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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
23 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Human rights groups: World has failed Gaza
IMEMC 23 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 24, 2009 - 04:32, A report by sixteen human rights groups has found that civilians in the Gaza Strip are suffering disproportionately due to Israel’s stranglehold blockade of essential goods.

Israel, Turkey, Reach Drone Purchase Deal
IMEMC 23 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 23, 2009 - 22:57, The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) reported Tuesday that it reached a deal with Israel to purchase 10 “Heron” drones

ARIJ Report On Increased Israeli Violations Against Palestinian Homes in Jerusalem
IMEMC 23 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 23, 2009 - 12:28, The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), reported that the Israeli occupation increased its violations against the Palestinians and in Jerusalem by forcing them out of their homes, internally displacing them and demolishing their homes.

Israel Hands Out Demolition Orders To Palestinians In The Jordan Valley
IMEMC 23 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 23, 2009 - 11:40, On Tuesday, Israeli troops handed out demolition orders targeting buildings belonging to Palestinian farmers from different areas in the Jordan valley.

Report: Israel's proposal to exile certain prisoners in swap deal is 'acceptable' to Hamas
IMEMC 23 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 23, 2009 - 11:31, According to a report in Israeli media sourced only from anonymous Israeli government sources, the Palestinian government led by the Hamas party may accept a plan by the Israeli government to exile 123 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in prison camps.

Netanyahu Reluctant on Swap Deal
IMEMC 23 Dec 2009 - Wednesday December 23, 2009 - 02:14, Netanyahu, worked hard to foil a prisoner-swap deal with the Hamas movement in Gaza and insisted to increase the number of detainees Israel demands to deport in case they were released.

Ma'an News

Bil’in protest leader indicted over spent tear gas canisters
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli prosecutors filed an indictment in a military courtagainst Abdullah Abu Rahmah on Monday, a leader of popular demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil'in. The charges against Abu Rahmah included incitement, stone throwing and arms possession, according to his attorney, Gaby Lasky. The arms referred to in the indictment were spent tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli army at protesters over four years of weekly demonstrations. "The army shoots at unarmed demonstrators, and when they try to show the world the violence used against them by collecting presenting the remnants - they are persecuted and prosecuted," Lasky said in a statement. "What's next? Charging protesters money for the bullets shot at them? "Abu Rahmah is the coordinator of Bil'in's Popular Committee, the body that organizes weekly. . . 

West of the wall, settlement building continues
12/23/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - Palestinians in the Qalqiliya district, where Israel's separation wall extends 22 kilometers into the West Bank, have watched rapid construction in the settlement of Oranit continue despite the call for a partial freeze on building. A spokesman from Israel's Civil Administration confirms officials are "familiar with the issue and are working to resolve it. " The Oranit settlement is located just beyond the Green Line, on lands internationally recognized as Palestinian, (just below the Matan settlement pictured in the series above), Oranit's 6,328 (circa 2008) settler inhabitants are preparing to receive hundreds more as housing units are completed. Dozens of stop work orders handed were handed over in the area by the Israeli military and police, an Israeli source confirmed. In spite of this, Palestinian residents observed ongoing construction. 

Israel razes gas station, grocery near Nablus
12/23/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - An Israeli military bulldozer demolished a gas station, a grocery store, and a cargo container in the northern West Bank village of Qusra south of the city of Nablus on Wednesday. Palestinian sources told Ma'an that more than 20 Israeli military jeeps escorted a bulldozer into the village, which proceeded to demolish the structures one kilometer away from Israeli settlement Magdolin. The owner of the demolished buildings, 30-year-old Mu'tasim Uda, said he received the latest demolition order from Israeli authorities a year ago. He estimated his loss to be about 120,000 Israeli shekels (31,000 US dollars). He explained that he recently stopped operating the gas station, but all the facility's equipment was still there when the demolition crew arrived. Uda said Israeli forces used to warn him that stones were pelted at Israeli vehicles by Palestinian youths who used to hide in the gas station area. 

Gaza: Israel to allow limited window glass into Strip next week
12/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Two new items will be added to Israel's list of goods permitted for import into the Gaza Strip, including glass for household windowpanes and domestic water filters, officials said Wednesday. Starting Tuesday, undersecretary of the ministry of the economy Nasser As-Sarraj said, 100 truckloads of the goods will be permitted to enter the Strip, as water quality continues to deteriorate and cold winter weather chills homes windowless since Israel's war on Gaza. The only source of domestic window glass in Gaza is via the increasingly restricted tunnel trade, and reached prices up to 150 US dollars a meter. At the same time Israel continues to allow only 36 types of foodstuffs into the Gaza Strip, a report from the Palestine Trade Center announced. The 36 items plus animal feed accounted for at least 67% of all goods imported into Gaza, with the rest were destined. . . 

Analysts: Swap deal hinges on prisoner deportation
12/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas is not likely to approve of an Israeli request to deport some prisoners freed in a potential swap deal, political analysts said on Wednesday. A deal where Israel would free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit now hinges on Israel's request to expel approximately 100 senior detainees to Gaza or other countries, instead of releasing them to their homes in the West Bank. Mustafa Sawwaf, editor-in-chief of Gaza's Filastin (Palestine) newspaper, said, "The issue of deportation whether to Gaza or abroad is the only problem in concluding the deal. "Hamas will not agree to deporting a large number of detainees, but they will approve a limited number [of deportations]," he predicted, noting that the decision will be made not just by Hamas but by the prisoners themselves. 

Bethlehem deportee: Exile is prisoners’ decision
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Former Fatah fighter Jihad Ja'ara spoke with Ma'an on Wednesday, over the morning's controversy surrounding Israel's demand that some 100 of the Palestinian prisoners in the swap deal must be deported to Gaza or other areas outside Israeli borders. The terms of the deportations would vary according to the prisoner, but none could reside in the West Bank, whose borders Israel controls. Ja'ara, deported to Ireland following the siege of the Nativity Church in 2002, said the fighters trapped inside the church were contacted by both the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and Hamas' spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. He said both leaders explained the conditions of the end to the siege on the church, and asked that the men decide their course of action. "A prisoner swap deal between Israel and the captors of Shalit will be a notable. . . " 

Prisoners’ families say deportation better than nothing
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem/Gaza - Ma'an - Rumors of a prisoner release are notoriously hard on families of the detained. As the back-and-forth between Israel and Gaza factions continues at a heated pace, Ma'an spoke with the wives and children of some of Palestine's most prominent detainees. Abla Sa'adat is the wife of one of the nine prisoners identified by Israeli media earlier in the week as one of the nine high-profile prisoners whose release the swap deal depends on. Ahmad Sa'adat is the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He was abducted by Israeli forces from a Palestinian Authority prison in 2006, three months prior to the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Gazan militants. Sa'adat was wanted by Israel for his alleged role in planning the killing of their minister of tourism in 2001. 

Hamas delegation heads to Syria for swap consult
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A delegation of Hamas officials will head to Damascus Thursday to meet with the movement's leaders in Damadcus around the latest Israeli response to ongoing negotiations for a prisoner swap deal. An official in Hamas said the delegation would seek Damascus' point of view on the offer, following meetings in Gaza as leaders discussed the information passed to them by a German mediator in the swap talks. According to reports, the latest offer includes the release of all or most of the prisoners identified by Hamas, but demands that up to 100 of them, mostly Hamas and militant movement leaders, be deported from the West Bank to Gaza or other countries that do not border Israel. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar told Israel Radio that Hamas would need several days to collect an official response. 

Israeli minister: Barghouthi must be freed with or without Shalit
12/23/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israel should release imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, with or with out a prisoner exchange deal, Israel's Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said on Wednesday. "I call to release Marwan Barghouthi not in the deal with Hamas "¦ these are two entirely different issues," he told a news conference in East Jerusalem's American Colony hotel. Ben-Eliezer has called for Barghouthi's release in the past. The Iraqi-born Labor party member declined to speculate about the possibility of a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas that could involve the release of a thousand Palestinian prisoners in return for that of captured soldier Gilad Shalit. "Hopefully it will end with good end for both sides," he said of the indirect negotiations with Hamas. 

Two Gaza crossings open, fuel and fodder enter Strip
12/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings into Gaza on Wednesday while keeping the Nahal Oz crossing closed. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said 76 truckloads of commercial products and humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Gas for household use and industrial-grade diesel for Gaza's powerplant will also be delivered at Kerem Shalom, the official said. In addition, 99 truckloads of wheat and animal feed were expected to be allowed through the Karni crossing. Fattouh noted that the Nahal Oz terminal would be closed. The Sufa crossing has been closed since 2008. Israeli authorities maintain a tight grip on the flow of all goods into the Gaza Strip, in addition to limiting the movement of Palestinians. There is no official commercial crossing with Egypt. 

Israel seizes 6 Palestinians in night raids
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli military saidit detained six Palestinians during raids in the West Bank overnight Tuesday. The Palestinians were taken because of their status as "wanted," a Wednesday morning statement said. Those detained were not identified. On Monday night, Israeli soldiers seized nine Palestinians during raids on the West Bank. [end] 

Israeli court postpones decision on sentence of PLC member
12/23/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israel's Salem military court postponed a ruling on the fate of Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Tirawion Wednesday, pushing the next hearing back to 28 December. Tirawi's brother Raed, who attended Wednesday's hearing along with his brother's wife, said the session lasted eight hours. He added that the journey to the court from prison and the hearing were difficult for his brother. A member of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party from Nablus, Jamal Tirawi was arrested in 2007. He was indicted for organizing the bombing of a Tel Aviv café in 2002 which killed an Israeli woman. [end] 

Children parade through Bethlehem for peace, Christmas
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Children from Bethlehem and Jerusalem began Christmas celebrations Wednesday, parading with the "without Limits" march for peace and unity in the streets of Bethlehem. Father Ibrahim Faltas, an official with the Custos of the Holy Land, joined the kids alongside clowns and costumed entertainers. "The march is a symbol of the love for all and a message of peace," Faltas said at the march. He called the ability of the Jerusalem children to travel into Bethlehem and participate in the events significant, adding that the wall cannot separate the two holy cities. Faltas confirmed that the Patriarch was set for Christmas celebrations on the 24th, and reminded those coming to Bethlehem to celebrate that large crowds were expected for the arrival of the parade at 1:30, so they should head to the city early and enjoy the festivities. 

Thousands of Jews to pray at West Bank tomb
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Thousands ultra-orthodox Jews are expected to head to Kifl Haris, a town north of Nablus, to pray atthe Prophet Zel Kefl`s shrine, known in Judaism as the Yahosha' Bin Noun shrine. Israel Radio reported Wednesday that the entrance of the group will be coordinated by Israeli troops, who will be deployed throughout the village area starting Saturday evening. Locals should expect checkpoints and traffic detours. The groups are expected in the area starting 11:30 pm Saturday and will leave the area at 3am Sunday morning. The last time groups entered Kifl Haris for visits to the shrine was on 8 August 2009, when troops shut down the village, ordering drivers to abandon their vehicles and proceed home via alternate paths on foot. 

Patriarch’s Christmas message: Mideast peace efforts failed
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Efforts to bring peace to the Middle East have failed, Jerusalem's Latin patriarch Fuad Twal said Tuesday in his annual Christmas message. "Our dreams for a reconciled Holy Land seem to be utopia. Despite the praiseworthy efforts of politicians and men of good will to find a solution to the ongoing conflict, all of us, Palestinians and Israelis, have all failed in achieving peace," saidTwal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land. "The reality contradicts our dreams," he said. "Palestinians still do not have their own state where they can live in peace and harmony with their Israeli neighbors; they still suffer from occupation, a difficult economical situation, destruction of houses in East Jerusalem and internal divisions," Twal added. He highlighted the Israeli blockade of Gaza as a concern. "A year after the Gaza war, Gaza still suffers from an economic siege, lack of freedom. . . " 

PFLP: Cairo must reject pressure to build Gaza wall
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The wall Egypt is constructing along the Gaza border is unwarranted, unjustified and warns of dire consequences, senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leaderAbu Ahmad Fuad said on Wednesday. "Egypt must overcome the external pressures pushing the construction of the wall forward," Fuad said, alluding to Israel and the United States, believed to be behind the attempt to thwart the smuggling tunnel industry, currently the lifeline for a Gaza Strip under tight Israeli siege. He rejected the Egyptian justification that the wall was in-line with requirements set forth by the Middle East Quartet. Officers from the Quartet office in Jerusalem were unable to confirm or deny the claim. In a statement, Fuad called the decision to build the wall "weird," saying he was "surprised, since Egypt did not even present the issue to the Gaza factions before they went ahead with construction. 

EU donates $72 million to PA
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three agreements were signed Wednesday in Ramallah between the Palestinian Authority and the European Union in support of Palestinian infrastructure, governance and social development. The support totals 50. 5 million Euro (72 million US dollars). The programs will start in 2010, signaling another year of large-scale support from the EU, whose funding to the PA and humanitarian work in Palestine reached 498. 63 million euro (710 million US dollars) in 2009. European Union Representative Christian Berger signed the three new agreements along with Prime Minister with the caretaker government Salam Fayyad, as part of what an EU statement called "the continuous support provided by the European Union to the Palestinian Authority. " For his part, Fayyad welcomed the agreements, saying they come at a time where the Palestinian people are in need of all kind of continuous. . . 

PA prepares 13 truckloads of medical supplies for Gaza
12/23/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Ministry of Health prepared to send 13 truckloads of medicine to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Minister of Health Fathi Abu Moghli said. Speaking with Ma'an radio, Abu Moghli said the convoy would head to Gaza through Israel's Erez crossing. He added that the shipment was part of the PA's commitment to provide the Gaza Strip with medicine, complying with the orders of President Mahmoud Abbas. Abu Moghli said the shipment included 70 types of laboratory equipment as well as 130 types of medicines, mostly antibiotics and dialysis solution. The shipment is worth three million Israeli shekels (788,000 US dollars), according to the minister. The ministry purchased the medicines from its own budget, and they were produced by European, US, Israeli, and Palestinian factories. The PA has sent several similar shipments to the Gaza Strip, and says. . . 

Hamas: PA arrests three supporters
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas said on Wednesday Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces arrested three of its supporters in the Hebron and Ramallah areas over the past two days. In Hebron, PA forces arrested a member of the municipal council of the town of Sa'ir, Hakim Shalalda, and a former prisoner of Israel, Munther Ashur, after summoning them for interrogation, Hamas said. Ashur was recently released after two years in prison. PA security forces also arrested Mus'ab Surur from the village of Ni'lin, west of Ramallah, after summoning him for questioning, Hamas said. In addition, PA forces raided a mosque in the An-Naqqar neighborhood of the city of Qalqiliya and searched it, according to Hamas. No arrests were reported. In an article that appeared last Thursday in the UK daily The Guardian, Palestinian officials were quoted confirming that between 400 and 500 Hamas members are currently held in PA jails. 

Fatah: No new leadership in Lebanon
12/23/2009 - Cairo - Ma'an - A news report published in the Lebanese daily newspaper As-Safir about the formation of a new Fatah commissariat in Lebanon was not accurate, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi said on Wednesday. Tirawi, former head of the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence, told Ma'an, "The news which appeared on As-Safir was not true. There has been a decision that Sultan Abu Al-Enein will be the [Fatah] representative temporarily, for a few months with Fathi Abu Al-Aradat as his deputy and assistant. "Tirawi added that members of Fatah revolutionary council would also help Abu Al-Enein asserting that "No commissioners were appointed in Lebanon or other areas. "

EIB pledges 7.12 mil for Palestinian IT venture capital project
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The European Investment Bank (EIB) pledged 5 million Euro (7. 12 million US dollars) contributing to Palestine's first venture capital fund targeting investments in export-oriented IT companies. According to an EBI statement issued Tuesday, the fund is expected to make a key contribution to the development of private business and the local high-technology and financial sectors. It will open after it receives additional pledges. When it launches the fund will support the development of high-growth, export-oriented IT and communications companies through equity investment in early stage ventures. A statement from the EBI noted limited access to international markets as the prime obstacle for the taking-off of the industry, and marked development of the Information and Communication Technology sectors as a a key priority Palestine. 

PSE drops: Al-Quds Index down 0.36%
12/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Stocks fell on the Palestine Securities Exchange in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday. At the close of trading, the Al-Quds Index stood at 484. 84, decreasing by 1. 76 points (0. 36%). Trading volume was 882,321 shares, a total value of 3,047,260. 52 US dollars, excuted through 324 trades. The shares of 21 companies were traded. The share prices of six companies rose, and eight fell. The top five gainers were ARE by 3. 85%, AMB by 2. 74%, PCB by 2. 67%, JPH by 2. 56%, and PIIC by 1. 45%. The top five losers were PRICO by 4. 00%, LADAEN by 3. 13%, ISBK by 2. 78%, AIG by 2. 50%, and WASSEL by 1. 69%. [end] 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Settlers plan to cut IDF ties in fight against freeze
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - In pamphlet, rightists say IDF soldiers should be convinced to refuse orders to enforce settlement freeze. 

Israel warns nationals of Al-Qaida abduction threat in Africa
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - In advisory, Counter Terrorism Bureau lists Ivory Coast, Togo, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali and northern Nigeria. 

Israel drops two-month-old advisory against India travel
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Counter-Terrorism Bureau in mid-October warned of a concrete threat, particularly in Goa. 

IDF soldier dies in freak training accident in Golan Heights
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Pvt. Mor Cohen, 19, dies after being hit by a bullet fired by another soldier during urban combat drill. 

Islamic Movement head banned from entering Jerusalem
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - IDF orders 3-week ban 'to maintain public peace and order;' Ra'ad Salah will be able to appeal order. 

Netanyahu's brother-in-law: Free Shalit through war, not talks
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Hagai Ben Artzi argues with Noam Shalit; Ron Arad's wife: Bringing Shalit back home is Israel's 'moral duty.' 

IDF reservists declare solidarity with ousted hesder yeshiva
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Reservists hang sign claiming 'We are all Har Bracha;' settler activist: 'We have surprises' for the IDF. 

Egypt raises alert as Hamas plans to protest new Gaza barrier
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Cairo says Gazans have been shooting at Egyptians installing the underground metal barrier in recent weeks. 

Renegade hesder rabbi capitulates in row with IDF
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Rabbi Melamed agrees to denounce political demonstrations by Israeli soldiers in uniform. 

Hamas: We're helping foreign lawyers prosecute Israelis
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Militant group giving U.K. lawyers info on war crimes allegedly committed by Israel leaders, AFP reports. 

IDF: Leaked memo on settlement freeze was just a draft
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - IDF memo obtained by Haaretz: Raids and air surveillance will be among tactics used to enforce freeze. 

Barak and Egypt intel chief discuss Hamas, peace talks
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Defense minister reiterates need to prevent Hamas from boosting its weaponry, including rockets. 

Gazans shoot at Egyptians building underground border barrier
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Officials say no one hurt in incident, which was fourth such shooting since construction on barrier begun. 

One strike could have ended Iran nuclear program in 2004
Ha'aretz 23 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 23 Dec 2009 - Hesder yeshiva heads launch blistering personal attack after Defense Min. ousted rabbi from IDF program. 

Uruknet

An Outrageous and Pathetic Weapon Against BDS: Stop Instrumentalizing Anti-Semitism!
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - Every time the State of Israel is confronted with substantial international criticism for its political behavior and its violations of basic international standards, it counter-attacks by using the infamous tool of accusations of anti-Semitism. One remembers the campaign on anti-Semitism launched by Ariel Sharon and his friends throughout the world, Jews and non-Jews, after the murder...

WAR ON GAZA: One year later Rebuilding efforts are severely hampered in Gaza
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - In the middle last year's assault on Gaza, Vue Weekly spoke with Canadian activist Eva Bartlett of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestine through non-violence and direct action. Still working in Gaza, Bartlett spoke to Vue Weekly about the effects of the war on the people of...

Gaza: cemetery casualties
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - Mohammed Abu Sharrar (22) was with 3 friends, walking to the eastern cemetery, east of Jabaliya, early on 27 November when he was hit by the shrapnel. Said Sharrar, "a UAV (drone) dropped a missile next to me. I was hurt the worst." Around 6 am and quiet, according to Sharrar, there was no activity in...

The rising numbers of deformed babies caused by the War on Gaza
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - The suffering of Gaza's population did not stop with the end of the war waged by Israel on the civilian population of the territory earlier this year, and it does not seem that it will end soon. Recent scientific analyses have shown that the war was a direct cause of the increasing numbers of birth defects,...

"NO MORE INTIFADAS....NEVER NEVER" SAYS ABBAS
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - Abbas is suffering some sort of withdrawal symptoms as he falls from grace. Once a supporter of Palestinian rights and sovereignty, he's now nothing more than a propped up puppet who fully colludes with Israel and the US in order to secure his dictatorship. See what money and power can do if you don't stick to...

The Story of One Palestinian Family: Displaced, Dispossessed, Separated
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - Mohammad Alsaafin is a Palestinian refugee, from the village of Fallujah which lies in what is now Israel. He has never visited the village; his grandparents were exiled from there in 1949, a year after the founding of Israel, and took refuge in Gaza. Mohammad and his father were both born in the Khan Younis refugee...

Homeless Gazans live in bleak camp one year after war
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - Grief could be easily seen in his eyes when Marwan al-Attar, a 55-year-old resident of Biet Lahiya town in northern Gaza Strip spoke about his camp life. Al-Attar and his family, as well as thousands of Palestinian families in the impoverished coastal enclave, had their homes destroyed and demolished during a 22-day Israeli offensive that ended...

PFLP denounces construction of steel wall of siege on Egypt border with Gaza
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced the Egyptian government's construction of a steel wall along its border with Gaza, extending 20 meters into the ground, as an unacceptable, unjustified action against the Palestinian people that only intensifies the siege on Gaza, on December 22, 2009. In an interview with Al-Alam news, Comrade Abu...

Testimony: Israel prevents Gaza Christian and his Bethlehem fiance'e from marrying, December 2009
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - I live with my sister in the Tel al-Hawa section of Gaza. For 15 years, I've had a clothing store in the center of the city. I am Christian, and every Christmas and Easter I go with people from the Christian community in the city to the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, to pray and...

ARIJ Report On Increased Israeli Violations Against Palestinian Homes in Jerusalem
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - The Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), reported that the Israeli occupation increased its violations against the Palestinians and in Jerusalem by forcing them out of their homes, internally displacing them and demolishing their homes. The Center added that the demolishing of Palestinians homes and the ongoing violations the Palestinians in the city witnesses a sharp...

The Israeli Military Hands Out Demolition Orders To Palestinians In The Jordan Valley
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - On Tuesday, Israeli troops handed out demolition orders targeting buildings belonging to Palestinian farmers from different areas in the Jordan valley. Local sources reported that the demolition orders targeted animal barns and farming infrastructure used by local farmers. According to the military, the farmers were building close to Israeli settlements and military bases, which were built...

Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory No. 50/2009 (16- 22 Dec 2009)
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - Israeli occupation forces used forced to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank. Israeli forces conducted 20 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces arrested 23 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children. Israeli naval troops have continued to attack Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip....

Palestine Telegraph

IOF Detains 6 Palestinians
West Bank, December 23, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - The Israeli occupation forces continued their arresting and raiding attacks in West Bank governorates. Today morning, they detained 6 Palestinians. Israeli sources clarified that Israeli occupation forces raided different governorates in West Bank. After they had invaded the citizens' houses, they arrested number of them and transferred them to investigation centers. They...

President Abbas meets Christian Berger
Ramallah, December 23, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Yesterday evening President Abbas met in presidency headquarter, in Ramallah, Christian Berger the European Commission representative in the West Bank. Abbas informed his guest of the latest developments in the Palestinian territory and the exerted efforts to renew the peace process. Meanwhile, Dr, Rafeeq Al-Hosainy signed agreement of 4.5 Euro with European Commission...

President Abbas: I will not allow a new intifada
West Bank, December 23, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he banned a third intifada from breaking out during Israel's deadly offensive against Gaza Strip in January. "I will not allow a new intifada. As long as I'm in office, I will not allow anybody to start a new intifada. Never never." Abbas said. In an interview...

The Gaza Strip: still suffering from a 23-day war and the ongoing siege
Gaza, December 22, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)One year has passed since Israel’s cruel 23-day war on the 1.5 million people of the Gaza. 1,400 people were brutally killed and tens of thousands were seriously wounded. It was 23 days that violated Palestinian human rights and put justice further out of reach. It was a war that utilized ‘state of the art’ phosphorous missiles...

Hamas Receive Israel's Response to Shalit Deal
Gaza, December 22, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Today, senior Hamas official confirmed that the Islamic Resistance Movement had received Israel's response to a prisoner swap deal for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The official said that Hamas-led government was scheduled to hold its weekly meeting later Tuesday, and the deal was likely on the schedule. On Tuesday, a...

The National

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood conservatives win vote
The National 22 Dec 2009 - Egypt's main opposition group announces the outcome of an internal election and analysts say the results signal it will reduce its role in mainstream politics.

Peace high on Gazans' Christmas wish list
The National 23 Dec 2009 - The minority Christian community wait hopefully for limited number of permits to travel to the West Bank and visit Bethlehem.

Aljazeera

Hamas 'considering' Israel swap
AlJazeera 23 Dec 2009 - Group to hold talks with top leaders in Syria on Israeli prisoner exchange proposal.

Clashes reported at Iran protests
AlJazeera 23 Dec 2009 - Crowds gathered in Isfahan to mourn dissident cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri.

Israel opens organ theft hearing
AlJazeera 23 Dec 2009 - Parliament debates testimony that government illegally harvested human organs.

Iran rejects nuclear trigger claim
AlJazeera 22 Dec 2009 - President Ahmadinejad tells US television Washington forged document reported in press.

Alternative Information Center

An Outrageous and Pathetic Weapon Against BDS: Stop Instrumentalizing Anti-Semitism!
Alternative Information Center 23 Dec 2009 - Every time the State of Israel is confronted with substantial international criticism for its political behavior and its violations of basic international standards, it counter-attacks by using the infamous tool of accusations of anti-Semitism. One remembers...

Condemnation of Israeli Arrests of Human Rights Activists in the West Bank
Alternative Information Center 23 Dec 2009 - On 15 December 2009, Jamal Juma', Coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign, was seized from his home by Israel forces and placed in detention. On 21 December, the Military Court at the Russian Compound in...

Palestine News Network

Bethlehem gets first Christmas rock concert
PNN 23 Dec 2009 - BETHLEHEM, West Bank — O Come All Ye Faithful to Bethlehem's first Christmas rock festival. A young musician who grew up near Jesus' traditional birthplace feels the old-fashioned way of marking the holiday — hanging around Manger Square and listening to carols — is a little dull.So Emmanuel Fleckenstein has organized a three-day battle of the bands that he hopes will attract...

Danger: Popular struggle 
PNN 23 Dec 2009 - There is an internal document that has not been leaked, or perhaps has not even been written, but all the forces are acting according to its inspiration: the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces, Border Police, police, and civil and military judges. They have found the true enemy who refuses to whither away: The popular struggle against the occupation. Over the past few...

Israel edges towards prisoner swap
PNN 22 Dec 2009 - Israel's cabinet has handed its response to a proposed prisoner exchange deal with Hamas to a German mediator, following lengthy debate between ministers. No details of the Israeli response, which could see hundreds of Palestinian prisoners swapped for an Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip, were immediately available on Tuesday. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier at the centre of the exchange,...

Footnotes in Gaza: a graphic novel by Joe Sacco 
PNN 22 Dec 2009 - Footnotes in Gaza (http://www.amazon.com/Footnotes-Gaza-Graphic-Joe-Sacco/dp/0805073477) is the latest work by Joe Sacco, the graphic novelist who authored the critically acclaimed Palestine (http://www.amazon.com/Palestine-Special-Joe-Sacco/dp/1560978449/ref=pd_sim_b_1). In an interview, Sacco describes how the idea for Footnotes, came about, and why he does not believe in objective reportage. Interview: ‘In 2001, I went to Gaza with a journalist called Chris Hedges on an assignment from Harper’s magazine. He...

House uncovered in Nazareth dating to the time of Jesus
PNN 22 Dec 2009 - Jerusalem -- Archaeologists in Israel say they have discovered the remains of a home from the time of Jesus in the heart of Nazareth. The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the find sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus in the Jewish settlement of Nazareth, where Christians believe Jesus grew up. The find marks the first time researchers...

Gaza underground on schedule to beat Egypt's wall
PNN 23 Dec 2009 - RAFAH // Ismail Atallah could not hide his disgust. With both hands he squeezed an imaginary throat in front of him. “This is what they are trying to do,” he said. “They want to strangle us. The blood of 1.5 million people means nothing to the Egyptians.”Mr Atallah, 45, an unemployed labourer, was condemning a steel wall that Egypt is constructing on its...

Jerusalem Post

EU official: No talk of deportation yet
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - It is "altogether premature" to talk of sending Palestinian prisoners to Europe, official says.

'Where is the Palestinians' Sadat?'
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - Ben-Eliezer tells Palestinian reporters Israel is ready and willing to hold immediate negotiations.

Hamas studying Israeli Schalit offer
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - High-level delegation will visit Syria to discuss offer; Zahar: Talks will take a few days.

IDF, Foreign Ministry hold seminar to boost Israel's image
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - Five-day seminar is attended by 15 mid-level officers from most IDF branches.

Ashkenazi: Bringing Schalit home a 'national mission'
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - IDF chief of staff says he feels personally responsible for bringing soldier back safely.

Parents of terror victims hope murderers won't go free
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - After meeting with PM, bereaved families say release of hundreds of terrorists for Schalit is not a foregone conclusion.

B'Tselem: Israel always intended to annex Ma'aleh Adumim
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - 

'Bosnia's voting restrictions especially problematic'
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - Israel's marriage and immigration laws woudn't pass EU muster, adds Amnon Rubinstein.

'Find new yeshiva or serve full 3 years in IDF'
Jeruslalem Post 23 Dec 2009 - IDF reportedly to give Har Bracha students 60 days to enroll at another hesder yeshiva, or full service.

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...

US-LEBANON: Hard Line on Hezbollah Clashes with Political Reality 
IPS WASHINGTON, Dec 23 (IPS) - Lebanese President Michel Sleiman visited Washington last week, for his first visit with President Barack Obama. The meeting was a quick one, tucked in amongst the myriad of domestic issues that are demanding Obama's attention.

PCHR Weekly Report

(23-12-2009) Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
PCHR 

International Solidarity Movement

Display of used tear gas canisters shot by the army earns Bil’in activist an arms charge in Israeli military court
12/23/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Popular Struggle Coordination Committee - Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a school teacher and coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall, was indicted in an Israeli military court yesterday. Abu Rahmah was slapped with an arms possession charge for collecting used tear gas canisters shot at demonstrators in Bil'in by the army and showcasing them in his home. An indictment was filed in a West Bank military court yesterday for incitement, stone throwing and arms possession charges against Bil’in Popular Committee coordinator, Abdallah Abu Rahmah. On receiving the indictment Adv. Gaby Lasky, Abu Rahmah’s lawyer said that “the army shoots at unarmed demonstrators, and when they try to show the world the violence used against them by collecting presenting the remnants – they are persecuted and prosecuted. What’s next? Charging protesters money for the bullets shot at them? ”

Danger: Popular struggle
12/23/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Amira Hass, Haaretz - There is an internal document that has not been leaked, or perhaps has not even been written, but all the forces are acting according to its inspiration: the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces, Border Police, police, and civil and military judges. They have found the true enemy who refuses to whither away: The popular struggle against the occupation. Over the past few months, the efforts to suppress the struggle have increased. The target: Palestinians and Jewish Israelis unwilling to give up their right to resist reign of demographic separation and Jewish supremacy. The means: Dispersing demonstrations with live ammunition, late-night army raids and mass arrests. Since the beginning of the year, 29 Palestinians have been wounded by IDF snipers while demonstrating against the separation fence. The snipers fired expanding bullets, despite an explicit 2001 order from. . . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

'Waltz with Bashir' makes top-100 list in three U.K. papers
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - The Israeli film "Waltz with Bashir," the animated memoir of director Ari Folman's experiences during the first Lebanon War, has been listed by three prominent British newspapers as one of this decade's 100 best movies. ...

Hamas likely to accept Israel offer on Shalit
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Hamas announced on Wednesday that the German mediator involved in the talks to release kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had delivered Israel's offer. ... 

Assad: Israel doesn't aim to achieve peace
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that peace talks with Israel had been stalled because Israel was not interested in achieving peace. ...

Renewed Lebanese drug trade hikes Israel-Hezbollah tensions 
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - Lebanon's drug-producing heartland is back in business with a resurgence of marijuana and poppy fields, challenging the country's underpowered security forces and adding another dimension to Israel's war with Hezbollah militants. ...

MK Aflalo to Livni: You betrayed me so I'm quitting Kadima
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - MK Eli Aflalo told opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday that he intended to abandon her Kadima party in order to found his own Knesset faction, saying he had lost faith in her as a leader. ...

The Guardian

Letters: Gaza blockade is far from black and white
The Guardian 23 Dec 2009 - The report of the 16 NGOs ( Help end Gaza blockade, aid groups urge EU , 22 December) castigates Israel for banning the import into Gaza of materials urgently needed for reconstruction. Israel has certainly been holding back...

Letters: Palestinian children suffer amid the ruins
The Guardian 23 Dec 2009 - Last year it was the terror of bombs, now it is the desolation of a future destroyed ( Childhood in ruins , G2, 17 December). The physical injuries suffered by the people of Gaza are healing, to varying...

Miss Palestine contest shelved over moral fears
The Guardian 23 Dec 2009 - It had been billed as a beauty contest tailor-made for the Middle East: a pageant in which the contestants would not dress immodestly and the swimsuit round would be dropped. But, despite efforts to cater for...

Bethlehem's modern nativity scene crib, wise men and separation wall 
The Guardian 23 Dec 2009 - Israel's security barrier, complete with looming watchtowers, has found its way into the nativity scenes on sale to tourists The shelves of Bethlehem's tourist shops this winter are filled with the gifts you might expect. There...

Breaking Palestine's peaceful protest | Neve Gordon
The Guardian 23 Dec 2009 - Palestinians have a long history of nonviolent resistance but Israel has continuously deployed methods to destroy it "Why," I have often been asked, "haven't the Palestinians established a peace movement like the Israeli Peace Now ?" The...

Video: Middle East prisoner exchange could be derailed
The Guardian 23 Dec 2009 - Israeli objections threaten to derail swap of Hamas prisoners for captive soldier Gilad Shalit

Israeli objections threaten to derail Gilad Shalit-for-Hamas prisoner swap
The Guardian 22 Dec 2009 - Deal being brokered by German official hinges on which Palestinians convicted of armed attacks would be freed Israel and Hamas were tonight facing serious disagreements that could scupper a long-awaited prisoner exchange likely to see hundreds...

Israel will work to free soldier Gilad Shalit but 'not at any price'
The Guardian 22 Dec 2009 - Ehud Barak responds to Hamas offer to free Gilad Shalit in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners Israel's defence minister today said his government was doing its utmost to win the release of Gilad Shalit, a...

The separation wall | Austen Ivereigh
The Guardian 22 Dec 2009 - I would get rid of the Israeli separation wall, not just for Christmas, but for all our sakes Within spitting distance of the very spot Jesus Christ was born is one of the world's great monstrosities, "...

Israel's doctors must allay torture fears | Antony Lerman
The Guardian 22 Dec 2009 - Allegations of Israeli doctors colluding in the torture of Palestinians must be investigated One of the disturbing features of the persistent use of torture by many countries in conflict situations around the world is the role...

Ha'aretz National page

Ashkenazi parent: Sephardi girls have a bad influence on our girls
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - The Education Ministry on Wednesday threatened to prosecute parents of students in a West Bank settlement school under the mandatory education law, unless the students returned to their classrooms. ... 

Mofaz and Livni wage proxy war over Kadima leadership
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - The rift at the top of Kadima erupted into full-scale war on Wednesday when the party's number-two, MK Shaul Mofaz, lashed out at chairwoman Tzipi Livni, saying it was her lack of leadership that has reportedly led 14 of Kadima's 27 MKs to start negotiations with Likud about moving to that party. ... 

Police do nothing as armed men raid East Jerusalem school 
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - A school for boys in the East Jerusalem village of Kfar Akab went on strike on Wednesday after Israeli police failed to intervene as armed men stormed the premises on Tuesday. ...

Hello Bethlehem! Jesus' birthplace gets first Christmas rock concert
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - O Come All Ye Faithful to Bethlehem's first Christmas rock festival. ...

Poll shows Israelis ready to pay 'any price' for Shalit 
Ha'aretz 23 Dec 2009 - A majority of Israelis believe "any price" must be paid to restore prisoners in enemy hands to their families. ... 

Relief Web

oPt: Gaza Crisis Responses (as of Jun 2009)
Relief Web 23 Dec 2009 - Source: OCHA

The Palestinian economy: Towards recovery and sustained growth 
Relief Web 23 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Conference on Trade and Development

OPT: Mission program achievements - Week of December 14, 2009
Relief Web 23 Dec 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

The Palestinian National Authority and the European Union sign three new agreements with a total of €50.5 million
Relief Web 23 Dec 2009 - Source: European Commission, Palestinian National Authority

UN expert urges pressure on Israel to end blockade of Gaza, and the implementation of the Goldstone Report
Relief Web 23 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Human Rights Council, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

OPT: PCHR condemns Israeli arrests of human rights activists in the West Bank
Relief Web 23 Dec 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

YNet News

Assad: Dictionary needed to understand Israel 
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - In joint press conference with vesting Turkish PM, Syrian leader says Jewish state not really interested in peace. Referring to Golan Heights, he says, 'Return of the land will bring peace, not the other way around' 

Bilin resident charged with displaying used bullets 
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Head of Bilin Popular Committee Abdallah Abu Rahma indicted for possession of grenades, used bullets and their display at exhibition meant to illustrate IDF conduct at demonstrations. Left-wing activist Jonathan Polack says 'It's an empty grenade, a piece of rubber' 

UN expert slams 'tragic' international failure in Gaza 
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories urges Israel's European, North American allies to threaten it with economic sanctions if blockade not lifted; calls for swift implementation of Goldstone Report conclusions 

Report: Hamas agrees to deport 123 prisoners in Shalit deal 
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Hamas yet to formally respond to Israeli swap offer, but Lebanese daily quotes Palestinian sources as saying prominent prisoners have given their consent to Jerusalem's demand to deport 97 of them to Gaza, 20 to Qatar and the rest to Europe 

Iran says to launch new satellite early next year 
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Defense Minister Vahidi says launch of 'Sunrise' sattelites will mark a 'big step for continued presence of Iran in space' 

Palestinian who planted bomb near Israel-Gaza border gets 10 years
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Court says Muhammad Abu Dahar, who also convicted of reporting to PFLP on IDF movement, took active part in terror groups' efforts to harm Israel 

Syria, Turkey sign trade treaties 
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Ankara, Damascus reportedly sign 47 trade agreements meant to boost financial cooperation. Treaties' objective to form regional bloc independent of Western dictates 

School raided by armed gang in east J'lem; police fail to show up
YNet News 23 Dec 2009 - Staff at Kfar Akab municipal school locked inside for hour-and-a-half. Father enraged over treatment of injured son terrorizes school together with armed relatives. Police fail to act on emergency calls 

B'tselem

New Report: An annexation foretold
22 Dec 2009 - B'Tselem's and Bimkom's new report reveals that as far back as the 1970s, Israel planned to annex Ma’ale Adummim. To do this, it expropriated over the years tens of thousands of dunams of Palestinian land and expelled hundreds of Beduin who were living th

Daily Star

Iran forces clash with Montazeri's mourners
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 Iranian security forces armed with batons and tear gas clashed with supporters of the late dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri in two cities on Wednesday, opposition websites said. But a senior local official denied reports of clashes in Isfahan, accusing foreign media of "staging a psychological war" against the clerical establishment by publishing such reports.

Hamas leaders weigh Israeli draft on prisoner swap
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 A German mediator gave Hamas on Wednesday Israel's response to a proposed swap freeing hundreds of jailed Palestinians for a captured soldier, and the Islamist group said it would need days to review the new draft. Signaling a possible breakthrough, a Hamas official said he expected the group to send a delegation from the Gaza Strip to Damascus by Thursday to meet exiled Hamas leaders.

Visiting Turkish premier hails ties with Syria
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed Turkey's fast expanding relations with Syria as model for its ties with other Arab countries during a visit to Damascus Wednesday. "We are in the process of building with Syria a sound structure for the Middle East - we need to create a foundation for peace in the region," Erdogan said.

Gaza demonstration puts spotlight on civilian suffering
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 More than 50,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Gaza on December 31 for a mass march designed to send a message to the United States, a key supporter of Israel's army, that the situation in Gaza violates international human rights laws. The idea behind the "Gaza Freedom March" comes from CODEPINK, a women's peace group committed.

Erakat: Peace talks can restart if Israel halts settlements
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in an interview published Wednesday that he would immediately resume peace talks with Israel if it freezes all settlement construction in occupied land. "Erakat is ready to continue where he left off with [former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert]," the negotiator told the Austrian daily Kurier.

Bethlehem wall kills Christmas for Palestine
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 Christian visitors coming to Bethlehem this week to celebrate the birth of Christ will encounter a concrete wall with watchtowers, built by Israel between nearby Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity. In a message to remind the world of the Israeli barrier's existence, the Palestine Liberation Organization said the wall symbolized a "Christmas without hope" for the ancient city.

Iraq attacks target church, election candidate
Daily Star 23 Dec 2009 A pre-Christmas attack on a church killed two people in the Iraqi city of Mosul Wednesday while a Sunni Arab candidate died in a bombing in Fallujah, the first such murder ahead of March polls. They were among 11 people killed in violence across the country, despite security forces ramping up their presence ahead of Christmas and the Shiite commemoration ceremonies of Ashura.

Palestinian Information Center

JCSER: Israel plans to establish a new infrastructure for the Old City in J’lem
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - The Jerusalem center for social and economic rights said that Israel intends to establish a new infrastructure for the old city in Jerusalem, noting that this project will Judaize the whole city

PLC calls for filing lawsuit against the steel wall built on Gaza borders
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian legislative council on Wednesday called for filing a lawsuit against the steel wall being built on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders for its violation of international law.

Jihad leader rules out new Israeli aggression in the near future
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - Sheikh Nafedh Azzam, political bureau member of the Islamic Jihad Movement, has ruled out in a statement on Wednesday that the IOF would launch a new aggression on the Gaza Strip in the near future.

IOF soldiers round up more Palestinians, level petrol station
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up six Palestinians at dawn Monday in three West Bank districts and demolished a petrol station in Nablus.

Hamas: Abbas's pledge indicates his hostile position against Palestinian rights
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - Hamas has charged that Mahmoud Abbas's pledge to foil any attempt to ignite a fresh intifada against Israeli occupation is the biggest proof of his hostile position against Palestinian rights.

Abbas: I will never allow a third Intifada against Israel
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - Mahmoud Abbas bragged, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, about his war on the resistance, affirming that there would be no new Intifada against Israel as long as he is in office.

Algerian parties sign a document demanding release of detained PLC members
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - Six Algerian parties and parliamentary blocs have signed an official document demanding the immediate release of all Palestinian parliament members held by the Israeli occupation authority.

PLC to hold emergency session on Egypt’s steel wall in Gaza today
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian legislative council is expected to hold Wednesday an emergency session in Gaza city to discuss the implications of the steel wall being built on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders.

AFEH: IOA stealing historical Islamic stones
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) has charged the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) with taking away historical Islamic stones in trucks to unknown destinations.

Sakka: World responsible for Gaza's humanitarian disaster
PIC 23 Dec 2009 - Wael Al-Sakka has said that the world community that announced the human rights doctrines was itself breaking those rules, Gaza Strip a clear proof.

Los Angeles Times

Vatican, Israel joust over Jerusalem site 
LA Times 23 Dec 2009 - The Mt. Zion site where Jesus is believed to have gathered his disciples for the Last Supper was lost to the Roman Catholic Church more than 450 years ago. No accord was reached in the latest talks. The government of Israel seems to be embracing the Christmas spirit. This week it is organizing carols and tree giveaways in Jerusalem, bus service to Bethlehem and even a fireworks show in Nazareth with an apparent eye on burnishing the nation's reputation for religious diversity. 

Protests spread to Iran heartland 
LA Times 24 Dec 2009 - Demonstrations in Esfahan and Najafabad are evidence that the opposition movement has spread beyond Tehran to include a broad cross-section of people in central Iran. Large-scale protests spread across central Iranian cities Wednesday, offering the starkest evidence yet that the opposition movement that emerged from the disputed June presidential election has expanded beyond its base of mostly young, educated Tehran residents to at least some segments of the country's pious heartland. 

Iranian dissident cleric's funeral draws huge crowds 
LA Times 22 Dec 2009 - The streets of the holy city of Qom see a mix of protest and mourning as tens of thousands attend the funeral of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who had become a vocal critic of the government. Tens of thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets Monday in Iran's main theological center and clashed with pro-government militiamen during the funeral of the country's top dissident cleric, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. 

New York Times

Ahmadinejad Equates Crackdown in Iran to Policing of G-20 Protests in Pittsburgh and London
New York Times 23 Dec 2009 - Less than one week after Britain's Channel 4 News broadcast an interview with a man who claimed that he had helped to rig Iran's June presidential election, the channel's main news anchor, Jon Snow, was suddenly invited to Iran to interview President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

Clashes With Police Reported in Iran
New York Times 23 Dec 2009 - Security forces fought with demonstrators in the city of Isfahan and a Web site in Iran reported that “many” of the protesters had been injured. 

On Location: Beyond the Clamor Of Tehran
New York Times 23 Dec 2009 - The Fruit House, a simple, modern home in Gorgan, Iran, offers a welcome retreat from the tension of the city. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: Leader Dismisses Deadline for Deal on Shipping Nuclear Fuel
New York Times 23 Dec 2009 - “Who are they to set us a deadline?” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday in a televised speech in Shiraz. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: Opposition Figure Is Ousted as Leader of Art Institution
New York Times 23 Dec 2009 - Mir Hussein Moussavi had run the state-financed art institution since its founding 11 years ago. He was dismissed by the Council for Cultural Revolution. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Egypt: Denial of a Wall Near Gaza
New York Times 23 Dec 2009 - Egypt confirmed Tuesday that it was engaged in construction along its border with Gaza, but said it was not building a steel wall to block cross-border smuggling. 

Misc

Diaries From East Jerusalem
Palestine Monitor - 22 Dec 2009 - For the last two months, every Friday several peace activists and ordinary citizens have organized a demonstration in East Jerusalem protesting against Israeli authorities who have evicted several Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem is illegal...

Non-violent activists under attack
Palestine Monitor - 22 Dec 2009 - The West Bank villages of Bi'lin and Ni'lin have been invaded again on Saturday early morning by Israeli military: soldiers entered both villages and raided houses. For the last months residents of West Bank villages committed to non violent resistance, have been constantly subjected to arrests,...

Bibi in the bunker: you’re either with us or you ‘ram’ us
Mondoweiss - 23 Dec 2009 - Is it just my flair for the dramatic, or does this Netanyahu speech exude bunker mentality? He doesn’t understand that Israel’s standing has never been lower internationally because of factors Netanyahu can actually control: Gaza, killing the Goldstone report, suppressing peaceful protest, endless colonization. From a...

This has to be seen to be believed: Bil’in leader charged with arms possession
Mondoweiss - 23 Dec 2009 - Abdallah Abu Rahmah , a leader of the weekly nonviolent protests in Bil’in, has finally been charged after being arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Israeli military. Abu Rahmah’s arrest has been part on an ongoing Israeli campaign against Palestinian nonviolent resistance leaders . The charges against...

Oh just imagine if the Palestinian resistance movement were happening in Iran!
Mondoweiss - 23 Dec 2009 - Imagine if the Palestinian resistance movement were taking place in Iran! Dashing Mohammad Othman now rotting in detention would be a global cause. The middle-of-the-night arrest of Abdallah Abu Rahmah would be on the Nightly News. The New York Times would tell the stories of international...

eyes wide shut
Mondoweiss - 23 Dec 2009 - 2009 The Year in [12] Pictures, from the New York Times /International Herald Tribune. You might be particularly interested in the first of the pictures: "January." What does it tell Palestinians in Gaza? I’m sure it was awful for those in the picture, but the question...

Q: Would a leading US newspaper dare to attack the ‘reign of Jewish supremacy’? A: No
Mondoweiss - 23 Dec 2009 - The great Amira Hass has a piece in Haaretz saying that the Israeli gov’t is suppressing the Palestinian protests of colonization because it fears that the struggle for self-determination will resonate around the world. Popular struggle, she describes it. So we are now in the period...

An Outrageous and Pathetic Weapon Against BDS: Stop Instrumentalizing Anti-Semitism!
Alternative Information Center - 23 Dec 2009 - Every time the State of Israel is confronted with substantial international criticism for its political behavior and its violations of basic international standards, it counter-attacks by using the infamous tool of accusations of anti-Semitism. One remembers the campaign on anti-Semitism launched by Ariel Sharon and his...

Condemnation of Israeli Arrests of Human Rights Activists in the West Bank
Alternative Information Center - 23 Dec 2009 - On 15 December 2009, Jamal Juma', Coordinator of the Stop the Wall campaign, was seized from his home by Israel forces and placed in detention. On 21 December, the Military Court at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem extended his detention by a further four days. Although...


Articles

Danger: Popular struggle 
Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 12/24/2009
      There is an internal document that has not been leaked, or perhaps has not even been written, but all the forces are acting according to its inspiration: the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces, Border Police, police, and civil and military judges. They have found the true enemy who refuses to whither away: The popular struggle against the occupation.
     Over the past few months, the efforts to suppress the struggle have increased. The target: Palestinians and Jewish Israelis unwilling to give up their right to resist reign of demographic separation and Jewish supremacy. The means: Dispersing demonstrations with live ammunition, late-night army raids and mass arrests. Since the beginning of the year, 29 Palestinians have been wounded by IDF snipers while demonstrating against the separation fence. The snipers fired expanding bullets, despite an explicit 2001 order from the Military Adjutant General not to use such ammunition to break up demonstrations. After soldiers killed A’kel Srour in June, the shooting stopped, but then resumed in November.
     Since June, dozens of demonstrators have been arrested in a series of nighttime military raids. Most are from Na’alin and Bil’in, whose land has been stolen by the fence, and some are from the Nablus area, which is stricken by settlers’ abuse. Military judges have handed down short prison terms for incitement, throwing stones and endangering security. One union activist from Nablus was sent to administrative detention - imprisonment without a trial - while another activist is still being interrogated. For a few weeks now, the police have refused to approve demonstrations against the settlement in Sheikh Jarrah, an abomination approved by the courts. On each of the last two Fridays, police arrested more than 20 protesters for 24 hours. Ten were held for half an hour in a cell filled with vomit and diarrhea in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. more.. e-mail

Masters of illusion tell deceiving tales 
Paul J. Balles, Redress 12/18/2009
      Western illusions that vilify Arabs and glorify Israel
     ”The propagandists have known there was little chance of their myth-making becoming exposed, primarily because few Westerners live among Arabs long enough or close enough to discover the reality.”
     The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. (Daniel Boorstin)
     Many people think they know something about Arabs; but many of those thoughts are as divorced from reality as genies emerging from bottles. Not many Westerners, other than expatriates who have lived in the Arab world, know much about the customs, traditions, language or cultures of the Arab world. 
     When I first travelled to the Middle East for a university teaching job, I knew very little about Arabs. That trip into a land of mystery happened more than 40 years ago; and Kuwait and Bahrain have been my hosts since.
     During that time, I learned a great deal about many Arabs. I also learned that it’s dangerously misleading to think that Arabs are alike. Yet, many Westerners do just that. I remember how easy it was, as a child, to develop standardized images of people belonging to a particular ethnic group or culture. Part of this comes from the illusionists.
     Magicians perform as masters of illusion, and artists have fascinated viewers with optical illusions. Filmmakers qualify as experts at creating illusions. As illusory as the magician’s trick and the optical mirage, the history of both film and TV has been as full of deception as a dry desert lake appearing full of water.
     The problem with the illusions created by the media comes from our failure to recognize the deceptiveness of the chimera and subterfuge manufactured by Hollywood and the TV studios of New York and London. more.. e-mail

Elliott Abrams and ’Neocon-ing’ Obama 
Robert Parry, Consortium News 12/18/2009
      For the eight years of the Bush-II administration, a key behind-the-scenes architect of U.S. strategy in the Middle East was Elliott Abrams, a neoconservative whose devotion to Israel is hard to overstate – and who is now engaged in what looks like a PR campaign to bend Barack Obama’s Mideast policies in the direction favored by Israel’s hard-line Likud government.
     However, unlike many neocons, Abrams has been surprisingly frank about his devotion to Israel as a Jewish state. He has even expressed resentment toward Christians who hold nuanced views about Israel or who show sympathy for the Palestinians uprooted from their ancestral homes.
     In 1997, Abrams published a book entitled, Fear or Faith: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, which explained his strong commitment to Zionism; chastised Jews who marry Christians; and lashed out at American Christians for what he regarded as their insufficient support for Israel.
     “Where Catholics and mainline Protestants still fall short is in their failure to understand the relationship of most Jews to Israel,” Abrams wrote. He singled out a 1990 statement by the United Church of Christ that Abrams asserted “was remarkably ungenerous when it came to Israel.”
     Abrams cited a passage in the statement in which the Protestant church expressed sympathy for Jews who had suffered centuries of persecution but also noted disagreement among its members about whether Jews had a special claim on the Holy Land because of the supposed covenant with God described in the Jewish Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament).
     “We appreciate the compelling moral argument for the creation of modern Israel as a vehicle for self-determination and as a haven for a victimized people,” the United Church of Christ statement said, before tempering that sentiment with sympathy for Palestinians. more.. e-mail

Palestinians celebrate Arab film at Gaza festival
Electronic Intifada: 23 Dec 2009 - Last Thursday marked the end of a one-week film festival in Gaza City. The Palestinian Film Forum, an independent Palestinian community organization, sponsored the event with 33 films produced in six Arab Gulf states. Rami Almeghari reports from the occupied Gaza Strip. 

Gaza march puts spotlight on ongoing siege
Electronic Intifada: 23 Dec 2009 - UNITED NATIONS (IPS) - More than 50,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Gaza on 31 December for a mass march designed to send a message to the United States, a key supporter of Israel's army, that the situation in Gaza violates international human rights laws. The idea behind the "Gaza Freedom March" comes from CODEPINK, a women's peace group committed to drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, among other campaigns. 

Why I want to march in Gaza 
Electronic Intifada: 23 Dec 2009 - On 29 December, I will attempt to cross into the Gaza Strip along with 1,300 other peace and justice activists from 43 countries. Some of us have traveled to Gaza previously. It will be my third visit since the Israeli invasion, which destroyed or damaged more than 50,000 homes and 90 percent of private industry. Pam Rasmussen comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Humanitarian, rights orgs. decry "international community's betrayal" of Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 22 Dec 2009 - The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to back their words with effective action to secure the ending of the Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery, say a group of 16 leading humanitarian and human rights groups in a new report released today. 

Diaries From East Jerusalem
Palestine Monitor: 22 Dec 2009 - For the last two months, every Friday several peace activists and ordinary citizens have organized a demonstration in East Jerusalem protesting against Israeli authorities who have evicted several Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem is illegal under international law which forbids an occupying power from transferring its own people into an occupied area. Despite this the international community has done little to abate the appropriation of houses here. There is growing concern that Zionists are attempting to create a new Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem which will strengthen Israeli claims to complete autonomy of the capital. On Friday December 18, the peaceful protest of around 300 people was violently interrupted by Israeli police. In an attempt to prevent demonstrators from gathering at Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli police blocked all the accesses to the area. The demonstration culminated in the front yard...

Non-violent activists under attack
Palestine Monitor: 22 Dec 2009 - The West Bank villages of Bi'lin and Ni'lin have been invaded again on Saturday early morning by Israeli military: soldiers entered both villages and raided houses. For the last months residents of West Bank villages committed to non violent resistance, have been constantly subjected to arrests, night raids and any kind of intimidation and harassment. 31 Palestinian local peace activists from the Popular committees have been arrested in the last six months. Dozen of villagers of Bi'lin, Ni,lin, and other West Bank villages, mostly teenagers and young residents have been threatened, beaten, intimidated. Many others have been prevented from participating into the weekly demonstrations. Israeli authorities are targeting Palestinian human rights defenders and peace activists, in order to weaken the Palestinian civil society and the non violent resistance. As reported by ISM (International Solidarity Movement), on Saturday 19” In Bil'in, five military jeeps carrying about 30 soldiers entered the village...

What is the Aim of the Gaza Freedom March? - Interview
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Dec 2009 - By Bianca Zammit - Gaza As the days of December 2009 draw in, two events which each have a role to play in world peace draw closer. The first is on the 27th and is commemorating the start of the 22 day attacks on Gaza, an operation which targeted unarmed civilians, schools, hospitals, journalists and emergency staff. The second, The Gaza Freedom March will take place on the 31st. The Gaza Freedom March is a historic moment, the magnitude of which has not been seen in Palestine since 1967. Chiseled on the lessons learnt from South Africa' struggle for liberation against apartheid and from Gandhi' Satyagraha approach during the campaign for India' independence, the Gaza Freedom March is walking in the same shoes. In order to find out more about the Gaza Freedom March I met up with Dr. Haidar Eid, a member of the Steering Committee for the March in Gaza. What is the aim of the Gaza Freedom March? The goal of the Gaza Freedom March is to commemorate Gaza 2009. In January 2009 right after the end of operation Cast Lead we were all faced again by the deadly hermitic siege. The March is calling for an end to this siege. How did the Gaza Freedom March come about? In June CodePink led a delegation into Gaza and they started talking about a march. I was contacted by Palestinian solidarity groups from around the world and asked for my opinion. I liked the idea but it required...
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