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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
1 January, 2010

News

International Middle East Media Center

Army Bombards Northern Gaza
IMEMC 1 Jan 2010 - Friday January 08, 2010 - 00:01, Israeli soldiers fired, on Friday evening, a number of shells at the Izbit Abed-Rabbo area, east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip., Local sources also reported that at least one surface-to-surface missile was fired into the area.

Dexia Bank Refuses Grant For Jewish Settlements
IMEMC 1 Jan 2010 - Friday January 01, 2010 - 22:42, The Belgian-French Group, Dexia, refused to finance grants meant for the construction of property in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The decision came after a Palestinian and a Belgium groups filed a petition against financing settlement constructions.

PFLP member sentenced to Five Life-Terms
IMEMC 1 Jan 2010 - Friday January 01, 2010 - 20:27, An Israeli Court in Jerusalem sentenced on Friday Ahed Abu Ghalama, head of the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to five life-terms and five additional years after indicting him of leading the cell the assassinated the Israeli Tourism Minister on October 17, 2001.

Simultaneous Solidarity Marches Held On Northern And Southern Borders Of Gaza Strip
IMEMC 1 Jan 2010 - Friday January 01, 2010 - 17:07, As a group of Israeli peace activists gathered near the Erez crossing on the northern border of the Gaza Strip, 1200 international activists with the 'Gaza Freedom March' held a rally in Cairo to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Israeli invasion of Gaza. The Cairo march was attacked by Egyptian police, injuring several demonstrators.

The Israeli military levels two animal huts near Hebron
IMEMC 1 Jan 2010 - Thursday December 31, 2009 - 16:59, The Israeli military leveled on Thursday two animal huts that belong to a Palestinian farmer from Al Baqabra village near Hebron, southern West Bank.

Israeli settlers uproot trees and destroy natural water spring in northern West Bank
IMEMC 1 Jan 2010 - Thursday December 31, 2009 - 16:53, Israeli settlers uprooted trees and destroy natural water spring on Thursday that belongs to the villagers of Qarawit Bani Hassan in northern West Bank.

Ma'an News

Anti-wall activists say boy shot in head
1/2/2010 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces shot an eight-year-old Palestinian boy in the head with a rubber-coated bullet in the West Bank village of Nil'in on Friday afternoon, local activists said. The boy, who was not identified, was taken to a Ramallah hospital for treatment, according to the Popular Committee Against the Wall, which said he was sent home with six stitches. The committee said in a statement that soldiers beat and arrested two teenagers, identified only as residents of Shuqba, a neighboring village, aged 15 and 17, and that Red Crescent volunteers "tried to come to their rescue. Soldiers then assaulted one medical volunteer - Juma'a Khawaja, he was beaten with a gun. " An Israeli military spokesman said he was unaware of any injuries, but that "300 rioters threw rocks at security forces, who responded with riot-control means. . . " 

Israeli jets pound targets across Gaza
1/2/2010 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's air force bombed at least two sites in the Gaza Strip shortly after midnight Saturday, an official said. There were no immediate reports of injuries. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that prior reports of explosions were caused by aircraft fire in northern and southern Gaza. The spokesman told Ma'an the attacks targeted "two terrorist tunnels" near the the Gaza-Israel border, which he said were intended for attacks on targets inside Israel. He added that the airstrikes came in retaliation for a mortar shell that was fired on the Israeli city of Netivot on Thursday, as well as projectile fire in general, which has increased over the past 24 hours. The spokesman denied army involvement in a prior explosion near Jabaliya refugee camp reported late Friday night, speculating that it was caused by an errant projectile fired by Palestinians. 

Report: Settlement construction booming
1/2/2010 - Jerusalem - Ma'an/Agencies - Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's professed 10-month settlement freeze, construction in dozens of supposedly frozen areas is booming, an Israeli newspaper reported Thursday. The Israeli daily Haaretz said reporters toured West Bank settlements on Wednesday and witnessed work being carried out in the Bakran and Ariel industrial zones, as well as the construction of housing at Ariel, Elkana North, Peduel and Kfar Tapuah. The construction, being carried out mostly east of the separation wall on the eve of US special envoy George Mitchell's expected visit, continued unabated despite the presence of Israeli patrols, the report said. A sign at Kfar Tapuah announced plans for constructing 65 new housing units, according to the newspaper. "In all the sites mentioned there is evidence of heavy equipment preparing the ground for construction or for the creation of suitable infrastructure," the report added. -- Link: Construction in West Bank settlements booming despite declared freeze

Life sentence for PFLP military leader
1/2/2010 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced A'hed Abu Ghulmah, a leader of the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to a life term and an additional five years of imprisonment. He was previously charged with leading the military group that that killed Israel's right-wing tourism minister, Rehavam Zeevi, in October 2001 in response to the assassination of the PFLP's secretary-general, Abu Ali Mustafa. Abu Ghulmah, from the village of Beit Furik east of the West Bank city of Nablus, is married with three children. He was arrested in March 2006 along with current PFLP secretary-general Ahmad Sa'adat and others when the Israeli army broke into, destroyed and abducted the group from the Palestinian Authority-controlled central prison in Jericho. Israel also arrested Linan and Mohammad Abu Ghulma, Ahed's sister and brother. 

Israeli forces shut down Hebron tree planting
1/1/2010 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli authorities banned a group of Palestinians from planting trees near the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday after settlers disrupted their work, organizers said. Dozens of Palestinian residents were planting trees in the Al-Buwiryah area, near the settlement of Kiryat Arba, responding to a call from senior Fatah leaders. Members of the group said settlers arrived in the area, interrupting the planting. Israeli soldiers on the scene declared the area a closed military zone and confiscated a number of trees, participants said. The soldiers also ordered a Palestinian photojournalist, Nasser Ash-Shyukhi, not to photograph the incident. [end] 

Gaza crossings sealed
1/1/2010 - Gaza - Ma'an - Despite a scheduled opening on Friday, Israeli officials told Palestinian liaison officers in Gaza that all three goods crossings into the Strip would be closed, Raed Fattouh said. Crossings are scheduled to run six days a week with closures on Saturdays for the Israeli Saturday weekend marking Shabbat. Since August, however, crossings have been operating only five days a week, with Israeli officials announcing the closure Friday mornings. On Thursday, Israel opened the Karem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings for minimum amounts of aid, commercial goods and cooking gas. [end] 

Residents: Israel shells northern Gaza
1/2/2010 - Gaza - Ma'an - Residents of Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip blamed the Israeli army for an explosion on Friday evening. Local sources told Ma'an that at least one Israeli shell landed at around 8pm an area believed to be used by guerillas to fire homemade rockets into Israel. An Israeli military spokesman said there was no military activity in Gaza at the time. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the blast. A Palestinian armed group in Gaza said it fired five mortar shells at Israeli forces east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday. The An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) claimed the shelling in a statement received by Ma'an. The Israeli military said that one shell landed in an open area inside the Gaza Strip. 

PRC: Assassination attempt thwarted
1/1/2010 - Gaza - Ma'an - An unidentified man carried bags of explosives to the office of the Popular Resistance Committees Secretary General Abu Al-Qasem Dughmush, but the bag failed to detonate, a statement from the party said Friday. Officials in the party said they believed the move was an assassination attempt and that "security apparatuses within the movement" are searching the responsible party. A statement blamed Israel for the move, and urged other resistance groups to step-up cautionary procedures. "The bags were delivered by an unknown man from a car rental office," a statement explained, noting the involvement of local de facto government security officials in the search for the perpetrators. PRC denounced the reported attack, saying the movement would "stick to the option of resistance," despite the incident. 

Gaza police - legitimate targets or targeted civilians?
1/2/2010 - Part six of a series recounting the findings of South African jurist Richard Goldstone's UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. - Jerusalem "” Ma'an "” As Israel's massive air assault entered its sixth consecutive day on New Year's Day one year ago, some 410 Gazans were dead and as many as 2,000 injured. Among 70 airstrikes on 40 targets on 1 January 2009 was a police command center in Rafah, the then-latest security site to be leveled. No one was hurt in that attack, but 248 members of the Gaza police were killed during Israel's overall assault. By late January 2009, more than one out of every six casualties was a member of the de facto government's security forces. On the same day, Gaza police spokesperson Islam Shahwan announced to the media that police commanders had managed to hold three meetings at secret locations since the beginning of the assault. 

Palestinians detained on New Year’s Day
1/1/2010 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli military said on Friday it detained two Palestinians northwest of Ramallah. The two, who were detained due to their "wanted" status, were not immediately identified. Also on Friday a university student was seized from his home in the village of Madama, south of Nablus, by Israeli soldiers, local officials said. The head of Madama's municipal council, Hassan Zeyada, said Israeli forces invaded the town and took Huthaifa Farid Zeyada, 19, from his home in the eastern side of the village, and then withdrew from the area. Zeyada is a student at An-Najjah University in Nablus. [end] 

Anti-wall protesters express solidarity with Gaza
1/1/2010 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinian, Israeli, and international demonstrators in at least three West Bank villages on Friday. In the village of Bil'in, west of Ramallah, protesters marched toward the separation wall that Israel is building on the town's land. The village's Popular Committee said this week's demonstration carried a message of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, marking the one-year anniversary of the military offensive that killed more than 1,400 people. The Popular Committee said in a statement: "When the march reached the gate of the Apartheid Wall the Israeli military stationed on the other side of the wall immediately responded by throwing tear-gas at the demonstrators and shooting sound grenades. " "Despite the violence from the army, the demonstrators managed to open the gate in the wall in an. . . " 

Israeli child’s smile thwarts suicide attack
1/2/2010 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - "While I was at the spot targeted for the operation, a child glanced at me and smiled; I smiled back, deciding not to blow myself up, as I didn't want to kill an innocent. "That's what 27-year-old Arin Ahmed Shaebat from the city of Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem, said last week in an interview with Israeli TV after serving seven years in prison. Arin had planned to blow herself up in 2002, armed with a handbag packed with 30 kilograms of explosives. Asked why, she said that "ever since the beginning of the intifada (uprising), Palestinians had lost most of the their sense of normality. "We, as humans, want to live like any other nation, so I had to do something to change the reality. I contacted the Al-Aqsa Brigades and I told them, 'I want to do something. '"The brigades chose to carry out the attack in Reshon Letzion, north of Tel Aviv, along with 16-year-old Issa Bdeir. . . . " 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF strikes militant targets in Gaza Strip
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Witnesses report 4 injured; PFLP claims responsibility for firing two Grad rockets at Netivot Thursday. 

Abbas mulls scaling back security ties to Israel
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - PA president contemplates move following an IDF raid on Nablus which killed 3 militants. 

Orders were to capture militants alive - so why were they killed?
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Three wanted Palestinians who were killed by IDF were not armed and did not try to escape. 

Mubarak to Netanyahu: Accept Hamas' demands for Shalit deal
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Egypt can guarantee deal and possible Gaza calm if Israel shows flexibility, according to Saudi paper. 

Anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate Sabbath in Gaza
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Neturei Karta: Gazans must understand that Israel's offensive was not done in the name of Judaism. 

Yeshiva students to Court: Give IDF status back to Har Bracha
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Students appeal ousting of school from hesder over rabbi's encouragement to refuse settlement evacuation orders. 

Gaza militants fire Grad rocket into Netivot
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - No injuries or damage reported; rocket strike is first such attack on Netivot in nine months. 

Envoy to U.S.: Washington and Israel not discussing Iran strike
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Michael Oren: Our main focus is on formulating, applying sanctions against Iran in 2010. 

Settler teen arrested over West Bank mosque arson, then freed
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Parents and grandfather of main suspect in attack on Yasuf mosque were killed in Palestinian terror attack. 

Al-Hayat: Hamas ready with final response on Israel's offer for Shalit
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Delegates conclude Damascus debate and head to Cairo to meet with German mediator, paper reports. 

Israel's 10 worst errors of the decade
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - In no decade of the modern Middle East has the roll of failure been so democratic. 

Hamas: Shalit mediator to start new round of talks next week
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Hamas awaiting German mediator's return to Mideast to give its official response to proposed deal. 

Shin Bet: 2009 had lowest terror levels in Israel this decade
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - 15 Israelis were killed in terror attacks in past year, down from 36 fatalities in 2008. 

Two Jerusalem Palestinians jailed for plotting to kidnap IDF soldiers
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Ayad Avid and Abdullah Avid planned to use tractor to ram IDF jeep, then kidnap soldiers inside at gunpoint. 

Amid protests, Egypt defends right to build Gaza wall
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Regional critics accuse Egypt of aiding in blockade of Gaza by building wall to curb smuggling. 

Israel can't launch strike against Iran on its own
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - It's doubtful whether Israel can allow itself to ignore U.S. wishes and stand alone against Iran's response. 

Lebanon's Druze leader urges Israeli Druze not to serve in IDF
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Walid Jumblatt: Service as Israel's 'border guards' clashes with Druze membership in the Arab nation. 

High Court allows Palestinians to use Israeli highway
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Second time in months Supreme Court orders the military to open roads deemed off-limits to Palestinians. 

Lebanon army says it fired at Israeli jets in south
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Israel Air Force warplanes routinely fly over Lebanon but are rarely fired upon. 

Officer shoots Palestinian said to have tried to steal rifle
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - The officer claimed that a Palestinian dressed as a shepherd approached him at around noon on Tuesday. 

Uruknet

Israeli Warplanes, Tanks Strike Eastern, Southern Gaza Strip
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - Israeli F16 warplanes and tanks had carried out late on Friday night five successive air and ground strikes on targets in eastern and southern Gaza Strip, wounding five people, medics and witnesses said. The witnesses said that Israeli F16 warplane fired two missiles, while tanks fired two shells that all landed at empty zones east and...

sraeli Warplanes, Tanks Strike Eastern, Southern Gaza Strip
Uruknet January, 2010 - Israeli F16 warplanes and tanks had carried out late on Friday night five successive air and ground strikes on targets in eastern and southern Gaza Strip, wounding five people, medics and witnesses said. The witnesses said that Israeli F16 warplane fired two missiles, while tanks fired two shells that all landed at empty zones east and northeast...

Residents: Israel shells northern Gaza
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - Residents of Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip blamed the Israeli army for an explosion on Friday evening. Local sources told Ma'an that at least one Israeli shell landed at around 8pm an area believed to be used by guerillas to fire homemade rockets into Israel... Earlier on Friday the PRC blamed Israel for an attempt...

Iranian Cleric Haeri Shirazi: Don't Arrest The Protesters; Kill Them!
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - In a candid and shocking appearance on Iran's state television, a leading Iranian cleric ayatollah stated that instead or arresting and suppressing the opposition protesters, it would be better to kill them. "The more of them are killed, the more beneficial. If the armed forces kill some of them, it is to our benefit." Ayatollah Mehyaddin...

Gaza Freedom March Wrap Up
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - I'm sure its going to take me some time to process everything that has happened in Cairo with the Gaza Freedom March over the past week or so but here are some of my initial thoughts and feelings. Bear in mind, these are my own opinions and reflections and they surely are not the same as...

Gaza One Year After. The World Has Changed.
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - In this holiday season, we celebrate the birth of Christ, and the message of brotherly love, compassion, and forgiveness. This year we also commemorate the first anniversary of Israeli's punitive aggression against the civilian population of Gaza, a conflict that left 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead, and thousands wounded. The toll taken in economic, social,...

Israeli settlements 'witness boom'
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - Despite the suspension of settlement growth announced by the Israel government in December, dozens of illegal settlements in the West Bank are experiencing a building boom, an Israeli newspaper reports. The revelation by Haaretz comes on the eve of another visit to the region by George Mitchell, President Barack Obama's special envoy, to try to restart...

WE MUST NOT LOSE SIGHT WHO THE REAL ENEMY OF GAZA IS
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - Recent reports from the Viva Palestina Convoy have dealt with problems they are having entering Gaza due to Egyptian interference. It is easy to get the impression that Egypt is the real enemy..... this is NOT the case at all. Egypt is a part of the zioaxis of evil and are only doing what the Israeli...

Israeli Arab MK: Barak enjoys classical music and killing Gaza children
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - Some 1,000 people, among them all of Israel's Arab MKs and community leaders, gathered Thursday at the Israeli side of the Gaza border to express solidarity with the residents of Gaza, one year after Israel's offensive there. MK Taleb A-Sana relayed Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh's message to the Israeli side via a mobile phone. During the...

Gaza: the rains
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - It's pouring rain. Farmers are collectively breathing relief, finally able to begin working on their parched land, land deprived water because Israeli bombing, tanks and bulldozers destroyed virtually all of the wells, cisterns, and rain-water collectors of farms in the border regions. I'm breathing many sighs of relief, because the rain is fresh, brings life, brings...

Is Congress planning to destroy every Middle East TV Channel that criticizes Israel?
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - ... Having inherited the Bush administrations rising stack of terrorism lists, President Obama's team had expressed interest in culling them "so they are more accurate and manageable and Americans experience less stress", according to Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano. These lists, plus the reported existence of others that have not been made public, are supposed to reduce...

Researchers: US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza
Uruknet January 1, 2010 - Israel's repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a report released March 25, 2009. The seventy-one-page report, "Rain of Fire: Israel's Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza," provides witness accounts of...

Palestine Telegraph

For Publication: A week of Actions to Remember Gaza victims
London, December 31, (Pal Telegraph) - Several Organizations are preparing for a memorial week for the Palestinian victims over the past 60 years.  The organizations are picking the last week of the barbaric attacks on Gaza “Gaza genocide-war” to be the yearly annual week to mark the suffering thousands of Palestinians who passed the mayhem and exile. The actions are...

The Occupied West Bank Latroun Villages - by Stephen Lendman
US, December 31, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- On June 6, 1967, when Israeli forces invaded Gaza and the West Bank, on the second day of the so-called Six-Day War (June 5 - 10, 1967), they entered three Palestinian villages in the Latroun salient - Imwas, Yalo and Beit Nouba, forcibly expelling the residents, numbering over 10,000 at the time. By the next...

Israel's East Jerusalem Linked Settlement Expansion - by Stephen Lendman
US, December 31, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- On February 1, 2009, the International Solidarity Movement reported that Israel continues its E 1 area homes and infrastructure work that includes linking its Ma'ale Adummim settlement with East Jerusalem and other settlements around it. It said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while in office, promised to expand E 1 development - the land northeast of...

Gaza Water Reservoirs Almost Dry
Gaza, December 31, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said that water reservoirs in the Gaza Strip are almost dry, that would increase the harshness of life for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Strip. A UNEP report Wednesday said that water resources in the Gaza Strip had been exhausted by overuse in addition...

Israel Detains 11 Palestinians
West Bank, December 31, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - At dawn on Thursday, Israeli occupation forces kidnapped 11 Palestinians from different governorates in West Bank. Israeli occupation forces continue to arrest and attack different areas in West Bank. They detained 11 citizens whose ages around 18-22, claiming that they are "wanted". Palestinian local agencies reported that Israeli occupation forces raided Ramallah,...

The National

Gaza remains under pressure and waiting to explode' 
The National 1 Jan 2010 - A year on from Operation Cast Lead, Israel's offensive in Gaza, the threads of a possible Middle East peace are so knotted that they look impossible to disentangle.

A decade after Israeli withdrawal, border villages remain in limbo
The National 31 Dec 2009 - Residents of the far south-east corner of Lebanon are caught in a tussle between Israeli and Hizbollah forces.

Stalled peace process widens Fatah-Hamas divide
The National 31 Dec 2009 - Though experts predicted the assault by Israel would unite Gaza and the West Bank within a matter of weeks, distrust and animus continues to fester in the tattered region.

Aljazeera

Mousavi urges end to Iran crackdown
AlJazeera 1 Jan 2010 - Opposition politician and religious leaders trade fresh accusations over ongoing protests.

Israeli settlements 'witness boom'
AlJazeera 1 Jan 2010 - Newspaper says construction continuing despite Netanyahu government's declared suspension.

Protests held against Gaza siege 
AlJazeera 31 Dec 2009 - Demonstrations against Israel's blockade take place on either side of Erez crossing.

Iran faces nuclear deal deadline
AlJazeera 31 Dec 2009 - US mulls sanctions if Tehran ignores proposal to send nuclear material abroad. 

Alternative Information Center

Beyond Commemoration: Operation Cast Lead One Year After 
Alternative Information Center 29 Dec 2009 - Three hundred and sixty five days after the beginning of the Operation “Cast Lead,” what characterizes these days is silence. The silence of those who didn't survive—those 1,400 people killed by bombings in Gaza. Three hundred...

Palestine News Network

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Speaks Out in Support of Gaza Freedom March
PNN 31 Dec 2009 - In a Democracy Now! exclusive interview, British musician Roger Waters of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd speaks out about the Gaza Freedom March. “I actually would be very interested to hear what the President of the United States has to say about this nonviolent, democratic demonstration of ordinary people from forty-two countries all over the world,” says Waters. “They feel solidarity...

AT-TUWANI: Israeli settler violence against children
PNN 31 Dec 2009 - An Israeli settler from the outpost of Havat Ma'on (Hill 833) chased and threw stones at Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed. The Israeli army exposed the children to this attack by arriving more than 90 minutes late to escort the children to their school in the village of At-Tuwani.The schoolchildren had been waiting for the army escort...

Holocaust Survivor Goes on Hunger Strike for Gaza
PNN 31 Dec 2009 - BEIRUT -- An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor entered the second day of her hunger strike on Tuesday, in protest over the Egyptian government's refusal to allow an international Palestinian solidarity march to enter the Gaza Strip. American peace activist Hedy Epstein came to Cairo as part of an international delegation with participants from 43 countries. The delegation had planned to join Palestinians in...

Jerusalem Post

IAF pounds Gaza one day after rocket attacks
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - Bombs hit targets in southern, central and northern Gaza Strip; Israeli Navy shells central part of Strip; Palestinian sources report injuries.

Neturei Karta makes rare visit to Gaza
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - America, Canadian haredim to spend Shabbat in Gaza hotel; Rabbi Weiss: Tragedy is not in the name of Judaism.

Two mortar shells hit southern Israel
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - None hurt in attacks; Aksa Brigades: We fired Grads on Netivot in revenge for Chai's murderers' deaths.

Former British hostage Peter Moore back in Britain
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - British computer consultant spend more than 2.5 years in captivity; US Gen. David Petraeus: Moore was held in Iran.

Har Bracha students petition High Court
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - Petitioners say Barak's decision to remove institute from hesder arrangement is collective punishment.

Ex-IDF rabbis: Halacha is above military orders
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - Seven ex-IDF chief rabbis call on Barak to stop the "incitement" against hesder yeshivot.

Murder suspects remanded for 7 days
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - J'lem man suspected of beating baby daughter to death; twins suspected of murdering Bnei Ayish boy.

Israel seeks 'crippling' Iran sanctions
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - US set to push for new UNSC resolution; envoy Oren tells 'Post,' Israel, US don't differ on Iranian question.

Hundreds protest Israel's Gaza policies as Sderot rally releases peace balloons
Jeruslalem Post 1 Jan 2010 - Israeli Arab MKs lead one demonstration, Edelstein leads a counter protest.

Inter Press Service

LEBANON: Hip-hop Kindles Hopes in Destroyed Refugee Camp 
IPS NAHR AL-BARED (North Lebanon), Dec 29 (IPS) - The hip-hop beats ringing through the muddy, unlit streets of this burnt-out Palestinian refugee camp seem incongruous. But the rhymes are camp-grown - and courageous.

MIDEAST: Gaza March Puts Spotlight on Civilian Suffering 
IPS UNITED NATIONS, Dec 22 (IPS) - More than 50,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Gaza on Dec. 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...

MIDEAST: 'Prince of Peace' - Obama or Netanyahu? 
IPS JERUSALEM, Jan 1 (IPS) - United States President Barack Obama’s intended broad Mideast policies are running into the complexities of peacemaking - especially after the ‘Prince of Peace’ began insisting on the necessity of, sometimes, fighting for peace.

Q&A: ''Israeli Settlements Killing Two-Nation Solution'' 
IPS JERUSALEM, Dec 30 (IPS) - In the absence of any progress towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians, leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are adopting a reasonable approach as a way of building up international pressure on Israel to get it back to the negotiating table.

PCHR Weekly Report

(30-12-2009)  Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
PCHR 

International Solidarity Movement

Thousands protesting the Siege of Gaza face repression from local authorities
1/1/2010 - International Solidarity Movement - 31 December - Hundreds of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah rally in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom March on New Year's Eve DayThousands of people in Egypt, the besieged Gaza Strip, Israel, and the occupied West Bank rallied on New Year's Eve Day to call for an end to the international blockade and siege of Gaza, but the protests were marred by police brutality in Cairo and the cancellation of a solidarity action in the occupied West Bank town of Tulkarm at the behest of the Palestinian Authority. In Cairo, Egyptian riot police brutally beat Gaza Freedom March demonstrators who were unable to enter the Gaza Strip after the Egyptian government permitted less than 100 of the 1,350 participants from crossing the Rafah border into Gaza. "Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around town, in Lotus and Liala, as well as. . . " 

Gaza Freedom March activists target Egypt’s complicity
1/1/2010 - International Solidarity Movement - Sayed Dhansay, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December - It was another eventful day here in Cairo at the inaugural Gaza Freedom March (GFM). On Tuesday night, organizers informed the 1,362-strong delegation that only 100 of them had been selected to travel to Gaza yesterday morning, Wednesday 30 December. After several hours of heated debate with organizers over whether this was an appropriate strategy, the meeting concluded without a consensus. As of Tuesday night, only the South African, French, Canadian and Swedish delegations had decided to boycott the 100-person convoy. Although an incredibly tough decision to make, the groups adopted this principled stance because they felt that the offer was divisive and betrayed the very aim of the march - to break the siege imposed on Gaza. These delegations refused to further legitimize and reinforce the Egyptian government's policy of occasionally allowing small aid convoys into the besieged Gaza Strip. 

Palestinian citizens of Israel protest outside of Erez Crossing: End Israeli blockade of Gaza
1/1/2010 - International Solidarity Movement - The Alternative Information Center - 31 December - Over 1,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel and several dozen Jewish Israelis demonstrated this morning outside of the Erez Crossing, demanding an end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Organised by the Arab High Monitoring Committee, the demonstration coincided with the one year anniversary of Israel's military attacks on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in 1,400 deaths and thousands wounded. "The Israeli war against the Palestinians of Gaza continues one year later," said Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka (Balad) at the protest. "We demand an immediate end to the Israeli siege, and that the Israeli criminal leaders who implement this dirty war be brought before international tribunals before they start another war," he added. A demonstration on the Gaza side of the border was conducted simultaneously, joined by over 80 delegates from Gaza Freedom March. 

Gaza Freedom March activists refuse to be silent!
1/1/2010 - International Solidarity Movement - Action for Peace, 31 December - The Italian delegation of Action for Peace at the Gaza Freedom March walked today in the streets of Cairo with all other delegations in solidarity with the Palestinian people, to call for an end of the siege on Gaza, the end of the Israeli occupation, the respect of international law and human rights. Even though the march was immediately stopped and some activists were injured by the Egyptian police, we succeeded in organizing a sit-in for about 8 hours in the square of the Egyptian Museum, that became today the Gaza Freedom Square. At midnight we gathered again in Tahrir Square to write our solidarity to Gaza with candels on the ground. We came to Egypt with the goal of entering Gaza and breaking the siege through a nonviolent demonstration but we were prevented even from reaching the border. The government allowed a delegation of 100 people to enter Gaza in order to bring humanitarian aid, certainly a positive act, but we are here for much more. 

Bil’in demonstrators call for the end of the Siege of Gaza
1/1/2010 - International Solidarity Movement - Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements - Residents of Bil'in gathered today after the noon prayers to demonstrate against the Israeli occupation and the Apartheid Wall on to commemorate the first anniversary of the brutal Israeli aggression on Gaza. In addition, they celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah. The demonstration, organized by the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was joined by dozens of international and Israeli activists as well as members of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Front. Commemorating the first anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, demonstrators marched through the village towards the site of the Apartheid Wall and chanted slogans expressing their solidarity with. . . 

Candle-light vigil held in Manger Square, Bethlehem to commemorate Gaza
1/1/2010 - International Solidarity Movement - Photos - IMEMC, 31 December - At 4:30 this afternoon residents of Bethlehem and the surrounding towns gathered to commemorate the 1,500 Palestinians that lost their lives this time last year, and stand in solidarity with the residents of Gaza, who continue to live under siege from the Israeli military; a situation that has continued since June 2006. The vigil was held in Manger Square, bordered with The Church of the Nativity. After a brief introduction given by a young girl from the town, those in attendance received a call from Dr. Haidar Eid, from inside the Gaza Strip. Dr. Eid is an associate professor in the Department of English Literature, AL-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip and also works as a grass roots activist. Dr. Eid spoke of the necessity of the ending of the siege on Gaza, and thanked those in attendance, both local residents of the Bethlehem municipality and internationals alike. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

PA: No word from Israel on peace summit
Ha'aretz 2 Jan 2010 - The Palestinian Authority on Friday said it has not received an official request for a proposed meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that would restart peace negotiations, Ma'an news agency reported. ...

Kindertransport refugee knighted by Queen Elizabeth 
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Erich Reich, one of thousands of Kindertransport children sent from Nazi-occupied Europe to safety in Britain during World War II, was among the people knighted by Queen Elizabeth as part of the annual New Year's Honours list, the Telegraph reported Thursday. ...

Netanyahu proposes peace summit with Abbas this month 
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later this month in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, government sources said Thursday. ...

Mousavi says Iran in 'serious crisis,' ready to die for reform
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said on Friday he was ready to die for his reformist campaign after a disputed election in June, defying hardline calls for his execution. ...

Construction in West Bank settlements booming despite declared freeze
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Despite the construction freeze, dozens of settlements in the West Bank are experiencing a building boom, even on the eve of another visit to the region by U.S. envoy George Mitchell to try to restart talks for a final settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. ... 

The Guardian

Jews among hundreds to protest against blockade of Gaza Strip
The Guardian 31 Dec 2009 - Hundreds of demonstrators rallied on opposite sides of an Israeli-Gaza border crossing today to protest at the blockade of the strip imposed by Egypt and Israel. In Gaza, about 100 international activists staged a rally with...

I've changed my mind about a two-state solution | Mehdi Hasan
The Guardian 31 Dec 2009 - Israel's Palestinian settlements are now too extensive to make division of the land practical. Instead, it must be shared OK, I admit it. I was wrong. How could I have bought into all that idealistic nonsense...

Ha'aretz National page

Israeli illusionist greets 2010 with new iceman world record 
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - An Israeli illusionist set a new world record late Thursday night by spending 64 hours inside a block of ice, surpassing the previous mark set by American illusionist David Blaine. ...

Anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate Sabbath in Gaza
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - A small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews were preparing Friday to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath in Gaza, in an unlikely show of support for Palestinians in the Hamas-run coastal territory. ...

Tel Aviv taxi driver suspected of raping 17-year-old girl
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - A 64-year-old taxi driver is suspected of raping a teenage girl in Tel Aviv late Thursday night, Police said on Friday. ...

Efrat rabbi retracts praise for 'Rabbi Jesus' over Orthodox ire
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - Defending himself from scathing criticism for a video in which he refers to Jesus as "a model rabbi," a well-respected Anglo rabbi said this week that while his terminology was "inappropriate," the poorly edited video mauled his message. The current incident is the second time this year that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the New York-born Orthodox rabbi of Efrat, had to clarify a controversial statement regarding Jewish-Christian relations. ... 

Suspected murderers of 7-year-old boy: We had nothing to do with it
Ha'aretz 1 Jan 2010 - The twin brothers charged with molesting and murdering a 7-year-old boy said on Friday they had nothing to do with the child's death. ...

Relief Web

OPT - Cast Lead Aggression 1st Anniversary, Day 5: The Targeting of Medical Teams
Relief Web 31 Dec 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Egypt's Gaza wall months from completion - Israel 
Relief Web 30 Dec 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Israel, the Conflict and Peace - Answers to frequently asked questions
Relief Web 30 Dec 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

OPT: Deputy FM Ayalon comments on Israel's rights in the disputed territories
Relief Web 30 Dec 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

YNet News

IDF denies Palestinian report of strike in Gaza
YNet News 1 Jan 2010 - Sources in Strip say army targeted rocket-launching cell near Jabaliya, four injured; earlier, two mortars fired at Negev 

PA says Israel sent no word of Netanyahu-Abbas summit
YNet News 1 Jan 2010 - Amid reports that during talks with Mubarak Netanyahu proposed Egyptian-hosted summit with Palestinian president, Abbas spokesman says face-to-face meeting would not constitute formal resumption of final-status negotiations 

2 Gaza mortars fired towards Negev region
YNet News 1 Jan 2010 - After two weeks of relative calm on southern border, terror groups attack Israel for third day in a row; one mortar lands in open Negev area, the other in Palestinian territory 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews make rare visit to Gaza
YNet News 1 Jan 2010 - Four American, Canadian members of Neturei Karta prepare to celebrate Sabbath in Palestinian Territory. 'It's crucial that people of Gaza understand the terrible tragedy here is not in the name of Judaism,' one of them says 

J'lem: Father suspected of beating baby girl to death
YNet News 1 Jan 2010 - Eight-month-old pays ultimate price for parents' marital troubles; wife leaves house after heated argument, husband believed to have strangled their daughter 

Report: 2 Palestinians injured by settlers' stones 
YNet News 1 Jan 2010 - Osama and Ziad Suan's car attacked with stones near settlement of Yakir while making its way to Ramallah. Their cousin says relatives hospitalized in serious condition. IDF forces dispatched to area following complaints of stone throwing 

Daily Star

Some signs of movement seen in stalled Mideast peace process
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Israeli and Palestinian officials suggested on Wednesday progress had been made toward resuming negotiations following Egyptian-Israeli talks on a year-long deadlock in the Middle East peace process. The cautiously upbeat comments followed talks in Cairo on Tuesday between Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Senior cleric tells Iran's opposition leaders to either repent or face death
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Hundreds of thousands of government supporters took to Iran's streets on Wednesday in a show of force against the opposition, with a senior cleric telling their leaders to repent or be declared enemies of God and face death. Just hours later, state news agency IRNA reported that top opposition leaders Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had fled the capital fearing for their lives.

Jordan jails man for 10 years over 'honour killing'
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 A Jordanian court sentenced a 61-year-old man to 10 years in prison on Wednesday after convicting him of killing his teenage daughter last year to "defend his honor," a judicial official said. "In 2008, the 17-year-old girl was kidnapped and raped by a group of men, who are currently on trial," the official said. "But the father suspected that his daughter was involved in a sexual relationship.

Yemeni security forces storm Al-Qaeda hide-out
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Yemeni security forces stormed an Al-Qaeda hide-out Wednesday in a principle militant stronghold in the country's west, setting off clashes, officials said, as a security chief vowed to fight the group's powerful local branch until it was eliminated. A government statement said at least one suspected Al-Qaeda member was arrested during the fighting in Hudaydah province.

Kazakhstan, Iran deny planning uranium deal
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Kazakhstan angrily denied on Wednesday that it planned to sell purified uranium ore to Iran, calling media reports to this effect "groundless insinuations." The story was also denied by Tehran, which called it "utterly fabricated and baseless." Kazakhstan "categorically repudiates certain news media reports alleging Kazakhstan's connection.

Dozens dead in clashes in northern Nigeria
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Dozens more bodies were recovered Wednesday after violent clashes between security forces and Islamists in northern Nigeria, bringing the death toll to around 70, a count at a hospital morgue showed. An AFP reporter listed 42 bodies on the floor of the morgue in Bauchi, all with bullet or machete wounds. Another 25 bodies, mostly young people including minors.

Berri defends his call for steps toward abolishing sectarianism
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri highlighted on Wednesday the motives behind his call to form a committee tasked with abolishing political sectarianism, while his demand drew renewed criticism from parliamentary majority figures. In a memo issued by the speaker's press office and distributed to diplomatic missions in Lebanon, Berri explained the constitutional grounds behind his call.

Reforestation campaign relaunched
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 Environment Minister Mohammad Rahhal re-launched on Wednesday a campaign to reforest Lebanon with the collaboration of Lebanon Green Again Organization. The campaign started last year under the patronage of former Environment Minister Tony Karam and aimed at reforesting Lebanon using Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) helicopters.

Hassan Nasrallah made four mistakes
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 In his Ashoura speech this past weekend, Hizbullah's secretary general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, irritated many Christians. He recommended that they take stock of their situation, especially, as he described it, the mistaken wager that some Christians once placed on Israel; but also, Nasrallah implied, their more recent dependence on the West in general and the United States in particular.

Government broadband bungling has left Lebanon in the Dark Ages
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 The absence of a proper broadband network in Lebanon is affecting the flow of investments to the country according to Lebanese Information Technology (IT) professionals. "Many foreign investors are reluctant to establish businesses in Lebanon due to low speed of broadband connectivity which affects their production capacity," said Amer Tabsh, a professional technical adviser.

American Task Force celebrates final days of 2009 in style
Daily Star 1 Jan 2010 What more fitting event to mark the final installment of this column for 2009 than the reception for the American Task Force in Lebanon, hosted at the Achrafieh residence of Nadine Moussa on December 3. A select group of less than 100 people attended the seasonal occasion, not least George Kody, Alfred Tueni, Philippe and Diane Abdeni, Joanna and Richard Seikaly, Salima al-Rassi and, Sam Hamra.

Palestinian Information Center

Zahhar: Hamas has not closed door in face of a Shalit deal
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Hamas's delegation has returned on Thursday evening to Gaza after having discussing with the other leaders in Damascus the latest Israeli proposals on a prisoner exchange deal.

"Popular Resistance" foils an attempt to assassinate its secretary general
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - The Popular Resistance said, in a statement on Friday, that it foiled an assassination attempt targeting the movement's secretary general Abu al-Qasem Daghmash.

Abbas's militia kidnaps the widow of a martyr
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Abbas's militia kidnapped, on Thursday, the widow of Qassam martyr Ali Allan from the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem. She was released after interrogation.

Bardawil: Abbas tried to sow discord between Egypt and Hamas in his speech
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Dr. Salah al-Bardawil said that the speech made by Abbas was used to sow discord between Egypt and Hamas, reflecting the extent of political bankruptcy reached by Abbas.

Haneyya: we succeeded in thwarting occupation plans and will meet in Aqsa
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Ismail Haneyya, told anti-siege protesters at the other side of the Beit Hanoun crossing that the steadfastness of 1948 Palestinians reinforces the steadfastness of Palestinians in Gaza.

1948 Palestinians and sympathisers demonstrate in support of Gaza
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Hundreds of 1948 Palestinians and international activists demonstrated at the Beit Hanoun crossing linking the Gaza Strip with 1948 Palestine to mark the first anniversary of the war on Gaza..

Maqdisi exposes Israeli occupation plans to demolish Jerusalem homes
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Maqdisi Organisation exposed on Thursday a detailed map issued by the occupation's municipality in Jerusalem on 28th December 2009 showing Palestinian homes in the holy city earmarked for demolition.

The return of Shawar
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Shawars and traitors will go down the dustbin of history. This is their natural place, and it doesn’t make any difference whether the traitor serves a Crusader king or a modern evil entity.

Italian organizations: The steel wall makes Egypt equal to Israel
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - Italian human rights organizations and dignitaries warned that the steel of wall being built on the Palestinian-Egyptian borders would equalize Egypt with Israel in its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Egypt allows 86 activists to enter Gaza without aid trucks
PIC 1 Jan 2010 - The Egyptian authorities allowed last night 86 pro-Gaza activists from the US, Britain, France and Japan to enter Gaza with only their personal belongings and refused to allow in any aid trucks.

Los Angeles Times

Mousavi's nephew had received threats, friends say 
LA Times 1 Jan 2010 - Ali Habibi-Mousavi, killed near last weekend's protests in Iran, was not known as an outspoken opposition supporter. Some activists say his shooting was an attempt to silence reform leaders. During the dark years of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the teenage Ali Habibi-Mousavi returned home from the front for weeklong visits. Amid the gloom, the young Iranian militiaman was full of good cheer for his mother, who couldn't stop showering him with tears of relief and worry. 

Opposition leader Mousavi denounces Iran's crackdown 
LA Times 1 Jan 2010 - In his first public comments since the recent protests, Mir-Hossein Mousavi calls for a restoration of civil liberties and said threats against his life would not deter him. Defying demands for his execution, Iran's leading opposition figure on Friday issued a scathing denunciation of the government's violent crackdown against his supporters, calling for a restoration of civil liberties as a way of ending what he described as a "serious crisis" that has destabilized the nation. 

Iranian immigrant's training by militia stalls residency bid 
LA Times 1 Jan 2010 - The Carlsbad resident said he got just five hours of self-defense training during the Iran-Iraq war. Immigration officials say the group was designated a terrorist organization at the time. It was in the first few weeks of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, and Sadegh Behrouz Vazeri was a 20-year-old engineering student at the University of Tehran. 

Iran government supporters rally in Tehran 
LA Times 31 Dec 2009 - Demonstrators call for the death of opponents of the hard-line government and decry the opposition after a weekend of large-scale protests, for which leaders blame the West. Tens of thousands of Iranians backing the country's rulers rallied in central Tehran on Wednesday, calling for the death of antigovernment protesters and opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi. 

New York Times

Standoff in Iran Deepens with New Show of Force
New York Times 1 Jan 2010 - Hundreds of security forces filled the streets of Tehran to deter protests on New Year’s Day, as the leader of the opposition said he did not fear to give his life to his cause. 

World Briefing | Middle East: West Bank: Teenager Suspected in Fire at Mosque
New York Times 1 Jan 2010 - The Israeli police said Thursday that they had arrested a teenager at a Jewish settlement as a suspect in the arson attack on the central mosque in the West Bank. 

Hundreds Demonstrate on Border With Gaza
New York Times 1 Jan 2010 - Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on both sides of the Israeli-Gazan border to mark a year since Israel’s three-week war in Gaza. 

Op-Ed Columnist: Change Iran at the Top
New York Times 31 Dec 2009 - A ruler transplanted from heaven is not what Iranians want; a moral guide, rooted in the ethics of Persia, may well be. 

A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing
New York Times 31 Dec 2009 - The friendship between two children in a hospital — a Palestinian and an Israeli — has drawn their parents into a kinship that defies national struggle. 

In Tehran, Thousands Rally to Back Government
New York Times 31 Dec 2009 - The chants of the crowds on Wednesday — and Sunday — spoke to the depth of the schism in Iranian society since the disputed presidential elections in June. 

Misc

Weekly Sheikh Jarrah protest greeted with hostility in West Jerusalem, cheers in East Jerusalem
Mondoweiss - 1 Jan 2010 - Israeli policemen on guard during a demonstration against Jewish settlements and in solidarity with Palestinian families who were evicted from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem January 1, 2010. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org ) Michael Ratner send this short report on today’s weekly protest...

Gaza Freedom Marchers issue the ‘Cairo Declaration’ to end this chapter and chart the way forward
Mondoweiss - 1 Jan 2010 - New Year’s eve candle light vigil in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. (Photo: Antony Loewenstein) The Gaza Freedom March has come to an end, but before the protesters dispersed they agreed on the following statement: End Israeli Apartheid Cairo Declaration January 1, 2010 We, international delegates meeting in...

Report from Gaza: One student’s question to the world – ‘Why the Palestinians? Why are we the only ones suffering?’
Mondoweiss - 1 Jan 2010 - The remains of the American International School in Gaza (Photo: Alex Kane) The question was like an electric shock to the six or so Palestine solidarity activists, including myself, as we were standing inside a classroom at a school in Gaza City. “Why the Palestinians? Why...

Meet the Post-zionist Zionists: Hanny Ben Israel
Mondoweiss - 1 Jan 2010 - This post is part of a week-long series of interviews with Jewish Israelis discussing their connection to the idea of Zionism. We hope this series will spark a conversation over the what Zionism means today. For more on these interviews see this post . Hanny Ben Israel...

Updates from the Cairo protests
Mondoweiss - 31 Dec 2009 - Protest and police in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. (Photo: diptychal ) Mondoweiss reader Michael Brown sent this : I finally found my Dad in the crowd. We were split up when he was pulled out first by the head. I got a vicious kick to the ribs around that...


Articles

Gaza drivers, rumours and Egypt’s steel wall 
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 12/31/2009
      Those pesky taxi drivers of Gaza are always circulating rumors. One story that made the rounds during the first Palestinian uprising in 1987 claimed that an Arab army crossed the Sinai desert to save Palestinians from the daily killings and protracted state of siege which caused untold suffering for civilians. 
     The army in question would change from time to time, but the focus inevitably returned to Egypt. The rumor of an Egyptian military intervention persevered through the years, and it registered deeply in Palestinian psyche, especially among those living in Gaza. 
     My father, as many in his generation, fought in the Egyptian army and the Palestinian Liberation Army. Following defeat in the war of 1967, he was hauled along wounded and dead Egyptian soldiers across Sinai, as well as on a floating army bridge over the Suez Canal under intense Israeli aerial bombardment. As a child, I once accompanied him on a journey to an impoverished neighborhood in Cairo to look for an Egyptian war buddy of his. When we found out that he was long dead, my father wept. Confused and scared among the ailing buildings, I too cried. Indeed, the bond between Egyptians and Palestinians is historical, everlasting, cemented in blood, sweat and tears.
     Yes, everlasting, despite the responses of the Egyptian government to the more recent suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.
     When the Palestinian people democratically elected Hamas to lead the Palestinian legislature in 2006, they were aware of the possible repercussions. They have become accustomed to the "˜collective punishment"™ employed every time actions fail to meet Israeli expectations. They also understand well the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on American foreign policy, and know of Cairo"™s commitment to political "˜moderation"™ and unabashed tiptoeing to the US. But never, in their wildest imagination did Palestinians foresee the measures that Egypt would take to stifle their democratic decision, suppress their resistance and cut off the very lifelines that keep Gaza breathing. more.. e-mail

Peace With Justice In 2010 ~~ 25 Ways To Make It A Reality 
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, Desert Peace 12/31/2009
      A year ago, in the midst of the savage attack on Gaza, we in the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People in Beit Sahour issued a call for action composed of 25 things that ordinary people can do (list below). Today we are gathering in Bethlehem (Nativity Square 4-6 PM) in the last day of the year. Bethlehemite Children will read the names of close to 400 children murdered in Gaza a year ago and to pledge that in 2010 we will intensify our efforts including with boycotts, divestments and sanctions. The event in the square of the church of nativity.
     It is fitting that attendance at this event will be higher than expected before because many of the people who were supposed to go to Gaza and were prevented by the puppet government in Egypt (acting on behalf of Israel) have instead come to join us here. For news and details about the travails of the Gaza Freedom March, see [link follows]. Seven of them who are staying in my house (plus an eighth who also was supposed to go to Gaza but decided it is not going to work out) attended our planning meeting and stayed up last night with me and my wife making hangings for the tree. Each hanging/”decoration” has the name and age of one of the children from Gaza on one side and on the other side is the sticker carrying the words Freedom, Equality, Return and a call to boycott Israel. Each will be appropriately hung by a child from Bethlehem remembering a child from Gaza.
     On this last day of the year as we reflect on the last year in Palestine where it was filled with hope, began with Children and ending with children (and youth and young at heart from around the world). We reflect on the hundreds of new people we met, on the excellent and productive year of activism, on finishing my book, and most of all on the blessings of activism, the best and most sure recipe for happiness. With your help, may the new year bring us all peace with justice. -- See also: Gaza Freedom March more.. e-mail

Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010 
John Pilger, Information Clearing House 12/30/2009
      Behind much of this are the Israelis, who have long advised the Americans in both the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. 
     In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate called Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’, ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”
     Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions and diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which America has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”
     In Oceania, truth and lies are indivisible. According to Obama, the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 was authorised by the United Nations Security Council. There was no UN authority. He said the “the world” supported the invasion in the wake of 9/11 when, in truth, all but three of 37 countries surveyed by Gallup expressed overwhelming opposition. He said that America invaded Afghanistan “only after the Taliban refused to turn over [Osama] bin Laden”. In 2001, the Taliban tried three times to hand over bin Laden for trial, reported Pakistan’s military regime, and were ignored. Even Obama’s mystification of 9/11 as justification for his war is false. More than two months before the Twin Towers were attacked, the Pakistani foreign minister, Niaz Naik, was told by the Bush administration that an American military assault would take place by mid-October. The Taliban regime in Kabul, which the Clinton administration had secretly supported, was no longer regarded as “stable” enough to ensure America’s control over oil and gas pipelines to the Caspian Sea. It had to go. more.. e-mail

Targeting human rights defenders
Electronic Intifada: 1 Jan 2010 - Israel still believes it can act with impunity. It will only stop if there is a cost to its human rights violations. Appeals to the Israeli authorities to respect due process are not enough, as Omar Barghouti put it in a call to redouble efforts for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Israel will only change if it "gets the message that its arrest of civil resistance leaders will only intensify the already massive BDS campaigns against it." Nadia Hijab comments. 

Gaza Freedom March activists target Egypt's complicity
Electronic Intifada: 31 Dec 2009 - While it was deeply disappointing for the nearly 1,400 delegates with the Gaza Freedom March who came from 43 countries that they could not physically be in Gaza today, this was a momentous and historic gathering of justice-loving people from every corner of the globe, united by their common desire to see Gaza free. On the eve of a new year, the crowd vowed to do everything in their power to make 2010 the year that the siege of Gaza is finally and forever broken. Sayed Dhansay reports from Cairo. 

New year in Gaza reopens wounds of old
Electronic Intifada: 31 Dec 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - For many survivors of the last Israeli war on Gaza, time has not healed their wounds, physical or emotional. Halil Amal Samouni, 10, still suffers vision problems in her right eye. The shrapnel remaining in her head causes her constant pain and she is unable to concentrate at school. 

the rains
In Gaza: 31 Dec 2009 - It’s pouring rain.  Farmers are collectively breathing relief, finally able to begin working on their parched land, land deprived of water because Israeli bombing, tanks and bulldozers destroyed virtually all of the wells, cisterns, and rain-water collectors of farms in the border regions. I’m breathing many sighs of relief, because the rain is fresh, brings life, brings a needed feeling of growth… But the family of Saleh Abu Leila , with their 14 family members crammed into 1.5 tents (half the tent is occupied by a refrigerator) of poor-quality, torn fabric will be sighing with much less relief, as water seeps in through rips and breaks in the tent, floods the door,...

Remember Gaza, Read the Book, Spread the Word
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Dec 2009 - Order Your Copy Today Through Amazon or Pluto Press. Product Details Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: Pluto Press (January 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 0745328814 ISBN-13: 978-0745328812 Description The frontline in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gaza is constantly reported as a place of violence and terror. Ramzy Baroud's memoir explores the daily lives of the people in that turbulent region: the complex human beings -- revolutionaries, mothers and fathers, lovers, and comedians -- who make Gaza so much more than just a disputed territory. At the heart of Baroud's tale is the story of his father who, driven out of his village to a refugee camp, took up arms to fight the occupation while trying to raise a family. Ramzy Baroud: "This is a book about Gaza. It is also a book about my family, and in particular my father, how they moved from living as Palestinian farmers, growing their own crops, to fleeing for their lives and ending up in a Gaza refugee camp. Throughout the book I spell out the context of the Zionist invasion, and interweave my family story within the wider history of my people and the destruction of their old ways of life. So far we have many books from Israelis, some sympathetic and others not, regarding the events that led to the creation of the State of Israel, and its later expansion. But there is really very little that tells the story from those of us who lost everything. I am proud to...

On Gaza Drivers, Rumours and Egypt's Steel Wall
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Dec 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Those pesky taxi drivers of Gaza are always circulating rumours. One story that made the rounds during the first Palestinian uprising in 1987 claimed that an Arab army crossed the Sinai desert to save Palestinians from the daily killings and protracted state of siege which caused untold suffering for civilians. The army in question would change from time to time, but the focus inevitably returned to Egypt. The rumour of an Egyptian military intervention persevered through the years, and it registered deeply in Palestinian psyche, especially among those living in Gaza. My father, as many in his generation, fought in the Egyptian army and the Palestinian Liberation Army. Following defeat in the war of 1967, he was hauled along wounded and dead Egyptian soldiers across Sinai, as well as on a floating army bridge over the Suez Canal under intense Israeli aerial bombardment. As a child, I once accompanied him on a journey to an impoverished neighborhood in Cairo to look for an Egyptian war buddy of his. When we found out that he was long dead, my father wept. Confused and scared among the ailing buildings, I too cried. Indeed, the bond between Egyptians and Palestinians is historical, everlasting, cemented in blood, sweat and tears. Yes, everlasting, despite the responses of the Egyptian government to the more recent suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. When the Palestinian people democratically elected Hamas to lead the Palestinian legislature in 2006, they were aware of the possible repercussions. They have...
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