VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 31 March, 2011: The impoverishment of Palestinian Arabs in Israel

31 March, 2011 – VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Fateh Wins Student Elections In Bir Zeit, Islamic Bloc Boycotted the Polls
IMEMC – Thursday March 31, 2011 – 08:34, Dr. Mohammad Al Ahmad, the Dean of Student Affairs in Bir Zeit University, near the central West bank city of Ramallah, stated that the Yasser Arafat Bloc of the Fateh movement garnered a majority in the student elections winning 29 seats out of 51. The Islamic Bloc said it refused to participate in the elections due to political arrests.

Ma’an News

Settlers injure Ramallah woman
3/31/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers threw stones Wednesday at a 36-year-old woman driving between Ramallah and Birzeit, who was later hospitalized. The woman, identified as Rula Al-Qwasmy, suffered broken bones and a concussion, and was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah. The incident comes amid a continued wave of settler violence targeting Palestinians….

Protest tent in Ramallah square vandalized
3/31/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A group of Palestinians attacked a protest tent in Ramallah on Wednesday, burning books inside the camp and leading to fist fights among the youth. Sleeping bags, a first aid kit and 30 books were stolen in the attack by “Fatah thugs,” activists said. The incident occurred just after Fatah won….

Palestinian detainees’ centers raise health concerns
3/31/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian prisoners’ organizations called for attention to the health condition of detainees in Israeli jails this week. On Tuesday, Director of the Center for Defense of liberties and civil rights ‘Hurriyyat,’ Hilmi Al-Araj, said that the Israeli intelligence service,the Shabak, is responsible for the life of Haitham….

Female ex-detainee: Support sick prisoners
3/31/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian female ex-detainee called Wednesday for attention to chronically ill prisoners in Israeli jails, in a ministerial reception in Ramallah. Nada Derbas, 23, said prisoners needed concrete support and not condemnation. Urgent help was needed for the many detainees with chronic illnesses, she added. Hosting the reception in his Ramallah….

Palestinian lawmaker detained in Hebron raid
3/31/2011 – HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian lawmaker and three others in a raid on Hebron early Thursday. Muhammad Maher Bader was detained after soldiers raided his house, a Ma’an correspondent reported from the scene. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the detention, saying Bader was detained because he is “involved with….

Snatched Gaza engineer appears in Israeli court
3/31/2011 – PETAH TIKVAH, Israel (AFP) — A Gazan engineer who was snatched from the Ukraine appeared on Thursday before an Israeli court as officials confirmed he was interrogated over the missing soldier Gilad Shalit. Dirar Abu Sisi, who disappeared while traveling on a train in Ukraine last month, appeared before Petah Tikvah Magistrates Court for a hearing….

Uruguay, Palestine sign mutual recognition agreement
3/31/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Member of PLO executive committee Saeb Erekat and Uruguay minister of foreign affairs Luis Almagro signed mutual recognition agreement on Thursday. Accompanied by Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, and Waid Al-Mu’aqat, Palestinian ambassador to Uruguay and Argentina, Erekat had presented documents and maps on the Israeli….

Poll: Israelis moving toward far right
3/31/2011 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A new poll shows young Israelis are moving much further to the right politically, news reports said Thursday. The study found that 60 percent of Jewish teenagers in Israel, between 15 and 18 years old, prefer “strong” leaders to the rule of law, while 70 percent say that in….

Rights group calls for inquiry into internal projectile fire
3/31/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights released a statement of concern Tuesday, in the wake of the fall of several projectiles on a house and soft-drinks factory in the northern Strip, in which six civilians were injured. A report from the organization said it was the third home-made projectile….

Rachel Corrie trial resumes
3/31/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The civil lawsuit brought by parents of slain American peace activist Rachel Corrie against the state of Israel will resume Sunday, the foundation named after her said Wednesday. The Haifa district court will open hearings on April 3 and 6, in which Israeli soldiers and colleagues of Corrie who were present….

Report: Israeli teens indicted for Itamar revenge arson
3/31/2011 – TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — An Israeli court indicted two teenagers from Safed Thursday for torching the cars of two Palestinian students in the town, in a revenge attack for the murder of a family in the settlement of Itamar, Israeli media reported. On March 16, Yonatan Iluz, 18, accompanied by an unnamed minor….

Israel envoys: Recognize interim Palestinian state
3/31/2011 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — Some Israeli diplomats are urging their government to acknowledge a Palestinian state within provisional borders rather than wait for the Palestinians to seek UN recognition of their sovereignty. The foreign ministry said on Thursday such views were among a variety being expressed in internal debate ahead of the UN General Assembly in September….

20 cars allowed into Gaza
3/31/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities partially opened the Kerem Shalom crossing Thursday, allowing limited aid into Gaza. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh, said approximately 210 to 220 truckloads of goods for the commercial and agricultural sectors, including 20 new cars, will be allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. One truckload of….

Committee: Israel to allow more Gaza exports
3/31/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel has opened registration for manufacturers in Gaza to export goods to Europe, officials said Thursday. Registration is open for clothing and furniture merchants prepared to export, an official from the goods coordination committee said. Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas seized control of the coastal….

Israeli army arrests 3 east of Bethlehem
3/31/2011 – HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers arrested three Palestinians at a checkpoint in Beit Sahour east of Bethlehem, locals said. Soldiers stopped a taxi that was on its way from Hebron to Ramallah and ordered all the passengers out, including two disabled people. They searched the vehicle and detained the driver, Ahed Ibrahim Abu Sbeih….

Palestinian struck and killed by Israeli bus
3/31/2011 – BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man from the West Bank died Thursday after being struck by an Israeli bus in Jerusalem, reports said. The man was pronounced dead on arrival at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israeli news site Ynet reported….

Hamas official: Reasons holding off Israeli war
3/31/2011 – KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza (Ma’an) — A Hamas lawmaker laid out three reasons why he believes Israel has not expanded its offensive against Gaza in recent weeks, in a statement from the movement’s media office. Hamas leader and PLC member Salah Al-Bardawil, listed the the current agreement between the Gaza factions on a….

Source: Al-Jazeera journalists freed, with help from Abbas
3/31/2011 – CAIRO (Ma’an) — A diplomatic source told Ma’an Thursday night that four Al-Jazeera journalists captured in Libya on 7 March were released this afternoon, following intervention from President Mahmoud Abbas. The journalists will leave the Libyan city of Tripoli for Tunis in the coming hours, the official said, adding the journalists had….

Hezbollah denies involvement in Bahrain unrest
3/31/2011 – BEIRUT (AFP) — Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Thursday vehemently rejected accusations that it was involved in training members of the Shiite opposition engaged in anti-regime protests in Bahrain.” We cannot remain silent as concerns accusations about training (regime opponents),” the Shiite militant group said in a statement.”The accusations are aimed at undermining the peaceful….

Israel to install new postal centers in East Jerusalem
3/31/2011 – JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli mayor presiding over East Jerusalem announced Wednesday that the government administration would install three new postal outlets in Palestinian neighborhoods in the coming months. Locations in At-Tur, Ras Al-Amoud, and Jabal Al-Mukaber will open this year, a statement said….

Fatah leader says ‘split must end’
3/31/2011 – GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Abdullah Abu Samhadaneh spoke out on Land Day, telling fellow Fatah members in a statement that “Palestinians are in so much need for unity, unity now” and calling for an end to the internal division. As Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza and….

Abbas tells Hungarian press: I will go to Gaza
3/31/2011 – BUDAPEST, Hungary (Ma’an) — As his diplomatic trip in Russia and Eastern Europe continues, President Mahmoud Abbas remains insistent that his planned trip to Gaza will go ahead, telling the Budapest daily newspaper Magyar Hirlap, “I am determined to go to Gaza.”Abbas gave an in-depth interview to the newspaper, insisting that plans were….

Fatah wins Birzeit University elections
3/31/2011 – RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Fatah won Birzeit University’s student senate election, which was boycotted by Hamas, officials said Wednesday. Mohammed Al-Ahmad, the dean of students, said Fatah won 29 of 51 seats. The Popular Struggle Front and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s joint bloc won 14 seats, and eight….

Israeli watchdog to investigate Netanyahu trips
3/31/2011 – JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel’s government watchdog announced on Thursday he would investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid accusations private businessmen paid for lavish trips for him and his family. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said he would probe whether the funding for the trips did not “contravene accepted norms of conflict of interest for ministers….

Ma’an programming to expand into poetry
3/31/2011 – DUBAI, UAE (Ma’an) — The first steps in an expansion of Ma’an News Agency programming into the regional arts was made Wednesday, when MNA Chief Editor Nasser Lahham met with Lebanese journalist and poet Zahi Wehbe. New programs would aim to introduce Palestinian viewers to artists and poets from across the Middle….

Blow for Gadhafi regime as key figure defects
3/31/2011 – AJDABIYA, Libya (AFP) — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi suffered a major blow Wednesday with the defection of his foreign minister even as his forces again proved too strong for the rebels’ rag-tag army. Foreign minister Mussa Kussa became the most senior figure yet to defect from the Gadhafi regime since a popular uprising against his….

Syria leader dashes hopes of end to emergency rule
3/31/2011 – DAMASCUS (AFP) — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria dashed hopes of an end to decades of emergency rule Wednesday in his first speech since protests erupted two weeks ago, instead blaming conspirators for the unrest. Syria has been ruled with an iron grip by the Assad family for 40 years but has now been reached by….

Obscure group claims kidnap of Estonians in Lebanon
3/31/2011 – BEIRUT (AFP) — An obscure group has claimed the kidnapping of seven Estonians in Lebanon by sending an email to a local website along with copies of the ID cards of three of those abducted, the head of the website told AFP Thursday.” We received an email late yesterday and we informed the proper authorities,” said….

Qatar forecasts budget surplus of $6.1 billion
3/31/2011 – DOHA (AFP) — Gas-rich Qatar on Thursday unveiled a budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year that forecasts 22. 5 billion riyals ($6. 1 billion) in surplus revenues. The foreign ministry predicted 162. 4 billion riyals ($44. 5 billion) in record revenues, a 27 percent increase over the previous fiscal year and 139. 9 billion riyals….

Palestine Note

Jordan’s stubborn regime hangs in the balance
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Sean L. Yom – The Hashemite regime of Jordan is running out of time. Last Friday, a 2,000-strong opposition gathering in Amman dissolved into a spectacle of violence , leaving one dead and over a hundred injured. Although described by the…

At look at the fascinating world of Chicago’s Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel — from a distance
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Wikipedia has some fascinating information on Rahm Emanuel, the mayor-elect of the disputed 2 nd largest city in Chicago. ( Click here to read the bio. ) I have to turn to Wikipedia to get information on Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel because clearly…

A New Palestinian Movement: Young, Networked, Nonviolent
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Eduardo Castaldo, Time – Fadi Quran is the face of the new Middle East. He is 23, a graduate of Stanford University, with a double major in physics and international relations. He is a Palestinian who has returned home to…

Abbas tells Hungarian press: I will go to Gaza
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Ma’an – As his diplomatic trip in Russia and Eastern Europe continues, President Mahmoud Abbas remains insistent that his planned trip to Gaza will go ahead, telling the Budapest daily newspaper Magyar Hirlap, “I am determined to go to Gaza.”…

Protest tent in Ramallah square vandalized
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Ma’an – A group of Palestinians attacked a protest tent in Ramallah on Wednesday, burning books inside the camp and leading to fist fights among the youth. Sleeping bags, a first aid kit and 30 books were stolen in the…

Report: Israeli teens indicted for Itamar revenge arson
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Ma’an – An Israeli court indicted two teenagers from Safed Thursday for torching the cars of two Palestinian students in the town, in a revenge attack for the murder of a family in the settlement of Itamar, Israeli media reported….

Uruguay, Palestine sign mutual recognition agreement
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Ma’an – Member of PLO executive committee Saeb Erekat and Uruguay minister of foreign affairs Luis Almagro signed mutual recognition agreement on Thursday. Accompanied by Riyad Mansour, Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, and Waid Al-Mu’aqat, Palestinian ambassador to Uruguay…

Recognize interim Palestinian state: Israel envoys
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Arabiya – Some Israeli diplomats are urging their government to acknowledge a Palestinian state within provisional borders rather than wait for the Palestinians to seek U.N. recognition of their sovereignty. The foreign ministry said on Thursday such views were among…

The single demand that can unite the Palestinian people
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Karma Nabulsi, The Guardian – After another week of breathtaking demonstrations from Jordan to Yemen heralding dramatic revolutionary change, in occupied Palestine things appear much the same. The repetitions of bombing, air attacks on civilians , muted international protests, and dubious…

Top State Dept official Steinberg leaves, replaced by Middle East expert
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Washington Post – The State Department’s No. 2 diplomat, Jim Steinberg, is stepping down and will be replaced by a top Foreign Service officer with years of experience in Middle East affairs, officials said Wednesday. Steinberg will return to academia,…

Syria to ‘Study’ Ending Emergency Law
Palestine Note 31 Mar 2011 – Under pressure, Syria’s president buys time with investigations Deutsch Welle – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday set up a committee to investigate the deaths of protesters who were killed in clashes in the cities of Daraa and Latakia, broadcaster…

Aslan Media Exclusive: On the Hunting of Palestinian Children
Palestine Note 30 Mar 2011 – Ofra Ben Artzi – On 15 November 2010 the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] spokesman issued the following news flash: “During the night, IDF forces in the Judea and Samaria area and in the Jordan Valley arrested 11 wanted persons.” A…

No country for old Bedou men
Palestine Note 30 Mar 2011 – Kieron Monks , Al Jazeera- Amid the rubble of Al-Aizariya you can see the fruits of compromise. This shanty town of 3,000 Jahalin Bedouin lies just south of Jerusalem, a short walk from the city’s main garbage dump. They are housed…


More ‘defections from Gaddafi inner circle’
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – Gaddafi’s choice as ambassador to UN says he will not serve, amid reports of more defections from Libya leader’s regime.

Gates: US should not train Libyan rebels
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – The comments underscore the intensity of the debate in Washington about what to do next in Libya.

Iran rejects Kuwait spy cell allegation
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – Kuwait says it is to expel unspecified number of Iranian diplomats for alleged links to a spy ring working for Tehran.

Thousands demonstrate in Yemeni capital
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – Anti-government protesters pack the streets of Sanaa to commemorate those killed in weeks of street demonstrations.

Assad orders review of Syrian laws
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – Syrian president has set up committees to look into deaths of protesters and replacing decades-old emergency laws.

Bahrain steps up crackdown on opposition
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – Reform campaigners in hiding after arrest of about 300 activists, as Hezbollah denies military training of protesters.

Kuwait’s emir accepts cabinet’s resignation
AlJazeera 31 Mar 2011 – Cabinet quit after parliament had asked to quiz three ministers belonging to the ruling al-Sabah family.

Palestine News Network

A Tour of Lifta Village; the spring, mosque and cemetery are living relics of pre-Nakba times
PNN – Jerusalem/Misa abu Ghazala/ PNN-Exclusive — From the mountains northwest of Jerusalem, the village of Lifta overlooked the holy city with its mosque, school and houses all built in an artistic architectural style….

Grandi: Technology is Essential in Helping Organizations Such as UNRWA
PNN – Dubai — UNRWA/PNN — on Wednesday Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Filippo Grandi, stressed during his opening speech at the eighth Dubai International Humanitarian Aid Development Conference (DIHAD) on the importance of technology in…

USPCN Stands in Solidarity with the Libyan Revolution
PNN – New York — PNN- The US Palestinian Community Network -USPCN- issued a press release on Thursday reiterating its to uprising of the Libyan people. ” In their fight for freedom and self-determination,…

EU and PA Sub-Committees Review Human Rights, Good Governance and Rule of Law Issues
PNN – Bethlehem — EU Representative to PNN – Officials from the EU and the Palestinian Authority started new round of talks in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Wednesday for their…

Mute until Age Four, Palestinian Girl Speaks Like a Scholar
PNN – Osama Awad — PNN/Exclusive – She’s a little girl in the flower of her youth, but she didn’t say a word until she was four years old. Then one day, Jihan Abu…

The Village of Husan Commemorates Land Day
PNN – AIC Media to PNN – On the morning of March 30 in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of Land Day, residents of the village of Husan, together with Palestinian and international volunteers,…

Palestinian Center for Human Rights

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (24-30 March 2011)
Palestinian Center for Human Rights

International Solidarity Movement

Launch of new BDSmovement.net website as part of Global BDS Day of Action
3/31/2011 – International Solidarity Movement – Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) – In celebration of the Global BDS Day of Action, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has launched a new www. BDSmovement. net website. Designed specifically with the grassroots, bottom-up nature of our rapidly growing movement in mind, the website will showcase user-submitted articles and videos from BDS groups around the…. Related: BDS Movement

BDS victory against Ahava in UK
3/31/2011 – International Solidarity Movement – Anna Stevens – In a victory for the BDS movement, the UK flagship store of Ahava has been forced to relocate after years of protests and direct action. Ahava, an Israeli company which sells cosmetic products produced in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem has been a target for protesters in the UK who have sought….

Army continue to harass Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley
3/31/2011 – International Solidarity Movement – Jordan Valley Solidarity – Yaser and his family (including 8 children) have been living during the spring time in Kherbet Samra,Jordan Valley, since 2006. At 8. 30 pm yesterday evening the Israeli army came to his home claiming to be looking for terrorists from Nablus who they said they knew were staying with him. Despite…. Related: Jordan Valley Solidarity

Alternative Information Center

Palestinians Commemorate the 35th anniversary of Land Day
Alternative Information Center – 30 March marked the 35 th anniversary of Land Day. Thousands of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, Israel and the West Bank took part in rallies, strikes and symbolic non-violent actions in protest of Israeli…

Relief Web

United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Concludes in Montevideo, Uruguay
Relief Web 31 Mar 2011 – Source: UN General Assembly

Five Palestinian families stuck on the Libyan-Tunisian borders urge PRCS to intervene to help them return home
Relief Web 31 Mar 2011 – Source: Palestine Red Crescent Society

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (24-30 March 2011)
Relief Web 31 Mar 2011 – Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Cooperation: €7 million to Palestinian families
Relief Web 31 Mar 2011 – Source: Government of Italy

Palestine Telegraph

Announcement to Palestinians in Europe
31 Mar 2011 – Europe, (Pal Telegraph) – Announcement to Palestinians in Europe.

Israeli soldiers kidnap elected legislator in Hebron
31 Mar 2011 – West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli occupation forces detained Thursday the elected legislator, Mohammed Maher Bader,55, from Hebron and sent him to an unknown destination.

3 Palestinians arrested by Israeli army in Beit Ummer
31 Mar 2011 – West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)-Three Palestinian citizens were arrested Thursday after raiding and searching their homes in Beit Ummer town, northern Hebron.

Settlers attack Palestinian vehicles near Jenin
31 Mar 2011 – West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)- Dozens of settlers violently stormed yesterday at night civilians’ vehicles in the south part of Jenin city and severely beat a number of citizens, causing great damage to thier vehicles .

Settler car strikes 3-year-old child in Hebron
31 Mar 2011 – West bank, (Pal Telegraph)- a Palestinian child was hit Thursday morning by illegal Israeli settler driving a car in Al-Jabari neighborhood near Kiryat Arba settlement In Hebron, southern West Bank.


Finance Ministry trying to avert state hospital workers’ strike
Ha’aretz – 10,000 hospital workers are demanding pay raises; a strike would mean disruptions to food, cleaning and bathing services.

Sara Netanyahu: Bibi-Tours allegations are ‘vicious gossip’
Ha’aretz – Speaking to Channel 2, Prime Minister’s wife says critisim of the couple’s travel funding is hypocritical, suggesting that all Israeli politicians should be probed as well.

Watchdog to probe Netanyahu funding over Bibi-Tours allegations
Ha’aretz – Micha Lindenstrauss’ announcement comes in wake of recent Channel 10 reports claiming PM did not report all campaign donations, allowed businessmen to pay for his travels.

Safed court indicts 19-year-old and minor in torching Arabs’ cars
Ha’aretz – The youths allegedly wrapped the tires of two cars belonging to Arabs and set them alight, spray-painting anti-Arab slurs on public property; the arson was allegedly in response to the murder of the Fogel family in Itamar.

Barak: Bibi-Tours allegations ‘superficial and shallow’
Ha’aretz – Defense minister claims allegations that PM Netanyahu accepted funding from private businessmen for trips for himself and his family while in public office are fueled by political agendas.

Palestinian cleared of rape charges: The police treated us like dogs
Ha’aretz – Four Palestinians released after being accused of rape, sexual abuse by 11-year-old boy from Bnei Brak; one of the men tells Army Radio that police beat them and didn’t tell them allegations against them.

State Comptroller given expanded authority ahead of decision on Netanyahu probe
Ha’aretz – Lindenstrauss had requested the right to call witnesses and gather certain documents, as he prepares to decide what direction to take with regard to allegations against premier.

Turkey to UN: We seized illegal Iran arms shipment en route to Syria
Ha’aretz – Ankara tells Security Council search of Iranian cargo airliner revealed, among other items, 560 60mm mortar shells and 1,288 120mm mortar shells.

‘U.K. didn’t always feel safe to share intelligence with Israel’
Ha’aretz – Speaking at conference marking 60 years of U.K.-Israel ties, former MI6 chief says he has no doubt Israeli intelligence ‘plays by a different set of rules’ than those observed in London.

Gilad Shalit’s father to Abu Sisi family: Urge Hamas to release Gilad
Ha’aretz – Wife of Palestinian engineer tells Noam Shalit that her husband has no connection to Hamas, but she will still work toward the release of Gilad Shalit.

Facebook: Intifada page removed when comments ‘deteriorated to direct calls for violence’
Ha’aretz – The page entitled Third Palestinian Intifada had more than 340,000 fans when it was removed earlier this week.

Barak: Iron Dome not yet 100 percent effective
Ha’aretz – In his visit at the site of an Iron Dome missile defense system battery in southern Israel, defense minister says that he hopes that the next decade will see mass improvement in Israel’s missile defense.

Detained Palestinian engineer: I know nothing about Gilad Shalit
Ha’aretz – Dirar Abu Sisi, who was reportedly abducted by Israel in Ukraine and held for close to 40 days in Israeli custody, will most probably be indicted next week.

Peres has diplomacy, and partying, in mind on London trip
Ha’aretz – President meets British PM, and attends star-studded 80th birthday celebrations for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Britain: Israel’s right to exist not up for discussion or compromise
Ha’aretz – The British government is ‘firmly opposed’ to any body that seeks to delegitimize or Israel or boycott it, Hague tells conference marking 60 years of diplomatic ties.

Jerusalem Post

Abu Sisi denies all knowledge of Gilad Schalit
Jeruslalem Post 1 Apr 2011 – State Attorney’s Office says indictment to be filed against Palestinian engineer; public will learn for first time about crimes that Abu Sisi allegedly committed.

Itamar man: Cops came at 5 a.m. wanting to check my gun
Jeruslalem Post 1 Apr 2011 – Resident says police wanted to see if firearm had been used to kill a Palestinian in W. Bank village; settlers ask for meeting with Aharonovitch.

Messer shown video footage to prove he ‘lied’ in court
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Long time friend of former PM accuses the prosecution of attempting to humiliate him during Olmert’s corruption trial.

‘Revoke citizenship of man convicted of aiding terrorist’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – A group of bereaved families who lost loved ones in a 2003 Haifa suicide bus-bombing ask Yishai to revoke citizenship of man who drove bomber to his target.

J’lem bureaucratic hump sees Kojak the camel ‘jailed’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – “I haven’t worked for 2 weeks,” says owner of Mt. of Olives photographic icon; city municipality says animal lacks vaccinations, license.

Catholic reps. reiterate Jews’ ‘chosen people’ status
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Senior Vatican delegation reaffirms “chosen” status of the Jews at annual meeting with representatives of the Chief Rabbinate in J’lem.

Pessimism rules among Jordan’s would-be revolutionaries
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – 35 activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and elsewhere in the region, will discuss strategies for the changing Middle East in workshop being held in Amman for anti-government organizers.

US urges citizens to avoid most travel to Syria
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Washington warns of “the potential for ongoing political and civil unrest,” one day prior to planned demonstrations on “Friday of Martyrs.”

‘Libyan envoy visits London for secret talks with UK’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – ‘Guardian’ report says confidential visit one of many such contacts between Libyan officials and West in last 2 weeks.

Israeli innovations for feeding the (rich) world
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Farm technology driven by lucrative markets, not hunger; as living standards rise in developing world, people want more meat, quality food.

‘German gov’t, Iranian bank EIH circumvent sanctions’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Newspaper: German Foreign Ministry “rubber stamped” transactions; Israel wants bank closed; Netanyahu, Lieberman heading to Germany.

Turkey says it seizes illegal Iran arms shipment
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – UN Security Council panel informed by Turks that inspection of Iranian plane bound for Syria turned up a number of “prohibited military items.”

State Comptroller to probe ‘Bibi-Tours’ allegations
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Lindenstrauss decides to investigate affair; Sara Netanyahu slams media’s “ritual attacks” against her, saying “enough already.”

Kassam rocket lands south of Ashkelon; none hurt
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – After two days of calm, Palestinians launch rocket from Gaza Strip which lands in open fields; no damage reported.

Congressman: US policy on Iran shows ‘weakness’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Berman says sanctions against Tehran merely “symbolic”; top State Department official rejects assertion that al Qaida is threat in Libya.

Rumsfeld: Pollard should not be granted early release
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Former US secretary of defense says freeing a convicted spy would send the wrong message that such behavior is acceptable.

Fatah activists attack Palestinian unity supporters
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – 5 wounded during Ramallah protest demanding end to Hamas-Fatah dispute; attack condemned by Palestinians across spectrum.

Gaddafi warns of ‘out-of-control’ Christian-Muslim war
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Libyan leader claims powers launching airstrikes against him have been “made crazy with power”; US army chief: Gaddafi far from broken.

State Comptroller will probe ‘Bibi-Tours’ allegations
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Lindenstrauss decides to investigate aspects of affair including funding of Netanyahu’s campaign for primary elections and funding of trips.

Hamas: Sisi kidnapping is a violation of int’l law
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Noam Schalit speaks with engineer’s wife, asks her to pressure Hamas for Gilad’s release; Sisi denies any connection to Schalit affair, Hamas.

Gates: Libyans will remove Gaddafi, not the US
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – US defense secretary stresses removing Libyan leader not part of coalition’s mission; Mullen dispels belief Gaddafi near “breaking point.”

How the UN will harm both Israel and the Palestinians
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – The UNGA can hold a special session regarding the Palestinian question if there is a veto on a UNSC resolution. Yet the int’l community does not realize that while non-binding resolutions passed at the latter may harm Israel, they will also do a massive disservice to the Palestinians themselves.

Assad announces steps toward reform amidst unrest
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Embattled Syrian ruler orders probe into protester deaths, appoints panel to reassess emergency law.

Rallies ‘not an indication of Israeli-Arabs’ feelings’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Dr. Amal Jamal of Tel Aviv University speaks of the significance of land day protests and comments on the burning of FM Lieberman’s image in Lod.

UAE and Qatar pack an Arab punch in Libya operation
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Tiny countries dispatch jet fighters in Western-led coalition against Gaddafi, to demonstrate assertive new foreign policy.

Noam Schalit to Abu Sisi’s wife: Push Hamas to free Gilad
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – “Kidnapped” Palestinian engineer: “I don’t know anything about Gilad Schalit;” PA envoy says Ukraine should act after “act of piracy.”

The Weekly Schmooze: Elisheba Rachel Taylor
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – A “Jpost” column wrapping up the hottest Jewish culture news worldwide: What happens in eruv, stays in eruv; Is “Friday” a Bat Mitzvah video?

Vatican: Airstrikes killed 40 civilians in Tripoli
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Catholic official in Tripoli says “so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens;” UK’s Hague calls for Gaddafi cabinet members to defect.

Hezbollah denies training Bahraini protesters
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Bahrain lodges complaint to Lebanese gov’t after Nasrallah pledges support to protesters, Arab press reports rebels trained with Hezbollah.

Abu Sisi: ‘I don’t know anything about Gilad Schalit’
Jeruslalem Post 31 Mar 2011 – Hamas engineer says he was “kidnapped” in the Ukraine and “doesn’t know anything;” PA envoy says Ukraine should act after “terrible act of piracy;” Barak: Any intel about Hamas is useful, arrest was justified.

Daily Star

German envoy: Coast radar soon finished
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: The Lebanese Navy will have a fully functioning radar system capable of monitoring the entire coastline by the end of the summer, German Ambassador to Lebanon said Thursday. “By the end of the summer the…

Man killed in dispute over land, inheritance
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: A man was killed and a woman injured in a family dispute in Ras al-Metn Thursday, according to police reports. The row broke out over a piece of land and inheritance among members of the…

Judges charge two people with spying for Israel
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: Two people were charged with collaborating with Israel Thursday. Military Investigative Judge Imad Zein issued an indictment against Syrian national Paula Edgar Frankol for collaborating with Israel and demanded a sentence of hard labor for…

Najjar forwards request from Tunis in Ben Ali probe
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: Caretaker Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar forwarded a request from the Tunisian prosecutor general to Lebanon’s Prosecutor General’s Office Thursday, as part of a criminal investigation against former Tunisian President Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali. The former…

Mikati in an unenviable position, says Soueid
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati is in an unenviable position, according to the general coordinator of the March 14 coalition. Former Jbeil MP Fares Soueid, who was speaking after a meeting Thursday with Lebanese Forces leader…

Corruption, dictatorship don’t necessarily impede development: AUB lecture
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: Corruption and absence of democracy are not necessarily obstacles to economic growth, according to the head of a leading Canadian funding agency for international development. During a lecture at the American University of Beirut this…

LU president says law allows him to stay past expired tenure
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 BEIRUT: The controversy over the top post at the Lebanese University is one of many victims of the paralysis in the executive branch of government, and a problem set to remain without resolution until a fully…

Gadhafi’s inner circle crumbles
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 NEAR BREGA/BENGHAZI, Libya: Rebels massed for a counter-attack against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces in eastern Libya Thursday, encouraged by the defection of the foreign minister and a former U.N. envoy. About 1,000 people are believed to have…

Israeli diplomats: Pre-empt Palestinian declaration of state within provisional borders
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Some Israeli diplomats are urging their government to acknowledge a Palestinian state within provisional borders rather than wait for the Palestinians to seek U.N. recognition of their sovereignty. The Foreign Ministry said Thursday such…

Turkey briefs Security Council on seized Iran arms shipment
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 UNITED NATIONS: Turkey has informed a U.N. Security Council panel that it seized a cache of weapons Iran was attempting to export in breach of a U.N. arms embargo, according to a document obtained by Reuters…

Kuwaiti government resigns over Mideast turmoil
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s Cabinet resigned Thursday over regional turmoil, the country’s official news agency said, in an apparent reference to the political unrest in neighboring Bahrain. In a fresh blow for Arab-Persian ties across the Gulf,…

U.S. urges Americans to leave Syria
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 WASHINGTON/DAMASCUS: The United States urged Americans Thursday to avoid travel to Syria and advised those already there to consider leaving the country, hours after President Bashar Assad took steps toward addressing popular grievances, including lifting emergency…

Yemenis mourn slain protesters ahead of rival pro- and anti-government demonstrations
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 SANAA: President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents have set the scene for another tense Friday in a two-month-long showdown, with calls for rival demonstrations in the Yemeni capital. Meanwhile, Yemenis Thursday commemorated dozens of people…

Iranian MPs warn Saudi Arabia against ‘playing with fire’ in Gulf region
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 TEHRAN/MANAMA: An Iranian parliamentary committee Thursday warned Saudi Arabia against “playing with fire” in the Gulf region and called on the kingdom to withdraw its forces from Bahrain, IRNA reported. Earlier this month, the Gulf Arab…

Amnesty urges Libya to release Iman al-Obeidi
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 LONDON: The Libyan authorities must end their campaign to discredit Iman al-Obeidi, Amnesty International said Thursday, after the government said she was being sued by the security officials who she says raped her. “It is simply…

Doha says only Libyans can decide their future, as NATO takes over mission fully
Daily Star 31 Mar 2011 DOHA: The leader of Qatar, the only Arab state to have recognized Libyan rebels, said Thursday military operations in Libya were only aimed at protecting civilians and Libyans would decide their own future. “The Libyan question…

The Guardian

Palestinian engineer kidnapped in Ukraine appears in Israeli court
The Guardian 31 Mar 2011 – Dirar Abu Sisi denies knowing whereabouts of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas in 2006 A Palestinian engineer who is believed to have been abducted from Ukraine by the Israeli secret service, Mossad, denied he…

Inter Press Service

BAHRAIN: Slashing Levies to Help Businesses Cope With Unrest
IPS Bahrain is considering slashing or putting on hold levies on businesses to help them cope with the deteriorating economy, with losses topping an estimated 500 million dollars since the beginning of unrest here in February.

Israel Warns Against Recognition of Independent Palestine
IPS The Israeli government has warned the U.N. Security Council and the EU that it will resort to unilateral countermeasures if the international community recognises Palestine as an independent state at the U.N. General Assembly session next September.

U.S.-SYRIA: Neo-Cons Target Assad Regime
IPS Despite the clear opposition of the Barack Obama administration and apparent ambivalence on the part of the right-wing government in Israel, neo-conservative hawks here have set their sights on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who they hope will be the next domino to fall to the so-called “Arab Spring”.

Stop The Wall

New Stop the Wall report: Brazil’s Military Relations with Israel (Portuguese version)
Stop The Wall – Mar 30, 2011— On the occasion of the 3rd global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Action Day on March 30 (Palestinian Land Day), we release Stop the Wall’s disconcerting and potentially explosive report on growing and strategic military relations between Brazil and Israel. (Portuguese version) [

Palestinian Information Center

Palestinian youth killed in hit and run accident
PIC 30 Mar 2011 – An Israeli speeding car deliberately ran over a Palestinian young man in occupied Jerusalem on Thursday killing him on the spot.

Israel approves lawyer visit ban on Palestinian prisoners
PIC 30 Mar 2011 – The Israeli ministerial committee has approved a law that empowers the courts to ban lawyer visits to Palestinian prisoners for one year after arrest, the Palestinian Prisoner Society warned.

PA security save settlement from popular protests
PIC 30 Mar 2011 – PA security militias cracked down on Palestinian protesters before reaching their destination near the Israeli Beit El settlement, as the PA continues to offer security services to Israel.

Bardawil: Abbas dealt evasively with Hamas’s reconciliation initiative
PIC 31 Mar 2011 – Mahmoud Abbas dealt evasively with Hamas’s initiative for ending the internal division through giving partial ideas away from the essential points, senior Hamas official Salah Al-Bardawil said.

Hamas meets with Supreme Council ruling Egypt
PIC 31 Mar 2011 – A delegation of Hamas led by Mahmoud Zahar has met with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which received power in Egypt following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

IOA planning to expropriate 662 Palestinian dunums in OJ
PIC 31 Mar 2011 – The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is planning to confiscate 662 dunums of Palestinian land between Tur and Aissawayia villages in occupied Jerusalem.

IOF troops re-detain MP Mohammed Badr
PIC 31 Mar 2011 – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped Palestinian MP Mohammed Maher Badr at dawn Thursday from his home in Al-Khalil city.

Mofaz threatens to boost prison restrictions
PIC 31 Mar 2011 – Shaul Mofaz has threatened to heighten restrictions on Palestinians held in Israeli prisons as Israeli political pressure to see captured soldier Gilad Shalit is released soars.

Intifada-Palestine: 31 Mar 2011 – They planned this along time ago and with the recent unrest and revolutions happening in north Africa and the middle east Former General Wesley Clark of the U.S. Army talks openly about the memo he saw when Bush was president. Source:… more

Los Angeles Times

Obama’s nuanced foreign policy evident in Libya vs. Syria
LA Times 31 Mar 2011 – The White House has struggled to explain why Libya warrants military action and Syria doesn’t. The reasons involve national interest more than humanitarian concerns. Even as President Obama lays out his vision of America’s obligations to civilians menaced by their own governments, the limits of…

New York Times

Libya Defector Cooperating Even Without Immunity
New York Times 31 Mar 2011 – Libya’s foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, whose defection dealt a blow to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, fled of his own accord, Britain said on Thursday.

In Yemen, Sit-In Against the Government Yields Business Opportunities
New York Times 31 Mar 2011 – Entrepreneurs are stepping in to serve protesters who say they intend to demonstrate until President Ali Abdullah Saleh goes.

Kuwait Cabinet Quits to Avoid Ministers’ Grilling
New York Times 31 Mar 2011 – Kuwait’s cabinet resigned as expected Thursday to avoid a grilling by parliament of three ministers, all members of the ruling al-Sabah family, amid calls for political and economic reform.

Elections in Egypt by the Fall, Leaders Say
New York Times 31 Mar 2011 – Voting for president and a new constitution would be important steps in getting military rulers out of a governing role.

Islamists Are Elated by Revolts, Cleric Says
New York Times 31 Mar 2011 – A top propagandist for Al Qaeda said in a video posted on the Web that Islamists had been elated by the protests around the Arab world.


Libyan rebels massacre black Africans
WSWS – The opposition forces in Libya are responsible for barbaric, pogrom-like massacres against black African workers.

46% of Israeli teens support limiting Palestinian rights
Mondoweiss – 46% of Israeli teens: Revoke Arabs’ rights Ynet 31 Mar — Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s Youth Study reveals Israel’s teens think greatest threat to state is Jewish-Arab conflict, believe less in democratic values. As for who they trust most – IDF gets 93% … About 60% of Jewish…

Shabak Arrests 18 Year-Old Palestinian Under Gag Order
Tikun Olam – On March 22nd, the Israeli Shabak arrested 18 year-old Ahmad Khaled Ghanem, a native of Nazareth. Because his arrest is under gag order inside Israel, it’s likely he is suspected of some sort of security offense. HaMoked has helped me locate him in Kishon Prison near…

More on the debate over Zionism and the Jewish state
Mondoweiss – My intention was to write a general response to the criticisms of my essays on this site. However, I will limit myself-enough is enough-to responding to David Samel’s ” Zionism’s History, Real and Imagined .” This may be my swan song to Mondoweiss. Samel considers me…

Saudis admit they supported Libya attack to mute US criticism of Bahrain
Mondoweiss – Bahrain steps up arrests of activists -opposition DUBAI, March 31 (Reuters) – Bahrain has stepped up arrests of cyber activists and Shi’ites, with more than 300 detained and dozens missing since it launched a crackdown on pro-democracy protests, the opposition said on Thursday. Earlier this month,…

The current ‘one state’ reality in Israel/Palestine
Mondoweiss – The following was published as a comment under David Samel’s post yesterday and we thought it merited its own post to keep the conversation moving: The one point I take issue with is the inaccurate but very common dualistic description of outcomes as future events: a…

The ‘Nakba law’ and erasing history
Mondoweiss – Israel is a country rift with multiple overlapping narratives. They drift into each other, defy one another and wrestle for the unachievable title of ultimate truth. And although there is no such thing, it appears as if the current Israeli government is working hard to officially…

Lod’s Growing Resistance to Ethnic Cleansing
Palestine Monitor – In commemoration of Land Day, over 1,500 people came out to the weekly demonstrations held in Lod to demand a halt to the persistent discrimination and repression of Palestinian citizens in Israel. Photos by Lazar Simeonov and Elo B. In attendance were Member of Knesset, Haneen…

Abusisi’s First Public Words at Hearing: ‘I am a Simple, Innocent Man’
Tikun Olam – Dirar Abusisi speaks to media against wishes of security personnel (Alon Ron) Dirar Abusisi has made his first public statement since his kidnapping in Ukraine and extraordinary rendition to Israel. Before beginning a hearing that is underway as I write this, he made his first…

Bibi: Abusisi is Hamas and He’s Spilling His Guts
Tikun Olam – Bibi Netanyahu took the unprecedented step, one which I don’t ever recall a previous prime minister taking regarding a specific security detainee, of publicly defending Israel’s extraordinary rendition of Dirar Abusisi. He did so deliberately according to Amir Oren in Haaretz in an interview filled with…

Nabi Saleh Protest Organizer, Bassem Tamimi, to Remain Under Arrest
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee – Tamimi’s arrest was extended by an Israeli military judge after the prosecution filed a grievous indictment. The hearing took place in front of a courtroom packed with Tamimi’s family, supporters, European diplomats and Israeli intellectuals.

Misc 2

1,000 Brandeis Students and Faculty Call on Brandeis Hillel to Reconsider Its Herem Against Jewish Voice for Peace — and Hillel Continues To Say “Nyet”
The Magnes Zionist 30 Mar 2011 – On Monday night, the Jewish Voice for Peace at Brandeis presented the Brandeis Hillel Student Board with a petition with a thousand signatures calling on Hillel to reconsider its refusal to allow JVP be a member group. The Hillel Student board, predictably, said that it would…

Syria ‘to study’ reforming laws
BBC 31 Mar 2011 – Syria’s president directs a committee to look into lifting unpopular emergency laws in place for nearly half a century, the state news agency reports.

‘Abducted’ Gazan in Israel court
BBC 31 Mar 2011 – A Gaza engineer, who was allegedly abducted by Israeli agents in Ukraine, has appeared in court in Israel.

Israel ‘given Argentina pledge’
BBC 30 Mar 2011 – Israel says Argentina pledged “deep commitment” to investigating two 1990s bombings of Jewish targets in Buenos Aires, after media reports to the contrary.

BBC 31 Mar 2011 – Key facts, figures and dates

Neocons Target Assad Regime
Antiwar.com 31 Mar 2011 – Despite the clear opposition the Obama administration and apparent ambivalence on the part of the right-wing government in Israel, neoconservative hawks here have set their sights on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who they hope will be the next domino to fall victim to what the so-called…


The impoverishment of Palestinian Arabs in Israel
Shazia Arshad, Middle East Monitor (MEMO)3/31/2011
– The Israeli government sets a state budget which is allocated to all sectors of society.
— Claims of economic discrimination are rife given the disparity in living conditions between Palestinian Israelis and Jewish Israelis.
— 61.3 per cent of Palestinian families live below the poverty line compared to 29 per cent of Jewish families.
— Of the Israeli Civil Service employees, just 5% are Palestinian Israelis.
— The Israeli government spends $1,100 per year on each Jewish Israeli student and $192 per year on each Palestinian Israeli student.
— In the 2008 – 09 budget the Israeli government apportioned just $11 million out of $188 million to the Palestinian infrastructure within Israel.
The Palestinian population living within Israel is estimated to be 1.5 million citizens, approximately 20 per cent of the Israeli population. Of this number, about 370,000 are ‘internally displaced’; they live in Israel but are not allowed to return to their homes or villages from which they were displaced during the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe). Often regarded as the ‘forgotten Palestinians’ of the region, the Palestinians who reside in Israel find themselves in a unique situation compared to their compatriots in Israel and their neighbours in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – they are not entitled to the same rights as Jewish Israeli citizens and are not included or represented in the political negotiations. — See also: Full Briefing Paper (PDF) more.. e-mail


Israel’s narrowing options
Saleh Al-Naami, Al-Ahram Weekly3/31/2011
The spread of democratic revolutions in the Arab world has already blunted the usual belligerence of Israel.
It was 10.30am last Saturday when the mobile phone of an official closely linked with Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Gaza, rang. On the other end of the line was an official in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. The two men spoke for 25 minutes, discussing ways of preventing renewed Israeli attacks on Gaza. Israel’s army had already attacked civilian targets in Gaza and resistance movements retaliated with attacks on Israeli cities situated near Gaza, including Beersheba and Ashdod. Thirteen Palestinians died in the recent attacks.
Soon after that call, Haniyeh gathered some of his ministers and key figures of Hamas for further discussion on the situation. Everyone agreed to accept Egypt’s offer of mediation. Subsequently, the Egyptians got in touch with the Americans and the Israelis and managed to reactivate the undeclared “period of calm” that used to exist between Palestinian factions and Israel. In response, Hamas called a meeting with representatives of Palestinian factions and invited the media to witness the discussion. The meeting ended in a pledge to observe the “calm” so long as Israel does the same.
The attacks didn’t stop immediately, however. On Sunday morning, two members of Islamic Jihad were killed in northern Gaza, having been fired upon by a pilotless drone. Israel claimed that the men were getting ready to fire rockets, something that Jihad denies. Apart from that, it seems that the Israelis and Palestinians are eager to restore the “calm”. Generally speaking, the Palestinian public and media remain unaware of the role Egypt played behind the scenes to stave off attacks on Gaza. But for the first time in years, there has been great satisfaction in Gaza over Egypt’s official statements. more.. e-mail

Registering the diaspora to vote
Hugo van Randwyck, Ma’an News Agency3/31/2011
Palestinian youth are demanding unity, they have camped out in the squares of the West Bank and taken to the streets in Gaza. A coalition of organizations calling themselves March 15 drove the movements.
What they were calling for was the election of a new Palestinian National Council, the supreme body of the PLO, and demanding the participation of Palestinians across the Middle East and in the wider diaspora.
Many dismissed the demand as impossible, but I hold that there are mechanisms, and straightforward ones at that, which could make the idea a practical reality.
So how is this easy? Firstly the first elections in 1996, took 10 weeks to organize, for 1 million voters — voter registration, voting and counting. So a well organized, internationally monitored election process, was organized over weeks, not years.
There already is a Palestine Central Elections Commission (CEC), in Ramallah which has fully trained staff, in different districts. There are also international organizations that provide election materials and also advice/expertise — so everything is available and ‘off-the-shelf.’ There could be around 2 million potential ‘voters’ who would like to express their ‘voting voice.’ This could be for Palestinian President, PNC, referendums or other. An internationally approved process called Out of Country Voting could be used, such as by Afghan refugees.
A number of options are available…. more.. e-mail

Israel lays Gaza-like siege on West Bank village
Electronic Intifada: 31 Mar 2011 – Since 24 March, Israeli forces have sealed the southern occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar for an indefinite amount of time as soldiers continue to arrest young Palestinian residents and hold them in Israeli detention centers.more

Corruption investigations begin in post-Mubarak Egypt
Electronic Intifada: 31 Mar 2011 – CAIRO, Egypt (IPS) – Egyptian authorities have opened dozens of criminal investigations into hundreds of millions of dollars worth of public land contracts that were awarded illegally to real estate developers associated with former president Hosni Mubarak without proper procedures at below market rates.more

Lod’s Growing Resistance to Ethnic Cleansing
Palestine Monitor: 31 Mar 2011 – In commemoration of Land Day, over 1,500 people came out to the weekly demonstrations held in Lod to demand a halt to the persistent discrimination and repression of Palestinian citizens in Israel. Photos by Lazar Simeonov and Elo B. In attendance were Member of Knesset, Haneen Zoabi and al-Araqib resident, Sheikh Siyakh al-Turi. In addition, the Lod-originated hip-hop ensemble, DAM performed for the protest. Lod Under Attack At present 3,000 demolition orders are currently issued against the Palestinian residents of the city of Lod. In what residents of city are calling a “calculated process of ethnic cleansing,” all Palestinian residents of Lod live in a constant state of fear that their home will be next on the chopping block. Over the last year, resistance is growing in Lod. Watch this slideshow of its latest showing. Read more about how Israel is marginalizing Palestinians in Lodmore

Year of Living Dangerously: Palestinians on the Brink
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2011 – By Mikail Jubran During the past couple of weeks we have witnessed a somewhat stall of the Arab spring. An ongoing civil conflict that is raging in Libya pits the ‘ancien regime’ against a rag-tag rabble of self-proclaimed freedom fighters who thought that international intervention would guarantee their success. It appears they may have miscalculated terribly the tenacity of their well-entrenched opponent. Now, even Syria is showing signs of popular revolt. While this new Arab Order may appear to be in some disarray, among the Palestinians a simmering anger percolates. This fury could be about to spill over into popular rage. One stark fact confronts the Palestinian leadership and that is they never faced a more seminal moment in time. While there is always hope for the future, the Palestinian people need to search for it and seek it in the right places. They should no longer allow themselves to…more

Dominci in Israel: Dispossession by Law
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2011 – By Seraj Assi Imagine you are an Israeli Arab. You receive a graduate fellowship in an American university. You set there in the campus cafeteria, meet with a Syrian or Lebanese colleague or friend, a fellow Arab who happens to share with you the same religion, nationality and language. You then return home for the summer vacation. You are arrested, stripped of your citizenship and expelled out of your homeland. This episode is not taken from a satirical novel. It is what the new Knesset law all about. The law already passed in its second and third reading. “Knesset passes law to strip terrorists of Israeli citizenship” was Haaretz headline. That is, not only does the law make dispossession and transfer of Palestinians legal, but also label the entire people terrorists. On March 28, 2011, the Knesset plenum in Israel gave its final seal of approval to “citizenship loyalty” law…more

Land Day Tigers
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2011 – By Hatim Kanaaneh The headline in Haaretz announced: ‘Police gearing up for possible Land Day trouble.’ I called my village buddy and asked him what to make of that. Toufiq agreed that it foreboded ill. Thirty-five years have taught us all how to avoid violent confrontations between large numbers of Palestinian youth and armed Israeli policemen. “The ball is in their court: If they want to stir up trouble they will show up in force at the licensed demonstration site; If they keep their distance our youth will shout out their anger at the imaginary enemies and go home peacefully,” Toufiq explained the obvious. “It says in Haaretz that ‘the security forces are not ruling out the possibility of unrest given the recent events that have engulfed the Middle East in recent weeks.'” “That shows how feeble-minded their big shots are. We don’t have the critical mass, the sheer numbers…more

For the Love of Egypt: When Besieged Palestinians Danced
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Mar 2011 – By Ramzy Baroud A dear friend of mine from Gaza told me that he hadn’t slept for days. “I am so worried about Egypt, I have only been feeding on cigarettes and coffee.” My friend and I talked for hours that day in early February. We talked about Tahrir Square, about the courage of ordinary Egyptians and about Hosni Mubarak’s many attempts to co-opt the people’s revolution. We were so consumed by the turmoil in Egypt that neither of us even mentioned Gaza. The siege on Gaza — and on the whole of Palestine – is a constant factor that unites most Palestinians. However, the genuine solidarity that the people of the Gaza Strip felt when Egyptians took to the streets on January 25 surpassed even the political urgency around the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Ordinary Gazans danced the night away when Mubarak was removed from power on February 18….more

More material available from Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel – www.vtjp.org
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