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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
9 April, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Unity talks to resume on April 26
9 Apr 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated on Thursday that the internal Palestinian talks would be resumed in Cairo on April 26. The statements of Abbas came in a press conference after a meeting with the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. 

PFLP proposes a government with no political agenda
9 Apr 2009 - The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) presented its own version of the transitional government during a meeting with a Fateh leader. The PFLP said that the factions should form a transitional government that has no political agenda and is in charge of preparing for new legislative and presidential elections. 

Jewish Right wing groups try to enter Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem
9 Apr 2009 -  On Thursday groups of right-wing Isareli extremists attempted to enter the courtyard of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's old city.

Two solidarity ships to sail to Gaza soon
9 Apr 2009 - Adel Zo’rob, media spokesperson of the governmental committee to break the Gaza siege, reported Wednesday that preparations are ongoing to send two solidarity ships to Gaza in the coming period. 

Israeli intelligence blackmails Gaza fishermen
9 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees and Ex-detainees of the dissolved government in Gaza reported that Israeli security forces are blackmailing Palestinian fishermen and demanding them to work as collaborators in return for being allowed to fish. 

Hamas and Fateh meet in Gaza
9 Apr 2009 - Leaders of the Hamas and Fateh movements held a meeting in Gaza City on Wednesday night in an attempt to bridge the gaps between the two movements and restore unity. 

Father, Uncle of Negev girl released
8 Apr 2009 - The Be’er Sheva District Court on Wednesday released the father and uncle of the Negev girl shot dead after she, according to the Israeli army, attempted to shoot Israeli soldiers at a military base in the Negev. 

Palestinian security forces arrest three Hamas members in Tulkarem
8 Apr 2009 - Palestinian security forces arrested three supporters of Hamas movement in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, including a member who was released on Tuesday from an Israeli detention facility. 

Soldiers shoot a Palestinian for allegedly trying to snatch a soldier’s weapon
8 Apr 2009 - Israeli military sources reported on Wednesday that soldiers shot and wounded a Palestinian man, who allegedly tried to snatch the weapon of a soldier near Hizma village, north-east of Jerusalem. 

Haaretz: "Obama administration preparing for confrontation with Netanyahu"
8 Apr 2009 - Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported on Wednesday that President Barack Obama's US administration preparing for the possibility of confrontation with the new Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, over his policies that reject a two-state solution. 

1600 detainees need medical attention
8 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Defence of Detainees reported that the number of sick detainees in Israeli prisons is gradually increasing due to the Israeli policy of medical neglect which is causing further deterioration in the health conditions of the detainees. The center said that there are 1600 sick detainees who need urgent attention. 

Sinn Fein leader visit Gaza demands siege to be lifted
8 Apr 2009 - The Irish Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams visited the Gaza strip on Wednesday to tour areas that were attacked by the Israeli military during January's Cast Lead operation. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Shalit friends hold protest seder outside Netanyahu home
8 Apr 2009 - None of 120 Knesset MKs invited came to Seder; IDF Chief: Israel doing all it can to return Shalit. 

'Iran behind Hezbollah bid to strike Egypt targets'
8 Apr 2009 - Egyptian paper: Nasrallah said code for attacks in speech; Egypt holds 49 suspected Hezbollah men. 

Report: IDF brigade won't recognize Conservative soldiers as religious
8 Apr 2009 - Nahal rabbi forbids troops from exercising right to grow beards for religious reasons, Army Radio reports. 

Biden: Israel would be 'ill-advised' to attack Iran
8 Apr 2009 - 'I don't believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that,' U.S. Vice President tells CNN. 

Palestinian lightly wounded after trying to snatch IDF soldier's gun
8 Apr 2009 - 16 Palestinians, one settler wounded in clashes near settlement where terrorist killed Israeli teen Thurs. 

Iron Dome missile defense system likely to be ready by 2010
7 Apr 2009 - Test involving fully-fledged rocket interception planned for 2009; system expected to protect Sderot area. 

Successful Arrow II test could mean continued U.S. funding
7 Apr 2009 - Upgraded anti-ballistic missile system designed to defend against possible attacks by Iran and Syria. 

Israel successfully test fires Arrow missile defense system
7 Apr 2009 - Source: Arrow intercepted missile, simulating an Iranian Shihab, launched from over Mediterranean. 

Police kill Palestinian assailant at demolition of terrorist's home
7 Apr 2009 - Border Police troops preparing to demolish home of bulldozer terrorist shoot driver after he tried to run them over. 

IDF keeps Bedouin trackers in dark about Egypt border ops
7 Apr 2009 - Troops say told not to divulge operational details to trackers, out of fear they may inform smugglers. 

IDF planning largest-ever drill to prepare Israel for war
6 Apr 2009 - Week-long exercise to test response to scenarios including Hamas, Hezbollah missile attacks on home front. 

Peres: 'Devious' Iran hiding nuke ambitions
6 Apr 2009 - President says U.S. must enlist EU in struggle against Iran nukes; Iran supports nuclear fuel bank idea. 

Ma'an News

Twitter makes detention of Palestinian journalist breaking news 
4/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - “I’m recording my ordeal with my flip mini,” Palestinian journalist Laila Al-Hadid told friends and relatives who subscribe to her Twitter service shortly after she was detained at the Cairo airport en route to her native Gaza. News of her detention and questioning was made instantly available to the international news media via three technological innovations spurring instant communication: wireless internet at the airport, Twitter, and GroundReport. com. First wireless internet made text communication via mobile phone instant. Second Twitter , a service allowing individuals to send text messages to a list of subscribers updating friends, family and followers on personal breaking news , allowed Al-Hadid to communicate en masse. Third, GroundReport. com, a network of 4,000 journalists worldwide aiming at getting breaking news, video and photo. . . 

Israel closes Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims for Passover 
4/9/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an –Israeli authorities decided on Thursday to close the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Muslim worshippers on Sunday and Monday to allow Jewish Israeli settlers to celebrate Passover at the site. Director of Hebron Waqf (religious endowment) office Zayd Ja’bari condemned the decision as a part an attempt to take full control of the mosque and transform it into a Jewish synagogue. Israeli settlers have taken over half of the building and for years have operated it as a Synagogue. The building is known to Jews and Muslims as the burial place of the Biblical patriarchs, including Abraham. “The Ibrahimi Mosque is pure Islamic endowment, and non-Muslims shouldn’t pray inside the mosque,” Ja’bari insisted. Israeli authorities often close the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshippers during Jewish holidays. 

Hamas: If Abbas asks Fayyad to form new transitional government, dialogue is over 
4/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to ask Salam Fayyad to form a transitional government will “abort all conciliation and unity attempts,” said Hamas spokesperson Ismail Radwan on Thursday. The Jerusalem-based Al-Manar daily newspaper had quoted Palestinian sources as saying that Abbas intends to ask Salam Fayyad to form a new transitional government on 14 April. But Yaser Abed Rabu, secretary general of the PLO's Executive Committee, denied reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to ask Fayyad to form a new transitional government. Rabu told Ma’an that "these reports are baseless; the issue was not presented or discussed," adding that "the recent government will stay as long as the president does not accept its resignation. " Fayyad, according to Al-Manar, would have to set up his government within 48 hours. 

Fayyad honors Palestinian for winning 'Nobel Prize for Children' 
4/9/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad honored Jumana Audah, head of the Palestinian Happy Child Center, for winning the World of Children Prize. In a celebration on Thursday at the Grand Park Hotel in the West Bank city of Ramallah, it was announced that Auda won the 2009 award for her efforts serving childhood and children in Palestine. Fayyad praised the center and said that "this voluntary work that supports the steadfastness of the Palestinians on their land deserves all of our appreciation and respect. " "This work carries an important message of the Palestinians and their steadfastness and transfers it to many of their icons,” he said. Auda said that she dedicates this award to her late father, who stood by her and supported her and "to all of the children of Palestine who have given my life meaning. 

Islamic Jihad organizes Gaza demonstration following West Bank settler attack 
4/9/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Islamic Jihad organized demonstrations in Gaza City Wednesday evening protesting the Israeli settler assaults on Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank and inside Israel. Senior Islamic Jihad leader Khadr Habib delivered a speech in front of hundreds calling for solidarity with Safa village north of Hebron which was attacked by Israeli settlers and military forces on Wednesday morning. The attack saw 38 injured, 11 of who were shot with live bullets by Israeli soldiers. The Gazan demonstrators chanted encouragement to continue resistance against Israeli occupation and assaults in Jerusalem, Hebron, Um Al-Fahim, Acre, and Jaffa. They also shouted slogans demanding a halt to all types of coordination with Israel. “Resistance is a natural response by a people under occupation, siege and aggression,” said Khadr Habib. 

Syria says willing to resume peace talks with Israel 
4/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Syria expressed readiness to resume indirect peace negotiations with Israel on Wednesday on the same terms that it did with the previous Israeli government. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mu’alim said that the basis of the negotiations should be a total Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied in 1967. Syria had engaged in peace talks mediated by Turkey with the government of Ehud Olmert until the end of 2008. Syria suspended negotiations over the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip. 

Egypt detains dozens of accused Hizbullah agents 
4/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Egypt is holding some 49 people in detention on suspicion of working for the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbullah, the country’s Attorney General has confirmed. According to a statement from the attorney general, the men had been assigned by the group to gather intelligence in villages along the Gaza-Egypt border, tourist destinations in the Sinai, and the Suez Canal. They had also been provided explosives and training on how to use them. According to the Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera, the group of Egyptians, Lebanese, and Palestinians were arrested in mid-December. A lawyer for the defendants told Al-Jazeera that among the detainees are Palestinian citizens of Israel who are also accused of providing support to the Palestinian movement Hamas. "We've not been able to find out the official charges, but they revolve around supporting Hamas. . . 

Italian, Scottish activists plan aid convoys to Gaza 
4/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Two solidarity convoys will arrive in besieged Gaza Strip via Egypt in the coming three weeks, a Palestinian official in Gaza reported. According to Adel Zu’rub, the spokesperson of the official anti-siege committee in Gaza, the first convoy, led by Scottish lawmaker Pauline McNeill, will arrive next Tuesday via the Rafah border crossing. The convoy is carrying medical supplies. A second 100-vehicle convoy will set out from Milan, Italy, travelling to Alexandria, Egypt, by boat and then continue to Gaza, aiming to arrive on 3 May. The Italian effort is also carrying medical supplies. British MP George Galloway led a highly publicized convoy to Gaza in early March called “Viva Palestina. ” Galloway donated a fleet of vehicles and 25,000 pounds in cash to the de facto government in Gaza. Israel locked down the Gaza Strip’s border crossings in June 2007 when Hamas took full control of the territory. 

Saudi Arabia donates to UNRWA amid budget crisis 
4/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The government of Saudi Arabia donated 600,000 US dollars to the United Nation’s relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, on Wednesday. The Saudi ambassador to Jordan, Fahed Al-Zeid, handed over a check for the contribution to UNRWA Representative Peter Ford at a ceremony in Amman, the agency said. Saudi Arabia has pledged more than 50 million US dollars to UNRWA projects in the occupied Palestinian territories. UNRWA is facing a shortfall of 49 million US dollars out of its total budget of 560 million dollars this year, the agency said. UNRWA provides vital services, including food, education, and social welfare, to 4. 5 million refugees in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. 

Haniyeh meets Northern Ireland’s Adams in Gaza 
4/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an/Agencies – De facto Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh met with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in Gaza on Wednesday evening. The Irish leader is in the region to promote peace negotiations among all the parties to the conflict, including, implicitly, Hamas. Adams himself is the leader of a previously stigmatized party that has now made peace with the UK and is part of a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. The Hamas leader explained to his guest how his party was isolated by the international community, paving the way for Israel’s onslaught against Gaza in December and January. “When we won the elections by a majority, they refused to deal with our government, and instead they besieged it politically and economically, before Israel launched a military offensive against Gaza using all its powers including internationally banned weapons,” said Haniyeh. . . 

Abbas holds talks with Egypt’s Mubarak 
4/9/2009 - Cairo – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the latter’s office in Cairo on Thursday on the second day of a two day visit. The leaders tackled the latest developments in the Egyptian-brokered dialogue between Abbas’ Fatah faction and its rival Hamas, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process after the formation of a new Israeli right wing government. After the one-on-one meeting, Egyptian and Palestinian officials held a larger meeting on the same subjects. In attendance were: PLO Executive Committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo, Fatah leader Nabil Sha’ath, PLO Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Nabil Amr, Palestinian Minister of Agriculture and Social Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, and Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeina. 

Jordan condemns settler rioting in West Bank village 
4/9/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A spokesperson for the Jordanian government condemned Wednesday's settler violence in the West Bank village of Safa, the Jordan Times reported on Thursday. Thirty-eight Palestinians were injured when armed Israeli settlers, backed by soldiers, rampaged through Safa, north of Hebron, on Wednesday morning. Medics at Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron said 11 Palestinians were shot with live bullets, five with rubber-coated metal bullets and another 15 were treated for the effects of teargas. According to the Times report, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Nabil Sharif on Wednesday said Jordan "is closely monitoring the aggression committed against innocent civilians. " Sharif also denounced Israel's recent house demolitions in East Jerusalem, which he said were designed to alter the city's identity. 

Hamas denies opening special jails for collaborators 
4/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The de facto Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip denied on Thursday that new special jails for detaining collaborators were being constructed in the Gaza Strip. "We do not plan to open new prisons for collaborators. What is being prepared is a new central jail to replace the one which was part of the security compound [As-Saraya]," which was damaged during the Israeli offensive on Gaza, de facto Interior Ministry spokesperson Eyhab Al-Ghussein said. He pointed out that the new central jail would house both criminal and security detainees, and that it will be a temporary detention center until a new jail is built according to international specifications, as well as proper humanitarian conditions. Al-Ghussein also highlighted that de facto government security services had not stopped pursuing collaborators, but rather strengthened efforts after the war. . . 

PFLP proposes transitional government without political platform 
4/9/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) suggested on Thursday that a transitional Palestinian government be formed without a political agenda. The PFLP presented this proposal in a meeting with top Fatah officials who travelled to Gaza to meet with members of various factions. Fatah and its main rival, Hamas, are currently at an impasse over the platform of a proposed transitional government meant to end two years of political infighting. PFLP leaders Rabah Muhanna and Kayid Al-Ghoul raised the idea during talks with Fatah’s foreign relations commissioner Abdullah Al-Ifranji, and member of Fatah’s revolutionary council Marwan Abdul-Hamid in Gaza City. Al-Ghoul said the PFLP is demanding that both Hamas and Fatah cease violations of civil liberties in Gaza and the West Bank, including politicized arrests. 

Hamas: PA security forces seized 27 West Bank affiliates 
4/9/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – The Hamas movement on Thursday claimed that Palestinian Authority security forces had arrested 27 of its affiliates in the West Bank. Hamas said in a statement to Ma'an that affiliates were seized in and around the following West Bank cities:In Nablus, PA security forces seized ex-prisoner A’lam Tabanja for the second time, in addition to I’sam Fahmi, head of a religious school (Dar Al-Quran) in Qabalan after he was summoned for questioning, Basaam A’marneh, a student at An-Najah University,who was arrested in front the university. PA forces also issued an order to shut down At-Tadamun sports club in Nablus, the statement said. In Qalqiliia, PA security forces arrested Sheikh Mahmoud Ar-Rabe and Sheikh Riyad Al-Walweel, one of the Hamas leaders there, who was taken from his home, Wael Al-Hotari, who was released from an Israeli jail one week earlier, and. . . 

Donkey race promotes health and animal rights in Qalqiliya 
4/9/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – A donkey race drew crowds in Qalqiliya Wednesday as The Brooke foundation UK sponsored an “equine welfare” event that combined training and veterinary clinics with races and competitions for local horse and donkey owners. The Brooke teamed up with the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, and Safe Shelter for Donkeys in the Holy Land to offer workshops on animal care. As the backbone of many family farming operations, healthy work animals are an essential tool to successful cultivation; the combined animal rights activism put forward by the groups was taught alongside ferrying techniques and basic medical care. According to the project coordinator Muhammad Ar-Razi, the project aimed at enhancing “the steadfastness of Palestinian families who depend on beasts of burden for their living. 

Expired cosmetics confiscated in West Bank 
4/9/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Expired cosmetic products were confiscated in the West Bank city of Jenin and a factory for manufacturing cosmetics in Ramallah, in addition to another facility in Qalqiliya on Thursday. The products' distributers were accused of marketing forged and expired products in the West Bank. Cosmetics were confiscated from inside facilities in Jenin, Ramallah, and Qalqiliya. According to Abed Al-Hameed Mezher, head of the Consumer Protection Department within the Ministry of Economy, "The owner of the facility used to import expired products from Israel, repack them and give them brand names and trademarks of other companies. " Sources at the Attorney General's office told Ma'an that “the owners of the factories were arrested and interrogated. ”In Ramallah, large amounts of cosmetics were confiscated and cosmetic stores were shut down. 

Palestine Telegraph

A convoy of hundreds of medical and food trucks heading to Gaza soon
9 Apr 2009 - It’s now three years since Israel imposed this tight and deadly siege on Gaza. The brutal siege is devastating every aspect of life in Gaza. Thousands of families continue to suffer, while many others are dying due to the lack of basic...

Maniac settlers now direct attacks at children
8 Apr 2009 - April 8th, 2009 - (Pal Telegraph) - A group of Christian peacemakers from Hebron report Israeli Occupation soldiers kidnapped three Palestinian children, and delivered them to the violent hands of maniac settlers. The boys, ages 10, 11, and 14 were snatched on...

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Call on PA to Free Resistance after Settlers’ Attack
8 Apr 2009 - Hebron, April 8th, 2009 - (Pal Telegraph) - At least 16 Palestinians were hurt, one of them seriously during clashes between dozens of settlers and Palestinians in an occupied West Bank village near the settlement of Bat Ayin. One Israeli settler was...

It Will Take the World to Save These Homes 
8 Apr 2009 - Orthodox Israeli settlers, backed by soldiers and police, attacked Palestinian residents of the Sa'diyya neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem Sunday evening, four days after the settler group invaded the home of the Jabir family and extra-judicially evicted them.

No Chametz in Palestine, or anything else for that matter
8 Apr 2009 - April 8th, 2009 - (Pal Telegraph) Chametz is the Jewish term for leavened bread or grains. We don't eat it during passover. We don't even own it, or allow it in our homes. Family cleaning rituals ridding the house of any chametz...

Israeli soldiers kill young Palestinian, 20
7 Apr 2009 - Jerusalem, April 7, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - A young Palestinian was killed today in east Jerusalem. According to Israeli occupation the victim tried to run over Israeli soldiers who were protecting bulldozers that leveled Palestinian civilian houses in the area of Sor...

Occupation Soldiers Decry Media Treatment
6 Apr 2009 - April 7, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli Occupation soldiers are decrying their media treatment after widespread reports of war crimes committed during the recent Gaza invasion. Palestinians in Gaza are still sifting through rubble and counting their dead, yet those who killed...

Israel on a piracy mission 
6 Apr 2009 - Gaza , April 6, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - In a new piracy mission the Israeli Occupation arrested eight fishermen and confiscated their boats off the Gaza shore.


Egypt arrests 'Hezbollah agents'
9 Apr 2009 - About 50 people being questioned over belonging to Hezbollah and aiding Hamas.

Iran charges US 'spy' journalist
8 Apr 2009 - Washington "concerned" as Tehran puts US citizen on trial for espionage.

Settlers attack West Bank village
8 Apr 2009 - At least eight people hurt as Bat Ayin settlers rampage through Arab village.


OPT: Hamas-Fatah rift leaves Gaza patients stranded 
9 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY Thursday, April 09, 2009 (IRIN) - The rift between the two main Palestinian movements - Fatah which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas which controls Gaza - has impeded the availability of health care in Gaza, say officials. 

ISRAEL-OPT: Over 150,000 Gazans still without tap water 
9 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY Tuesday, April 07, 2009 (IRIN) - Over 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza (around 10 percent of the population) are struggling without tap water as a result of the damage caused to wells, pipes and waste water facilities during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive which ended on 18 January. 

Stop The Wall

Commemorating Land Day and calling for boycott
7 Apr 2009 - March 31st, 2009 --, Demonstrations, protests and tree planting occurred across historic Palestine on March 30, as Palestinians commemorated Land Day. The Popular Committees, in cooperation with municipalities and other organizations, planned activities in a number of villages and cities. The growing momentum and support of the boycott movement among Palestinians is becoming more tangible, a result of the grassroots organizing that has been undertaken throughout the West Bank. [

Friday anti-Wall protests commemorate Land Day
7 Apr 2009 - March 29th, 2009 --, Large numbers of participants was a feature of this Friday’s actions, which were held in commemoration of Land Day. Protests against the Wall were held in the usual locations of Jayyous, Ni’lin, al-Ma’sra and Bi’lin. After a brief hiatus last week, violence is escalating again in Ni’lin, where a local youth was shot with live ammunition. [

PCHR Latest

PCHR Organizes an International Conference in Cairo on Extra-judicial Executions and Prosecution of Israelis Suspected of Committing War Crimes

Military Court in Gaza Sentences 4 Palestinians to death PCHR Calls upon Palestinian President not to Ratify the Four Sentences
08 April 2009

In Spite of Persistent Efforts to the Solve the Problem of Access to Medical Treatment Outside the Gaza Strip, PCHR Calls upon the Two Governments in Ramallah and Gaza to Save the Lives of Gazan Patients before It Is Too Late
07 April 2009

Israel Closes Investigation into Alleged War Crimes Committed in the Gaza Strip
March 2009

PCHR Weekly Report

(02 -08 April  2008)
9 Apr 2009 - During the reporting period, IOF killed two activists of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip and one civilian in the West Bank. They also wounded 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children and two journalists,

International Solidarity Movement

Israeli forces shoot at farmers in Al Faraheen
ISM - 4/8/2009 - ISM Gaza - Farming Under Fire - This morning, the farmers from Al-Faraheen in the Gaza Strip persisted with their efforts to harvest the year"™s crop of lentils. Volunteers with the International Solidarity Movement, and a camera crew from Press TV accompanied the farmers as they set out to work in a field about 300m from the border. Before the farmers reached the field, an Israeli jeep stopped next to the border fence several hundred metres away. A number of shots were fired in the direction of the farmers before the jeep drove away. After an hour as the farmers were about to finish their work, another jeep stopped at the border. Soldiers got out and took up firing positions. An ISM volunteer then spoke to them with a megaphone - informing the soldiers that they were all civilians, and requesting that the soldiers did not open fire. 

Eleven shot, one in critical condition after settler rampage in Saffa
ISM - 4/8/2009 - 8 April 2009 - Saffa, a village sandwiched between Sourif and Beit Ommar and home to just over 2000 residents, has been the site of overwhelming Israeli military and now settler violence in the last week.   Using the death of a teenaged settler on April 2 as a precursor (there has been no evidence that he was killed by someone from Saffa or the nearby villages) the Israeli military has been invading Saffa, declaring curfews, searching homes and otherwise harassing the residents of the entire village in acts of blatant collective punishment for several days.   Roadblocks were erected in several different places on April 3 and three homes were taken over by Israeli soldiers, allegedly to "˜protect"™ the Palestinian residents from anticipated violence from right-wing extremist settlers from nearby Beit "˜Ayn. These soldiers left a few days later and shortly after, on April 6, approximately. . . 

Support the Gaza 6; citizens decommission weapons for Israeli use in attacks on Gaza
ISM - 4/8/2009 - 6 April 2009 - Support the EDO Decommissioners - On Jan 17th, while Israeli bombs were still raining down on the people of Gaza, six people gained entry to EDO MBM/ITT, a factory in Brighton manufacturing military equipment being used by the Israeli air force, and smashed machinery and computers causing at least 300 000 pounds worth of damage and closing the factory for nearly a week. According to one witness computers and filing cabinets were hurled out of top floor windows the protesters broke in to the factory in the early hours staging a "œcitizen's decommissioning" of the EDO-MBM/ITT arms factory in direct response to the killings of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military. Elijah Smith, one of the protesters that broke into the factory, said before the action, "I'm looking at the world scene and I'm getting more and more horrified. " 

Al-Fakhouri home demolished in East Jerusalem
ISM - 4/8/2009 - 6 April 2009 - On the morning of 6 April, about 150 Israeli soldiers, police & border police came and woke up the 22 members of the Al-Fakhouri family in the Burj Al-Laqlaq neighborhood. The Israeli forces blocked all the entrance roads to the house and occupied three rooftops threatening to arrest anyone who got near the house being demolished. Around 30 workers destroyed the house in a process taking about 5 hours. The workers left concrete rubble and other debris in the surrounding street. The family was told that for everyday the rubble was left in the streets, the family would be charged 600 shekels on top of paying for the demolition itself. The family found a demolition order on their door only 2 days prior to the demolition, on Thursday 2nd of April. On the 5th of April, Israeli police showed up at the house around 3PM with another demotion order and told the family to contact a lawyer. 

Sheikh Jarrah residents organize in the face of mass house evictions
ISM - 4/8/2009 - 7 April 2009 - "We are like the roots of a tree. The Israelis may cut us in places, but we will never die. We will not be transplanted from Jerusalem. I will not leave this house," Maher Hanun tells a crowded room of Palestinian community members supported by Israeli and international solidarity activists. Hanun is one of 51 residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem living in two housing units that are facing imminent eviction by Israeli authorities. The mood is tense as more than 25 individuals pack into a small room in Hanun's house to plan how to fight the house evictions. Palestinian residents, organized under the Sheikh Jarrah Committee, have invited solidarity activists to come and support their struggle. 

Press conference held by parents of Tristan Anderson
ISM - 4/8/2009 - 23 March 2009 - Nancy and Michael Anderson hold a press conference about the condition of their son, Tristan Anderson. Anderson was critically injured during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Ni'lin when Israeli forces shot a tear-gas projectile directly at him from 60 meters. Updated on April 8, 2009 

Our pause in Cairo Airport
ISM - 4/8/2009 - 8 April 2009 - A Mother from Gaza - We have been stuck in Cairo airport for nearly a day now. We are neither being allowed entry or exit by Egyptian authorities, who insist that as long as Rafah Crossing is closed, they are under strict orders not to allow Palestinians in. This is despite a signed letter of consent I received personally from the Egyptian consul-general in Washington the day of my travel from the US. To quote the Egyptian officials here in the airport "so sue him". I tried to plead that it was not my fault Egypt was in the way of my home- that if I could,I'd parachute in; that i simply wanted to go back home. For now, we wait and sleep on the roach ridden floors of the transit hall as our own "Borders" film (a classic Syrian satire by iconic actor Dreid La7am about a man who is stuck between the borders of two fictional countries who speak the same language) unfolds. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Obama invites friends, aides to White House Passover seder
8 Apr 2009 - President Barack Obama plans to have close friends and staff to a private White House meal to mark Passover, a very public sign the new president plans to fulfill his promise that Jewish voters would have an ally. ...

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams meets Hamas leader during Gaza trip
8 Apr 2009 - Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams on Thursday denounced the Israel-led blockade on Gaza as has having made the coastal strip into an "open-air prison," news outlets reported. ...

WATCH: Did Barack Obama bow to Saudi King Abdullah?
8 Apr 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama has drawn fire from conservative commentators in the press and the blogosphere after video surfaced on the Internet apparently showing Obama bowing before Saudi King Abdullah during the G-20 economic summit in London on April 1. ...

Mubarak, Abbas talk Palestinian reconciliation in Cairo
8 Apr 2009 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported. ...

Clinton: We don't know what to believe about Iran nukes
8 Apr 2009 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said she did not view the latest Iranian claims about its nuclear program as a rebuff to U.S. ...

The Guardian

Tony Bayfield: Passover: Palestinians also have the right to make the journey from slavery
8 Apr 2009 - At Passover we should reread the story of the exodus from slavery, a journey Palestinians also have the right to make This evening is the start of the Jewish festival of Passover . Just to confuse people,...

Israeli police shoot motorist during house demolition
7 Apr 2009 - Officers say Palestinian driver tried to attack them during demolition of bulldozer killer's home Israeli police today shot dead a Palestinian driver they said had tried to attack them during the demolition of a Palestinian home...

Israel created 'terror without mercy' in Gaza, according to human rights report
6 Apr 2009 - The Israeli military attacked civilians and medics and delayed - sometimes for hours - the evacuation of the injured during the January war in Gaza, according to an independent fact-finding mission commissioned by Israeli and Palestinian...

Norman Stone: Obama brokers rapprochement in US-Turkish relations
6 Apr 2009 - Despite the sticky issue of secularity, Obama's parliamentary address today was the first step in US-Turkish rapprochement In the era of George W, taking a taxi in Turkey could be a bit of a bore: the...

Seth Freedman: The removal of Israeli ministers from images in ultra-orthodox newspapers is part of a tide of extremism
9 Apr 2009 - The removal of Israeli ministers from images in ultra-orthodox newspapers is part of a tide of extremism that swamps women When John Barnes scored against Brazil in 1984 , a core of racist England fans refused to...

Gaza is still an open-air prison, says Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams
9 Apr 2009 - Visiting the Middle East, Northern Irish republican leader urges peace on Hamas leadership Gaza is still an open-air prison, Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams said today during a visit to the Middle East. The West Belfast MP...

Ben White: The efforts of Palestinians opposing Jewish settlement in Ush Ghrab are futile without support
9 Apr 2009 - Palestinians opposing Jewish settlement in Ush Ghrab have shown courage but their efforts are futile without support The flat top of the small hill is deserted, as we walk among the gutted concrete buildings. The graffiti...

Brian Whitaker: Debate about religion and state must be revived
8 Apr 2009 - Debate about the relationship between religion and state has been stifled by history – and the influence of a colonising west Ninety years ago in Egypt a new political party was formed. The Secular party, as...

Seth Freedman: An event in Tel Aviv to highlight the plight of refugees was inspired by a Passover ritual
7 Apr 2009 - An event in Tel Aviv to highlight the plight of refugees inspired by a Passover ritual should remind the government of its duty Jewish tradition requires its followers not simply to remember the past, but also...

Sounds Jewish: Heavy metal Jews
6 Apr 2009 - Welcome to the April edition of Sounds Jewish. Joining me in the studio this month are Middle East analyst Hagai Segal and journalist Daniella Peled . As Bibi Netanyahu launches his new administration, what kind of prime...

Ha'aretz National page

Body of Israeli killed in Italy quake being flown to Israel Friday
8 Apr 2009 - The body of Hussein Hamada, the Israeli national killed in Monday's earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy, will be flown back to Israel for burial on Friday. ...

Russian-Jewish billionaire holds massive Passover seder in Eilat
8 Apr 2009 - In a Passover Seder fit for a tycoon, Russian-Jewish billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has booked an entire floor of an Eilat luxury hotel for his guests, a hotel insider has told Haaretz . ... 

U.S. school district settles suit filed by Muslim bullied over head scarf
8 Apr 2009 - RENO, Nevada (AP) - The Washoe County School District has agreed to pay ...

Interview / Amos Oz discusses his work as Israel marks his 70th birthday
7 Apr 2009 - Amos Oz is first mentioned in Haaretz in October 1961: "Preparations continue for the publication of a weekly political newspaper by very young members of [Labor Party precursor] Mapai belonging to a group that intends to formulate new ideology. The editorial offices are to be located in Jerusalem, managed by a small number of staff consisting of three to four members of the group. The candidate for deputy editor is Mr. Amos Oz of Kibbutz Hulda." ... 

Mazuz: I wish Olmert speedy recovery, but hearing mustn't be deferred
7 Apr 2009 - Attorney General Menachem Mazuz told the High Court Wednesday that there is no reason to postpone the first hearing into former prime minister Ehud Olmert's hearing over the Rishontours affair, scheduled to take place after the Pesach holiday. ...

Relief Web

OPT: WHO takes lead on health as UN tackles crises
9 Apr 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: Agricultural Projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - APIS report, Jan-Dec 2008
9 Apr 2009 - Source: Food and Agriculture Organization, Palestinian National Authority

OPT: Hamas-Fatah rift leaves Gaza patients stranded
9 Apr 2009 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks

OPT: PCHR condemns attack by Israeli settlers and soldiers on Kherbat Safa and warns of potential increase in attacks under new Israeli government
9 Apr 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report, 01 - 07 Apr 2009
9 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

OPT: Denmark contributes 20 million DKK (US$ 3.5M) to UNRWA's quick response plan for Gaza and the general fund
9 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 02 - 08 Apr 2009
9 Apr 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

OPT: Al Mezan Center releases a report on unlawful combatants
9 Apr 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

YNet News

Iran launches its first atom fuel production plant
9 Apr 2009 - (Video) President Ahmadinejad inaugurates country's first nuclear fuel production complex in Isfahan. 'Today Iran proved that its fuel cycle has been completed,' says top Tehran official, adding suspension of uranium enrichment not an option 

Miliband: UK worried about Jerusalem demolitions
9 Apr 2009 - British foreign secretary meets with Jordanian counterpart in Amman Thursday, tells press conference 'Jerusalem should be the capital of both the Palestinians and Israel' 

Sinn F?in leader: Gaza open-air prison
9 Apr 2009 - Irish Republican politician Gerry Adams meets Haniyeh in Strip to discuss relations with Israel

British terror raids follows security breach
9 Apr 2009 - Police arrest 12 people across north-west England in raids that were hastily rescheduled after top counter-terrorism officer photographed with confidential documents detailing operation. The Times reports planned to attack nightclub, shopping center complex in Manchester

Report: Hizbullah cell in Egypt smuggled arms into Gaza 
9 Apr 2009 - (Video) Egypt's public prosecutor investigating accusations that Lebanese Shiite group recruited 49-member cell with aim of striking inside Egypt. Al-Hayat: Cell smuggled arms into Gaza. Analyst says 'this will add some fuel to Egyptian-Iranian political confrontation' 

US to attend group nuclear talks with Iran
9 Apr 2009 - 'There is nothing more important than trying to convince Iran to cease its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon,' Clinton says. Ahmadinejad aide: We'll decide on offer after reviewing details 

Soldier shoots Palestinian who tried to snatch weapon
8 Apr 2009 - Man shot in stomach, transferred to Ramallah hospital in moderate condition after reportedly trying to snatch soldier's weapon near village of Hizma. Police, IDF remain on high alert during Passover


Israel and the Palestinians must assist the UN mission
5 Apr 2009 - B'Tselem welcomes the appointment of the jurist Richard Goldstone to head the fact-finding mission, called for by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate the recent fighting in Gaza. Particularly welcome is the delegation’s mandate, which covers viola

Palestinian kills a 16 year-old boy and injures a 7 year-old boy
1 Apr 2009 - B'Tselem strongly condemnss the killing of a 16 year-old boy and the injuring of a 7 year-old boy by a Palestinian in the settlement of Bat Ayin in the Bethlehem district. Deliberate attacks against civilians are immoral and illegal. Wilful killing of civ


OPT: Hamas-Fatah rift leaves Gaza patients stranded 
9 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY Thursday, April 09, 2009 (IRIN) - The rift between the two main Palestinian movements - Fatah which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas which controls Gaza - has impeded the availability of health care in Gaza, say officials. 

ISRAEL-OPT: Over 150,000 Gazans still without tap water 
9 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY Tuesday, April 07, 2009 (IRIN) - Over 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza (around 10 percent of the population) are struggling without tap water as a result of the damage caused to wells, pipes and waste water facilities during the recent 23-day Israeli offensive which ended on 18 January. 

Daily Star

Briton denies beating South African ex-girlfriend to death in Dubai 
9 Apr 2009 - A Briton denied in a Dubai court on Thursday beating his South African ex-girlfriend to death with a baseball bat, wrapping her body in a blanket, attaching weights and dumping it in the sea. Mark Arnold, 42, whose trial opened Thursday in the Gulf emirate, is accused of the premeditated murder of Kerry Winter, 36, last August.

Stranded pirates threaten life of hostage to hold off US warships 
9 Apr 2009 - Somali pirates defied international naval powers on Thursday to keep an American ship captain hostage on a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean after their first seizure of US citizens. The increasingly bold gunmen briefly hijacked the 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama freighter on Wednesday, but the 20 American crew retook control.

Iran declares major progress in nuclear drive 
9 Apr 2009 - Iran announced further progress in its nuclear program on Thursday in a move likely to arouse fresh Western concern a day after world powers said they would invite Tehran to direct talks on the row. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying Tehran was ready for negotiations if they were based on respect and justice, said Iran.

Threat of Israeli attack on Iran spurs debate in US 
9 Apr 2009 - A recent statement by the chief of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General David Petraeus, that Israel may decide to attack Iranian nuclear sites has been followed by indications of a debate within Barack Obama's administration on whether Israel's repeated threats to carry out such a strike should be used.

UK worried about Jerusalem home demolitions - FM 
9 Apr 2009 - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband expressed concern on Thursday at Israel's plans to demolish scores of Palestinian houses in Occupied East Jerusalem. "We view with real concern the proposed demolitions in east Jerusalem," Miliband told a joint news conference in Amman with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh.

Algerians vote in election seen as rigged to favor incumbent 
9 Apr 2009 - Algerians voted Thursday in a presidential election that is expected to give the incumbent Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika another five years to try to quell terrorism and reform the North African country's lackluster economy, which is heavily dependent on oil and gas.

Father of American detained in Iran demands that she be freed 
9 Apr 2009 - The father of a jailed American journalist charged by Iran with espionage called Thursday for his daughter's release and said he will not leave the country until she is freed. Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials.

Israeli group strives to commemorate Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948 
9 Apr 2009 - "Every time I come back here I cry," says Ramadan Farajallah as he contemplates the scattered ruins of the village he once called home. The 77-year-old fled to Gaza with his family 60 years ago. Today he holds Israeli citizenship, from his marriage to an Arab-Israeli woman, making him one of only a handful of former residents who can visit the village.

Palestinian Information Center

European campaign makes urgent appeal for saving impoverished Gaza people
9 Apr 2009 - The European campaign to lift the siege made an urgent appeal to all humanitarian organizations to save one and a half million Palestinians living in very difficult conditions in the besieged Gaza.

Ghusain: Dayton's training of PA forces proves their unpatriotic agenda
9 Apr 2009 - Ehab Al-Ghusain has asserted that the personal supervision of Keith Dayton over the training of the PA security forces in the West Bank proves the unpatriotic agenda of those forces.

Adams: Hamas should be part of any peace settlement
9 Apr 2009 - Gerry Adams, the leader of the Irish Sinn Fein party, has affirmed that the Palestinian people had a right to live in an independent and viable state.

Khatib: Thousands of Jews plan to attack the Aqsa Mosque Thursday
9 Apr 2009 - Sheikh Kamal Khatib warned that about 50,000 Jews gathered at dawn Wednesday at the Buraq courtyard and decided to organize a massive march towards the Aqsa Mosque and storm it on Thursday.

Arab League charges Israel with trying to conceal its crimes in Gaza
9 Apr 2009 - The Arab League on Thursday issued a statement on the 61st anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre charging that Israel was trying to conceal its crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Barhoum: Hamas does not recruit individuals outside Palestine
9 Apr 2009 - Hamas has denied any knowledge of a cell captured in Egypt for recruiting individuals to channel assistance and money to Hamas in the Gaza Strip in addition to planning hostile attacks in Egypt.

Bardawil: The meetings with Fatah aimed at creating a state of social peace
9 Apr 2009 - Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil stated that the continuity of meetings with Fatah is aimed at creating a state of social peace as a prelude to achieving a state of national harmony.

Report: 1,600 Palestinian patients in Israeli jails
9 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners reported that the number of Palestinian patients imprisoned in Israeli jails amounted to 1,600 prisoners, 16 of them suffer from cancer.

IOF soldiers manning roadblock shoot, wound Palestinian
9 Apr 2009 - An Israeli soldier manning a roadblock near the village of Hazma northeast of occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday evening shot at and wounded a Palestinian citizen, the Hebrew radio reported.

Jewish settler terrorists rampage at Arab village, casualties reported
9 Apr 2009 - Religious Jewish terrorists on Wednesday attacked a small Arab village north of al-Khalil (Hebron), shooting randomly on civilians and vandalizing homes and businesses.

Los Angeles Times

Iran announces new achievements in nuclear program 
9 Apr 2009 - Iran is testing two kinds of centrifuges with greater capacity to enrich uranium and now has about 7,000 centrifuges at one site, officials say at the launch of a nuclear fuel production plant. Iran announced fresh advances in its steady drive to master nuclear technology today, trumpeting a new set of devices to enrich uranium and inaugurating a plant to produce fuel pellets for a heavy-water reactor. 

U.S. to join group negotiating with Iran 
9 Apr 2009 - The decision by the Obama administration on addressing nuclear concerns breaks with Bush policy, which had largely sought to isolate Tehran. The U.S. doesn't rule out bilateral talks. The Obama administration said Wednesday that it will for the first time become a regular participant in group negotiations aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, another signal of its eagerness for talks with the Islamic Republic. 

Israel celebrates blessing of the sun 
9 Apr 2009 - Jews come together at events marking Birkat Hachamah, which celebrates the sun's return to what the Talmud says is the exact position it occupied at the time of Creation. Our attire was about as casual as it can get for a religious celebration. 

Iran charges imprisoned journalist with spying 
9 Apr 2009 - Roxana Saberi, who has dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship, was arrested in January. A prosecutor says Saberi admitted being a spy. Her lawyer is unsure about basic details of the case. An Iranian American journalist has been charged with espionage by Iran's security court, judicial officials and her lawyer said Wednesday. 

New York Times

The Lede: Clinton Calls for Iran to Release American Reporter Charged With Spying
8 Apr 2009 - Iranian news sources and Reuters report on Wednesday that an American woman, Roxana Saberi, who was detained in Tehran in January, has been charged with espionage. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Israel: Success in Antimissile Test
8 Apr 2009 - The Arrow II antimissile system is designed to defend against a possible ballistic missile attack by Iran or other countries. 

Police Kill Palestinian Motorist Who Injured Them at Roadblock
7 Apr 2009 - The attack occurred while the government demolished a Palestinian home less than a mile away. 


Electronic Intifada
Israel's Arab students cross to Jordan
9 Apr 2009 - Obstacles to Israel's Arab minority (Palestinian citizens of Israel) participating in higher education have resulted in a record number of Arab students taking up places at universities in neighboring Jordan, a new report reveals. Jonathan Cook reports. 

More than 150,000 Gazans still without tap water
8 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Over 150,000 Palestinians in Gaza (around 10 percent of the population) are struggling without tap water as a result of the damage caused to wells, pipes and waste water facilities during the recent 22-day Israeli offensive that ended on 18 January. 

Palestinian governments responsible for lives of Gaza patients 
8 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights calls upon the ministries of health in Ramallah and Gaza to take immediate steps, including the cancellation of all decisions that have led to halting the transfer of Gazan patients to hospitals outside the Gaza Strip, to ensure access of those patients to medical treatment. 

In Gaza, farming under fire
7 Apr 2009 - KHAN YOUNIS, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - "They're always shooting at us. Every day they shoot at us," says Alaa Samour, 19, pulling aside his shirt to show a scar on his shoulder. Samour said he was shot on 28 December last year by Israeli soldiers positioned along the border fence near New Abassan village, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza
Lost in the Buffer Zone
6 Apr 2009 - KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza, Apr 6 (IPS) - “They’re always shooting at us. Every day they shoot at us,” says Alaa Samour (19) , pulling aside his shirt to show a scar on his shoulder. Samour said he was shot on Dec. 28 last year by Israeli soldiers positioned along the border fence near New Abassan village, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. “We were cutting parsley like we do almost every day, and the soldiers began shooting. We started crawling away. When I got out of the line of fire I realised my shoulder was bleeding and that I had been shot.” A month later, out...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel Investigated, But Will It Repent?
9 Apr 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Any variation of the words 'Palestine' and 'massacre' are sure to yield millions of results on major search engines on the World Wide Web. These results are largely in reference to hundreds of different dates and events in which numerous Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army or settlers. But references to massacres of similar nature precede the state of Israel itself, whose establishment was secured through the ever-expanding agenda of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. Throughout its history, this bloodletting project has been carried out for once specific purpose, that being the illegal acquirement of land and the suppression or extermination of those who dare to resist. Israel has denied almost every massacre it has committed. Those too obvious to deny, were “investigated” by Israel itself, which predictably, mostly found its soldiers “not guilty” or culpable of minor misconduct. Israeli “investigations” served the dual purpose of helping Israelis retain their sense of moral superiority, and sending a highly touted message to international media of Israeli democracy at work and the independence of the country’s judiciary. With the Gaza tragedy of December 2008-January 2009 being the latest in the ever growing list of Palestinian massacres, little seems to have changed the way Israel views its action, with the full approval of the US and the half hearted position of much of the international community. Nonetheless, on April 3, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Richard Goldstone, a South-African Jewish judge to further investigate what the council had already...

Israel's Arab Students Are Crossing to Jordan
9 Apr 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Obstacles to Israel's Arab minority participating in higher education have resulted in a record number of Arab students taking up places at universities in neighboring Jordan, a new report reveals. Figures compiled by Dirasat, a Nazareth-based organization monitoring education issues, show 5,400 Arab students from Israel are at Jordanian universities -- half the number of Arabs studying in Israel itself. Despite the fact that most Israeli Arab students in Jordan interviewed by the researchers expressed a preference to attend university in Israel, the numbers heading to Jordan have grown four-fold since 2004. College-age Arabs, representing nearly one-quarter of their age group in Israel, are heavily under-represented in Israeli higher education, at about eight per cent of the student intake, according to official statistics. Of those Israelis who pass their matriculation exams, three times as many Jews as Arabs are accepted into Israeli universities. “Our findings should raise serious questions about the hurdles that have been put in the way of Arab students that make them feel they have no choice but to study abroad,” said Yousef Jabareen, a law professor at Haifa University and head of Dirasat. Typical of the new exodus is Haneen Bader, 23, from the village of Turan in the Lower Galilee, who is in her third year studying Islamic jurisprudence at Jordan University in the capital, Amman. Dirasat’s researchers were surprised to find that nearly one-third of all Israeli Arab students in Jordan are women. “We live in a patriarchal society...

Gaza Fact-Finding Mission Report Published
9 Apr 2009 - By Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Independent fact-finding mission of medical experts commissioned by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) published today (April 6) its special report on the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, 27.12.2008 18.01.2009. In their report, the experts detail 44 testimonies by civilians who came under attack and by medical staff who were prevented from evacuating the wounded. The report provides first-hand evidence regarding the broader effects of the attacks on a civilian population that was already vulnerable on the eve of the offensive. The experts collected samples of human tissue earth, water, grass and mud suspected to be contaminated by unidentified chemicals. These were sent by the team to laboratories in the UK and South Africa for analysis. During the military operation in January, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel called for an external independent investigation into the events, for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip and for the opening of the Crossings. Five independent experts in the fields of forensic medicine, burns, medical response to crises and public health, from Germany, Denmark, South Africa and Spain, immediately answered the call and traveled to Gaza between 29 January and 5 February 2009 for their first fact-finding investigation, and then to hospitals in Egypt, where some of the most seriously wounded were being treated. The medical experts are: Professor Jorgen Thomsen from Denmark, expert in Forensic pathology; Dr. Ralf Syring from Germany, an expert in Public Health in crisis regions; Professor Shabbir Ahmed Wadee...

Will Obama Vacate Iraq?
9 Apr 2009 - By Nasir Khan On February 27, 2009 President Barack Obama delivered his much-anticipated policy speech on Iraq. The important point in his announcement was the withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010. However, it did not mean an end to the American occupation of Iraq, or an end to an illegal genocidal war that the Bush-Cheney administration had started. Despite his high-blown rhetoric about withdrawing from Iraq, Obama did not deal with many important questions. Thus what was not said cannot be regarded as an oversight but rather as an indication of how the new administration intends to pursue its policy objectives. Those who had wished to see a break by the new administration with the Bush-Cheney administration’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned because they detect the continuation of the goal of the U.S. domination, which American administrations usually refer to as the ‘U.S. interests’ in the region. At present the U.S. has 142,000 combat troops in Iraq. But what is often glossed over is the fact that there is almost a parallel army of American mercenaries and private military contractors whose numbers range from 100,000 to 150,000. Thus both the regular fighting force and these mercenaries are virtual foreign occupiers. However, the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops will not amount to ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Obama wants to keep more than 50,000 occupying troops in Iraq. His innovation, if we can call it so, lies in classifying them as ‘non-combat’ troops...