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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
25 December, 2009

News

International Middle East Media Center

Settler Killed In West Bank Shooting
IMEMC 25 Dec 2009 - Friday December 25, 2009 - 13:45, An Israeli settler was shot and killed on Thursday evening near the Jewish settlement of Einav, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, Israeli sources reported.

Netanyahu Rejects Removing Roadblocks
IMEMC 25 Dec 2009 - Friday December 25, 2009 - 13:30, Israeli Army Radio reported Friday that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejected in recent months several requests to remove Israeli military roadblocks spread across the occupied West Bank.

Chief Rabbinate In Israel Demands Not Displaying Christian Symbols
IMEMC 25 Dec 2009 - Friday December 25, 2009 - 13:10, As the Christian world celebrates Christmas, and as Christians in Palestine and in Israel celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, the Chief Rabbinate in Israel recommended that hotels and restaurants in the country should refrain from displaying Christian symbols.

Troops Kidnap A Palestinian Youth In Hebron
IMEMC 25 Dec 2009 - Friday December 25, 2009 - 12:10, Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Friday morning a Palestinian youth in the southern West Bank city of Hebron after claiming that he carried a sharp tool.

Bethlehem Celebrates Christmas, very low tourist turnout
IMEMC 25 Dec 2009 - Thursday December 24, 2009 - 12:44, Families, church officials and government figures marked on Thursday the start of the Christmas festivities in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Israel charges peace activist with “arms possession” for picking up spent Israeli tear gas canisters
IMEMC 25 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?”

Ma'an News

Israel to raze 12 Palestinian buildings near Jenin
12/25/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Israeli authorities have delivered demolition orders to 12 residents of the West Bank village of Barta'a Ash-Sharqiya, a community isolated between the Israeli separation wall and the Green Line near Jenin. A member of the village's Municipal Council, Tawfiq Qabaha, said that Israeli forces "broke into several homes, searched and ransacked their contents, and handed over demolition orders for homes and other structures. "Qabaha identified the residents affected by the orders as: Samir Muhammad Qabaha, Nael Ahmad Qabaha, Firas Ghaleb Qabaha, Muhammad Yousef Qabaha, Omer Mahmoud Qabaha, Rifat Saleh Qabaha, Yaser Qabaha, Raja Lutfi Qabaha, Ahmad Lutfi Qabaha, Muhammad Zuheir Qabaha, Mohammad Subhi Qabaha, and Seri Lutfi Qabaha. Israel effectively bans Palestinian construction in 70% of the West Bank's area C, or about 44% of the total land of the West Bank,. . . 

Egypt bans Gaza convoy from Red Sea port
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Egypt refused permission on Thursday for a Gaza-bound aid convoy in led by British MP George Galloway to enter the country through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba. There will be "no entry from Nuweiba. Entry can only be through Al-Arish," on the Mediterranean coast, Hossam Zaki told the French news agency AFP. The Viva Palestina convoy of 250 trucks and ambulances laden with European, Turkish and Arab donations of food and medical supplies arrived in Jordan from Syria on Wednesday and was headed to the Red Sea port of Aqaba for the ferry journey across to the Egyptian Sinai port of Nuweiba. Entering through the port of Al-Arish would mean going around the Sinai Peninsula and through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. In a statement quoted by AFP, Egypt's foreign ministry said, "The Egyptian government welcomes the passage of the convoy into. . . 

’Santa’ protests Israeli wall in Bil’in
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians dressed as Santa Claus marched against Israel's separation wall on Christmas day in the West Bank village of Bil'in, west of Ramallah. Demonstrators carried a Christmas tree decorated with spent gas canisters and stun grenades fired by Israeli soldiers at previous demonstrations over the past five years. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at the Santa Clauses. The protesters were joined this week by a senior Fatah leader, Abbas Zaki, the party's former envoy in Lebanon. According to a statement from the demonstrators, the weapon-garnished tree was carried in support of Abdullah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil'in Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Rahmah is currently in an Israeli military prison and is being charged with weapons possession for creating an art exhibit out of discharged tear-gas canisters and stun grenades. 

Prisoners’ families’ convoy held up in West Bank
12/25/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - Armed Israeli settlers held up a convoy of busses carrying Palestinians returning from visiting their relatives in Israeli prisons on Thursday, passengers said. Prisoners' families told Ma'an that settlers stopped the busses at the Ennav military checkpoint east of the city of Tulkarem. The families were returning from Israel's Shata and Gilboa prisons. The International Committee of the Red Cross organizes busses for Palestinians to visit their jailed relatives. The incident took place the same day as the fatal shooting of an Israeli settler near the nearby settlement of Save Shomron. A spokesman for Israel's Civil Administration, the branch of the Defense Ministry that governs much of the West Bank, said that soldiers, not settlers, had halted the convoy. "As soon as we in the Civil Administration were made aware of this issue we began working. . . 

Gaza rallies denounce Egypt’s border wall
12/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinians in Gaza staged mass demonstrations on Friday against Egypt's plan to build a metal wall along its border with the territory. In a speech to one such demonstration Hamas leader Hammad Ar-Ruqab urged Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing and facilitate the entry of food and construction materials needed to rebuild Gaza from last year's Israeli offensive. "We in the Hamas movement announce our deep shock at the construction of the wall which bypasses every diplomatic rule. Egypt is building the wall between Gaza and Egypt in a sensitive period of time," he said. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the demonstrations "come in protest of themetal wall that is being built on the borders with Gaza under American, French and European supervision. " It was revealed earlier in December that Egypt is building a steel wall intended to cut off a network. . . 

Israel objects to site of desalination plant
12/25/2009 - Tel Aviv - IRIN - The construction of a desalination plant intended to supply some 50 million cubic meters of water annually to Palestinians living in the West Bank has again been stalled. Sources at Israel's National Water Authority said building the plant near Hadera city, about 45km from Tel Aviv, might damage the coastal aquifer: "If a pipe breaks it will mean permanent damage to the aquifer," Avraham Tene, a Water Authority official responsible for desalination issues, told reporters. Israeli demands that an alternative site be found might delay construction for years, analysts say. Israel is not funding the project or involved in its construction but is responsible for allocating the land for it, according to the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee. Desalination is a major plank in Israeli water policy: the country already operates two major plants and is constructing. . . 

Netanyahu ’refused to discuss checkpoints’
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected several requests from his cabinet in recent months to discuss the policy of removing military checkpoints from the West Bank, Israel Radio reported on Friday. The requests came from right-wing members of the government who see a direct link between the removal of checkpoints and attacks on Israelis. The report comes a day after gunmen shot dead an Israeli settler near the settlement of Shave Shomron, outside the West Bank city of Nablus. Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, a member of the religious right party Shas, asked Netanyahu to convene his security cabinet to discuss the checkpoint issue, the radio report said. Netanyahu has moved to ease West Bank closures as a bid to improve the Palestinian economy. Most of the improvements made under the policy were minor, but some, such as opening the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus, benefitted Palestinians. 

Israel seals Gaza goods crossings
12/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel decided to seal all commercial crossings with the Gaza Strip on Friday including Kerem Shalom, Nahal Oz and Karni. Also on Friday, Palestinian sources said Israel decided to allow the export of strawberries next week from the Gaza for the first time since the blockade began in June 2007. On Thursday, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing, allowing 72 truckloads of goods to cross into Gaza, and holding another 20 truckloads at the crossing, according to Palestinian liaison official Raed FattouhAt the Nahal Oz terminal, 495,000 liters of industrial grade fuel were pumped into Gaza for use at the power plant, Fattouh said. Limited amounts of cooking gas were also delivered, he said. According to a weekly report issued on Thursday from the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a total of 549. 

Israeli forces detain 3 in night raids
12/25/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained three Palestinians during raids in the northern West Bank early on Friday, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. Palestinian security officials said Israeli forces invaded the city of Jenin and surroundedthe residence of Majdi Jamil Al-Aqhash, in the eastern neighborhood of the city. Using loudspeakers, the soldiers ordered the house's inhabitants into the street, then searched the house and arrested Al-Aqhash, the sources added. Al-Aqhash's family told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers beat Majdi's father when he protested the way the soldiers were treating his family. The father was treated at a Jenin hospital for moderate injuries, they said. Palestinian residents said that Israeli soldiers detained two men, Ahmad Sawalameh and Muath Al-Issa from Al-Far'a Refugee Camp after raiding their homes. 

Israeli forces detain Hebron teen
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Border Police detained a 17-year-old Palestinian at military checkpoint in the center of the city of Hebron on Thursday for allegedly carrying a sharp tool. The teen was arrested "after arousing their suspicion," according to the Israeli news website Ynet. The teen was handed over to police for interrogation, the report added. The reported incident took place at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque. [end] 

Israel closes road leading to Nablus-area village
12/25/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli military bulldozers closed a road leading in to the West Bank village of Madama, south of Nablus on Thursday, local officials said. A member of the Municipal Council in the village, Ihab Tahsin Qat said bulldozers constructed earth mounds that make the road inaccessible, blocking access to more than two thirds of the village's farmland, and severing the main link to the Nablus-Qalqiliya road. He said the alternative route is difficult to use because it passes near the militant Israeli settlement of Yitzhar. "Closing this entrance will isolate many of the homes from the village and the structures that are used for poultry," he said. Qat noted that residents had been planting winter crops in the isolated area and were also planting trees there under the Green Palestine project sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. 

Barghouthi: Anti-wall protests should be boosted
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinians living in areas threatened by the Israeli separation wall should be empowered to resist the theft of their land, Palestinian National Initiative Secretary-General Mustafa Barghouthi told demonstrators on Friday. Barghouthi was speaking at a protest activity in the village of Al-Ma'sara, south of Bethlehem, in which residents decorated a Christmas tree on land slated to be seized by the Israeli military. For decorations the protesters used spent stun grenades and tear gas canisters fired by the Israeli army while dispersing previous demonstrations. Dozens of locals along with international protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers at the weekly demonstration. Barghouthi praised the residents of Ma'sara, Bil'in, Ni'lin, and other villages where demonstrations against the separation wall take place each Friday after the Muslim noon prayer. 

Hamas to make swap decision in 3 days
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas said on Friday that it will respond within three days to Israel's latest response in talks toward a prisoner swap that would secure the release of a thousand Palestinian prisoners in return for a soldier held in Gaza. A member of Hamas' Political Bureau, Izzat Ar-Resheq said the body would discuss the issue during meetings in Damascus and hand its response to the German mediator within two to three days. Speaking to Qatar-based news network Al-Jazeera, he refused to say whether he was optimistic or pessimistic about the talks. Hamas leaders from Gaza were to travel to Damascus to hold talks with the group's senior leadership about the swap. Earlier this week Israel handed its response to the mediator. Israel reportedly demanded that more than 100 Palestinian prisoners be expelled to Gaza or other countries, rather than returned to their homes in the West Bank. 

Gaza police arrest three for kidnapping
12/25/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinian police in Gaza said they arrested a group suspected of kidnapping. The police said in a statement that the group kidnapped a man from Jabaliya Refugee Camp identified by the initials AA and demanded that his wife pay ransom in the form of cash and jewels The police said they received a complaint from the woman about the kidnapping and blackmail. Police said they spotted the men (identified as AK, AS, and AA) driving a white Mercedes in the camp, and chased them to a nearby market where they were arrested. [end] 

Ahmad Tibi could be next Knesset opposition leader
12/25/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked opposition leader Tzipi Livni, raising the possibility that a Palestinian could become the opposition leader. This parliamentary situation arose due to Knesset rules which stipulate that a member of the largest faction outside the ruling coalition becomes the head of the opposition. Livni's center-right Kadima party is the largest in the Knesset. If it were to join Netanyahu's government, three parties with the same number of seats would be left in the opposition: Palestinian parties United Arab List-Ta'al and Hadash, and extreme right National Union, each with four seats. The website of the Israeli daily Yedioth Reported on Friday that since United Arab List-Ta'al received the most votes of the three in the last election, one of its members would become opposition chairman. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Hamas: Response on Shalit deal in three days
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - Hamas leadership split over exiling prisoners, with Gaza leadership more willing to accept deal. 

Israeli killed in West Bank shooting attack
Ha'aretz 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 Dec 2009 - Hagai Ben Artzi argues with Noam Shalit; Ron Arad's wife: Bringing Shalit back home is Israel's 'moral duty.' 

Uruknet

Barghouthi: Israel committed seven war crimes during the war in Gaza and its leaders must be internationally prosecuted
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - MP Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, called for the indictment of Israeli officials before international courts, "because they have committed war crimes during the aggression on Gaza."...He pointed out that, "Israel has committed seven war crimes in the Gaza Strip namely: the abuse and killing of civilians, the excessive use of force,...

Gaza Freedom March: The Siege Has to End
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - '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...

Total racism, total war
Uruknet December 25, 2009 -Mahmoud Hussein tries to hold back his tears as he looks at his 30-year-old brother Ahmed who suffers from colon cancer. The family is impatiently waiting for the Gaza border to open so Ahmed can travel abroad for treatment, since in light of the Israeli imposed siege, medical facilities in Gaza cannot treat his condition. Ahmed, who...

Week in review: Christmas in the Palestinian Territories
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - As Christians around the world celebrate Christmas, the town where Jesus was born has become a place of sorrow. Most visitors from overseas stay for less than two hours and most of the revenue from tourism goes to Israel. Bethlehem, home to one of the world's oldest Christian communities is now a virtual prison within which...

U.S.-Led World Community Fails Palestinians on the Brink of Explosion
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - ...Obama and his administration show no regrets, but are following in the footsteps of the traditional U.S. - Israeli strategic alliance, dispelling whatever remains of Obama's promises of "change' to his voters.. Last week Obama signed the foreign aid budget law for 2010, raising security aid to Israel by US$225 million the next year to US$2.775...

The Birthplace of Jesus Is Under Siege' This Christmas 
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - As millions of Americans celebrate Christmas with their loved ones today, one group of people will commemorate the holiday in a state of virtual "siege." Palestinian Christians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, are living under an occupation that is squeezing the city's only hope for economic recovery - tourism....

UN threatens sanctions on Israel
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - Just days before the first anniversary of the Israeli Cast Lead military operation which cost the lives of 1,400 Palestinians, Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has urged the Western powers to insist that Israel immediately end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, threatening to enforce economic sanctions...

The Palestinian farmer who grows his own resistance
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - As a means to counter the creeping expansion of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, a permaculture farm might not seem like the obvious approach. But for Murad al Khofash, who runs Marda farm in the northern West Bank, it is the natural choice. Squashed between some of the largest and most powerful settlements,...

Awaiting a miracle from Washington The Palestinian Authority may be seeking renewed talks with Israel even in the absence of an Israeli freeze on settlements,
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - The Palestinian Authority (PA) is apparently seeking an opportunity to resume peace talks with Israel without losing face due to the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements and US failure to get the Jewish state to stop stealing Palestinian land. The PA is still clinging to its erstwhile position, namely that it won't return to the negotiating...

'Santa' protests Israeli wall in Bil'in
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - Palestinians dressed as Santa Claus marched against Israel's separation wall on Christmas day in the West Bank village of Bil'in, west of Ramallah. Demonstrators carried a Christmas tree decorated with spent gas canisters and stun grenades fired by Israeli soldiers at previous demonstrations over the past five years. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at the Santa...

Video: Israeli policy leaves family stranded
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - For seven years, Saeed Darwish of Bethlehem has had to apply for an Israeli permit to be able to live in his own home in a part of the city that Israel says is under its jurisdiction. But a month ago, Israeli authorities decided not to renew his permit, leaving the family's sole breadwinner stranded. Now,...

Open letter to President Mubarak from the Gaza Freedom March
Uruknet December 25, 2009 - Dear President Mubarak; We, representing 1,362 individuals from 43 countries arriving in Cairo to participate in the Gaza Freedom March, are pleading to the Egyptians and your reputation for hospitality. We are peacemakers. We have not come to Egypt to create trouble or cause conflict. On the contrary. We have come because we believe that all...

Palestine Telegraph

Gaza: Israeli gunboats fire at fishing boats
Gaza, December 25, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Today morning, Israeli occupation forces gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said to Safa media agency that the Israeli gunboats targeted dozens of the fishing boats in Al-Sodanya to the north of the Gaza Strip and Al-Nosayrat in the middle of the Strip,...

IOF Kidnaps a Child in Hebrew
Hebrew, December 25, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli occupation forces kidnapped a Palestinian boy near Al-Ibrahimi Mosque (Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi), in the center of Hebron city, alleging his possession of "a sharp tool". Israeli sources said that the force so-called "border guards" arrested a the boy, 16 year, near the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, under the alleged reason of possessing a sharp tool....

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...

The National

Israeli PM presents Livni with a dilemma
The National 25 Dec 2009 - Accepting Netanyahu's offer could bolster the Palestinian peace process but could also cause the break-up of Kadima.

The Palestinian farmer who grows his own resistance
The National 25 Dec 2009 - Sustainable farming technique offers food security and counters the pollution created by Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Aljazeera

Bin Laden daughter 'in Tehran'
AlJazeera 25 Dec 2009 - Country's foreign minister says quoting Saudi embassy that daughter wants to leave Iran.

Egypt blamed for Gaza convoy delay 
AlJazeera 25 Dec 2009 - UK politician says Cairo refusing to let aid convoy enter Gaza through Red Sea port.

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.

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...

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...

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

US Consulate car nearly runs over guard
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - Exclusive: 'Post' obtains protocol also alleging illegal transfer of Palestinian woman in diplomatic vehicle.

Livni, Netanyahu to meet next week
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - Kadima loyalists respond to PM's calls for party to join gov't; Mofaz, Tirosh warn it may be collapsing.

PA arrests, releases 150 attack suspects
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - At terror victim Meir Chai's funeral, son urges fellow Samaria youths not to avenge father's death.

'Turkish soil option for fuel exchange'
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - Iran's FM says that while enriched uranium exchange feasible, P5+1 must be the ones to "build trust"

Maverick Iraqi politician claims Iran could go nuclear within weeks
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - Mithal al-Alusi, who visited Israel and whose sons were murdered in apparent payback, says he has 'insider information'.

Analysis: Netanyahu, the new would-be godfather
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - Adopting Sharon's tactics, PM has tried to humiliate Livni and undo Kadima.

Gaza blockade set to remain in force even if Schalit freed
Jeruslalem Post 25 Dec 2009 - Senior defense officials say Israel doesn't have to lift blockade since Strip defined 'hostile entity'.

Jerusalem groups to protest 'mehadrin' bus lines
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - The Yerushalmim movement announces intention to lead Sunday demonstration against bus lines' continued existence.

Sites marked off-limits for Gaza strike
Jeruslalem Post 24 Dec 2009 - IDF adds hundreds of humanitarian institutions to list to ensure they won't be hit during attack on Hamas.

Inter Press Service

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

MIDEAST: Israel Declares War on Peace NGOs 
IPS JERUSALEM, Dec 24 (IPS) - One year after the devastating attack on Hamas in Gaza a new wave of reports castigating Israel for war crimes has emerged.

PCHR Weekly Report

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

International Solidarity Movement

Desmond Tutu calling for immediate release of Bil’in activist Abdallah Abu Rahmah
12/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 24 December - Elders' chair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has expressed his deep concern about the arrest and indictment of Abdallah Abu Rahmah of Bil'in and has called for his unconditional release. Abu Rahmah is a school teacher and coordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, which has carried out a five year campaign of non-violent protest and legal challenge against the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. "My fellow Elders and I met Abu Rahmah and his colleague Mohammad Khatib in August when we visited Bil'in," said Desmond Tutu. "We were impressed by their commitment to peaceful political action, and their success in challenging the wall that unjustly separates the people of Bil'in from their land and their olive trees. I call on Israeli officials to release Abu Rahmah immediately and unconditionally. . . " 

Stop the deportation of Ryan Olander; American citizen arrested in Sheikh Jarrah
12/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 24 December - Ryan Olander is due to be deported by the Israeli state, after being illegally arrested and detained in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in Occupied East Jerusalem. Please contact the Embassy of the United States in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Minister of Interior, or consider donating towards Ryan's legal costs. Ryan is currently being held at a deportation facility in Ramle, where his request for release has been rejected by the prison judge. His lawyer is working on submitting an appeal to the District Court in Tel Aviv this Sunday, 27 December. 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, on Friday 18 December, 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. -- Link: More information about Olander's arrest. . . . 

Open letter to President Mubarak from the Gaza Freedom March
12/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 26 December - DearPresident Mubarak; We, representing 1,362 individuals from 43 countries arriving in Cairo to participate in the Gaza Freedom March, are pleading to the Egyptians and your reputation for hospitality. We are peacemakers. We have not come to Egypt to create trouble or cause conflict. On the contrary. We have come because we believe that all people - including the Palestinians of Gaza - should have access to the resources they need to live in dignity. We have gathered in Egypt because we believed that you would welcome and support our noble goal and help us reach Gaza through your land. As individuals who believe in justice and human rights, we have spent our hard-earned, and sometimes scarce, resources to buy plane tickets, book hotel rooms and secure transportation only to stan in solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza living under a crushing Israeli blockade. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

U.S.: Delta jet attempted attack Al-Qaida linked
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - U.S. authorities believe an incident involving a small explosion aboard a Delta-Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit on Friday was an attempted act of terrorism, a White House official said. ...

WATCH: Woman assaults Pope at Christmas Eve mass
Ha'aretz 26 Dec 2009 - A woman the Vatican described as unstable jumped over a barricade, lunged at Pope Benedict and dragged him to the floor at the start of his Christmas Eve mass in St Peter's Basilica. ...

Iran proposes latest counter-offer to UN nuclear deal
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - Iran would be willing to swap nuclear material with the West in Turkey, the foreign minister said on Thursday in the country's latest counteroffer to an UN-drafted deal aimed at thwarting Tehran's ability to produce atomic weapons. ...

Pro-Israel group: Carter's apology to Jews a 'publicity stunt'
Ha'aretz 25 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" . ... 

Using Jewish humor to fight a new European blood libel
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - How do Israeli Jews deal with the shocking return of the European blood libel? So far the most effective response has come from a small group of dedicated and underfunded satirists working in a tiny studio in a farmyard east of Tel Aviv. ...

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

Ha'aretz National page

Missing autistic 4-year-old found in Safed cemetery
Ha'aretz 26 Dec 2009 - Hundreds of volunteers and police officers searched for missing 4-year-old Moshe Maitess for several hours in Safed on Friday. ...

Woman's battered body found in Tel Aviv apartment
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - The battered body of a woman was found on Friday in an apartment in south Tel Aviv. ...

After a turbulent decade, what does Israel's future hold? 
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - Many illusions were shattered during the past decade. It was a decade that began with Camp David and ran head-on into a murderous intifada; a decade beginning with a soaring dot-com bubble that crash-landed within a year; a decade that America began as the world's only superpower, and within less than two years had national symbols destroyed by terrorists; a decade in which a small country discovered how limited its ability is to defend its towns from threats from the skies and its soldiers from threats from below the surface; a decade in which the superpower discovered that its ability to deal with extremely dangerous small threats is limited. ... 

Why are Israeli men going bald so early?
Ha'aretz 25 Dec 2009 - It begins at the temples - or on the top of the head. Many men are familiar with the deficit incurred when the sum total of hair growing in is less than that which is falling out. At a more advanced stage, there's a merger between hairless patches, and the result is a bare pate - a fate that is not usually accepted with acquiescence, to say the least. "It's uncomfortable," the men say. "It hurts your self-esteem." "It makes you look older." "I'm afraid of looking like my grandfather." Or, as one summed it up: "It's impossible to explain why being bald matters. A bald head matters because it's a bald head!" ... 

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 says Gaza-bound aid convoys should abide by access mechanism
Relief Web 25 Dec 2009 - Source: Government of Egypt

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

YNet News

PA working overtime to find shooters
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Palestinian security forces arrest dozens of car thieves in West Bank in order to find leads on vehicle used by attackers who shot, killed Meir Avshalom Hai; Israel allows PA officers to continue working overnight 

Report: Hamas to respond to Shalit deal within 3 days
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Member of Hamas' political bureau says debate over latest Israeli list of prisoners for swap to last 2-3 days 

Leftists: Stop settlement in Sheikh Jarrah
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Hundreds gather near Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem to protest eviction of families from homes 

2 children injured in West Bank
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Following attack that killed Meir Avshalom Hai, 14-year old boy undergoes surgery for head injuries caused by stones and 4-year old girl wounded by Molotov cocktail. Yesha Council: Gestures for Abbas lead to terror 

Hundreds celebrate Christmas Mass in Bethlehem
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Palestinian worshippers, pilgrims gather in Jesus' traditional birthplace to celebrate Christian holiday. 'It's interesting seeing the dichotomy of religions, nationalities mixing together. There's a lot of respect for each other,' says young American musician visiting holy city for first time 

Terror victim's son: We won't seek revenge, we're Jews 
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Meir Avshalom Hai, who was murdered Thursday in West Bank shooting, laid to rest in Jerusalem. His 16-year-old son Eliyahu says during funeral, 'The difference between us and the Arabs is that we are human beings' 

Report: Mashaal opposes swap deal 
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper says Hamas members in Gaza want to accept Israel's latest offer, but organization leaders in Damascus are against deal which will not include senior prisoners. Hamas source tells al-Hayat newspaper, 'Israel will wait a long time if it fails to pay the price' 

Rabbi's son plans to sue Israel in ICC
YNet News 25 Dec 2009 - Ami Meshulam seeks refugee status in Canada, claiming he is being persecuted for his involvement in exposing children of Yemen affair, like his father. 'Israel is committing crimes against the people of Israel and a group within it,' he says 

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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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 25 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

Anti-siege committee calls on Egypt to allow "life line 3" convoy to reach Gaza
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The government committee to break the siege in Gaza called on the Egyptian government to facilitate the entry of "life line 3" convoy into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.

Turkish parliamentarians: Egyptian steel wall, new weapon to kill Palestinians
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Turkish parliamentarians and politicians criticised the steel wall being built by Egypt on its border with the Gaza Strip describing it as a new killing tool to be used against the Palestinians.

Hamdan: Egyptian steel wall, additional tier to the siege on Gaza
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said on Thursday that the building by Egypt of a steel wall at its border with the Gaza Strip constitutes another tier of the siege.

Abbas's militia arrest Palestinians suspected of attack on Jewish settler
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Abbas's militia arrested on Thursday evening a number of Palestinians at the Bathan roadblock north of Nablus suspecting them of being involved in an attack on a Jewish settler..

Nuno: The siege on Gaza meant to topple the duly elected PA government
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Tahir Al-Nuno, the spokesman of the legitimate PA government in the Gaza Strip has asserted Thursday that the siege on the Gaza Strip was meant to oust the duly elected PA government..

Campaign accuses the international community of conspiring against Gaza
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The Palestinian anti-siege campaign has accused Friday the international community of participating in the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip as it remained silent all this time..

Egyptian steel barrier claims its first Palestinian victim in Rafah
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - The Egyptian steel barrier which Egypt is building along its borders with the besieged Gaza Strip had killed a Palestinian man in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah..

IOF closes Tulkarem, settlers flood roads east of the city
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - IOF troops on Thursday evening closed all roads leading to the city of Tulkarem and stopped Palestinian cars from moving in or out of the city after the killing of a Jewish settler.

Sources: Egypt to use sea water at the wall of death to drown tunnel diggers
PIC 25 Dec 2009 - Well informed sources revealed one of the secrets of wall of death which is a water system to be used for flooding existing tunnels and drowning anyone trying to dig new ones.

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.

Los Angeles Times

Confluence of holiday and protest set stage for high drama in Iran 
LA Times 26 Dec 2009 - Celebrations of Ashura, always a dramatic street ritual among Shiites, are expected to include an element of political theater this weekend, fueled by Iran's postelection unrest. The haze of burning esfand, a Persian weed, and the scents of thick-brewed tea and rose water fill the black funeral tents that have bloomed over Tehran. Sweeping black banners of mourning and small green lights hang outside mosques. 

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. 

New York Times

Hard-Line Rise Alters View of Iran’s Nuclear Ambition
New York Times 25 Dec 2009 - Political turmoil has made it nearly impossible for anyone in Iran to support nuclear cooperation without being accused of capitulating to the West. 

Memo From Tel Aviv: Tough Military Stance Stirs Little Debate in Israel
New York Times 25 Dec 2009 - A year after the Gaza offensive, the devastating use of force is seen as an effective deterrent against Hamas and Hezbollah. 

Police Try to Quell Protesters Who Mourn Iranian Cleric
New York Times 25 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. 

World Briefing | Middle East: West Bank: Israeli Settler Killed
New York Times 25 Dec 2009 - A little-known militant group identifying itself as a faction of Fatah claimed responsibility for shooting the man. 

Netanyahu Asks Rival to Join Government
New York Times 25 Dec 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Tzipi Livni to join his government, saying Israel faced existential choices that need a broad coalition. 

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

‘Dear President Mubarak, the Gaza people need our moral support on this difficult anniversary’
Mondoweiss - 25 Dec 2009 - Ali Abunimah just posted the latest from the Gaza Freedom March on his blog and says he is "still determined" to get into Palestine. Forward! OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUBARAK FROM THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH December 26, 2009 Dear President Mubarak; We, representing 1,362 individuals from...

In Bi’lin we carried a wooden coffin called ‘International law’
Mondoweiss - 25 Dec 2009 - Pamela Olson, who is working on a book called Fast Times in Palestine, is back in Oklahoma after a year or so visiting the occupied territories. She filed a long post on her last days in the West Bank. She gave us permission to excerpt two...

Obama aide calls Israel her ‘homeland’ and a ‘healthy democracy’
Mondoweiss - 25 Dec 2009 - The neocon cabal is going crazy over comments supportive of J Street from Hannah Rosenthal, Obama’s aide in charge of fighting anti-Semitism. It’s really amazing that the neocons have been able to hurt J Street, a mainstream group if ever there was one, a group that...

‘Newsweek’ columnist endorses Goldstone Report
Mondoweiss - 25 Dec 2009 - I’m doing something good this Christmas; I’m reading the Goldstone Report. It’s amazing. I never did read it through. It’s the greatest work by a Jewish writer since Norman Mailer left town. No it’s not literary, but it’s a fervent effort to give dignity to the...

Egyptian opposition to Gaza Freedom March has ‘hardened’
Mondoweiss - 24 Dec 2009 - The Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s opposition to the Gaza Freedom March has "hardened" since it announced on December 20 that it would not allow the Code Pink-organized demonstration to enter the Strip from Rafah, on the Egyptian border. So a friend informs, and the San Francisco paper...

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 class. This separation is not the product of a pluralistic,...


Articles

Palestinians on the Brink of Explosion 
Nicola Nasser, CounterPunch 12/25/2009
      "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 round of violence is through another failed negotiation process ... and it has zero chance. Next year … could be ripe for an explosion,” Gershon Baskin of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information told a Russian-sponsored debate on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea last week. The “dangerous standstill” needs a “rescue mission,” the speakers said, according to Reuters.... more.. e-mail

Getting away with murder 
Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly 12/17/2009
      Settler attacks on Palestinians escalate while Israel does nothing to apprehend the culprits.
     Paramilitary Jewish terrorists have stepped up their attacks on Palestinians and their property throughout the West Bank, with the Israeli occupation army doing next to nothing to stop them.
     The settlers, who act on religious rulings issued by local rabbis, have long adopted a policy whereby they attack "Palestinian targets" every time the Israeli government moves to evacuate them from land seized at gunpoint from Palestinian landowners.
     On Friday, 11 December, suspected settler terrorists burned down the main mosque in the village of Yasuf, 13 kilometres south of Nablus. The fire gutted the entire interior of the house of worship. The incident, though not the first of its kind, represents a dramatic escalation in the ongoing reign of terror by settlers vehemently opposed to any peaceful solution that cedes any part of the West Bank to Palestinians.
     In addition to torching the mosque, attackers scrawled Nazi slogans in Hebrew, reading "We will burn all of you" and "Price-tag greeting from Efi", where Efi is a Hebrew name.
     Munir Abboshi, the governor of the Salfit district where the terrorist act was perpetrated, blamed the Israeli occupation army for encouraging settler terrorism against Palestinians. "The Israeli army is doing nothing to protect the Palestinians from settler aggression. Army inaction encourages the settlers to keep up and escalate their attacks on our people." more.. e-mail

Bush’s Iran/Argentina Terror Frame-Up 
Gareth Porter, The Nation/WebCitation 1/18/2008
      Gareth Porter: The Bush Administration cites a 1994 bombing in Argentina to tar Iran as a sponsor of global terror. But a fresh probe finds no evidence of an Iran connection.
     Although nukes and Iraq have been the main focus of the Bush Administration’s pressure campaign against Iran, US officials also seek to tar Iran as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. And Team Bush’s latest tactic is to play up a thirteen-year-old accusation that Iran was responsible for the notorious Buenos Aires bombing that destroyed the city’s Jewish Community Center, known as AMIA, killing eighty-six and injuring 300, in 1994. Unnamed senior Administration officials told the Wall Street Journal January 15 that the bombing in Argentina "serves as a model for how Tehran has used its overseas embassies and relationship with foreign militant groups, in particular Hezbollah, to strike at its enemies."
     This propaganda campaign depends heavily on a decision last November by the General Assembly of Interpol, which voted to put five former Iranian officials and a Hezbollah leader on the international police organization’s "red list" for allegedly having planned the July 1994 bombing. But the Wall Street Journal reports that it was pressure from the Bush Administration, along with Israeli and Argentine diplomats, that secured the Interpol vote. In fact, the Bush Administration’s manipulation of the Argentine bombing case is perfectly in line with its long practice of using distorting and manufactured evidence to build a case against its geopolitical enemies.
     After spending several months interviewing officials at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires familiar with the Argentine investigation, the head of the FBI team that assisted it and the most knowledgeable independent Argentine investigator of the case, I found that no real evidence has ever been found to implicate Iran in the bombing. Based on these interviews and the documentary record of the investigation, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the case against Iran over the AMIA bombing has been driven from the beginning by US enmity toward Iran, not by a desire to find the real perpetrators. 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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