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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
20 April, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Netanyahu cancels a visit to the US
20 Apr 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, decided to cancel a planned visit to the United States after he was informed that the US President, Barack Obama, will not be meeting him. 

Hamas legislator wounded by P.A. Security in West Bank
19 Apr 2009 - Hamid Al-Beitawi, a Palestinian Legislative Council member with the Hamas party, was injured Sunday in Nablus by shrapnel from a bullet fired by a Palestinian Authority security officer of the rival Fateh party. 

U.S. Envoy rejects demand that Hamas "recognize Jewish state"
19 Apr 2009 - On Sunday, the U.S envoy to the Middle East peace, George Mitchell, rejected Sunday the Israeli Prime Minister's that the Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as a prerequisite for resuming peace negotiations between the two sides.  The recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish state' implies the acceptable of the disenfranchisement of the indigenous Palestinians, and nullifies the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their land -- a condition that most Palestinians will not accept. 

National Christian Coalition slams Israeli restrictions during Easter
19 Apr 2009 - As Greek Orthodox Palestinian Christians were marking the Sabt Al Nour (Holy Saturday, Saturday of light which comes just one day before Easter), Israeli soldiers surrounded the Holy city of Jerusalem and the Church of Holy Sepulcher, which was considered another form of Israeli oppression against the indigenous Palestinian Christians. 

Israeli peace activists protest murder of unarmed Palestinian demonstrator by Israeli troops
19 Apr 2009 - In Tel Aviv on Saturday, hundreds of Israeli peace activists held a protest to challenge the Israeli military's actions on Friday in the West Bank village of Bil'in. In Bil'in Friday, Israeli soldiers fired a high-velocity tear gas canister directly towards a non-violent anti-Wall demonstration, hitting Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahma in the chest and killing him. 

Palestinian driver rams vehicle into policemen manning a roadblock near Jerusalem
19 Apr 2009 - Israeli military and police sources reported Saturday that two Israeli policemen were injured when a Palestinian driver rammed his vehicle into them while they were manning the Hizma checkpoint, north of Jerusalem. 

Bil'in villagers participate in the funeral of the killed youth during the Friday weekly protest
18 Apr 2009 - On Saturday midday Residents of Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah joined by officials in addition to international and Israeli supporters took part in the funeral of Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmah, 30, who was killed by the army on Friday during the weekly protest against the wall in Bil'in. 

“Hope” to be heading to Gaza
18 Apr 2009 - The Free Gaza Movement reported on Friday that the “Hope” convoy carrying humanitarian aid from several European countries to Gaza is currently being organized by Dutch organizations that reject the Israeli siege on Gaza, and support the Palestinian people. 

Palestinian youth killed near Ramallah
18 Apr 2009 - Israeli soldiers shot and killed on Friday at night a Palestinian youth and wounded another near the West Bank city of Ramallah. The army claimed that the youth attempted to hurl a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military jeep. The incident raises the number of Palestinians killed on Friday to three. 

Mitchell: “Palestinian State, a US National Interest”
18 Apr 2009 - United States special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, stated Friday during a meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, that establishing a Palestinian State is a US National interest and the only solution to the conflict in the Middle East. 

Infant dies of wounds sustained during Israel's offensive on Gaza
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported Friday that an infant from Gaza City died on Thursday evening of wounds sustained during the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip.   

Ten injured at weekly non-violent protest in Nil'in
17 Apr 2009 - Scores of villagers from Nil'in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, along with their international supporters held their weekly protest on Friday midday against the illegal Israeli wall being built on village land.

Ha'aretz Defense page

Why Lawrence of Arabia is still relevant, from Gaza to Kabul
19 Apr 2009 - Armies worldwide realizing they'll be more effective if they're familiar with enemy territory, local culture. 

IDF ordered soldiers to drink magnesium in 1994 experiment
19 Apr 2009 - Israel Radio: Military sought to test whether drinking daily dose would reduce damage to hearing on the firing range. 

Security forces: Recent West Bank terror attacks are unrelated
19 Apr 2009 - Some perpetrators acted independently of terror groups; significant progress made in probes of attacks. 

Sources: Netanyahu to re-examine Shalit case, dump envoy
19 Apr 2009 - Sources: PM expected to tell Ofer Dekel Thurs. he'll pick new negotiator; 'everything open' in Shalit affair. 

Gideon Levy / The Holocaust and Israeli occupation cannot be compared
19 Apr 2009 - Calling the occupation a manifestation of Nazism is incorrect, horrifically infuriating and harmful to the just Palestinian cause. 

Hamas MP wounded after shot by Fatah-allied officer in West Bank
19 Apr 2009 - Hamed al-Bitawi's son calls the incident a politically motivated attempted assassination. 

What would be the timetable for Israel strike on Iran?
18 Apr 2009 - Tehran is near the point where producing a nuclear weapon is one of choice, not ability. 

Hamas praises driver who hit 2 Israeli policemen in West Bank
18 Apr 2009 - Police say attack was politically motivated; One officer moderately hurt, the other sustains minor injuries. 

Ma'an News

Israel sees increase in West Bank attacks 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military is tracking what it sees as an increase in popular Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The website of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot quoted an anonymous military official as saying, "We see many actions in the outline of 'popular terror', which are seemingly insignificant, but this situation may point to distress and frustration among the Palestinians, and we must ensure constantly that things do not develop in undesired directions. ”These so-called “popular” actions are carried out by individuals and are not thought to be planned by any organized resistance group. Over the last three days, a Palestinian stuck Israeli police officers with his car at a military checkpoint near Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian teenager who allegedly attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settlement near Ramallah. 

PCHR: Hamas gunmen shot three men in Jabaliya 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Gunmen wearing the headbands of the armed wing of Hamas shot and wounded three civilians in Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, last Thursday evening, a leading human rights organization reported on Sunday. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) investigation found that at around 9:30pm on Thursday, gunmen fired at three young men near the As-Sultan apartment building in the city of Jabaliya. PCHR identified the three wounded men as:Isma’il Mohammed Mousa Dardona, 30, who was wounded by six bullets to the feet and sustained shrapnel wounds;Mus’ab Mohammed Ibrahim Dardona, 29, who was wounded by three bullets to his left leg and 10 shrapnel wounds throughout the body; andKhaled Mohammed Mohammed Dardona, 30, who was wounded by three bullets to the feet. In addition, a bystander, Yousif Khamis Jneid, 24, was wounded in the feet by two bullets. 

Settlers seize Palestinian shepherd near Hebron 
4/19/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli settlers abducted a Palestinian shepherd south of the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday evening, Palestinian and Israeli sources reported. The shepherd was identified as 24-year-old, Mohammad Abdallah Suleiman, a resident of the village of Sumu. The settlers seized Suleiman after he allegedly infiltrated the nearby Israeli settlement of Otni’elOfficials at the Palestinian Coordination Office, Suleiman was handed over to the Israeli army, and is still under arrest. [end] 

Armed settler punctures tractor tires of Palestinian villager near Nablus 
4/18/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – An Israeli settler from the Eli settlement south of Nablus punctured the tires of a tractor owned by a Palestinian farmer while the farmer was plowing his land on Saturday. The man, from Qaryut village, said the masked settler armed with a knife appeared suddenly behind him and punctured the tires of the tractor before fleeing toward the settlement. Secretary of Qaryut local council ’Mufeed Jabir said 49-year-old Muhammad Azim had hired the tractor from its owner, 35-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim, so he could plow his fields. [end] 

Palestine’s ambassador to Norway responds to death threats 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestine’s Ambassador to Norway Yasser An-Najjar released a statement on Sunday responding to death threats over accusations that he maintained warm relations with Israel’s ambassador in Olso. In his response An-Najjar said, “I don’t even know what Israel’s ambassador to Norway looks like, so how could I have maintained good relations with him? I hope those who threatened to kill me fear God and double check their facts before they give judgments. All of my life, I have been wishing to die a martyr, but not at the hands of a misled Palestinian who mistakenly believes I betrayed my homeland. ”Israeli ambassador Michael Eligal allegedly thanked An-Najjar for accepting Israel’s rationale for the three-week war against Gaza. The message has been circulating on internet forums recently. The ambassador said that the threats to his life were related to the internal Palestinian political rivalry between Hamas and Fatah. 

Netanyahu to meet with security officials on Monday 
4/19/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to preside over a meeting comprising high-profile security officers to discuss Hamas' status and might in the Gaza Strip, Israeli sources said. The meeting will also tackle Israel’s relations with other countries, particularly the NATO countries, in an attempt to discover how weapons are smuggled from Iran to the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu will also listen to updates about the security status from his defence minister, Ehud Barak, and from his chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the Mossad, the head of military investigations, and the deputy defence minister. The Israeli cabinet’s weekly meeting has been delayed to Monday due to governmental procedures which necessitate that documents and material to be discussed by the cabinet should be submitted to the government’s legal consultant secretariat 48 hours before being discussed. 

UN human rights chief “shocked” at US boycott of racism summit 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The UN’s highest authority on human rights said she was “shocked and deeply disappointed” at a US decision to boycott the Durban Review Conference against racism, which opens on Monday in Geneva. "I am shocked and deeply disappointed by the United States decision not to attend a conference that aims to combat racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and other forms of intolerance worldwide," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement released on the conference’s official website on Sunday. US president Barack Obama confirmed on Sunday that the US would join Australia, Canada, Israel and Italy in refusing to attend the meeting, which is aimed at reviewinggoals set out in Durban, South Africa in 2001. The US and Israel stormed out of the original Durban summit over remarks that identified Israel as a perpetrator of racism towards Palestinians. 

Hamas: Shalit talks broke down over jailed Palestinian-Israelis 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Talks over a prisoner swap for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit broke down because Israel refused to released imprisoned Palestinian citizens of Israel, Hamas leader Mahmoud Az-Zahhar said on Sunday. He also said Hamas rejected a swap deal that would only include prisoners from inside the Gaza Strip, according to a statement released during a Prisoners Day celebration in Gaza on Saturday evening. Az-Zahhar said that Israel had suggested including only prisoners from the Gaza Strip in a proposed prisoner swap, refusing to release Palestinians captured in 1998 and Jerusalem residents. Israel considered these proposals "a red line that they cannot cross," he said. However, Az-Zahhar said Hamas was able to break a number of Israeli demands during the Shalit negotiations. "Israel said that there are prisoners who would not be released, not mentioning their. . . 

Palestinian civil society groups hold “Israel Review Conference” in Geneva 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – With Israel and Palestine effectively removed from the official agenda at this week’s UN Durban Review Conference against racism, Palestinian organizations held an off-site forum to highlight Israeli racism. “Despite the fact that Israel’s racism against Palestinians has been one of the most highlighted issues in the lead-up to the Durban Review, the BNC’s Israel Review Conference has become the only place where this issue will actually be discussed,” said Rania Madi, one of the conference organizers based in Geneva, in a statement sent to reporters. Under pressure from the US, references to the plight of the Palestinians were removed from a key conference Outcome Document. This concession, however, did not persuade the US, Italy, Israel, Canada, and other countries to reversing a decision to boycott the conference over concerns that Israel would be criticized. 

Fayyad to Russia: World must act against Israeli settlements, incursions 
4/19/2009 - Salam Fayyad Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Sultanov on Saturday that Israeli settlements and military incursions are threatening to end the peace process. Fayyad and Sultanov met at Palestinian Authority (PA) headquarters in Ramallah. Fayyad told the Russian representative that the International Quartet, of which Russia is a member, must question Israeli violations. The Quartet, which also includes the US, UN, and the EU, is the official sponsor of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, which are currently suspended. The PA says it will not return to peacemaking until Israel renews a commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state. “The Palestinians will not be satisfied with less than a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital in accordance. . . 

US: Palestinians need not recognize Israel as Jewish state for talks to resume 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A demand that Palestinians recognize Israel “as the state of the Jewish people” as a condition for resuming peace negotiations is unacceptable to the US, the State Department said this weekend. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, quoting statements from the State Department, indicated that the US would not back Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for this recognition. The US released these statements during a visit by Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell. Mitchell met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after meeting Israeli leaders. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security. ” In return, Israel did not recognize an independent Palestinian state but rather acknowledged the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians. 

Gaza: Massive Hamas demonstrations denounce Beitawi shooting as ‘assassination attempt’ 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas movement staged massive rallies in Gaza denouncing the shooting of lawmaker Hamid Al-Beitawi in the West Bank city of Nablus by a Palestinian Authority (PA) security officer on Sunday. The rallies denounced the shooting as an “assassination attempt” against one of the movement’s prominent leaders in the West Bank. Al-Beitawi was wounded in the leg by shrapnel from a shot fired by a Preventive Security officer in Nablus. The lawmaker was hospitalized with what medics described as “slight” injuries. The PA says it has arrested the officer who fired the shot. Al-Beitawi said the PA officer confronted him and his son when they emerged from a mosque after the noon prayer on Sunday. The demonstrators marched through the main streets of northern Gaza to the yard of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) building in Gaza city. 

Nablus: Hamas lawmaker injured by shrapnel from PA bullet 
4/19/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmaker was attacked by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces when he was leaving a mosque in the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday afternoon. Sixty five-year-old Sheikh Hamid Al-Beitawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), told Ma’an’s reporter who visited him in Rafedia Hospital in Nablus that a PA Preventive Security officer stopped him and his 30-year-old son Nasr outside of a Mosque after the noon prayer. Al-Beitawi said that the officer verbally insulted him and attempted to strike him, but his son managed to stop him. Then the officer pulled his handgun and shot at Al-Beitawi’s feet, but missed them and shrapnel hit his right foot. According to Al-Beitawi, this was not the first time he was attacked. He said as unidentified people fired on his empty car about a year ago. 

PA slams violations of religious freedom in Jerusalem 
4/19/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli access restrictions in Jerusalem are a violation of religious freedom, said Hatem Abdul-Qader, the advisor to the Palestinian prime minister on Jerusalem affairs on Sunday. “Israel’s violation of freedom of worship refusal to allow access to Christian and Islamic holy sites aims mainly at nullifying Jerusalem’s religious heritage -- Islamic or Christian,” he said. Abdul-Qader made these remarks on the day celebrated as Easter by Orthodox Christians, who are prominent among the Palestinian Christian community. Israeli police reportedly turned back groups Palestinian worshipers from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday. Last Thursday, police imposed restrictions on prayer at the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque, barring Palestinians from Jerusalem who are under the age of 50. 

Al-Jazeera ‘suing Palestinian media agency over Gaza war’ 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera has filed a three million dollar lawsuit against the Palestinian media service provider Ramattan in an Egyptian court to recover losses from the Israeli war on Gaza. Responding to the lawsuit, the deputy director of Ramattan’s Board, Mufeed Abu Shammala, accused Al-Jazeera on Sunday of putting its own interests over those of Palestinians, and of attempting to force the agency to close through a financial power play. “We provided media services to dozens of Arab and foreign satellite stations, and we reserved three satellite frequencies to broadcast footage of Israeli violations during the war on Gaza,” said Mufeed Abu Shammala. He explained that Ramattan broadcast a live feed, free of charge, during the war due to the scale of destruction in the Gaza Strip. 

Hamas leaders leave for Cairo ahead of talks with Fatah 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Hamas leaders left the Gaza Strip on Sunday a week before a new round of Palestinian unity negotiations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Egyptian security sources told AFP that the Hamas delegation crossed the Rafah border crossing. The group was led by lawmaker Salah Bardawil. Egypt has been mediating in talks between Hamas and its main rival, Fatah, in several rounds of meetings since February. The two have been divided since Hamas, the winner of Parliamentary elections, seized full control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Efforts to reunite the two are at an impasse over differences over the political platform of a proposed transitional government. Earlier, at a news conference in Gaza, Bardawil said that Hamas views Egypt’s latest proposal to bridge the divide positively. 

Hamas: No recognition for Israel as "Jewish state" 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas movement on Sunday warned of dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s call for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, describing it as “a dangerous demand, and any support for that demand is stabbing Palestinian inalienable rights. ”Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said, “Any compatibility with that demand means giving legitimacy to Israel. ” He added that such a demand should be enough to motivate the Palestinians, Arabs, and Islamic countries to halt all aspects of normalization with Israel. Barhoum also commented on the running down of two Israeli police officers near Jerusalem on Saturday by a Palestinian driver saying, “This is a natural consequence to terrorist acts by the Israeli government and settlers against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. ” 

Gaza: Rafah border open for two additional days 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Rafah crossing point between Gaza and Egypt will be open on for two additional Monday and Tuesday to allow people stranded on either side of the border to cross. The Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza (affiliated to the de facto government) said that Egypt decided to hold the border open for two days after contacts with Palestinian officials in Gaza. The Interior Ministry urged Palestinians to follow news reports regarding the opening of the crossing. The long-closed border was open on Saturday and Sunday for students, patients, and others. [end] 

Suit filed in Egypt against Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A lawsuit was filed in Egyptian courts demanding to stop transmission of the Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Manar satellite TV station on the Nilesat satellite frequencies after a Hizbullah cell was discovered in Egypt, the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat daily newspaper reported. The suit claimed that Al-Manar TV had recently been transmitting false news reports about Egypt, which represents humiliation for the government and president. These news, according to the suit, are meant to arouse disputes among different sects in Egyptian and Arab religious sects. [end] 

15 Injured by fire in Gaza 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Fifteen Palestinians were injured in a fire that erupted at chicken shop in the Ad-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City on Sunday. Four people were treated for moderate wounds and burns. The director of Ambulance and Emergency Services at the Palestinian Health Ministry, Mu’awiya Hassanein, said the victims were evacuated to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. He said that nearby medical warehouses maintained by the Ministry of Health were not damaged. Eyewitnesses said the fire was caused by a gas bottle that exploded in the shop. [end] 

Official: Egypt approved hosting Fatah’s sixth conference 
4/19/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Egypt may host the Fatah movement's sixth conference, according to Ibrahim Abu An-Naja, a member of the leading committee in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. He reportedly told the preparatory committee for the conference that all preparations save the date and place for the conference have been decided on. In a statement, Abu Ab-Naja explained that the Revolutionary Council had suggested several places for the conference: Egypt, Jordan or Palestine. He added that Egypt initially approved holding the conference there. [end] 

Israeli settler reports gunfire near Bethlehem 
4/19/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli settler came under fire while driving near the Palestinian village of Tuqua, southeast of Bethlehem, on Sunday evening, Israeli media reported. No one was injured in the reported shooting. The Israeli military is investigating the incident. Meanwhile, Palestinians in the village reported that Israeli border police have deployed in the area, and may be searching for the alleged attacker. Tuqua lies near an Israeli settlement with an almost identical name, Teqoa. [end] 

Rafah crossing: Gazans pass through into Egypt following delay 
4/18/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Egyptian gates of Rafah crossing opened following a short delay, raising fears that patients and students would be unable to leave the Strip. Two busses passed through early in the afternoon on Saturday, following announcements from the de facto government in Gaza said passage for patients, students and valid passport holders would be permitted Saturday and Sunday. At 9am Saturday de facto government officials prepared the first bus of travelers and sent the vehicle through to the Egyptian side shortly after 10am. The busses moved through to Egypt after noon. The opening of the Rafah border crossing in both directions between 9am and 5pm Saturday and Sunday was announced late Friday by spokesperson of the Gaza crossing points in the de facto government Adel Zu’rub. The announcement came following a series of protests by patients and medical workers Friday, and ongoing calls for the crossing to be opened. 

Hamas: PA commemoration of Prisoners Day "shameful," Shalit captors real heroes 
4/18/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The commemoration of Prisoners Day in the West Bank was “shameful” given the number of Hamas resistance fighters being held in Palestinian Authority facilities, senior Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya on Friday. He described the jailed Hamasmen as individuals working for the creation of a Palestinian state, and reminded hundreds rallying in the northern Gaza Strip to mark Prisoners Day in Gaza that it was the resistance factions who captured the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. “Hamas will not agree to relinquish one single demand regarding the prisoner swap deal with Israel even if Gilad Shalit remains captive a hundred years,” Al-Hayya said. The official spoke as hundreds held posters of imprisoned Palestinians against the backdrop of a giant mural depicting Shalit, captured in June 2006, with grey hair, a drawn face and deep wrinkles. 

PA official: No negotiations until Israel commits to two states 
4/18/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority will not engage in talks with Israel until it agrees to the two-state solution principle, a senior PA official said on Saturday. Speaking with a delegation from Holland at his office in Ramallah, PA deputy Azzam Al-Ahmad said that if Israel goes along with Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's "economic peace" plan, the PA will not attend negotiations. "The new Israeli administration has been constructed on an anti-peace basis, since they ignore the two-state solution," Al-Ahmad said in the meeting with Dutch NGO leaders in the West Bank on Saturday. Due to Israel's continuous expansion of settlements, particularly in Jerusalem, its rejection of the Annapolis declaration, and its alternative plan for Palestinians, the PA has determined that talks with the Israeli side would not be fruitful, he said. 

PA: Recent Israeli escalations are dangerous, threaten peace 
4/18/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – A spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday condemned recent Israeli aggression across the country, as well as settler attacks in Jerusalem and holy places. The spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rderineh, remarked on the recent deaths of three Palestinian civilians in 24 hours at the hands of Israeli military forces operating in the occupied West Bank, saying thatHe said the escalations were dangerous and that they endanger "any opportunity for peace. " He called on Israel to stop "violations against innocents" and all sorts of aggression, particularly in Jerusalem, where homes are being demolished, lands confiscated, and Palestinians dispelled. He warned of the consequences of such "dangerous escalations," as well. 

Nablus: Charity to pay JD 100,447 for orphans on Sunday 
4/18/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian charitable society in Nablus will donate over 100,000 Jordanian dinars to orphans on Sunday, organizer Ala Maqboul said in a statement. The payments for the period between July and December, the fifth through seventh such payments, will cover costs for the Orphans Department within Al-Munasarah charity. The department also prepared new reports for the orphans cared for by a Swedish committee for the period between January and March 2009, the group said. Payments to be ready on Sunday 19 April morning via banks. Other 2009 payments will be prepared within the coming weeks, Maqboul told Ma'an. The society cares for some 3,300 orphans and provides them with projects and services. 

Fatah committee meets in Amman to wrap up conference plans 
4/18/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Member of Fatah's leading committee and the Revolutionary Council Ibrahim Abu An-Naja said on Saturday evening that Fatah's preparatory committee will meet up this week in Amman to decide on final points and details regarding membership and the time and place for the sixth conference. Abu An-Naja told Ma’an that the Revolutionary Council decided at its last meeting on three places to hold that conference: Jordan, Egypt or Palestine, and explained that Fatah has not received official rejection from Egypt, but that Palestine will be chosen if the other two countries decline permission. [end] 

Two Israeli police officers injured in West Bank by Palestinian car 
4/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A Palestinian man was taken in for questioning and two Israeli police officers to hospital after an incident north of Jerusalem Saturday. The two officers were run over under what Israeli investigators are calling "unclear" circumstances and have declared the motives of the Palestinian "unknown. " Last week a Palestinian drove his car into a military checkpoint and injured three officers manning the station south of a home demolition. The driver of the car was shot dead on sight. [end] 

Israel: Homemade projectile lands in Negev, no injuries 
4/18/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The third projectile in four days landed without incident in the western Negev region of Israel. No Gaza factions have claimed the launches, which caused no damage or injuries, though Israeli leaders said an appropriate response would be measured. On Wednesday and Thursday homemade projectiles allegedly launched from the Gaza Strip also landed in Israel. On Wednesday night Israel destroyed a home in the northern Strip which they said was the base of a kidnapping operation. [end] 

Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz to open Sunday, Karni closed 
4/18/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian side that the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings to Gaza will open on Sunday, while Karni will be closed. Crossings official Raed Fattuh told Ma’an that about 115 truckloads will enter through Kerem Shalom, including 16 to an international organization, 11 to the agricultural sector and 88 to the commercial sector. Fattuh added that Karni will stay closed, however, fuel and gas will enter through Nahal Oz. [end] 

Israeli forces raid Ramallah, detain three brothers 
4/18/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces raided the industrial zone at Beitunia in southern Ramallah and detained Mohammad Abdeen and his brothers, Ibrahim and Islam, on Saturday night. Ma’an’s correspondent reported that Israeli military vehicles raided the area and stormed a plastics factory, detaining its owners. [end] 


Egypt media firm wins court appeal
19 Apr 2009 - Charges dropped against firm accused of illegally covering anti-government protests.

US 'disappointed' by Iran verdict
18 Apr 2009 - Tehran sentences journalist to eight years in prison for being an American "spy".

Palestinian 'attacks' Israel police
18 Apr 2009 - Two officers injured after Palestinian drives his vehicle into them, Israeli spokesman says.

US envoy presses two-state option
17 Apr 2009 - George Mitchell tells Palestinian president that two-state option "is only option".

Israel snubs UN Gaza war inquiry
16 Apr 2009 - Israel will not co-operate with UN Human Rights Council into the 22-day assault


Inter Press Service

RIGHTS-US: CIA Director Asked to Preserve Secret Prisons 
NEW YORK, Apr 17 (IPS) - Lawyers for a Guantanamo detainee who claims he was held and tortured in one of the "black site" secret prisons run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is demanding that the CIA preserve cells and interrogation paraphernalia there as evidence of mistreatment.

MIDEAST: Gaza Changed Everything, But Its People Still Suffer 
WASHINGTON, Apr 17 (IPS) - Three months after the end of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, and nearly four months after former prime minister Ehud Olmert started it, the standoff between Israel and Hamas is as unresolved as ever.

MIDEAST: More Doors Closing Than Opening 
JERUSALEM, Apr 17 (IPS) - Israel is digging in its heels. Government officials said Wednesday that Israel does not intend to cooperate with the upcoming United Nations investigation into whether Israel and Hamas both committed war crimes during the recent Gaza war.

MIDEAST: 'Israelis Prepared for Violations' 
TEL AVIV, Apr 17 (IPS) - After the internal investigation into the misconduct of Israeli soldiers in the course of the Gaza assault was closed suspiciously fast, a brief overview of publications by army officials, published months before the start of the war, suggests the reported misconduct was policy and...

Stop The Wall

Hundreds to be affected in Hebron demolitions
18 Apr 2009 - Hundreds of residents in the Beqa’ neighborhood in Hebron face the demolition of their homes and agricultural infrastructure in what they describe as an ongoing campaign to expand Occupation control in the area around the Kirya Arba settlement. Additionally, bulldozers are still clearing land for an electricity network that will power a number of settlements and military positions between Hebron and Bethlehem, among them Kirya Arba. [

Young man martyred in Bil'in
17 Apr 2009 - Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred this afternoon in Bil’in when he was shot at close range by a high velocity tear gas canister at the weekly demonstration against the Wall. This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrators from a lethal range in the past two months. [

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)
19 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 settlers destroy crops near village of At-Tuwani
ISM - 4/19/2009 - 18 April 2009 - On 18 April Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills reported that Israeli settlers had destroyed a large privately owned Palestinian wheat field by allowing a flock of goats and sheep to graze on it. Palestinian owners discovered the destruction when they arrived to harvest the crops on the morning of 18 April.   The field, located in Meshaha Valley, is the property of a family living in the nearby village of At Tuwani. Also that morning Israeli soldiers declared a large area of land east of At Tuwani to be a closed military zone and forced Palestinian shepherds and their flocks to leave their land. Land owners and internationals were told they would be subject to arrest if they remained.    The soldiers also ordered Palestinian landowners to advise the military every time they intend to access their own land within the zone. 

Israeli forces: protester's death likely due to unauthorized fire
ISM - 4/19/2009 - Israel Defense Forces sources said Saturday a tear gas canister that killed a Palestinian demonstrator Friday at a protest against the West Bank separation fence was likely fired in violation of orders. Bassem Abu Rahmeh, 31, was killed during a protest in the West Bank village of Bil'in, a flash point for confrontations between soldiers and anti-fence protesters. The Bil'in shooting occurred during a protest during which around 100 demonstrators hurled stones at soldiers and tried to destroy the fence, army sources said. Abu Rahmeh sustained severe chest injuries and was transferred to a Ramallah hospital, where he died of his injuries. IDF officials who investigated the incident found the Armored Corps soldier who fired the canister apparently aimed directly at Abu Rahmeh from a distance of a mere few dozen meters. 

Palestinians mourn demonstrator's death
ISM - 4/19/2009 - 18 April 2009 Bil'in buries Basem Abu Rahme and residents discuss the lethal use of a high velocity tear gas projectile by Israeli forces against unarmed demonstrators. Updated on April 19, 2009 [end] 

Israeli forces supress Prisoner's Day demonstration in Ni'lin
ISM - 4/19/2009 - Ni'lin villagers once again held a Friday demonstration against the illegal Apartheid Wall and in commemoration of Prisoner's Day. Around 150 villagers, supported by Israeli and international solidarity activists, gathered after the prayer at the local clinic. Several demonstrators wore shirts urging solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. Israeli forces stationed in the fields in the outskirts of the village started firing tear gas at the clinic even before the prayer was finished. The nonviolent demonstrators sought cover in the village from the gas, and retreated back towards the town center. However, Israeli soldiers also stationed themselves on the main street of the village. These soldiers started firing tear gas and live ammunition at the villagers gathered in thevillage center. 

B'Tselem: Security forces demolish house of family of perpetrator of attack in Jerusalem
ISM - 4/18/2009 - On 7 April, security forces demolished the apartment, in Zur Baher, East Jerusalem, of the family of Husam Dwiyat, who carried out a bulldozer attack in the center of Jerusalem in July of last year. The demolition took place after the High Court of Justice denied, on 18 March, the family's petition opposing the action. As in previous cases of this kind, the justices (Levy, Grunis, and Na'or) accepted the state's argument that demolition of the family home will deter others from carrying out similar acts. The justices approved the demolition, even though the state never contended that Dwiyat's family assisted him or knew of his plans. From 1967 to 2005, Israel maintained a policy to demolish or seal houses in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a means to punish the families of Palestinians who had harmed Israelis. 

Nablus residents rally on Prisoners' Day
ISM - 4/18/2009 - 16 April 2009 - Around 400 residents of Nablus held a demonstration in the city center to mark Prisoners' Day in recognition of all former and current political prisoners held in Israeli jails.   Leaders of several political parties and prisoner associations gave speeches praising the steadfastness of the approximately 10,000 prisoners currently held in Israeli prisons and detention facilities.   Demonstrators also carried pictures of loved ones in prison and symbolically chained their hands to emphasize the large number of Palestinian detainees. Demonstrations were held in several cities and villages throughout the West Bank and Gaza commemorating Prisoner's Day, which falls on the 17th of April. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

World Bank: Israelis get four times more water than Palestinians 
19 Apr 2009 - The water-supply regime used by Israel and the Palestinians must be changed, according to a World Bank report that is to be published today. ... 

Fayyad seeking U.S. help in collecting Gaza funds
19 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Authority has asked U.S. special Middle East envoy George Mitchell to use America's leverage with the Arab states to convince them to make good on their financial commitments to the PA, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for rebuilding the Gaza Strip. ... 

Researchers uncover details of the Nazis' killing of Soviet Jews 
19 Apr 2009 - In August 1941, German sailor Reinhard Wiener saw something he was unlikely to forget. Stationed in Latvia, Wiener was walking with a fellow serviceman toward the beach, when a soldier came running toward them. "He said we shouldn't go on because a horrible thing was happening on the beach," Wiener recalled. "We asked what was going on, and he said yes, they're shooting Jews down there." ... 

Akiva Eldar / What would Iran's FM say in a meeting with Clinton?
19 Apr 2009 - When he was prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin never missed an opportunity to explain how important it was to end the Arab-Israeli conflict before Iran obtained nuclear arms. He argued that peace would help bring the international community on board in the fight against the Iranian bomb. Rabin believed that ending the occupation and peace agreements with Syria and Lebanon would isolate Iran and help rein in Hamas and Hezbollah. ... 

Thousands turn out for grand opening of Skokie Holocaust Museum
19 Apr 2009 - Thousands of people turned out on Sunday for the opening of a new ...

The Guardian

Teargas canister shot kills Palestinian demonstrator
17 Apr 2009 - Activists say Bassem Abu Rahmeh is 18th person to die since 2004 during demonstrations against West Bank barrier A Palestinian demonstrator was killed today when he was hit by a teargas canister fired by Israeli forces...

Liberal Democrat donor Sudir Choudhrie accused of brokering Israeli arms deal
18 Apr 2009 - London-based Indian businessman denies claims of massive illegal kickbacks One of the Liberal Democrats' most generous donors has been accused of accepting tens of millions of pounds in kickbacks from an arms deal between an Israeli...

Antony Lerman: What did Jeremy Bowen do wrong?
16 Apr 2009 - Despite some gleeful reactions suggesting the contrary, the BBC report does not say its Middle East editor is biased against Israel Critics who claim the BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, is biased against Israel are...

Jack Shenker: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is at a crossroads
18 Apr 2009 - As the leader of Egypt's opposition steps down, questions of the party's identity and purpose frame the debate over a successor There are several recurring themes one becomes wearily familiar with when following the erratic world...

Ha'aretz National page

Living in Israel helps Holocaust survivors cope with trauma
19 Apr 2009 - Holocaust survivors in Israel cope better with the traumatic effects of the genocide than those living in the U.S. and Australia, according to mega-analysis of prior studies performed by researchers from the University of Haifa. ... 

Fischer: Israel weathering financial storm, but recession far from over
18 Apr 2009 - Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said on Sunday that while the country is weathering the global economic meltdown, the recession is far from over. ...

Netanyahu: Peace talks can begin before PA recognizes Israel as Jewish
18 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to begin negotiations with the Palestinians without demanding they first recognize Israel as a Jewish state , sources in his office said on Sunday. ... 

American hiker, 29, hurt after falling 35 meters off unmarked trail
18 Apr 2009 - An American tourist sustained light to moderate head injuries on Sunday after falling down a 35-meter slope while hiking on an unmarked trail in northern Israel. ...

Israel Railways changes its story over dismissal of Arab employees
18 Apr 2009 - Israel Railways changed its story Sunday over the dismissal of at least 40 Arab employees, telling a court that mistakes made by the employees prompted it to introduce new employment conditions. ...

Relief Web

10 patients die and health conditions of hundreds deteriorate as Gaza's external medical treatment crisis continues; PCHR hold Minister of Health in Ramallah accountable and calls on Palestinian president to intervene
19 Apr 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

On Palestinian Prisoner's Day, thousands of prisoners continue to suffer in Israeli jails
19 Apr 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Russian envoy renews support for Palestinian state
19 Apr 2009 - Source: Kuwait News Agency

As UN blocks Palestine-related side events at Durban Review Conference, Palestinian civil society launches Israel Review Conference in Geneva on the eve of Durban Review 
19 Apr 2009 - Source: BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 09 - 17 Apr 2009
18 Apr 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

OPT: Three months after conflict, UN official warns of dire humanitarian situation
18 Apr 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Al Mezan urges the governments in Ramallah and Gaza to resolve the 'medical referrals' profile, respect their responsibilities and protect the lives of Patients in need of medical access immediately
18 Apr 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

OPT: Egypt opens Rafah crossing with Gaza 
18 Apr 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

YNet News

Holocaust survivors in 2009 – needier and lonelier
19 Apr 2009 - 240,000 Holocaust survivors are currently living in Israel, but by 2025 their numbers will shrink to only 47,000. By 2015 more than two thirds of them will be over 80 years of age

Olmert's cancer deteriorating 
19 Apr 2009 - Results of recent tests conducted at Sloan-Kettering indicate status former PM's prostate cancer worsening, no escape from surgery or radiation in near future

FM: Ahmadinejad's attendance proves 'Durban II' racist
19 Apr 2009 - Lieberman calls on nations to join boycott of UN conference on race as Israeli, Jewish students fly to Geneva to combat expected anti-Semitic rhetoric. MK Zahalka, heading Israeli-Arab delegation, says 'Israel unable to handle question of racism'

'Egypt should be isolating Lieberman'
19 Apr 2009 - Palestinian official slams meeting between Egyptian intelligence chief with Israeli foreign minister, says Cairo 'harming efforts to shun Lieberman on national and international level'

Lieberman appoints Bedouin diplomat Mideast advisor
19 Apr 2009 - Foreign minister appoints Ismail Khaldi, deputy consul to San Francisco his new advisor on regional issues. Choice driven by 'desire to name someone familiar with region's intricate nature' to post

Daily Star

Mitchell: Arab Peace Initiative part of US drive to create Palestinian state 
17 Apr 2009 - US Middle East envoy George Mitchell said Friday that an Arab Peace Initiative should be part of a planned US drive to create a Palestinian state. The 2002 Arab initiative offers Israel normal ties with all Arab states in return for a full pullout from the lands it seized in the 1967 war, creation of a Palestinian state and a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian protesting against barrier guard 
17 Apr 2009 - Israeli troops killed a Palestinian protester in the West Bank on Friday and a Jewish security guard shot dead a Palestinian who infiltrated a Jewish settlement, also in the occupied area. Palestinian hospital officials said a 30-year-old man died of a wound to the chest during a protest at the village of Bilin.

Hamas leaders make first appearance since war 
17 Apr 2009 - Two top Hamas leaders made their first appearances at public events Friday since Israel's Gaza war , signaling defiance of rival Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he discussed peace prospects with a US envoy. "We cannot, we will not, and we will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form," Mahmoud al-Zahar.

Wary of Iranian president, diplomats seek UN racism deal 
17 Apr 2009 - Diplomats were racing to agree on a declaration for a UN conference on racism next week amid fears that the arrival of Iran's president on Monday could torpedo the meeting. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has stirred outrage by repeatedly calling the Holocaust a "myth" and with anti-Israel comments.

Ahmadinejad: Tehran favors dialogue on nuclear program 
17 Apr 2009 - Iran favors dialogue with world powers over its nuclear program and will soon give its official response to an invitation for talks, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in remarks published on Friday. It was the latest signal from Tehran that it will accept the offer of discussions with the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.

Founder of Thailand's PAD survives attack 
17 Apr 2009 - The founder of Thailand's "yellow shirt" protest movement, which was behind the week-long occupation of Bangkok's main airports last year, was shot and wounded on Friday, but a doctor said his life was not in danger. The assassination attempt came hours before the government extended a state of emergency in the capital.

CIA terror practitioners will not be prosecuted, vows Obama 
17 Apr 2009 - In 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, CIA operatives were allowed to shackle, strip and waterboard terror suspects. Now, President Barack Obama has assured these operatives that they will not be prosecuted for their rough interrogation tactics.

Palestinian Information Center

PLC holds Abbas fully responsible for attempted assassination of Sheikh Betawi
19 Apr 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, held ex-PA chief Mahmoud Abbas fully responsible for the consequences of the attempted assassination of Sheikh Hamid Al-Betawi.

Preventive Security carries out assassination attempt on Sheikh Beitawi
19 Apr 2009 - Palestinian lawmaker Sheikh Hamed al Beitawi on Sunday miraculously escaped an assassination attempt carried out by a member of the PSF.

Aqsa reconstruction committee: Excavations pose a major threat to the Mosque
19 Apr 2009 - The committee on the reconstruction of the Aqsa Mosque and the dome of the rock warned that the Israeli excavations in the eastern part of Jerusalem constitute a major threat to the Aqsa Mosque.

Studies center: IPA refuses to treat seriously ill prisoner
19 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian center for prisoners' studies has said that Palestinian prisoner Ali Safouri was suffering from a strange skin disease but the Israeli prisons authority was refusing to treat him.

Hayya: Division will end within an hour if Fatah says no to external conditions
19 Apr 2009 - MP Dr. Khalil Al-Hayya stated that the next round of the reconciliation talks to be held later this month could be resolved within one hour if Fatah renounced the external conditions.

Akef calls for establishing Islamic fund for Jerusalem and Aqsa Mosque
19 Apr 2009 - Mohamed Akef called on Arab leaders to establish an Islamic fund to support Jerusalemites against the Israeli campaign of demolishing their homes and deporting them from their holy city.

Netanyahu chairs security session on Hamas
19 Apr 2009 - Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu is to head a meeting for senior security officials on Sunday to discuss the strength of the Hamas Movement and its weight in Palestine.

Zahhar: Hamas won't agree to a swap deal not including long-sentenced prisoners
19 Apr 2009 - Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, a senior Hamas official, stated that his Movement does not distinguish between prisoners and would not accept any a swap deal without the release of long-sentenced prisoners.

IOA blocks Palestinian Christians from reaching Church of holy Sepulcher
19 Apr 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority on Saturday prevented Palestinian Christians from entering the Church of holy Sepulcher in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, local sources reported.

Hamas warns Ramallah government of yielding to Netanyahu's call
19 Apr 2009 - The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has unequivocally warned Saturday the Ramallah-based government of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas not to yield the call of Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu..

Los Angeles Times

World briefing 
18 Apr 2009 - Bolivia: 3 slain in apparent assassination plot / Canada: Bid to smuggle nuclear parts to Iran alleged / Guatemala: Gang leader held in transport killings / France: 3 pirates charged in hijacking BOLIVIA 

Cleopatra, Mark Antony's tombs may have been found 
18 Apr 2009 - Archaeologists think the lovers' remains are in the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria, Egypt. Excavations begin soon. Archaeologists think they may be close to locating the graves of the doomed lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony in a temple on the Mediterranean Sea just west of Alexandria, Egypt. 

Memos reveal harsh CIA interrogation methods 
17 Apr 2009 - Obama releases Justice Department documents that guided the CIA on how to use waterboarding and other tactics with terror suspects. Intelligence officials won't be prosecuted over the interrogations. Prisoners could be kept awake for more than a week. They could be stripped of their clothes, fed nothing but liquid and thrown against a wall 30 consecutive times. 

New York Times

Iran Sentences U.S. Journalist to 8 Years
18 Apr 2009 - The sentencing of Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American reporter, comes after Washington and Tehran appeared to be making progress on starting a dialogue over Iran’s nuclear program. 

Palestinians Ask U.S. Envoy to Press Israel on ‘Two-State Solution’
17 Apr 2009 - Palestinian leaders on Friday asked George J. Mitchell, the American envoy to the Middle East, to press the new Israeli government to accept the notion of a Palestinian state. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Israel: Netanyahu Demands Recognition of Israel First
16 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu skirted calls by President Obama’s envoy to the Middle East for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 


’I was born Palestinian’ 
Laila El-HaddadA Mother from Gaza, ISM 4/15/2009
      “Its not very comfortable in there is it?” said the stony faced official, cigarette smoke forming a haze around his gleaming oval head.
     “Its OK. We’re fine” I replied wearily, delirious after being awake for a straight period of 30 hours.
     “You could be in there for days you know. For weeks. Indefinitely. “So, tell me, you are taking a plane tomorrow morning to the US?”
     It was our journey home that began with the standard packing frenzy: squeezing everything precious and dear and useful into two suitcases that would be our sustenance for the course of 3 months.
     The trips to the outdoor recreation store- in preparation for what I anticipated to be a long and tortuous journey across Rafah Crossing to Gaza. The inspect repellent; the mosquito netting; the water purifier; the potty toppers for my kids and the dried fruit and granola bars and portion sized peanut butter cups. This time, I wanted to be ready, I thought to myself-just in case I got stuck at the Crossing. The Crossing. My presumptuousness is like a dull hit to the back of my head now.
     In addition to all the packing of suitcases, we were also packing up our house- my husband was finishing up his residency at duke University and set to start a medical fellowship at Johns Hopkins in July. In the meantime, we were “closing shop”, putting our things in storage, selling the rest, and heading overseas: me to Gaza, he to Lebanon to visit his family.

Solving Palestine While Israel Destroys It 
Kathleen And Bill Christison, CounterPunch 4/15/2009
      Obama’s Bubble of Ignorance
     To a greater degree than perhaps ever before, Washington today is engulfed in denial about Israel and its stupefying behavior, about its murderous policies toward the Palestinians, about the efforts of Israel and its U.S. defenders to force us to ignore its atrocities. Blinders have always been part of the attire of U.S. policymakers and politicians with regard to Israel and Israeli actions, but in the wake of the three-week Israeli assault that laid waste to the tiny territory of Gaza -- an assault ended very conveniently just before Barack Obama was inaugurated, so that he has been able to act as though it never occurred -- the perspective from which Washington operates is strikingly more blinkered than ever in the past.
     At a symposium on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Middle East Policy Council just days before Obama took office, Ali Abunimah, a sharp Palestinian-American commentator who runs the website, declared frankly that Washington exists in a bubble of ignorance and denial. While the rest of the world, particularly at the level of civil society, is talking about war crimes tribunals for Israeli leaders and about sanctions against Israel, Abunimah observed, Washington and those world leaders beholden to it are trying to move ahead as if nothing had changed. “We have to expect,” he said, “that the official apparatus of the peace-process industry -- the Hillary Clintons, the Quartets, the Tony Blairs, the Javier Solanas, the Ban Ki-Moons, the whole panoply of official and semi-official Washington think tanks -- will carry on with business as usual, trying to make believe that, through their ministrations, a Palestinian state will come into being.” But in the real world, this state won’t happen, he said, and the time has come to speak frankly about what is going on.
     So far, three months into the Obama administration, there is little evidence that Obama sees clearly or is ready to speak frankly. Another very savvy Palestinian political commentator and activist, Haidar Eid, who lives and endures Israel’s constant punishments in Gaza, recently told an interviewer that the international reaction to Israel’s Gaza assault was like the reaction to some kind of natural disaster -- as if no human hand had had a role in the destruction and nothing but money and aid was required to resolve the problem. As if, he said, the disaster had not been “created by the state of Israel to annihilate the Palestinian resistance and Palestinian society.

Electronic Intifada
Animal Farm finds a Palestinian stage
19 Apr 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - "Intifada," scream the animals as they chase Jones from the farm. Strobe lights flash and loud music blares as the packed audience sits captivated, eyes trained on the stage below. "We are exhausted not because we are hungry. We are exhausted because of human oppression, and we can't work out how to resolve our problems," shouts Old Major, one of the senior pig revolutionaries. 

Palestinians hold Israel Review Conference parallel to UN racism conference
18 Apr 2009 - Representing over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) launches its Israel Review Conference under the title: "United Against Apartheid, Colonialism and Racism: Justice and Dignity for the Palestinian People." The conference takes place in Geneva between the 17-18 April 2009 on the eve of the United Nation's Durban Review Conference. 

Fair deal for domestic workers?
17 Apr 2009 - BEIRUT (IRIN) - Eighty Ethiopian women have been in Tripoli Women's Prison in north Lebanon for over a year, accused of not having a passport, which was either taken from them when they started as domestic workers or which they never had in the first place. Most were arrested on the street after running away from their employers -- usually because of abuses ranging from forced confinement and starvation to physical harm and rape. 

UN Protects Israel from racism charges
17 Apr 2009 - BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank (IPS) - As the wreckage from Israel's recent siege on Gaza continues to smolder, international civil society organizations are assembling this week in Switzerland to address Israel's crimes of military occupation and racism. But any discussion on Israel's actions in Palestine will be excluded from the formal framework at the Durban Anti-Racism Review Conference in Geneva Monday. 

In Gaza
Bassem Abu Rahme, killed in Bil’in protest against the Wall, rest peacefully
17 Apr 2009 - Bassem Abu Rahme, white t-shirt, photo Active Stills I take time to mourn the death of Bassem Abu Rahme , the 18th to be murdered , along with scores injured, while protesting  against Israel’s illegal annexation Wall in the occupied West Bank.  The death and injury toll at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces includes minors, countless local residents, journalists , and many Israelis and internationals.  The oft- militarily-besieged village of Bil’in is one of countless villages in the path of the annexation wall Israel has constructed for so-called ’security’ reasons, stealing Palestinian lands, and lives, in the process. * Picture: Palestine Monitor According to the Bil’in village website , Basem was shouting to...

Palestine Chronicle
Bouncer in Jerusalem
18 Apr 2009 - By Sam Bahour - The West Bank Though hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu came in second in Israel’s last elections, he was tapped by Israel’s president to form a new government. With his coalition now in place, he is off and running. But where is he running to? Netanyahu is no newcomer to Israeli politics. He has even been prime minister before, at a rather pivotal point in history. He led the government from 1996 to 1999 when a Jewish extremist assassinated Yitzhak Rabin for signing a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Many see Netanyahu as culpable in the collapse of the Oslo Peace Accords, since he had rejected them from the outset. Some even found Netanyahu culpable in Rabin’s death by inciting public fears that the peace process left Israel at risk. This time around, post-Oslo, he is making history again by joining forces with another Israeli party leader who did well in Israel’s latest elections, Moldova-born Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's David Duke. Lieberman has many problems with the Palestinians of the occupied territory, but is most conspicuously known for his desire to offload the Palestinians still residing inside Israel (one-fifth of Israel's citizenry, albeit third-or fourth-class). In the pure Jewish state of Lieberman's fantasy, these people contribute no added value whatever. This is the man who will be the lynchpin of Netanyahu’s coalition. For anyone yearning for an Israeli government with the courage and the will to end Israel's 41-year military occupation of Palestinians, the long-anticipated appointment of Lieberman to Minister...

Fascists in Israel: A Little Red Light
18 Apr 2009 - By Uri Avnery - Israel Perhaps Avigdor Lieberman is only a passing episode in the annals of the State of Israel. Perhaps the fire he is trying to ignite will flicker briefly and go out by itself. Or perhaps the police investigations into the grave corruption affair of which he is suspected will lead to his removal from the public sphere. But the opposite is also possible. Last week he promised his acolytes that the next elections would bring him to power. Perhaps Lieberman will prove to be an “Israbluff”’ (a term he himself likes to use), and be revealed, behind the frightful façade, as nothing more than a run of the mill impostor. Perhaps this Lieberman will indeed disappear, to be replaced by another, even worse Lieberman. Either way, we should candidly confront the phenomenon he represents. If one believes that his utterances sound fascist, one has to ask oneself: is there a possibility that a fascist regime might come to power in Israel? The initial gut-feeling is a resounding NO. In Israel? In the Jewish State? After the Holocaust which Nazi fascism brought upon us? Can one even imagine that Israelis would become something like the Nazis? When Yeshayahu Leibowitz coined, many years ago, the term “Judeo-Nazis”, the entire country blew up. Even many of his admirers thought that this time the turbulent professor had gone too far. But Lieberman’s slogans do justify him in retrospect. Some would dismiss Lieberman’s achievement in the recent elections. After all, his...

What Would Palestine Want Us to Do?
18 Apr 2009 - By Mazin Qumsiyeh - Bethlehem We now know how Nothingyahoo (Netanyahu) intends to pursue the classic Israeli policy of engaging in endless "Peace Talks" without the intention of reaching any peace based on International law. He says to US envoy George Mitchell that his government wants the Palestinians to agree to recognize Israel not just as a state but as “A JEWISH STATE” before beginning to discuss the possibility of a two-state solution. This is like South Africa under apartheid insisting that the ANC recognize South Africa as a White State before beginning to discuss the possibility of giving the blacks a state (a Bantustan). Even without complying with International law and allowing the Palestinian refugees to return, there are 20-25% of the population in Israel who are not Jewish and are already targeted (Israel’s foreign minister who came from abroad and has no connection to the land wants to get rid of the natives). If there is a definition of Chutzpah then this notion of recognizing a racist “Jewish state” as precondition even for talks is it. Unfortunately, this is only made possible by the lack of a Palestinian coherent strategy to face the regional and International challenges including outright attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause. Instead, the struggle between Hamas and Fatah have now become a defacto struggle between leadership of two prisoner factions for leadership of prison blocks (Gaza and the five cantons in the West Bank) and the struggle for freedom has receded to lower priority...

Has Washington Lost Lebanon? (Part II)
17 Apr 2009 - By Franklin Lamb – Beirut Part II: Persia Rising It may seem incongruous that in 2009, the U.S.A would have much competition from the Islamic republic of Iran for the hearts and minds of the Lebanese, a diverse 18 sect, highly sophisticated population, with a history of western attachments extending back before the Crusades. Yet is appears to be the case, as the power and prestige of Iran quickly spreads in the region and its myriad relations with Lebanon, which have existed for a millennia, deepen as American influence wanes. The extent to which Washington has ‘lost’ Lebanon to Iran will likely be clarified in the near term, as the ripples from the Bush legacy, the seismic effects of Israel’s recent slaughter in Gaza, and the results of the coming Lebanese and Iranian elections impact the region. Lebanon’s regional challenge is to work with the growing regional power which is not Egypt, Israel or Saudi Arabia, but rather Iran. The 9000 year old civilization, converted to Shia Islam by Lebanese scholars in 1501, is likely to be strategically allied with Lebanon, Turkey, Syria and Russia with the Camp David signers competing, despite Hosni Mubarak’s vow to the contrary, for ‘runner-up’ status. Lebanon is contracting from its relationship with the United States after years of US pressured and purchased collaboration with Israel. The Lebanese appear to be realizing, following the destruction of July 2006, Israel’s fifth war against Lebanon, and the December 2008 slaughter in Gaza, Israel’s eleventh attack against Palestine...

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