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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
18 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Obama Grants Israel $2.775 Billion In Security Aid
IMEMC 18 Dec 2009 - Saturday December 19, 2009 - 01:55, United States President, Barack Obama, signed the Foreign Aid Budget Law of 2010 which includes granting Israel $2.775 Billion in security aid to the state of Israel. The budges is the second in two years and is considered part of the US aid to Israel which will total $30 Billion in the coming ten years.

Mk Tibi: “Israel Illegally Took Skin Patches, Corneas To Implant Them In Wounded Troops”
IMEMC 18 Dec 2009 - Saturday December 19, 2009 - 00:25, Dr. Ahmad Tibi, deputy speaker of the Knesset, head of the United Arab Bloc for Change, stated that the Abu Kabeer forensic center removed in the 90’s patches of skin and corneas from every corpse that was transferred to it in order to implant them in wounded soldiers.

Turkey Gives Rapturous Welcome To Gaza Aid Convoy
IMEMC 18 Dec 2009 - Friday December 18, 2009 - 23:37, The Viva Palestina convoy, carrying aid from London to the besieged population of Gaza, has received an overwhelming welcome from Turkey on its drive through the country.

Dozens Suffered Tear Gas Inhalation In The Bil'in Weekly Protest
IMEMC 18 Dec 2009 - Friday December 18, 2009 - 15:39, The villagers of Bil'in in the central West Bank staged on Friday their weekly protest against the Israeli wall built on their land.

Policemen From Bethlehem Will Be In Charge Of Security During Christmas
IMEMC 18 Dec 2009 - Friday December 18, 2009 - 14:15, Unlike previous years, the Palestinian Authority decided that all policemen and security personnel who would be deployed in Bethlehem during Christmas will be from the Bethlehem district.

The Shepherds Field Readies For Christmas
IMEMC 18 Dec 2009 - Friday December 18, 2009 - 11:44, The city of Beit Sahour, known as the Shepherds Field where, according to the Bible, the angel appeared to the Shepherded and asked them to follow the star to Bethlehem, started Christmas decorations and preparations in order to ensure a joyful and peace Christmas in the city of peace.

Ma'an News

Settlers in Jerusalem attack Palestinian family, 3 injured 25 detained
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three Palestinians were injured including two children and a journalist in an attack by Israeli settlers on homes in the East Jerusalem community of Sheikh Jarrah on Friday evening. From the scene, Ma'an's reporter described the incident as a "mob" of settlers who focusing their attack on the A'teiyah and Al-Ghuwar homes. The attacks came after a day of protests where Palestinians, internationals and left-wing Israelis congregated outside the home of the evicted Al-Kurd family, speaking out against the Israeli court order handing the home over to a group of settlers. During the protests Israeli forces arrested 25, including Palestinians and internationals, witnesses reported. The three injured in the evening attacks were teenagers, brothers Imad and Mohammad A'teiyah, 13 and 15-years old, and a Palestinian photojournalist identified as Nader Papers. 

Israel seals off all Gaza crossings
12/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces decided on to close all goods crossing points into the Gaza Strip on Friday, a Palestinian official said. The official, Raed Fattuh,toldMa'an that Israel informed the Palestinian side that the Kerem Shalom, Karni, and Nahal Oz crossings into Israel would all be sealed off on Friday. On Thursday, Kerem Shalom was opened to allow the transfer of goods and domestic gas, while Karni and Nahal Oz were closed. Egyptian and Israeli authorities maintain a tight grip on the flow of humanitarian aid into the Strip, in addition to limiting the movement of Palestinians. The two transit border crossings into Egypt and Israel, Rafah and Erez respectively, allow Palestinians to travel solely with permits. In the case of the Rafah crossing, many Palestinian students and patients with the required permits have been stranded on either side of Egypt and Gaza, as Egyptian authorities only sporadically allow them to travel. 

Bil’in Popular Committee awarded for creativity, continues protests
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Bil'in's Popular Committee Against the Wall was awarded the "Arab Creativity Award for 2009" at a ceremony in Kuwait last weelk, and celebrated the win by continuing to hold anti-wall protests on Friday in the village. Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) joined the anti-wall protest in Bil'in on Friday, marking the 42nd anniversary of the founding of the party, protest leaders said. The party leaders, members and supporters were joined by villagers from Bil'in and locals from neighboring villages, along with international and Israeli supporters of the call to stop construction of the separation wall and illegal Israeli settlements. Rain and cold weather did not deter the large crowd, who approached the site of the separation barrier carrying banners calling for its destruction. 

First mud-home built for Gaza homeless by UNRWA
12/18/2009 - Potos - A member of the Athamneh family inspects his new home, built by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) using mud and recycled concrete from the rubble left behind by Israel's Operation Cast Lead, which left thousands of Gazans homeless and killed more than 1,400. The first home to be completed by the UNRWA program built in the Abed Rabbo neighborhood of Jabaliya in northern Gaza, an area hard-hit by Israeli airstrikes. UNRWA said ithopes to build more than 120 mud brick homes for Gaza families in the next few months. In using mud-bricks, the agency followed in the footsteps of Rafah residents in the south of Gaza, who started the trend making mud ovens out of the earth salvaged from the Strip's tunnel industry. The ovens helped families cope with an unreliable supply of cooking fuel ans Gazans suffered under the Israeli siege on the area. 

Palestinians mark 23, 24 years in Israeli prison
12/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two Palestinians are marking their 24th year in Israeli prison this week,expert in Palestinian detainees issues, Abdel Nasser Farwaneh told Ma'an on Friday. Abdel Rahman Al-Qiq, 46, is one of the longest-serving Palestinian detainees in jail, Farwaneh said, adding that today, he marks 24 years behind Israeli bars. Al-Qiq was sentenced on 18 December 1986 to life in prison for allegedly participating in a Palestinian national resistance effort against Israel. Later this week, Kahlid Al-Ju'eidy, 44, will mark 23 years in prison. Al-Ju'eidy was detained at Rafah and sentenced for supporting the Islamic Jihad movement and resisting the Israeli occupation in Gaza. 

Officials join congregation of burned mosque for Friday prayer
12/18/2009 - Salfit - Ma'an - Members of Fatah and the Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Waqf) attended Friday prayers at the Yasuf mosque, burned down last week allegedly by Israeli settlers from a nearby colony. The mosque, in the Salfit district, became the focus of efforts by several Jewish groups, including settler rabbis supporting coexistence who attempted to deliver Qur'an's to the mosque, and anti-Zionist Jews who went to show support for the local population. At the service, Minister of Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash called on Palestinians to unite in opposition against attacks on holy sites, peoples' property and land. "No one has the right to attack any mosque or church because it is God's home and has a holy meaning that should be respected," he said. Azzam Al-Ahmad, head of Fatah's parliamentary bloc said "We are here in Yasuf to show solidarity with our people and to oppose those settlers. 

Israeli forces report coming under fire in Hebron
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians opened fire at Israeli forces at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron early Friday morning,an Israeli military spokesperson said. The troops were performing what was described as "a routine deployment" near the holy site when Palestinians opened fire, the spokesperson added. Other sources said a Palestinian car approached the group and fired three bullets, adding that the troops exchanged fire. The spokesperson did not comment on the exchange of fire. No one was injured in the incident, according to sources, and the car fled the scene. [end] 

EU extends mission of Rafah monitoring team, PLO approves
12/18/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - Head of PLO negotiation department Saeb Erekat praised the decision of the EU to extend the authorization of the EU monitoring unit (EU-BAM) on Rafah crossing for 6 months. On 20 November 2009, the Council of the EU adopted a Joint Action, effectively extending the mandate of EUBAM for the Rafah Crossing Point until 24 May 2010. The extension was the third in the history of the project, originally established to run until 24 November 2008. The operations of EUBAM were suspended on 13 June 2007 following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. Erekat called the move an affirmation of the EU support and determination to re-open the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. Currently, the crossing is only open periodically, and openings are determined solely by Egyptian authorities. The PLO official said the simplest way to ensure the crossing opens is to focus on Palestinian internal conciliation. 

Lieberman: We will be building again in 10 months
12/18/2009 - Bethelehm - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday that the 10-month settlement freeze was simply a tactical move and not a real effort to stop settlement growth, Israeli media sources reported Friday. "It is clear to everyone that in 10 months, we will be building again [in] full force; anyone who understands anything knows this," he told gathered settlers at a meeting in the West Bank settlement town of Ariel as quoted in the Israeli daily Haaretz. "There will be no more overtures, and we will not make another gesture or quarter gesture. Enough with the theatrics and the mediators. "Lieberman added in reference to the government statements in November proclaiming the move was meant to satisfy the Palestinian Authority demand that settlement construction halt before sides resumed peace talks. 

Official: Arab states failed to support Jerusalem celebrations
12/18/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - "We received promises of millions of dollars but we received nothing," Head of the administrative council for the Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture 2009 events said the day of the closing ceremony. The event marked the finale of the year-long celebrations, and was held on the campus of An-Najah University in Nablus on Thursday. Events in Jerusalem were quashed by Israeli forces, and several organizers were detained. The opening celebrations in Bethlehem and the closing in the northern West Bank highlighted some of the difficulties the celebrations faced in recognizing the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as a site of Palestinian heritage. Although President Mahmoud Abbas told crowds, "Jerusalem will be the eternal capital of Palestine," as he handed over the Capital of Culture flag to Qatar, whose capital Doha will be the next featured city in the. . . 

EU foreign policy high rep: East Jerusalem is occupied
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an -"East Jerusalem is occupied territory," the EU's new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Friday, underscoring the increasing strength of the European position on a Palestinian Jerusalem. Ashton was appointed in November, and took up her post on 1 December, when the Lisbon Treaty -expanding the role of the high representative for the EU -took effect. She is the first to hold the expanded office, and is responsible for coordinating a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) within the EU. Javier Solana occupied the original position. Her statement on a Palestinian Jerusalem follows the signing of a document by the European Foreign Ministers calling for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. "The EU is opposed to the demolition of Palestinian homes, the eviction. . . " 

Ramallah MoH: Israeli COGAT not responsible for medical aid transfer
12/18/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Ramallah-based Ministry of Health contested claims by the Israeli Civil liaison office that it coordinated the transfer of H1N1 diagnoses devices into the Gaza Strip. Head of public relations for the Ministry Omer An-Naser said on Friday that Israeli news reports and transmissions on the Israeli Army radio broadcast on Thursday claiming that Israeli authorities provided the equipment were "wrapped with vagueness and inaccuracy," he said in a statement. "The Ministry of Health, in coordination with a number of companies and international organizations, transferred these materials to Gaza. Last week, the device called Gel Documentation System, was transferred to Gaza to be used to diagnose swine flu, in addition to 60 awareness and educational pamphlets on this virus, as well as laboratory materials to carry out tests on the H1N1 virus". 

Qatar fails to show for torch passing event in Nablus
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians have no answers as to why invited officials from all of the Arab states did not come to the closing ceremony of the Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture 2009 events, organizers said. Head of the organizing office Varsan Aghabekian told Palestine Radio on Friday that she was particularly perplexed over the absence of Qatar, whose capital Doha is listed as the capital of Arab culture 2010, and to whose official President Mahmoud Abbas was meant to hand over the ceremonial flag. "I will send it to Doha," Abbas said of the flag and ceremonial flame he was set to hand over to Qatari officials during the televised event. The only Arab state representatives at the closing ceremony on Thursday were Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture Naser Juda and Nabeeh Shaqam, as well as UAE Minster of Foreign Affairs Abdallah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. 

Abbas defends actions around decision to postpone Goldstone vote
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - President Mahmoud Abbas said he was not responsible for the October delay of the Goldstone report, he told an interviewer at Al-Filistine TV on Friday. Egyptian host Amr Adib spoke with Abbas in Ramallah, and pressed him on the issue of the controversial decision to delay discussion of the Goldstone report in the UN Human Rights Council on 3 October 2009. He showed Abbas a recording of the Ambasador of Pakistan formally requesting a delay on a vote, and asked the president to explain why the PA allowed the motion to go forward. "I told the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council that if all parties wanted to delay the vote, than he should agree," Abbas said. He said the tape clearly showed that it was not the ambassador for the PA who requested the delay. The day of the delay at the UN HCR, Palestine's envoy to Geneva Ibrahim Khraisha. . . 

Turkey warms relations with Israel amid Gaza blockade
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Citizens of Turkey gave the Viva Palestina convoy an "overwhelming" welcome on Friday, as the country's leaders met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres around the reestablishment of "positive and stable" diplomatic ties between the nations. The convoy, carrying aid destined for residents of the Gaza Strip living under an Israeli siege and blockade, is expected to arrive at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza on 27 December, the anniversary of the start of Israel's last war on Gaza last year. The war killed more than 1,400 Palestinians. President of Turkish Parliament Mehmet Ali Sahin received the convoy members in Ankara, as Turkish President Abdullah Gul met with Peres in Copenhagen. Tensions between Israel and Turkey strained during the war on Gaza. In January at the World Economic Forum in Davos Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. . . 

As leaders of EU presidency, Spanish to push for Palestinian state
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Weeks before the country assumes the presidency of the European Parliament, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told reporters his leaders would strive for the creation of a Palestinian state. Spain will hold the rotating presidency, currently held by Sweden, for six months starting in January. During this time, Moratinos told reporters in Brussles, leaders will "work for having in 2010, finally, a Palestinian state that could live in peace and security with Israel," AFP quoted the official as saying. He said Spain hopes for a two state-solution, which is "not going to be easy, but I think it's needed. We need a Palestinian state, the sooner, the better, and that is going to be our objective. "

Gaza MoH says 107 diagnosed with H1N1
12/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The de facto Ministry of Health in Gaza announced on Friday that the number of Palestinians diagnosed with swine flu in the Strip has reached 107. Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health Hasan Khalaf told Ma'an that of the 107 diagnosed with H1N1, 70 have been treated. Khalaf added that the Ministry has only received 6,000 vaccines against the virus, but that it "has everything needed to control the disease. "Ten Palestinians have died of swine flu since the Ministry of Health announced the outbreak of the virus in Gaza. On Thursdaythe Coordinator of Governmental Activities in the Territories (COGAT) sent a special device for the diagnosis of swine flu through the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), according to a news release. "This is part of a comprehensive effort of encouragement toward Gaza by the CLA," said the COGAT spokesperson. 

Hamas: PA forces arrested 7 affiliates
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas has accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces of detaining seven of the Islamic movement's supporters on Friday. In a statement, Hamas said that the detentions took place in Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, Tubas and Tulkarem. On Wednesday, the Islamic movement said that PA 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. According to the Hamas statement, the following men were detained. Tulkarem: Dr Riyad Abdul Karim, Assistant to the Al-Najah National University administration office. Tubas: University students and brothers Bilal and Muhammad Abdul Aziz Bsharat. Hebron: Akram Ar-Rajabi. Bethlehem: Yaser Abdul Majid from the Al-Duheisheh Refugee Camp. 

PA security forces: Murder suspect arrested
12/18/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority security forces arrested a fugitive in Jama'in, near Nablus, on Friday. Police said he was wanted on charges of murder. The security forces had been searching for the alleged murder for over two years, a statement issued by the public relations department of the police said. The fugitive was arrested after a tip-off that he collided with a police car in Jama'in in an unregistered car. The suspected tried to flee scene, the statement added, but security forces were able to apprehend him. Legal proceedings are to follow after interrogation, the statement said. [end] 

Fatah member’s car set on fire in Al-Khader
12/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian security confirmed local reports from Al-Khader that the car of a local Fatah leader was set on fire Friday evening. The car belonged to Fatah leader Ismail Issa from the Bethlehem-area village of Al-Khader. Security sources said the car was set ablaze by unknown arsonists while it was parked in front of his home. They said a search for the perpetrators was being conducted. [end] 

Hamas invites all factions to discuss unity with Haniyeh in Gaza
12/18/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an -Hamas leaders in Gaza invited members of all Palestinian factions and independent figures to come to Gaza for a meeting with de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday where sides will discuss a conciliation agreement, an informed source revealed. In the West Bank, PLO factions are holding intense meetings over how to respond to the invitation, the source said, noting a spirit of readiness among leaders. "Factions would prefer not to hold the meeting in the offices of Hamas," the source said, "since it is a sensitive political issue," she suggested the location be as non-partisan as possible. The meeting is expected to address the stalled talks formerly mediated by Egypt. The source said he expected talks would be based on the last Egyptian conciliation document, signed by Fatah leaders, and the proposed amendments to the document by Hamas. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

One strike could have ended Iran nuclear program in 2004
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Had the Isfahan been bombed, Iran would have lost large quantities of raw material for uranium enrichment. 

Rabbis unite against Barak in IDF-yeshiva row
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Hesder yeshiva heads launch blistering personal attack after Defense Min. ousted rabbi from IDF program. 

Four arrested as rightists continue to fight settlement freeze
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Rightists try to stop inspectors from touring settlement; settlers: Police used excessive force. 

Report: Hamas leans toward accepting Israel offer on Shalit deal
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Latest proposal doesn't include release of hardened Palestinian terrorists, according to Arab paper. 

Two Qassams hit Israel, in second Gaza rocket attack this week
Ha'aretz 18 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 18 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 18 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 18 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 18 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 18 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 18 Dec 2009 - Hamas leader makes comments in Iran, following Iranian threats of retaliation to Israeli strike. 

Uruknet

The Ongoing Repression of Palestinian Protesters
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - On a pitch black early December night, seven armored Israeli military jeeps pulled into the driveway of a home in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Dozens of soldiers, armed and possibly very scared, came to arrest someone they were probably told was a dangerous, wanted man - Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher at...

The Gaza I Know
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - For most Americans, the Gaza Strip is, at best, unknown territory. At worst, it is a hostile land whose "terrorist infrastructure" must be dismantled, no matter what the cost to its million and a half residents. The Gaza I have been visiting for the past twenty-one years bears little relation to the dehumanizing imagery to which...

Maqdisi: Occupation authorities order demolition of mosque and 7 homes
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - Maqdisi Society said that the Israeli occupation authorities have handed on Thursday orders to demolish seven homes in the Jabal al-Mukabber in the southern part of Jerusalem. The authorities have suspended an administrative order by the Israeli ministry of interior stipulating the demolition of the neighbourhood's mosque as well within ten days. The homes threatened with...

Lebanon's Ebenezer Scrooge
Uruknet Beirut, December 18, 2009 - Surely we should all have known better. It was just too good to last. It seemed to some Americans in Lebanon that nearly all the Lebanese and their political leaders were ready to try to more of less work together for the good of the country. Many even seemed to be getting excited about Christmas....

Lieberman: We will be building again in 10 months
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday that the 10-month settlement freeze was simply a tactical move and not a real effort to stop settlement growth, Israeli media sources reported Friday. "It is clear to everyone that in 10 months, we will be building again [in] full force; anyone who understands anything knows this," he...

Hamas invites all factions to discuss unity with Haniyeh in Gaza
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - Hamas leaders in Gaza invited members of all Palestinian factions and independent figures to come to Gaza for a meeting with de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday where sides will discuss a conciliation agreement, an informed source revealed. In the West Bank, PLO factions are holding intense meetings over how to respond to the...

The price of peace: Interview with detained activist
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - Twenty-three-year-old Sami from al-Essawaya village near Nablus has always believed in peaceful coexistence with Israelis. However, he and his family have paid a dear price for his convictions. "I worked for six years inside Israel," he said, "just in supermarkets, any work I could find. Me and my friends would jump over the wall at Qalandiya...

Obama Grants Israel $2.775 Billion In Security Aid
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - United States President, Barack Obama, signed the Foreign Aid Budget Law of 2010 which includes granting Israel $2.775 Billion in security aid to the state of Israel. The budges is the second in two years and is considered part of the US aid to Israel which will total $30 Billion in the coming ten years. Israeli...

Mk Tibi: "Israel Illegally Took Skin Patches, Corneas To Implant Them In Wounded Troops"
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - Dr. Ahmad Tibi, deputy speaker of the Knesset, head of the United Arab Bloc for Change, stated that the Abu Kabeer forensic center removed in the 90's patches of skin and corneas from every corpse that was transferred to it in order to implant them in wounded soldiers. Dr. Tibi added that the body parts were...

Amnesty International's Director derides British Government for its shortsighted rush to protect ally and undermining of fight for international justice
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - In a letter to the editor of The Times today (18 December) the UK Director of Amnesty International, Kate Allen said the newspaper's denunciation of the arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni (leading article, Dec 16) is misplaced and to argue that Ms Livni be shielded from justice because she is from a "democracy" that is "an...

Israeli occupation bar celebration of "Jerusalem the Capital of Arabic Culture"
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - IOF troops stopped Palestinian celebrating the end of activities relating to "Jerusalem, the Capital of Arabic Culture 2009", which was planned at Bab al-Amoud, one of the main gates of Jerusalem's old city on Thursday evening. The IOF arrested twelve people including foreign activists and assaulted others. PIC's correspondent said that a large number of Israeli...

"It is time for us to put an end to this occupation"
Uruknet December 18, 2009 - Situated just west of Ramallah, the Palestinian village of Nilin has lost huge swathes of land to Israel's settlements and its wall in the occupied West Bank. In a year and a half of resisting construction of the wall, five villagers have been murdered by the Israeli military while demonstrating. Hassan Mousa is a coordinator of...

Palestine Telegraph

IOF Invaded Limited Distance in Al-Bureij Camp
Gaza, December 18, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Eye witnesses said that several Israeli vehicles invaded on Friday morning east of Al-Bureij camp, in central Gaza Strip, and razed the agricultural land. They confirmed that five bulldozers and three military vehicles invaded approximately 350 meters east of the camp, near the place where an armed clash took place last Saturday. Israeli...

Viva Palestina Welcomed by Turkish People
Turkey, December 17, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- An aid convoy organized by international peace activists has arrived in Turkey on its way to Gaza before breaking the Israeli siege on the territory. The convoy, which left London on December 5, was welcomed by thousands of Turkish activists and the general public on Wednesday, said Jody Sabral, the Press TV correspondent. At...

Jewish Extremists to Intrude Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jerusalem, December 17, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Al-Aqsa Institute for Waqf and Heritage warned of the repeated calls by extremist Jewish groups to collectively break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Jerusalem, and to practice their religious Jewish rituals related to the construction of the so-called third temple. In a statement, the Institute said that massive demonstrations have been...

Israel decorates Gaza war 'heroes'
Gaza, December 17, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Israel decorates eight soldiers for showing "heroism" in the widely condemned Operation Cast Lead which killed hundreds of Palestinians earlier this year. Major General Yoav Galant presented the soldiers with the honor medals on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by top Southern Command brass and the heads of councils and communities from the...

OCHA: “Palestinians Prevented From Building On 44% Of West Bank Lands”
West Bank, December 17, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA) reported that Israel is preventing Palestinians from building on 44% of West Bank lands as it allocated these areas to settlements and the military. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the...

The National

Exploited Thais in no man’s land
The National 18 Dec 2009 - As Israeli rockets whizzed overhead bombarding Gaza, migrant labourers were ordered to work on while their employer took his dogs to safety. Mya Guarnieri reports on the plight of the farm hands trapped by debt.

Indiana Jones, but in reverse
The National 18 Dec 2009 - Zahi Hawass has succeeded in persuading museums around the world to return ancient treasures to Egypt.

Lebanon: 4 dead in cargo ship sinking
The National 18 Dec 2009 - The Lebanese army says at least four people have died and dozens are still missing after a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship carrying cattle sank in stormy weather.

Aljazeera

CIA linked to Palestinian 'torture'
AlJazeera 18 Dec 2009 - US agency working with agents accused of abusing Hamas detainees, Guardian reports.

Boat sinks off Lebanon coast
AlJazeera 18 Dec 2009 - Dozens missing after ship capsizes in stormy weather near port city of Tripoli.

Israel blocks Jerusalem gathering
AlJazeera 17 Dec 2009 - Israeli police clash with Palestinians at rally organised to mark cultural event.

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.

Palestine News Network

Olmert's plan for peace
PNN 17 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 settlement blocs in the West Bank. According to the map proposed by Olmert, which is being made public here for the first time, the future border between Israel and the Gaza Strip would be adjacent to...

Abu Dhabi to host 'Miss Camel' beauty pageant 
PNN 17 Dec 2009 - Thousands of camels from around the Arab world will bat their long eyelashes and show off their humps at Abu Dhabi's Miss Camel beauty pageant next month, organizers said on Wednesday. It will be the largest gathering of camels in one place ever, organizers of the 2010 al-Dhafra Festival said. The Gulf's leading camel connoisseurs will critically observe as camel after camel...

POMEGRANATES AND MYRRH
PNN 17 Dec 2009 - International Narrative Feature FilmsPalestinianTerritories, 2008, 95 mins., color Director(s):Najwa Najjar Screenwriter(s): Najwa Najjar Producer: Hani E. Cort Coproducers: Robin Gutch, Thierry Lenouvel, Kamel Kacimi and Daniel Gobner Cinematographer: Valentina Caniglia Commissioning Editor: Meinolf Zuhorst Editors: Bettina Bohler, Sotira Kyriacou Dancer Kamar’s joyful wedding to Zaid is followed almost immediately by Zaid’s imprisonment in an Israeli jail for refusing to give up his...

Jerusalem Post

'Britain failed us on arrest warrant loophole'
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - Officials say Israel did its part in case of slain filmmaker, but British gov't did not respond in kind.

Lieberman: Building will resume in 10 months
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - FM says settlement freeze is a tactical move, calls for gov't to downplay Palestinian issue.

'PM reluctant to sign Schalit deal'
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - Fox: Egypt awaits Israeli response on deal presented 3 weeks ago; Israeli source: Mediator favors Hamas.

Peres, Gul restoring 'friendly' ties
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - In Copenhagen, president tells Turkish counterpart Israel seeks "real, just peace" with its neighbors.

Top UN official: Moratorium insufficient
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - Special coordinator for ME peace process says move falls short of Israel's road map commitments.

Lebanon: 11 dead so far in cargo ship sinking
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - 39 of 83 crew members rescued after vessel believed to have been sailing from Uruguay to Syria goes down in stormy weather.

EU: Map contradicts building moratorium
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - J'lem: European criticism of settlements' inclusion in national priority map undermines peace efforts.

Analysis: Suddenly, the Arab world wakes up to Yemen's rebellion
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - Saudi media claims Iran is trying to create a Hizbullah-like enclave.

IDF bolstering computer defenses
Jeruslalem Post 18 Dec 2009 - C4I Corps sets up 'hack team' to test Israeli codes; MI assigns intel liaison to special code unit.

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...

EUROPE: Cosy With Israel, Despite the Headlines 
IPS BRUSSELS, Dec 18 (IPS) - Israel's relations with the European Union were tense for most of 2009 - if newspaper headlines are to be believed. In the past week, a British court drew fierce criticism from Israeli politicians after it issued an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli...

PCHR Weekly Report

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

International Solidarity Movement

Israeli army fires rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators celebrating the Arab Creativity Award for Bil’in
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, 18 December - This Friday the demonstration organized by the Popular Committee against the Wall was joined by dozens of leaders, members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, marking its 42nd anniversary. As every Friday a number of international and Israeli peace activists and residents of Bil'in and neighboring villages took part in the protest. After the Friday prayers, a joyful and wet group of demonstrators carried banners condemning the Israeli occupation and its repressive practices while they marched towards the Wall built on Bil'in's land. Slogans and speeches called for national unity and emphasized the principles of the Palestinian state. When the demonstrators approached the Wall the Israeli army fired sound bombs and tear-gas grenades and after a while the soldiers proceeded to fire rubber-coated steel bullets. 

Israeli repression of Palestinian celebrations in the heart of Jerusalem
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 17 December - A spectacular and proud celebration of Palestinian and Arab culture in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday, December 17, 2009, was brutally repressed by Israeli military and police. A rare celebration of Palestinian and Arab culture in Jerusalem's Old City started around 10:30am on Thursday, December 17, 2009, with a group of musicians leading a march from Damascus Gate to the very center of the Old City, attracting marchers and cheers from merchants and shoppers along the route. Thursday's celebrations served not only as a reassertion of Palestinian identity in occupied Jerusalem, but also as a local closing event for Jerusalem as Capital of Arab Culture for 2009. The official closing ceremony, however, was held in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, that afternoon, since the Israeli government has prohibited such expressions of Palestinian identity and culture in the areas under its immediate military control, which include Jerusalem. 

Twenty seven activists arrested at protest against settler expansion in Sheikh Jarrah
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 18 December - A peaceful demonstration of around 300 people, held in solidarity with the evicted Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, was violently dispersed by the Israeli police. Following a violent dispersal of a similar demonstration last week, the police was blocking the roads in Sheikh Jarrah from the early afternoon, in an attempt to prevent protesters from reaching the Palestinian neighbourhood. They set up barriers at the entrance to the area and, before the demonstration even started, arrested an American activist, who was sitting in the back yard of the al-Kurd house, talking to the family. Later on, twenty six Israeli protesters were arrested, three of them wearing clown costumes. Similarly to last week, the police used a section of the al-Kurd house, currently occupied by settlers, to detain the arrested demonstrators. 

27 arrested, 3 wounded during Sheikh Jarrah protest
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 18 December - Twenty-six Israeli protesters and one international solidarity activist were arrested and three Palestinian children wounded during a nonviolent demonstration against the Israeli settlement project in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah this Friday. Over 300 people, Palestinians, internationals and Israelis, attended the weekly vigil. Last week 24 people were arrested during a similar protest that was also violently dispersed by Israeli Occupation Forces. The apartheid state security forces blocked the roads leading into Sheikh Jarrah in an attempt to prevent protesters from entering the Palestinian neighborhood, but the demonstrators managed to reach the occupied al-Kurd house by splitting into smaller marches and descending on Sheikh Jarrah from the side streets, back alleyways, and rugged landscape behind the neighborhood. 

The ongoing repression of Palestinian protesters
12/18/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Jonathan Pollak, Huffington Post - On a pitch black early December night, seven armored Israeli military jeeps pulled into the driveway of a home in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Dozens of soldiers, armed and possibly very scared, came to arrest someone they were probably told was a dangerous, wanted man – Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher at the Latin Patriarchate School and a well-known grassroots organizer in the village of Bil'in. Every Friday, for the past five years, Abdallah Abu Rahmah has led men, women and children from Bil'in, carrying signs and Palestinian flags, along with their Israeli and international supporters, in civil disobedience and protest marches against the seizure of sixty percent of the village's land for Israel's construction of its wall and settlements. Bil'in has become a symbol of civilian resistance to Israel's occupation for Palestinians and international grassroots. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Peres: Stolen Auschwitz sign has deep historical significance 
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - President Shimon Peres met with Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Copenhagen on Friday to discuss the theft of the infamous entrance sign to the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz. ...

Israeli pleads guilty to leaking classified U.S. documents 
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - An Israeli lawyer and left-wing activist who worked as a linguist for the FBI has pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents to a blogger who posted the information online. ...

Abbas' West Bank is flourishing but Hamas is not worried
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - RAMALLAH - To an observer, it sometimes seems that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas knows something we don't. Otherwise, it's hard to explain the sense of satisfaction he is projecting these days. Above all, it appears that since his announcement that he will not run in the next elections, the rais is feeling a sense of relief. This week, in a speech to the PLO's Central Council and afterward in an interview with Haaretz, he was in an upbeat and jovial mood, smiling all over and looking confident. ... 

Iran to West: Stop threats if you want nuclear deal
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday said Tehran is ready to reach a deal over its contentious nuclear program if the United States and other Western countries stop making threats, French news agency AFP reported. ...

Israel and Turkey agree bilateral ties back on track 
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - President Shimon Peres and Turkish President Abdullah Gul said following their official meeting on Friday that they have agreed to resume positive and stable diplomatic relations between the two countries. ...

The Guardian

CIA working with Palestinian security agents
The Guardian 17 Dec 2009 - US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been...

Israeli border guards shoot US student's laptop
The Guardian 17 Dec 2009 - Three bullets fired into MacBook after security staff checked tourist's luggage The cliched advice with so many computer problems is to turn the machine off and then on again; the laptop that offended the Israeli border...

The plus side of an arms race with Iran | Meir Javedanfar
The Guardian 17 Dec 2009 - The west should see it as a powerful way to gradually bleed the Iranian leadership of what keeps it alive economic viability Iran's testing of its "Sajjil 2" missile grabbed headlines in the international media. It...

Wars, crimes and political stunts | Charles Falconer
The Guardian 17 Dec 2009 - The campaign for universal jurisdiction is not helped by a system in which Tzipi Livni can be politically pursued The application of the criminal law to the conduct of governments and their agents will, over time,...

Opening up the peace process | Petra Marquardt-Bigman
The Guardian 17 Dec 2009 - Mahmoud Abbas says an Israel-Palestine deal could be reached in six months. But too many issues remain under the carpet In recent months, veteran Middle East experts such as Hussein Agha and Robert Malley or Aaron...

The impunity of Israel and its allies will carry a price | Seumas Milne
The Guardian 17 Dec 2009 - Outrage over Tzipi Livni's arrest warrant would be better directed to the suffering of Gaza and the risks of a new eruption When evidence of war crimes is produced, you might expect states that claim to...

Childhood in ruins
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - Last December, Israel began a 23-day bombardment of Gaza, killing around 1,400 people. One year on, a generation of children is growing up amid the wreckage of that attack, traumatised and radicalised by the experience Ghiada...

Arrest warrants: Short arm of international law
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - If we accept the notion that law is meaningless without enforcement, we also have to buy into the principle that universal jurisdiction is an essential arm of international law. Without it, war crimes are commited with...

Outcry over plan to give attorney general veto on war crimes warrants
The Guardian 16 Dec 2009 - Brown 'totally opposed' to attempted arrest of Israeli 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...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Jaffa bakery scion has turned Israel football into a little UN
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Meet Said Abulafia. A 28-year-old lawyer born and still living in Jaffa, he is the scion of the Abulafia family, whose properties include the historic Jaffa bakery of the same name. In addition to practicing law and managing the family's real estate assets (he is in the process of opening an Abulafia bakery in Manhattan), he is president of the Tel Aviv Sabres, a diverse collection of football players in which national, religious and political differences take a back seat to love for the game. Maybe it's the free post-game Abulafia bourekas that do the trick. ... 

MK aims to keep Palestinians married to Israelis from gaining citizenship
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - The ministerial committee on legislation is to vote Sunday on an amendment proposed by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) to the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom, intended to bring it into line with the controversial Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law. ... 

Haredim dub women Western Wall worshippers 'Nazis' 
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Confrontation broke out in the Western Wall on Friday, as Haredi worshippers protested an attempt by members of a women's organization to conduct a massive prayer session at the holy site by calling out "not-Jews" and "Nazis," Army Radio reported on Friday. ...

Arab filmmaker wins film award, Israel airline security nabs it 
Ha'aretz 18 Dec 2009 - Thirty-five days after returning from Barcelona on a Sun D'Or flight, items belonging to documentary film director Sahera Dirbas, which Israeli security people had removed from her luggage and sent separately, were returned to her. Among them was a bronze figurine she had won at the International Euro-Arab Amal Film Festival in Spain for best documentary - awarded for her film "Stranger in My Home." ... 

Not every Israeli thinks children should get free dental care 
Ha'aretz 17 Dec 2009 - Knesset members and representatives of patient advocacy organizations yesterday held a protest at the offices of the Israel Medical Association to register opposition to the cabinet's approval of the transfer of NIS 65 million from the budget for state-subsidized health to fund free dental care for children. ... 

Relief Web

UN GA adopts 56 resolutions, 9 decisions recommended by 3rd Committee on broad range of human rights, social, cultural issues
Relief Web 18 Dec 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

Gaza: Healing the traumatized city
Relief Web 18 Dec 2009 - Source: Action by Churches Together International

OPT: European Union provides ten million euros in support of UNRWA's educational activities
Relief Web 18 Dec 2009 - Source: European Union, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Humanitarian Aid on the move - Newsletter No.3, Sep 2009
Relief Web 18 Dec 2009 - Source: Groupe Urgence - Réhabilitation - Développement

OPT: Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem a real threat to peace
Relief Web 17 Dec 2009 - Source: Common Ground News Service

Le Coordonnateur pour le processus de paix au Moyen-Orient appelle les parties palestinienne et israélienne à reprendre rapidement les négociations pour sortir de l'impasse politique
Relief Web 17 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

YNet News

Obama approves aid to Israel, PA
YNet News 18 Dec 2009 - Jewish state receives $2.775 billion as part of agreement granting it $30 billion in coming decade; Palestinians get $500 million for first time 

Barak visited Austria despite fear of arrest 
YNet News 18 Dec 2009 - Foreign Ministry receives information that pro-Palestinian organization will seek arrest warrant against defense minister, but he leaves for Vienna – and returns safely 

Iraq reports Iranian incursion; Tehran denies 
YNet News 18 Dec 2009 - Senior Baghdad official said Iranian soldiers crossed into Iraqi territory, took up position at southern oilfield whose ownership is disputed by Islamic Republic. Tehran's semi-official Mehr news agency quotes National Iranian Oil Company as rejecting report 

Fox News says Netanyahu delaying Shalit deal 
YNet News 18 Dec 2009 - American network reports talks aimed at securing kidnapped soldier's release awaiting formal Israeli response for three weeks now. Israeli source quoted as saying, 'We are being played by the German mediator, who seems to be more favorable to Hamas, possibly because of Germany's economic ties with Iran' 

EU hits out at settler credit scheme
YNet News 18 Dec 2009 - Sweden says Israeli government's decision to include 13 settlements in national priorities plan 'runs counter to the spirit of the settlement freeze' 

25 leftists arrested in east Jerusalem 
YNet News 18 Dec 2009 - Police forces detain activists for refusing to end rally against Jews inhabiting houses in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. One of protestors tells Ynet, 'The police's conduct resembles a military regime. This neighborhood cannot be under Jewish control' 

Daily Star

Yemen says security forces hit Al-Qaeda, kill at least 34
Daily Star 18 Dec 2009 SANAA: Yemen said its security forces backed by warplanes killed up to 30 Al-Qaeda militants on Thursday and a security source said the operations had foiled a planned series of suicide bombings. According to a government website, Yemeni forces hit a number of Al-Qaeda targets including a training center in the southern province of Abyan. This had led to the killing of 24-30 militants including foreigners, it said, without giving their nationalities.

Viva Palestina campaign sees 86 aid vehicles destined for Gaza
Daily Star 18 Dec 2009 BEIRUT: It was a typically cold London day in January earlier this year when, in front of thousands of people demonstrating against the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, British MP George Galloway announced a convoy of aid would be travelling from London to Gaza under the banner "Viva Palestina."Almost a year later and after two successful convoys.

Palestinian Information Center

Detainees' families: the Guardian partially exposed suffering of loved ones
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - The committee representing families of detainees in Abbas's jails said Friday in a press release that the mistreatment of detainees talked about in the Guardian was really the tip of iceberg.

Maqdisi: Occupation authorities order demolition of mosque and 7 homes
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - Maqdisi Society said that the Israeli occupation authorities have handed on Thursday orders to demolish seven homes in the Jabal al-Mukabber in the southern part of Jerusalem.

Israeli occupation bar celebration of "Jerusalem the Capital of Arabic Culture"
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - IOF troops stopped Palestinian celebrating the end of activities relating to "Jerusalem, the Capital of Arabic Culture 2009", which was planned at Bab al-Amoud..

Islamic-Christian committee: torching of mosque reflects racism of occupation
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - The Islamic-Christian Committee for the support of Jerusalem and holy places said that that the torching of the Grand Mosque at Yasuf reflects the extent of hate and racism of the Israeli occupation.

Egyptian activist: Egypt should be helping Gaza rather than building walls
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - Hafeth Abu Sa'dah criticised Cairo's intention to build a wall of steel on its border with the Gaza Strip saying that such a step contradicts Egypt's duty towards the Palestinian people..

Gaza police: Breaking into the PNGO network offices in Gaza was an internal job
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian police in Gaza have reportedly arrested a man suspected of breaking into the offices of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations Network in Gaza City a few days ago.

The Guardian: CIA working with Palestinian security agents
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - A report published by the Guardian newspaper on Friday said that the CIA was working closely with Palestinian security agencies who are allegedly torturing Hamas supporters.

Muslims need to make Hijra back to Islam
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - While celebrating the new hijri year we need to reflect on the sad reality of Muslims to discover how inconsistent it is with true Islam.

Ahmed: Revoking Livni arrest warrant reminds us of Balfour declaration
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - Hamas official Hosam Ahmed said that Britian's intention to revoke the arrest warrant issued against Livni brings to mind the British role in the displacement of the Palestinian people.

Resheq: Our visit to Iran aimed to promote relations with Arab and Muslim states
PIC 18 Dec 2009 - Ezzat Al-Resheq stated that the visit of Hamas leadership to Iran is part of its efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties with Arab and Muslim states and ensure their support for the Palestinian cause.

Los Angeles Times

Iran's missile test angers the West 
LA Times 17 Dec 2009 - At home, the government threatens leaders of the reform movement with arrest. Iranian authorities confronted their international and domestic rivals Wednesday, angering the West by testing a high-speed missile and raising political tensions at home by warning reformist opposition leaders they could be arrested. 

New York Times

Images of Tehran Before the Turmoil
New York Times 17 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. 

Iran Says It Tested Upgraded Missile
New York Times 17 Dec 2009 - Iran’s announcement on Wednesday seemed to be aimed at discouraging a military attack on its nuclear sites. 

A Legacy of Regret for a Saudi Diplomat
New York Times 17 Dec 2009 - Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, said his legacy would be one of disappointment because he had failed to help establish a Palestinian state. 

P.L.O. Extends President Mahmoud Abbas’s Term
New York Times 17 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. 

Nuclear Memo in Persian Puzzles Spy Agencies
New York Times 17 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

Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists
Palestine Monitor - 17 Dec 2009 - We publish an open letter from Labor of Palestine to AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) President Richard Trumka on 4 December 2009. In the letter US trade unionists reaffirm their support for BDS. Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US...

When Will It Be Our Time? 
Palestine Monitor - 17 Dec 2009 - I have lived my entire adult life under occupation, with Israelis holding ultimate control over my movement and daily life. When young Israeli police officers force me to sit on the cold ground and soldiers beat me during a peaceful protest, I smolder. No human being...

To some Palestinian children the antidote to Israeli occupation is Israeli prison
Mondoweiss - 18 Dec 2009 - A, now 18, demonstrates a position he was restrained in for hours at a time many times during the course of his 25 months in prison. (Photo: Jo Ehrlich) Two boys from Dheisheh were arrested the other day at the Beit Jala/Jerusalem checkpoint. I read the...

Tel Aviv human rights march displayed a ‘collective hope for justice’
Mondoweiss - 18 Dec 2009 - Human Rights March in Tel Aviv. The following is a report on a march that took place Friday, December 11 to commemorate International Human Rights Day in Tel Aviv: When an invitation to an event called, Ain Matzav! ("No Way!") , appeared amongst my dozens of Facebook...

‘Forward’ reports: Rightwing Israeli maumau’d gormless Ford Foundation to drop I/P grants
Mondoweiss - 18 Dec 2009 - How does the Israel lobby work? Let me count the ways… Liberal Israeli Yossi Alpher has an interesting piece in the Forward taking on Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor. Below the piece says that the august Ford Foundation has been maumau’d out of doing work on...

What the NYT won’t tell you: Israel has lost the ‘battle for int’l legitimacy’
Mondoweiss - 18 Dec 2009 - Ali Abunimah said at Hampshire College that the decadent period of Zionism has begun, in which Zionism loses the war for hearts and minds in the west, and delegitimization/BDS force Israeli introspection, and force Israel to change its behavior. Well this won’t happen till the New...

Inglorious JTS
Mondoweiss - 18 Dec 2009 - I don’t want to say a lot about this, it’s too weird, Jewish religious groups getting mixed up with jihadi feeling. The same week we learn that leading American Jewish figures are financing a settlers group that backs a rabbi who spouts racist venom about murdering...


Articles

When will it be our time? 
Mustafa Barghouthi, Ma’an News Agency 12/17/2009
      Ramallah - I have lived my entire adult life under occupation, with Israelis holding ultimate control over my movement and daily life. 
     When young Israeli police officers force me to sit on the cold ground and soldiers beat me during a peaceful protest, I smolder. No human being should be compelled to sit on the ground while exercising rights taken for granted throughout the West. 
     It is with deepening concern that I recognize the Obama administration is not yet capable of standing up to Israel and the pro-Israel lobby. Our dream of freedom is being crushed under the weight of immovable and constantly expanding Israeli settlements. 
     Days ago, the State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly, managed only to term such illegal building "œdismaying." The Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, stands up and walks out on the US envoy, George Mitchell, every time the American envoy mentions East Jerusalem.
     And Javier Solana, just prior to completing his stint as European Union foreign policy chief, claimed Palestinian moves toward statehood “have to be done with time, with calm, in an appropriate moment.” He adds: “I don’t think today is the moment to talk about that.”
     When, precisely, is a good time for Palestinian freedom? I call on Mr Solana’s replacement, Catherine Ashton, to take concrete actions to press for Palestinian freedom rather than postpone it. more.. e-mail

Austria: Genocide Charges against Ehud Barak 
Kawther Salam, The Daily Life of Kawther Salam 12/16/2009
      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 troops under the command of Ehud Barak, and the whole allegation of crimes in the letter to the prosecutor consists of the so-called “Goldstone Report” itself, and it names as witnesses the members of the commission, judge Goldstone and his colleagues, as well as their interview partners.
     At the time when these charges were being presented, the news that an arrest warrant had been issued against Tzipi Livni in the UK had not yet transcended; this only became known in the evening hours, and as of today 15 December, it appears that the Austrian authorities have not taken action against Barak. This could have different grounds. First, the situation of Livni and Barak are different: whereas Livni currently has no function in government, Barak is currently defense minister and vice-premier; First page of criminal charges, with entry stamp of the prosecutors office.secondly, Austria is still apprehended in the notion that they have a political and moral duty to ensure the security of Israel, whatever Israel does and probably at any cost to Austria, because of understandable yet irrelevant historical facts, third, England has implemented the Rome Statute of the ICC as a national law, whereas this is not the case in Austria yet. Ultimately the main reason why Austria has not taken action in this case might be the almost absence of public discourse around the crimes of Israel, a situation which will most probably evolve to the better. more.. e-mail

Sanctioning Iran a Dangerous, Illegal Move 
Rep. Ron Paul, Aletho News 12/16/2009
      Before the United States House of Representatives, statement opposing the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act.
     I rise in strongest opposition to this new round of sanctions on Iran, which is another significant step toward a U.S. war on that country. I find it shocking that legislation this serious and consequential is brought up in such a cavalier manner. Suspending the normal rules of the House to pass legislation is a process generally reserved for “non-controversial” business such as the naming of post offices. Are we to believe that this House takes matters of war and peace as lightly as naming post offices?
     This legislation seeks to bar from doing business in the United States any foreign entity that sells refined petroleum to Iran or otherwise enhances Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum such as financing, brokering, underwriting, or providing ships for such. Such sanctions also apply to any entity that provides goods or services that enhance Iran’s ability to maintain or expand its domestic production of refined petroleum. This casts the sanctions net worldwide, with enormous international economic implications. Recently, the Financial Times reported that, “[i]n recent months, Chinese companies have greatly expanded their presence in Iran’s oil sector. In the coming months, Sinopec, the state-owned Chinese oil company, is scheduled to complete the expansion of the Tabriz and Shazand refineries – adding 3.3 million gallons of gasoline per day.”
     Are we to conclude, with this in mind, that China or its major state-owned corporations will be forbidden by this legislation from doing business with the United States? What of our other trading partners who currently do business in Iran’s petroleum sector or insure those who do so? Has anyone seen an estimate of how this sanctions act will affect the U.S. economy if it is actually enforced? more.. e-mail

"It is time for us to put an end to this occupation"
Electronic Intifada: 18 Dec 2009 - Situated just west of Ramallah, the Palestinian village of Nilin has lost huge swathes of land to Israel's settlements and its wall in the occupied West Bank. In a year and a half of resisting construction of the wall, five villagers have been murdered by the Israeli military while demonstrating. The Electronic Intifada contributor Jody McIntyre interviewed Hassan Mousa, a coordinator of the Nilin Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements and the uncle of Ahmed Mousa, an 11-year-old boy who was the first villager from Nilin to be killed by the Israeli army. 

Net around Israeli war crimes suspects tightens
Electronic Intifada: 18 Dec 2009 - Efforts by human rights organizations, lawyers and activists in Palestine and Europe to hold Israeli war crimes suspects to account have gained momentum over the past few years. Last week, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni cancelled a visit to the UK over threats of a lawsuit under the country's universal jurisdiction laws. Adri Nieuwhof and Ziyaad Lunat comment for The Electronic Intifada. 

The price of peace: Interview with detained activist
Electronic Intifada: 18 Dec 2009 - Twenty-three-year-old Sami from al-Essawaya village near Nablus has always believed in peaceful coexistence with Israelis. However, he and his family have paid a dear price for his convictions. Kieron Monks writes. 

EI reader appeal: Your support makes our work on Palestine possible
Electronic Intifada: 17 Dec 2009 - What was the most inspiring, informative, motivating article you read on The Electronic Intifada in 2009? Take a look at some of our highlights. Thousands of people read EI every day in almost every country around the world, finding the information they can't get elsewhere. In its annual appeal, EI asks its readers for the financial support that will enable us to continue our groundbreaking, fearless and independent reporting on Palestine in 2010 

Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists
Palestine Monitor: 17 Dec 2009 - We publish an open letter from Labor of Palestine to AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) President Richard Trumka on 4 December 2009. In the letter US trade unionists reaffirm their support for BDS. Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists By Labor for Palestine (Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel; December 2009) "Sanctions alone cannot eradicate apartheid; that task is ultimately left to the people of South Africa themselves. But economic pressure and political isolation of the South African government can hasten the day when justice and freedom reign in that troubled land." —Richard L. Trumka, June 23, 1987 "We call on other workers and unions to . . . do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free." — Congress of South African Trade Unions,...

Britain's Foreign Office Surrenders to Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Dec 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London 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 promised Lieberman to begin working immediately to change the UK laws that enable the issue of arrest warrants against Israeli officials accused of war crimes." Who does this foreign secretary think he is, apologising in our name for the operation of British law, especially when the warrant was issued to answer well-founded charges of war crimes? Livni claims it was not personal. "It’s about the entire State of Israel and our ability to go on working together against common threats." What common threats? We have nothing in common. The threats Israel faces are caused by its racist expansion, land theft, general lawlessness and hateful attitude towards its neighbours, and by the lethal threat Israel itself presents to others in the region. Our government puts us in harm’s way by associating so closely with the regime and continually taking its side. As for ex-night club bouncer Lieberman, a deranged loudmouth who lives in an illegal Jewish settlement in the Palestinian West Bank and thrives on extremist language, since when did he merit a British apology? "Miliband called the warrant intolerable and said he had spoken to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice...

Lebanon's Ebenezer Scrooge
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Dec 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Beirut Surely we should all have known better. It was just too good to last. It seemed to some Americans in Lebanon that nearly all the Lebanese and their political leaders were ready to try to more of less work together for the good of the country. Many even seemed to be getting excited about Christmas. Several of the diverse sects’ zaim’s (leaders) were seen on TV enjoying attending public lightings of Christmas trees, praising the new unity government and some humming their favorite holiday tunes during family visits to places like the crowded Beirut and City Malls. The new prime minister Saad Hariri admitted that he relished presiding over the ceremony for the lighting of the ‘national’ Christmas Tree in Downtown Beirut this week and was inspired by fond memories of his student days at Georgetown University when he liked to walk over behind the White House and watch the US President pull the switch and see the huge tree light up to a chorus of “ohs” and “ahs” from kids and their relatives. The ceremony here was almost the same and it seems to this outsider that the Lebanese have way more relatives than we in America do or at least they get together more often. Given all the electricity problems Lebanon’s population has to endure, with daily power black outs ranging from three hours per day in the more posh Hamra district to more than 12 hours of daily cuts in some areas...

Telling Lies about Sheikh Jarrah
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Dec 2009 - By Kim Bullimore In June 2008, I wrote an article called 'Telling Lies about Bil'in' in which I outlined how the Israeli military, assisted by Israel's corporate Zionist media lied about a peaceful non-violent demonstration in the Palestinian village of Bil'in, depicting it as 'violent' in order to justify the Israeli Occupation Forces use of unrestrained violence against the peaceful demonstrators. After 42 years of attempting to justify its brutal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, the Israeli Occupation Forces lies have become a matter of course. This week the Israeli Occupation Forces and the Israeli police once again engaged in the violent suppression of a non-violent demonstration and then lied about their actions. The only difference this time around was that it took place in Sheikh Jarrah in Occupied East Jerusalem, rather than in Bil'in in the Occupied West Bank. In the last year more than 50 Palestinians living in the Karm Al-Ja’ouni neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah have been left homeless as a result of being forcibly evicted from their homes by settlers, supported by Israeli occupation forces [1]. For the last 42 years, the 28 Palestinian families (more than 475 people) of the Karm Al-Ja'ouni have been fighting in the Israeli courts to stay in their homes. The families, all refugees from 1948, originally received their homes by the United Nations Refugees Works Agency (UNWRA) and the Jordanian government, which was in control of East Jerusalem from 1949 until the region was illegally occupied and...

UNRWA's Challenges and Mixed Record
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Dec 2009 - By Dina Jadallah The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees’ (UNRWA) sixtieth anniversary has now come and gone. Is this a sign of success or of profound failure? And for whom? The answer will vary depending on perspective: UNRWA’s, the refugees, and the states in which it operates. Nevertheless, the continued existence of an agency that was originally intended as a temporary relief and works organization until the legal and political rights of displaced refugees are restored is testimony to the failure of the whole world to address and solve the tragedy of the so-far ongoing Palestinian refugee crisis. Palestinian refugees, who number 7.2 million worldwide, remain the largest and longest suffering in the world. More than four million of them are registered with the United Nations for assistance. Overwhelmingly, they refuse to give up their inalienable right of return (as per UN Resolution 3236). Their numbers continue to expand due to natural demographic growth. That is compounded by Israeli policies, such as house demolitions, illegal settlements, forced exile, land expropriation, and the construction of the apartheid wall. All of these have added to the numbers. For instance, in 2008 alone, Israel stripped the residency of 4577 Jerusalemites – twenty times the average of the last forty years. (1) Acting Commissioner General Karen Koning AbuZayd, speaking from the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on December 15, 2009, castigated and urged Arabs to increase their contributions to UNRWA from the current 1% of its operating budget to the...
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