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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
19 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Settlers, Palestinian Farmers Clash Near Hebron
IMEMC 19 Dec 2009 - Sunday December 20, 2009 - 03:01, A group of fundamentalist settlers clashed on Saturday with Palestinian farmers near the illegal settlement outpost of Mitzpe Asael, in the southern Hebron Hillls.

Obama Grants Israel $2.775 Billion In Security Aid
IMEMC 19 Dec 2009 - Saturday December 19, 2009 - 01:55, United States President, Barack Obama, signed the Foreign Aid Budget Law of 2010 which includes granting $2.775 Billion in security aid to the state of Israel. This budget 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 19 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 19 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 19 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 19 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.

Ma'an News

Israeli soldiers assault Hebron family; detain members
12/19/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided the home of the Abu Heikal family in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron on Friday afternoon, detaining five of the men, one family member said. Firyal Abu Heikal, who was in the home during the Israeli raid, said solders beat the men and women of the family. She identified those beaten as sisters Samah and Majd, noting that their aunt Ghadir was also beaten. Male relatives Mohamed and Murad were also injured, she said. After several rooms were ransacked, Firyal said soldiers took66-year-old Abdul-Aziz, 48-year-old Imad, 48-year-old Ratib, 24-year-old Fahd, and 19-year-old Sami. They were also beaten and removed from the home without explanation as to their alleged crimes or notification as to where they were being taken. The Abu Heikal home is in an area of Hebron blocked off from the main street by several settler trailers housing large families of aggressive youth. 

Sandstorm devastates Negev prison inmates
12/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A ferocious sandstorm hit Israel's Negev desert prison this week, blasting the tent-compounds with raging winds and debris for three days, a prisoners society reported Saturday. The story caused severe losses at the camp, destroying many of the personal possessions of Palestinian prisoners and causing harsh living conditions, particularly those sentenced to live in tents in the outdoor compounds. The Higher Committee of the Media department in Hamas' Prisoners association said the storm disrupted daily programs at the prison, and accused Israeli prison authorities of standing idly by as the compound was hit with the storm. [end] 

France angered over Israeli interference at J’lem cultural event
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The French government called Israel's decision to quash celebrations for Jerusalem's Arab Capital of Culture 2009 events "doubly excessive" when forces targeted an event in the French Cultural Center on Thursday. The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported Friday remarks of the French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero, who said Israeli police arrived outside the French Cultural Center on Salah Ad-Din Street just north of the Old City of Jerusalem. Troops arrived one hour after celebrations around the close of the year-long Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture 2009 had begun. Valero said troops insisted on inspecting the identity cards of those present at the event. According to a KUNA report, French officials said that the event in the Cultural Center was "a cultural event that had been planned for a long time and coincided with the end of the Jerusalem Arab Capital year in 2009. 

Second Palestinian conference against death penalty held in Ramallah
12/19/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Second Palestinian National Conference for the Abolition of the Death Penalty concluded in Ramallah on Wednesday, and recommended that Palestine's military judiciary be completely separated from its civil arm. Conference delegates also suggested a suspension of the use of the death penalty until it can be totally eliminated from Palestinian law. Currently, the Palestinian President must personally confirm a death sentence once it is handed down from the courts. No Palestinian has been put to death for the past several years, though dozens have been given the sentence. The conference papers suggested earlier intervention by law enforcement authorities would help prevent the commission of crimes that involved the death penalty, and suggested community-based intervention and education campaigns to inform Palestinians when and where they can contact legal authorities for help. 

Gaza City holds emergency meeting on floods
12/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - An emergency committee was convened in Gaza Saturday in an effort to coordinate efforts around floods caused by recent downpours that overwhelmed the city streets. Representatives from the Gaza City Department of Sanitation, Department of Roads and Maintenance and municipal workers joined community members in an attempt to pool resources and plan emergency members for even heavier rains expected this week. General Director of services in the Department of Transportation Sa'd Ad-Din Al-"˜atbash headed the committee, saying he hoped adequate coordination would ensure a smooth running of services when rains hit. He added that having sanitation and processing equipment at the ready would be essential to avert sewage system overloads. "Though we lack of the necessary equipment and tools on account of the Israeli siege on Gaza, there must be an appropriate solution. . . 

EU: Israeli government actions against spirit of settlement freeze
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Continuing its vocal support of efforts for a Palestinian state, Consul General of Sweden in JerusalemNils Eliasson issued a statement condemning Israel's Sunday decision to include the construction of settlements in its National Priority Areas program. The statement, issued Friday, came as a Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the Council of the EU, and said the decision ran "counter to the spirit of the settlement freeze," and "prevents the creation of an atmosphere conducive to resuming negotiations on a two-state solution. "Coming the same day as the EU letter, which encouraged "Israel instead to continue along the path set forth by the moratorium," the country's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman settler groups, according to a report in the Israeli press, that the moratorium was only a political ruse, and construction of all manner of settlement buildings would begin after the ten-month partial hiatus. 

Hamas vows to gain control over militants shooting to Egypt
12/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Minister of the Interior with Gaza's de facto government Fathi Hammad promised efforts were being made to control the actions of gunmen shooting an Egyptian workers constructing a steel wall along the Egypt-Gaza border. Hammad's promise came Saturday following the second report from Egyptian security of Gaza gunmen firing shots at workers. Construction of the 25-meter-deep and 1 ten km long steel wall is said to be an attempt to stifle the proliferation of smuggling tunnels running beneath the Rafah border. The promise was made by Hammad over the telephone with Egyptian government officials, as he expressed concern over the recent events at the border. Earlier in the day Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum announced to Egypt that they had less to be scared of from Gaza as from the Israeli occupation. 

Charges on Salafi group involved in Gaza mosque take-over dropped
12/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh instructed the Gaza Ministry of Interior and security forces throw out the charges on activists with Jund Ansar Allah, the Salafi group involved in an August take-over of the Rafah Mosque. A show-down between Hamas and Jund Ansar Allah forces killed 22 including three children, and saw leaders of the movement who sought to declare an Islamic emirate in Gaza, killed or detained. De facto government officials promised to release the remaining members from prison ahead of both the Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha holidays. On Saturday Haniyeh ordered the four-month-old file to be destroyed for the sake of Palestinian unity. The statement announcing the policy shift came following the de facto prime ministers visit to a Gaza prison where the ultra-Islamist members were being held. 

It is not his remains; it’s our son coming home
12/19/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an- Seventy-five-year-old Amina Yousef Ali has been waiting to receive the remains of her son Mashhour for 34 years. In lieu of a grave site, she keeps his clothes pristine in the closet, just like he left them before he was killed. Mashhour left Palestine in 1975 to to study in Jordan, where he joined the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and got involved with their armed wing. On a resistance mission Mashhour snuck into Palestine from Jordan along with two other fighters, Hafez Abu Zant from Nablus and Khaled Abu Zayyad from Yafa. They entered Palestine on 17 May 1976 en route to Nablus. On the way they were involved in clashes with Israeli forces at the Al-Jiftlik military post east of the city and all three were killed. "Whenever I miss him I smell his clothes, its the only thing I have left," his mother explained. 

Israeli forces seize two in overnight ops
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A Palestinian from the Salfit and a second from the Hebron district were detained by Israeli forces, the information office of the Palestinian police said Saturday. The men were identified as 22-year-old Izzat Suleiman from the village of Marda near Salfit, detained by Israeli soldiers as he passed through the Huwwara checkpoint, which separates the northern from the central West Bank. He was taken to an unknown location. The second detention came during a raid on Ithna village south of Hebron, where soldiers detained 33-year-old Ziad Al-Masri. He was also taken to an unknown location. [end] 

Egypt lifts state of alert after shots fired by Palestinian gunmen
12/19/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - Palestinian gunmen in Gaza fired on Egyptian workers installing a steel wall on the Egypt-Gaza border Saturday, Egyptian security sources said, prompting a state of alert to be declared in the area. The sniper shots targeted Egyptian soldiers, reportedly coming from a tower area within the Gaza Strip. Egyptian security said the incident took place 3km south of the Salah Ad-Din area of Rafah. No injuries were reported. The series of sniper shots were the second reported by Egyptian security, following a similar event on Wednesday. Egyptian officials began construction of the a large steel wall in November reportedly to prevent continued smuggling efforts in the system of tunnels between the Strip and Egypt. The wall runs both above and below ground, is 25 meters deep and ten kilometers long. 

Saudi prince gets UNRWA Distinguished Donor prize
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - For his contributions of over 17. 4 million US dollars to the UN Relief and Works Agency, Saudi Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz As-Saud received the first ever Distinguished Donor Award, the agency said Saturday. Only weeks after UNRWA announced an impending "zero budget" for the new year, and amid Palestinian criticism of falling Arab support for the organization charged with caring for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Near East, the Saudi prince, also the country's second deputy prime minister and minister of the interior received recognition for his personal support. At a ceremony in Riyadh, Commissioner-General of UNRWA Karen AbuZayd presented the award to the prince. In 2009, his Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People and Campaign of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques for Gaza, donated more than 10 million US dollars to projects in Gaza, with the rest coming as contributions since 2005. 

Hamas official: Swap talks in stalemate
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners named by Gaza factions in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier has led the swap talks to a stalemate, Hamas politburo member Mohamed Nazzal said Friday. The statement came a day after Fox News reports cited Israeli government sources saying their Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was reluctant to sign a deal presented to him three weeks ago. The reluctance seemed to stem from a professed distrust of the German mediators currently brokering the deal. According to the report's source, "Israel is being played by the German mediator. . . And he (German mediator) seems to be more favorable to Hamas possibly because of the German government's economic ties with Iran, known to be Hamas' financial and ideological backer. "Nazzal cited Israel's intransigence, and accused the Israeli media of using pressure tactics to push for a Hamas-compromise. 

Barhoum to Egypt: Occupation more of a threat than Hamas
12/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum assured Egypt on Saturday that the Israeli occupation of Palestine was more of a threat to the country than Hamas. The comments came following reports from Egyptian security that Gaza snipers shot at workers building a new 25-meter-deep and ten km long steel wall along the Rafah border. The wall and its underground component are said to be an attempt to halt the smuggling trade flourishing on the tunnels beneath the Egypt-Gaza border. The attack on the wall-builders was the second reported in four days. "Gaza does not represent a danger to anyone" Barhoum said in relation to both the building of the wall and concern over sniper attacks on Egyptian workers. Barhoum called the construction of the wall a failure of the international community to realize the establishment of international forces along the border. 

Abbas blames Iran for continued political split
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an -President Mahmoud Abbas accused Iran of putting pressure on Hamas to delay the signing of a conciliation agreement brokered by Egypt, an interview with the Palestinian leader in Egypt's Al-Ahram revealed Saturday. "Pressures were placed on the leadership of Hamas in Damascus that led to Hamas backtracking from signing the Egyptian conciliation document," Abbas said, accusing Hamas of accepting upwards of 250 million US dollars from Iran in exchange for the unity rejection. Despite the accusations, Abbas said he would be willing to meet with Hamas "when I feel there is hope that we will sign conciliation. "[end] 

Haniyeh postpones all-factions meeting, cites emergency
12/19/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas leader in Gaza Ayman Taha said Saturday that the movement's leader Ismail Haniyeh has called off a meeting initially set for Sunday where leaders of all Palestinian factions were to have discussed Egypt's unity plan. An invitation to the meeting was made public on Friday, but received no official responses from factions. One statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said they and other PLO factions were engaged in "serious meetings" in Ramallah, trying to determine their collective response to the invite. Taha cited an "emergency" behind Haniyeh's calling off of the meeting. He did not announce an alternative date for the meeting. [end] 

Bethlehem’s Christmas mass to be broadcast worldwide
12/19/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Custos of the Holy Land and Palestine TV signed an agreement Friday that will see the Nativity Church Midnight Mass on Christmas broadcast made available without charge for any satellite station or individual wishing to take part in the celebration. Palestine TV will upload a live feed on 24 December, and the mass can be re-broadcast without charge anywhere in the world. The initiative is the largest among several churches in Bethlehem who hope to share their worship services and the special character of Christmas in the holy city with congregations in North America and around the world. The Nativity Church service on 24-25 December is a Catholic Mass, which will be conducted primarily in English. On 19 December Bethlehem's Lutheran Church will conduct a joint service with the Washington National Cathedral in the DC area. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Leaked IDF memo details tactics to enforce settlement freeze
Ha'aretz 20 Dec 2009 - Document reads there will be an effort at dialog with settlers, special forces raids on violators. 

Gazans shoot at Egyptians building underground border barrier
Ha'aretz 20 Dec 2009 - Officials say no one hurt in incident, which was fourth such shooting since construction on barrier begun. 

Hamas: Deal for Shalit release still a long way off
Ha'aretz 20 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 20 Dec 2009 - Yadlin says Iran's 'sophisticated strategy' means its 'technological clock is almost done winding.' 

One strike could have ended Iran nuclear program in 2004
Ha'aretz 20 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 20 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 20 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 20 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 20 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 20 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 20 Dec 2009 - Western spy arrested two months ago after spying on newly disclosed nuclear facility, Channel 2 reports. 

Border Policewoman wounded in fresh clash with settlers
Ha'aretz 20 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 20 Dec 2009 - Hamas leader makes comments in Iran, following Iranian threats of retaliation to Israeli strike. 

Uruknet


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

Survey finds Abbas would win election
The National 19 Dec 2009 - Surge in popularity of president of the Palestinian Authority is matched by increased support for Fatah over Hamas, opinion poll shows.

Exploited Thais in no man's land
The National 19 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 19 Dec 2009 - Zahi Hawass has succeeded in persuading museums around the world to return ancient treasures to Egypt.

Aljazeera

Hariri urges 'real' ties with Syria
AlJazeera 19 Dec 2009 - Lebanese PM holds "constructive" talks with Syrian president during landmark visit.

Iran to try jail staff over deaths
AlJazeera 19 Dec 2009 - Three people held during post-election violence were beaten to death, prosecutor says.

Israel's settlement subsidy policy
AlJazeera 19 Dec 2009 - Israel pauses construction, but throws money at settlements already in Jordan Valley.

More bodies retrieved off Lebanon 
AlJazeera 18 Dec 2009 - Fourteen people rescued a day after ship capsizes near port city of Tripoli.

Alternative Information Center

27 Demonstrators Arrested at Protest Against Eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem Neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah
Alternative Information Center 19 Dec 2009 - Israeli police arrested twenty-seven Palestinians and Israeli activists in Sheikh Jarrah on Friday, 18 December afternoon for refusing to end a rally against the eviction of Palestinian residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood. Several hundred protestors...

Palestine News Network

Arab filmmaker wins film award, Israel airline security nabs it 
PNN 19 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...

Israel: EU official's 'occupation' remark casts pall on ties 
PNN 19 Dec 2009 - Government officials in Jerusalem harshly criticized the new European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, for her scathing remarks about the Israeli occupation in her maiden speech. Ashton on Tuesday leveled scathing criticism at Israeli policy in her first speech as the European Union's first high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. The government officials in...

No Road to Jerusalem
PNN 19 Dec 2009 - The photo exhibition Existence denied , by Andrea M. and Magda C. , shows the anguish, humiliation and frustration of palestinian worshipers during the fridays of Ramadan. It is currently visible at the Alternative Information Center of Beit Shaour, Behtlehm. Looking at the dense crowd of people gathering each Friday of ramadan at the check points to reach the dome of the rock, one...

Jerusalem Post

'Lebanon, Syria share stance vs. Israel'
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - Lebanese PM makes first visit to country suspected of masterminding his father's killing.

'UK is committed to Israel's security'
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - Britain's first Jewish envoy Matthew Gould tells 'Post' he's proud to be his country's representative here.

Americans support action on Iran - if needed
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - US poll show just over half in favor of military attack on Iran if nuclear program not halted.

Israel, EU's new FM start off poorly
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - Ayalon: Europe won't sever Jews from Jerusalem; PM, Barak, FM to meet with Suleiman on Sunday.

Barak firm on ousting Har Bracha
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - Mercaz Harav rabbi warns against restricting expression ahead of yeshiva heads' meeting.

Cabinet to approve new Moscow envoy
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - Veteran Russian-language journalist Dorit Golender to be one of Lieberman's political appointments.

Iran: Prisoners were beaten to death
Jeruslalem Post 19 Dec 2009 - Judiciary acknowledges that at least three reformist prisoners died due to abuse suffered in detention.

'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.

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

Four houses raided in military incursion to West Bank villages Bil’in and Ni’ilin
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Popular Struggle Coordination Committee - The Palestinian villages of Bil'in and Ni'lin have been invaded by the Israeli military in the early hours of Saturday, 19 December 2009. Soldiers entered both villages at 2. 30am and raided houses of four families. In Bil'in, 5 military jeeps carrying about 30 soldiers entered the village and invaded the house of Yassin Yassin. Family members, woken up by the armed soldiers at the dark of night, were forced to leave the house and stand outside in cold and rain. The raid was conducted in order to arrest Yassin Yassin, wanted for his participation in the village's regular Friday demonstrations against the Wall and settlements. As Yassin was not present in the house at the time of the raid, the soldiers left a note ordering him to attend questioning at the Ofer prison. Soldiers then continued to conduct a search in a second house. 

Palestinian Refugee Yusif Barakat Returns to Palestine with 1,000 International Delegates
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Gaza Freedom March, 18 December 2009 - Gaza Freedom March to Palestine Border Set for December 31 - The Gaza Freedom March, to take place in Gaza on December 31, is an historic initiative to break the siege that has imprisoned the 1. 5 million Palestinians who live there. Conceived in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and nonviolent resistance to injustice worldwide, the march will gather people from all over the world to demand that the Israeli government open the borders. One of the participating marchers is 74-year-old Yusif Barakat, who was born in Haifa, Palestine. Barakat's family left their home when Jewish immigrants were settled in Palestine after World War II. In August 1947, this 12-year-old shepherd boy landed at Ellis Island with his family, not speaking a word of English. Four years later, his father died, leaving Barakat to take care of his mother and three sisters. 

Gaza must be rebuilt now
12/19/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Jimmy Carter, The Guardian - It is generally recognised that the Middle East peace process is in the doldrums, almost moribund. Israeli settlement expansion within Palestine continues, and PLO leaders refuse to join in renewed peace talks without a settlement freeze, knowing that no Arab or Islamic nation will accept any comprehensive agreement while Israel retains control of East Jerusalem. US objections have impeded Egyptian efforts to resolve differences between Hamas and Fatah that could lead to 2010 elections. With this stalemate, PLO leaders have decided that President Mahmoud Abbas will continue in power until elections can be held - a decision condemned by many Palestinians. Even though Syria and Israel under the Olmert government had almost reached an agreement with Turkey's help, the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejects Turkey as a mediator on the Golan Heights. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Foiled Hezbollah attacks likely source for Israel-Lebanon tensions 
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - The series of attacks on Israeli targets in Turkey planned by Hezbollah, as reported in the Turkish media, which was foiled by Turkish security forces two months ago, is likely to have caused the tension between Israel and Hezbollah along the Lebanon border this past summer and fall. ... 

Report: Hariri asks Assad to join forces against Israel
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri told Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday that he sought to improve the relations between their countries to better defend Lebanon against Israel, the Syrian news agency Champress reported. ...

Failures of the UN Climate Conference will be solved by science 
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - The main objective for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that ended yesterday was to update the convention on the subject; that document had been signed by most of the world's countries. The convention is the binding legal tool as far as international law is concerned. ... 

Conspiracy theories abound over theft of Auschwitz sign 
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - There are no clues 48 hours after the theft Friday of the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei - Work sets you free - sign from above the entrance gate to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. ... 

Turkey President: I'll visit Israel only after life in Gaza improves 
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - Turkish President Abdullah Gul told President Shimon Peres at a private meeting in Copenhagen on Friday that only after Israel takes action to improve the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip would he pay Israel a visit. ... 

The Guardian

Gaza must be rebuilt now | Jimmy Carter
The Guardian 19 Dec 2009 - We can wait no longer to restart the peace process. The human suffering demands urgent relief It is generally recognised that the Middle East peace process is in the doldrums, almost moribund. Israeli settlement expansion within...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Arab group appeals to ministers over change to citizenship law 
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, appealed this weekend to cabinet ministers, urging them not to vote today in support of the amendment to the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom that would make constitutional a law barring Palestinians married to Israelis from obtaining citizenship. ... 

Fewer Tel Aviv apartments split due to court crackdown
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - "I need help - urgent! I split a 90-square-meter apartment into four units of 20 meters. Apparently one of the neighbors told, because I received an order from city hall. What should I do? Could I hide or remove the water and sewage systems that I installed and then let the inspectors come and tell them I'm renting to roommates?" ... 

'Being a settler is the most moral thing one can do'
Ha'aretz 19 Dec 2009 - Sofia Ron finished writing her first novel, "We Will Get Through Pharaoh," about a month before the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. It's a Russian-language roman a clef that requires no great detective work to identify the real figures behind the fictional characters. The background is an election campaign in which one Yossi Harid is running against a certain Haim Armon. After Armon is elected prime minister, the disgruntled Harid stages a traffic accident in which Armon is killed. Immediately afterward, the left sets up labor camps in which right-wingers are incarcerated until a military coup leads to their release from "Netzarim 2" camp. ... 

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. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: PRCS holds a scientific day for its psychosocial workers 
Relief Web 19 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestine Red Crescent Society

Accompanied by PRCS President Dr. Younis Al Khatib: The Secretary General of the Norwegian Red Cross visits PRCS/Jerusalem and Hebron 
Relief Web 19 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestine Red Crescent Society

OPT: Second Rehabilitation and Ability Development Conference under the banner A better life despite disability 
Relief Web 19 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestine Red Crescent Society

EU to work for Palestinian state in 2010: Spain
Relief Web 19 Dec 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Al-Majdal - Issue # 42, Autumn 2009
Relief Web 19 Dec 2009 - Source: BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

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

YNet News

Hariri, Assad meet; vow to boost ties
YNet News 19 Dec 2009 - Syria, Lebanon end tensions as President Assad, Prime Minister Hariri meet in Damascus; two leaders agree to boost strategic ties, Hariri says good relationship to help maintain united Arab front against Israel 

Iran: Oil field is ours, not Iraq's 
YNet News 19 Dec 2009 - Tehran denies Iraqi claim to borderline oil field, says troops are 'on Iranian soil, as defined by known international borders' 

Haredim stone police in Jerusalem
YNet News 19 Dec 2009 - Orthodox demonstrators hurl stones, torch garbage dumpsters to protest parking lot opening on Shabbat 

Ayalon: EU won't cut our ties with J'lem 
YNet News 19 Dec 2009 - Deputy foreign minister rebuffs European Union foreign affairs chief's statement calling capital 'occupied territory'; says EU, like Rome before, will fail to sever Israel's link to Jerusalem 

Settlers, Palestinians clash in West Bank
YNet News 19 Dec 2009 - IDF claims Palestinians tried to plough land that did not belong to them, arrests Palestinian farmer 

Abbas: Israel has 3 weeks to approve Shalit deal
YNet News 19 Dec 2009 - Palestinian president tells Al-Ahram German mediator in Shalit talks gave Israel 'two, three weeks' to approve deal before he halts mediation efforts; Hamas official says talks frozen due to state's refusal to release prisoners.

Palestinian Information Center

Taibi: IOA steals skin and corneas of dead Palestinians
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - The Arab Knesset member MP Ahmad Al-Taibi has accused Friday the Israeli occupation government of stealing skin and corneas of dead Palestinians without the consent of their families..

Kaddomi: Hamas’s path is the right one
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - The veteran Fatah leader Farouk Kaddomi said on Saturday that the path of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, proved to be the right one..

Zahhar: Hamas wants a detailed final reconciliation agreement
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar stated the dispute over the signing of the Egyptian reconciliation paper lies in his Movement’s desire for a final agreement including all details.

Ahrar center denounces IOA renewal of Aruri's detention
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - The Ahrar center has denounced the IOA for extending the administrative detention of Sheikh Saleh Aruri, one of the prominent national leaders, only few hours before his supposed release.

Israeli gunboats fire at fishing boats, IOF soldiers detain Palestinian boy
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - Israeli gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis to the south of the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

IOF soldiers quell peaceful Bilin demonstration
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - Tens of Palestinians and foreign activists suffered breathing problems when the IOF fired teargas at the weekly peaceful demonstration organized by the villagers of Bilin, Ramallah district.

Nazzal: The prisoner swap deal at an impasse due to Israel’s intransigence
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - Mohamed Nazzal stated that the prisoner swap talks are in stalemate as a result of Israel’s intransigence and its refusal to release a large number of Palestinian prisoners determined by the Movement.

Palestinian expert uncovers new IOA excavations in O. Jerusalem
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - A Palestinian archeology expert has revealed that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) was embarking on new excavations in Bab Al-Khalil area in occupied Jerusalem.

Haneyya meets representatives of various factions
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - Ismail Haneyya is to meet on Sunday with representatives of various Palestinian forces and factions along with independent figures and notable to discuss various national questions.

UNHCHR: Gaza water is unfit for human use and enough for half the population
PIC 19 Dec 2009 - The office of the UN high commissioner on human rights (UNHCHR) stated that the water in the Gaza Strip is unfit for human consumption and sufficient only for half the population.

Los Angeles Times

Farsi phone service helps bind a community 
LA Times 20 Dec 2009 - Immigrants from Iran know where to call for information on navigating life in L.A. Looking for some kebab? Need a Farsi-speaking plumber? Can't find the showtimes for a new Iranian film release? 

Iran tries to ease worries over missile test 
LA Times 19 Dec 2009 - Iranian atomic agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi says key components of the country's nuclear program won't be ready for two years or more. A top Iranian nuclear official sought Friday to ease international worries about his nation's nuclear program days after Tehran test-fired an upgraded medium-range missile that alarmed the West. 

New York Times

Iran Charges 12 at Prison Over Death of Protesters
New York Times 19 Dec 2009 - The Iranian authorities acknowledged for the first time that at least three protesters had been beaten to death in prison after the disputed presidential election in June. 

Lebanon Talks With Syria to Bolster Ties
New York Times 19 Dec 2009 - Lebanese officials said they expected that the two leaders would try to strengthen cooperation and assert the importance of guaranteeing Lebanon’s stability. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: Opposition Web Site Disrupted
New York Times 19 Dec 2009 - Computer hackers disrupted an opposition Web site and Twitter late Thursday and Friday, identifying themselves as the Iranian Cyber Army and posting anti-American messages in English. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Lebanon: At Least 11 Die as Ship Sinks
New York Times 19 Dec 2009 - Rescue workers searched stormy waters off Lebanon on Friday after a cargo ship sank, killing at least nine crew members and leaving dozens missing. 

Amin el-Hafez, Baathist Leader of Syria in 1960s, Dies
New York Times 19 Dec 2009 - He nationalized Arab-owned banks, the country’s oil and mineral resources and other industries before being overthrown in a coup in 1966. 

Leading Iranian Reformist Speaks to BBC
New York Times 18 Dec 2009 - Despite the threat of arrest by the authorities, one of the leaders of Iran's opposition, the reformist cleric Mehdi Karrobi, has invited a BBC television crew into his home in Tehran and repeated his claim that male and female opposition supporters were raped in captivity by government agents. 

Misc

The Gaza I Know 
Palestine Monitor - 19 Dec 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...

No Road To Jerusalem
Palestine Monitor - 19 Dec 2009 - The photo exhibition "Existence denied" ( http://www.andrea-magda.com/portfol... realised by photographers Andrea M. and Magda C., http://www.andrea-magda.com/bio.html shows the anguish, humiliation and frustration of the Palestinian worshippers during the period of Ramadan. Photo by Andrea M. and Magda C. The exhibition is currently hosted at the Alternative Information...

One Palestinian family’s story illustrates the absurdity, and intention, of Israeli policy
Mondoweiss - 19 Dec 2009 - I am a Palestinian refugee, from the village of Fallujah which lies between Gaza, Hebron and Asqalan. I’ve never been allowed to visit Fallujah; my grandparents were exiled from there in 1949 (a year after the founding of Israel) and took refuge in the Gaza Strip....

Adelson’s ‘most important’ work is sending Jewish kids to Israel so they won’t marry non-Jews
Mondoweiss - 19 Dec 2009 - Fascinating interview of Sheldon Adelson on the Forward blog , by Jacob Berkman, in which the richest Jew in the world, as the casino king puts it, brags about supporting a foreign military, Israel’s: …We built a helicopter pilots training school at one of the air bases....

Does Keillor’s crack at Larry Summers suggest smoldering anti-Israel feeling in the heartland?
Mondoweiss - 19 Dec 2009 - Garrison Keillor writes a column for the Baltimore Sun. This week he angered Magnes Zionist and Jeffrey Goldberg by taking a crack at Jewish songwriters who do Christmas songs. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph...

Rush Limbaugh seems to be doing the lobby’s work
Mondoweiss - 19 Dec 2009 - Rush Limbaugh calls for "massive bombing raids," and "war" with Iran. Recall the flattering RL profile by Israeli-American Zev Chafets in the New York Times Magazine . Limbaugh is marching ahead of the AIPAC congressional resolutions on Iran, and query: what accounts for his timing? The congressional...

Lustick: Attack on Iran would end any prayer of Israel being accepted in region
Mondoweiss - 19 Dec 2009 - Seattle’s Richard Silverstein held a conference on Iran sanctions . It produced an unusually reasoned editorial, this from the Seattle Times , in which Prof. Ian Lustick, who is Jewish and has been writing about Middle East issues for many years was quoted as saying the sanctions are...

27 Demonstrators Arrested at Protest Against Eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem Neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah
Alternative Information Center - 19 Dec 2009 - Israeli police arrested twenty-seven Palestinians and Israeli activists in Sheikh Jarrah on Friday, 18 December afternoon for refusing to end a rally against the eviction of Palestinian residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood. Several hundred protestors arrived to the neighborhood, where a new settlement is displacing...


Articles

Gaza must be rebuilt now 
Jimmy Carter, The Guardian 12/19/2009
      It is generally recognised that the Middle East peace process is in the doldrums, almost moribund. Israeli settlement expansion within Palestine continues, and PLO leaders refuse to join in renewed peace talks without a settlement freeze, knowing that no Arab or Islamic nation will accept any comprehensive agreement while Israel retains control of East Jerusalem.
     US objections have impeded Egyptian efforts to resolve differences between Hamas and Fatah that could lead to 2010 elections. With this stalemate, PLO leaders have decided that President Mahmoud Abbas will continue in power until elections can be held "“ a decision condemned by many Palestinians. 
     Even though Syria and Israel under the Olmert government had almost reached an agreement with Turkey’s help, the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejects Turkey as a mediator on the Golan Heights. No apparent alternative is in the offing.
     The UN general assembly approved a report issued by its human rights council that called on Israel and the Palestinians to investigate charges of war crimes during the recent Gaza war, but positive responses seem unlikely.
     In summary: UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, previous agreements between Israelis and Palestinians, the Arab peace initiative, and official policies of the US and other nations are all being ignored. In the meantime, the demolition of Arab houses, expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Palestinian recalcitrance threaten any real prospect for peace. more.. e-mail

Die On My Palestine Land 
Jody McIntyre, Ctrl.Alt.Shift 12/16/2009
      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! Before Israel 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 from many people, but only on my husband’s land did they steal his olive trees as well... We still go to our land, every day, to plant vegetables and look after the soil, because we will not allow the Israeli government or the settlers to claim that our land is unused. If we don’t go to our land, they will say it is unneeded and confiscate it so that they can expand the settlements, which are already illegally built on our land.
     Do the Israeli army make problems when you try to go to your land?
     Yes... sometimes they don’t allow us to enter, but me and husband will wait at the gate for one hour, two hours etc. If they don’t let us through we will stay there from the morning until the evening. We won’t go home until they let us go to our land. more.. e-mail

If Palestine is denied by a wall 
Luisa Morgantini, Ma’an News Agency 12/16/2009
      On 9 November 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.
     Whilst we rejoiced one wall’s ruin, a shameful silence prevailed regarding a wall that stands today, dividing Palestine. Nine meters high, this apartheid wall violates international law and yet Israel continues its construction undeterred by appeals, resolutions and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.
     On the same day that we celebrated the anniversary of Berlin, Palestinian, Israeli and International activists risked their lives to breach the wall in Qalandyia and Ni’lin - an act of heroic resistance that received almost no media coverage.
     The construction of what successive Israeli governments have dubbed a "defensive barrier" has a long story. For decades Israeli colonialism has sought to solve the question of how to reduce the native presence so that their populace can never threaten the Jewishness of the State of Israel. In 1948 this resulted in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who remain refugees to this day and the destruction of 400 Palestinian villages. In 1967 a preventive territorial conquest war found the same operation did not succeed. An additional 300,000 Palestinians became refuges but many people refused to flee choosing to remain with their land. 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. 

The Gaza I Know 
Palestine Monitor: 19 Dec 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 it has been reduced by the mainstream media. The Gaza I know is home to friends and strangers who are as welcoming and humane as they are resilient and determined to achieve their freedom. They have maintained their humanity despite enduring a brutal forty-two-year-old Israeli occupation that has cost them the destruction of their homes, land, economy and future and the loss of more than 4,000 lives since the dawn of the twenty-first century. For the past two and a half years, this spit of sand—just twenty-five miles long and a few miles wide—has...

No Road To Jerusalem
Palestine Monitor: 19 Dec 2009 - The photo exhibition "Existence denied" ( http://www.andrea-magda.com/portfol... realised by photographers Andrea M. and Magda C., http://www.andrea-magda.com/bio.html shows the anguish, humiliation and frustration of the Palestinian worshippers during the period of Ramadan. Photo by Andrea M. and Magda C. The exhibition is currently hosted at the Alternative Information Center of Beit Shaour, in Behtlehm. The exhibition documents the ten of thousands Palestinians from all over West Bank who gathered every Friday during ramadan period at the check points in order to enter Jerusalem and pray at Al Aqsa mosque, widely considered as the third holiest site in Islam. Because of hours of queuing under the sun and the risk to be denied to enter, the attempt to reach Al Aqsa can be labeled as an act of heroism. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) allowed women over 45 and men over 50 only to go. A pre-checkpoint was established in order to “select” people,...

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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