands, locals reported.

IOA bans European lawmakers from visiting Gaza
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) barred a European parliamentary delegation from entering the Gaza Strip through Erez crossing on Wednesday morning at the pretext of security risks.

Masri: Palestinian-Malaysian parliamentary friendship committee approved
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - MP Mushir Al-Masri has revealed that an agreement was reached during a meeting with Malaysia’s Speaker of National Assembly on the formation of a joint parliamentary friendship committee.

Hamdan: Insistence on signing Egyptian paper as is impedes reconciliation
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, has reiterated his Movement's insistence on reconciliation and on backing Egyptian efforts in this regard to end the Palestinian division.

Palestinian doctor dies from swine flu in Gaza
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - A Palestinian doctor on Tuesday was proclaimed dead due to his infection with swine influenza in the Gaza Strip making him the fourth victim after three others earlier died from the same disease.

Palestinians in Europe conference to partake in massive march from Cairo to Gaza
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - The conference of Palestinians in Europe said it will actively participate in the massive Gaza freedom march which will set off from Egypt towards the besieged Gaza Strip.

IOF troops arrest 18 Palestinians including prominent Jihad activist
PIC 9 Dec 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 18 Palestinians on Wednesday and Tuesday including a prominent commander of the Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, in Nablus city.

Los Angeles Times

Iran accuses U.S. and Saudis of kidnapping a nuclear scientist 
LA Times 9 Dec 2009 - Iran has also alleged that the U.S. and Israel abducted a Defense Ministry official who disappeared in 2006. In both incidents, there are suspicions that the missing men defected to the West. Iran's top diplomat accused the United States and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of kidnapping one of its nuclear scientists. 

Pro-government militiamen attack protesting students at two Tehran universities 
LA Times 9 Dec 2009 - Iran's chief prosecutor warns that harsher measures will be taken against protesters. Tear gas was reported at today's demonstrations, after more than 200 were arrested in Monday's protests. Pro-government Basiji militiamen stormed the campuses of two Tehran universities Tuesday and attacked hundreds of protesting students, and Iran's chief prosecutor vowed to come down harder than ever on peaceful demonstrators he described as a threat to the nation's security. 

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

Alternatives, Becoming a Victim of Journalist’s Propaganda Or…?
Alternative Information Center - 7 Dec 2009 - According to the National Post (“Funding for leftist group to be cut,” John Ivison, Saturday, 5 December 2009), Alternatives would be the next solidarity organization whose program would be rejected by the Minister of International Cooperation, Beverly Oda. Alternatives has not received an official confirmation about...

Palestinian Police Obstruct Travel of Patients Receive Medical Treatment in Hospitals outside Gaza: Call on Gaza Government to Immediately Cancel Such Measures 
Alternative Information Center - 7 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns external travel restrictions imposed on the population of the Gaza Strip. These restrictions also apply to patients seeking medical treatment unavailable in the Gaza Strip.  PCHR calls upon the Government in Gaza to remove all travel restrictions imposed,...

‘We sought international pressure to stop expulsions of Palestinians. We failed.’
Mondoweiss - 9 Dec 2009 - David Shulman ’s report from the Sheikh Jarrah evictions in East Jerusalem ran a few days ago at Ibn Ezra . His story is upsetting and important. It is worth noting that the our press has done a lousy job of covering this continuing outrage, at a...

What will Brian Baird do next?
Mondoweiss - 9 Dec 2009 - Brian Baird, the crusading Washington congressman, announced his retirement today , after six terms in the House. "Tough loss," says my tipster, Felson. But I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of Baird, 53, who was changed by Gaza, and understands the key foreign-policy issue...

‘Peace Now’ board member calls for end to U.S. tax-breaks for funds to settlements now
Mondoweiss - 9 Dec 2009 - Dan Fleshler, a board member of Americans for Peace Now, heeding the siren-call of truth, writes: U.S. tax-exempt charities are in league with the devil in the occupied territories…. The idea that tax exemptions are available to people who are helping the settlers resist the settlement...

Peace Now and J Street should join the battle against tax breaks for the West Bank colonists
Mondoweiss - 9 Dec 2009 - In a sign that the discourse is changing and taboo subjects are coming inside, The Atlantic considers the case for ending the special relationship of US and Israel, and picks up an important piece in the Guardian by Andrew Kadi and Aaron Levitt about the U.S....

What it means to advocate the ‘Sri Lanka model’ for Israel/Palestine
Mondoweiss - 9 Dec 2009 - It is easy to frame the conflict in Israel and Palestine as inherently unique. In many ways it is – decades-old occupation, US-supported racial discrimination and failure of Western journalism to hold the powerful to account – but other struggles have eerie similarities. This year Sri...


Articles

The Deadly Embrace 
James Petras, Dissident Voice 12/8/2009
      Zion-power and War: From Iraq to Iran
     Explanations for the US attack on Iraq range from military-political pretexts to accounts focusing on geopolitical and economic interests.
     The original official explanation was the now discredited claim that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destructions (WMD), which threatened the US, Israel and the Middle East. Subsequent to the US military occupation, when no WMD were discovered, Washington justified the invasion and occupation by citing the removal of a dictator and the establishment of a prosperous democracy in the Arab world. The imposition of a colonial puppet regime, propped up by an imperial occupation force of over 200,000 troops and irregular death squads, which have killed close to a million Iraqi civilians, forced over 4 million into exile and impoverished over 95% of the population, puts the lie to that line of argument. The latest line of justification revolves around the notion that the US occupation is necessary to ‘prevent a civil war’. Most Iraqis and military experts think the presence of the US colonial occupation army is the cause of violent conflict, particularly the US military’s devastating attacks on civilians, their financing of rival tribal leaders and Kurdish mercenaries and their contracting of local police-military to repress the population. Since most Americans (not to speak of the rest of the world) are not convinced by these specious arguments, the Washington regime rationalizes its continued war and occupation by citing the need for a colonial military victory to maintain its world and regional status as a super-power, and to assure its Middle East client regimes that Washington can defend their ruling cliques and their hegemonic ally, Israel. The Bush White House and pro-Israel Congressional leaders claim a victory in Iraq will bolster Washington’s image as a successful global ‘anti-terrorist’ (anti-insurgent) regime. These post-facto justifications have lost credibility as the war drags on, popular resistance grows in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan and elsewhere. The longer the war continues, the greater the economic cost and the demoralization and depletion of military personnel, the more difficult the task of sustaining the capacity to intervene in defense of the empire. more.. e-mail

Dreams And Nightmares: Sami’s Story 
Palestine Monitor 12/7/2009
      Peace activism is growing inside Israel. The stalwarts of BT’Selem and Parents Circle have been joined by a new generation that seeks to engage with Palestinians, on a social level as well as political. Groups like Sulha preach tolerance through integration, encouraging Palestinians to take part in their events inside Israel and securing permits for them. A terrific idea in theory, but in practise those brave enough to cross the divide often pay a heavy price. The following story began last year, but rumbles on to this day.
     Sami, 23, from Al-Essawaya village near Nablus, has always believed in peaceful coexistence with Israelis.
     "I worked for six years inside Israel", he tells me, "just in supermarkets, any work I could find. Me and my friends would jump over the wall at Qalandyia because we were not allowed to pass through." He describes himself as free of political affiliation; "not Fatah, not Hamas, just peace". Through time spent working in Tel Aviv he became acquainted with members of the Sulha peace project, a group dedicated to "rebuild trust, restore dignity and move beyond the political agenda". Sami helped to distribute their literature and attended conferences, before being invited to a three day retreat at the Latrun monastery Jerusalem. Permits were obtained for him and ten friends, along with around 30 other Palestinians.
     Daisy, a resident of Yaffo and long time Sulha member describes the gathering and meeting Sami.
     "It was like a mini festival, people sleeping outside, playing music and all eating together. There were people from all religions and nations, even a Buddhist monk sent by the Dalai Lama. The organisers arranged the paperwork for them (Palestinians), so that they could attend. When I met Sami for the first time he was so pleased to be there, showing his permit certificate to everyone and speaking Hebrew." more.. e-mail

Are Hate Crime Laws Legalizing Treason? 
Jeff Gates, Veterans Today 11/20/2009
      Winning wars in the Information Age largely depends on winning the battle for public opinion. Thus the opinion-shaping role of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) when it attacked a high profile California professor for his criticism of Israeli policy in Palestine. 
     That ADL intimidation campaign successfully chilled debate on campuses nationwide during several time-critical months while a new president, promising the hope of change, reassessed U.S.-Israeli relations. His only change—endorsing more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land—quashed any hope of peace. This ADL silencing strategy offers a microcosm of how the U.S. was induced to war in Iraq based on false intelligence. From the provocation of September 11, 2001 until the invasion of March 2003, war-planners ignored, dismissed or sought to silence anyone critical of the spurious premises offered for war.
     Only later did we discover that the intelligence was fixed around a preset agenda. Even now, Americans are unaware that the U.S.-led invasion had long been an Israeli goal.
     In similar fashion, an ADL campaign silenced on-campus criticism of Israel’s December 2008 assault on Gaza. At the University of California Santa Barbara, ADL-initiated charges were lodged against sociology Professor William Robinson. The disciplinary action dragged on until June 24th when 100 professors and 20 department heads demanded an end to all proceedings.
     By then the damage was done-to the reputation of Professor Robinson, to academic freedom at the University of California and to national security as this campaign silenced academics countrywide. While Robinson’s reputation can be restored, the damage to national security is irreparable. more.. e-mail


Israeli prisons as revolutionary universities
Electronic Intifada: 10 Dec 2009 - As a Palestinian political prisoner who has spent the past 20 years in Israeli jails I would like to highlight some of the general characteristics of the prisoners' movement's struggle to build a system of self and collective education as a central part of developing a patriotic and revolutionary culture that can be a pillar of the liberation movement. Khaled al-Azraq writes from Nafha prison. 

Another EU policy statement will not stop Israel's colonization
Electronic Intifada: 9 Dec 2009 - Israel started a preemptive campaign against a EU statement on the Middle East session even before it was formally presented for discussion by EU ministers this week on whether to adopt it. Israeli spokesmen expressed outrage at what they saw as an EU effort to "divide" Jerusalem, and claimed that the European position would "harm the peace process," as if it is only Israel that has been carefully protecting it from the harmful moves of others. Hasan Abu Nimah comments. 

More investors abandoning Lev Leviev and Africa-Israel
Electronic Intifada: 9 Dec 2009 - Last month, the second-largest Dutch pension fund PFZW joined an already impressive group of investors that have divested from Africa-Israel. Africa-Israel is the target of an international boycott campaign by Palestine solidarity activists because of its involvement in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

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. 

Targeting Civilians in Gaza
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Dec 2009 - By Stephen Lendman - Chicago The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an "independent legal body dedicated to the protection of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in the Occupied Territories." It issues frequent press releases, statistics, fact sheets, documents, and reports like its October 22, 2009 English version of "Targeted Civilians: A PCHR Report on the Israeli Offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009)." Its 184 pages comprise a comprehensive, conclusive, and damning account of Israel's war crimes, along with numerous others, including: -- PCHR's "Through Women's Eyes" on the war's effect on women; -- B'Tselem's "investigation of fatalities in Operation Cast Lead;" -- Amnesty International's "Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction;" -- several Human Rights Watch reports, including "White Flag Deaths" and Rain of Fire: Israel's Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza;" -- former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, John Dugard's "Independent Fact-Finding Committee (IFFC)....investigations of Israeli conduct during the war in Gaza;" and -- the UN Human Rights Council (HRC)'s "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" - the prominent Goldstone report that has Tel Aviv and Washington officials scrambling to diffuse its extensive Israeli war crimes evidence. The report's conclusion was that: "....the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall...

Safe Journey, Viva Palestina
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Dec 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London 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 – the anniversary of the launch of Israel’s murderous blitzkrieg. I asked the organizers if they provided a Gaza postbag for delivering seasonal greetings from supporters and well-wishers. Nobody trusts ordinary mail that has to pass through Israel. The answer seemed to be ‘no’ so perhaps the idea was too much of a burden on an already complex operation. If there had been a postbag I’d have been tempted to pen a letter to Mr. Haniyeh, whom the media call the 'de facto' prime minister of Gaza. 'De facto' is taken to mean not officially recognized. However, everyone outside Whitehall and the White House acknowledges that Hamas’s Mr. Haniyeh is the genuine, democratically-elected, legitimate article. My message to him would probably have said something like this: Dear Mr Haniyeh, Aasalaamu Aleikum. Many of us here in the UK do our best to persuade political and religious leaders to extend the hand of friendship and dialogue to the people of Gaza and their elected government. Unfortunately we are governed by people of doubtful judgement and with links to the Israel lobby. Nevertheless, do please invite the likes of Blair, Brown,...

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...
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