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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
24 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israel charges peace activist with “arms possession” for picking up spent Israeli tear gas canisters
IMEMC 24 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 24, 2009 - 10:19, After holding anti-Wall protest organizer Abdullah Adu Rahma in prison for over a week without charges, Israeli authorities have decided to charge him with “arms possession” for picking up spent tear gas canisters after protests, leading Abu Rahma's lawyer to ask, “What's next? Charging demonstrators for the costs of the bullets used to shoot them?”

Six Kadima Legislators To Defect From Party
IMEMC 24 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 24, 2009 - 10:04, Israeli Television, Channel 1, reported on Wednesday at night that six Knesset members of the Kdaima Party, headed opposition leader by Tzipi Livni, signed their initials on an agreement with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to defect from Kadima and join government coalition.

Human rights groups: World has failed Gaza
IMEMC 24 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.

Hamas: “We Received Israel’s Response On Swap-deal”
IMEMC 24 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 24, 2009 - 04:12, Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, stated Wednesday that it received the Israeli response to the prisoner-swap deal through the German mediator, and added that its leaders would study the Israeli response before handing their official stance to the mediator.

Israel, Turkey, Reach Drone Purchase Deal
IMEMC 24 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 24 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.

Ma'an News

Settlers ’attack unfinished house’ near Nablus
12/24/2009 - Nablus- Ma'an - Israeli settlers destroyed construction materials in an under-constructions Palestinian house in the West Bank village of Burin, south of Nablus, on Thursday, local sources said. Residents told Ma'an that Israelis from the militant settlement of Bracha destroyed hundreds of cement blocks and other materials in the house, which is owned by Burceli Abul Aziz Eid, 30. The sources added that the building is on the southeastern corner of the village, and has come under attack by settlers previously. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision last month to slow construction in illegal West Bank settlements has provoked a backlash among the settler movement. Settlers have taken out their anger on Palestinians, in one case setting fire to a mosque near the West Bank town of Salfit. Netanyahu's 10-month construction slowdown applies only to settlements. . . 

Settler violence after shooting death
12/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli settlers rampaged through West Bank villages south of Nablus on Thursday evening after a settler was shot dead, residents said. Residents said dozens of Israelis from the settlement of Yzhar stormed the village of Burin, firing weapons and attempting to set fire to at least one house. Settlers also pelted Palestinians with stones they said. An Israeli military spokesperson denied that settlers had opened fire. Israeli forces had dispersed angry crowds of settlers and Palestinian residents after a 14-year-old Israeli was hit with a rock following the settlers' death, the spokesperson said. Meanwhile Israeli soldiers repositioned themselves at military Checkpoint 17, in the village of Asira Ash-Shamaliya, north of Nablus, according to witnesses. Israeli forces also entered the village of Taluza, north of Nablus, witnesses said. 

Gaza resident dies as tunnel collapses
12/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian was killed on Thursday morning when a smuggling tunnel collapsed underneath the Gaza-Egypt border, officials said. The Gaza Health Ministry's emergency services director, Muawiyah Hassanein said that the body of 40-year-old Salah Alwan arrived at a hospital after he suffocated inside the collapsed tunnel in the city of Rafah. Hassanein said there were no other injuries reported in the incident. Smugglers have dug an extensive network of tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt as a means to import goods made scarce by and Israeli-led three-year blockade. Work in the tunnels is extremely dangerous, however. More than 120 people have died in the industry since it began three years ago. Israel sealed its borders with Gaza in June 2007, reducing imports to one fifth of pre-blockade levels and banning exports. 

UN: Israel bans Palestinian building in 44% of West Bank
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli military rule has made Palestinian construction off limits in about 44% of the West Bank, according to a recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The report says the ban is the result of a planning regime applied by the Israeli Civil Administration, a branch of the Defense Ministry, in Area C. Under the 1995 Interim Agreement, Israel was to gradually transfer control over Area C to the Palestinian Authority, but the handover never took place, leaving Area C under Israeli control. "Under the planning regime applied by the ICA [Civil Administration], Palestinian construction is effectively prohibited in some 70 percent of Area C, or approximately 44 percent of the West Bank, in areas that have been largely designated for the use of Israeli settlements or the Israeli military," the report states. 

Youth release 400 balloons over Bethlehem Christmas eve
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hundreds of balloons were released into the Bethlehem sky Christmas eve, carrying with them messages of peace and calling for an end to the occupation of Palestine. Approximately 400 balloons were released in an event organized by the OneVoice movement. Passersby were asked to write their Christmas message on slips of paper attached to the balloon. Each called for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. "Let 2010 be the year to end the occupation and establish a sustainable independent Palestinian state," read one of the messages. While another urged "internal reconciliation to guarantee Palestinian national aspirations". This message of peace came on the night when world attention is on the biblical town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, according to the Christian faith. 

Two Gaza crossings open
12/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into Gaza on Thursday while keeping the Karni crossing closed. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said 102-112 truckloads of commercial products and humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza in addition to exporting a flowers' shipment. He explained that limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel, used for Gaza's struggling power plant, will be allowed through Nahal Oz. [end] 

Israeli army recruits say they’ll refuse to dismantle settlements
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Some 200 Israeli teenagers set to be drafted have sent a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying they would refuse to enforce any government order to dismantle settlements in the West Bank, The Associated Press reported on Thursday. The 12th graders said they were forbidden under Jewish law to destroy any Jewish construction, even if their own government commanded them to. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision last month to slow construction in illegal West Bank settlements has provoked a backlash among the settler movement. Several settler Rabbis have urged soldiers to refuse orders to demolish unauthorized construction. Settlers have also taken out their anger on Palestinians, in one case setting fire to a mosque near the West Bank town of Salfit. Netanyahu's 10-month construction slowdown applies only to settlements. . . 

Israel says roadside bomb found near Ramallah
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli military said it found on Thursday an explosive device on the side of road 443, which links Jerusalem with settlements to the north. According to reports Israeli sappers safely disposed of the device, which was found near the town of Bir Nabala. [end] 

Israel: Ban lifted on tourists at key Bethlehem checkpoint
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli army said Thursday it reversed a ban on tourists using a key military checkpoint to enter and exit Bethlehem. During the Christmas holiday, holders of foreign passports will be able to use the "Tunnel Road" checkpoint in the town of Beit Jala, the army announced in a statement. The checkpoint is positioned along one of two main bus routes linking Bethlehem and East Jerusalem. The decision may be temporary, however. An Israeli security source told Ma'an that the checkpoint would be open to foreigners at least until the end of January. After that, it will be "up to the political echelon" to decide whether to keep the route open, the source said. In early December, foreign visitors reported that Israeli border police were pulling them off buses at the Beit Jala checkpoint. Ma'an compiled numerous accounts of tourists being forced to walk or find. . . 

Israelis seek Hamas leaders’ arrest
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A group of Israelis have asked a Belgian court to issue arrest warrants for Hamas leaders over allegations of war crimes during last year's Israeli offensive on Gaza, AFP news agency reported. The group of 15, who also hold Belgian citizenship, were injured by homemade projectile launched into Israel during Gaza. They filed their complaint in Brussels, their lawyers said. The complaint accuses 10 top Hamas military and political leaders of war crimes, citing reports by international human rights organizations and the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict. The report by the mission, led by renowned South African judge Richard Goldstone, accused Israel and Palestinian armed groups of war crimes during the 22-day war, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. The lawsuit follows dozens of requests filed by lawyers acting on behalf of the Palestinian victims of Israel's military. 

Reports: Hamas flexible on prisoner expulsion
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas is leaning toward accepting Israel's demand to deport more than 100 prisoners in an exchange deal that would secure the release of a captured soldier, news reports said on Thursday. The Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Wednesday that Hamas would allow 123 prisoners to be deported in an exchange that would also see the release of some 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. Israel wants to deport prisoners who were convicted of carrying out or organizing attacks that resulted in the deaths of Israelis. Many of the attacks in question took place in the context of the second Palestinian intifada against the Israeli occupation. The swap deal now hinges on the demand to expel these prisoners either to Gaza or abroad, rather than release them to the West Bank. Senior Hamas officials from the Gaza Strip were expected to travel on Thursday to Damascus. . . 

Israel’s Kadima party headed for split
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A political shakeup hit Israel's center-right Kadima party, the country's main opposition faction, when the party's second-highest official demanded that its leader face an internal election. Kadima's deputy leader, Shaul Mofaz, the former minister of defense, said accused leader Tzipi Livni of driving 14 of the party's 27 MKs to consider leaving to join the right-wing Likud faction. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Mofaz blames Livni for a number of mistakes, including failing to form a government after last March's election, and subsequently failing to join Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu's government. Kadima won the most seats in the election, but refused to form a coalition with Likud, driving the party into the opposition. The party's governing council will meet on Thursday to discuss the threats of certain members to leave the party. 

Salafi group: Leader escapes Gaza jail
12/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The leader of a radical Salfi group has escaped from a Hamas-run prison in the Gaza Strip, the group announced on Thursday. Officials in the Gaza government made no immediate comment on the report. Mahmoud Taleb, known as Abu Al-Mutasem Al-Maqdisi, escaped a prison run by the Gaza Ministry of the Interior, according to another member of the Salafi faction, Abu Hamza Al-Maqdisi. Abu Hamza offered no other details on the reported escape. He alleged however that around 30 members of the Salafi movement are still being held in de facto government prisons, locations he said could be targeted by the Israeli military. On Saturday Gaza-based Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh ordered prosecutors to throw out charges against members of a Salafi group calling itself Jund Ansar Allah. Twenty two people died in a firefight in August between Jund Ansar Allah and Hamas-allied. . . 

PA seizes $13,000 in settlement-made goods
12/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority (PA) said on Thursday that it seized 50,000 shekels (13,155 US dollars) worth of products made in illegal West Bank settlements. Ministry of National Economy staff seized the products, a statement said. It was not specified what type of products were confiscated. The PA has vowed to eliminate settler-made goods from the Palestinian market by the end of 2010 in order to put pressure on Israel to dismantle settlements. Palestinian Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libeh estimated earlier in December that Palestinians spend a half billion dollars on settlement products every year. The British government also recently introduced labeling guidelines making it easier to distinguish settlement goods from those made inside Israel's 1967 borders in a move praised by boycott campaigners. 

Manger Square celebrations a party for all
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - After Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal lead dozens of scouts through Bethlehem's Star Street and into Manger Square, families milled around the Old City, enjoying carols, hot corn, roasted nuts and cotton candy. Kids of all ages and visitors from all corners of the West Bank joined pilgrims and dignitaries for the live music under the glow of thousands of Christmas lights. Palestinians of every faith shared in the sounds of artists from around the world, preferring dance rhythms to the mournful songs, many penned in the honor of peace for Palestine. Khalid, selling hot cardamon coffee to revelers in the square, rolled his eyes at one artist, telling his customers to "make peace happen. ""We forget about the occupation today, it's a party; we are here to have fun," he said. Dancers took the break as songs for peace in Spanish rippled across the open air venue,. . . 

Bethlehem shopkeeper arrested for plot to sell drugs at Christmas
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority (PA) police said on Thursday that they arrested a Bethlehem shopkeeper on charges of possessing drugs with the intention to sell them during Christmas Eve festivities. The media office of the Bethlehem police department said anti-narcotics officers placed the suspect "under surveillance" for several days before the arrest. The suspect was the proprietor of a new clothing store on Bethlehem's central Manger Square, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus. Thousands descended on the square on Thursday for Christmas Eve parades and concerts. "The suspect intended to sell these narcotics during the Christmas celebration," the police statement said. The man, who was not identified in the statement, was questioned and his case was handed over to prosecutors, the police added. 

PSE rises: Al Quds Index up 0.24% on Thursday
12/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange in Nablus rose on Thursday, ending a low week on a high note. At the close of trading, the Al-Quds Index stood at 486. 01, increasing 1. 17 points (0. 24%). Trading volume was 285,231 shares, a total value of 453,384. 3 US dollars in 249 trades. The shares of 19 companies were traded. The share prices of eight companies rose. Six fell. The top five gainers were VOIC by 4. 65%, PRICO by 4. 17%, PEC by 4. 08%, AIG by 2. 56%, and AIB by 1. 71%. The top five losers were GCOM by 3. 81%, AMB by 2. 67%, QUDS by 1. 69%, UCI by 1. 49%, and BOP by 1. 09%. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Israeli killed in West Bank shooting attack
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Security forces alerted to the scene to investigate the incident; victim apparently resident of settlement. 

Year after Gaza war, Hamas says ready to fight Israel again
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Armed wing says ready with all manpower to 'confront Zionists', but won't say what capabilities it has. 

IDF recruits to Barak: We refuse to evacuate settlements
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Jewish law forbids destruction of Jewish construction, 12th graders tell defense minister in letter. 

For Palestinians, possession of used IDF arms is now a crime
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - IDF troops arrest West Bank man for possessing weapons for exhibition on 'means used by security forces.' 

Settlers plan to cut IDF ties in fight against freeze
Ha'aretz 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 Dec 2009 - Hagai Ben Artzi argues with Noam Shalit; Ron Arad's wife: Bringing Shalit back home is Israel's 'moral duty.' 

Uruknet

Bethlehem's modern nativity scene - crib, wise men and separation wall
Uruknet December 23, 2009 - The shelves of Bethlehem's tourist shops this winter are filled with the gifts you might expect. There are countless carved olive-wood crucifixes, angels and last suppers. But there are also unexpected nativity scenes complete with Joseph, Mary, crib, wise men and large Israeli concrete wall with military watchtower. Israel's vast separation barrier is at its most...

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...

Palestine Telegraph

IOF Detains a Palestinian from Al-Jalzon Camp
Ramallah, December 24, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - At today dawn Israeli occupation forces detained Mohammad Al-Wawi, 19, from Al-Jalzon Camp, in north of Ramallah. Mostafa Al-Wawi, the detainee brother, said: "Israeli occupation forces raided our house at 3 a.m. and arrested my brother Mohammad" Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces Israeli raid the West Bank governorates daily.  They invade the citizens' houses;...

Gaza Exports Third Flower Shipment, Aid Allowed in
Gaza Strip, December 24, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- It's been scheduled to allow 112 trucks loaded with aid, as well as assistance for trade and agricultural sectors to the Gaza Strip today, and to export a truckload of flowers abroad. Israeli media sources said that Israeli occupation authorities decided to open the Karam Abu Salem and al Shejaeiya crossing points, and...

PA and EU sign three agreements worth €50.5 million
Ramallah, December 24, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) -Ramallah-led Government Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad and the European Union signed Wednesday three agreements worth €50.5 million to support several sectors. D. Fayyad pointed out that the first agreement which worth 22 million Euros to boost the economy of the Gaza Strip, through providing support for private sector which was damaged heavily in the...

Researchers: Israel Poisons Palestinian Soil and Newborns
World, December 24, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - These are some of the key findings of a recent study by New Weapons Research Committee (NWRC), an Italy-based group of academics, physicians and researchers specialized in elaborating risk assessment surveys on the effects of the newest "non-conventional weapons and their mid-term effects on residents of areas afflicted by conflicts". The metals found...

Hamas to Consult with Damascus Leadership on Swap Deal
Gaza, December 24, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) -  After receiving the  Israeli response from the German mediator, a delegation of Hamas officials will visit Damascus Thursday in order to consult with the movement's leaders there 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...

The National

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

Israel PM seeks Livni for coalition
AlJazeera 24 Dec 2009 - Leader of opposition Kadima says she is open to discuss any serious offer.

Israeli settler killed in West Bank
AlJazeera 24 Dec 2009 - Gunmen kill the man in shooting attack near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

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 - Incidents occur as crowds in Isfahan mourn death of dissident Hossein Ali Montazeri.

Alternative Information Center

Separation, Inequality and Loosening Control: The State of State Education in Israel
Alternative Information Center 24 Dec 2009 - Israel never managed to develop a uniform, egalitarian public education system. In fact, the most outstanding characteristic of education in Israel today is segregation or separation - on the basis of ethnicity, degree of religiosity, and...

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's modern nativity scene – crib, wise men and separation wall
PNN 24 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 are countless carved olive-wood crucifixes, angels and last suppers. But there are also unexpected nativity scenes complete with Joseph, Mary, crib, wise men and large Israeli...

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...

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...

Peace high on Gazans' Christmas wish list
PNN 24 Dec 2009 - GAZA CITY // Father Jorge Hernandez was busy and distracted. Yesterday was the third day he had spent composing his Christmas sermon, and he hadn’t finished it yet. “Good intentions are the foundation for hope,” the Latin Catholic priest said his message would be. “Hope is something we have to pray for in Gaza, where we celebrate Christmas with mixed feelings, remembering the...

Jerusalem Post

Maverick Iraqi politician claims Iran could go nuclear within weeks
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Mithal al-Alusi, who visited Israel and whose sons were murdered in apparent payback, says he has 'insider information'.

Analysis: The domino effect
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Obama's engagement policy signals that the US is willing concede to Iran's bid for regional hegemony.

A unique treasure
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Cleveland philanthropists endow Israel Museum with $12 million gift to support "legacy of Jewish life."

Pro-Israeli lobby sues Hamas in Belgium
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Mashaal, Haniyeh among those targeted by lawsuit filed on behalf of 15 Gaza periphery residents.

Hamas: We'll respond to Schalit counter-offer by next week
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - High-level discussions of terror group's Damascus-based leadership to continue for next few days as group studies latest Israeli offer.

Unlimited permit quota for Palestinian Christians
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Over 10,000 permits so far issued in W. Bank; 300 Gazans allowed out; watch Peres' Xmas blessing.

Police attacked by haredi mob in J'lem
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Officers were in Beit Yisrael neighborhood tending to woman who was assaulted by "modesty patrol."

Livni: Don't help PM weaken Kadima
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - Kadima leader implores Mofaz to keep party ranks unified, but her No. 2 calls for primaries.

Youths warn Barak they won't evacuate
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - 200 pre-IDF teens tell defense minister in letter their commitment to Torah precedes that to army.

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

American citizen to be deported following his arrest in Sheikh Jarrah
12/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 21 December - Imprisoned American citizen and Minnesota resident Ryan Olander to be deported to the US after being arrested in Sheikh Jarrah, Occupied East Jerusalem, whilst visiting Palestinian family whose house has been taken over by Israeli settlers. Ryan was visiting the al-Kurds in the tent the Palestinian family built in their own backyard, after the recent setter take-over of a section of their house. At 1. 15pm, 6 Israeli police walked into the tent, where Ryan was talking to the family members and drinking tea, and took him for questioning at the Russian Compound police station in west Jerusalem. From the Givon prison in Ramle where Mr. Olander is currently awaiting his deportation hearing he reported that: "On Friday, 18 December, I was placed under arrest illegally. A police officer forcibly removed me from the al-Kurd private residence and proceeded to file a fallacious police report. . . " 

For Palestinians, possession of used IDF arms is now a crime
12/24/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Amira Hass, Haaretz - The Israel Defense Forces consider it a crime punishable by imprisonment for a Palestinian to possess used IDF weapons, according to an indictment filed by the military prosecutor against Abdullah Abu Rahma of the West Bank town of Bil'in. Abu Rahma, 39, is coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall, which has been holding demonstrations against construction of the separation fence on the village's land. A teacher by profession, he was arrested by IDF troops on December 10 and indicted in a military court last Tuesday. In addition to charges of incitement and throwing stones, Abu Rahma was charged with illegal weapons possession due to his alleged possession of M16 rifle bullets and gas and concussion grenades – which, the indictment said, "the accused and his associates used for an exhibition that showed people the means used by the security forces. " 

Breaking Palestine’s peaceful protest
12/24/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Neve Gordon, The Guardian, 23 December - 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 question itself is problematic, being based on many erroneous assumptions, such as the notion that there is symmetry between the two sides and that Peace Now has been a politically effective movement. Most important, though, is the false supposition that Palestinians have indeed failed to create a pro-peace popular movement. In September 1967 - three months after the decisive war in which the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem were occupied - Palestinian leaders decided to launch a campaign against the introduction of new Israeli textbooks in Palestinian schools. 

Settlers attempt to destroy Christmas tree following Palestinian celebration in Sheikh Jarrah
12/24/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 23 December - On Wednesday 23 December at 11. 30pm, as every other night, settlers began to circulate in the street between the occupied Gawi house and the half-occupied al-Kurd house in Sheikh Jarrah. After about an hour of general harassment of the Palestinian families living in the neighbourhood since 1956, the settlers increased their aggression and started throwing fruit at the people who sat in front of the Kurd family house to protect it from further invasions. Two settlers started making graffiti and sprayed over Palestinian flags painted on the wall of the al-Kurd backyard, while the rest pushed and cursed the Palestinians and internationals, who verbally tried to make them stop. A solidarity activist filming the episode was spray-painted in the face numerous times. Three border policemen stood next by and watched without interfering for the whole duration of the attack. 

Residents of Sheikh Jarrah celebrate Christmas despite ongoing settler expansion
12/24/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 23 December 2009 - "Merry Christmas to all the Christians and Happy New Year," Nasser Gawi after his first Christmas tree decoration. On Wednesday, 23 December, residents of Sheikh Jarrah organised a Christmas celebration outside the occupied homes of the Gawi and al-Kurd families. At 11am two trees, donated by the Jerusalem Collation, were brought by the Palestinian community, and were continually decorated thoughout the day. The decorations started from handmade paper baskets filled with candy for the children, a panda bear and monkey toys, who had been living outside with the Ghawe family, and ended with streamers, tensile, and a bright lit up star. The best decorations were the Palestinian flags flowing across the trees. The celebration started around 4pm and more than 100 people came to join in the fun. There were lots of media outlets that showed up and seemed to enjoy themselves; even with the constant presence of the settlers. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Times: Auschwitz sign stolen to fund Swedish terror attacks
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - The group that ordered the theft of the infamous 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign from the gates of Auschwitz planned to sell it to fund violent attacks against the Swedish Prime Minister and Parliament, the Times of London reported on Thursday. ...

Report: Madoff treated for face fractures, collapsed lung 
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff was hospitalized late last week and treated for facial fractures, broken ribs and a collapsed lung, a Raleigh, North Carolina television station reported on its Web site on Thursday. ...

Jewish group: Carter's apology to Jewish community a 'publicity stunt'
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - The holiday season brought U.S. Jews a surprising gesture from former president Jimmy Carter recently, when he issued a letter of apology for "stigmatizing Israel" . ... 

Guardian: Headline on Israeli organ harvesting was serious error
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - The British paper The Guardian issued a correction on Tuesday, conceding that it should not have run the headline "Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs" on a story that, according to the correction, "did not match the article." ...

Iran bans memorials for dissident cleric in wake of violence
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Iran banned memorials for the country's most senior dissident cleric and reiterated a stern warning to the opposition Thursday, after days of services in honor of the spiritual leader turned into street protests against the government. ...

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

IDF officer: Israel recently removed road block from site of fatal attack
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Last week, Israel removed a West Bank road block on the very road where 40-year-old Meir Hai was killed in a shooting attack Thursday afternoon, so said an Israel Defense Forces officer who preferred to remain nameless. ... 

Netivot woman sentenced to 8-years for sexually abusing her sons
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - A woman, 40, was sentenced on Thursday to 8-years in jail and 12-months suspended sentence, for sexually abusing her two sons. ... 

U.S. rabbi involved in sex scandal led fight against Israel conversions
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - It is hard to imagine a more embarrassing situation in which to find an exclusive ultra-Orthodox organization - a group that was a standard-bearer in the fight against "breaches in the wall of conversion" and "the penetration of complete gentiles into the vineyard of Israel." ...

Inspectors, police, civilians all chase 'Jewish pony' in Holon 
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - This was a pursuit for which no policeman was prepared: Two inspectors, riot police, a police patrol car and one civilian ? all of them participated on Wednesday in the hunt for a pony that galloped across the central city of Holon. ...

Netanyahu asks Livni, Kadima to join unity government
Ha'aretz 24 Dec 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the chairwoman of Kadima, on Thursday to join a unity government. Livni did not immediately reject the offer, and added that if the offer is real "I always said that it is up for discussion." ...

Relief Web

Egypt refuses entry to Gaza convoy through Red Sea port
Relief Web 24 Dec 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Israeli settler killed in West Bank shooting: medics
Relief Web 24 Dec 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Kuwaiti donates USD 33,000 to Gazan families in need
Relief Web 24 Dec 2009 - Source: Kuwait News Agency

Gaza 12 months on: responding to need, pressing for action
Relief Web 24 Dec 2009 - Source: Department for International Development

OPT: Back to work - earning a living in a shattered economy
Relief Web 24 Dec 2009 - Source: Department for International Development

OPT: The basics - accessing safe water
Relief Web 24 Dec 2009 - Source: Department for International Development

YNet News

Shalit deal: Hamas debates deportation
YNet News 24 Dec 2009 - Hamas’ Gaza, Damascus leaderships at odds over several issues pertaining to swap deal 

Israel to allow glass into Gaza
YNet News 24 Dec 2009 - Israel complies with Ban Ki-moon’s request, glass for Gaza reconstruction to reach Strip 

Settlers slam government over shooting attack
YNet News 24 Dec 2009 - Yesha Council heads, MKs say terror attack result of roadblocks' removal, construction freeze. 'The Arabs are interpreting government's decision as green light to harm settlers,' says MK Arieli 

Report: Israel wants to send Shalit supplies 
YNet News 24 Dec 2009 - Al-Jazeera Television says Israel asked German mediator to convince Hamas to let it send captive soldier provisions; arrange for a doctor's visit 

Man killed in West Bank shooting
YNet News 24 Dec 2009 - (Video) Meir Avshalom Hai, 45, murdered in shooting attack on West Bank road Thursday afternoon; Magen David Adom ambulance teams, security forces rush to scene, troops scour area for suspects 

White House says won't oppose Kerry's visit to Iran
YNet News 24 Dec 2009 - US administration said to support appointment of former presidential candidate as US envoy to Iran 

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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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 24 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

7th Quds institution's conference discusses retreat in official, popular support
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The seventh annual conference of the international Quds institution is to discuss in Beirut in mid January the retreat in official and popular Arab support for the holy occupied city of Jerusalem.

European campaign denies calling for boycott of Egyptian products
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza denied that it called for boycotting Egyptian products in protest against its building of a steel wall on Gaza borders.

Haneyya gov’t rejects Dennis Ross plan and any temporary solutions
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian government headed by premier Ismail Haneyya on Tuesday reiterated its rejection of the plan of Dennis Ross and the temporary solutions to the Palestinian cause.

Palestinian center demands immediate release of Khafsh from PA jail
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners has urged the PA in Ramallah to immediately release Fuad Al-Khafsh, describing his detention as a shame and a real farce.

Palestinian kidnapped, another handed demolition note in villages in Al-Khalil
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - A Palestinian citizen was kidnapped and another was handed a demolition warning during Israeli raids carried out yesterday and today on the villages of Dura, Yatta and Idna in Al-Khalil district.

PLC delegation meets UN representative, arrives in Libya
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian legislative council (PLC) delegation met on Wednesday with the UN Secretary General's representative Lakhdar Al-Ibrahimi in the course of the official visit to Algeria.

Khudari: World community responsible for delay in lifting siege, reconstruction
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khudari held the world community responsible for not assuming legal and ethical duties towards the Gaza siege.

Falk calls for economic sanctions against Israel to lift the Gaza siege
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories," has called for the swift implementation of the recommendations included in Goldstone's report.

Bardawil: Hamas became stronger after its victory in Gaza war
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Senior Hamas official and lawmaker Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil stated Wednesday that his Movement has become stronger and more powerful after its victory in the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas: Our response to Israeli offer on swap deal after discussion
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Hamas Movement said that it received the Israeli response to the German mediator's proposal on the prisoners' exchange deal and would study the response.

Los Angeles Times

Tehran protesters clash with Iranian security forces 
LA Times 25 Dec 2009 - Protesters honoring the late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's leading dissident cleric, are met by police in riot gear. Several thousand protesters took to the streets of Tehran on Thursday and clashed with security forces in the latest round of unrest over Iran's disputed June presidential election, according to witnesses and amateur video posted on the Internet. 

Iran protests spread in 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 in 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. 

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. 

New York Times

Power Struggle in Iran Clouds View of Nuclear Intentions
New York Times 24 Dec 2009 - The political turmoil has has silenced pragmatic voices in Tehran and made it nearly impossible for anyone to support nuclear cooperation without being accused of capitulating to the West. 

World Briefing | Middle East: West Bank: Israeli Settler Killed
New York Times 24 Dec 2009 - A little-known militant group identifying itself as a faction of Fatah claimed responsibility for shooting the man. 

Police Try to Quell Protesters Who Mourn Iranian Cleric
New York Times 24 Dec 2009 - In Tehran and the northwestern city of Zanjan, officers clashed with demonstrators defying a ban on memorial ceremonies for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. 

Netanyahu Asks Rival to Join Government
New York Times 24 Dec 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Tzipi Livni to join his government, saying Israel faced existential choices that need a broad coalition. 

Memo From Tel Aviv: A Tougher Stance on the Use of Military Force Stirs Little Public Debate
New York Times 24 Dec 2009 - A year after the Gaza offensive, the devastating use of force is seen as an effective deterrent against threats from Hamas and Hezbollah. 

Yitzhak Ahronovitch, Exodus Skipper in Defiant ’47 Voyage of Jewish Refugees, Dies at 86
New York Times 24 Dec 2009 - The violent interception of the ship by the British Navy in 1947 helped rally support for the creation of the state of Israel. 

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

Breaking Palestine’s peaceful protest 
Neve Gordon, The Guardian 12/23/2009
      "Why," I have often been asked, "haven’t the Palestinians established a peace movement like the Israeli Peace Now?"
     The question itself is problematic, being based on many erroneous assumptions, such as the notion that there is symmetry between the two sides and that Peace Now has been a politically effective movement. Most important, though, is the false supposition that Palestinians have indeed failed to create a pro-peace popular movement.
     In September 1967 – three months after the decisive war in which the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem were occupied – Palestinian leaders decided to launch a campaign against the introduction of new Israeli textbooks in Palestinian schools. They did not initiate terrorist attacks, as the prevailing narratives about Palestinian opposition would have one believe, but rather the Palestinian dissidents adopted Mahatma Gandhi-style methods and declared a general school strike: teachers did not show up for work, children took to the streets to protest against the occupation and many shopkeepers closed shop.
     Israel’s response to that first strike was immediate and severe: it issued military orders categorising all forms of resistance as insurgency – including protests and political meetings, raising flags or other national symbols, publishing or distributing articles or pictures with political connotations, and even singing or listening to nationalist songs.
     Moreover, it quickly deployed security forces to suppress opposition, launching a punitive campaign in Nablus, where the strike’s leaders resided. As Major General Shlomo Gazit, the co-ordinator of activities in the occupied territories at the time, points out in his book The Carrot and the Stick, the message Israel wanted to convey was clear: any act of resistance would result in a disproportionate response, which would make the population suffer to such a degree that resistance would appear pointless. more.. e-mail

Return to Gaza 
Amira Howeidy, Al-Ahram Weekly 12/17/2009
      International solidarity with besieged Gaza is gaining momentum despite a Western media blackout. Amira Howeidy reports on the progress of the second Viva Palestina aid convoy as it crosses Europe.
     It’s Tuesday, 15 December and the Viva Palestina convoy of international activists and politicians, who started their journey in the UK on 5 December, finally have a chance to relax. Not only is the weather a little warmer in Turkey, but so is the convoy’s reception. On the course of its journey through Western Europe, taking in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy, this life line to besieged Gaza -- at 45km long and 10km wide the world’s largest open prison -- was flatly ignored by the mainstream media.
     Ten days from now marks the first anniversary of Israel’s 22-day war on the Gaza Strip. During Operation Cast Lead the Israeli army’s aerial and artillery bombardment killed over 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including 400 children. More than 5,300 were injured and maimed. Israel systematically destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, including the Islamic University, hospitals, schools, mosques and UN quarters. The densely populated Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, faced a barrage of chemical attacks in the form of white phosphorous shells which burn through skin and flesh all the way to the bone.
     After leaving Turkey, where local NGOs managed to raise funds for 70 more aid vehicles to Gaza, Viva Palestina (VP) will cross the border to Syria, then on to Lebanon and Jordan. VP, which will by then comprise 110 vehicles accompanied by 420 activists, will then be ferried across the Red Sea to Nuweiba, from where the convoy will drive to the Egyptian- Gaza border town of Rafah, arriving on 27 December. Depending on the flexibility of the Egyptian authorities, the convoy will cross to Gaza to deliver medical and humanitarian supplies and other forms of aid to the Palestinians. In doing so it will break the strict siege Israel, with the blessings of the international community, has imposed on Gaza since June 2007. more.. e-mail

Has Mahmoud Abbas Lost All Credibility Among Palestinians? 
Mohammed Omer, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12/1/2009
         The now-reversed decision by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) to defer until March 2010 a vote on the Goldstone report by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) constituted “a huge betrayal” of the Palestinian people, critics in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and abroad charged.
     The 575-page report (see November 2009 Washington Report, p. 13) presented strong evidence that Israel engaged in multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity during its 22-day assault on Gaza last December and January. Dubbed “Operation Cast Lead,” the attack employed ground troops, F-16 warplanes, white phosphorus, missiles, tanks and helicopter gunships, destroying key elements of Gaza’s infrastructure, killing more than 1,400 men, women and children, and injuring more than 5,000 Gazans.
     Although the Palestinians have no army, navy or air force, the report cited evidence that militia fighters in Gaza, which is under the leadership of the Hamas government, likewise engaged in human rights violations and war crimes. The indiscriminate firing of homemade rockets into Israel damaged several buildings and killed three civilians, the report found. Ten Israeli soldiers also died during the assault, four as the result of friendly fire.
     International law experts in the Netherlands expected that “the report by UNHRC would likely pave the way for the prosecution of the state of Israel and several of its leaders for war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC).” Palestinians hoped they would finally get some measure of justice after more than six decades of oppression and occupation. more.. e-mail

Villages challenge occupation on human rights day
Electronic Intifada: 24 Dec 2009 - As tortuous as the occupation is for the people of al-Tuwani, on 10 December -- International Human Rights Day -- they decided to offer support to other Palestinians by highlighting the discrimination faced by schoolchildren from the neighboring villages. The focus of Human Rights Day 2009 was on non-discrimination, a topic that is particularly appropriate in occupied Palestine where Palestinians face daily discrimination by Israel. Jo Ehrlich writes for The Electronic Intifada. 

US campaign for academic boycott gaining strength
Electronic Intifada: 24 Dec 2009 - The United States Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was formed in the immediate aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, bringing together educators of conscience who were unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions. Today, over 500 US-based academics, authors, artists, musicians, poets and other arts professionals have endorsed our call. 

Labor for Palestine comes under attack
Electronic Intifada: 24 Dec 2009 - Labor for Palestine's 14 December Open Letter from US Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. However, it has also become clear that growing support for boycott, divestment and sanctions is seen as a threat by those who would continue US labor officialdom's support for the apartheid state of Israel, as evidenced by new attacks on Labor for Palestine. 

US government's hard line on Hizballah clashes with political reality
Electronic Intifada: 24 Dec 2009 - WASHINGTON (IPS) - Lebanese President Michel Suleiman 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. Yet despite its brevity, the meeting touched upon issues that strike at the heart of the US-Lebanon relationship. 

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...

Gaza Freedom March: The Siege Has to End
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Dec 2009 - By Bianca Zammit – Gaza 'Is this our fate? Is this what we are worth? Nothing more than pictures on the wall?' said Um Rabia referring to what has now become a custom in Palestine, covering walls in the streets, homes and shops with pictures of deceased family members. Um Rabia' children were killed by an automatic watch tower as they were walking to school. No soldiers, no officers and no government has ever been forced to take responsibility for this action and if trends are abided to then it is very hard to believe justice will be served in any near future. Unfortunately, Um Rabia' story is a very common story in Palestine. If this trend is not stopped, soon there shall be no more wall in the streets, in homes and in shops left uncovered. In October 2009 an opportunity presented itself at the door of the international community. This opportunity was seeking nothing but the truth on the human rights violations committed during operation Cast Lead. It listened and witnessed and applied international law. When the Goldstone report finally emerged it revealed the clear priorities of each nation especially their interest or disinterest in human rights and rule of law. The report found that Israel had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The international community has chosen to play down the findings cited in the report and to opt for lip service followed by inaction. Inaction has never brought justice and the let's wait and see...

Palestinians on Brink of Explosion
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Dec 2009 - By Nicola Nasser – The West Bank "In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope,” Palestinian Christian leaders, representing churches and church-related organizations, meeting in Bethlehem on December 11, concluded in their 13-page document titled “Kairos Palestine – 2009: A Moment of Truth,” enlisting Christians worldwide in proactive efforts to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Their “cry” symbolizes the popular mood of their people as well as the political status quo. On both sides of the inter-Palestinian divide between the U.S. – backed presidency and the Israeli – hunted legislative, the Fatah – led West Bank (where the leadership of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO) is committed to peace, direct negotiations and security coordination with the Israeli occupying power, but the 16 –year old “peace process’ has reached an impasse and the negotiations are deadlocked in a one –year old stalemate over the cancer – like expanding Jewish colonial settlements) and the Hamas – led Gaza Strip (where the Islamic resistance Movement (Hamas) is strictly committed to ceasefire save in self – defense while conducting indirect negotiations mediated by Egypt and Germany over an exchange of POWs), both political and military solutions for the century – old Arab – Israeli conflict have failed and aborted all prospects of peace, which have proved an elusive mirage, a stark failure of the U.S. led world community. An imminent explosion seems the only breakthrough ahead. “There is no bilateral solution. The fastest road to the next...

Targeting Lebanon's Al Manar at Congress
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Dec 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Beirut "Regarding Al Manar it's personal for Israel. The reason is that Al Manar did to the Israeli government propaganda machine during and following the July 2006 war what Hezbollah fighters did to Israeli troops. Al Manar kicked butt. That station must be made to disappear. The plan is to stop the 15-20 million daily viewers of Al Manar from receiving its transmission and well as to intimidate all the other Middle East TV channels that are suspected of moving toward the growing “Culture of Resistance’ spreading in the Middle East from Lebanon." -- A Washington DC observer of how Israel controls the US Congress 12/9/09. Lebanon is a small country, approximately 0.7% the size of Connecticut with a population a bit more than 1% of America’s. But according to the four public US ‘Terrorist’ and Watch lists and at least seven supposedly secret US ‘T lists’ there are more Lebanese ‘terrorists’ and ‘inciters’ on the loose per square meter of planet Earth than any other nationality. Way more than say Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan could reasonably hope to muster. Increasingly these ‘terrorists and inciters’ work is claimed by some in the US Congress to be done via satellite TV channels. Such is the thesis of Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the ‘author’ of the 122nd US Congressional anti-Arab, anti-Muslim initiative in the past decade now known as the “Terrorist TV” Bill which passed the House on 12/08/09 and is now before the US Senate Foreign...

Military Metaphysics and the Native Informer
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Dec 2009 - By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad During a talk in Dublin A few years back a respected left luminary postulated that one cause of rising extremism in Pakistan was the increasing number of young people turning to seminaries instead of scientific academies for their education. He attributed this insight—one that is sure to leave most Pakistanis bemused—to ‘a friend, a nuclear physicist in Pakistan’. Anyone even remotely familiar with Pakistan of course would know that the education system there is highly stratified: people with money send their children to private schools and those without to decrepit public institutions. Further down are the underclasses who are often forced to choose between educating their children or feeding and sheltering them. The dilemma is often resolved by sending children to seminaries, the much-maligned madaris (plural of madrassa) where they get food, shelter, and education. Few, if any, go to the madaris by choice (though almost all except the Westernized elite send their children to mosques at some point for basic religious education). So the speaker’s comment was odd, Mary Antoinette-ish. And given its quality, it was not hard to guess who its source, the nuclear physicist in question, might be. After reading Pervez Hoodbhoy in Counterpunch on December 14, 2009, one would have to be a fool to question his familiarity with Riverside Drive. However, Hoodbhoy would sound less fatuous if he were equally familiar with Peshawar Road. In the title and conclusion of his article Hoodbhoy sardonically asks where, if he is the tool...
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