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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
23 April, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Suleiman invites Lieberman to visit Egypt
23 Apr 2009 - Israeli sources reported Wednesday that Egypt’s Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, who is also in charge of indirect prisoner-swap and ceasefire talks with Hamas, invited Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman to visit Egypt. 

Despite "tension", Suleiman meets Lieberman
22 Apr 2009 - Egyptian Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, met on Wednesday evening with Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem. 

Lieberman: “Arab Peace Initiative cannot be accepted due to the refugee’s right of return”
22 Apr 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, stated Wednesday that he opposes the Arab Peace Initiative as it calls for the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees into Israel. 

The fourth Bil'in conference of nonviolent resistance starts
22 Apr 2009 - The fourth Bil'in conference of Nonviolent Resistance started on Wednesday with the participation of 150 people from different nationalities. 

Gaza City: Four injured as an unknown object explodes near them
22 Apr 2009 - Four Palestinian civilians were injured on Wednesday midday when an unknown explosion exploded near them at a market place in Gaza city.

Israeli army kidnaps eight civilians West Bank
22 Apr 2009 - The Israeli military invaded a number of West Bank communities on Wednesday and kidnapped eight civilians. 

Israeli Authorities demolish home in Jerusalem
22 Apr 2009 - The Israeli police on Wednesday demolished a Palestinian-owned home in the Jabbal Al Mukaber neighborhood just outside Jerusalem’s old city. 

Israeli military demolishes four homes near Nablus and damage property
22 Apr 2009 - On Wednesday the Israeli army demolished four homes belonging to Palestinian farmers in the village Akraba, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. 

Palestinian detainees to resist orange uniforms
22 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Detainees reported that Palestinian detainees imprisoned by Israel are planning several measures in protest against a decision by the Israeli Prison Administration (IPS) which would force them to wear orange uniforms. 

Norwegian lawyers charge top Israeli officials with war crimes
22 Apr 2009 - A group of lawyers in Norway have filed charges with the nation's top prosecutor against former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, accusing them of war crimes. 

Palestinian security forces arrest reporter in Qalqilia
22 Apr 2009 - Local sources in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank, reported that on Wednesday morning Palestinian security forces loyal to Fateh movement arrested Mustafa Sabri, a Palestinian reporter and member of Qalqilia city council, near the northern West Bank city of Jenin. 

UK to review its weapons exports to Israel
22 Apr 2009 - The government of the United Kingdom says it will review all of its weapons exports to Israel due to Israel’s excessive use of force during the war against the Gaza Strip.  Israel embarked on the offensive against Gaza on December 27, 2008, and ended it with a unilateral ceasefire on January 18, 2009. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

ANALYSIS / IDF's idea of 'proportionate' is a matter of interpretation
22 Apr 2009 - In Gaza, the doctrine was 'zero risk' to soldiers' lives, even when this meant harming enemy civilians. 

Barak: Gaza probe shows IDF among world's most moral armies
22 Apr 2009 - IDF inquiries find no instances of war crimes during Gaza war; B'Tselem: IDF must comply with UN probe. 

Sources: U.S. may drop AIPAC spy case
22 Apr 2009 - Trial of 2 ex-AIPAC lobbyists, accused of disclosing national defense secrets, has been postponed nine times. 

Hamas smuggling new arsenal into Gaza
21 Apr 2009 - Security sources: Anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, longer range rockets coming in through tunnels. 

U.K. to review arms exports to Israel in wake of Gaza war
21 Apr 2009 - Move follows pressure from British lawmakers; less than 1% of Israel's arms imports come from U.K. 

IDF troops detain two Palestinians infiltrating from Gaza
21 Apr 2009 - The Palestinians were detained for questioning after trying to slip through the central Gaza security fence. 

Iran warns Israel not to attack nuclear sites
21 Apr 2009 - Parliament speaker quoted as saying Iran's response will stop Israelis from being 'able to sleep easy.' 

Reformed Palestinian terrorist becomes theater director in West Bank
21 Apr 2009 - Ex-militant Zbeidi named Freedom Theater director; mosque blasts founder as depraved and immoral. 

Ma'an News

Egyptian mediator in Israel for Gaza talks 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egypt’s top mediator in indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas will arrive in Israel on Wednesday for talks on combating smuggling into Gaza and a proposed prisoner exchange. Intelligence chief Umar Suleiman will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. [end] 

PA Official: Fayyad government in financial crisis 
4/22/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been facing a serious financial crisis for months, sending top leaders on a search for international funds, a senior PA official said on Tuesday. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that President Mahmoud Abbas’ intended to ask for donation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during his visit there this week. Additional financing from the UAE is necessary to cover the salaries of PA employees for the next month. The official said that donor states had failed to deliver on pledges of funding to the Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s caretaker government over the last two months, creating a deficit that will affect all of the governments’ operations. Though it is dependent on international aid for financing, the Ramallah-based PA is the largest employer in the occupied Palestinian territories, paying the salaries of more than 170,000 people. 

Obama invites Palestinian, Egyptian, and Israeli leaders to Washington 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – US President Barack Obama plans to invite the leaders of Palestine, Israel, and Egypt to Washington before June in an effort to re-start Middle East peacemaking. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the aim is to complete all three visits before Obama goes to France for the anniversary of the D-Day invasion on 6 June. According to a senior Palestinian official who spoke to AFP, Abbas will make trip on 28 May. Obama met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Washington on Tuesday as a part of his initiative to get Israel engaged in formal peace negotiations with the Palestinians and Arab states. Palestinian-Israeli “final status negotiations” resumed during the last 18 months of George W Bush’s presidency but then ended without an agreement with the onset of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza in December. 

Israeli forces seize eight Palestinians in West Bank raids 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized eight Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank on Wednesday. The Israeli military said Palestinians were taken from Bethlehem and the nearby village of Tuqua, and Ramallah. The identities of the detainees have not been determined. They are being held in an unknown location. [end] 

Israel allows food, fuel into Gaza 
4/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel allowed food and fuel into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning but prohibited grain and animal feed from the besieged enclave. The Palestinian coordinator of the Gaza Strip border crossings, Raed Fattuh told Ma’an that 115 truckloads of goods, sent by the UN and other international organizations, were allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing. He said cooking gas and industrial fuel for the Gaza power plant would be allowed through the Nahal Oz crossing, but did not specify the quantities. On Tuesday, 107 truckloads bound for the agricultural sector were allowed though Kerem Shalom. 400,000 liters of industrial fuel and 209 tons of cooking gas were allowed through Nahal Oz. 

Israeli forces seize PA security officer from Jenin-area home 
4/22/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers seized a Palestinian Authority (PA) security officer during a raid on his home near the West Bank city of Jenin early on Wednesday morning. Israeli forces raided several houses in the village of Khirbet Maraka, southwest of Jenin, and detained Nasser Ahmad Mustafa Musa, an officer in the Palestinian National Security Service. On Tuesday Israeli soldiers also abducted a PA intelligence officer from Jenin, where the PA’s forces were allowed to reassert control last year. With these detentions, five PA security officers have been seized in the northern West Bank in the last three weeks alone. [end] 

Israel demolishes Palestinian house in East Jerusalem 
4/22/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – The Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality demolished a Palestinian house in the Jabal Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem on the pretext that it was built without a permit. The house, in the As-Sal’a area, was owned by of Ammar Hdedon and was home to seven people. Ammar told Ma’an that he received no warning from the municipality before the demolition. Two months ago the municipality used construction equipment to attack the foundation of the house. Building permits are the most often used pretext for demolishing houses, though Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem say permission is often near-impossible to obtain from the Jerusalem Municipality. Hundreds of houses in the city are currently slated for demolition. Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed the city in a move not recognized internationally. 

South Africa anti-Apartheid leader forges ties with Palestinians 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – By Deema Dabis – A South African anti-Apartheid leader and union official is in the West Bank this week to share ideas and create stronger links for solidarity work with Palestinians. “In South Africa we are familiar with the struggle of the people of Palestine for freedom and self determination,” said Zeko Tamela, the Head of External Relations of the South African Transport and Communications Workers Union. “As a previously oppressed people ourselves we forged alliances with freedom fighters around the world. ”Tamela was speaking in a meeting with Palestinian union leaders, civil society activists and Palestinian Authority officials at the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday afternoon. Tamela’s visit comes a little more than three months after South African dockworkers refused. . . 

Israeli ordinance explodes in Gaza, injuring four 
4/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Four Palestinians were injured when an ordinance left by the Israeli military exploded in Gaza City on Wednesday. Palestinian medical sources said the device exploded in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, and that ambulances evacuated four injured people. The injuries were described as “moderate to light. ” Medical officials urged Palestinians to avoid touching unexploded bombs, shells, and grenades left behind by Israeli forces, and to call authorities when they find such objects. [end] 

Norwegian attorneys seeking extradition of Olmert for war crimes in Gaza 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A team of Norwegian attorneys are seeking the arrest and extradition of Israel’s former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, for alleged war crimes committed during in Gaza in December and January. The lawyers told AFP that they plan to file a complaint with Norway’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday. They are also seeking the extradition of former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israeli army officers. The team released a statement accusing Israel of "massive terrorist attacks" in the Gaza Strip, illegally using weapons against civilian targets and deliberately attacking hospitals and medical staff, according to AFP. "There can be no doubt that these subjects knew about, ordered or approved the actions in Gaza and that they had considered the consequences of these actions," the lawyers' statement said. 

Hamas denies 'arrest campaign' against Fatah 
4/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Interior Ministry of the Hamas-run de facto government in Gaza denied accusations that it launched a mass campaign of arrests against Fatah members this week. Interior Ministry spokesperson Ihab Al-Ghussein said that “all practices performed by the security service are regular; nothing has changed recently, nor did they detain any Fatah members. ”On Tuesday Fatah accused the de facto government of rounding up Fatah members in response to the attempted shooting of Sheikh Hamid Al-Beitawi, a Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday. A Fatah-allied security officer fired a shot at Al-Beitawi’s feet following a brief struggle, sending a piece of shrapnel into his right leg. Al-Ghussein also said Hamas viewed the attack on Al-Beitawi as an individual, rather than a political act. 

Israel razes eight Palestinian houses near Nablus 
4/22/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli military bulldozers demolished eight Palestinian houses southwest of Nablus Wednesday morning, witnesses said. The demolitions are the first following a wave of eviction and demolition notices handed out by Israeli authorities to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in March and April. Ghassan Doglus, the head of a local committee against settlements, said that bulldozers backed by soldiers invaded the Jetit area, near Aqraba village and began destroying buildings. Jad'an Qasim, chair of the Al-Falah Society, identified owners of the properties to be demolished as Zayd Bani Minna, Khalil Bani Jabir, Jamil Bani Jabir, Ghallab Hammad, Wasif Hammad, Muhammad Hammad, and Abdullah Bani Jabir. The effort marks first follow-through of three sets of demolition notices handed out in the West Bank and Jerusalem. 

Palestinian prisoners beaten inside military transport 
4/22/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli prison guards assaulted a group of Palestinian prisoners while they were chained inside a military transport on Wednesday, according to attorney Jawad Al-Amawi, the director of legal affairs in the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners Affairs. Al-Amawi explained that wardens tried to force one of the prisoners to wear an orange uniform. When he refused, prison services summoned a crisis intervention team who hurled tear gas canisters into the vehicle and then beat them. [end] 

Hamas delegates travel to Damascus; will set down final policy on conciliation 
4/22/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas has prepared its vision on how to resolve the “suspended” issues from last round of dialogue, leader Mahmoud Az-Zahhar said Wednesday, noting draft position papers will be handed to Egypt preceding the resumption of talks. The Hamas delegation from Gaza is scheduled to leave for Damascus Wednesday afternoon where they will meet their counterparts in Syria and finalize positions on several Egyptian suggestions regarding dialogue and transitional governments. Top on the list, according to Az-Zahhar, is defining a position on the Egyptian suggestion of forming a Higher Council with which both the West Bank and Gaza Strip governments would coordinate. The Council would be charged with reconstructing Gaza and preparing Palestinians for legislative elections on 25 January 2010. Az-Zahhar explained that if elections take place at the scheduled time then “the destiny of the current government will be decided [by the people. 

Palestine National Football Team to play in Brussels 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestine’s national football team will play a friendly match with FC Molenbeek Brussels in Belgium on six may in an event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. The match, which will take place under the banner of “A Goal for Peace” on 6 May will also be a fund raising event for the benefit of Palestine refugees. It will be played in the Edmond Machtens Stadium in Brussels and will be preceded by a musical from the Palestinian musical group Sabreen. All the proceeds of ticket sales will benefit the UNRWA Scholarship Endowment Fund which will support young Palestine Refugees in achieving their university education. At a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Philippe Moureaux, mayor of the Commune of Molenbeek, said, “We are very proud to host the Palestinian. . . 

Second Palestine Festival of Literature set to “Reaffirm the power of culture over the culture of power” 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Second Palestine Festival of Literature will travel to the West Bank in May to continue what began last year and perpetuate discussions on art and literature between Palestinian and international authors and critics. PalFest organizers announced last week that the performances, lectures and workshops that make up the festival will take place across the West Bank between 23 and 28 May. Part of the mandate of the festival , “because of the difficulties Palestinians face under military occupation in travelling around their own country,” is to travel to its audiences in the West Bank. This year’s festival includes stops in Hebron and Jenin, as well as Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. According to its organizers, the Palestine Festival of Literature was inspired by a call of the late Palestinian thinker Edward Said, who said we must, “Reaffirm the power of culture over the culture of power. 

PA security continues "law and order" campaign in Nablus villages 
4/22/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority (PA) security services continued their Law and Order campaign in the eastern Nablus district Wednesday, focusing efforts in Rujeib village. In the village, three kilometers east of Nablus, PA forces caught four fugitives , checked the registration of 250 cars, ten of which were confiscated because of a failure to register with the Ministry of Transportation. Governor of Nablus Jamal Muheisin noted the sweep in Rujeib was part of a wide-scale campaign to impose law and order in the Nablus governorate. He highlighted that the mission began in Kafr Qalil on Tuesday where some fugitives were seized, and will continue throughout the week. The governor thanked residents of both villages for cooperation with security services. He said cooperation stemmed from citizens’ will to restore security and order in their areas. 

Bil’in to host fourth annual conference on nonviolent resistance 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Delegations from around the world will arrive in Bil’in Thursday for the start of the fourth annual conference on nonviolent resistance, where speakers and attendees will discuss, compare and analyze the use of popular resistance in Palestine and as a mechanism of resisting oppression. The conference will go forward despite the death last week of a Bil'in protester, Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh, who was shot in the chest with a high-velocity tear-gas canister and killed. American Peace activist Tristan Anderson was critically wounded in the Ni’lin popular protest in March. Presenters from the EU and South Africa, will speak alongside coordinators for the popular resistance movements from Bil’in, Na’lin, Al-Ma’asara, Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinians are exploring several methods of resistance to separation wall construction, land confiscation and home demolition orders from Israel. 

Israel: 'Malfunction' caused Gaza massacre 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said internal investigations showed it acted according to law during the three-week offensive against the Gaza Strip, but that ‘malfunctions’ resulted in the deaths of innocents. On Tuesday the military said it concluded five separate investigations into the shelling of UN installations, the targeting of medical personnel and facilities, the killing of civilians, the use of the incendiary weapon white phosphorus, and the destruction of buildings by ground forces. The military’s report prominently addressed one of the most horrific single moments of the Gaza war: the killing of 21 civilian members of the Ad-Daya family, including women and young children, in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. According to witness accounts and reports by human rights organizations, Israeli warplanes bombed the house of 60-year-old Fayiz Ad-Daya, where dozens of relatives had taken shelter, at 6am on 6 January. 

Report detailing PA nepotism and misappropriation of funds presented as Reuters reveals USAID funding for Abbas' sons 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An annual report by the Palestinian Coalition for Accountability and Integrity said favoritism, nepotism, and misappropriation of public funds were the most widespread aspects of corruption in the Palestinian territories. “Despite improvement in public finance management in 2008,” the 41-page report concluded, “corruption is still high in other areas. ”The report noted that an absence of an active Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) meant laws preventing and fighting corruption could not be passed. The report cited acts on access to information, privatization, and formation of an anti-corruption committee as examples of potential measures. The PLC has been non-functional since June 2007, when Hamas took control over the Gaza Strip. The private sector as well, according to the report, was not free of corruption, which was also due to absence of a working PLC. 

Hamas lawmaker released from Israeli jail after 17-month administrative detention 
4/22/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli authorities released a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) representing the Hamas bloc in Nablus after he served 17 months of administrative detention. The 71-year-old Ahmad Al-Hajj Ali from Ein Beit Al-Mai was released on Wednesday. Hajj Ali was detained on 16 December 2007. [end] 

Fire in illegal Israeli factory in West Bank causes severe damage, noxious fumes 
4/22/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – A fire erupted in a plastics factory in an illegal Israeli industrial zone west of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank on Wednesday evening. Palestinians living nearby were instructed to go into their homes and shut all windows as noxious smoke billowed out of the factory. The industrial zone was established illegally several years ago, according to Governor of Tulkarem Talal Dweikat, and has badly influenced the agricultural lands around it. Palestinian authorities, he added, have requested Israel remove the industrial zone which was removed from its first site in Israel due to the harmful effects on the surrounding environment. Israeli sources reported no casualties from the fire but severe material damages. No cause has been identified. Palestinian youth threw stones at fire crews as they entered the area. 

PA: Severe financial crisis may delay payment of civil servants salaries 
4/22/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian caretaker government is facing a severe financial crisis as funds from donor countries are delayed, Minister of Planning Samir Abdullah told Ma’an on Wednesday. Abdullah said the Palestinian Authority (PA) may be forced to borrow from banks in order to pay civil servants salaries, noting that this is what they have been doing for the past four months. The caretaker government has urgeddonor countries to push through pledges to the PA to help them cover the120 million US dollar monthly deficit. “Arab and other friend countries promised to help,” he added. Donor countries pledged 7. 7 billion US dollars to be delivered by the end of 2009 during the Paris conference in 2007. “So far,” said Abdullah, “only 2. 2 billion have been received. ”He added that the caretaker government has received nothing so far of the 4. 

Hamas-affiliates open new National Islamic Bank in Gaza 
4/22/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an/Agencies - Hamas-affiliates in Gaza established the first bank in the Strip not under Palestinian Authority control with 20 million US dollars in start-up funds; the bank opened its doors Tuesday. "We are opening the bank today and are beginning to offer our services to the public," Head of the new National Islamic Bank Alaa Ar-Rafati told AFP. The four-floor bank will operate on the Islamic banking system and will hold the accounts of the at least 6,000 employees of the de facto government in Gaza. According to reports, the salaries will be automatically deposited into the new bank. "We have absolutely no crisis of liquidity, be it shekels or dollars. This will allow us to win the confidence of customers,” Ar-Rafati said alluding to the cash crisis faced by Gazan banks due to the Israeli restriction on cash imports. 


Israel defends army's Gaza conduct
22 Apr 2009 - Israel rejects claims it violated international law during three-week war.

UN seeks to salvage racism summit
21 Apr 2009 - Declaration calling for tolerance adopted after Iranian's leader speech attacking Israel.

Hamas accused of killing rivals
20 Apr 2009 - Human Rights Watch says torture, maimings and executions took place during Gaza war.

Iran plans fast appeal for US 'spy'
20 Apr 2009 - Iran's judiciary orders reporter's appeal to be dealt with "carefully and quickly".

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


OPT: Signs of worsening malnutrition among children 
GAZA CITY Tuesday, April 21, 2009 (IRIN) - Rising poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in Gaza, compounded by the recent 23-day Israeli offensive, have increased the threat of child malnutrition, say UN agencies, health ministry officials and healthcare NGOs in Gaza. 

In Brief: United States approves rapid avian flu test 
DAKAR Friday, April 10, 2009 (IRIN) - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a test that can detect the deadly H5N1 virus in humans through throat or nose swabs in 40 minutes. Current laboratory analyses that detect the avian flu strain can take up to four hours for confirmation.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: Iran Hits Back at U.N. Chief Over Racism Meet 
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 22 (IPS) - An indignant Iran has lodged a "strong protest" over critical statements made by two senior U.N. officials against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an anti-racism conference in Geneva early this week.

RIGHTS-US: Senate Report Casts Grim Light on Bush Era 
NEW YORK, Apr 22 (IPS) - Pentagon interrogators continuously ramped up their abusive techniques against prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan in a vain attempt to establish a link between the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. on Sep. 11,...

RIGHTS-US: Border Policies Need Overhaul, Group Says 
WASHINGTON, Apr 22 (IPS) - Getting into the United States – even for citizens, let alone immigrants and other visitors – is a notoriously difficult process. But a new report says that the questioning, detention, and oft-extended searches are going too far, especially when they are trampling on the basic...

MIDEAST: Iran Hands Israel a Gift 
JERUSALEM, Apr 22 (IPS) - Just when it seemed that the international community was gearing itself up to put pressure on the new Israel government to engage the Arab world and the Palestinian Authority seriously on peace, Iran's president hijacked the moment. But, in again lashing out against Israel, he...

Stop The Wall

Friday protests and a Saturday funeral
21 Apr 2009 - This Friday, Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred in Bil’in, where he was shot during a protest. Soldiers also attacked several other anti-Wall demonstrations in the West Bank, wounding scores of people. In these past months, the deaths of Abu Rahma, along with Arafat Khawaja, Mohammed Khawaja, Ahmed Mousa and Youssef Amirah are not isolated examples of “unauthorized fire” or protocol breach, but rather reflect a violent, institutionalized military policy. [

PCHR Latest

PCHR Condemns Attack on PLC Member Sheikh al-Beetawi

PCHR hold Minister of Health in Ramallah accountable and calls on Palestinian President to Intervene

PCHR Weekly Report

(02 -08 April  2008)
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, in the West Bank. Three of these civilians were wounded by Israeli settlers in a joint attack with IOF.

International Solidarity Movement

Israeli refusal to cooperate with United Nations investigation represents an attempt to shield alleged war criminals from justice
ISM - 21 April 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned at recent Israeli statements implying that the State of Israel will not cooperate with the independent investigation established by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The investigation is led by Justice Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Both tribunals were established by the United Nations Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The independent fact finding mission is mandated to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law, related to the recent 23 day Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The offensive claimed the lives of 1,417 Palestinians, 1,181 (83%) of whom were non-combatants: the protected persons of IHL. 

Israeli forces abduct Gazan fishermen
ISM - ISM Gaza | 21 April 2009 - At least 4 Palestinian fishermen were abducted and 2 fishing boats stolen today by the Israeli navy in yet another act of piracy. According to initial unconfirmed information provided by their colleagues, the abducted hassaka fishermen are Khader Al Saedee and Saleem Al Noaman from Gaza, while Raed Athman and Mohammed Awada are from Rafah and were onboard a motor hassaka. Since the end of the recent onslaught on Gaza, at least 28 fishermen have been abducted, 13 fishing boats stolen and not returned and at least 5 fishermen have been injured in the sea whilst others have reportedly been injured on the shore. Updated on April 22, 2009 

Israeli forces detain youth in Tel Rumeida
ISM - 19 April 2009 - Tel Rumeida, Hebron - 4 Palestinian girls, residents of Tel Rumeida, were detained for more than 3 hours as they left one of their houses. Two of the girls were about 6 years old, and two were about 13. Two of the girls lived on Tel Rumeid Street and two lived on Al Shuhara Street. At about 5:50 PM, the girls were walking back to Al Shuhada Street, and a settler spoke with soldiers at a checkpoint. The soldiers then detained the girls until after 9 PM. There are Israelis living in illegal settlements on both streets, and Israeli forces are present on the streets 24 hours a day. Two internationals observed and tried to talk with the soldier and the detained girls. Israeli police threatened the international with arrest, saying the area was a "closed military zone. " ĚThe soldiers refused to give reasons as to why the girls were detained. 

Report: Olmert, Livni may face war crimes charges in Norway
ISM - 22 April 2009 - Former prime minister Ehud Olmert and opposition leader Tzipi Livni may face war crimes charges in Norway over their role in Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza, AFP reported Tuesday. The news agency said six Norwegian lawyers announced plans Tuesday to accuse the pair, as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israel Defense Forces officers, of the crimes. The lawyers, who planned to file their complaint with Norway's chief prosecutor on Wednesday, were quoted as saying they would also call for the arrest and extradition of the Israeli leaders. Under the Norwegian penal code, courts may hear cases involving war crimes and other major violations of human rights. The lawyers released a statement quoted by AFP accusing Israel of "massive terrorist attacks" in the Gaza Strip from December 27 last year to January 25, killing civilians, illegally. . . 

Military exports to Israel reviewed following Gaza conflict
ISM - 22 April 2009 - Britain announced last night that it is to review all its military exports to Israel in the light of the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip which killed around 1,400 Palestinians. In a written statement to MPs, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, announced that all current and future licences permitting the export of military equipment would be reviewed in the light of the three-week Operation Cast Lead. Miliband said Britain provided less than 1% of Israel's military imports. But he acknowledged that some components supplied by Britain were "almost certainly" used by Israel in its military offensive. These were:"¢ Israeli reconnaissance satellites, for which Britain supplies minor components, which could have been used to provide information to the Israeli army. Miliband said: "We assess that these might have been used to prepare the operation. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Netanyahu to offer U.S. 'laundry list' for peace talks
22 Apr 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is developing a "laundry list" that he will present to U.S. President Barack Obama when they meet next month in Washington. The Israeli premier will present Obama with a three-part plan involving halting Iran's nuclear program, closer relations with moderate Arab states and dealing with the Palestinian issue through several channels. ... 

Netanyahu's Mideast policy threatens EU ties 
22 Apr 2009 - The foreign policy of the Netanyahu government, which deems unacceptable the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an outline for negotiations with the Palestinians, has damaged Israel's relations with the European Union. ... 

Egypt invites Lieberman to visit, despite boycott threats
22 Apr 2009 - Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the powerful official handling indirect Israel-Hamas contacts over a cease-fire and prisoner exchange, on Wednesday invited Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to visit Cairo after meeting him in Jerusalem. ...

Actor Omar Sharif: I brought Sadat and Begin together 
22 Apr 2009 - Celebrated silver-screen star Omar Sharif has claimed that he was responsible for bringing then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin together ahead of Sadat's historic 1977 visit to Israel. ...

Report: Olmert, Livni may face war crimes charges in Norway
21 Apr 2009 - Former prime minister Ehud Olmert and opposition leader Tzipi Livni may face war crimes charges in Norway over their role in Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza, AFP reported Tuesday. ...

The Guardian

Seumas Milne: What credibility is there in Geneva's all-white boycott?
22 Apr 2009 - The Iranian president's repugnant rhetoric doesn't give Israel's sponsors the right to cry foul when it's called racist What do the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Italy and Israel have in common?...

Clare Short criticised over parliament invitation to Hamas leader
22 Apr 2009 - Israeli ambassador calls meeting a 'slap in the face' to moderate Palestinians, while Tories question use of Westminster facilities Israel accused former Labour Cabinet minister Clare Short of undermining the Middle East peace process today after...

Darya Shaikh: Israelis and Palestinians want peace
22 Apr 2009 - A poll by the OneVoice Movement indicates that most civilians want a two-state solution – resolving the conflict is not impossible George Mitchell , US special envoy to the Middle East, visited Israel and Palestine last week,...

Israel Defence Force says it fought Gaza war in line with international law
22 Apr 2009 - Five internal inquiries found 'very small number' of unavoidable intelligence or operational errors, says statement Israel's military today defended its conduct in the war in Gaza, saying internal investigations showed it fought "in accordance with international...

Ha'aretz National page

Upper Nazareth city councillor: May the Arabs disappear
21 Apr 2009 - A complaint of racism and incitement has been lodged against an Upper Nazareth city councillor who called for Arabs to "disappear," in an Independence Day greeting to local residents. ...

Employment Service: Another 130,000 Israelis will lose jobs by year's end
21 Apr 2009 - An estimated 130,000 Israelis will be dismissed from their jobs between now and the end of 2009, the director of the Israel Employment Service said Wednesday. ...

Why did 150,000 Israelis join a worthless Facebook group?
21 Apr 2009 - More than 150,000 Israelis have recently joined a Facebook group that promises to reveal to its members the identities of people who view their profiles. ...

Police arrest man suspected of being 'Israeli Madoff'
21 Apr 2009 - Police arrested Tuesday a 34-year-old resident of central Israel suspected of cheating dozens of people out of tens of millions of shekels. ...

IN PICTURES / Israel marks Holocaust Remembrance Day
21 Apr 2009 - ... 

Relief Web

Children and armed conflict - Report of the Secretary-General (A/63/785–S/2009/158)
22 Apr 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly, UN Security Council

Annual Report to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict
22 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict

OPT: Voicing the needs of women and men in Gaza - Beyond the aftermath of the 23–day Israeli military operations
22 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Development Fund for Women

Spanish funding for "conflict prevention and peace building" in north Lebanon
22 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Development Programme

OPT: A goal for peace
22 Apr 2009 - Source: European Commission

OPT: UNICEF and ECHO support counselling to help Gaza's children face the future
22 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Children's Fund

Le Conseil de sécurité souligne l'importance des initiatives du Secrétaire général pour promouvoir la médiation et régler pacifiquement les différends
22 Apr 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

Obama invites leaders for talks on Mideast peace
21 Apr 2009 - Source: Reuters

YNet News

Despite threats, Suleiman meets with Lieberman
22 Apr 2009 - Low-key meeting took place despite Egyptian foreign minister's warning Cairo would not deal with Avigdor Lieberman. Prime Minister Netanyahu tells visiting intelligence chief countries have shared interest in peace

Gaza father: IDF lying in investigation
22 Apr 2009 - Dr. Mahmoud Iyad, whose two sons were killed by IDF fire during the daily humanitarian ceasefire during Operation Cast Lead, is furious with the army's vindication of its conduct - 'Are my sons the little mistakes the deputy chief of staff is talking about?'

Barak ousts Cabel over dissention
22 Apr 2009 - Labor chairman informs secretary-general he is to be dismissed over his inability to accept Labor's participation in Likud-led government

Official: Iran a priority but not a condition for talks with Palestinians
22 Apr 2009 - Jerusalem official outlines issues Netanyahu will raise during future meeting with US president

Left, HR groups demand external probe of Gaza op
22 Apr 2009 - Military report on accidental civilian deaths during Operation Cast Lead deemed unsatisfactory by political Left, rights groups. 'Calling 295 deaths an operational malfunction is a cynical perception of human life,' says Meretz MK 

Clinton: US committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nukes
22 Apr 2009 - Despite efforts to engage Tehran, Washington has no illusions regarding threat it poses and is preparing 'very tough sanctions' in event talks fail, US secretary of state tells House. On Israeli-Palestinian track, White House working to bring both sides back to 'two-state' negotiations 

Barak meets Suleiman in Jerusalem
22 Apr 2009 - 'Egypt is central factor in regional processes, stability,' defense minister tells intelligence chief

Stabbing attack thwarted in Ofer Prison
22 Apr 2009 - Palestinian girl discovered with knife says she planned to stab wardens at facility near Jerusalem


House demolition in Jerusalem: collective punishment
15 Apr 2009 - On 7 April, security forces demolished the apartment, in Zur Baher, East Jerusalem, of the family of Husam Dwayat, 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 Justic

Daily Star

Iran ready for 'constructive' nuclear talks 
22 Apr 2009 - Iran said on Wednesday it welcomes "constructive" talks with world powers, as the United States warned Tehran could face "crippling" sanctions if such talks failed to end Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. In an official statement, Iran said it believed discussions could resolve disputes between the Islamic Republic and the West.

Israeli military denies committing war crimes in Gaza 
22 Apr 2009 - The Israeli military said Wednesday that its internal investigations concluded it did not violate international law during the Gaza war, bluntly deflecting war crimes allegations by human rights groups. Rights activists renewed their call for an independent inquiry, saying the military was "incapable" of looking at "the whole range of violations."

Hillary Clinton moves to strengthen ties with Libya 
22 Apr 2009 - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Tuesday for stronger ties between the United States and its former foe Libya, during a meeting with a son of Moamar Gadhafi, the Libyan leader. "We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya," Clinton told several reporters as she received Mutassim Gadhafi, who serves as his father's national security adviser.

Fiance of US reporter jailed in Iran defends her 
22 Apr 2009 - An Iranian filmmaker, who said he is engaged to the American journalist jailed in Iran for allegedly spying for the US, defended his fiance as innocent in an open letter and begged Iranian authorities to release her. The letter by Bahman Ghobadi, circulated by an Iranian human rights group, described 31-year-old Roxana Saberi as an intelligent.

Watchdog cites corruption in Palestinian territories 
22 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian territories saw some improvement in public finance management in 2008 but corruption in other areas was still high, a Palestinian transparency group said in its annual report on Wednesday. The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity said that while there was more transparency in disclosing the finances of the Palestinian.

Firms run by Abass' sons get lucrative US contracts 
22 Apr 2009 - Firms run by sons of President Mahmoud Abbas won US government aid contracts to repair roads - and America's image - in the Palestinian territories, previously undisclosed documents show. A review by Reuters of internal US government records about aid programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hillary Clinton avoids making waves as America's top diplomat 
22 Apr 2009 - When President Barack Obama chose Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state, skeptics foresaw trouble: a clash of ego and ambition, a conflict of policy priorities between former campaign rivals. But it hasn't worked out that way. He has taken the lead on foreign policy and she has dutifully followed.

Palestinian Information Center

IOA demolishes Palestinian home south of Jerusalem, 4 others near Nablus
22 Apr 2009 - The IOA demolished a Palestinian house without prior warning in the Sal'ah area, south of occupied Jerusalem, Wednesday morning at the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Swedish institutions donate to "Hope" convoy
22 Apr 2009 - A number of Swedish institutions have donated two ambulance vehicles and two trucks loaded with urgently needed medical equipment to the "Hope" convoy heading to the Gaza Strip.

MP Halaika: Mishaal's speech at House of Commons turning point
22 Apr 2009 - MP Samira Al-Halaika has stressed that the British House of Common's invitation to Khaled Mishaal, the Hamas leader, to deliver a speech was an indication of a new turning point.

Hamas: Fatah is directly involved in campaigns to eliminate our cadres in WB
22 Apr 2009 - Hamas stated that Fatah faction is directly involved in the campaigns to eliminate Hamas in the West Bank and mislead the public opinion about what is really going on there.

Prisoner defense center: IOA decided to force detainees to wear orange uniforms
22 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners strongly denounced the IOA for deciding to impose by force the orange uniform on Palestinian prisoners in Jalbo jail.

MP Jarrar lambastes world community for ignoring Israeli detention of lawmakers
22 Apr 2009 - MP Khaleda Jarrar has lambasted the world community for remaining silent towards the Israeli detention of Palestinian lawmakers including PLC speaker Dr. Aziz Dwaik.

Norwegian lawyers to sue Israeli leaders for war crimes
22 Apr 2009 - A galaxy of Norwegian lawyers is expected to file a lawsuit on Wednesday with the Norwegian attorney general against Israeli leaders who committed war crimes during the last war on the Gaza Strip.

Hebrew press: Calm mediation resumed
22 Apr 2009 - Calm negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli occupation authority with Egyptian mediation have resumed, Hebrew daily Ma'ariv reported.

Abu Marzouk: We will go to dialog with open hearts and minds
22 Apr 2009 - Hamas Movement will go to the national dialog talks in Cairo with open hearts and minds and will seek to end the new round of dialog with success, Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk said.

Bahar urges parliaments to pass national legislation to prosecute Israel
22 Apr 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC, called on all Arab, Islamic and international parliaments to work hard to introduce new national legislation to prosecute Israeli war criminals.

Los Angeles Times

Haim Saban, friend to Israel and Democrats 
22 Apr 2009 - The media mogul finds himself entangled in the controversy surrounding Rep. Jane Harman. Even in a town of bigger-than-life personalities, media mogul Haim Saban stands out -- lion-like in demeanor, furiously determined and unshakably loyal to those people and causes in which he fervently believes. 

Obama invites Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian leaders for talks 
22 Apr 2009 - The leaders will come separately to the White House over six weeks to work on concrete steps toward peace, the president says after meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II. Declaring a need to defeat growing cynicism about the prospects for Mideast peace, President Obama has invited the leaders of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian territories to the White House for separate talks over the next six weeks. 

World briefing 
22 Apr 2009 - Egypt: Four ancient temples unearthed in Sinai / Iran: Roxana Saberi's sentence may be reconsidered / Sierra Leone: 15 jailed, fined in cocaine case / Britain: Israel weapons review planned EGYPT 

New York Times

Iran Officially Welcomes Nuclear Talks
22 Apr 2009 - An official statement reiterated an announcement by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week that Iran would accept talks with six major powers. 

Iranian Calls Israel Racist at Meeting in Geneva
20 Apr 2009 - The remarks at a U.N. conference on combating racism prompted European delegates to desert the hall. 

Iran Official Orders ‘Fair’ Appeal Review for Reporter
20 Apr 2009 - The head of Iran’s judiciary ordered an appeal for Roxana Saberi, the Iranian-American journalist sentenced to eight years on charges of spying for Washington. 


His name was Basem 
Mohammad Khatib, Bil"™in Popular Committee Against the Wall and, ISM 4/20/2009
      His name was Basem, which means smile, and that is how he greeted everyone.  But we all called him "˜Pheel’, which means elephant because he had the body the size of an elephant. But Basem had the heart of a child. 
     He loved everyone, and because of his sweetness and ability to make us laugh, everyone loved him. Basem was everyone’s friend: the children talk about how he would play with them, scare them and then make them laugh. He would tend the garden in the playground and bring toys and books to the kindergarten. The old ladies in the village talk about how he used to visit, to ask after them and see if they needed anything. In the village, he seemed to be everywhere at once. He would pop in to say hello, take one puff of the nargila, and be off to his next spot. The morning he was killed he went to the house of Hamis, whose skull had been broken at a previous demonstration three months ago by a tear gas canister projectile - the same weapon that would kill Basem.
     Basem woke Hamis and gave him his medicine, then off he went to visit another friend in the village who is ill with cancer. Then a little girl from the village wanted a pineapple but couldn’t find any in the local stores. So Basem went to Ramallah to get a pineapple and was back before noon for the Friday prayers and the weekly demonstration against the theft of our land by the apartheid wall.  Pheel never missed a demonstration; he participated in all the activities and creative actions in Bilin. He would always talk to the soldiers as human beings. Before he was hit he was calling for the soldiers to stop shooting because there were goats near the fence and he was worried for them. Then a woman in front of him was hit. He yelled to the commander to stop shooting because someone was wounded. He expected the soldiers to understand and stop shooting. Instead, they shot him too.

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
Canadian musician Leonard Cohen urged to cancel Israel concert
22 Apr 2009 - The following is an open letter from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine to Canadian musician Leonard Cohen: Your songs have been part of the soundtrack of our lives -- like breathing, some of them. But we can't make sense of why you've decided to perform in Israel in September this year. 

Signs of worsening malnutrition among children
22 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Rising poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in Gaza, compounded by the recent 23-day Israeli offensive, have increased the threat of child malnutrition, say UN agencies, health ministry officials and healthcare non-governmental organizations in Gaza. 

Some Gazans allowed to cross into Egypt
22 Apr 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Rafah crossing, Gaza's only official border crossing into Egypt, opened to a limited number of Gazans on 18-21 April. Some 1,600 medical patients, students and business people crossed into Egypt. Some 400 were turned back by the Egyptian authorities, according to the Gaza interior ministry, and thousands remain stranded on both sides of the border. 

Ethnic cleansing, one home at a time
21 Apr 2009 - In the Sadiyya neighborhood inside the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City is the Jaber family home. There, three members of the Jaber family, as well as the Karaki family, have lived with their parents, and later spouses and children, since the 1930s. Six years ago Israeli police came to the house and told Nasser Jaber that his house no longer belonged to his family. Marcy Newman writes from occupied Jerusalem. 

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
Moving Beyond Two States
22 Apr 2009 - By Miko Peled United States envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, kicked off a visit to Israel restating the US commitment to the Road Map and the Two State Solution. However, both of these options have become irrelevant and it is time for the administration to seriously study the possibility of the two nations living together within a single democratic state. This is an option that moderate parties on both sides have discussed for decades, only to be silenced by more militant forces that see this as a zero sum game. The one state option speaks of a single secular democracy between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea within which Israelis and Palestinians would live as equal citizens. This would elevate the rights of Palestinians to those of Israelis it will finally allow the two nations to stop bleeding and begin building. It is an ambitious proposition that Israel and its supporters will surely resist at first. However, judging by the facts on the ground, this may well be the only option available for the two nations. In preparation for renewed US involvement in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, Israel's newly elected Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu announced his opposition to establishing a Palestinian state. Israel's newly appointed foreign minister went even further and announced that there will be no more peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Adopting a tactic clearly designed to give them room to negotiate, the two are positioning themselves as far to the right...

Killing Bassem: Just Like That
21 Apr 2009 - By Sayed Dhansay He stands on a small sandy hilltop wearing a bright yellow t-shirt, cigarette in hand. He is calling out to the soldiers on the other side of the fence “Do not shoot, do not shoot. There are children and internationals here, do not shoot.” Thin white wisps of teargas linger in the gentle breeze, a moment of calm in the confrontation. Suddenly a teargas canister whizzes past the camera making an audible “clunk” as it hits something to the right. He tries to let out a scream, but all he manages is a stifled yelp. One can almost hear his breath being cut short as the projectile punctures his chest. Another muted scream of pain. He falls to the ground then jumps up quickly, running a few steps before collapsing again. His body rolls a few times as he hits the ground, his limbs flapping loosely underneath him. Two fellow demonstrators run to him, looking almost surprised and unsure of what has just happened. They turn him over, lifting his shirt and calling his name. But he is unresponsive. His eyes are open but his body lies motionless. His bright yellow shirt now quickly growing a wet red stain over his heart. And so the occupied people of Palestine sacrifice yet another one of their young men. Another one. Again. Just like that. In an instant. Caught live on camera for the world to see. 29 year old Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahme was later pronounced dead at...

BDS: Thinking Outside the PLO Box
21 Apr 2009 - By Samah Sabawi Three months ago, the world stood still for one rare moment of absolute clarity as it grasped the implication of Israel's imprisonment of a civilian population and its use of aid and medicine as a political bargaining chip and a means of collective punishment. That moment of clarity and world sympathy was what the Palestinians needed to break the siege of Gaza. That moment was squandered by a Palestinian leadership still chasing its own tail much to the amusement of its enemies, frustration of its friends and utter disappointment of the people it claims to represent. Anger cannot begin to describe the feelings of tens of thousands of families who are crammed into tents erected on the rubble of what was their home as they watch the endless bickering and shuffling back and forth of their leaders who don't seem to get the gravity of their predicament. And while tons of food aid rots in Egypt prevented by Israel from entering into the Strip, while Egypt and the PA continue to dance the tango with Israeli officials, while Hamas continues to tighten its hold over the strip by silencing its opponents, and while the world loses that moment of great clarity, a transformation must and is taking place not only in the scarred minds of the Gaza population but also in the West Bank and in the minds of Palestinians everywhere. Palestinians, once united and represented by the PLO are beginning to realize that they are now...

Stupid Stunt to Silence Meaningful Debate
21 Apr 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London The truth never suits Israel's flag-wavers and stooges. They have to twist it or strangulate it. When Mr. Ahmadjinedad got up to speak at the UN racism conference the British Ambassador, Peter Gooderham, was among those who walked out in the worst show of diplomatic bad manners this century. Gooderham is reported to have said that "such inflammatory rhetoric has no place whatsoever in a United Nations conference addressing the whole issue of racism and how to address it. "As soon as President Ahmadinejad, started talking about Israel, that was the cue for us to walk out. We agreed in advance that if there was any such rhetoric there would be no tolerance for it." Referring to the Iranian leader's accusation of Israeli racism he added: "That is a charge we unreservedly condemn and so we had no hesitation at that point in leaving the conference hall." TV inquisitor Jeremy Paxman asked Gooderham the difference between Zionism and racism, to which he replied that Zionism is a political movement and racism is something else - we recognize it when we see it. The trouble is, these characters don't recognize it at all. Nor are they daily on the receiving end, as the Palestinians are, of Israel's brutal racist policies. Nor were they under Israel's genocidal blitzkrieg on Gaza that vaporized and incinerated women and children in their hundreds and blew their body-parts to kingdom-come. Everyone knows that the Zionist project aims to create a Jewish...

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