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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
13 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Soldiers Kidnap Two Children In Northern Gaza
IMEMC 13 Dec 2009 - Monday December 14, 2009 - 05:27, Israeli soldiers invaded the Industrial Area located near the Erez Crossing, west of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip and kidnapped two children. One of them was released after several hours while the second remained in custody.

Egypt Uncovers Tunnel Meant For Smuggling Vehicles Into Gaza
IMEMC 13 Dec 2009 - Monday December 14, 2009 - 04:59, Egyptian security sources reported Sunday that the Egyptian Border Police located a border tunnel meant for smuggling vehicles into the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Killed In Israeli Shelling of Central Gaza
IMEMC 13 Dec 2009 - Sunday December 13, 2009 - 01:06, Palestinian medical sources reported Saturday that a Palestinian man was killed when the army shelled an area east of Al Boreij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip.

21 Israeli peace activists arrested in East Jerusalem protest
IMEMC 13 Dec 2009 - Saturday December 12, 2009 - 10:20, In a rowdy march Friday afternoon, dozens of Israeli peace activists marched in solidarity with Palestinian residents who have been forced from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. 21 were arrested when they tried to reclaim a home that was stolen from the indigenous Palestinian residents by right-wing Israeli settlers.

Haniyya: “Palestine Is Palestine, From The River To The Sea”
IMEMC 13 Dec 2009 - Saturday December 12, 2009 - 04:22, Palestinian Prime Minister of the dissolved Hamas-led government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, stated Friday that Palestine is and will always be the same to the Palestinians, from the river to the sea, and that the Palestinians will always defend it.

European Union Expresses Concern over Israeli Settlement Grants
IMEMC 13 Dec 2009 - Saturday December 12, 2009 - 03:56, The European Union expressed concern Friday about the Israeli Prime Minister’s plans to grant credits to some West Bank settlers.

Ma'an News

Erekat: Israel passed a blueprint for expansion
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) top negotiator, Saeb Erekat, condemned on Sunday an Israeli cabinet vote to pump millions of shekels into illegal West Bank settlements. The cabinet passed a new "national priority map" on Sunday evening that sets a hierarchy of government attention and funding. The list of priority areas included for the first time are six West Bank settlements with a total population of about 110,000. "The intent of Israel's so called "˜national priority map' is clear. This map serves as a blueprint for future settlement expansion," Erekat said in a statement. He said the map "reveals the extent to which Israel's "˜settlement moratorium' is a sham. Rather than make peace its number one priority, Israel continues to prioritize settlements and the relentless. . . " 

US army installs Gaza monitoring system
12/12/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egypt's plan to build an underground wall along its border with Gaza, first exposed by the Israeli daily Haaretz, is the second of two initiatives backed by the US military, Ma'an has learned. In recent months, US army engineers have moved forward on a two-phase, multimillion-dollar project to stop the flow of weapons and money into the besieged coastal strip. The first stage of the initiative includes the installation of below-ground, state-of-the-art sensors capable of detecting sound or movement nearby. US experts began the process about one year ago, and it is nearing completion. The sensors are about the size of a human fist, planted below Rafah with cables running inside pipes 15 meters deep along the borderline. Each sensor is linked to an electronic panel and a computer screen, which documents below-ground activity. 

Medics: Israeli fire kills Gaza man
12/12/2009 - UPDATED - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli shelling killed a Palestinian civilian in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, a medical official said. The victim was identified as Sami Shihadah Abu Khousah, 47. Muawiyah Hassanein, de facto Health Ministry director of ambulance and emergency services, told Ma'an that Khousah suffered blood loss after he was struck by Israeli artillery east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. Khousah was transferred from Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he died, Hassanein said. Palestinian eyewitnesses reported clashes in the area where Khousah was injured. They said Palestinian fighters exchanged fire with the Israeli military, which fired artillery shells. Israel's army confirmed involvement. A military spokeswoman told Ma'an that Palestinians first opened fire near the border with Israel, and that Israeli forces returned fire toward its source. 

Salfit governor denies Israel offered to rebuild mosque
12/13/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Salfit Governor Munir Abboushi denied reports on Sunday that the Israeli army has offered to rebuild and renovate the mosque in the village of Yasuf that was torched by settlers on Friday. In addition to denying that the offer was ever made by an Israeli military spokesperson, Abboushi said that he would refuse any assistance from Israel in rebuilding the village mosque. Abboushi further said that all engineers from various ministries, particularly the Ministry of Local Government, Endowments and Religious Affairs, and Finance will work on rebuilding the mosque promptly in accordance with the instructions of caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. On Friday, Israeli religious settlers near the village of Yasuf set fire to the local mosque as clashes ensued, where six Palestinians were injured. 

Gaza power cuts up to 32 hours per week
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Electricity is to be distributed in Gaza on just four days a week, for eight hours a day, a spokesman for the local power company said on Sunday. "Gaza is suffering a 25% shortage of electricity. It is expected that the shortage will increase to 35% because of winter and low temperatures which lead to an increase in [electricity] use during winter, as residents use electric heating appliances," said Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) spokesman Jamal Ad-Dardasawi during a telephone interview with Ma'an. Palestinians living in Gaza are to expect between 18 to 32 hours without electricity per week, he said, adding that "there are no other options for the company other than to distribute the already existing amounts of electricity and then to cut off the electricity to avoid a crisis. 

Rights group: Israeli soldiers detain two Gaza teens
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers detained two Palestinian teenagers on Sunday after entering the ruins of the Erez industrial zone in the northern Gaza Strip, a human rights group said. The Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza said the soldiers detained Mahmoud Jamil Hasan Al-Yazeji, 16, and Mohammad Hatem Qasem Al-Kafarneh, 17 and took them across the border into Israel. Al-Kafarneh was later released, and Al-Yazeji held. Attorneys from the organization said in a statement that the Israeli military was interrogating Al-Yazeji in a prison in the city of Ashkelon. A court ordered that he be detained until Friday, the lawyers added. A field investigation carried out by the center found that the teens were working in ruins of the industrial area, breaking apart rubble from destroyed buildings in order to sell the material to brick factories. 

Quran-carrying settler rabbis banned from village
12/13/2009 - Israeli forces stopped a group of settler rabbis entering the northern West Bank village of Yasuf on Sunday to visit its mosque, which was set on fire by different settlers on Friday morning. Authorities said the trip was banned out of fear for their safety after locals demonstrated against the arson. Hundreds of students took to the streets chanting slogans and railing against the visit. The governor of Salfit, Munir Abboushi, told Ma`an that tensions were high in the village, and thus it would be very difficult to keep things under control had the rabbis entered as planned. "I met the rabbis at the Tappuah junction and explained to them that we would welcome anybody who condemns settlers` provocative actions," he said. But the rabbinical delegation included settlers, which Abboushi said would only inflame the situation. "We refused entry of the rabbis to the village after we learned that they came from Israeli settlements," said Abdul-Rahim Muslih, head of Yasuf`s village council. 

Palestinian MK to be indicted for Syria trip
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's attorney general said on Sunday he intends to indict Said Naffaa, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, for a 2007 trip to Syria where he allegedly met officials from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Hamas, according to news reports. Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said he plans to suspend Naffaa's parliamentary immunity and charge him with meeting with a foreign agent, unlawful travel to an enemy state and aiding others in unlawful travel to an enemy state. According to multiple Israeli news reports, Naffaa allegedly met with Talal Naji, deputy head of the PFLP and visited the offices of Hamas political bureau chief Khalid Mash'al. The Hamas leader was reportedly not present at the time. The indictment goes on to allege that Naffaa organized a trip to Syria for 280 people, many of whom are Druze religious leaders from Israel, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. 

Holocaust survivor to join Gaza march
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Jewish Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein will head to Gaza with 1,000 international delegates of the Gaza Freedom March in late December, the event's organizers said on Friday. Hedy Epstein, 85, was eight when Adolf Hitler came to power and remembers the Kristallnacht in Germany; the anti-semitism in school, the revocation of German citizenship, the burning of synagogues, and males over 16 being sent away to concentration camps. In 1939, when Epstein was just 14, her parents found a way for her to escape the persecution, sending her on the Kindertransport to England. Epstein never saw her parents again; they perished in Auschwitz in 1942. After World War II, Epstein worked as a research analyst at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi doctors who performed medical experiments on concentration camp inmates. 

Egyptians uncover car-smuggling tunnel
12/13/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian authorities on Saturday stormed a smuggling tunnel used to transport cars into the besieged Gaza Strip, according to Egyptian security sources. Egyptian security sources told Ma'an that state security forces in Rafah received information about a smuggling tunnel on the Salah Ad-Din border area between Egypt and Gaza, where cars were being smuggled underground. The tunnel was found on a farm 300 meters from the border, they said. The sources added that authorities seized another tunnel used for trafficking cars 18 months, with a 2. 5-meter diameter, facilitating the transfer of 30 Hundai Vernas. Security sources they have discovered nearly 1,300 tunnels, of which 450 were raided by Egypt this year. On Thursday, Israeli media reported that Egypt began building a wall around the Gaza border, consisting of sheaths of metal, which the authorities. . . 

Israeli forces detain 65-year-old Nablus woman
12/13/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained a 65-year-old Palestinian woman, Rabi'a Bilal, from the northern West Bank city of Nablus after ransacking her home on Sunday morning, a rights group said. According to Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights, five of Rabi'a's sons were jailed in Israel, one of whom, Ubada, is blind. Early in November, Ubada's wife Nelly was also detained. The family's only son who was not in prison, 40-year-old Omar, was detained earlier in December along with his nephew 19-year-old Bakr. Fuad Al-Khafash, director of Ahrar Center, said Rabi'a is the oldest Palestinian prisoner and that six members of the Sa'id Bilal family were jailed at the Petah Tequa and Beer Sheva prisons. Amongst the imprisoned sons is Mu'ath, serving 26 life sentences, and Othman, serving one life sentence. 

One Gaza crossing opened as five remain sealed
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Gaza on Sunday, while the Karni and Nahal Oz crossings remained closed, an official said. Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh said between 105-115 trucks of commercial products and humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing in addition to limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel to the power plant. Fattouh said Nahal Oz and Karni crossings would remain closed. Egyptian and Israeli authorities maintain a tight grip on the flow of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, in addition to limiting the movement of Palestinians. The two border crossings into Egypt and Israel, Rafah and Erez respectively, allow Palestinians to travel solely with permits. In the case of the Rafah crossing, many Palestinian students and patients with the required permits have. . . 

Attack on Gaza-based NGOs condemned
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Rights activists are gravely concerned over increasing attacks and robberies against NGOs in Gaza, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said on Sunday. In a statement, PCHR strongly condemned the assault and robbery of the headquarters of two Gaza-based NGOs early on Sunday by unidentified assailants. According to Amjad Ash-Shawa, PNGO coordinator, approximately 1,000 US dollars was stolen over the weekend after a break-in. The money was taken from the offices of the accountant, the coordinator of the capacity building project, the secretary and Ash-Shawa himself. Al-Shawa added that he did not notice any traces of destruction, including destruction of doors or windows in the office. The incident was reported to the de facto government police who opened an investigation. Also Sunday, the office of the Riada Project, run by CHF and located in the. . . 

Egypt detains 9 migrants on Israeli border
12/13/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian authorities thwarted four African work-seekers from entering Israel near Gaza's Kerem Shalom crossing on Saturday night and arrested nine more migrants, according to Egyptian security sources. Three Eritrean men were detained 20 kilometers south of the Kerem Shalom crossing, sustaining minor injuries as Egyptian border police apprehended them, the sources said. Separately,an Eritrean man and woman were also apprehended near Kerem Shalom, in addition to two Sudanese men trying to cross the border. A fourth attempt was frustrated by Egyptian border police one kilometer south of the Kerem Shalom crossing, where two Eritreans were apprehended, the sources added. Security sources said the migrants admitted to paying thousands of dollars each to people traffickers responsible for assisting entry into Israel. 

High tension after West Bank mosque attack
12/13/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces on Sunday denied a group of rabbis entry to the northern West Bank village of Yasuf to visit its mosque which was set on fire by extremist Israeli settlers on Friday morning. Israeli authorities said the rabbis visit was banned out of fear for their safety after local residents demonstrated in the village protesting the arson. Hundreds of students took to the streets chanting slogans and railing against the rabbis visit. The governor of Salfit, Munir Abboushi told Ma'an that tensions were high in the village as angry villagers took to the streets, and thus it would be very difficult to keep things under control had the rabbis arrived. He explained that villagers believed the rabbinical delegation included settlers, which he said would only inflame the situation further. "I met the rabbis at the Tappuah junction and explained to them that. . . 

Reports: Israeli stabbed near settlement bloc
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - An Israeli woman was stabbed at the illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc late Saturday night, according to an Israeli military representative. Witnesses reportedly identified the attacker as a Palestinian who fled the scene. Israeli media, meanwhile, reported that the woman, 22, was waiting at a bus stop when she was stabbed in her lower back. The woman was evacuated to Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital by a Magen David Adom ambulance, the reports added. Israel's military set up a number of checkpoints around the southern West Bank settlement bloc in response to the incident, according to news reports. [end] 

PFLP wing claims attacks on Israeli targets
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility on Sunday morning for launching several homemade projectiles toward Israeli targets bordering the Gaza Strip. In a statement, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said four projectiles were fired toward Kissufim at 4:15am, three projectiles toward Ashkelon at 4:30am, three toward Azzata and Sderot at 4:40am, two toward Nahal Oz, four toward Nir Oz at 4:50am, and three toward Sufa at 5am. The leftist group said the shelling came in retaliation for "the occupation's crimes in the West Bank and Gaza," and to commemorate the movement's 42nd anniversary. Israeli military sources called the PFLP's numbers exaggerated. Two "Qassam rockets" were fired from Gaza in the past 24 hours, one of which landed inside Gaza, they said. No damage or injuries were reported. 

Israel: 2 Palestinians arrested with explosives near Nablus
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli military detained two Palestinians near a Nablus checkpoint for carrying two explosives, an Israeli military spokesperson said on Sunday. The Israeli army fired two warning shots in the air, as per the army's regulations, and detained the Palestinians, the spokesperson said. The two were carrying a home-made explosive and a grenade, the representative added. The Palestinians were transferred to security forces for further investigation, according to the same source. No injuries were reported. The detainees were not immediately identified. [end] 

Al-Habbash calls mosque arson ’war crime’
12/12/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Palestinian Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash visited the mosque set on fire allegedly by settlers early Friday morning in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf, and described the incident as a "war crime" in a statement issued on Saturday following his visit. The minister further asserted that the arsonists necessitated prosecution and punishment in international courts, he said. Al-Habbash accused the Israeli government of supporting the "terrorism of settlers who are corrupting the West Bank, burning Palestinian olive orchards, and attack Palestinian villages with the support and protection of the Israeli army," he said in a statement. The minister added that the "Yasuf village suffers from constant attacks by settlers. " During his visit, Al-Habbash relayed President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority's praise. . . 

PA considers banning work in Israeli settlements
12/13/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Ramallah's political echelon is considering a decision to ban work in settlements and to find alternative jobs for Palestinians who already work in them, sources told Ma'an. The Palestinian Authority leadership wants to recruit international support for an end to settlement building in order to protect Palestinian land being confiscated for that purpose. "It is unacceptable to ask the whole world to support us and stop settlement activities while we can't take a decision to prevent Palestinian labor in settlements," an official said. "This decision will need strategic planning and financial support rather than just political slogans. " In November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a partial slowdown on the expansion of West Bank settlements in what he said was a bid to bring the PA to the negotiating table. 

Report: Abbas urges Netanyahu to wrap up Shalit deal
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas recently sent a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to finalize a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the captors of soldier Gilad Shalit, the Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv reported Sunday. The report says Abbas sent the message through a third party. The president reportedly asked Netanyahu to release Hamas' prisoners in addition to Fatah's Marwan Barghouthi and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Ahmad Sa'adat. "As president of the whole Palestinian people, I hereby ask you to complete the Shalit deal, and release prisoners as soon as possible," Abbas' message read, according to Ma'ariv. President 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. 

Hamas leader to hold talks with Khamenei in Iran
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A high-ranking delegation of Hamas officials led by Khalid Mash'al arrived in Tehran on Sunday on an official visit that will include talks with senior leaders, according to news reports. The officials, mainly from Hamas' political bureau in Damascus, are scheduled to meet with Iran's supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manochehr Mottaki. The Hamas delegation also includes Mousa Abu Marzouq, Sami Khatir, Izzat Ar-Rashq, and Jamal Issa. The visit is part of a Hamas tour of several Arab and Islamic countries. Mash'al was in Yemen last week where he told the country's president that he intends to conclude a power-sharing deal with Hamas' rival, Fatah. Iran is thought to be one of the main backers of Hamas, which is at odds with Western-supported Fatah. 

Al-Qassam: We’ll regroup in West Bank
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, says it is attempting to regroup in the West Bank and resume its resistance of the Israeli occupation. "Nobody will be able to uproot resistance, and if they affect us, that will not last long "¦ The Mujahidin [religious combatants] of Al-Qassam Brigades will remain positioned in their bunkers, protecting the Gaza borders during the central festival commemorating Hamas' 22nd anniversary," the group's spokesman Abu Ubayda also told reporters on Sunday. The spokesman added that the Al-Qassam Brigades would not abandon the positions inside the Gaza Strip's borders in order to ensure that Israel would not undertake another incursion into the Gaza Strip. "Al-Qassam is still on the right track after all sacrifices made during which the best leaders and soldiers were either killed martyrs, wounded, or imprisoned," Abu Ubayda asserted. 

As-Sarraj denies Egyptian intel chief to resign
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The head of the delegation of members of the Palestinian Reconcilliation Committee, Iyad As-Sarraj, denied on Sunday reports that Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman would soon submit his resignation. As-Sarraj was responding to reports that Suleiman would leave his post if asked to include Hamas' amendments in the Egyptian proposal, according to a statement released on Sunday. As-Sarraj added that the aim of publishing such reports was to distort and obstruct the committee's work, following the extensive response they have received in Cairo by Egyptian officials, insisting that there are many positive outcomes to the visit. Last week, a delegation of members from various Palestinian political parties went to Cairo to discuss the Egyptian-backed reconcilliation document aimed at ending Hamas-Fatah rivalry in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Egypt shuts down second Gaza car-smuggling tunnel
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Egyptian border guards shut down a tunnel on Sunday used for smuggling cars into the besieged Gaza Strip, security sources said. The sources told reporters that the opening of the tunnel was 300 meters from the border with the Gaza Strip. A strict closure was imposed on the area before the tunnel was destroyed, the sources added. It was the second tunnel built to smuggle cars to be shut down in as many days. The tunnel was reported to be two and a half meters wide, with a cement ramp on the Egyptian end built to allow cars to be pulled down into the tunnel and across into Gaza. Hundreds of tunnels have been dug underneath the Gaza-Egypt border in order to counteract an Israeli-led blockade of the territory that has caused shortages of numerous goods. Egypt is also reported to be building an iron barrier underground along the border in an attempt to physically cut off the tunnels. 

Fayyad: We reject all interim arrangements
12/12/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced on Saturday that there will be no peace so long as settlement expansion continues, in a speech given at the National Conference for the Strengthening of Palestinian Popular Activity against the Separation Wall and Settlements in Ramallah. Fayyad added that "the establishment of a Palestinian state on all territories occupied in 1967, chief among them East Jerusalem" remains the sole viable option for guaranteeing peace and stability in the region. "We strenuously reject all the solutions being proposed by Israel's leaders, such as solutions involving interim arrangements," "We have no intention of continuing with the formula of interim arrangements and of accepting a state of strips of territory that have no territorial contiguity. " The prime minister added that "We learned the lessons of the first Intifada and its results. 

UN envoy ’appalled’ by mosque attack
12/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry is appalled by Friday's attack on a Palestinian mosque, he said in a statement Saturday. "Desecrating a place of worship is deplorable," Serry said in a statement issued by his spokesman in a telephone call to Ma'an. Israeli settlers set fire to the Al-Kabir Mosque in Yasuf early Friday morning. The fire destroyed copies of the Quran and other objects inside. Settlers also wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the mosque's floor reading "We will have our revenge" and "We will burn you all. ""This attack is part of a broader and ongoing phenomenon of settler violence against Palestinian civilians, property, and land," Serry said. "Far too little is done by the Israeli authorities to enforce the rule of law on violent extremists, leading to a climate of impunity. 

Hamas: PA security arrests 5 party members
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas reported Sunday that Palestinian Authority security forces detained five members in the West Bank this week. The party affiliates were detained in Tulkarem, Nablus and Bethlehem, according to Hamas. Hamas said on Tuesday that the Fatah-backed PA forces arrested 11 members of the Islamic movement in the West Bank. [end] 

Thousands in Gaza mark PFLP founding
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Over 70,000 members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) converged on Gaza City to mark the secular-nationalist movement's 42nd anniversary on Saturday. The second-largest PLO faction was founded in 1967 after the Six-Day War by the late George Habash, a physician and refugee from Lydda, Palestine, known as Lod in present-day Israel. Under the slogan of "Unity, Steadfastness and Resistance - Towards Victory!" PFLP politburo member and Gaza leader Rabah Muhanna called for "maintenance and escalation of resistance in general and armed struggle in particular against the Zionist enemy. " He emphasized that the path of negotiations, from Oslo to Annapolis, "has clearly reached a dead end, and there must be a declaration by all Palestinian forces of the final. . . 

Hamas: PA forces detain over 250 supporters
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas on Sunday accused the Palestinian Authority of stepping up detentions of its affiliates, lawmakers, and senior leaders in the West Bank as the Islamic movement's 22nd anniversary approaches. PA security forces detained 193 supporters in November and 99 in December, and has summoned hundreds of affiliates with threats against the planned commemorations, Hamas said in a statement. The movement expressed astonishment over the lack of response from Arab countries and other Palestinian factions toward the PA's "criminal acts against Hamas" in the West Bank, which it says create the appearance it has been banned from political activity. Separately, Hamas applauded the de facto government in Gaza's willingness to facilitate events marking the 42nd anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's founding, which was celebrated on Saturday in Gaza City. 

PA arrests three for arson in Dura
12/13/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an -Palestinian Authority security forces said they arrested three people on Sunday for setting fire to a car and throwing Molotov cocktails at houses in the town of Dura in the southern West Bank. The Hebron police department said in a statement that security forces received a complaint about the alleged attacks. The three suspects confessed to the arson under interrogation, the statement added. The three were referred to prosecutors, the police department said. [end] 

Miss Palestine pageant stirs controversy
12/13/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A Palestinian company's announcement last week of the first-ever Miss Palestine beauty pageant sparked controversy among some who view it as contrary to Islamic tradition. Salwa Yousef, the director of the Trip Fashion Company said the competition will include young women from the West Bank and Palestinians living inside Israel. She said it was impossible for women in Gaza to participate due to the internal Palestinian political crisis and the Israeli siege on the territory. Yousef said the company selected 85 women, aged 18 to 22, from among 200 that applied to participate in the contest. Miss Palestine will be chosen on 26 December. The winner will be awarded 10,000 Israeli shekels and a ten-day trip to Turkey. She said the contestants will each model four dresses. The company specifically ruled out a swimsuit competition out of respect for the mores of Palestinian society, she added. 

Two more die of H1N1 in Gaza as toll reaches 10
12/13/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two more Palestinians have died in Gaza from the H1N1 virus, bringing the death toll to 10 the undersecretary of the de facto government's Ministry of Health, Hassan Khalaf, said on Sunday. During a telephone interview with Ma'an, Khalaf reported that one of the deceased patients suffered from cardiac problems and the second was suffering from venereal disease in addition to swine flu. Khalaf added that 67 cases of swine flu have been diagnosed in the Gaza Strip, of which 37 have finished undergoing treatment and have been cleared by doctors. Khalaf renewed his calls to the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide the Gaza Strip with needed H1N1 vaccines. 

London school twins with Gaza university
12/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The London School of Economics and Political Science has voted to twin its student union with the Islamic University of Gaza, according to the UK-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The motion, which passed by a 30 percent majority, mandates that LSE's student union support the campaign to share its subscription to electronic journals with universities in the occupied Palestinian territories and to rename a room in the student union building after a Palestinian student who died when Israeli warplanes bombed Islamic University on 28 December 2008. Late last month, LSE Palestine Society chair Mira Hammad called on all universities to "open up their electronic journals for access by Palestinian Universities as a practical way of advancing the right to education and defeating the 61 year long abuses of this international principle of justice by the Israeli regime. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Ukrainian shipwreck may have been result of fuel smuggling
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Police suspect the ship was smuggling diesel fuel; five surviving sailors released from Haifa hospital. 

Shin Bet gets new deputy, as race to succeed Diskin heats up
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - New appointment marks three candidates lined up to succeed Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin. 

Barak orders IDF to cut ties with far-right yeshiva
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of Har Bracha yeshiva, urged troops to refuse orders to evacuate settlements. 

WATCH: Dramatic footage of IDF rescue of sailors lost at sea
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Five Ukrainian crewmen were pulled from sea after their cargo ship sank off the coast of Lebanon. 

Hezbollah: We're not responsible for rocket fire into Israel
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - But group's deputy leader denies militant group has ceased to take part in fight against Israel. 

IDF officer convicted of striking Palestinian in 2008 West Bank arrest
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - 1st Lt. (res.) Adam Malul of the Kfir brigade convicted of assault, conduct unbecoming an officer. 

IDF cutting anti-terror activity to support settlement freeze
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Authorities are concerned that Palestinian terrorists could use the opportunity to launch attack. 

Palestinian wounds Israeli woman in West Bank stabbing
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - 20-year-old moderately hurt; settler leader: Government's weakness causing terrorists to strike. 

Qassam hits Israel, despite Hamas moratorium on Gaza rocket fire
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - A second rocket fired by militants explodes in PA territory; no casualties or damage caused. 

Officials fear Palestinian reprisals in wake of mosque attack
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Israeli woman, 22, moderately wounded in stabbing in West Bank; police searching for suspect. 

Palestine Telegraph

Targeting Civilians in Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
US, December 13, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- 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."

Israeli vandals attack West Bank mosque
West Bank, December 11, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli extremists have attacked a mosque in the occupied West Bank, vandalizing the property and desecrating the holy book of Islam, the Qur'an. Suspected hardline Israeli settlers stormed the holy site in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf at night, set fire to the mosque's library and sprayed hate messages on...

Siege Martyrs Reach 365
Gaza, December 10, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - The Ministry of Health in Gaza declared that the child Mohammad Ashraf Bolbol, 9, who lived in Gaza died today. The child was suffering from pain in abdomen and pelvis and his health deteriorated after he had prohibited from traveling abroad for treatment. The minsitry pointed out that the doctors tried to save...

More Dead as Swine Flu Hits Gaza
Gaza, December 10, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - The Ministry of Health in Gaza declared that a woman died of swine flu, pointing out that the total number of deaths has reached 6. Hassan Khalaf, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that a Palestinian woman, 56, died last night as she had been infected with swine flu. He...

IOF Arrest Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall & Settlements
West Bank, December 10, 2009, (Pal Telegraph)-- IOF arrested Abdullah Abu Rahma, 39, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Bil'in, at down today after they raided his house in al-Tira town of Ramallah. Eyewitness said that a number of Israeli troops stormed al-tira town early today, surrounded the house of Abu Rahma, raided it...

The National

Netanyahu moves to appease settlers
The National 13 Dec 2009 - Outposts to be added to national programme that entitles residents to more state funding.

Israel plans cash for West Bank settlers
The National 13 Dec 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu is set to officially propose a plan that may grant tens of thousands of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank additional state funding.

Jewish settler woman stabbed in West Bank
The National 13 Dec 2009 - The woman was stabbed and wounded on a roadside in the occupied West Bank in what Israeli police said was an attack by a Palestinian militant.

Aljazeera

Iran warns opposition over 'insult'
AlJazeera 13 Dec 2009 - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows action over "disrespect" to late supreme leader.

Israel approves aid for settlements
AlJazeera 13 Dec 2009 - Israeli cabinet to support its settlers with a multi-million dollar aid package.

Alternative Information Center

The "Illegal Settlement Myth" Myth
Alternative Information Center 11 Dec 2009 - Commentary has an article by David M. Phillips, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law, under the title “The Illegal-Settlements Myth.” Sound familiar? “Settlements may be unwise, but they're not illegal” and “the territories are...

Palestine News Network

Palestinian Christians call on Westerners to reject Zionism
PNN 12 Dec 2009 - Israeli settlers burn Quran in attack on mosque.Hundreds of Jewish settlers angry at reduced settlement building burned pages of Islam's holy book in an attack on a West Bank mosque as Palestinian Christians called for sanctions on evil Israel and rejected Christian Zionism, press reports said Saturday. Burned pages of the Quran lay scattered on the mosque's torched carpet as Israelis from...

A Palestinian Civilian killed in Israeli fire.
PNN 12 Dec 2009 - According to a medical official, Israeli shelling killed a Palestinian civilian in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday. The victim was identified as 47-year-old Sami Shihadah Abu Khousah.The medic and Health Ministry director of ambulance and emergency services,, Moawia Hassanien, says the 47-year-old farmer was shot early Saturday near the border after IDF troops clashed with Palestinians fighters. Khousah suffered blood loss...

Jerusalem Post

'Iran working on key A-Bomb component'
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - UK paper quotes documents citing development of neutron initiator, a key part of nuclear weapons.

Cabinet approves national priority map
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - Settlements included won't get housing benefits; Ashkelon's, Ma'aleh Adumim's to be decided later.

'PM takes direct control of east J'lem house demolitions'
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - Right-wing MKs decry decision, saying these matters should remain within municipality; left-wing activists welcome new arrangement.

Animal rights group to protest today
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - Group to stage shows in J'lem, TA demonstrating showing horrors of industrial egg, meat production.

Ahmadinejad: We'll always support Palestinians
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - Iranian president tells visiting Hamas leader Mashaal that "Palestine is a symbol of the global front of freedom seekers and militants."

Israelis win Turkish prize for financial history research
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - Israeli-born Ruth Kark and co-author Dr. Joseph B. Glass to be awarded $15,000 for research on development of banking in Ottoman Palestine.

'Effi' unlikely to be name of arsonist, says Shin Bet
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - But settlers say maybe man who signed on grafitti could even be a member of the Shin Bet looking to smear settlers.

Barak severs ties with hesder yeshiva
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - Rabbis say defense minister's to 'cut off' Har Bracha Yeshiva will only make it more popular.

PA to renovate torched Yasuf mosque
Jeruslalem Post 13 Dec 2009 - PA governor of district which includes the village of Yasuf says mosque protests erupt after settlers join rabbis' delegation which brings new Qurans.

IRIN

EGYPT: River pollution hits Nile fishermen
IRIN CAIRO Sunday, December 13, 2009 (IRIN) - “It’s becoming so hard these days. I only managed to get a few fish yesterday,” said Galal Saed, 35, casting his net into the Nile near the village of Hawamdia, 25km south of Cairo.

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.

Inter Press Service

US: One Step Closer to Unilateral Sanctions Against Iran 
IPS WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (IPS) - Congress has given new momentum to a bill imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran - a move seen by many as an ineffective form of sanctions and potentially antagonistic against valuable U.S. allies on the U.N. Security Council. This comes ahead of the end of the...

MIDEAST: In a Muddle Over Mixed Signals 
IPS JERUSALEM, Dec 10 (IPS) - "Get your hands off the Land of Israel and the people of the Land of Israel - that's what we need to tell Mr. Obama - get on the phone to the White House each and every one of you!"

PCHR Weekly Report

(03- 09 Dec. 2009)
PCHR During the reporting period, one Palestinian civilian was wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.  

International Solidarity Movement

Settlers set fire to Yasuf mosque, burning over 80 Qur’an and other holy texts
12/13/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 11 December - PHOTOS - Settlers set fire to the mosque of Yasuf village in the Nablus region of the West Bank on Friday, 11 December. The vicious attack was carried out in the early hours of the morning, after which the village was invaded by Israeli Occupation Forces, firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at distraught Palestinians, protesting the desecration of the holy site. Settler violence has seen a sharp increase this month with the Israeli government's announcement to "freeze" settlement construction in the West Bank for 10 months. The attack came directly after the dawn call to prayer at approximately 4:30am, when 4 residents of the notorious Tappuah settlement entered the mosque. Litres of gasoline were dumped across prayer carpets and copies of the Qur'an and dozens of other holy Islamic texts were pulled from shelves lining the wall. 

Demonstrators to protest arrest of prominent grassroots activist Wa’el Al Faqeeh Abu As Sabe
12/13/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - A demonstration will be held outside Jelemeh Prison in Haifa at 12pm, Monday 14 December 2009, to protest the arrest of prominent grassroots Palestinian activist Wa'el Al Faqeeh Abu As Sabe. Al Faqeeh, renowned throughout the Nablus region for his tireless campaigning and non-violent action against the Israeli occupation, was kidnapped from his home by Israeli Occupation Forces in the night of Tuesday, 8 December. Al Faqeeh is now being held at Jelemeh Prison in Haifa, Israel. The prison is notorious for its ill-treatment of prisoners, in particular Palestinian political prisoners. Protesters will gather outside the prison at 12pm, Monday 14 December, to protest the persecution and imprisonment of Al Faqeeh. Protesters plan to plant olive trees outside the prison, in celebration of Al Faqeeh's organisation of numerous tree-planting actions in Palestinian villages close to settlements. 

Notes from Area C / The right to return to the caves
12/13/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Amira Hass, Ha'aretz, 11 December - This is a story of return, the return of Palestinians to their land in Area C. Just over a month ago, on November 8, two out of 15 families returned to Khirbet Bir al-Idd, in south Mount Hebron. By yesterday their number had reached eight. "Everyone waited to see if they would kill us before they decided whether to return," joked Ismail I'dra, 63, as he worked energetically to clean up one of the caves that serve as homes to residents the village. Indeed, less than two weeks ago, I'dra, too, was afraid to enter the area on his own, with his tractor laden with feed for his flock; he preferred to be accompanied by activist Ezra Nawi of Ta'ayush (an Arab-Jewish anti-occupation movement). The first three weeks after residents began to return to Bir al-Idd were full of incidents in which settlers from nearby communities threw stones at the women and. . . . 

UK issues new guidance on labelling of food from illegal West Bank settlements
12/13/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian, 10 December - Britain has acted to increase pressure on Israel over its West Bank settlements by advising UK supermarkets on how to distinguish between foods from the settlements and Palestinian-manufactured goods. The government's move falls short of a legal requirement but is bound to increase the prospects of a consumer boycott of products from those territories. Israeli officials and settler leaders were tonight highly critical of the decision. Until now, food has been simply labelled "Produce of the West Bank", but the new, voluntary guidance issued by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), says labels could give more precise information, like "Israeli settlement produce" or "Palestinian produce". Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which were conquered in the 1967 war. The British government and the EU have repeatedly said Israel's settlement project is an “obstacle to peace” in the Middle East. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Hamas marks 22 years in Gaza with massive celebrations
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Hamas is planning to celebrate its 22nd anniversary today, with a large public rally and smaller parades. ... 

Hamas predicts collapse of Abbas and his 'co-conspirators' 
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Anyone who wants to learn about the Palestinian Authority's effectiveness in handling security issues relating to Hamas' military and civil arms in the West Bank should have a look at a document now being publicized on Hamas Web sites. ... 

Rahm Emanuel lights Hannukah candles at White House
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel lit the National Menorah on Sunday afternoon in celebration, as Jews around the world celebrate third night of Hanukkah. ...

Settler group brings Korans to Palestinians after mosque attack
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - A delegation of Israelis from the West Bank on Sunday brought copies of the Koran to the Palestinian village of Yasuf, where two days earlier a mosque was torched and vandalized allegedly at the hand of angry settlers. ...

Iran vows to back Hamas until 'imminent collapse of Zionist regime'
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Iran's official news agency says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated his support for Hamas during a visit by the Palestinian militant group's Syrian-based leader. ...

Ha'aretz National page

Why are Israeli kids becoming obese?
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - When children are involved in one of their primary activities - watching television - what is it that they're watching? To answer this question I sat one day in front of the screen during prime time for kids, which begins at 4 P.M. My findings were far from encouraging. In the two breaks that interrupted programs that lasted less than an hour, there were about 10 commercials for candy and fast food. Cakes, snacks, chocolate-coated wafers and "healthier whole grains," as the announcer put it, were offered to the young audience. ... 

Lightrail through Arab towns pushed aside for Carmiel railway 
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - A plan for a light rail that would connect Arab towns in the Galilee to Acre and Carmiel was scrapped by the transportation minister and the minister for the development of the Negev and Galilee, Haaretz has learned. ... 

Want your adopted son to be Jewish? Act Orthodox 
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Nira and Yaron had been trying to have a baby for eight years. They did everything - in-vitro fertilizations, egg donations, treatments in Israel and abroad. Nothing worked. The only way they would be able to have a family was by adoption. The Taf adoption agency found a baby for them after a few weeks of searches, and they were called to Belarus to adopt an abandoned 11-month-old baby boy. Their happiness knew no bounds. ... 

Israeli security forces wrestle over settler policing
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday to sever ties with the Har Bracha yeshiva in the West Bank , whose dean urged his students to defy military orders if they are told to evacuate settlements or halt settlement construction while serving in the army. ... 

Jewish town won't let Arab build home on his own land 
Ha'aretz 13 Dec 2009 - Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: The Regional Management Council takes constructive decisions to activate the work of (Monitor) departments, and launches the department "Yasser kashlak" to document violations of Israeli settlers
Relief Web 13 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestine Monitor

Israel okays millions of dollars in aid to settlements
Relief Web 13 Dec 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

UNRWA launches new Refugee Registration Information System to improve refugee services
Relief Web 13 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: PCHR strongly condemns attacks on PNGO and CHF offices in Gaza
Relief Web 13 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Swine flu toll in isolated Gaza reaches 10 - medics
Relief Web 13 Dec 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Newsletter on UK development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nov 2009
Relief Web 13 Dec 2009 - Source: Department for International Development

YNet News

IDF officers laud decision to sever ties with yeshiva 
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Senior military sources commend Defense Minister Barak's decision to remove Har Bracha yeshiva from religious seminaries' arrangement following statements favoring insubordination. 'We cannot abide action meant to undermine IDF,' one of them says 

Documentation of dramatic rescue at sea 
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - (Video) IDF releases footage of crew members of freighter which sunk off Haifa coast being rescued by Air Force. Five sailors still missing 

Hamas: Mediator changed swap deal's stages 
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Senior group member Osama al-Muzaini does not anticipate breakthrough in negotiations in coming days 

Steinitz: Priority map a favorable message to settlers
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Finance minister says cabinet's decision to include isolated settlements in national priority map meant to serve as sign of its support of settlers; adds Israel may rethink freeze if PA talks falter 

Barak decides to remove hesder yeshiva from IDF 
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Following Rabbi Melamed's refusal to attend hearing for supporting disobedience among soldiers, defense minister decides Har Bracha yeshiva will no longer be part of arrangement with army. 'Barak has probably forgotten that yeshiva heads don’t work for him,' one of rabbi's associates states 

PM's aides: Barak okayed settlements named in priority map
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Prime Minister's Office puzzled by defense minister's nay vote on national priority map; says it was Defense Ministry that prepared list of isolated settlements included in it. Barak aides counter: He wanted list diluted 

IDF uncovers explosives near Nablus 
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Explosive charge, shock grenade detonated in controlled manner; two Palestinians arrested. Illegal resident captured in Ashkelon on suspicion of being sent to carry out terror attack 

PM's brother-in-law urges him to resign 
YNet News 13 Dec 2009 - Sara Netanyahu's brother, Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, says prime minister betraying his policy, 'causing greater damage to State of Israel than left-wing governments' in terms of settlement construction and prisoner exchange deal with Hamas 

Daily Star

Israel funnels millions of dollars into settlements
Daily Star 14 Dec 2009 The Israeli Cabinet voted Sunday to pour millions of dollars of new funding into Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including several hardline communities that have put up fierce resistance to government-imposed construction restrictions. The vote caused an uncharacteristic rift in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet.

Supreme leader says Iran's opposition violates law
Daily Star 14 Dec 2009 Iran's supreme leader issued a stern warning to the pro-reform opposition on Sunday, accusing it of violating the law by insulting the memory of the Islamic Republic's revered founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Declaring opposition rallies were illegal, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it clear he would not tolerate any more protests by reformers seeking to revive their challenge.

Israeli rabbis protest mosque attack in Occupied West Bank
Daily Star 14 Dec 2009 A group of Israeli rabbis went Sunday to a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank to protest against its mosque being vandalized, allegedly by Jewish settlers. The rabbis, moderate religious Zionists, were stopped at the entrance of the village by Israeli soldiers who told them the locality was declared a closed military zone for fear of clashes with the Palestinians.

Iran puts conditions on nuclear fuel swap
Daily Star 14 Dec 2009 After weeks of conflicting responses, Iran abruptly said Saturday that it is ready to exchange uranium for nuclear fuel - the key demand of a UN-sponsored initiative to defuse global fears over its nuclear program. The conditions laid out in comments from Iran's foreign minister, however, are unlikely to satisfy the US and its allies as they prepare to discuss new sanctions against Tehran at a meeting that could take place in the coming week.

Palestinian Information Center

Bardawil: The reconciliation committee’s ideas on resuming talks still unclear
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Salah Al-Bardawil said that all the ideas suggested by the independent reconciliation committee on the resumption of the national dialog between the Palestinian rivals are still ambiguous.

Mishaal: Hamas will remain facing the global arrogance until achieving victory
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Khaled Mishaal stated Sunday in Tehran that his Movement alongside the Palestinian people and resistance would continue to face the global arrogance until the achievement of victory.

Health ministry: Number of swine flu deaths increased to 10
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of health announced on Sunday that two citizens have died of the H1N1 virus known as the swine flu bringing the number of victims of this disease to ten.

IOF troops kill 8 Palestinians in Gaza border areas in 2009
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Al-Mizan center has said that the IOF had killed 8 Palestinian citizens including 4 children and wounded 19 others including 6 children in areas near to Gaza borders with Palestine occupied in 1948.

Hamas urges West Bank people to defend mosques against settlers’ attacks
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - The Movement of Hamas on Sunday called on the Palestinian people in the West Bank to move to defend their mosques against Israeli settlers’ attacks.

Qasem: Hamas made history
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Dr. Abdelsattar Qasem stated that Hamas was able to make a great historic achievement and create a political balance in the Palestinian arenas, when it established a focal point in the Gaza Strip.

IOF soldiers arrest mother of five detainees, steal jewelry
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested Um Bakir, 65, in downtown Nablus at dawn Sunday after storming and ransacking her home, Ahrar center for prisoners' studies and human rights reported.

PLFP calls for forming united resistance front to respond to Israel’s crimes
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - The popular front for the liberation of Palestine (PLFP) called for instantly forming a united resistance front to retaliate to Israel’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.

Mishsal in Iran at head of a delegation
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of Hamas, arrived in Tehran at dawn Sunday at the head of a senior-level delegation for talks on Palestinian developments.

Oghlu: World must intervene to check Israeli violation of international law
PIC 14 Dec 2009 - Kamaludin Ehsan Oghlu, the secretary general of the OIC, has condemned the Jewish settlers' arson attack on the Yasuf village mosque in the West Bank district of Salfit.

Los Angeles Times

Iran says it accepts West's fuel enrichment proposal 
LA Times 13 Dec 2009 - But Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki spoke of exchanging the material in phases rather than all at once, which could leave Iran in control of enough uranium to make a bomb. After weeks of conflicting responses, Iran abruptly said Saturday that it is ready to exchange uranium for nuclear fuel -- the key demand of a U.N.-sponsored initiative to defuse global fears over its nuclear program. 

U.S. signals new sanctions against Iran 
LA Times 12 Dec 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says world powers soon will agree on 'significant additional sanctions.' Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warns Latin American nations will face 'consequences' if they 'flirt' with the Islamic Republic. The Obama administration signaled its intention Friday to push for new sanctions against Iran, warning that tough new measures are likely now and urging reluctant nations not to circumvent them. 

New York Times

Iran Avows Willingness to Swap Some Uranium
New York Times 13 Dec 2009 - Iran’s foreign minister said his country was willing to exchange most of its uranium for processed nuclear fuel, as the United Nations has proposed, but only according to a timetable Western powers appear to have already rejected. 

Gates Expects New Sanctions on Iran
New York Times 12 Dec 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s remarks were the first from a senior U.S. official to say that tougher sanctions were likely. 

Officials Blame 'Extremist' Settlers for Arson Attack on West Bank Mosque
New York Times 11 Dec 2009 - On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said an arson attack on a West Bank mosque was part of a campaign by Israelis living in the occupied Palestinian territory to protest restrictions on the expansion of their settlements. 

In Iran, Protests Gaining a Radical Tinge
New York Times 11 Dec 2009 - The creeping radicalization of Iran’s opposition movement has underscored a rift within it, analysts say, and poses a dilemma for its leaders. 

Lebanon Vote Lets Hezbollah Keep Weapons
New York Times 11 Dec 2009 - The Lebanese Parliament overwhelmingly approved a national unity government that would allow Hezbollah to keep its weapons, despite strong criticism from pro-Western lawmakers. 

Misc

'A Horrifying Demographic Problem'
Palestine Monitor - 12 Dec 2009 - A wave of recent studies from academics both sides of the wall have revealed ingrained racism in Israeli schools. Books authorised by the ministry of education habitually use geography, history, language and other methods to instil negative perceptions of Arabs and Palestinians. Nurit Peled addressing the...

Israel Continues to Deny Palestinians' Fundamental Human Rights
Palestine Monitor - 12 Dec 2009 - The following is a statement issued on the occasion of International Human Rights Day by Palestinian human rights organizations including Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, DCI - Palestine Section, Al-Dameer, Arab Association for Human Rights, Badil, Addameer, ENSAN Center, Jerusalem Legal Aid Center, Palestine Solidarity Committee – South Africa,...

US has no problem with Israel pumping money into… hands of West Bank extremists
Mondoweiss - 13 Dec 2009 - Haaretz, today: The cabinet approved on Sunday the controversial plan – which will pump millions of shekels into West Bank settlements – after Netanyahu decided to review the list of communities for which funds were earmarked… Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Labor chairman, attacked the plan...

If feds hadn’t stopped Geo Wallace in ‘63, we’d still have apartheid
Mondoweiss - 13 Dec 2009 - Reuters reports: There’s no real freeze on settlers; Israel plans to add 10,000 in the next few months. "This is neither a freeze nor a suspension," [Likud minister Benny Begin was quoted as saying]. "Construction in Judea and Samaria will continue in the next 10 months,"...

Gaza Freedom March set to bring 1300 from 42 countries to blockaded border
Mondoweiss - 13 Dec 2009 - Medea Benjamin of Code Pink writes: Over 1,300 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...

Report on E J’lem arrests: ‘150 stand in the courtyard of the stolen house, double what we had last week’
Mondoweiss - 12 Dec 2009 - Just got this. The writer David Shulman on the beating and arrests of 24 activists in Sheikh Jarrah, opposing the evictions of Palestinians. Beautiful writing is important. Just read it and try not to weep. Thanks to Rebecca Vilkomerson . December 10, 2009 Sheikh Jarrah (2) As...

Protests go on in Bilin despite arrest of media coordinator
Mondoweiss - 12 Dec 2009 - Despite the middle-of-the-night arrest earlier this week of a leader of the Bilin protest movement, scores joined the protest yesterday at the separation wall amid a hail of teargas canisters. Friends of Freedom and Justice-Bilin has a video of the protest at that link, and reports:...


Articles

Notes from Area C / The right to return to the caves 
Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 12/10/2009
      This is a story of return, the return of Palestinians to their land in Area C. Just over a month ago, on November 8, two out of 15 families returned to Khirbet Bir al-Idd, in south Mount Hebron. By yesterday their number had reached eight.
     "Everyone waited to see if they would kill us before they decided whether to return," joked Ismail I’dra, 63, as he worked energetically to clean up one of the caves that serve as homes to residents the village. Indeed, less than two weeks ago, I’dra, too, was afraid to enter the area on his own, with his tractor laden with feed for his flock; he preferred to be accompanied by activist Ezra Nawi of Ta’ayush (an Arab-Jewish anti-occupation movement).
     The first three weeks after residents began to return to Bir al-Idd were full of incidents in which settlers from nearby communities threw stones at the women and the flocks, and tried to enter the village to frighten people), and blocked the access road, sometimes with the help of the army. Only the submission of an urgent petition, two weeks ago, to the High Court of Justice by the inhabitants, by means of Rabbis for Human Rights, compelled the army to leave the road open.
     "But, God be praised," said I’dra on Wednesday, "during the past week it has been quiet."
     The minor incident last Saturday apparently no longer counts as a clash: About 20 members of Ta’ayush arrived to help clean up the village, which is actually a collection of caves. One settler appeared, as did Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Border Police. There was tension, and one Ta’ayush activist was arrested, which is a routine occurence. And this week, there are already more smiles on people’s faces: The constant presence of activists from abroad and daily visits by Israeli supporters add to their sense of security in Bir al-Idd. more.. e-mail

Utopia as Alibi: Said, Barenboim and the Divan Orchestra 
Raymond Deane, Irish Left Review, P U L S E 12/12/2009
      As a classical musician involved in pro-Palestinian activism, I frequently encounter the assumption that I am an unconditional admirer of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO). My reservations on this score tend to produce shocked disapproval: How could I not enthuse about such an idealistic project, particularly since it was co-founded by the late Edward Said, a figure for whom I have frequently expressed respect and admiration?
     In truth, I have always been a little wary of Said’s veneration for the eighteenth/nineteenth century canon of European classical music. I look in vain in his writings on the subject[1] for a historical and political contextualisation of music comparable of that to which he so perceptively subjected literature in his indispensable Culture and Imperialism.[2]
     In his 2002 speech accepting the Principe de Asturias Prize, Said claimed that he and his friend the Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim founded the WEDO “for humanistic rather than political reasons”. This surprising dualism implies that music belongs to a utopian sphere somehow removed from the dialectical hurly-burly of hegemony and resistance.
     The paradoxes of Said’s position have been ably dissected by the British musicologist Rachel Beckles Willson.[3] She quotes her colleague Ben Etherington’s critique of Said’s tendency “to assert the intrinsic value of Western elite music without really exploring how that tradition escapes mediation.” Paraphrasing Said’s critique of literary scholars in his Humanism and Democratic Criticism[4] she convincingly claims that he “omitted to make ‘a radical examination of the ideology of the [musical performance] field itself.’” (Willson’s chain brackets).
     Undoubtedly Barenboim has a less sublimated view of the classical repertoire than Said, and has been more broadminded than many of his superstar peers in his willingness to perform and advocate modern and “avant-garde” music. He has also displayed great independence and personal courage by criticising the Israeli establishment and repeatedly flouting Israeli laws to travel to the occupied West Bank – even bringing the orchestra to Ramallah in 2005. -- See also: Irish Left Review more.. e-mail

A short historical quiz 
Uri Avnery, Ma’an News Agency 12/13/2009
      Which state: Arose after a Holocaust in which a third of its people were destroyed? Drew from that Holocaust the conclusion that only superior military forces could ensure its survival?
     Accorded the army a central role in its life, making it "œan army that had a state, rather than a state that had an army? Began by buying the land it took, and continued to expand by conquest and annexation? Endeavored by all possible means to attract new immigrants? Conducted a systematic policy of settlement in the occupied territories? Strove to push out the national minority by creeping ethnic cleansing?
     For anyone who has not yet found the answer: It"™s the state of Prussia. But if some readers were tempted to believe that it all applies to the State of Israel "“ well, they are right, too. This description fits our state. The similarity between the two states is remarkable. True, the countries are geographically very different, and so are the historical periods, but the points of similarity can hardly be denied.
     The state that was respected and feared for 350 years as Prussia started with another name: Mark Brandenburg (Mark: march, border area.) This territory in the North-East of Germany was wrested from its Slavic inhabitants and was initially outside the boundaries of the German Reich. To this day, many of its place names (including Berlin neighborhoods, like Pankow) are clearly Slavic. It can be said: Prussia arose on the ruins of another people (some of whose descendants are still living there).
     A historical curiosity: The land was first paid for in cash. The house of Hohenzollern, a noble family from South Germany, bought the territory of Brandenburg from the German Emperor for 400,000 Hungarian Gulden. I don"™t know how that compares with the money paid by the Jewish National Fund for parts of Palestine before 1948. more.. e-mail

Book review: Alastair Crooke's "Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution"
Electronic Intifada: 12 Dec 2009 - Alastair Crooke's new book Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution studies the philosophy of resistance among Islamic movements as articulated by influential Islamist thinkers and revolutionaries of the last century. However, by defining an essence of Islam, Crooke reinforces many of the assumptions he is trying to dispel. Hicham Safieddine reviews for The Electronic Intifada.

Israel's Prussian Heritage; and Destiny?
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Dec 2009 - By Uri Avnery - Israel A short historical quiz: Which state: 1. Arose after a holocaust in which a third of its people were destroyed? 2. Drew from that holocaust the conclusion that only superior military forces could ensure its survival? 3. Accorded the army a central role in its life, making it “an army that had a state, rather than a state that had an army”? 4. Began by buying the land it took, and continued to expand by conquest and annexation? 5. Endeavoured by all possible means to attract new immigrants? 6. Conducted a systematic policy of settlement in the occupied territories? 7. Strove to push out the national minority by creeping ethnic cleansing? For anyone who has not yet found the answer: it’s the state of Prussia. But if some readers were tempted to believe that it all applies to the State of Israel – well, they are right, too. This description fits our state. The similarity between the two states is remarkable. True, the countries are geographically very different, and so are the historical periods, but the points of similarity can hardly be denied. The state that was respected and feared for 350 years as Prussia started with another name: Mark Brandenburg. (Mark: march, border area). This territory in the north-east of Germany was wrested from its Slavic inhabitants and was initially outside the boundaries of the German Reich. To this day, many of its place names (including Berlin neighboruhoods, like Pankow) are clearly Slavic. It...

Another Childhood Nakba Memory
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Dec 2009 - By Khalil Nakhleh – Ramallah I remember it was one Sunday afternoon, sometime around one or two o'clock, when my father barged running into the house shouting "we have to leave, we have to leave". His face was all red; his eyes shined with piercing outrage, uncertainty and incredulity. I remember it was Sunday because my mother was fixing our special Sunday lunch that included meat –the only day in the week where we had a little bit of meat. Sundays were the only days in the week where the butchers would butcher fresh goat meat. I remember my mother had prepared a big kettle of “tabeekh” (stew of beans, tomato sauce and a bit of meat) with rice on the side. My village was mostly Christian with some Druze. We were a farming community relying, primarily, on olives and oil, without much cash. “What do you mean we have to leave? Leave to where and how?” my mother screamed with agony. “I don’t know to where and how”, my father screamed back: “El-Yahood (the Jews) are already at the gate to our compound with armored cars and machine-guns posted on the gate posts, and are ordering us to leave.” My father was helpless and impotent and could do nothing to protect our family from being kicked out by force. He kept going down to the entrance of our family compound and back up, a distance of not more than three hundred meters, trying to get more information, but to...

Rules of Human Decency Apply to Israelis Too
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Dec 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood - London Poor Berlanty. What did she do to deserve this crushing blow to her hopes and life chances? The Israeli High Court has denied her justice - again - and prevented Berlanty Azzam returning to Bethlehem University for the final few weeks to complete her degree. On 28 October this Christian student at the Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University was abducted by the IDF after attending a job interview in Ramalla, then blindfolded and handcuffed and dumped in Gaza. She had lived in the West Bank since 2005 after being granted a permit. There was only one kind of permit available in 2005 – an entry permit to Israel. But the Israeli State claimed that this permit was insufficient and Berlanty should have obtained some other permit, even though the State admits that none existed at the time. State representatives took her permit, a key piece of evidence, and never produced it to the Court. After six weeks of double-talk the Court accepted the State's claim that Berlanty entered the West Bank illegally. We hear a lot about how independent Israel’s justice system is. Here’s proof, if any were needed, that it is simply a tool of the military. To avoid accusations that her residence was not Bethlehem, Berlanty had for the last four years resisted the temptation to return to Gaza and visit her folks. She and her parents submitted numerous applications to change the Gaza address recorded on her identity card to her actual place of...

HSRC on 'Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid'
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Dec 2009 - By Stephen Lendman - Chicago The Cape Town, South Africa-based Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) "conduct(s) large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies," and disseminates its findings widely. In May 2009, it issued a damning report titled, "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law." At the time John Dugard was the UN's Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine. At his January 2007 suggestion, the study was undertaken "to scrutinise (his) hypothesis from the perspective of international law." It stated: "Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories). At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?" Given South Africa's past, the HSRC had an "obvious interest" in pursuing these issues. After 15 months of research, its report concluded that: "....Israel, since 1967, has been the belligerent Occupying Power in the OPT, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise, which implements a system of apartheid." Although occupation is legal after armed conflict, it's intended only to be temporary. International law also prohibits the unilateral annexation or permanent acquisition of territory through force, and Fourth Geneva obligates signatories to protect civilians in time of war and occupation. Its...
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