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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
16 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israeli deputy Prime Minister emphasizes “right” of Israelis to live in settlements
IMEMC 16 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 17, 2009 - 00:38, In a talk to the Zionist Organization of America on Sunday, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon told the crowd that Jews should be able to live anywhere in what he called ‘Eretz Israel’, including the West Bank and Gaza. He said Israel will "not compromise on the right of Jews to live in any part of Eretz Yisrael."

Sentence of Israeli refusenik extended
IMEMC 16 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 16, 2009 - 22:50, An 18-year old Israeli woman has received a fourth extension of a prison sentence for refusing to enlist in the Israeli military.

Israeli High Court upholds ban on family visits to prisoners
IMEMC 16 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 16, 2009 - 22:27, Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip who had appealed to the Israeli High Court to be allowed to visit their family members held in Israeli detention camps faced disappointment on Wednesday when the Israeli High Court denied their appeal.

UK Seeks Law Changes As Brown Welcomes Livni In Britain
IMEMC 16 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 16, 2009 - 17:16, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told on Wednesday Israel's opposition leader Tzipi Livni that she is always welcome in UK.

PLO Central Committee Extends Abbas, PLC terms
IMEMC 16 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 16, 2009 - 16:05, The central committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization extended on Wednesday President Mahmoud Abbas and the Legislative Council terms.

The Israeli Military Kidnaps Nine Civilians From The West Bank
IMEMC 16 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 16, 2009 - 15:12, Nine Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by Israeli troops on Wednesday during morning invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities.

Ma'an News

Israeli forces seize 18 Palestinians in raids
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli military said it detained 18 Palestinians overnight in the West Bank on Wednesday. The detainees were not immediately identified. The raids come after Israeli forces seized 15 Palestinians during raids the previous night. A military representative said one was arrested from a village southwest of Jenin, two from Jayyus near Qalqiliya, nine from Burqa near Nablus one from Ramallah, two from Ni'lin west of Ramallah, two from another Ramallah village, and one from Doha, adjacent to Bethlehem. A Palestinian official confirmed that Israeli forces raided Burqa, south of Nablus and seized nine young Palestinians on Wednesday morning. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank told Ma'an that Israeli forces stormed the village at 1:30am. They ransacked several homes and detained nine youth before leaving at 6am, he added. 

Israeli navy grabs four Gaza fishermen
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained four fishermen on Tuesday night from off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, the police in Gaza said. A police representative identified the four as Atef, Muhammad, Tahsin and Fakher Abu Reyala, all from Ash-Shati Refugee Camp, all in their twenties. A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said that the fisherman left the "designated fishing area, approaching Israeli territorial waters, near the Gaza Strip's northern edge. The boat and crew were hauled to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the crew questioned, the spokeswoman added. The crewmembers were later released to Gaza through the Erez land crossing, according to the military. The Israeli Navy patrols a "no fishing" zone inside Gaza's waters. According to fishermen and the United Nations, the zone is extends three nautical miles into the Mediterranean, and along most of the length of the Strip. 

Israeli women’s group tells Livni to turn herself in
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Women's Coalition for Peace sent a letter on Wednesday to Israel's former Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, calling on her to cooperate with international investigations into her role in the assault on Gaza last winter, after a British court issued an warrant for her arrest on Monday. The Israeli organization wrote in the letter, which was attached to a translated copy of the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes in Gaza, "We are convinced that if you refer to the report you will understand why British citizens and organizations have turned to the courts with a request to issue a warrant for your arrest. "The letter added that the Goldstone report directly refers to remarks by senior political figures in Israel which encouraged indiscriminate attacks on civilians, in contradiction of international law. It is in this context that Livni was quoted as saying, on 13 January 2009, "We have proven to Hamas that the equation has been altered. Israel is a state that, when its citizens are shot at, will respond insanely. And that's a good thing. "-- Link: Coalition of Women for Peace

Israeli NGO files petition for Palestinians unable to access land
12/16/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din filled a petition with the Israeli High Court on behalf of the residents of Silwad village, on Wednesday seeking the removal of roadblocks separating residents from their land. The residents of the illegal Israeli settlement Ofra, north of Ramallah,placed roadblocks and numerous obstacles, including guard dogs, in the roads from the villages to over 3,100 dunums of nearby agricultural land. Israel's Civil Administration, the arm of the government with control over occupied Palestinian areas, passed a law that farmland that is not used for nine years will be immediately confiscated and transferred to public property. However, settlers have effectively prevented Palestinians from their land for nine years, placing it at risk of confiscation, despite the Israeli Civil Administration having no jurisdiction in the West Bank. 

Hamas: PA security forces arrest 80 members in 24 hours
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an -Palestinian Authority security forces of arrested 80 members of the Hamas movement from locations across the West Bank in the last 24 hours a statement from the party issued on Wednesday said. The statement noted that the arrests occurred in ten of the eleven districts in the West Bank, including Nablus, Jenin, Salfit, Hebron, Tulkarem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, Qalqiliya and Tubas. The statement included the names of 50 alleged supporters, which could not all be independently verified by Ma'an. A list of the 50 can be seen here. Hamas has accused the Palestinian Authority of increasing its harassment and detention of Hamas affiliates in an effort to prohibit celebrations of the Islamic movement's 22nd anniversary, which was on Sunday. The Palestinian Authority did not immediately comment on the charges. -- Link: List 50 people detailed by PA (PDF)

PLO extends Abbas, PLC terms
12/16/2009 - Ramallah/Gaza - Ma'an - The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council decided on Wednesday to extend President Mahmoud Abbas' term until elections are held. A official with the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), Walid Al-Awad,told Ma'an over the phone, "The Central Council decided to extend the President Abbas' term "¦ and extended the term of the Legislative Council under the Palestinian Basic Law until elections are held. " The council also reaffirmed that the "door is open" for Hamas to sign an Egyptian proposal for reconciliation. Hamas is not a part of the PLO. Al-Awadsaid he urged Hamas to sign the proposal, which he said would pave the way for new elections. The move was not unexpected. Hamas registering its complaint weeks before the announcement, saying the PLO did not have the authority to decide on constitutional matters. 

Anti-Zionist Jews denied entry to Salfit mosque
12/16/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Members of Neturei Karta, Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism, were prohibited by Israel on Wednesday from visiting the remains of the Yasuf Mosque, allegedly burned down by settlers last week. Israeli forces manning the Za'tara checkpoint, near the Tappuah settlement in Salfit, turned the group back, Ma'an's reporter observed. Earlier in the week the same group attempted to deliver copies of the Qur'an to the mosque, replacing those destroyed in the fire. The reporter said an Israeli settler from the illegal Tappuach settlement verbally assailed the anti-Zionist activists, snatching a Palestinian flag the group was carrying. The settler called Palestinians "murders" claiming that any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people encourages them to perform acts of terror and murder. Director of public affairs for the Salfit governorate Jabir Al-Batta and. . . 

Galloway’s Gaza convoy reaches Istanbul
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - British MP George Galloway's third "Viva Palestina" convoy arrived in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday on its way to Gaza. The convoy of 200 vehicles is winding its way from London across Europe and the Levant, planning to enter the besieged Gaza Strip through the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing on 27 December. A spokesman for the convoy (known locally as "Lifeline 3" ) in Gaza, Zaher Birawi, said in a statement that Galloway's mission will spend meet in Turkey with senior officials and also stage a parade in Taksim square. The group will also head to Ankara to meet with members of the Turkish parliament. Another 150 people driving 70 vehicles are to join the convoy in Turkey en route to Gaza. Twenty Turkish journalists are also joining, Birawi said. 

Two Gaza crossings open for limited goods
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings while keeping the Nahal Oz fuel terminal closed on Wednesday, a Palestinian border crossing official said. The official, Raed Fattouh, said between 61 and 71 trucks of humanitarian aid and commercial goods would be allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, in addition to limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel for the power plant. Israel will also allow 114 truckloads of wheat and animal feed through the Karni crossing, Fattouh said, confirming that the Nahal Oz crossing would remain closed. On Tuesday, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom and the Nahal Oz crossings, while the Karni crossing remained closed. Israeli authorities maintain a tight grip on the flow of all goods into the Gaza Strip, in addition to limiting the movement of Palestinians. 

Egyptian forces find second body from tunnel accident
12/16/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Egyptian security forces recovered the second of three bodies of Palestinians who went missing following the collapse of a Rafah smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza, security sources reported on Wednesday. The search for the third missing Palestinian byEgyptian security forces continues, sources said. The searchers are reportedly following a map of the complex of tunnels under Gaza provided by the de facto security department. The three, two brothers and their uncle, were reported missing early on Tuesday. The first body was found and returned to Gaza on Tuesday. Egyptian officials said they were informed of the collapse and the missing men by the Palestinian government in Gaza, the site of the collapsed tunnel was approximately 1,000 meters north of the Rafah crossing point, sources said. 

Palestinian patients return to Gaza from Egypt
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A total of 45 Palestinian patients who underwent treatment in Egypt returned to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, the de facto Ministry of Health announced. "Among those who returned are six who were transferred in ambulances. Others were transferred to hospitals for follow up treatment on their conditions, while others were release to their homes," said Muawiyah Hasanein, head of the ambulance and emergency of the Ministry. Hasanein added that Egyptian authorities have allowed Palestinian patients who have completed their treatment in Egyptian hospitals to return to Gaza from the Rafah crossing. [end] 

Jerusalem: Violent protest following power cut to home
12/16/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Two electric company workers were stabbed by violent protesters after the Jerusalem District Electric Company (JDECO) cut power to a house in Jerusalem's Shufat Refugee Camp on Wednesday morning. Officials with JEDCO said a group of youth also attacked their offices in the camp and assaulted employees with sticks. The two injured workers were identified as Muhammad Al-Halawani, who was stabbed in the stomach, and Ahmad Al-Shweiki, who was stabbed in the neck. The two were evacuated in Palestine Red Crescent Society and Israeli Magen David Adom ambulances. Both underwent surgery for serious injuries, sources at the scene reported. A large number of Israeli police were deployed to area, shut down the power company's offices, and opened an investigation. 

Israeli rightists plan Al-Aqsa intrusion
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Hundreds of right-wing Jewish Israelis are expected to descend on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Thursday, groups told the Jerusalem Post. A report published on Tuesday in the Israeli daily cited an unnamed group of activists saying they hoped hundreds would show up for a day of organized tours and prayers at the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The event is being termed a "mass pilgrimage" honoring the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Palestinian analyst and reporter Amjad Abu Arafeh addressed concerns over the event on Palestinian radio, saying "It seems this is now a usual event in Jerusalem, threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque. These groups try to invade Al-Aqsa daily to make their prayers there. "Only yesterday several settlers invaded the yards of Al-Aqsa mosque but the Waqf guards and the guards of the mosque were able to get them out," he noted. 

Israeli media claims projectiles fired from Gaza
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli media sources said an explosion in the Gaza border town of Sderot were caused by projectiles fired from Gaza at the area Wednesday night. The reports could not be confirmed by Palestinian sources. No Palestinian faction working in Gaza claimed to have fired projectiles on Wednesday. Israel's online news site Ynet reported an unidentified source as saying two projectiles landed in open fields south of the town. [end] 

Salfit village upset over alleged slander of imam
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Officials in Yasouf village were upset over a misprint in Ma'an's Arabic edition Tuesday, which mistakenly labeled a Jerusalem official the Imam of the village. Chairman of the Yasuf village committee Abdel-Rahim Saleh Musleh, "Abu An-Nour," telephoned the Ma'an offices Wednesday, saying the council "rejected" the MaanImage that described the man wearing a red kuffeieh as the imam of the village, receiving a Qur'an from a settler rabbi. Musleh called the mistake "rude" and said it could "ruin the reputation" of the imam. The photos documented the mayor of Salfit and several villagers receiving copies of the Qur'an from the settler rabbis, from an illegal settlement in the West Bank near Bethlehem. The group brought the gifts as an apology for the destructive acts of a separate group of settlers who burned down the village mosque earlier in the week. 

Blair in Tulkarem: Don’t give up on negotiated peace
12/16/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Israeli policies are causing Palestinians to lose hope in the possibility of a negotiated peace, Quartet Envoy Tony Blair said on Tuesday during a visit to the West Bank. Visiting the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Blair pledged to put pressure on Israel to ease restrictions on Palestinians' daily life and economy in an effort to create the conditions for renewed negotiations. He said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) should be supported in order to continue to impose stability and security which he said would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state. During a meeting with Tulkarem Governor Talal Dweikat, blair also hailed the PA's efforts to clamp down on armed resistance to the Israeli occupation as a success. Dweikat said that Blair's visits to various parts of the West Bank demonstrate his interest in the concerns of the Palestinian people who are eager to be free of occupation. 

Report: US seeking renewed peace talks
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The United States is planning to restart long-stalled peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel early in 2010, reports stated on Wednesday. The Israeli daily Haaretz said negotiations would be revolve around a Palestinian state established within the 4 June 1967 borders, and include land swaps, and a total freeze on the construction of illegal settlements east of the Green Line, although the halt would not be announced publicly. Egypt and France are also said to be involved in sponsoring the talks. Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said in an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat that "once they realized their earlier approach had failed, the Americans see themselves forced to change direction. " American President Barack Obama tried to force sides to the peace table in the fall, asking the Palestinian. . . 

Iran warns Israel against new Gaza attack
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Iran against attacking Gaza again during a meeting with Hamas' top leader Khalid Mash'al who is visiting Iran. Khamenei was quoted by the state news agency IRNA saying that Israel will suffer "fresh critical blows" if it wages another war on Gaza. Mash'al said that conversely, Hamas and other armed groups would intervene on Iran's side if it were attacked by Israel. "All Islamist militant groups will form a united front with Iran against Israel if it attacks Iran," Mash'al said during a news conference carried on state television, according to Reuters. "We are all parts of the same body. . . We all should fight against the mutual enemy. But how, the leaders will decide, based on our capacities," he was quoted as saying. 

Fayyad to note Israeli ecological ills at climate talks
12/16/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad arrived on Tuesday in the Danish capital Copenhagen for the UN conference on climate change. The conference, dubbed COP15, entered a high-level stage on Tuesday. Heads of state from across the planet converged on Copenhagen to discuss the Kyoto Protocol and attempt to hammer out a new treaty aimed intended to curb emissions of gasses such as carbon dioxide which cause global warming. Fayyad is scheduled to deliver a speech on climate change in the Middle East in general and in Palestine in particular. He will highlight Israel's environmental violations in Palestine. A statement from Fayyad's office said Israel confiscates Palestinian land to build settlements and deprives Palestinians of the benefits of their own natural resources. Fayyad will request that some international aid to the Palestinians be earmarked to address the negative influence of Israeli environmental violations. 

France to deliver 200m Euros in aid to PA
12/16/2009 - Paris/Bethlehem - Ma'an - The French government will deliver 200 million Euros for the support and development of Palestinian infrastructure over three years, officials announced Wednesday. Palestinian Minister of Foreign affairs Riyad Al-Maliki and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner signed three agreements for the funds in the French minister's office in Paris shortly before the announcement. Additionally, two further agreements were signed whereby diplomatic and political cooperation between France and the Palestinian Authority would be fostered, as well as an offer of 1. 5 million Euros to support the PA treasury. The French aid will back Ramallah-based Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan to lay the institutional foundations of a Palestinian state in the next two years. During a news conference, Kouchner stressed that despite the failures following the Annapolis conference,. . . 

Settlement goods confiscated in Jericho
12/16/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - Large quantities of settlement-bought products were confiscated and destroyed on Wednesday in Jericho, following a market inspection undertaken by customs officers, the Palestinian ministries of health and economy, in cooperation with the PA preventative security. The ministries said in a statement that the confiscated illegal settlement goods amounted to approximately 50,000 US Dollars, adding that a prior market inspection in the north of the West Bank led to the seizure of further settlement goods estimated at 148, 248 Israeli Shekels. The items seized included cosmetics such as make up and body lotion, children's toys and expired food which were all additionally deemed unfit for human use or consumption, having exceeded their expiration date, the statement added. Additionally, in Nablus, customs officials confiscated large quantities of sweets bought from the nearby Barkan settlement. 

Abbas appoints Fatah leader representative to Arab League
12/16/2009 - Cairo - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree appointing Dr Barakat Al-Farra, current Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, the permanent Palestinian delegate tothe Arab League on Wednesday. An official with the Palestinian delegation to the Arab League said Al-Farra will present his papers to the Arab League within the week. Al-Farra succeeds former representative of the PA to the Arab League Nabil Amro, who announced his retirement in the summer. Dr Al-Farra has a degree in Agricultural Economy, is a member at the Fatah Revolutionary Council, and has served in previous diplomatic posts under the Palestinian Authority. [end] 

Gaza’s Azhar University shuts down fearing clashes
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The administration of Al-Azhar University in Gaza suspended classes on Wednesday to avoid clashes between students affiliated to rival Palestinian factions, a statement said. The Fatah-linked University said the decision was made after the Hamas-aligned Islamic student bloc insisted on holding a political festival on campus, coinciding with the founding of the Hamas movement 22 years ago. A statement from the administration said Islamic Bloc supporters raised Hamas flags and plastered slogans and photos on the walls at the campus without consulting the dean of students. A spokesman for the Islamic Bloc, Hani Muqbil, denounced the administration's statement, asserting that there were no such plans to hold a festival on campus. "Supporters of the Islamic Bloc raised Hamas flags and gathered on campus to congratulate Hamas commemorating its 22nd anniversary. 

Hamas-Fatah summit proposed
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egyptian mediators agreed to hold a meeting between opposingPalestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, a Palestinian official involved in the talks said on Wednesday. Iyad As-Sarraj, a prominent Gaza psychiatrist who heads the nonpartisan Palestinian Reconciliation Committee, said Egypt accepted a suggestion from the group during a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday night to hold a three-day workshop with Hamas, Fatah, and other factions. The summit would address Egypt's recent proposal to end the internecine rivalry. Fatah signed the plan and declared the ball in Hamas' court, but Gaza's leading party refused to sign first on account of the Palestinian Authority failure to adequately push forward a UN discussion of the Goldstone report on the last war on Gaza, but later said it would sign as long as a few changes were made to the conciliation document. 

Gaza government to enforce public smoking ban
12/16/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip plans to enforce a ban on smoking in public places beginning on Wednesday. The secretary-general of the cabinet in the Gaza government said ministries and public institutions would be ordered to enforce Smoking Law 25 (2005) as of 16 December. The ban applies to schools, universities, hospitals, community clubs, restaurants, public transportation vehicles and waiting areas, as well as other places to be identified by the government. The statement said the ban was intended to protect public health and the environment. The decree is likely to cause uproar among Gaza's smokers. Smoking is prevalent throughout the Palestinian territories. 

Fatah secretary general’s home attacked
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah's secretary-general of the movement's Bethlehem branch Mohammad Shukri had his home attacked with two Molotov cocktails on Wednesday evening, Ma'an's reporter at the scene said. Palestinian Authority police rushed to the scene, according to PA security sources, and have opened an investigation into the incident. The assailant remains unknown. [end] 

PSE drops: Al-Quds Index down 0.37%
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange fell 1. 83 points (0. 37%) during trading on Wednesday. Trading volume was 495,688 shares, a total value of 777,392. 73 US dollars, in 204 trades. The shares of 21 companies were traded. The share prices of seven companies rose, and six declined. The top five gainers were UCI by 4. 92%, PRICO by 4. 00%, NSC by 3. 85%, ARAB by 3. 57%, and ISBK by 1. 41%. The top five losers were AIB by 1. 68%, PIIC by 1. 41%, BOP by 1. 35%, GMC by 1. 27%, and PALTEL by 0. 57%. [end] 

PCBS energy survey shows less solar, electric usage, more gas
12/16/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians are using less electricity, more gas, and a decreasing number are using solar panels, a household energy and environmental survey by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics found. The results of the survey, released Wednesday, found 0. 6% fewer families were using solar panels, mostly for heating water. The number was down from the July 2008 number of 68. 2%. Overall electricity use was down, however, dropping from 271 KWh in July 2008 to 247 KWh during the reporting period. The drop in electricity usage was mirrored by a corresponding rise in gas and petroleum consumption, however, with the average household consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (domestic, cooking gas) rose from 14kgs in 2009, to 16kgs in 2009. The survey, conducted on homes throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was carried out between 23 August and 1 October 2009. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Two Qassams hit Israel, in second Gaza rocket attack this week
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Militants further breach moratorium on cross-border fire; neither attack causes casualties. 

Amid row with IDF, rabbi 'ready to denounce refusal'
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Melamed signals willingness for move after remarks caused Barak to sever army's ties with his yeshiva. 

Report: Iran captured spy who gathered intel on Qom nuke site
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Western spy arrested two months ago after spying on newly disclosed nuclear facility, Channel 2 reports. 

Hamas: Deal for Shalit release still a long way off
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Peres tells IDF soldiers: Schism between Hamas leaders in Gaza and Syria delaying prisoner swap talks. 

MI chief: Iran has enough nuclear material for bomb
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Yadlin says Iran's 'sophisticated strategy' means its 'technological clock is almost done winding.' 

Border Policewoman wounded in fresh clash with settlers
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Policewoman moderately hurt as officials try to enforce West Bank settlement freeze; three arrested. 

Hamas: All Islamist groups will unite with Iran if Israel attacks
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Hamas leader makes comments in Iran, following Iranian threats of retaliation to Israeli strike. 

Chief rabbi: Palestinian mosque burning harkens to Kristallnacht
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Metzger visits Yasuf to express his 'revulsion' over attack, pelted by rocks on way out of village. 

Ukrainian shipwreck may have been result of fuel smuggling
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Police suspect the ship was smuggling diesel fuel; five surviving sailors released from Haifa hospital. 

Egypt destroys tunnel used for smuggling cars into Gaza
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Entrance to tunnel found 300 meters from Gaza, days after Egypt announced construction of iron border wall. 

Far-right yeshiva head: My duty is to tell troops to refuse orders
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Har Bracha is one of two yeshivas funded by Defense Min. which encourage refusal of settlement evacuation orders. 

Taiwan probing reports of illicit nuclear sale to Iran
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Taipei last week said it had no knowledge of 100 European-made transducers shipped to Tehran. 

Israeli town on Gaza border blooms amid fragile truce
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Newcomers say high central-Israel costs are causing unlikely real estate boom near the embattled Strip. 

Shin Bet gets new deputy, as race to succeed Diskin heats up
Ha'aretz 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 Dec 2009 - 20-year-old moderately hurt; settler leader: Government's weakness causing terrorists to strike. 

Uruknet

[uruknet.info] Austria: Genocide Charges against Ehud Barak
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - Yesterday, at almost the same time when Ehud Barak was being given military honors at Ehud Barakthe defense ministry, genocide charges against him were being presented at the office of the Austrian prosecutor, only about 15 minutes walking away. The charges relate entirely to the Gaza massacre committed between December 2008 and January 2009 by Israeli...

[uruknet.info] Weapons of Mass Destruction Used in Gaza
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - We have analyzed the content of 35 elements in 4 craters derived from: 2 bombing events in Gaza in 2006, one in Beit Hanoun, one in Jabalia camp, and 2 bombings in 2009, both in Tufah, the Gaza suburb. We have also analyzed the powder remaining inside a shell of an exploded White Phosphorus bomb THS89D112-003...

[uruknet.info] What did the trees do?
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - Another incident of olive tree vandalism occurred in West Bank. Akram Na'san, a resident of the village of al-Mughayyir, north-east of Ramallah, discovered on Monday morning that approximately 260 Olive seedlings which he planted recently were uprooted and destroyed. Of them, approximately 190 were newly planted, and the rest were planted last year...

[uruknet.info] Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory No. 49/2009 (10- 15 Dec 2009)
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - Israeli violations of international law and humanitarian law in the OPT continued during the reporting period (10 - 15 December 2009): Shooting: During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in the Gaza Strip and wounded 3 others in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, on 12 December 2009, Israeli troops positioned at...

[uruknet.info] Britain's Foreign Office wimps surrender to the thugs
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - The British public must be wondering what has happened to the nation's backbone - and its moral compass - when they see news items like these. "British Foreign Secretary David Miliband yesterday apologized to MK Tzipi Livni and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for the arrest warrant issued against Livni in London earlier this week. He also...

[uruknet.info] New York-based foundation supports settler rabbi who justified the killing of non-Jews
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - A little over a year ago we began an investigation on this site into the Central Fund for Israel, a New York-based non profit foundation that raises tax deductible donations in the U.S. to support the Israeli settler movement. We found that they are funding settler militias, and that they have some very well know donors....

[uruknet.info] Video: Christmas in the Holy Land - 2009
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - When celebrating Christmas, it would be a good idea to think about the birthplace of Jesus. What is like in the Holy Land under occupation, injustice and racism? How does Christmas feel when the Holy Land is under siege? Help bring joy to the Holy Land. Help break the siege. Support the Freedom March to Gaza,...

[uruknet.info] Video: Home page Video Canali Cambia dimensioni player Guarda questo video in una nuova finestra Christmas in the Holy Land - 2009 
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - When celebrating Christmas, it would be a good idea to think about the birthplace of Jesus. What is like in the Holy Land under occupation, injustice and racism? How does Christmas feel when the Holy Land is under siege? Help bring joy to the Holy Land. Help break the siege. Support the Freedom March to Gaza,...

[uruknet.info] Growing outrage over british government suggestion to change the law to protect suspected israeli war criminals
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - The British government is said to be 'urgently' looking into its universal jurisdiction laws, following the successful issuing of a warrant by Westminster magistrates' court for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, on Saturday 12 December. Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, came out last night stating that the government will be reviewing and...

[uruknet.info] Israel's Leaders on the Run
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a British court issued a warrant against opposition leader Mrs. Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel's military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip last December. British sources reported that though a British court had issued an arrest warrant for Livni over war crimes committed...

[uruknet.info] Ministry of detainees: Israel kidnapped more than 57 Palestinians in two days
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of prisoners' affairs reported Tuesday that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) kidnapped more than 57 Palestinians including eight children under age 18 during the last two days in different West Bank areas. In a statement, the ministry said that 15 citizens were kidnapped in occupied Jerusalem including director of Jerusalem file Hatem Abdelkader...

[uruknet.info] UK Seeks Law Changes As Brown Welcomes Livni In Britain
Uruknet December 16, 2009 - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told on Wednesday Israel's opposition leader Tzipi Livni that she is always welcome in UK. During a phone call Brown voiced his rejection of an arrest warrant issued in Britain against Livni earlier this week. Arab and Israeli media sources reported Monday that a British court has issued an arrest warrant...

Palestine Telegraph

Settlers prevent farmers to plow their lands in Nablus
Nablus, December 16, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Settlers from settlement of Shiloh attacked Palestinian farmers while they were plowing their lands in Qaryaut village in Nablus city on Wednesday. "Dozens of settlers attacked the farmers under the protection of Israeli soldiers, prevented them to plough their lands and beat them resulted in injuring Bashar AL-Qaryauti with various injuries" Eyewitnesses said...

Norman Finkelstein: Israeli perpetrates war crimes in Gaza
London, December 16, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Professor Norman Finkelstein, accused Israeli of perpetrating war crimes in the Gaza strip through the ongoing siege and January war. His accusation came within an International Conference titled, "UNRWA and Future of Palestinian Refugees", organized in London.

Conference on Future of Palestinian Refugees starts in london
UK, December 16, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - The Palestinian Return Center started its International Conference titled, "UNRWA and Future of Palestinian Refugees", in London amongst considerable attendance of journalists, activists and academics.

Abbas Says Peace Deal Possible in 6 Months
Jerusalem, December 16, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- A comprehensive peace deal can be reached between Israel and the Palestinians within six months if Israel completely freezes its settlement construction, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published Wednesday. Abbas told the Israeli daily Haaretz that he proposed the six-month freeze to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a pair of...

UNRWA seeks $323 million for 2010 to fund its humanitarian projects
Cairo, December 16, 2009, (Pal Telegraph ) - UNRWA launched universal appeal to fund its coming projects worth$ 323 million and to donate for covering the cost of its humanitarian programs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in particular due to the suffocating siege. UNRWA said in a statement on Tuesday during the meeting of the members of the...

The National

Refugee children receive lessons in democracy
The National 16 Dec 2009 - Pupils’ parliament is a vital part of a UN-run education project in Jordan, trying to instil in Palestinian children a sense of human rights.

Iran test fires medium-range missiles
The National 16 Dec 2009 - Iran successfully test-fires an improved version of its Sejil 2 medium-range missile, which it says can reach targets inside Israel.

Britain vows to end arrest threats to Israeli VIPs
The National 16 Dec 2009 - The UK vows to curtail a legal power that lets judges order the arrest of visiting politicians after protests from Israel.

Alternative Information Center

Association for Civil Rights in Israel State of Human Rights Report 2009: Rights on Condition
Alternative Information Center 16 Dec 2009 - In its annual survey of the protection of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories, ACRI reveals an alarming trend: the conditioning of rights. The complete report is now available.

Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:10-15 Dec. 2009 
Alternative Information Center 16 Dec 2009 - Israeli Occupation Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Continue to Impose a Total Siege on the Gaza Strip A Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli forces...

Palestine News Network

Mahmoud Dabdoub The Photographer
PNN 15 Dec 2009 - Mahmoud Dabdoub was born in Lebanon in 1958 and worked from 1976 to 1982 in the Palestinian cultural office in Beirut. He went to the German Democratic Republic in 1981 and studied at the College for Graphics and Printing in Leipzig. Since 1987, he has continued to work there as a freelance journalist and photographer.Life in a divided landFor almost a decade,...

A l'Ombre des Mots, (In the Shade of Words) Le Trio Joubran 
PNN 15 Dec 2009 - It is difficult to speak about our work In the Shade of Words because it is, in fact, in the shade of a man whom we, Le Trio Joubran, accompanied in love and respect for more than twelve years. A man from the kingdom of the verb who pronounced a word, crafted a letter, a note, a sentence, enchanted us and brought...

Abbas gives terms for resuming stalled peace talks
PNN 15 Dec 2009 - President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday said the Palestinians would resume suspended peace talks with Israel if it halts settlement building and recognises pre-1967 borders as a basis for a Palestinian state. Addressing a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's central council, Abbas said he would not accept any return to violence against Israel. When Israel stops settlement activity for a specific period...

British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni 
PNN 15 Dec 2009 - Warrant issued over war crimes accusations was withdrawn when it emerged former minister had cancelled plan to visit. A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/israel)'s former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gaza) this year – only to withdraw it when it was discovered that she was not in the UK, it emerged today.Tzipi Livni, a...

Police shoot U.S. student's laptop upon entry to Israel 
PNN 16 Dec 2009 - Israel Border Police officers shot at an American student's laptop as she entered Israel via Taba, Egypt, two weeks ago. Lily Sussman, 21, wrote on her blog (http://lilysussman.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/im-sorry-but-we-blew-up-your-laptop-welcome-to-israel/) that border police subjected her to two hours of questioning and searches prior to shooting her Apple Macbook three times. They had pressed every sock and scarf with a security device, ripped open soap...

Jerusalem Post

Court: Freeze order doesn't address damages
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - Compensation for settlers must be determined according to explicit criteria, says Justice Procaccia.

Palestinian allegedly attacks settler during land dispute near Shiloh
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - Head of Rabbi for Human Rights says settler initiated violence, settlers blame Palestinian, left-wing activists.

'Israeli construction restrictions harm Palestinians'
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - UN report claims West Bank planning regime directly affects poor living conditions.

Ashkenazi: Police should evacuate settlements
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - IDF chief: Police have more experience dealing with civilians, soldiers more suited to "security tasks."

Hamas: PLO vote on Abbas 'illegal'
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - Group slams extension of PA president's term; PA official: We seek reconciliation, must aviod vacuum.

Brown: Livni welcome in UK any time
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - British PM objects to former FM's UK-issued arrest warrant; Livni slams "abuse" of legal systems.

Iran tests advanced missile as 'deterrent' against foreign attack
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - "This missile can threaten Europe. If Israel was their only enemy, why would they need missiles that can reach Europe?" Israeli defense official asks.

'Anti-Israel is the new anti-Semitism'
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - At Foreign Ministry forum, Lieberman says classic anti-Semitism being used to delegitimize Israel.

Report: Israeli schools divided by race, religion and class
Jeruslalem Post 16 Dec 2009 - Israel's education system does not provide equal learning opportunities for all students, claims the Adva Center for social justice.

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

IRAN: Domestic Conflict Shifts into Higher Gear 
IPS HONOLULU, U.S., Dec 16 (IPS) - Although the tumult that has gripped Iran since the contested Jun. 12 election has never abated, two recent occurrences have highlighted the further sharpening of internal conflict and the government's inability to restore stability in the face of creative ways the opposition has learned...

MIDEAST: Occupation Eats Away Israel's Heart and Soul 
IPS JERUSALEM, Dec 15 (IPS) - After Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank torched a mosque and desecrated copies of the Quran in the Palestinian village of Yasuf, last Friday morning, they ran into a wall of condemnation.

PCHR Weekly Report

(16-12-2009) Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
PCHR 

International Solidarity Movement

IDF raids Naalin photographer’s home
12/17/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 16 December - Family members of a girl who shot a video showing an Israel Defense Forces soldier firing a rubber bullet at a bound Palestinian in the West Bank village of Naalin last year say the army has been harassing them ever since. The relatives told Ynet that a massive IDF force raided their house on Wednesday night and left behind a lot of damage. The girl's father and brother were then summoned for investigation. An IDF official claimed, however, that the soldiers arrived to arrest a man suspected of rioting and that the incident had nothing to do with the videotape. The girl's family members said that soldiers arrived at their house at around 3:30 am. "They broke the windows of our car, which was parked outside, and did not leave one whole glass inside the house. They destroyed and ruined everything,” said the girl's brother, Arafat Canaan. " 

Gaza Freedom March: Palestinian Non-violence and International Solidarity
12/17/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Max Ajl, MR Zine, 16 December - I'm going to discuss the utility of non-violent resistance as it applies to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict and, specifically, the occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip. Even more specifically, I'm going to discuss the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), of which I'm one of the organizers. But before discussing Palestinian non-violence, several things must be clarified. One is that no one - least of all me, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn - has the slightest right to dictate to the Palestinians how to end the blockade or resist the occupation. Another is the need to avoid the nearly inevitable antiseptic air to talk by Westerners discussing Palestinian non-violence. Antiseptic, because it is cleansed of the complicating grit of the occupation within which non-violence must take place. There's also usually a tacit subtext, usually a four-word question: Where Is Their Gandhi? That question could not be more in error. I hope to show why. 

Released to be arrested again – activist detained during Sheikh Jarrah protest held for 40 hours
12/16/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - C N Longevity, 11 December 2009 - The drums beat in their normal cadence as I approach the Al-Kurds. This cadence was lost as I reached the home. It quickly devolved into a beat that described not the jubilant emotions of collective resistance, but one of collective disdain and disgust. One person was being dragged by three police officer into the street; their clothes in tatters. The demonstrators quickly followed and rallied around the abuse. The situation was reduced to bedlam by the police officers. They were pushing, pulling, punching and kicking the demonstrators. As the police attempted to take the two demonstrators to the police station, nearly one hundred attempted to use their bodies to block the police cars movements. This attempt was in vain. The police grabbed protesters one by one (usually needing three officers for every person taken). 

Die on my Palestine land
12/16/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Jody McIntyre, Ctrl. Alt. Shift - Fatima Mohammed Yassen, aged 49, is a farmer from Bil'in. Despite the crippling Israeli occupation of her village, she continues to work her land, along with her husband, on a daily basis. Jody McIntyre spoke to Im Khamis, as she is known to local villagers, in her home in Bil'in: Did you have land behind the Wall? Yes! BeforeIsrael started construction of the Wall in Bil'in, my family had 45 dunams (1 dunam = 1000 square metres) of land, all of them filled with olive trees. My husband's family had 50 dunams, which were a mixture of olive groves and vegetable patches, as well as another 50 dunams of land which was stolen after 1967 (after the war of this year, Israel began it's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza). When the Israeli army were building the Wall on our land, they stole land. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Germany to pay half the cost of restoring Auschwitz memorial 
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Germany committed itself Wednesday to paying half the cost of restoring the leaky buildings and crumbling personal possessions of the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz. ...

OECD: Israel must step up fight against international bribery 
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Israel must step up its fight against bribery in international transactions, especially arms deals, if it wishes to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD said in a recent report. ... 

Israel, U.S. leading bid to thwart Iran nuke efforts in Far East
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - TAIPEI - Iranian purchasing networks newly exposed in Taiwan testify to two seemingly contradictory trends. Iran is energetically seeking materials for its military nuclear program, even though it must go afar because of the increasing difficulty of making purchases in Western Europe or North America, where it is suspected of malice aforethought. ... 

Ari Shavit / Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - The cat is out of the bag: Palestine, all of Palestine. Standing before 100,000 people in the center of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh this week declared the objective of the Hamas movement. The moderate prime minister of the moderate faction of the Palestinian religious movement publicly announced the peace solution for which his government is aiming. ... 

Olmert offered Abbas land near Gaza as swap for settlements 
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Former prime minister Ehud Olmert proposed giving the Palestinians land from communities bordering the Gaza Strip and from the Judean Desert nature reserve in exchange for Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank. ... 

The Guardian

Gordon Brown reassures Israel over Tzipi Livni arrest warrant
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - Prime minister 'completely opposed' to arrest warrant issued by British court over former Israeli minister's role in Gaza war Gordon Brown today told Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, that he was "completely opposed" to the...

Factions clash over Israel's buses | Seth Freedman
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - Orthodox Jews and secularists are embroiled in an increasingly bitter row over gender-segregation on Israeli public transport With the gulf between the secular and religious camps in Israel continuing to widen , the issue of gender segregation...

What David Miliband should say to Tzipi Livni | Daniel Machover
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - If Britain's foreign secretary has faith in his country's standards of justice, this is the phonecall he should make According to news reports , David Miliband plans to call the leader of the Israeli opposition, Tzipi Livni,...

Missile test heightens tensions between Iran and west
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - Firing of Sajjil-2 missile, capable of reaching parts of Europe, leads Gordon Brown to call for tougher sanctions Iran today test-fired an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, capable of hitting Israel and parts of...

Civilising the debate | Keith Kahn-Harris
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - A bitter exchange of emails between academics at Ben Gurion University highlights the need for calmer way to talk about Israel Last Sunday's Observer finally broke a story about which rumours had been circulating for a...

Letters: Israeli politicians' fear of legal action
The Guardian 15 Dec 2009 - Tzipi Livni's refusal to enter Britain because she fears arrest on war crimes charges increases the number of Israeli ministers and ex-ministers who fear legal action, and is to be welcomed ( British court issued Gaza arrest...

UK to review war crimes warrants after Tzipi Livni arrest row
The Guardian 15 Dec 2009 - Israel condemns London court's move against former foreign minister over Gaza Britain is reviewing procedures for issuing arrest warrants in war crimes cases after a diplomatic row with Israel over allegations against its former foreign minister....

Tzipi Livni arrest warrant prompts Israeli government travel 'ban'
The Guardian 15 Dec 2009 - No senior officials to visit UK until matter resolved, reports say British role in peace process damaged, ambassador told Israel hit back at Britain today over the arrest warrant issued for former foreign minister Tzipi Livni...

Palestinian tunnel tycoons feeding demand for banned goods
The Guardian 14 Dec 2009 - Boom in illicit trade in motorbikes, dismantled in Egypt and smuggled into Gaza, brings deadly consequences Mahmoud is proud of the motorbike he bought two months ago for $700, now parked in the sand at the...

Israeli minister Moshe Ya'alon turned down UK visit over arrest fears
The Guardian 14 Dec 2009 - Vice-prime minister pulled out of fundraising event after being warned he could be held on suspicion of war crimes Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, turned down an invitation to appear...

Ha'aretz National page

Burial society lambastes court, Herzliya over plan for new cemetery 
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - The Hevra Kadisha religious burial society in Herzliya Wednesday withdrew its petition to the High Court of Justice against the Israel Lands Administration and Herzliya municipality asking to be allocated part of the new cemetery in the city. ... 

High Court blasts government for not compensating settlers for freeze
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - The High Court criticized the government on Wednesday for not having set up a formal mechanism to compensate settlers for damages incurred by a freeze on new construction in their West Bank communities. ...

Bills to feature Rabin and Begin in Israeli banknote revolution
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - For the first time in Israel's history, the Bank of Israel will change all the figures that are featured on the country's banknotes. ...

Save Hanukkah: Keep religion out of politics
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Hanukkah for generations has been the easiest, happiest of holidays; mostly associated with gifts, dreidels, latkes and sufganiot. Very few would have thought that there could be anything contentious about this celebration of the desire for Jewish autonomy in the second century B.C. But such is the reality of the Middle East that even the most innocent holiday gets tangled up in politics. ...

Lieberman: New anti-Semitism directed at Israel 
Ha'aretz 16 Dec 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Wednesday that "new anti-Semitism" was aimed at undermining Israel, as well as a hatred of the Jewish people. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Increased humanitarian aid to Gaza after IDF operation, 11 Dec 2009
Relief Web 16 Dec 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

Criminal accountability of UN officials, terrorism convention, UN internal justice among issues, as UNGA adopts 17 texts recommended by Legal Committee
Relief Web 16 Dec 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

Reshuffling the cards? (II): Syria's new hand
Relief Web 16 Dec 2009 - Source: International Crisis Group

Reshuffling the cards? (II): Syria's new hand - ICG report
Relief Web 16 Dec 2009 - Source: International Crisis Group

OPT: Analysis - Talks at a standstill, Abbas hits dead end
Relief Web 16 Dec 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: PCHR is gravely concerned over increasing attacks and robberies against NGOs in Gaza, and demands competent authorities to investigate these crimes and bring perpetrators to justice 
Relief Web 16 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

YNet News

Yaalon: Arabs resorting to propaganda after losing wars 
YNet News 16 Dec 2009 - Israel's enemies turn to de-legitimization after realizing they can't defeat Israel on battlefield, deputy PM says 

US: Iran running out of time to head off sanctions
YNet News 16 Dec 2009 - White House says Tehran must comply with West's demands over nuclear program or face more sanctions devised by Six Powers 

Will Rabbi Melamed cave in?
YNet News 16 Dec 2009 - Barak says he's determined to penalize yeshiva; 'Insubordinate rabbi' says he may change stance 

Credit Suisse to pay $536M fine for violating Iran sanctions
YNet News 16 Dec 2009 - Switzerland's second-largest bank to pay New York authorities multi-million dollar fine for breaching international business sanctions imposed on Iran 

Citations, Qassams in south
YNet News 16 Dec 2009 - Two rockets fired from Gaza Thursday evening; earlier, eight IDF soldiers awarded Cast Lead citations in Ashkelon ceremony 

PLO extends Abbas' presidency term 
YNet News 16 Dec 2009 - Central Committee says extension will coincide with PA general elections in June. Hamas calls move 'a political bribe meant to cover up for Abbas' illegitimacy' 

Daily Star

PLO extends mandates of Abbas, Parliament
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Wednesday extended the mandates of both president Mahmud Abbas and the Hamas-dominated Parliament until new elections can be held. "The PLO took the decision that president Abbas and the Legislative Council will continue their duties until the next election in accordance with the Basic Law," PLO representative Qaid al-Ghul told AFP.

Iran missile test draws Western condemnation
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 Iran's hardline rulers sent uncompromising signals to foes at home and abroad on Wednesday, warning of possible legal action against opposition leaders and testing an upgraded missile that could reach Israel. The United States said the launch of a Sejil 2 missile, with a reported range that would put Israel and US Gulf bases within reach, undermined Iran's insistence of peaceful intentions.

Peace process at a standstill, Abbas hits dead end
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has little to show for his years of talking peace with Israel, and with talks in deep freeze he seems to have hit a dead-end. His strategy of negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel is more discredited than ever among Palestinians outraged at unending Israeli settlement building on occupied land.

Barghouti urges both talks and resistance
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 Imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti believes a Palestinian state will only be brought about through a combination of talks with Israel and popular "resistance." In written responses sent to AFP from the Israeli jail where he is serving five life sentences, Barghouti, who ranks higher in opinion polls than any other Palestinian leader, laid out his strategy for ending the Middle East conflict.

Maliki: Iraqi security forces involved in Baghdad attacks
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 Dozens of Iraqi security force members were involved in attacks that killed up to 112 people in Baghdad last week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday. There is widespread suspicion in Iraq that the police and armed forces have been infiltrated by militants, take bribes to allow insurgents to mount attacks, or collude with militants to undermine Maliki before a March 7 general election.

Israel's Livni 'always welcome in Britain,' Brown declares
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 Prime Minister Gordon Brown told former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday that she would "always be welcome" in Britain, after a warrant was issued here for her arrest, his office said. In a telephone call from Copenhagen where he is attending the UN climate change summit, Brown told the former foreign minister he was "disappointed" that she had been unable to visit Britain, a Downing Street spokesman said.

Iran judiciary says evidence exists to try opposition chiefs
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 Iran's judiciary warned opposition leaders on Wednesday that prosecutors had enough evidence to try them and accused them of offences tantamount to those of the rebel People's Mujahedeen. "I say to the leaders of the sedition that we have enough evidence against you," ILNA news agency quoted judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani as telling prosecutors in the strongest threat yet that opposition leaders could be tried.

River pollution hits Nile fishermen in Egypt
Daily Star 16 Dec 2009 "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 town of Hawamdia, 25 kilometers south of Cairo. Saed said he usually catches 2 kilograms of fish a day which allows him to earn the equivalent of about $165 a month, but over the past few months he has had an additional headache:

Palestinian Information Center

PCHR slams political arrests against Hamas cadres in W. Bank
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian center for human rights strongly denounced the political arrest campaigns carried out by Abbas’s militias against Hamas cadres in the West Bank.

Palestinian gov’t warns PLO’s central council of taking decisions against law
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian government in Gaza warned the central council of the Palestine liberation organization (PLO) of taking any decision outside the framework of the Palestinian law and constitution.

Qanu champions Arab, Islamic pressures to put Israeli leaders on trial
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - Abdul Latif Al-Qanu, Hamas's spokesman in northern Gaza, has called for Arab and Islamic initiatives to put Israeli leaders on trial for war crimes.

Khudari renews call for lifting Israeli embargo on goods bound to Gaza
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular anti siege committee, has renewed calls for lifting the Israeli embargo on goods bound to Gaza and held in Israeli harbors.

UNRWA: Report on Egyptian construction of steel wall on Gaza borders correct
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - Karin Abu Zaid, the UNRWA general commissioner, has said that news report on the Egyptian construction of a steel wall along its borders with the Gaza Strip was correct.

Ministry of detainees: Israel kidnapped more than 57 Palestinians in two days
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of prisoners’ affairs reported that the IOA kidnapped more than 57 Palestinians including eight children under age 18 during the last two days in different West Bank areas.

Zahhar: A lawsuit was filed against Abbas for telling lies about Hamas
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that his Movement filed a lawsuit against Abbas for telling lies and rumors about Hamas, denying that Hamas suggested a presidential and legislative extension for several years.

OCHA: Palestinians could not build on 44% of West Bank lands
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - OCHA has said that the Palestinians in the West Bank could not build on 44% of its lands because they are allocated for Israeli occupation army and settlers.

Mishaal: The prisoner swap deal still faces obstacles
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - Khaled Mishaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, stated that the prisoner swap deal still faces obstacles because of Israel’s refusal of the Palestinian demands.

Husam: Palestinian prisoner suffering pain in the eye, spinal cord
PIC 16 Dec 2009 - Palestinian prisoner Shawki Abu Adhra, 37, is suffering pain in his spinal cord for the past three years and in the right eye for the past ten months, Husam society said in a statement on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Times

Mahmoud Abbas remains in charge of PLO until elections can be held 
LA Times 16 Dec 2009 - An emerging leadership crisis in the PLO could be another obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, some fear. A vote is delayed again after Hamas says it will prevent polling in Gaza. With a giant poster of deceased leader Yasser Arafat smiling over them, members of the Palestine Liberation Organization's central council gathered here Tuesday to indefinitely extend President Mahmoud Abbas' term until credible elections can be held. 

New York Times

P.L.O. Extends President Mahmoud Abbas’s Term
New York Times 16 Dec 2009 - The Palestine Liberation Organization’s decision to extend the president’s term is an attempt to avoid a constitutional crisis in the Palestinian territories. 

Iran Says It Tested Upgraded Missile
New York Times 16 Dec 2009 - Iran’s announcement on Wednesday seemed to be aimed at discouraging a military attack on its nuclear sites. 

Images of Tehran Before the Turmoil
New York Times 16 Dec 2009 - A documentary shot furtively on a mobile phone in Iran's capital in 2008, appears to offer outsiders glimpses of the private lives of Iranians. 

British Court's Arrest Warrant for Israeli Politician Surprised British Government
New York Times 16 Dec 2009 - Seeking to defuse diplomatic tensions with Israel, the British Foreign Office stressed that a London court had issued a warrant for the arrest of a former Israeli official without the knowledge of the British government. 

Nuclear Memo in Persian Puzzles Spy Agencies
New York Times 16 Dec 2009 - An unauthenticated memorandum about Iran and its nuclear research raises as many questions as it answers. 

News Analysis: Weighing Netanyahu as Peace Maker
New York Times 16 Dec 2009 - Some observers say Benjamin Netanyahu, like previous hawks who became prime minister of Israel, is becoming more conciliatory. 

Misc

IDF raids Naalin photographer’s home
12/16/2009 - YNetNews - Canaan family members say harassed by army following incident in which soldier was documented shooting bound Palestinian during anti-fence rally. Military source: A special force arrived to arrest one of the family members suspected of rioting - Family members of a girl who shot a video showing an Israel Defense Forces soldier firing a rubber bullet at a bound Palestinian in the West Bank village of Naalin last year say the army has been harassing them ever since. The relatives told Ynet that a massive IDF force raided their house on Wednesday night and left behind a lot of damage. The girl's father and brother were then summoned for investigation. An IDF official claimed, however, that the soldiers arrived to arrest a man suspected of rioting and that the incident had nothing to do with the videotape. The girl's family members said that soldiers arrived at their house at around 3:30 am. 

Al Mezan Issues a Report on the Environmental Pollution and Sanitation Problems in Khan Younis
12/15/2009 - Al Mezan Center for Human Rights - On Tuesday 15 December 2009, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights published a report on 'Environment Pollution and Sanitation Problems in Khan Younis'. The report presents the serious water, health and environmental problems faced by the quarter million people living in Khan Younis town due to the exacerbating sanitation situation. The report calls for urgent actions to deal with these problems, which affect a wide array of human rights in Khan Younis, and threaten water and health in the entire southern Gaza Strip. The report presents a background on the sanitation problems in Khan Younis. It examines the role played by the Israeli occupation in the problem, which is one of the outcomes of neglecting of the basic needs of the Gaza Strip towns during the 38 years of direct Israeli administration of the Strip between 1967 and 1994. 

Lives and Livelihoods at Stake: Palestinians Again Confronted by Violence and Repression During the Annual Olive Harvest
12/16/2009 - Al-Haq - Al-Haq is pleased to present its report on the 2009 Olive Harvest: ‘Lives and Livelihoods at Stake: Palestinians Again Confronted by Violence and Repression During the Annual Olive Harvest. The report provides an overview of incidents that occurred during this year‘s harvest season collected by field workers on the ground in the West Bank. It presents a synopsis of the violations of international law committed by Israeli settlers and Israeli Occupation Forces during the months of the harvest, and in one case of land confiscation, before the start of the season. -- Link: Click here to read the report (PDF) [end] 

Al-Haq Position Paper on Issues Arising from the Palestinian Authority’s Submission of a Declaration to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute
12/16/2009 - Al-Haq - Abstract: In early 2009 the Palestinian Authority submitted a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute recognizing the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for the purpose of identifying, prosecuting and judging the authors and accomplices of acts committed on the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002. ’ In the first instance this paper argues that whereas the existence or otherwise of a state of Palestine remains moot at best for the purpose of international law and international relations broadly speaking, a compelling argument can be made that for the purposes of the Statute only, a determination by the Court that Palestine is a state that can engage with the Court would be valid and in line with the Court and the Statute’s statutory requirements. -- Link: Click here for full report (PDF)

HROs Condemn Israeli Decision No Family Visits for Gaza Prisoners
12/16/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - GAZA, December 16, 2009(WAFA) – Two Human Rights Organizations condemned, Israeli Supreme Court Decision “family members from Gaza have no right to visit their relatives incarcerated in prisons in Israel. ”Al-Mezan and Adalah considered in a press release “ Israeli Supreme Court Family visits to prisoners, are not a basic humanitarian need. It is a government decision to prohibit the visits,” will not interfere. They said, “Israel has placed a total sweeping ban on visits by the families of some 1000 prisoners from Gaza since June 2007. ” Adding “Supreme Court ignored the fact that transferring prisoners from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to Israel violates international humanitarian law. ”This prohibition has been condemned by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In its judgment, the Supreme Court stated that: “Family visits are not a basic humanitarian need. . . . " 

Norman Finkelstein: Israeli Perpetrated War Crimes in Gaza
12/16/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - LONDON, December 16, 2009 (WAFA)-Professor Norman Finkelstein, accused Israeli of perpetrating war crimes in the Gaza strip through the ongoing siege and January war. His accusation came within an international Conference titled, 'UNRWA and Future of Palestinian Refugees', organized by Palestinian Return Center (PRC). Finkelstein started his speech by placing it in context with the one year commemoration of the siege on Gaza. The causes and effects of this siege are now coming to light, both in the Goldstone Report and in the recent arrest warrant issued by the UK for Tzipi Livni, who stated that she was 'proud of everything she had done in Gaza'. Finkelstein noted that the ceasefire that was agreed between Israel and Palestinians June 2008 was broken by Israel, not Palestinians: Israel did not lift its illegal blockade on Gaza and launched a night raid on Gaza, whilst the eyes of the worlds were watching 4th November 2008 US elections. 

Berlin Wall Fall, while Wall Ruin Shameful Silence Dividing Palestine
12/16/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - ROME, December 16, 2009 (WAFA)- “ On November 9th 2009, the world celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. While we rejoiced one wall ruin a shameful silence prevailed regarding a wall that stands today, dividing Palestine,” Luisa Morgantini former Vice President of the European Parliament wrote. “On November 9th 2009, the world celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall Deplored by millions, the wall became a symbol of violence and separation that over time found its cement bricks decorated in images of freedom and resistance,” she added, “ whilst we rejoiced one wall ruin a shameful silence prevailed regarding a wall that stands today, dividing Palestine. 9 metres high this apartheid Wall violates international law and yet Israel continues its construction undeterred by appeals, resolutions and the advisory opinions of the UN Assembly. 

PCBS: 67.6% of Households Utilizing Solar Energy
12/16/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - RAMALLH, December 16, 2009 (WAFA)- The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) indicated that 67. 6% of households in the Palestinian Territory were utilizing solar energy by using solar energy heaters in July 2009; this percentage was 68. 2% in July 2008. Results of the household energy survey showed that 74. 0% of households in the Palestinian Territory used a normal electricity meter, while 26. 0% of households used a Prepayment electricity meter in July 2009. PCBS implemented the household energy survey and household environmental survey 2009. These surveys collected data on household energy indicators (electricity, petroleum fuel, and other types of energy) in the household activities, and the methods used to handle solid waste and wastewater, in addition to exposure to noise and air pollution by source and time of day. 

VIDEO - Christmas in the Holy Land
12/16/2009 - Political Theatrics - When celebrating Christmas, it would be a good idea to think about the birthplace of Jesus. What is like in the Holy Land under occupation, injustice and racism? How does Christmas feel when the Holy Land is under siege? Help bring joy to the Holy Land. Help break the siege. Support the Freedom March to Gaza, Holy Land (Palestine). [end] 

PCHR Is Gravely Concerned over Increasing Attacks and Robberies against NGOs in Gaza, and Demands Competent Authorities to Investigate these Crimes and Bring Perpetrators to Justice
12/16/2009 - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - The offices of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Khan Yunis were raided earlier this week. According to Hassan Abu Kaware’, UAWC coordinator in Khan Yunis, he headed to UAWC offices on Monday morning, 14 December 2009. He found that the computer at his desk was missing. He explained that he did not find any traces of destruction on walls or windows, and none of the files or the other possessions in the offices were stolen. Abu Kaware’ reported the incident to the police who did not travel to the scene to conduct an investigation. The police only took his testimony in the police station. It should be noted that this is the third attack of its kind in the Gaza Strip this week. The offices of Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO) and the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) were stormed and attacked by unknown persons over the course of last weekend. 

PCHR Condemns Campaigns of Arrests against Hamas Supporters in the West Bank
12/15/2009 - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns Palestinian security services arrest and illegal detention of Hamas supporters in the West Bank. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian National Authority and security services in Ramallah to stop arbitrary arrests and to release all political detainees. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, Palestinian security forces have waged a campaign of arrests in the past two days, during which they have arrested dozens of members and supporters of the movement. This campaign coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the establishment of the Hamas movement. The Preventive Security Service (PSS) and the General Intelligence Service (GIS) have arrested members of Hamas in numerous locations throughout the West Bank. At least 116 individuals have been arrested: 50 in Hebron; 17 in Ramallah and al-Bireh; 5 in Nablus; 6 in Jericho; two in Bethlehem;. . . . 

Tomorrow, Future of Palestinian Refugees is discussed in London
12/15/2009 - U.N. Observer & International Report - The Palestinian Return Center in London will launch its international conference entitled "UNRWA and the future of Palestinian refugees". Tomorrow, Wednesday 16th December 2009. A British Minster from the Gordon Brown government is attending the event where he is going to speak about the role of Britain in aiding the UNRWA. Final touches and preparations are being put and finalized surrounded by considerable and expected participation. Researchers, Academics, MPs, activists and from various countries, especially the refugee camps in the Middle East will take part in the event. Within conference Agenda, PRC is preparing to announce a survey it has conducted in partnership with both WAJIB and THABIT organizations in Syria and Lebanon about the performance of UNRWA. The survey also holds the ideas and views of Palestinian refugee regarding UNRWA performance. -- Link: Palestinian Return Centre

Gordon Brown reassures Israel over Tzipi Livni arrest warrant
12/16/2009 - The Guardian - Prime minister 'completely opposed' to arrest warrant issued by British court over former Israeli minister's role in Gaza war - Gordon Brown today told Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, that he was "completely opposed" to the warrant issued by a British court for her arrest for war crimes and pledged to work to change the law that allowed it. Brown's comments, quoted in a statement issued by Livni's office, followed a diplomatic row over the warrant issued in relation to her role in the war in Gaza earlier this year. The prime minister's remarks, made in a telephone conversation with Livni and reported on Israeli news websites, followed a statement by David Miliband, the foreign secretary, that the government was "looking urgently" at ways to change the UK legal system. Miliband reportedly rang his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, to apologise for the episode. 

Outcry over plan to give attorney general veto on war crimes warrants
12/16/2009 - The Guardian - Lawyers reject 'safeguards' for visiting foreign leaders - The attorney general will be asked to approve warrants before suspected war criminals can be arrested in future under a plan being negotiated by the Foreign Office in response to the row over attempts to arrest Israel's former foreign minister. The Guardian has learned that discussions have begun in Whitehall on creating "safeguards" in criminal cases against visiting foreign leaders – not just those from Israel. Lawyers involved said they were outraged by the proposed change. Gordon Brown today threw his weight behind moves to change the law and telephoned Tzipi Livni, leader of the Israeli opposition, to say he "completely opposed" the warrant issued by a London magistrates court for her arrest for alleged crimes in relation to the war in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn when it transpired that Livni was not in the UK, but triggered. . . . 

Occupation Threatens Secularism in Israel
12/16/2009 - Antiwar.com - JERUSALEM – After Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank torched a mosque and desecrated copies of the Koran in the Palestinian village of Yasuf last Friday morning, they ran into a wall of condemnation. The attackers were consensually branded as extremists, even by the usually uncompromising settlers and their representatives in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. President Shimon Peres went so far as to say that the attack was a blot on "our nation’s most intrinsic value," respect – even in times of conflict between Jews and Muslims – for rival faiths. The incident sparked a heated debate over what the settlers – who are engaged in a bitter campaign against the Netanyahu government’s recent decision to partially freeze for 10 months settlement building – define as the "price tag" for that temporary clampdown on their expansion. 

Spymaster sees Israel as world cyberwar leader
12/16/2009 - Reuters - TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israel is using its civilian technological advances to enhance cyberwarfare capabilities, the senior Israeli spymaster said on Tuesday in a rare public disclosure about the secret program. Using computer networks for espionage -- by hacking into databases -- or to carry out sabotage through so-called "malicious software" planted in sensitive control systems has been quietly weighed in Israel against arch-foes like Iran. In a policy address, Major-General Amos Yadlin, chief of military intelligence, listed vulnerability to hacking among national threats that also included the Iranian nuclear project, Syria and Islamist guerrillas along the Jewish state's borders. Yadlin said Israeli armed forces had the means to provide network security and launch cyber attacks of their own. " I would like to point out in this esteemed forum that the cyberwarfare field fits well with. . . . " 

Abbas: No peace talks until Israel adheres to road map
12/15/2009 - Ha'aretz - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of preventing the renewal of Middle East peace negotiations by violating Israel's obligations as spelled out in the road map. Addressing a meeting of the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Ramallah, Abbas he would resume suspended peace talks with Israel if it halts settlement building "for a specific period" and recognizes the pre-1967 borders as a basis for a Palestinian state. "When Israel stops settlement activity for a specific period and when it recognizes the borders we are calling for, and these are the legal borders, there would be nothing to prevent us from going to negotiations to complete what we agreed to at Annapolis," Abbas said. The Palestinian president said he was not setting terms but simply reiterating Israel's obligations under the "road map" agreement for talks. 


Articles

True lies 
Ayman Mohyeldin, Aljazeera 12/16/2009
      Somebody is not telling the truth about the circumstances behind moves to arrest Tzipi Livni, the Israeli opposition leader, in the UK.
     It’s one of those stories that comes out of nowhere and few actually know what happened.
     It began when Al Jazeera reported that a British court had issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister and Gaza war architect Tzipi Livni.
     For hours, Israeli and British officials denied the report. Then British and Israeli media got wind of the story and began to report it. By the end of Monday, it was irrefutable. 
     Livni had cancelled a speaking engagement at the Jewish National Fund in the UK, but why and when were there still unanswered questions? 
     After a British court issued - then withdrew - the arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli government, after first denying the reports - suddenly shifted gears, going into damage control and launching a scathing criticism of the British government. That’s what we know. Here’s where it gets murky... Livni’s people say she cancelled the event weeks ago because of scheduling conflicts. Israeli media say Livni cancelled on Sunday in a last minute move. Somebody is not telling the truth. Livni wanted to meet British PM Gordon Brown. He declined. The rationale behind Livni’s desire to meet Brown, speculate some, was that if her trip was in an official capacity, she would have been granted diplomatic immunity. more.. e-mail

Israel’s Leaders on the Run 
Gilad Atzmon, Gilad Atzmon 12/16/2009
      Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a British court issued a warrant against opposition leader Mrs. Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel’s military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip last December.
     British sources reported that though a British court had issued an arrest warrant for Livni over war crimes committed in Gaza, it annulled it upon discovering she was not in the U.K.
     As many of us predicted for more than a while the tide is changing. Now Israeli political and military leaders are finally being chased.
     Haaretz reported today that Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the man who last week appointed a Zionist Jew to be the next British Ambassador to Israel, announced today that Britain would “no longer tolerate legal harassment of Israeli officials in this fashion.”
     Miliband maintained that “the British law permitting judges to issue arrest warrants against foreign dignitaries without any prior knowledge or advice by a prosecutor must be reviewed and reformed”. I find myself puzzled, why exactly this law is to be ‘reviewed’ or ‘reformed’. Is it because Britain decided to give up on its ethical tradition? Or is it because Miliband needs the support of the Labour Friends of Israel so he can be re-elected. Or is he just revealing an ever-present hidden cronyism?
     Miliband said that “the British government was determined that arrest threats against visitors of Livni’s stature would not happen again.” And I find myself bewildered again, what does he mean by “Livni’s stature"? Does he really mean that ‘Livni like’ genocidal murderers are now welcome on British soil? more.. e-mail

Is Joe Lieberman Protecting Israel? 
Robert Parry, 12/16/2009
      The Israel explanation for Lieberman’s behavior on health-care reform is the one that seems to make the most sense.
     Sen. Joe Lieberman’s latest threat to scuttle health-care reform – vowing to join a Republican filibuster to block an over-55 buy-in to Medicare, a proposal that he has long championed – is raising questions about his motives. But no one is mentioning the unmentionable, the cause that has come to define Lieberman’s career: Israel.
     Is it possible that Lieberman’s obstructionist behavior doesn’t relate to Connecticut’s insurance industry or to his political ego – the two most cited explanations – but rather to a calculation that he can use his leverage on health care to limit the pressure that President Barack Obama can put on Israel to make concessions on a Mideast peace plan?
     After all, the more common explanations of Lieberman’s behavior have holes in their logic.
     While it is true that Lieberman’s constituent Hartford-based insurance companies fear any government intrusion in their industry, the actual proposals for the Medicare buy-in or the tightly constrained “public option” actually would benefit the industry in the near term.
     ....If Lieberman succeeds in sinking Obama’s chief domestic priority – health care reform – or waters it down so much that it alienates Obama from his liberal base, Obama may find himself essentially the captive of the neocons, needing their blessing to maintain any political viability in Washington. more.. e-mail


Israeli feminists decry militarization of Israeli education system
Electronic Intifada: 16 Dec 2009 - New Profile, the feminist movement to civilize Israeli society, wrote Minister of Education Gideon Saar strongly condemning his recent instructions to prohibit its members' participation in high school debates convened by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on questions of human rights and freedom of expression. 

Steel walls cannot contain the struggle for freedom
Electronic Intifada: 16 Dec 2009 - As if the siege of Gaza were not already bad enough, Israel and Egypt are working even harder to tighten the prison which holds Gaza's 1.5 million people. Egypt is building a steel wall along its 10-kilometer-long border with the Gaza Strip, according to recent media reports. This wall apparently extends not only above ground, but deep into the ground in an attempt to prevent Palestinians digging the tunnels that have become a lifeline for the territory. Hasan Abu Nimah comments. 

US trade unionists: boycott, divest from apartheid Israel
Electronic Intifada: 16 Dec 2009 - In the following open letter from Labor for Palestine to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, trade unions call for the immediate and complete divestment from State of Israel Bonds, the support of workers' refusal to handle Israeli cargo, the breaking of ties with the Zionist trade union Histadrut and the opposition of US military and economic aid for Israel. 

Palestine refugees face service cuts due to UNRWA financial crisis
Electronic Intifada: 15 Dec 2009 - The United Nations agency Palestine refugees (UNRWA) faces a severe deficit that could lead to cuts of essential services to more than 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. According to UNRWA, the agency's 2009 funds are already exhausted and it faces a shortfall of US $140 million for 2010. Rami Almeghari reports from the occupied Gaza Strip. 

U.S. Creates Its Antithesis in Iraq
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Dec 2009 - By Nicola Nasser – West Bank Nowhere it is more obvious than in Iraq that the existence of an election law, elections themselves and the constitution they are based on are not indicators of democracy or legitimacy, because these mechanisms are merely symbols of the antithesis of the mechanisms of democracy as practiced back home by the U.S. occupying power. An editorial of The Washington Post on December 8 hailed the passing two days earlier of an amended version of the 2005 election law by the Iraqi “Council of Representatives” (CoR) as a “Breakthrough in Iraq,” which “gives democracy a chance to work.” However if this statement is not misleading, then it is extremely too optimistic, at least for one reason: The Iraqis themselves had another say. The new version was vetoed by none other than Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi. On November 23, under U.S. excessive pressure including a phone call by President Barak Obama to Kurdistan Regional Government head Masoud Barzani, the CoR passed another amended version of the law without addressing al-Hashemi’s demands to increase the representation in parliament of displaced people, internally and abroad, from 5% of the total to 15%, which indicates yielding in to U.S. pressure by al-Hashemi, nor did it address the Kurds’ threat to boycott the elections if their demands in Kirkuk were not met, in another indication of yielding to U.S. pressure by the Kurds, although it did meet their complaint for more parliamentary seats. Rachel Schneller, a Foreign Service officer with the...

Democracy: Communalism and Subjugation (Part II)
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Dec 2009 - By Jim Miles (Part II looks at how theological considerations, meritocracy, and the fear of social democracy influence perceptions on democratic values and influence actions justified as democratic, from Palestine and Israel through to U.S. actions around the globe.) This is perhaps the strangest relationship within this argument but it is within this context, from an article written by Ramzy Baroud about the ability of democracy to fit within the Muslim system of beliefs, that my original thoughts started. In the article Baroud argued that an “entire school of Muslim thought was in fact established around the concept that democracy and Islam are very much compatible.” Continuing through his arguments on the values of democracy and their fit with Islam - with the awareness of the damage done by the U.S. occupations and invasions and their bringing of democracy through the barrel of a gun to the peoples of the Islamic world - he notes, “However, these idealized assumptions missed the fact that Western democracy was conditional. And unconditional democracy can only be a farce.” [1] I can only concur. Most religions have within them the philosophical/moral basis for the establishment of a democracy. Most would fit a social democracy or even true communal communism if beliefs accorded to family and community were respected and implemented. The discussions about the umma within Islam, the communalism within Christianity, and some of the Talmudic traditions within Judaism, all carry strong elements of democracy. Most importantly as will be discussed later, is the...

Democracy: 'People's Power' Usurped (Part I)
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Dec 2009 - By Jim Miles (Part I examines the business values - globalization, free trade, corporations and capitalism - that define the workings of our democracy today.) One of the many words in the mantra of the imperial apologists is that of democracy. From its Greek roots meaning “people” and “power” the word has travelled a long and convoluted journey but needs to be questioned as to whether it has achieved the real ideal. For the people, the “demos” to truly have power requires a system that acts considerably differently from actions by the global elites currently in power. I differentiate between democracy and freedoms. Having power for the people indicates that the people have an actual say in what the government is doing, and that the government, being of the people, by the people, for the people, responds to the wishes - and hopefully educated wishes - of the populace. Freedom, as present in our current society, represents the wide range from any kind of licentious but licit behaviour through the practical freedoms of the press and media up to the philosophical freedoms of religion and thought. It seldom represents responsibility towards society and its various parameters of poverty and the environment, or towards other less fortunate members of society. It does represent choice, choice to one form of behaviour or another, for the environment or against the environment, for the people, or for the corporation. Democracy and freedom are highly compatible but not necessarily the same thing. The Vote Democracy...

Israel's Leaders on the Run
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Dec 2009 - By Gilad Atzmon - London Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a British court issued a warrant against opposition leader Mrs. Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel's military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip last December. British sources reported that though a British court had issued an arrest warrant for Livni over war crimes committed in Gaza, it annulled it upon discovering she was not in the U.K. As many of us predicted for more than a while the tide is changing. Now Israeli political and military leaders are finally being chased. Haaretz reported today that Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the man who last week appointed a Zionist be the next British Ambassador to Israel, announced today that Britain would “no longer tolerate legal harassment of Israeli officials in this fashion.” Miliband maintained that “the British law permitting judges to issue arrest warrants against foreign dignitaries without any prior knowledge or advice by a prosecutor must be reviewed and reformed”. I find myself puzzled, why exactly this law is to be ‘reviewed’ or ‘reformed’. Is it because Britain decided to give up on its ethical tradition? Or is it because Miliband needs the support of the Labour Friends of Israel so he can be re-elected. Or is he just revealing an ever-present hidden cronyism? Miliband said that “the British government was determined that arrest threats against visitors of Livni's stature would not happen again.” And I find myself bewildered again, what does he mean...
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