VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 20 February, 2010

News

International Middle East Media Center

Two Palestinian Workers Wounded Near Hebron
IMEMC – Saturday February 20, 2010 – 11:25, Israeli soldiers shot and wounded on Saturday morning two Palestinian workers near a military roadblock east of Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Three Wounded In Gaza
IMEMC – Saturday February 20, 2010 – 10:02, Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Saturday morning that three residents were wounded when the Israeli Air Force bombarded an area close to the Kissufim Israeli military camp in southern Gaza.

Israeli troops attack the weekly anti wall protest at Nil’in and Bil’in villages central West Bank
IMEMC – Friday February 19, 2010 – 22:24, At Bil’in and Nil’in villages central West Bank Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs to suppress anti-wall protests. Today, the people of Bil’in, a small Palestinian village in the central West Bank marked the 5th year anniversary of their weekly struggle against the Israeli-built wall on their lands.

One injured scores suffered tear gas inhalation at an anti wall protest near Bethlehem
IMEMC – Friday February 19, 2010 – 22:03, Israeli Forces aggressively dispersed a peaceful demonstration of Palestinians protesting the construction of the Israeli apartheid wall through their land at Al Ma’sara village near Bethlehem city on Friday afternoon.

PCHR Weekly Report: Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians, wound 5 over the last week
IMEMC – Friday February 19, 2010 – 09:01, According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian Territories, during the week of February 10 ‚Äì 17, 2010, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including a civilian who was killed in cold blood in Hebron. Israeli forces also wounded 5 Palestinians, including 4 children, 3 of whom are sisters.

Nine German Physicians Arrive In the West Bank To Perform Delicate Surgeries
IMEMC – Friday February 19, 2010 – 00:42, Palestinian sources reported Thursday that nine physicians, including a professor in medicine, arrived in the central West Bank city of Ramallah to perform delicate surgeries.

Nablus Fighter Dies From Wounds Suffered In 2002
IMEMC – Friday February 19, 2010 – 00:22, Palestinian sources reported, Thursday, that a fighter died at hospital in Berlin, Germany from wounds suffered during an attack targeting Alon Moreh settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, in 2002.

The Israeli Military Detain 11 Palestinian Civilians from the West Bank
IMEMC – Thursday February 18, 2010 – 17:44, Eleven Palestinian civilians were detained, on Thursday, by Israeli troops during military invasions targeting West Bank communities.

Israeli Tanks & Bulldozers Level Two Homes and Uproot Farm Lands in Central Gaza
IMEMC – Thursday February 18, 2010 – 17:22, Israeli tanks and a number of bulldozers leveled, on Thursday, two Palestinian homes and uprooted farm lands at central Gaza Strip.

Bedouin Youth Killed During Scuffle With Russian Jews In The Negev
IMEMC – Thursday February 18, 2010 – 12:51, A Bedouin youth was killed, on Wednesday at night, and another youth was seriously wounded during a scuffle that took place between Bedouins and a group of Russian Jews in Be’er Sheva, south of Israel.

Ma’an News

Ma’asara protest: Israeli forces fire on demonstrators
2/21/2010 – Bethlehem – Ma’an – Two residents were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets as they protested the confiscation of village and privately owned land in the village of Al-Ma’asara south of Bethlehem on Friday. Dozens of village residents and international peace activists marched from the ancient center of Al-Ma’asara toward the confiscated lands, organizers said. “Residents were violently attacked by the Israeli forces who fired rubber coated bullets and gas canisters on the protesters,” anti-wall activists said after the event, noting that troops blocked the main road out of the town that leads to the scene of land confiscation. Journalists were beaten as they attempted to take pictures, a media spokesman for the campaign said. . . . .

Three injured in clash on Gaza border
2/21/2010 – Gaza – Ma’an – Three Palestinians were injured when Israeli helicopters fired on a group of fighters near the central Gaza military base Kissufim following reports of clashes in the area early Saturday morning. Security sources said armored Israeli vehicles at Kissufim had fired shells at areas in the south-central border region, following an attack on the base by resistance fighters. Witnesses said the fighters were less than 100 meters away from the military post. An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers “identified armed men moving along the security fence” toward the army base and fired “in their direction. “He noted the detonation of an explosive device in the same area two days earlier, which injured a soldier. Muawiya Hassanein, head of emergency and ambulance services in Gaza, confirmed the injury of three Gaza residents undergoing treatment at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

Dire straits for Palestinian refugees in Cyprus
2/21/2010 – Ramallah – Ma’an – Some 2,800 Palestinian refugees who fled war-torn Iraq for Cyprus recently spoke of their “worsening” situation to a delegation from Ramallah taking part in an international karate tournament in the country’s capital, Limasol. Husam Abdul-Hafith Al-Madi, in his fifties, told members of the delegation that “we sought refuge in this country, and endured hardships until we arrived in Cyprus hoping to start a better life. “He said the lack of support from the Palestinian Authority was partly to blame. “After we arrived in Larnaka, Cyprus agreed to grant us temporary asylum for humanitarian reasons, without giving us citizenship. However, our situation worsened gradually as we weren’t allowed to work at all. The absence of any Palestinian support, even moral, added to our suffering and we were left alone to face our fate,” Abdul-Rahman Al-Hassan, the unofficial. . . .

An-Najah physics prof ‘slowly dying’ in Israeli prison
2/20/2010 – Tulkarem – Ma’an – The Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights called attention to the urgent case of a 52-year-old Physics Professor in an Israeli prison suffering from a bevy of untreated medical problems, including kidney disease and high blood pressure, a report said. Director of the center, Fuad Al-Khufesh, described the failure of Israeli prison officials to treat the man as “medical negligence,” and said Israel would be held accountable for his health and well being. The prisoner, professor of physics at An-Najah National University in Nablus, Isam Rashed Al-Ashqa, is from the town ofSeida in the Tulkarem governorate. “Rashed is slowly dying. . . because of medical negligence and lack of medications,” Al-Khufesh said, noting the professor only receives light painkillers for treatment. Rashed obtained his bachelor of sciences in Physics from the Jordanian University. . .

Christian monitoring group tracks rise in settler violence
2/20/2010 – Bethlehem – Ma’an -A “rise in violence against Palestinian shepherds shows settler-military collaboration,” the a report from the Hebron-based Christian Peacemaker Teams alleged Friday. The group, with the motto of “getting in the way” of Israeli human rights abuses in target areas in the southern West Bank, has members stationed in Hebron and the village of At-Tuwani, 25 kilometers south of the city. The observers said they had been notified of attacks against Palestinians by setters 19 times in the last 19 days. “In my experience, its typical for there to be one major incident every week,” one field worker said, noting the recent attacks were a “distinct increase in activity. “A report from CPT said, “The past two weeks have seen a marked rise in settler activity outside the illegal settlements of Ma’on and the Havat Ma’on (Hill 833) outpost,” citing rock throwing, intimidation, harassment, physical violence. . . Related:CPT: Palestine Projects

Israeli soldiers shoot and injure alleged car thieves in Yatta
2/21/2010 – Hebron – Ma’an – Officials in Yatta denied Israeli allegations that two men injured by soldiers in the southernmost region of the West Bank on Saturday were attempting to steal cars from an Israeli settlement police impound lot. Yatta leaders said the two men were attempting to enter Israel for work. They were driving in an Israeli-plated car towards the borders of the West Bank, officials said, when soldiers tried to stop the the vehicle. On sight of the soldiers, the two fled north toward Yatta, sources said. When the men refused to stop for the soldiers, they reportedly opened fire. The Israeli military had a different version of events, saying the two car loads of men were stopped at a car impound lot near the Adoreim military base adjacent to the illegal Otni’el settlement. When soldiers arrived the group fled, and one of the cars allegedly “drove fast, directly at a soldier,” a military spokesman said. The soldier fired, the spokesman said, but the vehicle escaped.

Stargazing under siege in Gaza
2/21/2010 – Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian astronomer who returned to Gaza after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead killed his son and demolished his home, brought with him the means to show children there is a world outside the Strip. Dozens of children will soon be stargazing under the supervision of Gaza-born astrophysicist Suleiman Baraka, a former employee of the US space agency NASA. Baraka’s group will have the help of a telescope imported to Gaza with the help of the French Consulate General in Jerusalem and the French Cultural Center. He said he wants to get children interested in astronomy in order to help them overcome what he calls a “stereotype” of the sky as a source of death, with its Israeli unmanned drones, helicopter gunships and fighter jets. Baraka told Ma’an, “When we ask a child here, “Àúwhat do you see in the Gaza sky? ‘ He would say he sees Apache [helicopters] and F-16s and all of the causes of death and destruction.

Security developments in the Hebron area
2/21/2010 – Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces intervened in a number of incidents in the Hebron area on Saturday, including the detention of Palestinians and the prohibiting of access to agricultural land, and reportedly withdrew from a military base. The following report does not include the shooting by Israeli forces of two Palestinians in Yatta. Click [below] for a detailed account of that incident. Arrests and withdrawal – Locals said an Israeli military camp known as Al-Majnuna was evacuated on Saturday. Two residents from the town Dura, identified as Ahmad Khalil Najib and his brother, Yassin, were detained by Israeli forces upon attempting to enter the area of the camp, and were taken to an unknown location, locals said. An Israeli military spokesman said the army was “not familiar” with the evacuation of a military base in Hebron. Another Palestinian was detained by Israeli forces during a raid. . . Related:Israeli soldiers shoot and injure alleged car thieves in Yatta

Medics: Palestinian injured in car crash near settlement
2/20/2010 – Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian was critically injured on Saturday afternoon after he was hit by a car near the Ma’ale Efraim settlement south of Hebron, medics said. Medics with the Palestine Red Crescent identified the injured as Ibrahim Afana, 32, and said that Israeli forces prevented the Palestinian medical crew from gaining access to Afana, who was transferred to an Israeli hospital in an Israel ambulance. An Israeli military spokesman said he was looking into the incident. [end]

Israel military: Exchange of gunfire near Bethlehem
2/21/2010 – Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it opened fire on Palestinian gunmen in a speeding car who attacked a military patrol west of Bethlehem on Saturday night. A military spokesman told Ma’an that the Palestinians opened fire on the patrol and attemped to run over soldiers near the Gush Etzion settlement block. The Israeli personnel returned fire and pursued the car, which managed to escape, the military also said. Palestinians in the village of Hussan, west of Bethlehem, reported that Israeli soldiers opened fire at men driving a stolen car, injuring three of them. The the men managed to escape, residents said. The Israeli District Coordination and Liaison Office (DCO) received word that two Palestinians were being treated at a hospital in Bethlehem for gunshot wounds. The DCO also reported that three Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces in connection with the incident.

Zahhar: West must not collude with Israel
2/21/2010 – Gaza – Ma’an – Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar criticized on Friday what he intimated was western collusion with Israel in the wake of reports tying European countries to the recent murder in Dubai of a Hamas official. In a sermon at the Imam Shafia Mosque in Gaza, Zahhar said the west must “close its gates to the [Israeli] occupation” or face a confrontation. “The west must realize that we do not wish to be enemies, nor do we seek confrontation in this world,” he said, “but if the West allows the Israeli occupation to turn its [the west’s] land into a land where Palestinians are killed, it will be the loser. “Zahhar’s remarks followed suspicions of possible European involvement in last month’s killing in Dubai of Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh. Dubai police announced this week that a hit squad traveling on British, French, German, and Irish passports suffocated Al-Mabhouh with a pillow in his hotel room.

Abbas seeks backing from Gadaffi, Sarkozy, Assad
2/21/2010 – Bethlehem – Ma’an – President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with French President Nikolas Sarkozy on Monday in Paris, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday. The visit, according to Palestinian sources, is the second in a string of official visits by Abbas, including set meetings with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday, and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on 27 February. The visits are intended to build regional support for Palestinian positions demanding a recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and a demand for a total halt on Israeli settlement construction before the Palestinian leadership returns to peace talks with Israel. Gaddafi is the head of the 53-member African Union of States, and top Libyan diplomat Ali Treki is currently the head of the UN General Assembly. Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad said he would accompany Abbas. . .

PA official: Talks could resume in March
2/21/2010 – Bethlehem – Ma’an – A US effort to break the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a peace deal could come to fruition by mid-March with the start of indirect talks, Palestinian officials said on Saturday. Arab states are now joining the US and European countries in attempting to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table. Officials say these efforts have intensified since President Mahmoud Abbas announced he will not negotiate until Israel stops expanding settlements in the West Bank. In the meantime Abbas has been seeking clarification on a US offer to mediate in “proximity talks” wherein special envoy George Mitchell would shuttle between the two sides. The chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Political Committee, Abdullah Abdullah, told Ma’an that the Palestinians asked the Follow-up Committee of the Arab. . .

Report: Dubai assassin used real German passport
2/21/2010 – Washington – Ma’an – German officials investigating the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai have found that one of the suspected assassins carried a genuine German passport, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday. One German passport was used in the 20 January assassination, which has been attributed to the Israeli spy agency Mossad, although Israel has not confirmed any involvement. Six British, three Irish, and one French passport were also used, according to Dubai police. Der Spiegel said German intelligence agents found that in June 2009 an Israeli man identifying himself as Michael Bodenheimer – a name listed by police as a member of the hit squad – approached immigration officials in Cologne with the pre-World War II address of his grandparents. Bodenheimer acquired German citizenship on the basis of this information.

French FM sees ‘Palestinian state without borders’
2/20/2010 – Washington – Ma’an – France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the recognition of a Palestinian state even before its borders are demarcated is a possibility, Agence France-Presse reported. Kouchner said economic and institutional development in the West Bank constitutes “the building of a reality” that includes the creation of a state. “France is training Palestinian police, businesses are being created in the West Bank. . . It follows that one can envision the proclamation soon of a Palestinian state, and its immediate recognition by the international community, even before negotiating its borders,” Kouchner told the French Journal du Dimanche, according to AFP, which will be published Sunday. The comments dovetail with Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s government plan to build the infrastructure and trappings of a state by 2011.

Hamas leader: Don’t blame Fatah for Dubai hit
2/21/2010 – Gaza – Ma’an – The Israeli spy agency Mossad is entirely responsible for the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month, party officials announced Saturday. During a news conference in Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Salah Al-Bardawil said Israel must suffer the repercussions of the “crime,” as news outlets around the world speculate over who was behind the espionage and assassination. Speculation of Fatah, Hamas, Iranian and Israeli involvement have already circulated. Al-Bardawil said that while members of the alleged Israeli hit-squad, traveling on European passports, were reportedly affiliated to Fatah, “the fact that members of the PA security services were involved, is not proof enough to directly accuse Fatah or the PA of complicity. “Though he expressed doubts over PA complicity with the assassination ploy, Al-Bardawil called on Fatah officials “to stop all trivialities in the media. “

Nablus police destroys 498 illegal cars, dismantle explosive
2/21/2010 – Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian police impounded and destroyed 498 illegal cars in the town of Jama’een south of Nablus and dismantled a shell, a police report said on Saturday. Three fugitives were arrested upon confiscating an old artillery shell, measuring 155 milimiters, the report said. Police, with the assistance of the anti-bomb squad, dismantled the shell with no reports of injury or damage. According to the report, Nablus police and security services have destroyed 941 illegal cars since the beginning of 2010. [end]

Student senates to strike over PA grant-to-loan policy
2/20/2010 – Nablus – Ma’an – Student senates at Palestinian universities across the West Bank voted to carry out a comprehensive strike Tuesday and Wednesday, protesting a government decision to convert student-grant money into loans. Ina joint statement released Friday, the senates outlined a strike schedule that will hit all higher education institutions from Jenin to Hebron. In addition to the comprehensive strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, senate organizers planned activities through to March, ensuring a continued disruption of classes. Marches at university campuses were scheduled for 10 and 11 March, and an open strike was set to start on 25 March pending a governmental policy reversal. “These protests stem from concern about students’ rights which must be preserved in order to serve the interests of higher education,” the statement said.

Gaza factions convene to discuss unity
2/20/2010 – Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian resistance and opposition factions held its periodic meeting in Gaza on Saturday to discuss the latest in Palestinian affairs and national unity. Those in attendance included members of the Free Palestine Movement, the Popular Resistance Movement, the general command of the Popular Front and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front. Faction officials reitarated their refusal of resuming peace talks with Israel, stating that it only serves an Israeli agenda “as a cover for the crimes against the Palestinian people,” the meeting’s minutes reported. Additionally, members spoke of the need for national dialogue to end division and achieve reconciliation between rival Palestinian parties. . . . .

Ashrawi: Hamas’ demands unrealistic
2/20/2010 – Ramallah – Ma’an – Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, said no one is capable of offering Hamas the changes it says are prerequisites for the movement’s ratification of the Egyptian-sponsored unity deal, on Saturday. Ashrawi said all the factions who met to discuss Palestinian unity had requested several amendments to the reconciliation document, tipped to bring an end to Hamas-Fatah rivalry, but delayed discussing the additions until after the document’s ratification, save for Hamas. “These amendments Hamas has presented. . . are no more than technical and language issues. . no one is capable of offering the guarantees they are demanding,” she said during a radio interview produced by Watan TV. “The Executive Committee discussed and studied Hamas’ notes, which were on the nature of the work of the joint committee,” she said,. . .

Jericho tourism spike: 24,000 visitors last week
2/20/2010 – Jericho – Ma’an – The Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities police announced that 24,000 tourists visited 116 sites in the Jericho governorate and Jordan Valley last week. A police spokesperson said of last week’s tourists, that 7,915 were international passport holders, 11,825 were from the West Bank and 4,445 were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Jericho’s hotels also recorded impressive numbers, with a total of 1,700 guests, including 927 internationals, 636 locals and 147 Palestinians living in Israel. Among the tourist attractions in Jericho are the ancient archaeological ruins of the world’s oldest city, religious sites like the the Mount of Temptation, where it is said Jesus’ faith was tested by the devil. The mount is also home to the 6th Century Monastery of Temptation, run by the Greek Orthodox Church. Inside the city is the Zacchaeus Tree, where a tax collector climbed to get a better view of Jesus as he passed through the city.

Ha’aretz Defense page

IDF opens fire on Gaza gunmen near border
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Palestinian news agency reports three hurt in clash; two wounded in seperate West Bank incident.

Bil’in protesters dismantle section of West Bank separation barrier
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Hundreds mark five years since the first weekly anti-fence protest near the Palestinian village.

Hamas: Assisting Zionist enemy will result in confrontation
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Hamas says two Palestinians linked to Dubai hit are employed by senior Fatah strongman Dahlan.

Yossi Melman / Kidon, the Mossad within the Mossad
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Contrary to popular belief, assassinations by the Mossad are actually few and far between.

‘Syria site bombed by Israel in 2007 likely to have been a nuclear reactor’
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – New IAEA report includes clearer language than previously used in its analysis of the bombed site.

Son of Palestinian peace activist admits to attempted terror attack
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Mohanned Abu-Awwad says he was acting on behalf of Fatah, and the attack was filmed with a B’Tselem camera.

IDF commander: Settler leaders ‘losing control’ to rioting youths
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Army furious after three hurt when settlers mistook a military exercise for eviction.

3 hurt as West Bank settlers mistake IDF drill for eviction
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Rioters throw stones, damage vehicles in attack on soldiers and border guards training in West Bank.

‘Illegal’ Gaza tunnel owners suffer as Hamas economy grows
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Merchandise overflow caused by Hamas-run tunnels, which puts ‘illegal’ tunnel owners out of work.

High Court orders Israel to speed up outpost demolitions
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – 16 homes in unauthorized West Bank outposts Hayovel, Harsha have been considered ilegal since 2005.

Barak signals thaw in tensions with army chief Ashkenazi
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Defense Minister praises chief of staff, signaling end to row over extending Ashkenazi’s term to fifth year.

Nasrallah: ‘If you hit Beirut airport, we’ll hit Ben Gurion’
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Hezbollah leader threatens to attack Tel Aviv in future conflict; says group still seeks to avenge Mughniyeh.

Who are the new Hamas recruits in Gaza?
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Many of 15,000 applicants have no interest in police work or in politics – they just are looking for jobs.

Israelis warned of Hezbollah threat abroad
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Counterterrorism Bureau: Israelis could be target for revenge attacks over Mughniyeh, Iran scientist killings.

Ex-IDF chief: Israel can’t handle nuclear Iran alone
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Dan Halutz says Israel should not take it upon itself to be the flag-bearer of the West against Tehran.

Egypt official: Israel assassination policy inflaming entire Mideast
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – PA source to London Times: Other countries won’t agree to turn into Israel-Palestinian killing field.

Misc

KAIROS Palestine Condemns Israeli Act in Beit Sahour
2/20/2010 РWAFA РPalestine News Agency РJERUSALEM, February 20, 2010 (WAFA)- KAIROS Palestine condemned Saturday Israeli army declaration of the Reacreation Park in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour as a military zone. Israeli soldiers and bulldozers arrived on February 10 at a family recreation park in Beit Sahour – a town slightly east of Bethlehem, and the site of the former army base Osh Grab, which was abandoned by the Israeli army in 2006 – and declared it a closed military zone. KAIROS Palestine called upon churches worldwide to advocate for the Christians and all residents of Beit Sahour and intervene in the damage, present and projected, wrought upon their home. Since 1967, Beit Sahour, one of the last Christian majority towns in the West Bank, has repeatedly lost land to the Jerusalem municipality and to the nearby settlement of Har Homa. Much of the remaining land was occupied by an Israeli military base, Osh Grab.

CPT: Rise in Violence against Shepherds Shows Settler-Military Collaboration
2/20/2010 – WAFA – Palestine News Agency – HEBRON, February 20, 2010 (WAFA)- The past two weeks have seen a marked rise in settler activity outside the illegal settlements* of Ma’on and the Havat Ma’on (Hill 833) outpost, in the southern Hills of the West Bank city of Hebron. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) said: This has varied from settlers crossing Palestinian grazing land, to grazing their sheep while shooting rocks from slingshots at nearby Palestinian shepherds, to abducting young Palestinian shepherds with the aid of the Israeli military and police. On Friday afternoon, Jewish settlers, soldiers and police detained a 12-year-old boy from the Palestinian village of Saadet Tha’lah, located near the Israeli settlement of Carmel in the South Hebron Hills. The boy had been grazing his family’s flock alone in their regular grazing area, just above Umm Zeitouna Valley, on the south side of the large Israeli dairy facility belonging to the Ma’on Settlement. Related:CPT: Palestine Projects

Friday Night Lights: American and Israeli human rights activists disrupt ballet performance in Vermont
2/20/2010 – P U L S E – BURLINGTON, VT- Greetings from the Green Mountain State! I want to give a shout out to those who participated in a successful night of activism. Several activists leafleted 249 people attending last night’s Israeli Ballet performance at the Flynn Theater. The leaflet asked “Would you like some information about Don Quixote and the Israel Ballet? ‚Äù ‚Äî which was an accurate presentation of last night’s performance. “Israel’s ‚ÄòGolden Helmet of Mambrino’ ‚Äî which makes one invisible, thus capable of all actions ‚Äî is slowly turning into Don Quixote’s version of it ‚Äî a upside-down shaving bowl plopped on the head ‚Äî incapable of nothing but making its wearer more obvious and actionable to the world. Brand Israel will continue to call forth increasing protests as audiences realize they are being used,‚Äù said author and activist Marc Estrin.

Adalah Demands Cancellation of Travel Ban Imposed by Israel on Khalil Tufakji, a Prominent Palestinian Planner and Resident of Jerusalem
2/17/2010 – Adalah – On 8 February 2010, Adalah sent a letter to the Minister of the Interior demanding the cancellation of a six-month travel ban imposed on Mr. Khalil Tufakji, a prominent Palestinian planner and geographer and a resident of Jerusalem. The ban prevents Mr. Tufakji from leaving the country before 2 August 2010. Adalah also requested all the materials the ministry had relied upon in making the decision to impose the ban. Adalah Attorney Haneen Naamnih stated in the letter that Mr. Tufakji is an expert in geography and a researcher in the fields of land, planning and the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He has served in many positions, including as director of the department of mapping in the Society of Arab Studies and a member of the Palestinian delegation to the final status negotiations in 1991-2001. He currently works as a member of the Palestinian Authority presidential commission for real estate. His positions require him to travel abroad several times a year to participate in various conferences and events.

US State Department lifts travel warning for Syria
2/20/2010 РYahoo! News РAP РDAMASCUS, Syria – The U. S. has lifted an advisory warning American travelers of security concerns in Syria, officials said Saturday, as Washington tries to boost ties with a country seen as key to peace in the region. However, Syria remains on a U. S. list of countries supporting terrorism, a designation made in 1979 because of suspicions that Syria collaborates with Iran in supplying munitions to radical Islamist groups for use against Israel. The country also remains under U. S. sanctions, which President Barack Obama renewed in May. First imposed by former President George W. Bush, the sanctions cite Syrian support for terrorism, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and other activities including efforts to undermine U. S. operations in Iraq. Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that uranium particles found at a Syrian desert facility bombed three years. . . .

Anglican leader worried about Mideast’s Christians
2/20/2010 – Yahoo! News – AP – BAPTISMAL SITE, Jordan ‚Äì The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams voiced grave concern Saturday over the eroding Christian presence in the Holy Land on the first stop of his four-day pilgrimage to the region. Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican communion worldwide, held a sermon for hundreds of faithful at the River Jordan after dedicating the cornerstone of an Anglican church to be built at the site where tradition says Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Williams said he “worried deeply” about the dwindling numbers of Christians in the Mideast, and stressed that it was the church’s duty to support Christians who face hardship due to regional conflicts. Williams is also expected to visit Gaza and the West Bank, after traveling to Jerusalem for meetings with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel as part of an interfaith dialogue.

2008-2009 Survey of Palestinian Refugees and IDPs
2/17/2010 – Badil – This Survey endeavors to address the lack of information or misinformation about Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and to counter political arguments that suggest that this issue can be resolved outside the realm of international law and practice applicable to all other refugee and displaced populations. Chapter One outlines the history of Palestinian forced displacement from the British Mandate to the present, while identifying the ‚Äòtriggers’ of contemporary forced displacement on both sides of the ‚ÄòGreen line’ in historical Palestine, as well as in exile; Chapter Two provides statistical information on the scope of displacement, and the distribution and characteristics of the refugee and IDP population; Chapters Three and Four clarifies the framework governing protection and assistance of Palestinian refugees and IDPs; Chapter Five sets out the basic. . . .

Israeli Enemy Searching For Substitute Airport In Case of War
2/19/2010 – Political Theatrics – Three days following the “terror balance‚Äù speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in the occasion of the Martyr leaders’ anniversary on Tuesday, and while Israeli authorities maintained their “unprecedented silence,‚Äù the first “practical‚Äù moves saw light‚ĶThus, Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Development of Negev and Galilee Silvan Shalom chose the farthest point from the north (border with Lebanon) to discuss the establishment of a sub-civilian airport in a military base in the Negev south of occupied Palestine as a substitute to the Ben Gurion airport in time of war. “I know that the air force has severe necessities but I hope that together, we could find the way for a real change in the Negev,‚Äù Shalom said. “If you strike martyr Rafiq Hariri’s international airport in Beirut, we’ll strike your Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.

Israel Unveils Surveillance Drone To Reach Iran
2/19/2010 – Political Theatrics – The Israeli army says it has unveiled the world’s largest unmanned surveillance drone which can fly for over 20 hours and reach Iran. According to the army, the Israeli drone is physically larger than any other drone and can fly at higher altitudes. “The Eitan can stay in the air for more than 20 hours; it can carry very large cargo and fly very far, much further than any other unmanned drone in Israel,‚Äù said Air Force Lt. Col. A on Thursday. “Only few aircraft in the world approach such capabilities,‚Äù the Israeli officer went on to say. The Israeli army further added that drone is also equipped with more advanced technological systems than its predecessors. The drone was presented by the Israeli air force to local reporters at an army base in central Israel on Thursday. The drone had already been tested on several occasions, including during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

France, Syria sign 11 agreements to boost relations
2/20/2010 – Earth Times – Damascus – France and Syria signed 11 cooperation agreements Saturday during the visit of French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to Damascus. The deals were signed after Fillon met with his Syrian counterpart Mohammad Naji al-Otri to discuss ways of boosting economic relations between the two countries. ” The visit of the French Prime Minister to Syria comes to mark a new stage of cooperation between Syria and France,” al-Otri said after their meeting. The agreements aim at bolstering ties in agriculture, civil aviation, culture and administrative cooperation. The bilateral trade is estimated to be around 800 million euros. Al-Otri also called on French companies to expand their investments and engage in tourism projects in Syria, as well as the development projects in energy, oil, gas, transportation and public services.

Hamas: Assassinated operative put himself at risk
2/20/2010 – Yahoo! News – AP – GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip ‚Äì A Hamas leader assassinated during a visit to Dubai last month exposed himself to attack when he breached security protocol by talking about his trip over the phone and making hotel reservations on the Internet, the militant Islamic group said Saturday. The methodical stalking and killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel room ‚Äî widely blamed on Israel’s Mossad spy agency ‚Äî has put Hamas on the defensive over purported security lapses. The new details emerged as the case has spread across several continents with investigators probing possible credit card links to U. S. -based banks and European officials grilling Israeli envoys over fraudulent passports. Hamas legislator Salah Bardawil said al-Mabhouh unwittingly led his attackers to him by openly planning his travels ‚Äî a move that would make him easily traceable if he were already under surveillance.

Hamas: Suspects in Dubai killing include Fatah men
2/20/2010 – Antiwar.com – Hamas says 2 Palestinians arrested in Dubai killing of militant operative are Fatah members – AP – Hamas claimed Friday that two ex-officers from the rival Fatah organization were involved in the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai, and Fatah shot back by insinuating Hamas members were the ones who collaborated with the killers. The slaying of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a luxury Dubai hotel room last month has widely been blamed on Israel’s Mossad spy agency but it also has sparked bitter recriminations among the rival Palestinian factions, which have long competed for influence in the Palestinian territories. Dubai police unveiled 11 suspects ‚Äî 10 men and one woman ‚Äî who apparently traveled to Dubai on European passports with real names and authentic data, but possibly altered photos. Dubai also said police had two Palestinians in custody for alleged involvement in the murder of al-Mabhouh. . . . Related:Hamas leader: Don’t blame Fatah for Dubai hit

Hamas leader killing stirs questions, little criticism – Feature
2/19/2010 – Earth Times – Tel Aviv – The assassination of senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has been front-page news in Israel ever since Dubai police early this week released the names of 11 European suspects, some seven of whom happen to have dual Israeli citizenship. Interpol believes that those who carefully planned and carried out the murder of al-Mabhouh most likely used forged or fake European passports of innocent citizens whose identities were stolen. The James Bond-style operation has sparked widespread debate about whether it was really the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, which carried it out, as all but certainly claimed by Dubai police. Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim told Dubai TV late Thursday he would request an arrest warrant against Mossad head Meir Dagan, if it were proven beyond doubt that the agency was behind the murder. He called for an international investigation by a team from the UAE, on whose soil the crime was committed, and from Britain, Ireland, France and Germany, whose passports were used.

Israeli Govt Struggles to Downplay Growing Dubai Scandal
2/19/2010 – Antiwar.com – After Angry Summons, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Mocks Dubai Assassination – Though privately there appears to be growing disquiet about the “amateurish‚Äù nature of the apparent Mossad assassination in the city of Dubai, and concern about the ramifications in the international community, publicly the Israeli government is trying to downplay the situation. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declared today that it was “absurd‚Äù to discuss the arrest of Mossad chief Meir Dagan, and said there was “no incriminating proof‚Äù that it was even as assassination, let alone one Mossad was responsible for. Yet the fake passport data has pointed clearly at Israel, enough so that the British government yesterday summoned Israel’s ambassador to demand an explanation. Dubai police say they are “99 percent‚Äù certain that Mossad was behind the hit.

Russia to supply Iran with S-300 defense systems
2/19/2010 – Ha’aretz – Reuters – Russia intends to fulfill a contract to supply S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Friday. Israel and the United States have repeatedly asked Russia to scrap a contract to sell Iran the truck-mounted S-300, which can shoot down hostile missiles or aircraft up to 150 km (90 miles) away. “There is a contract to supply these systems to Iran, and we will fulfill it,” Ryabkov told Interfax in an interview. “Delays (with deliveries) are linked to technical problems with adjusting these systems,” he added. He also cautioned against politicizing Russia’s arms exports to Iran. “It is absolutely incorrect to put the emphasis on the issue of S-300 supplies. . . and to turn it into a major problem, to say nothing of linking it to the discussion on restoring trust in the purely peaceful character of Iran’s nuclear program,” Ryabkov said.

J Street: Criticism of Israel does not make us the enemy
2/19/2010 – Ha’aretz – Comments come in wake of Foreign Ministry snubbing of congressional visit back by the dovish lobby. – The attitude of Israeli politicians and U. S. right-wing Jews toward anyone critical of Israel has to change, director of the left-leaning U. S. lobby J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, told Haaretz in an interview on Thursday. According to Ben-Ami, “A part of the Jewish community in the United States and some people here are intolerant of people who disagree with them or criticize them. “And that intolerance immediately flips to ‘you are anti-Israel – you’re a Muslim lover or you’re Muslim,'” he told Haaretz in an interview. “These are things that they call me, and this is what some of them call the president. It has to change both in the politics here and in the right wing of the American Jewish community. “Ben-Ami’s comment came as the Foreign Ministry apparently came to regret its snubbing of a U. “

Activist’s case will test U.S. anti-terrorism law
2/18/2010 – Los Angeles Times – USC professor Ralph Fertig says he’s protected under the 1st Amendment for advocating for the Kurdish minority in Turkey, whose political party has been designated a terrorist group by the U. S. – Ralph Fertig hardly resembles a terrorist, but the soft-spoken 79-year-old pacifist and human rights activist from Los Angeles might well qualify as one under the government’s strong anti-terrorism law. He is the lead plaintiff in a Supreme Court case to be heard next week that will test whether speaking out on behalf of an oppressed foreign minority — represented by a group that’s been deemed a terrorist organization by the U. S. — can result in a long prison term. In 1996, Congress expanded the anti-terrorism law, imposing a prison term of up to 15 years for providing “training” or “expert advice or assistance” to a designated international terrorist group.

Uruknet

Israeli human rights groups face state repression
Uruknet February 20, 2010 – Israeli human rights groups and activists have become the target of a vicious campaign by right-wing groups, security forces and politicians. It is the immediate response of the Israeli political elite to criticism of Israel’s 2008-09 assault on Gaza in the wake of the Goldstone report. The UN report accused Israel of war crimes, and said…

An-Najah physics prof ‘slowly dying’ in Israeli prison
Uruknet February 20, 2010 – The Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights called attention to the urgent case of a 52-year-old Physics Professor in an Israeli prison suffering from a bevy of untreated medical problems, including kidney disease and high blood pressure, a report said. Director of the center, Fuad Al-Khufesh, described the failure of Israeli prison officials to…

Dubai has evidence Mossad killed Hamas man: report
Uruknet February 20, 2010 – Dubai’s police chief said in a report on Saturday that his force has evidence incriminating the Mossad in the killing of a Hamas commander in the Gulf emirate last month, despite Israeli denials. “Among the new evidence available to Dubai police which incriminates the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, and confirms its involvement in the murder ……

Three in a Million – Voices From the Haitian Camps
Uruknet 19 February 2010 – The United Nations reported there are 1.2 million people living in “spontaneous settlements” or homeless camps around Port-au-Prince. Three people living in the camps spoke with this author this week, before the hard rains hit… No one has come to talk to us to tell us what is going on. We know nothing about tents or…

Over a Thousand Demonstrators Marked Five Years of Struggle in Bil’in by Dismantling the Wall
Uruknet February 19, 2010 – One week following the victory forcing Israel to begin rerouting the path of the Wall, and under the shadow of an unprecedented wave of repression against the popular struggle, over a thousand protesters took part in a demonstration at the west Bank village of Bil’in, marking five years of struggle there. At the height of the…

Israel launches air attack on central Gaza; clashes reported
Uruknet February 20, 2010 – Three Palestinians were injured when Israeli helicopters fired on a group of resistance fighters near the central Gaza military base Kissufim following reports of clashes in the area early Saturday morning. Security sources said armored Israeli vehicles at Kissufim had fired shells at areas in the south-central border region, following an attack on the base by…

Mass protests greet Sarkozy visit to Haiti
Uruknet February 19, 2010 – French President Nicolas Sarkozy traveled for a one-day visit to Haiti on February 17, amid rising popular opposition to the Western-backed Pr?©val government and international tensions over how to rebuild the country. The US military occupied Haiti after the devastating January 12 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people, wounded over 250,000, and destroyed much of the…

Jerusalem families come out against museum built on ancestors’ graves
Uruknet February 19, 2010 – Members of prominent Palestinian families from Jerusalem came out last week in protest against plans by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to build a Museum of Tolerance on top of part of the ancient Mamilla Cemetery where their ancestors are buried. The initiative includes filing a petition in Geneva to various United Nations human rights bodies and…

Officials: Settler sewage flowing into West Bank village
Uruknet February 19, 2010 ‚Äì Sewage from a treatment plant in the Israeli settlement of Sha’are Tiqwa has been flowing into a high school in the northern West Bank village of Azzun Atma since the early morning, local authorities said late on Wednesday. The Azzun Atma Municipality said that some students simply stayed away from school because of the stench emanating…

The Tide Has Changed
Uruknet February 19, 2010 – London is ‘angry’ over the use of stolen identities by the Dubai assassins and points its finger at the Jewish state and its notorious Mossad espionage agency. The Israeli ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, was summoned yesterday by the foreign minister to “share information”. In practice Britain has stopped short of accusing Israel of involvement in…

Israeli embassy raises eyebrows with tennis tweetMessage boasts of Israeli player’s ‘hit on Dubai target’ amid mounting row over Hamas chief’s killing
Uruknet February 19, 2010 – Amid the mounting diplomatic row over Mossad’s alleged assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai, the Israeli embassy has turned to Twitter to comment. A tweet issued by the embassy today read: “@israeluk You heard it here first: Israeli tennis player carries out hit on #Dubai target

Kurdish militia tighten grip on non-Kurdish districts in Iraq’s Mosul
Uruknet February 19, 2010 – A senior official in the Province of Nineveh of which Mosul is the capital has denounced the presence of Kurdish armed militias in several provincial districts and towns. In response, the militias, known locally as peshmerga, have tightened their grip on these areas, arresting and harassing people and officials resisting their rule. Osama al-Najaifi accused the…

Palestine Telegraph

EU denies stop financing Gaza power plant
Brussles, February 20, 2010 (Pal Telegraph)- The EU denied that it had reduced or stopped the financing of fuel for the operation of Gaza’s main power plant, saying, at the same time, that the funds allocated to it were all sent to the Palestinian Authority. This came in official letters received by the office of the Brussles-based European campaign to…

Israeli soldiers stop Palestinian farmers from reaching land
West Bank, February 20, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation authorities Saturday afternoon prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their land in Khirbat Safa, north of Hebron in the West Bank near the Bait Ayin settlement. Mohammed Awad, the spokesman for the Palestinian Solidarity Project, said: “A large force from the Israeli army prevented farmers from reaching their lands to cultivate…

While the world talks about Shalit, thousands of Palestinians remain in prison
Gaza, February 19, 2010 (Pal Telegraph; by Pam Bailey) – “Gilad Shalit” is virtually a household name for anyone who follows Middle Eastern politics even somewhat cursorily. Shalit is an Israeli soldier of French nationality who was captured by members of the Palestinian Resistance Committees (various political factions, all resisting the Israeli occupation) on June 25, 2006, while he was…

Abbas to visit Syria this month: report
West Bank, February 20, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before the end of February, a Palestinian newspaper reported Saturday. “The meeting would be on Feb. 27 and it was arranged by a senior Palestinian official who visited Damascus recently,” the Ramallah-based al-Ayyam daily quoted well-informed sources. Abbas and Assad, whose country…

3 minors tortured by IOF in Jerusalem
Jerusalem, February 20, 2010 (Pal Telegraph)- B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, revealed that members of Israeli police and intelligence, accompanied by gunmen from Israeli border guards, arrested minorsaged between 12 and 15 years, residents of Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. It said that the minors were forced out of their homes for…

The National

Working to rebuild the joy of children
The National 19 Feb 2010 – Unicef support teams are trying to repair the psychological damage suffered by Palestinian youngsters whose homes were destroyed by Israeli forces.

Britel: Lebanon’s forgotten town
The National 19 Feb 2010 – Written off by the Lebanese government and neglected by Hizbollah, crime is all that is left for the people of Britel.

The Media Line

Israel Facing Diplomatic Fallout Following Dubai Assassination
The Media Line 17 Feb 2010 – Increasing evidence that Israel’s national intelligence agency (Mossad) was behind the assassination of Hamas terrorist mastermind Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has led to diplomatic fallout between Israel and Britain and Ireland. Dublin and London have summoned the local…

Clinton: US Has No Plan for Military Action Against Iran
The Media Line 17 Feb 2010 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to the Gulf that America currently has no plan for military action against Iran over its nuclear program. “We don’t want Iran to become a nuclear…

France Expanding Military and Arms Presence in Middle East
The Media Line 17 Feb 2010 – As top French defense officials are in Saudi Arabia to push increased arms sales there, reports have surfaced in Israel of enhanced military cooperation between Israel and France. The reports say that joint exercises have been..

Aljazeera

Dubai murder strains Israel ties
AlJazeera 19 Feb 2010 – Use of European passports in Hamas leader’s killing strains relations with allies.

IAEA fears Iran working on warhead
AlJazeera 19 Feb 2010 – Report suggests “possible military dimensions” to Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Barrier imprisons West Bank village
AlJazeera 20 Feb 2010 – Illegal Israeli settlement construction isolates Palestinian village.

Alternative Information Center

Where is Israeli Legitimacy Going?
Alternative Information Center – Friday, 19 February 2010, The Reut Institute is an semi-official Israeli think tank dealing with security as well as socio-economic issues, and provides reports to the government. Some of its reports are made of well known…

1,000 Demonstrators Marked Five Years of Protest in Bil’in by Dismantling Portions of the Wall
Alternative Information Center – Friday, 19 February 2010, One week after work to reroute the path of the Wall in Bil’in had began, more than a thousand demonstrators celebrated five years of struggle by dismantling a section of the Wall…

Tel Aviv University President’s Sophie Choice
Alternative Information Center – Friday, 19 February 2010, “As the new president of Tel Aviv University, the country’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher education, I find myself caught in an agonizing double bind. On the one hand, my…

Palestine News Network

Palestinian-American Aims to be Governor of Texas
PNN – Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Israeli army orders the demolition of two houses near Bethlehem city
PNN – Saturday, 20 February 2010

Campaign to preserve Mamilla Jerusalem Cemetery
PNN – Saturday, 20 February 2010

Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu to bring Heritage Plan to cabinet
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Knesset Lobby for Greater Israel to visit Cave of the Patriarchs to protest the site’s exclusion from PM’s plan.

Gazans to invest in Bank of Israel
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Barak approves Gaza banks’ request as humanitarian gesture.

Dubai police: Soon we’ll have proof against Mossad
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Nothing links Israel to hit, Ayalon says; Hamas says Fatah men aided squad.

Peace Now holds ‚Äòmasquerade carnival’ to protest gov’t
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – MK Horovitz tells Post he sees no difference between Netanyahu, Barak.

Haig had a ‚Äòspecial feeling’ for Israel
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Four-star general and former US secretary of state dies on Saturday at 85.

Israel: IAEA report confirms ‚Äòmilitary intentions’ of Iran
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Report states ‚ÄòTeheran resumed or never stopped enriching uranium’; US: Findings consistent with ‚Äòongoing concerns about Iran’s activities.’

IDF opens fire on Gaza border cell
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Palestinians say 3 wounded as army foils possible al-Qaida linked attack.

Syria warns: Next war will be ruinous
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Syrian PM says if future conflict erupts it will affect “the region and beyond.”

Syria warns: Next war will be catastrophic
Jeruslalem Post 20 Feb 2010 – Syrian PM says if future conflict erupts it will affect “the region and beyond.”

Inter Press Service

SYRIA: U.S. Starts Normalisation Process in Earnest
IPS WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (IPS) – After months of delay, the administration of President Barack Obama is taking major steps engage the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of a broader regional strategy designed in major part to isolate Iran, escalate the fight against al Qaeda and other radical…

MIDEAST: Scandals, Assassination Plan Rock Palestinian Authority
IPS RAMALLAH, Feb 17 (IPS) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah is fighting a tidal wave of fresh allegations, including sexual harassment, an internal power struggle and embezzlement.

US-YEMEN: Clinton Hails Ceasefire, But Aid Concerns Remain
IPS WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (IPS) – The ceasefire announced late last week between Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels in the northern part of the country is being greeted here as an important initial step toward stabilising the Arab world’s poorest country and reversing advances by al Qaeda’s affiliate there.

MIDEAST: Gaza’s Female Scribes Face Worse Than Discrimination
IPS RAMALLAH, Feb 15 (IPS) – Female journalists worldwide complain about discrimination on the grounds of gender. However, their colleagues in Gaza also face death threats, the dangers of working in a war zone and the struggle for daily necessities as the Israeli siege on Gaza drags on.

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

PCHR Director Meets with French Consul General and Accompanying Delegation
PCHR 17 Feb 2010 – Ref: 20/2010 On 17 February 2010, Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), met during a work dinner with a delegation from the French Consulate General in Jerusalem. The delegation was presided by the French Consul General, Fr?©d?©ric Desagneaux. The delegation also included Damien Cristofari, Vice Consul, Majdi Shaqqoura, Director of the French Consular Section in Gaza, Beno?Æt Tadi?©, Counselor of Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, and Jean Mathiot, Director of the French Cultural Center in Gaza.

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
PCHR 17 Feb 2010 – Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)

International Solidarity Movement

Peaceful Al Ma’sara Demonstration Faces Continued Aggression
2/20/2010 – International Solidarity Movement – ISM – 19 February – The peaceful demonstration in the Occupied West Bank village of Al Ma’sara by Palestinians and Internationals was aggressively dispersed using tear gas & sound bombs, today, by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). This is the second week that the IOF have been using increasingly violent methods to repress non-violent demonstrations in Al Ma’sara, a reflection of their tactics across the villages of the West Bank. Palestine Popular Struggle – Approximately 70 Palestinians and 14 Internationals, including 3 Israelis, gathered to protest against the construction of the Israeli apartheid wall which is illegal under international law. The wall runs through the land of the village, the completion of which will block the residents from their farmland; they have already lost more than 350 hectares of land to a nearby Israeli settlement.

Silwan Demands Justice in Anticipation of Home Demolitions
2/20/2010 – International Solidarity Movement – ISM – 19 February – A vigil began close to 12:30PM at the protest tent in the neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem. More than one hundred Silwan community members gathered to listen to speeches and commenced mid-day prayer in unison. Following the collective prayer the community members marched through the streets of Silwan. Today’s demonstration is a response to the pending demolitions of over 200 homes in Silwan. These demolitions were slated to be government sanctioned “price tag” actions in response to the anticipated eviction of the illegal Zionist squat Beit Yonatan. Ateret Cohanim, a Zionist settler organization, built Beit Yonatan in the heart of Silwan. Their building plan was approved for a four story complex, but and extra three stories were added without approval. This is in contradiction to the four-story limit to which Palestinians in the neighborhood are held.

Ha’aretz Diplomacy page

France, Spain push bid to recognize Palestinian state within 2 years
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – According to senior European diplomats, Israel has relayed its opposition to the initiative.

‘Netanyahu authorized Dubai assassination in early January’
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Mossad used Tel Aviv hotel to train agents for hit on Hamas’ Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Sunday Times reports.

Germany probing identity of passport-holder tied to Dubai killing
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – The document was used by one of the suspected assassins a day before the Hamas commander was eliminated.

Zvi Bar’el / Iran has become a regional superpower even without the bomb
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Tehran is creating a rift between China and the U.S., with Washington arming Taiwan in bid to pressure Beijing.

Iran sanctions to top agenda at upcoming Israel-China talks
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – China has vast economic interests in Iran, with much of its energy market dependent on imported Iranian oil.

Alexander Haig, former U.S. secretary of state, dies at 85
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Haig never lived down his televised response to the 1981 assassination attempt on president Ronald Reagan.

Syria dismisses IAEA call for more access to nuclear sites
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – France, Syria sign 11 cooperation agreements; France working to revive indirect Israel-Syria talks.

Report: German passport tied to Dubai hit wasn`t forged
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Hamas: Operative slain in Dubai put himself at risk; Deputy FM: No proof tying Israel to Mabhouh hit.

Blair hopes Middle East talks to resume within weeks
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Quartet envoy says both sides want talks; stresses importance of ending Gaza blockade.

Dubai hit – another move in the Israel-Iran cold war
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – The two regional powers are fighting for influence in the Middle East and threatening mutual destruction.

French PM: World to take action if Iran refuses nuclear talks
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – France asks Syria for assistance in halting Iran from making decisions ‘dangerous to world peace.’

Shalit’s father: ‘U.S. not interested in striking prisoner exchange deal’
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Noam Shalit says a deal to release his son was drafted 2 months ago, passed over to Hamas for approval.

French FM: Dubai killing proves need for a Palestinian state
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – French PM Fillon condemns Mabhouh assassination, says light must be shone on those responsible.

Syria warns Israel new Mideast war would be catastrophic
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Syrian leaders hold talks with French delegates in bid to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties.

Report: U.S. lifts warning against travel to Syria
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – New Yorker Magazine reports that cooperation has been restored between CIA, Syrian intelligence.

The Guardian

Israel can accelerate peace by exercising restraint | editorial
The Guardian 20 Feb 2010 – The diplomatic challenge is to help Israel grasp how its failure even to engage with international opinion risks an isolation which will make the country much less secure It was inevitable that the Mossad, Israel’s secret…

Q&A: Israel and the Dubai killing
The Guardian 19 Feb 2010 – The background, the key players and the possible consequences of the row over Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s death What triggered the row? Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior official of the Palestinian group Hamas, was murdered, apparently by suffocation, on…

How fair trade can help tackle poverty and bring peace to conflict zones | Sarah Irving
The Guardian 19 Feb 2010 – Fair trade can help communities affected by war and conflict to emerge from poverty and develop sustainably Tackling poverty in conflict areas is an enormous challenge. But, say an increasing number of fair trade pioneers on…

Mossad forged my passport to carry out 1979 killing, says Briton
The Guardian 19 Feb 2010 – Man tells how he was questioned by special branch after Israeli revenge assassination for 1972 Olympic attack The infamous 1979 assassination of the Palestinian who masterminded the Munich massacre was carried out using a forged British…

Britain denies advance knowledge of Dubai killing
The Guardian 19 Feb 2010 – Foreign Office dismisses reports it was told beforehand about Israeli plan to assassinate Hamas official Britain has flatly denied having any advance knowledge of Israeli plans to assassinate a senior official of the Palestinian group Hamas…

The war underground | Aluf Benn
The Guardian 19 Feb 2010 – Despite much moral debate, assassinations have always been part of the Israeli-Arab conflict Israelis enjoy a love-hate relationship with the intelligence service, Mossad. When they succeed in another James Bond-style operation, we sing their praises as…

The truth about the Mossad
The Guardian 19 Feb 2010 – The recent, outlandish assassination in Dubai may prove the most damaging yet in the Mossad’s history of high-profile, bungled operations. How did it squander its reputation for ruthless brilliance? Last November, a sharp-eyed Israeli woman named…

Ha’aretz National page

Scientists irate after top education official questions evolution
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – The Education Ministry’s chief scientist sparked a furor among environmental activists and scholars Saturday with remarks questioning the reliability of evolution and global warming theory. The comments from Dr. Gavriel Avital, the latest in a series of written and oral statements casting doubts on the fundamental tenets of modern science, led several environmentalists to call for his dismissal. …

First Arab judge appointed to Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – The Judicial Appointments Committee on Friday chose the first Arab judge to ever serve on the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. Abbas A’asi is also the first Arab to be appointed a judge at any court in the capital since Awni Habash, who retired from the district court in December. Habash had served for more than 20 years. …

Government to discuss bill to ease restrictions on egg donation
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – After 10 years of negotiations, a bill setting guidelines for egg donations will be presented tomorrow for government approval. The new measure is intended to ease restrictions that in the past encouraged Israeli women with fertility problems to travel abroad to gain access to assisted reproductive technology. …

Gideon Levy / Sexual assault punished differently among religious
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Religious Zionism presents: a show of arrogance. For about three years, they kept their dirty laundry at home, but now they have been so kind as to display it for everyone to see. The fact that in the State of Israel there is an alternative law enforcement system such as the Takana forum, which investigates and metes out punishment only to religious Zionists, is intolerable. The fact that this system is run by the heads of a movement that in vain regulates to itself what is morally, ethically and culturally permissible is another sign of its arrogance. …

Google in talks to buy Israeli start-up Catch Media
Ha’aretz 20 Feb 2010 – Search giant Google is in early talks to acquire the Israeli start-up Catch Media to better compete with archrival iTunes, the news Web site Cnet reported. …

Relief Web

INTERVIEW-Blair hopes Middle East talks resume within weeks
Relief Web 20 Feb 2010 – Source: Reuters – AlertNet

Police, protesters clash in West Bank
Relief Web 20 Feb 2010 – Source: Agence France-Presse

Palestinian and Israeli midwives come together for professional development
Relief Web 19 Feb 2010 – Source: MADRE

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 18 February 2010
Relief Web 19 Feb 2010 – Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Increased humanitarian aid to Gaza after IDF operation 13 Feb 2010
Relief Web 19 Feb 2010 – Source: Government of Israel

OPT: Abbas considers options on peace talks restart
Relief Web 19 Feb 2010 – Source: Reuters – AlertNet

YNet News

Irish FM to ask Lieberman for clarifications on Dubai operation
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – Martin says will ‘underline our deep concern’ about use of fake Irish passports by al-Mabhouh hit squad during meeting with Israeli counterpart in Brussels; Miliband will also raise issue during talks with Lieberman

TA rally: Settlement freeze not enforced
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – Hundreds protest continued construction in West Bank; Meretz chief says Barak a cover for ‘anti-peace forces’

Blair: Israel-Palestinian peace talks to resume
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – In Nigeria, Quartet’s Mideast envoy says, ‘The real question is can we provide Israel with security and the Palestinians with a genuine belief that they will have a viable state’

Syria dismisses IAEA call for more inspectors access
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – FM Moallem rejects recommendation to adopt UN nuclear watchdog’s Additional Protocol, which permits unfettered inspections beyond declared nuclear site. ‘Unlike Israel, our program is peaceful,’ he says

Hamas: Assassinated operative put himself at risk
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – Islamist group legislator says al-Mabhouh erred when he booked trip to Dubai online, informed family in Gaza at which hotel he would be staying. French PM Fillon condemns assassination, demands explanations from Israel

Syria warns war would have ‘catastrophic results’
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – Damascus cautions Jerusalem that armed conflict between two nations would ‘be catastrophic for the region and beyond’

Ayalon: Israel-Europe relations solid
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – Deputy FM says that since nothing links Jerusalem to Dubai hit on Hamas operative, chances of diplomatic crisis with European allies are slim

US lifts travel warning for Syria
YNet News 20 Feb 2010 – Damascus’ news agency quotes State Department official as saying Washington had lifted travel advisory to country

Stop The Wall

Planting trees, building bases in Bethlehem
Stop The Wall – Last week, Occupation forces act on their intentions to re-establish a military base in Beit Sahour. Despite the protests of residents, soldiers declared the area a closed military zone, bringing in heavy machinery to begin work. Also around Bethlehem last week, activists planted olive trees near the Wall in a symbolic display of steadfastness and a refusal to be uprooted from their land. [

Two arrested at Ni’lin demonstration
Stop The Wall – Occupation forces attacked protestors in Ni’lin with tear gas during the Friday demonstration. Two people, a local camera man and an Israeli activist, were arrested. Despite the intensification of the arrest campaign against Ni’lin, residents have refused to end their demonstrations. [

Daily Star

French PM embarks on landmark Syria visit
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 DAMASCUS: French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the first head of state to visit Syria in 33 years, arrived Friday in Damascus on a mission to bolster diplomatic ties and forge new economic relations. Cabinet members including French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde and Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand accompanied Fillon for the 24-hour visit, along with a delegation of top businessmen.

Khamenei denies Tehran seeks nuclear arms
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 TEHRAN: From the deck of Iran’s new guided-missile destroyer, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied Friday that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons and criticized the US military presence in the Gulf. His comments came as international concern rose over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it may currently be working on making a nuclear warhead.

Sex-abuse claims against famed rabbi grip Israel
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli police said on Friday they were looking into allegations of sexual abuse against one of the country’s most famous and politically influential rabbis, in a case that has triggered dramatic headlines this week. Mordechai Elon – known as “Rabbi Motti” by viewers of his popular weekly television show nd by many young men in the West Bank settler movement.

Syria drought affects over 1 million people with 300,000 moving to urban areas
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 DEIR EZ ZOUR, Syria: Drought in eastern and northeastern Syria has driven some 300,000 families to urban settlements such as Aleppo, Damascus and Deir ez Zour in search of work in one of the largest internal displacements in the Middle East in recent years. The country’s agriculture sector, which until recently employed 40 percent of Syria’s workforce and accounted for 25 percent of gross domestic product, has been hit badly.

Tel Aviv shrugs off calls for arrest of Mossad chief
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel shrugged off on Friday calls for its top spy to be arrested in the killing of a Hamas commander, as pressure mounted after Interpol issued arrest notices for 11 suspects in the Dubai hit. “The Dubai police have provided no incriminating proof,” a senior official told AFP, asking not to be identified. Dubai police chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan said Thursday.

Zionist terror starts to sputter as Israel’s true face is unveiled
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 Two decades after Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, this fighter for freedom and justice has become a living example of the fact that those who become immortal are freedom fighters not their jailers. Who remembers today the names of those who imprisoned and tortured Mandela? Who remembers even he names of the rulers who imprisoned him and his comrades?

Two dead, 35 wounded in North Caucasus blasts – official
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 NAZRAN, Russia: A series of bomb blasts killed two people and wounded 35 on Friday in southern Russia where security forces are locked in a conflict with Islamic insurgents, officials said. The explosions occurred on the outskirts of Nazran, the main city in the volatile North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, said Svetlana Gorbakova, spokeswoman for the local investigative committee.

Hariri calls for religious co-existence
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed on Friday the need to preserve the presence of Christian communities within Lebanon in order to set a worldwide example of coexistence among religions. Hariri made his statements to News Rai Italian television ahead of his arrival in Italy on Friday where he is scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict XVI and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi Saturday.

Beirut hotel-occupancy rate at 73 percent – Ernst & Young
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 BEIRUT: Ernst & Young’s benchmark survey of the Middle East hotel sector indicated that the occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut was 73 percent in 2009, up from 55 percent in 2008, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group. The occupancy rate at Beirut hotels was the sixth highest among 21 markets in the region.

Amends over Sadr may redeem Libya
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 The widespread view that the Lebanese should snub the Libyan regime next month on the occasion of the Arab League summit to be held there should alert Tripoli that it needs to come to terms with the truth if it ever hopes to have normal relations with Lebanon. Libya’s leadership has been widely perceived as being responsible for the sudden disappearance of Lebanese cleric Musa al-Sadr while he was on a trip to Libya some 30 years ago.

Women more likely to vote in spite of poor representation
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 BEIRUT: Women in Lebanon may not seek out political leadership positions as often as men but they are potentially more likely to vote in elections, a new study has found. Results from “The Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa Project” were released on Wednesday and Thursday to non-governmental organizations and academics.

Pressure without engagement will fail
Daily Star 21 Feb 2010 Amid the day-to-day and week-to-week waves of diplomatic activity that wash over the Middle East, a fascinating subtext continues to define some of the most important relationships which involve key actors: How does one deal with countries such as Syria and Iran, or with powerful movements such as Hamas and Hizbullah? These four state and non-state actors have established a semi-formal alliance defined primarily by common opposition.

Palestinian Information Center

EU: Funds for Gaza fuel reached PA
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – The EU has denied slashing funds allocated for financing the fuel purchases necessary to operate the Gaza power station, affirming that the funds were paid to the PA in Ramallah in full.

Three Palestinians wounded in IOF incursion, Palestinian woman detained in WB
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – Three Palestinians were wounded on Saturday morning when Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided east of Qarara, Khan Younis district south of the Gaza Strip, local and medical sources said.

IOF troops wound foreign activists while quelling peaceful anti wall marches
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – IOF used rubber bullets and gas canisters to disperse peaceful demonstrations in three Palestinian villages against the separation wall, wounding a number of foreigners in the process.

Ahrar center calls for release of seriously ill physics professor
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – The Ahrar center has asked international organizations and human rights groups to swiftly demand the release of Professor Isam Al-Ashqar, who is held in Israeli occupation authority jails.

Hamdan: Europe should react firmly to Mossad practices
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – Osama Hamdan, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, has asked the world community especially Europe to adopt strict measures against Israel for constituting a permanent source of world tension.

Zahhar: Enemy is the loser if it shifts battle outside Palestine
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, a political bureau member of Hamas, has warned that his Movement might retaliate to the Israeli occupation’s crimes in kind.

Beyond the Mabhuh affair
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – The murderous assassination by the Mossad of Mahmoud al Mabhuh in Dubai a month ago confirms and reasserts the criminal nature of the Israeli state.

Nazzal accuses Dahlan of involvement in the assassination of Mabhouh
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – Muhammad Nazzal, member of Hamas’s political bureau, accused Mohmmad Dahlan, the leader of the mutiny trend in Fatah, of being involved in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month.

Hamas denies involvement of Nehru Masaud in the assassination of Mabhouh
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – Hamas firmly denied involvement of Nehru Masaud, one of its cadres, in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, stressing that such claims are pure Zionist fabrications..

Tamim: there is more evidence in the case of Mabhouh’s assassination
PIC 21 Feb 2010 – Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim said that there is more evidence held by Dubai police regarding the assassination of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in addition to the videos and photos published..

Los Angeles Times

A bumbling Mossad hand suspected in Dubai assassination

LA Times 19 Feb 2010 – Israel has refused to comment on whether it sent the team that killed Mahmoud Mabhouh, a Hamas military commander, but as evidence mounts and Interpol issues warrants, questions are multiplying. To its planners, the assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud Mabhouh must have first seemed like the perfect spy operation.

U.N. nuclear agency expresses concern on Iran
LA Times 19 Feb 2010 – The IAEA’s latest report says new information raises concerns that Iran may have hidden activities related to developing a nuclear bomb. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog for the first time Thursday explicitly voiced concern that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb, amid signs of fraying relations between the agency’s inspectors and authorities in the Islamic Republic.

Review: ‘Ajami’
LA Times 19 Feb 2010 – The cultures that overlap in today’s Israel are presented with gripping complexity in this Oscar-nominated film. The last thing you see in “Ajami” should be the first thing on your mind about this compelling new film from Israel. That would be the closing credits, written in both Hebrew and Arabic, separate but equal, side by side, mirroring the creative process behind this potent work and the story it has to tell.

New York Times

United States Lifts Syria Travel Advisory
New York Times 20 Feb 2010 – Despite a move to improve relations, Syria remains under sanctions and on an American list of countries supporting terrorism.

World Briefing | Middle East: West Bank: Hamas Accuses Fatah of Links to Assassination in Dubai
New York Times 20 Feb 2010 – Hamas asserted Friday that two former officers from the rival Fatah organization were involved in the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai.

Calls in Egypt for ElBaradei to Seek Presidency
New York Times 20 Feb 2010 – Crowds greeted Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, upon his return to Egypt on Friday.

Iranian Supreme Leader Denies Nuclear Arms Push
New York Times 20 Feb 2010 – Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, derided Western claims about his country’s nuclear program, saying Iran does not believe in nuclear weapons.

Inspectors Say Iran Worked on Warhead
New York Times 19 Feb 2010 – The U.N.’s nuclear inspectors declared for the first time that information it has collected raised concern of “past or current undisclosed activities‚Äù by Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

Israeli Embassy Deletes Joke About Dubai ‘Hit’ From Twitter
New York Times 19 Feb 2010 – On Thursday, the same day that Israel’s ambassador to Britain was asked to tell the British government if he knew anything about the apparent use of cloned British passports by suspects in the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai last month, his embassy’s official Twitter feed posted a joking reference the killing.

Misc 2

ZOA calls for a (much) different kind of academic boycott
Mondoweiss – 20 Feb 2010 – About ten days ago, 11 students at the University of California, Irvine were arrested after repeatedly interrupting Israeli ambassador to the United States Michael Oren’s speech at their campus. The students face potential disciplinary action from their school for the protest. Now, the right-wing Zionist Organization…

How would you feel if your mother had to get to work this way?
Mondoweiss – 20 Feb 2010 – Atef Safadi photo Dan Sisken sent along this photo from a report by the World Bank on gender/economic implications of the wall. He writes, Not much info on Atef Safadi, the photographer. Here’s his photo page on a photosite called “Elsewhere.” Photo is titled, Ramadan‚Äìwomen cross…

A political prisoner tries to imagine wearing shoes again
Mondoweiss – 20 Feb 2010 – Human rights worker Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s letter to supporters and friends from the Ofer prison, where he has been held for two months: The prison is a collection of tents enclosed by razor wire and an electrical fence, each unit containing four tents, 22 prisoners per…

J St and AIPAC teamed up on Iran sanctions
Mondoweiss – 20 Feb 2010 – MJ Rosenberg called them “Dumb Sanctions.” But J Street pushed them way over the top. Ron Kampeas at JTA : “J Street has a dependable cadre of 40-50 members of the U.S. House of Representatives ready to heed its voting recommendations. Congressional insiders say J Street’s green…

Hasbara meets chutzpah: Daniel Schorr puts Dubai hit on Palestinians
Mondoweiss – 20 Feb 2010 – While in Israel serious questions are being raised about the Mossad’s role in the Duba i assassination, Benny Avni, the NY Post’s house Israeli is gloating: “An Excellent Kill.” And on NPR, syrupy Scott Simon allows that indefatigable hasbara war pony , Daniel Schorr to suggests to…

Continued Harassment of Journalists in the West Bank
Alternative Information Center – 20 Feb 2010 – Thursday, 18 February 2010, The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns continued harassment of journalists in the West Bank, which constitutes an assault on the freedom of opinion and expression and press freedoms. PCHR is particularly concerned over an imprisonment sentence issued by a military…

Tel Aviv University President’s Sophie Choice
Alternative Information Center – 20 Feb 2010 – Friday, 19 February 2010, “As the new president of Tel Aviv University, the country’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher education, I find myself caught in an agonizing double bind. On the one hand, my university and other Israeli academic institutions are the subject of…

News from Within Podcast: The Case Regarding the Israeli Deportation of American Journalist Jared Malsin
Alternative Information Center – 20 Feb 2010 – Thursday, 18 February 2010, On Tuesday, 16 February 2010, I spoke with Jared Malsin, Chief English Editor of the Palestinian news organization, Ma’an. Jared, an American citizen, was deported to the United States by the Israeli government on 20 January, after being detained for eight days…

1,000 Demonstrators Marked Five Years of Protest in Bil’in by Dismantling Portions of the Wall
Alternative Information Center – 20 Feb 2010 – Friday, 19 February 2010, One week after work to reroute the path of the Wall in Bil’in had began, more than a thousand demonstrators celebrated five years of struggle by dismantling a section of the Wall and taking over a military post. Among the demonstrators were…

Where is Israeli Legitimacy Going?
Alternative Information Center – 20 Feb 2010 – Friday, 19 February 2010, The Reut Institute is an semi-official Israeli think tank dealing with security as well as socio-economic issues, and provides reports to the government. Some of its reports are made of well known and almost obvious matters than any newspaper’s reader is aware…


Hard Mideast Truths
Roger Cohen, Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development 2/11/2010
For over a century now, Zionism and Arab nationalism have failed to find an accommodation in the Holy Land. Both movements attempted to fill the space left by collapsed empire, and it has been left to the quasi-empire, the United States, to try to coax them to peaceful coexistence. The attempt has failed.
President Barack Obama came to office more than a year ago promising new thinking, outreach to the Muslim world, and relentless focus on Israel-Palestine. But nice speeches have given way to sullen stalemate. I am told Obama and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have a zero-chemistry relationship.
Domestic U.S. politics constrain innovative thought ‚Äî even open debate ‚Äî on the process without end that is the peace search. As Aaron David Miller, who long labored in the trenches of that process, once observed, the United States ends up as “Israel’s lawyer‚Äù rather than an honest broker. The upside for an American congressman in speaking out for Palestine is nonexistent.
I don’t see these constraints shifting much, but the need for Obama to honor his election promise grows. The conflict gnaws at U.S. security, eats away at whatever remote possibility of a two-state solution is left, clouds Israel’s future, scatters Palestinians and devours every attempt to bridge the West and Islam.
Here’s what I believe. Centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust created a moral imperative for a Jewish homeland, Israel, and demand of America that it safeguard that nation in the breach.
But past persecution of the Jews cannot be a license to subjugate another people, the Palestinians. Nor can the solemn U.S. promise to stand by Israel be a blank check to the Jewish state when its policies undermine stated American aims.more..e-mail


Blockade should be circumvented by the US
Congressman Brian Baird, Ma’an News Agency 2/20/2010
The following is a statement from the office of US Congressman Brian Baird, a Democrat elected in Washington State.
In the past year I have been to Gaza three times. I was the first US Government official to visit Gaza after the Israeli Cast Lead operation. My recent two-day visit was to assess aid shipments and humanitarian conditions in Gaza.
Here are the facts:
There is an Israeli blockade around Gaza, on land and along the coast. This blockade was established so that contraband weapons and equipment used for rockets to shell Israel will not enter Gaza.
While there are foodstuffs entering Gaza, the shipments are tightly controlled and items such as tomato paste and pasta are sometimes restricted by the Israelis.
Palestinians cannot rebuild their homes, their schools, their hospitals because they cannot import the cement needed to complete the projects.
They cannot build sewage systems and prevent 55 million metric meters of sewage flow into the Mediterranean because the Israelis limit the amount of construction materials into Gaza.
A tunnel system has developed in South Gaza which circumvents the Israeli blockade. This system is creating a new power base in the society which is based on criminal activity vice the rule of law. And Hamas reaps the benefits and is becoming more powerful. more..e-mail

Campus claws: beating Israel lobbyists through debate
Paul J. Balles, Redress 2/19/2010
Paul J. Balles cautions pro-Palestinian activists against simply shouting down speakers who represent their enemy, arguing that, to win hearts and minds, they should instead “learn to express themselves well enough to challenge their adversaries‚Äù and they should prepare for and encourage debates.
We claim to be just and upright. No wrath from us will come stealthily to the one who holds out clean hands, and he will go through life unharmed; but whoever sins and hides his bloodstained hands, as avengers of bloodshed we appear against him to the end, presenting ourselves as upright witnesses for the dead. (Aeschylus, Eumenides 470 BC)
Israel keeps selling disinformation to the public. Channelling it through the media they own and control, the one institution that’s difficult to control happens to be the university.
Zionists have spent a great deal of money distributing their propaganda and circulating their image management. On university campuses with significant numbers of Muslim students, the pro-Israel groups don’t have quite the freedom to run rampant with their campaigns.
Despite the beatings Muslims have endured in Palestine, their youth who have joined universities have been able to voice their protests, much to the dismay of the Zionists. Others who have sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians have joined them.
Pro-Palestinian students have disrupted speeches by prominent Israeli speakers at Oxford University, in England, at the University of Chicago, the University of California, Los Angeles, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, Western Michigan University and, most recently, the University of California at Irvine.more..e-mail

PACBI issues clarification concerning intellectual responsibility statement
Electronic Intifada: 19 Feb 2010 – PACBI’s recent statement entitled “Intellectual Responsibility and the Voice of the Colonized,” which criticizes the research project that led to the publication of the book, The Power of Inclusive Exclusion: Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories , has stirred a healthy debate and mostly constructive discussion among various scholars.

Jerusalem families come out against museum built on ancestors’ graves
Electronic Intifada: 19 Feb 2010 – Members of prominent Palestinian families from Jerusalem came out last week in protest against plans by the Simon Wiesenthal Center to build a Museum of Tolerance on top of part of the ancient Mamilla Cemetery where their ancestors are buried. One family member behind the initiative said it is not just symbolic, but instead a full-blown campaign. Marian Houk reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Israeli media first to report Haitian organ theft rumor
Electronic Intifada: 19 Feb 2010 – There is considerable speculation following the removal of Lady Jenny Tonge on 14 February from her position as health critic for the Liberal Democratic Party in the UK’s House of Lords following her statement calling for an inquiry into claims that the Israeli military stole organs during its relief work in Haiti last month.Jillian York reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Scandanavian financial institutions drop Elbit due to BDS pressure
Electronic Intifada: 19 Feb 2010 – Despite Israel’s oppressive tactics against it, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has marked additional victories with many institutional investors divesting from or blacklisting Israeli military contractor Elbit Systems. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Weekly Protest Video Round-Up: Bil’in Special
Palestine Monitor: 20 Feb 2010 – Yesterday’s demonstrations were dominated by the fifth anniversary of the popular struggle in Bil’in. The occasion was marked in spectacular fashion and Israeli security once again displayed the brutality which makes these protests so necessary. Here’s what happened in the main locations. ” Bil’in Habibti!‚Äù 5 years later‚Ķ Yesterday the entrance of the village was more like a carnival than a political protest. Over 2000 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined clowns, Ka/Ya-Samba percussionists, representatives of various Palestinian parties, the Palestinian Struggle Youth Union marching band and journalists from all over the world to mark 5 years of the popular struggle against the Apartheid Wall. Five years after the local committee began its activities, Bil’in has become a symbol of the Palestinian non-violent struggle against Israeli occupation, inspiring other villages to adopt its formula for peaceful resistance. Protesters marched to the Wall, chanting slogans and holding posters bearing the portrait…

Bringing Down The Wall in Bil’in
Palestine Monitor: 20 Feb 2010 – Replacing liberation with demonstration, it has been five years since the protest against the Israeli apartheid barrier began in Bil’in. The Palestine Monitor was there at the fifth anniversary protest, and offers a first-hand account of how thirty meters of the barrier was torn down. All photographs were taken by Brady Ng. “Five Years Strong”. Placards and flags handed out to demonstrators Photo: Brady Ng Israelis supporting Bil’in. The signs read: “Yes to the demolition of the wall and the barriers, and the evacuation of settlements, because it is the occupation”. “Solidarity will triumph over occupation, poverty and repression.” “Palestinians and Israelis struggling against the wall and the occupation.” Photo: Brady Ng Is the demonstration a family-friendly event? Photo: Brady Ng The boy scouts of Bili’in Photo: Brady Ng Clown activists Photo: Brady Ng Approaching the barrier Photo: Brady Ng No tear gas. No sign of Israeli soldiers. Photo: Brady…

Israeli Abusive Administrative Detentions
Palestine Chronicle: 20 Feb 2010 – By Stephen Lendman B’Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Hamoked is the Center for the Defence of the Individual, an Israeli human rights organization, aiding Palestinians whose rights Israel violates. In October 2009, they jointly published a report titled, “Without Trial: Administrative detention of Palestinians by Israel and the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law,” covering Israel’s policy of imprisoning hundreds of uncharged Palestinians without trial “by order of an administrative official,” not a judge. B’Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Hamoked is the Center for the Defence of the Individual, an Israeli human rights organization, aiding Palestinians whose rights Israel violates. In October 2009, they jointly published a report titled, “Without Trial: Administrative detention of Palestinians by Israel and the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law,” covering Israel’s policy of imprisoning hundreds of uncharged Palestinians without trial “by order of an administrative official,” not a judge. By so doing, they’re denied due process, may be held indefinitely, aren’t told why they’re detained, can’t dispute it, cross-examine witnesses, or present contradictory evidence to refute them. Three Israeli laws authorize the practice: — the Order Regarding Administrative Detention (the Administrative Detention Order), part of military law governing the West Bank; — the Emergency Powers (Detentions) Law for Israel; and — the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law (the 2002 Unlawful Combatants Law), like a similar one in America, a dubious Geneva-superceded status international law expert Francis Boyle calls a: “quasi-category…

Syria is Reasserting its Regional Authority
Palestine Chronicle: 20 Feb 2010 – By George Hishmeh After lying low for almost five years, Syria is now standing tall, as is evident in its expanding relationships in the region and elsewhere. Even the Obama administration is now doing its best to win over Syria’s capable President Bashar Al Assad, who has just completed his first decade in office. The assassination of enterprising former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri five years ago in a bomb blast on a Beirut seafront boulevard saw all fingers local, regional and international pointed at Syria. The country was accused of masterminding the assassination since its troops were in control of neighbouring Lebanon. The recriminations that emerged between the two sides, prompted the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the appointment of a UN tribunal, which to date has disappointingly failed to reach a verdict on the assassination. But the international isolation of the Assad regime was short-lived. In due course, Syria, a secular state surrounded by Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel all hampered by sectarianism turned its eyes to Turkey, now led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His Justice and Development Party (PKK) is described as “a party of Islamic inspiration and pragmatic bent.” In no time, the two countries developed strong ties, despite their short-lived conflict brought about by a banned Turkish separatist group whose leader took refuge in Syria. Last October, the two neighbouring countries signed several agreements, including one for visa-free travel. A few weeks later, the two neighbours held joint military exercises, much to…

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