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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
14 April, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Egypt, Israel, boost military presence on borders
15 Apr 2009 - As tension mounts between Egypt and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party over alleged Hezbollah plans to carry attacks against Israelis touring Egypt, and the arrests conducted by Egypt against those who are believed to be planning the attacks, Egyptian security forces boosted their presence on borders with Israel and Gaza, while Israel did the same on its side. 

Israeli police order two Palestinian families to leave their homes in East Jerusalem
14 Apr 2009 - The Israeli police today ordered two Palestinian families to leave their homes located in Shikh Jarah neighborhood near Jerusalem's old city. 

The Israeli police hands over the body of a Palestinian youth they killed last week in Jerusalem
14 Apr 2009 - Israeli police released the body of a Palestinian youth to his family on Tuesday, allowing no more than immediate family to take part in his funeral. 

23 civilians kidnapped by army in West Bank
14 Apr 2009 - A total of 23 Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by the Israeli military following invasions which targeted a number of West Bank communities on Tuesday morning.

Lebanon arrests retired security officer who spied for Israel for over 10 years
14 Apr 2009 - The Lebanese internal security services stated on Tuesday that it had arrested a retired security officer, from Ramish town in southern Lebanon, on suspicion that he had acted as a spy spy for Israel for more than ten years. 

Egyptian security forces destroys six tunnels along Gaza border
14 Apr 2009 - Egyptian sources reported that Egyptian security forces located and destroyed six tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip. 

Egyptian paper: “prisoner confesses Hezbollah planned attacks in Egypt”
14 Apr 2009 - Mohammad Yousef Shihab, one of the alleged Hezbollah members captured in Egypt, admitted that Hezbollah was planning a series of attacks targeting the Egyptian internal security forces and Israeli tourists in Egypt, the Egyptian daily and Al Ahram reported. 

Israel and the US to hold a massive drill to test ballistic missiles
14 Apr 2009 - Israel and the United States are expected later this year to conduct a massive joint test of a number of ballistic missile systems including interceptor missiles, the Jerusalem Post reports. 

Abbas makes a surprise visit to Irbil
14 Apr 2009 - An official source, from the government of the Kurdish region in Iraq, reported on Monday that the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, made a surprise visit to Erbil city, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. 

Troops kidnap eight Palestinian youths near Nablus
14 Apr 2009 - Eight Palestinian youths were kidnapped and taken to an unknown location following a dawn raid by Israeli soldiers on  Madama village, South of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. 

Egyptian border guard killed near border area
14 Apr 2009 - Egyptian security sources reported on Monday that an Egyptian border guard was shot and killed while patrolling the border with Israel. 

Undercover forces kidnap two residents near Hebron
14 Apr 2009 - Undercover forces of the Israeli army kidnapped on Monday evening two residents after ambushing their vehicle at the entrance of Ithna village, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Egypt fears Hezbollah bid to infiltrate Israel from Sinai
14 Apr 2009 - Egypt boosts security on Israel border; report: Hezbollah targeted 3 Israeli tourist spots in Sinai. 

Fatah, Hamas to resume unity talks on April 23
14 Apr 2009 - Chief Fatah negotiator: Egyptian mediators want moderate Abbas of Fatah to form government. 

Iran plans to launch new satellite into orbit
14 Apr 2009 - Ahmadinejad: This one will go higher than the previous satellite; official news agency gives no details about when the launch will happen. 

Top Lebanese ex-officer admits to spying for Israel
14 Apr 2009 - Beirut-based newspapers report former officer headed spy ring that passed information to Israel. 

U.S. to provide Lebanon with unmanned drones
14 Apr 2009 - Washington hopes a strengthened Lebanese military could be a counter to Hezbollah's weapons. 

PA police uncover arms lab in West Bank mosque
14 Apr 2009 - Forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claim lab part of effort to topple his regime. 

IDF troops arrest Syrian who crossed into Golan Heights
14 Apr 2009 - Israel Radio says man infiltrated the border fence by tunneling beneath it. 

Hamas agrees to probe deaths of alleged Israel collaborators
13 Apr 2009 - At least four suspected collaborators and five others killed while in custody of Gaza's 'Internal Security.' 

Ma'an News

US, Israel to conduct joint missile test 
4/14/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US and Israel plan to execute an unprecedented joint ballistic missile test later this year, an Israeli newspaper reported on Tuesday. The Jerusalem Post, quoting Israeli military sources, reported that the Israeli Air Force, the US Missile Defense Agency and the US Military's European Command have held this exercise each of the last five years. The upcoming test will be the most “complex and extensive yet,” the paper reported. The American X-Band Radar system in Israel’s Negev desert, along with the THAAD and Aegis missiles will be tested in the exercise. The United States deployed X-Band Radar in Israel last year in the first permanent American military deployment in Israel. Last week Israel tested the “Arrow” missile defense system, which is designed to shoot down an Iranian missile. 

Israeli forces seize eight Palestinian youths in raid south of Nablus 
4/14/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized eight young Palestinians, including six who are studying for their college entrance exams, during a raid on the West Bank village of Madama, south of Nablus on Tuesday morning. According to a member of the local municipal council Hassan Ziyadah, more than a dozen Israeli military vehicles invaded the village at midnight. Israeli soldiers stormed and searched a number of houses before withdrawing later in the morning with the eight detainees in custody. Ziyadah identified the detainees as: Mohammad Ziyadah, 21, Ahmad Ziyadah, 18, Qassem Nassar, 22, Taher Al-Qit, 18, Mujahid Al-Qit, 22, Ahmad Al-Qit, 16, and Waheed Ziyadah, 17, and Asad Al-Qit, 17. Israeli forces had aslo closed the northern road into to the village on Monday for some hours. 

Gaza: Heavy shelling along northern coast 
4/14/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli warships fired heavily at Palestinian fishing boats in the As-Sudaniyah area of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning. Witnesses reported that the gunships launched intense barrages of shells and missiles off the As-Sudaniya shore, causing explosions that could be heard in nearby Gaza City. No injuries were reported, according to head of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza Muawiyya Hassanein. Israeli gunboats fire on Gazan fisherman daily, barring them from fishing more than a few hundred meters from shore. Gaza’s fishing industry has all but collapsed because of the naval blockade. On Monday the Israeli Navy shelled a small fishing boat that it said was laden with explosives. No one was injured in that incident, which Israel claimed was a planned attack on its forces. 

PA: ‘Economic peace’ irrelevant to Palestinians 
4/14/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Ahmad Qurei, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s negotiating team, called on the international community on Tuesday to intervene and restore the ‘political track’ of the peace process with Israel. Qurei was responding to suggestions by Israel’s right-wing new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that Israel will only negotiate on economic and security arrangements, refusing to allow the creation of a Palestinian state. “’Economic peace is totally irrelevant to Palestinians,’ he said in remarks circulated following a meeting with the UN’s top envoy for Middle East peace, Robert Serry, at Qurei’s office in Abu Dis, East Jerusalem. Commenting on the US’ role in the peace process, Qurei said, “[President Barack] Obama has taken good steps regarding this and we hope that he will take more firm and practical steps.

Palestinian Agriculture Ministry: Gaza fishing boat was not booby-trapped 
4/14/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian Agriculture Ministry in Gaza slammed Israeli allegations that Palestinians attempted to attack an Israeli warship using an explosive-laden fishing boat on Monday morning. The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Israel’s account of Monday’s events was a “trumped up story aimed at escalating aggression against fishermen” and “an excuse for piracy and destruction. ”The Agriculture Ministry said it spoke with eyewitnesses who swore the boat contained no explosives, and that it exploded only when an Israeli warship shelled it. Israeli military Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi maintained the Israeli version of events saying, “The fishing boat that was identified this morning by Israel Navy boats was booby-trapped with hundreds of kilograms of explosives. " “We assume that this was an attempt to attack one of the Israel Navy boats, an. . . 

Prices of goods, especially food, soaring in Palestinian territories; Gaza worst affected 
4/14/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Palestinian areas rose by 1. 05% in March, with food prices rising at the highest rate with the steepest rise in the Gaza Strip, a study by the Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) revealed Tuesday. Palestine’s CPI rose to 122. 82, using the price of goods in 2004 as a baseline (2004=100). This is an increase of 3. 48% compared with March 2008The CPI is a measure of the price of a list of consumer goods, food, medical care, and other services, meant to represent the purchases of the average consumer. In the Palestinian territories, the price of food and soft drinks rose by 1. 84% in March alone. Food and soft drinks + 1. 84%Textiles, clothing and footwear + 0. 07%Housing + 1. 05%Alcohol and tobacco: + 0. 56%Restaurants and cafes + 0. 

Israeli forces raid four villages near Jenin, detaining one 
4/14/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized one Palestinian man from a village near Jenin and raided houses in at least three other villages in the northernmost regions of the West Bank Tuesday. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an’s correspondent in Jenin that Israeli soldiers detained Muhammad Rajeh Bazzur, 27, during a raid on his house near the Israeli separation wall in the village of Al-Matalleh. According to the same sources, Israeli soldiers raided the villages of Jalqamus, Deir Abu Da’if and Al-Mughayyir, storming houses and forcing sleeping residents into the street. Witnesses said the Israeli forces left the area at dawn. [end] 

Jerusalem: Israel limits attendance for funeral of Palestinian motorist shot dead by police 
4/14/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities allowed just 15 people to attend the funeral of a 20-year-old Palestinian man on Tuesday who was shot dead by Israeli border police last week near where Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian house. Iyad Uweisat’s family said they only received the body of their son Tuesday morning. Israeli police held the corpse since the shooting one week ago. Police searched the 15 family members allowed to attend the funeral and then escorted them to the cemetery. Israel also rejected a request to defer the burial until Wednesday so that other relatives could attend. The police said Uweisat attempted to run down officers who were staffing a checkpoint in the village of Sur Bahir; that morning Israeli forces demolished the house of a Palestinian construction worker, Husam Taysir Dwayat, who was shot dead after he went on a bulldozer rampage in Jerusalem last summer, killing three Israelis. 

Israeli soldiers seize PA intelligence officer, two others in Nablus area 
4/14/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli troops seized a Palestinian Authority intelligence offer from the village of Qusin and two other locals at the At-Tur checkpoint south of Nablus on Tuesday morning. According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli soldiers took 40-year-old intelligence officer Samer Abed Rabbo Al-Baz from his home. Two young men were detained at dawn when they arrived at the At-Tur checkpoint, which separates Nablus from villages to the south. The detainees were identified as Murad Atef Ash-Shuroki, 19, from the Araq At-Tayeh area and Baha Shaqara, 20, from the Askar area east of Nablus. Also on Tuesday morning, Israeli forces seized eight Palestinian youths, including six students, from the village of Madama, south of Nablus. 

Israel blocks fuel shipments to Gaza 
4/14/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel barred deliveries fuel from the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning while opening two crossing points for deliveries of food and humanitarian supplies. Chair of the Gaza Committee for the Entry of Goods Raed Fattuh said Israel closed the Nahal Oz fuel terminal on Tuesday, effectively shutting off fuel supply to the Strip. . According to Fattuh, Israel did open the Kerem Shalom crossing, allowing 80 truckloads of food and other supplies sent by the United Nations and other organizations. The supplies allowed into Gaza on Tuesday include: dairy products, frozen meat, flour, grains, sugar, rice, spaghetti, cooking oil, diapers, toilet paper and blankets. The Karni crossing was also open for 30 truckloads of wheat and animal feed. On Monday Israel allowed a shipment of 130 tons of cooking gas and 450,000 liters of industrial-grade diesel supplied by the European Union for Gaza’s sole power plant. 

Erekat: Israeli rejection of Palestinian state is a rejection of negotiations 
4/14/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an – Israel’s refusal to commit to the creation of a Palestinian state amounts to a rejection of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, said top negotiator Saeb Erekat on Tuesday. Erekat, the head of the Negotiations Affairs Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said that “Israel has to make a choice between continued occupation and abiding by its obligations. ”Erekat was speaking during a meeting with the Belgian Consul General in Jerusalem, Leo Peters, at Erekats office in the West Bank city of Jericho. Commenting on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ surprise visit to Iraqi Kurdistan which began on Monday, Erekat said that the trip was part of efforts to resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees in Iraq. Abbas also visited Baghdad earlier this month as a part of this effort. 

Israeli forces detain unarmed Syrian in northern Golan Heights 
4/14/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military detained a Syrian citizen who crossed the ceasefire line into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday. According to Israeli news reports, the Syrian was unarmed and was taken for interrogation. According to reports the man entered Israel via a tunnel. Initial information from the interrogation said the man's motive was "unclear" but appeared not to be "violent. " ***Updated 16:16 Bethlehem time[end] 

Israeli soldiers seize four Palestinians from Safa, days after settler clashes 
4/14/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized four brothers from the West Bank village of Safa, where settler attacks sparked clashes with Israeli forces last week. According to Ma’an’s correspondent in the nearby city of Hebron, 14 Israeli military vehicles invaded Safa. Soldiers conduced house-to-house searches before seizing Ahmad Ibrahim At-Teet, 35, and his brothers; Muhammad, 32, Moussa, 24, and Ma’moun, 22, and Hassan Ibrahim Qouqas, 32. Another member of the same family, Samih At-Teet, 37, had been seized by undercover Israeli forces from a neighboring village on Monday evening. Samih At-Teet and Ashraf Bahjat were released late on Monday evening. Last Thursday, armed Israeli settlers attacked Safa, provoking clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians, Israeli soldiers and settlers. The invading settlers came from the nearby settlement of Bat Ayin, where earlier. . . 

PA: Palestinian faction linked to Qalqiliya mosque explosives lab 
4/14/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Details of a 12 April police raid on an explosives lab in a Qalqiliya mosque were brought to light during a press conference Tuesday in Ramallah where police said the bust also revealed information about a 2003 murder. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Authority Security Services Adnan Dmeiri described the mosque raid as a factional incident that is “not unprecedented,” but would not tie the investigation with any political group as yet. He explained that the explosives laboratory was uncovered when an electrical short caused the Ayyoub Al-Ansari Mosque in Kafr Saba in Qalqiliya to catch fire. Emergency crews extinguishing the fire discovered explosives and assembly material in the basement of the mosque, as well as a constructed explosive device weighing 17 kilograms. Eight suspects were arrested the night of the fire and, according to Dmeiri, all admitted to involvement in the matter. 

Islamic Jihad calls for dialogue; says no support for Fatah-based transitional government 
4/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Islamic Jihad called on rival factions to re-affirm their commitments to national conciliation during a Monday meeting with Fatah delegates in the Gaza Strip. Member of the Fatah Central Committee Abdullah Al-Ifranji and his colleague, President of the Gaza Development and Reconstruction Committee Marwan Abdel Hamid entered Gaza last week on orders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The mission is said to be a complimentary one to the Cairo talks. Addressing the Hamas-Fatah dialogue, Islamic Jihad official based in Gaza Khaled Al-Batsh said "The two movements have to commit themselves to the dialogue to settle the political crisis. ”According to several news outlets Al-Batsh said his movement will support Hamas in refusing a unity government "being formed according to international conditions and orders. 

Palestinian Ministers condemn settler action at Al-Aqsa 
4/14/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian cabinet held its weekly session on Tuesday focusing on Israeli settlers attempts to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The cabinet condemned settlers’ assaults asserting that they reflect Israeli official support to a process they called “Judaization of Jerusalem”. “Such provocative acts reflect official support by Israeli authorities to judaization of Jerusalem through changing its nature, religious, cultural and political identity. This is a completion of Israeli plans to surround Jerusalem with settlements from inside and outside, to tighten grip on the city and displace its residents,” the Palestinian cabinet argued. Such procedures, according to Palestinian cabinet, are attempts to divide the Al-Aqsa compound and impose a de facto as what they have already done in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in the southern West Bank. 

Arab Foreign Ministers affirm committment to Arab Peace Plan in face of new Israeli leaders 
4/14/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Arab leaders will continue to back the Arab Peace Plan as a solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was the decision of the meeting of seven Arab Foreign Ministers and Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa. Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki notified members of the Palestinian Cabinet of the details of the decision Tuesday during the Cabinet meeting in Ramallah. Al-Maliki, and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia were in Amman last week in an effort to discuss the position of the leaders towards the new right-wing Israeli government. [end] 

Israeli police may consider preventing settlers from praying in Al-Aqsa 
4/14/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israeli police have warned against demonstrations against a planned settler march ending in Al-Aqsa Mosque where prayers will be performed, sources said Tuesday. Settlers have said they intend to enter and pray in the Haram Ash-Sharif compound where the Al-Aqsa Mosque sits on Thursday. Israeli police also handed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s Consult for Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abdul Qader an official warning that accused him of intending to create a public disturbance by gathering Palestinians to demonstrate against a planned settler march. Police saidAbdul Qader was planning a campaign “of incitement” whose planned actions would “enflame the situations in Jerusalem” and said he would be held accountable for any mishaps. Abdul Qader responded to the warning by issuing a statement saying the warnings should rather be sent out to the settlers. 

Human Rights Watch urges Israel, Palestinians to comply with UN Gaza investigation 
4/14/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The New York-based organization Human Rights Watch Israel and the Palestinians to comply with an upcoming UN-backed investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the recent war in Gaza. Human Rights Watch sent letters to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and 27 European Union foreign ministers calling on them to endorse the investigation by Jewish South African Judge Richard Goldstone. Goldstone was tasked by the UN Human Rights council on 3 April with heading an investigation into the alleged abuses in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s military offensive on Gaza in December and January left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead. Goldstone, a Jewish South African judge, is the former chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and a member of the Human Rights Watch board. 

Palestine Telegraph

Israel works on kicking Palestinians out of Jerusalem
13 Apr 2009 - Gaza Strip, April 13th, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli attacks on Jerusalem and Palestinian civilians saw a horrific increase this month. Many Palestinians were injured, dozens jailed and others lost their houses.

Israel bombs fishing boat in Gaza
13 Apr 2009 - Gaza Strip, April 13th, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - The Israeli army announced that a Palestinian fishing boat in Gaza northern shore was prepared to attack Israeli naval forces. The boat was bombed by Israeli gunboats besieging Gaza.


Iran 'welcomes' nuclear talks
13 Apr 2009 - Tehran open to 'co-operation' with concerned nations, Iranian nuclear negotiator says.

Egypt hunts 'Hezbollah agents'
13 Apr 2009 - Police search for 10 men Cairo accuses of plotting attacks.

Netanyahu pledges Palestinian talks
12 Apr 2009 - Israel's new PM says he 'intends to resume' negotiations with Palestinians.

Hezbollah denies Egypt accusations
10 Apr 2009 - Nasrallah says arrests in Egypt are aimed at turning people against the movement.


OPT: Hamas-Fatah rift leaves Gaza patients stranded 
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 
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. 

Inter Press Service

Q&A: 'Ignore Jerusalem, At Everyone's Peril' 
JERUSALEM, Apr 13 (IPS) - A new spate of demolitions of Palestinian homes by the Israeli authorities near Jerusalem's walled Old City, plus resuscitated plans for a new major Jewish settlement building project on the outskirts of occupied East Jerusalem, threaten to spark fresh tension between Israelis and Palestinians.

U.S.: Early Friction with New Israeli Govt 
WASHINGTON, Apr 11 (IPS) - If the past week was any indication, the U.S.-Israeli relationship, which could scarcely have been smoother during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush, appears headed for choppy waters.

IRAQ: Virtual Therapy Treats Real Agony 
BERLIN, Apr 10 (IPS) - "Oh, dear Lord, what I am going through," 'N', a 25-year-old Iraqi from Baghdad wrote several months ago. "Am I going to see my family again? Sometimes, I even see my own dead body, lying somewhere. And I imagine the pain my death would cause...

ISRAEL-PALESTINE: One-State Supporters Make a Comeback 
WASHINGTON, Apr 10 (IPS) - President Barack Obama has spoken out forcefully - including this week, in Ankara, Turkey - in favour of building an independent Palestinian state alongside a still robust Israel. However, many Palestinians have noted that President George W. Bush also, in recent years, expressed a commitment...

Stop The Wall

New checkpoint another obstacle for isolated residents in ‘Azzun 'Atma
14 Apr 2009 - The siege on 75 isolated villagers of ‘Azzun 'Atma has tightened in the past weeks, and permit restrictions continue to make life difficult for children, business owners and workers. Occupation forces appear to be expanding the checkpoint that the isolated residents must pass through to reach their village, indicating that movement restrictions will tighten further. [

Youth break through the Wall in Jayyus
13 Apr 2009 - Last night youth from the village of Jayyus broke through the Wall in the village. A small group then proceeded to the site where the new path is being constructed, destroying and setting fire to building materials. Occupation forces responded by raiding the village, where they remained into the early hours of the morning. [

PCHR Latest

Military Court in Gaza Sentences 4 Palestinians to death

In Spite of Persistent Efforts to the Solve the Problem of Access to Medical Treatment Outside the Gaza Strip

PCHR Weekly Report

(02 -08 April  2008)
14 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

Testimonies of abducted Gazan fishermen: Fishing Under Fire
ISM - 4/14/2009 - ISM Gaza - 13 April 2009 - These testimonies were given to ISM Gaza Strip volunteers on April 9th 2009: Izhaq Mohammed Zayed, 46: Arbitrary fishing zones in Gaza -- On Monday 6th April 2009, Izhaq Zayed was with his son, Rassim, in a hassaka (small fishing boat) off the coast of Beit Lahia, northern Gaza. Izhaq was feeling unwell and asked Rassim to take him back to shore to go to hospital. Around the same time, an Israeli naval zodiac approached them and a soldier shot in the air. Rassim told the Israelis that his father was ill and needed to go to hospital, but they refused to let them go. An officer ordered a soldier to shoot at the boat and the soldier fired about 20 shots in close range. Rassim told them, "If something happens to my father you are responsible. Either let me take him to the hospital or you take him. "The Israelis ordered them to go west, further out to sea. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Republican Jews condemn U.S. lack of clarity over Durban II
14 Apr 2009 - The Republican Jewish Coalition today called on President Obama to end the guessing game about whether the administration will follow through on its pledge not to participate in the United Nations' controversial World Conference Against Racism next week in Geneva. ...

Damascus, 1840: Inception of the blood libel in the Arab world
14 Apr 2009 - When he met Pope John Paul II in 2001, Syrian president Bashar Assad surprised the pontiff when he said of the Jews, "They try to kill all the principles of divine faiths with the same mentality of betraying Jesus Christ and torturing him, and in the same way that they tried to commit treachery against the Prophet Muhammad." ... 

U.S. federal court halts Demjanjuk deportation
13 Apr 2009 - A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted a stay of deportation to Germany for accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk. ...

Iran complains to UN about Israeli 'threats'
13 Apr 2009 - Iran on Tuesday urged the United Nations to respond firmly to what it described as Israel's "unlawful and insolent threats" to launch an attack on Tehran's nuclear installations. ...

Report: U.S. to drop key condition in Iran nuclear talks
13 Apr 2009 - The Obama administration and its European allies are considering dropping a long-standing U.S. demand that Iran immediately shut down its nuclear facilities if it enters talks over its atomic program, The New York Times reported on Monday on its website. ...

The Guardian

According to Tony Blair, Binyamin Netanyahu will build a Palestinian nation 'from the bottom up'
14 Apr 2009 - Against all the evidence, Tony Blair claims that Binyamin Netanyahu will build a Palestinian nation 'from the bottom up' Tony Blair, who now serves as the Middle East Quartet 's envoy, has told Time magazine he...

Seth Freedman: Those shocked by T-shirts worn by Israeli forces should be equally outraged by a new Palestinian T-shirt
14 Apr 2009 - Those shocked by Israeli army T-shirts should be equally upset by a Palestinian T-shirt that suggests firing rockets is acceptable The back cover of the latest issue of Red Pepper magazine is devoted to a full-page...

From the archive: Big convoy battle in Jerusalem
14 Apr 2009 - Jerusalem, April 13 British army two-pounders went into action to-day against strong forces of Arabs who were slowly destroying a Jewish convoy on the slopes of Mount Scopus, Jerusalem. The British then forced a truce with...

Barack Obama to drop uranium precondition for Iran nuclear talks
14 Apr 2009 - • End of precondition a major policy shift • Concession means Iran can continue uranium enrichment • Concern grows over unilateral action by Israel The US and Europe are preparing to make a major concession to...

Ha'aretz National page

How the Netanyahu brand beat Livni to the PM's office
13 Apr 2009 - They struggled against each other for months, trying to win more and more votes for their own candidates. They came up with complicated statistical formulas and paid close attention to focus groups while fashioning the perfect message that would lure undecided voters. Their recommendations served as a basis for various strategies that eventually led to the recent election's complex outcome: Kadima with 28 mandates and Likud with just 27, but with a government headed by its chairman, Benjamin Netanyahu. Two months after the election, the political strategists who advised Netanyahu and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni met for a joint interview with Haaretz. ... 

Introducing Israel's newest TV star: President Shimon Peres
13 Apr 2009 - President Shimon Peres will become Israel's newest TV star this week when he launches his debut as the host of a new television show. ...

Chabad goes online to teach emissary kids across the world
13 Apr 2009 - Hundreds of children and teachers from all over the world come to this school every morning. After entering the building, they proceed down a long corridor from which girls split into one classroom and boys into another. ... 

Ousted top cop sent to U.S. as police representative 
13 Apr 2009 - Former Southern District chief Uri Bar-Lev will not be dismissed from the Israel Police: He will be its next representative in the United States. This decision by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch is widely viewed as a slight to police chief David Cohen, who was vehemently opposed to the appointment. ... 

Israeli thieves target fisheries to make Pesach gefilte fish
13 Apr 2009 - Just as sheep and calf thefts spike before Ramadan, holiday sees a rise in thefts of sheep and calves, the seder and intermediate days of Passover bring a spike in thefts of tilapia and carp for gefilte fish. ... 

Relief Web

The role of UNRWA and the Palestine refugees
14 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: ActionAid rebuilds lives in Gaza
14 Apr 2009 - Source: ActionAid

OPT/Gaza: Hamas and Israeli military respond to Reporters Without Borders report on Operation Cast Lead
14 Apr 2009 - Source: Reporters sans Frontières

OPT/Gaza: Operation "Cast lead" - News control as a military objective
14 Apr 2009 - Source: Reporters sans Frontières

Audit of USAID's office of Middle East programs
13 Apr 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

OPT: Israeli soldiers and settlers continued their attacks on PRCS medical teams during its humanitarian mission
13 Apr 2009 - Source: Palestine Red Crescent Society

La Banque aide des millions de personnes touchées par la crise
13 Apr 2009 - Source: World Bank

Filling the need: Global Food Response Program
13 Apr 2009 - Source: World Bank

YNet News

Report: US set to boycott Durban II 
14 Apr 2009 - Obama administration appears to be standing by decision not to attend next weeks' World Conference against Racism in Geneva, Washington Post reports, despite efforts to focus and tone down language in draft document viewed as hostile toward Israel 

Egypt boosts security on border with Israel 
14 Apr 2009 - Number of security patrols increased along Israel-Egypt border, police checkpoints reinforced to prevent illegal crossings after Cairo detained group allegedly linked to Hizbullah, Egyptian defense sources say 

Displaced Christians want pope to help them return
14 Apr 2009 - Residents of northern village of Biram that was destroyed decades ago send letter to Vatican ambassador in Jerusalem in hopes of having Benedict XVI use his diplomatic weight on Israeli officials to have village resettled

Moratinos: We won't let Netanyahu evade peace process 
14 Apr 2009 - Ahead of Israel visit, Spanish foreign minister meets with former Minister Yossi Beilin, says 'our goal is to demand that the Israeli government commits to the decisions made by its predecessors' 

IDF arrests Syrian in Golan Heights 
14 Apr 2009 - Troops capture man that infiltrated border by tunneling beneath it. Syrian did not seem to have violent intentions 

Indictment: Sinai infiltrator planned terror attacks
14 Apr 2009 - Saliman Suwerka, 24, of Sinai accused of infiltrating into Israel in order to help carry out suicide bombing or kidnapping in country 


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 
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 
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

Iran holds secret trial for American journalist 
14 Apr 2009 - An Iranian-American journalist jailed in Iran and charged with espionage faced a national security court in a one-day trial behind closed doors and a verdict is expected within weeks, the country's judiciary spokesman said Tuesday. The unusually swift trial in Iran's Revolutionary Court comes as the United States.

Gaza Christians question timing of Benedict visit to 
14 Apr 2009 - Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming trip to the Holy Land will be bittersweet for Gaza's tiny Catholic community, angry the pontiff is not also visiting their impoverished coastal strip. "We will ask him why he came, what he intends on saying to the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims and why he isn't coming to Gaza," said Father Manuel Mussalem.

Ahmadinejad vows Iran will soon make more rockets, nuclear fuel 
14 Apr 2009 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday Tehran is building new rockets than can carry heavier satellites than the one launched in February. The hardline president also vowed that Iran will proceed with manufacturing nuclear fuel, even as Washington is reportedly planning to ease its demands over the atomic standoff with the Islamic republic.

Syria eager to restart stalled peace talks with Jewish state 
14 Apr 2009 - Encouraged by President Barack Obama's overtures toward Washington's adversaries, Syria is pushing to restart peace talks with Israel, diplomats and political analysts say. Damascus has intensified its quest to re-launch the Turkish-mediated talks, diplomats in the Syrian capital said.

Somalis returning to capital despite insecurity 
14 Apr 2009 - Around 60,000 uprooted Somalis have returned to their country's capital since the beginning of the year despite insecurity because living conditions have been so bad in makeshift settlements in the countryside, the UN refugee agency said Tuesday. 

Palestinian Information Center

The futility of “peace talks” with Israel
14 Apr 2009 - The PA has been more or less negotiating with successive Israeli governments since 1991. This long period should be more than enough to know the Israeli intentions.

US and Israel to carry out joint drills to test ballistic missile systems
14 Apr 2009 - The Hebrew radio reported Tuesday that Israel and the US will carry out joint military drills described as the largest of their kind in order to test three missile ballistic defense systems.

Hamas deplores Dhameeri's remarks on Palestinian resistance
14 Apr 2009 - Hamas deplored the offensive remarks made by the spokesman for the PA national security forces on the Palestinian resistance and his denial of the existence of political prisoners in PA jails.

Nazzal: Hamas has nothing to do with Egypt, Hizbullah issue
14 Apr 2009 - Hamas political bureau member Mohammed Nazzal has asserted that his Movement had nothing to do with the Lebanese Hizbullah issue with Egypt and did not coordinate with Hizbullah.

IOF troops kidnap ex-detainee who spent 15 years in Israeli jails
14 Apr 2009 - IOF troops kidnapped Monday ex-detainee Ra'ed Shaheen, 38, after raiding and ransacking his home in Dora city, south of Al-Khalil, at the pretext of being affiliated with Hamas.

Ten organizations launch int'l campaign in solidarity with Gaza fishermen
14 Apr 2009 - Ten civil and humanitarian institutions said that they embarked on preparing an international campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian fishermen aimed at stopping Israeli violations in Gaza waters.

Abu Zuhri: Hamas still hopeful national dialog would end division
14 Apr 2009 - Hamas is still insisting on national dialog as the appropriate path to ending inter-Palestinian differences and restoring national unity, Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman, said on Tuesday.

Anti-siege gov't committee: The world to blame for mass killing of Gaza patients
14 Apr 2009 - The government committee to break the siege stated that the international community's passivity towards the Israeli siege is complicity in the genocidal war waged by Israel against the Palestinians.

Israeli tourists advised against staying in Sinai
14 Apr 2009 - Israeli tourists in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula have been advised against staying there fearing attacks against them, a senior Israeli security said.

Disguised IOF soldiers kidnap two Palestinians
14 Apr 2009 - Israeli occupation forces disguised in plain clothes on Monday evening kidnapped two Palestinian citizens at the entrance of Beit Ummar village, Al-Khalil district, locals reported.

Los Angeles Times

Lebanon's Hezbollah savors increasing legitimacy 
13 Apr 2009 - As some Western nations seek contacts, Hezbollah's No. 2, cleric Naim Qassem, says the group has 'convinced the West it is a popular, authentic and important movement that cannot be ignored.' On one point, the United States agrees with Hezbollah's No. 2 leader, Naim Qassem, and not such allies as Britain. 

Iran alleges foreign-funded plot to undermine government 
12 Apr 2009 - Revolutionary Guard says 'Dutch project' aims to undermine the government by 'exaggerating the enemies' threats . . . and depicting Iran's current administration as incompetent.' The cyber-crimes unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard announced Saturday that it had uncovered a Dutch-funded plot to use the Internet to undermine the Islamic Republic, Iranian news media reported. 

New York Times

U.S. May Drop Key Condition for Talks With Iran
14 Apr 2009 - New proposals would allow Tehran to continue enriching uranium during negotiations, officials say, a sharp break from the Bush administration’s approach. 

American Journalist Stands Trial in Iran
14 Apr 2009 - The trial of Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American who is accused of spying, comes at a difficult time in U.S.-Iran relations. 

Egypt Accuses Hezbollah of Plotting Attacks and Arms Smuggling to Gaza
13 Apr 2009 - The case has complicated efforts to reconcile differences among Arab states over how to deal with Iran’s rising influence and the Palestinian problem. 


Israel’s Master Plan for Transfer 
Ellen Cantarow, CounterPunch 4/9/2009
      The Problem Isn’t Avigdor Lieberman
     No one doubts that Avigdor Lieberman is a thug. His ultimata (“Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong,” etc, New York Times Thursday, April 2, 2009) were designed to shock. On this site Neve Gordon’s revelations of Lieberman’s many corruptions, his beating of a 12-year-old child, his exhortation to bomb Gaza as the US bombed Hiroshima, supply further ugly evidence against the man, and fuel the flash-fires burning through the Internet in the wake of his appointment as Israel’s foreign minister.
     So he should be denounced by all means, but it is certain that the problems attaching to his name are not going away. On the contrary -- particularly given President Obama’s repudiation of Lieberman during the President’s speech in Ankara, Turkey, and his avowed loyalty to a ‘two-state solution’ – these problems will appear in a different form, specifically in regard to the nature of the “two states” under the guidance of Obama, Netanyahu & Co. 
     If the Lieberman appointment wasn’t specifically designed to have him play bad cop to everyone else’s good cop, it’s certainly turning out that way. A recent J Street petition urges me and thousands of on-line others to denounce Lieberman as a threat to “our community’s values,” and also to endorse J Street’s offer of “our best wishes and congratulations . . . pledging to help Benjamin Netanyahu’s government where possible, and push when necessary, to achieve the goal of real peace and security for Israel, the Palestinians, and the whole Middle East.”

Olmert’s Nightmare 
Nadia Hijab, CounterPunch 4/9/2009
      The Growing Belief in a One-State Solution
     Ehud Olmert’s nightmare is at hand. Not only does the former Israeli prime minister now really have to fight those corruption charges. He also faces the realization of his fears that the Palestinians might give up on a two-state solution in favor of a struggle for equal rights that would mean, as he put it, the "end of the Jewish state."
     Yo, Ehud, that struggle is a growing movement, and it isn’t a threat to Jews -- on the contrary, Jews are very much a part of it.
     Just last weekend in Boston, American and/or Israeli Jews accounted for nearly a third of the 29 speakers at a conference organized by TARI (Trans Arab Research Institute) with the William Joiner Center at the University of Massachusetts.
     This is the second major public conference on how to achieve a single democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis. The first was held in London in November, and a third is slated for Toronto in June.
     In a sign of the one-state movement’s persistence, the conference was over-subscribed weeks before it was held; dozens were turned away because the hall only seated 500 people. Those who got in remained glued to their seats as one intense presenter followed another, in spite of limited time for questions and, on day two, no lunch.
     For my part, I remain agnostic. As I said in my remarks at the conference, both states must provide equality for all their citizens -- Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, women or men, whatever their ethnicity. And, by the way, this isn’t currently the case in either the established Israeli state or the putative Palestinian state.

Electronic Intifada
Photostory: Hip-hop for Gaza
14 Apr 2009 - On 12 April 2009 GAP brought together world-renowned hip-hop artists to Chicago's Logan Square Auditorium to perform in solidarity with Gaza. The event, which aimed to raise funds and gather support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, brought out a diverse crowd of hundreds from around the city. The following images are by Matthew Cassel. 

The quintessential Palestinian experience
14 Apr 2009 - "For this is what the Palestinian does: we wait. For an answer to be given, for a question to be asked ... for exile to a better place and for return to the only place that knows us ..." Laila El-Haddad writes about her deportation from Egypt while attempting to go home to Gaza. 

Wretched conditions for Syrian workers
14 Apr 2009 - BEIRUT (IRIN) - Rights and labor groups say almost all the estimated 300,000 Syrians working in Lebanon have no official status, often endure dangerous conditions, and earn about $300 a month doing jobs shunned by most Lebanese. In 2006, the Labor Ministry issued just 471 work permits to Syrian nationals, meaning the remainder worked unregistered. 

Should Palestinian citizens vote in Israel's parliamentary elections?
13 Apr 2009 - The moment in which boycott of Israeli elections could become a serious and viable option is fast approaching, if the necessary preparations are made. Nonetheless, the boycott is not an end in itself and must not be used in the context of a feeling of resignation towards politics and the possibility of having an impact. Otherwise, it will be no more than another means of depriving the people of hope. Nimer Sultany comments. 

In Gaza
chickens, and maybe a donkey
14 Apr 2009 - * new chicken coop During a visit to the Zarka street extended al Bateran families today I stopped by Hamsa’s modest one-room home , to see how he and his pregnant wife were doing.  In the small entrance space where a bicycle had been leaning on the last visit was now a blue tent-like shelter. “Chickens!” Hamsa told me, pulling up a corner of the blue cover to reveal 3 hens and a rooster.  “I used some of the money you gave me to buy these, 200 shekels altogether.” He pointed to the corner of the pen where 3 eggs lay.  Each hen produces 2 or 3 eggs a day.  So...

Palestine Chronicle
The Politics of Faith
14 Apr 2009 - By Joharah Baker It occurred to me the other day as I as browsing the internet that this conflict is so entangled with details, biases and religious undertones that it is no surprise we are so far from a solution. I innocuously came upon a travel advertisement on MSN entitled “Journeys of Faith.” The writer, who generously provided the readers with an attractive slide show of the aforementioned destinations, had narrowed down the world’s 13 most significant destinations for the most faithful. Of course, upon seeing this, I thought, no doubt, my beautiful country would certainly occupy at least four or five of these. How could it not? They don’t call it the holy land for nothing. As I clicked my way through the slideshow, I was taken to exotic destinations in France, Mexico, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States. What? No Jerusalem? No Nazareth or Bethlehem? It couldn’t be. Then, somewhere wedged between Mecca and Lourdes, France was Jerusalem. Ahh, of course, the slide that came along with it could be no other, could it? This was MSN. Religious Jews praying at the Western Wall, piles of Torahs on a table behind them. The text did not make me feel any better. “Situated at the crossroads of nations and cultures, Jerusalem is a focal point for many religions, particularly Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The city has been the holiest Jewish city for more than 3,000 years.” Bam. Politics enters everything, even this slideshow of faith. To be fair,...

Gaza Kids Art Proves Israeli War Crimes: Activist
14 Apr 2009 - By Marwa Awad – Cairo A picture speaks louder than a thousands words, says a U.K. peace campaigner trapped in Gaza for helping its children express the horrors they experienced in the latest Israeli offensive through artistic drawings that he plans to take global as evidence of war crimes through children's eyes. For 63-year-old peace campaigner Rod Cox, what started as a small project to collect samples of children's drawings depicting Israeli war crimes in Gaza has ballooned into a cultural and artistic exchange project linking Palestinian school children with their British counterparts. This drawing shows in detail Israeli soldiers targeting civilians in broad day light Dramatic new evidence of Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza emerged when Cox handed children in Gaza paper, pencils and crayons and asked them to express themselves and speak their minds. Rod Cox is set to present these portraits among others as evidence of war crimes committed against Gaza civilians to the International Criminal Court, which in a ground-breaking move in the case of Darfur, used children's art as credible proof to start proceedings against Sudanese government officials accused of committing war crimes. "Children’s witness statements and explanations of what they went through is a significant and important source in a case like Gaza," said Cox. A Change in Plan Initially entering Gaza to collect a few samples and head back to Europe, Cox ended up staying in the Strip for over a month and is turning his modest project into a fully...

Little Hope in Gaza Aftermath
14 Apr 2009 - By Jeremy Bowen – Gaza City I can't imagine what Gaza would be like if it didn't have the sea. The other morning its tiny piece of the Mediterranean was coming in lazy and calm, and a light breeze was blowing down the beach. If you are Gazan and your soul is troubled, or if you just want some space, the beach must be one of the better places to go. Most of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians are impoverished and are not allowed to leave by their Israeli and Egyptian neighbours. It is hard to think of another place in the world that can be as oppressive. But considering that Gazans have so much experience of war, loss and bloodshed, it is remarkable that the human spirit here is so resilient. But it has been severely tested by everything that has happened this year. Life was hard enough anyway before the January conflict, mainly because of the blockade imposed by Israel and supported by its allies. Eighty per cent of Gaza's population lives in poverty, defined here as an income of less than $2 daily. But since the Israeli offensive things have got much worse. The UN says that 35,000 people don't have running water. More than 20,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. In the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh in early March international donors promised US $4.48 bn to rebuild Gaza. The money, which comes in through procedures designed to keep it away from Hamas, the Islamist group...

France's Bourget Feels Gaza Pain
14 Apr 2009 - By Hadi Yahmid – Paris The pains of the Palestinian people in the besieged, war-ravaged coastal enclave of Gaza Strip is felt thousands of miles away in the Le Bourget, the biggest Muslim convention in France and Europe. "We are trying to offer our modest contribution," Galoul Ghazali, a student, told Ghazali and a group of his colleagues are selling t-shirts inscribed with 1330, the approximate number of Palestinians killed in the recent Israeli war on Gaza, on the sidelines of the Le Bourget. "We have started our project soon after the end of the Gaza onslaught," he explained. "All the revenues will go to rebuilding the Islamic University in Gaza which was destroyed by Israel." More than 6,600 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed and injured in 22 days of air, land and sea Israeli attacks. The onslaught, which inflicted heavy damage on the infrastructure of the densely-populated enclave, left some 20,000 homes and thousands other buildings in ruins. "Our message is that martyrs will never be forgotten," said Ghazali. The "1330" project is only one of many similar initiatives to raise funds for ravaged Gaza during the four-day Le Bourget. Other activist groups are selling shirts printed with Palestinian symbols, including the "Sadaka" association which printed Palestine map on shirts on sale in the conference exhibition. Some are using posters showing scenes of the massive destruction inflicted by the Israeli aggression, while others circulate informative handouts about the Gaza population's urgent need for help. Le Bourget, organized by...

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