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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
24 April, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

King Abdullah : “Israel should either integrate, or choose isolation”
25 Apr 2009 - King Abdullah of Jordan stated Friday that Israel has the choice to be integrated into the regions or remain isolated “as a fortress”. 

Six Palestinian injured by settlers fire south of Nablus
25 Apr 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported on Friday evening that at least six Palestinians were injured when settlement guards of the Yitzhar settlement opened fire at Palestinian who reportedly entered a vineyard belonging to the settlement. 

Bil'in concludes its fourth annual conference on popular resistance with an Anti-wall protest
24 Apr 2009 - Dozens were wounded as hundreds of Palestinians supported by International and Israeli supporters marched Friday afternoon in the West Bank village of Bil'in to the construction site of the wall Israel is building on the village's land. 

Report details injuries to journalists
24 Apr 2009 - The international press freedom watchdog Reporters without Borders (RWB) has revealed that seven journalists have been injured in recent weeks by Israeli soldiers. 

Netanyahu: We will not freeze settlement construction
24 Apr 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated on Thursday that Israel does not intend to freeze the expansion and construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Israeli Occupation hinders Pope's visit to Aida amp
24 Apr 2009 - Israeli occupation authorities prohibited residents of the Aida refugee camp, in the northern city of Bethlehem' from continuing work on arrangements for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the camp on May 13th. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, including 2 children, 11 injured this week
24 Apr 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 16 - 22 April 2009, 3 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including 2 children. Eleven people were injured, three of them children. One Japanese humanitarian aid worker was wounded in the Gaza Strip. 15 Palestinians, including 3 children, were abducted by Israeli forces during 27 invasions in the West Bank. In Gaza, Israeli forces abducted 2 fishermen. 

Casa: "French Government holding indirect talks with Hamas"
24 Apr 2009 - French Ambassador to Israel, Jean-Michel Casa, said on Thursday that his country is holding indirect talks with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, adding that it had received a letter from the captured Israeli Soldier, Gilad Shalit, addressed to the French President. 

Human rights center condemns Israel's refusal to cooperate with UN
23 Apr 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said today that the Israeli government is attempting to shield war criminals from justice. 

Mashal addresses British MPs via video link
23 Apr 2009 - Khalid Mashal, Hamas political Bureau Chief in Syria, on Thursday addressed British members of Parliament through a video-conference tellingthat Israel is the biggest obstacle to peace as it has consistently sought to foil progress to peace deals, including Arab initiatives. 

Army issues orders to stop the preparation work in Bethlehem for the Pope visit
23 Apr 2009 - The Israeli military issued issued orders on Thursday to stop the preparation work for the Pope's visit in Aiyda refugee camp in the southern West bank city of Bethlehem. 

The Israeli military conducts morning invasions in the west Bank and kidnaps right civilians
23 Apr 2009 - Eight Palestinian civilians were kidnapped on Thursday during Isralei military invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities.

Ha'aretz Defense page

At least 11 protesters, 13 policemen hurt in West Bank anti-fence clashes
24 Apr 2009 - Security forces confront some 1,000 demonstrators in West Bank towns of Bil'in and Na'alin. 

Palestinians: 6 wounded in gunfire exchange with settlers
24 Apr 2009 - IDF: Palestinians tried to infiltrate Yitzhar, prompting clash with residents who tried to stop them. 

IAF: Human error likely cause of botched airlift rescue
24 Apr 2009 - As Ala Aghbariya was being extricated from minefield, he slipped through soldiers' grasp, fell to his death. 

Israelis in Europe warned of Hezbollah kidnap threat
23 Apr 2009 - Intelligence points to Hezbollah plan to avenge Mughniyeh assassination by kidnapping Israelis abroad. 

Lebanon charges ex-general with spying for Israel
23 Apr 2009 - Judge accuses four with supplying Israel with info on Lebanese military and civilian centers. 

Peres: China key to struggle against Iran nuclear ambitions
23 Apr 2009 - President discusses Mideast peace process, economic and technological cooperation with Chinese FM. 

Amos Harel / 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. 

Ma'an News

Israel to computerize permit system for access to lands beyond the wall; Palestinians expect abuse, delays 
4/24/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma’an - Israel will computerize the permit system governing the entrance of West Bank Palestinians entry to areas on the west side of the separation wall including Jerusalem as of 1 May 2009. A computer system will be installed at military controlled crossings including gates separating villages from their agricultural land. Already Israeli authorities warned that those who fail to register in the new system could face the loss of their permits for a day, week or even month. Palestinians see the new system as yet another obstacle between them and access to families living in Israel and in East Jerusalem as well as access to jobs, religious, cultural and historic sites, as well as a mechanism preventing farmers and landowners from accessing their property. The system is also expected to be used for punitive measures, ensuring those who act or speak out against. . . 

Four beaten by Israeli soldiers at Al-Ma’sara's weekly anti-wall rally 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Four Palestinians sustained bruises after being attacked by Israeli soldiers during the weekly anti-wall protest in Al-Ma’sara south of Bethlehem Friday. Tens of locals and international peace activists rallied against the construction of the illegal Israeli separation wall and settlement expansion. Ralliers also marked the death one week ago of Basem Rahmeh, killed by an Israeli tear-gas canister shot at his chest in Bil’in. Villagers, backed by ralliers, requested permission to enter their lands on the far side of the Israeli separation wall, but were denied. The ensuing protest lead to several youth being beaten by Israeli soldiers. [end] 

Masked settlers open fire on Palestinians at Nablus area school, six injured 
4/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an -Masked Israeli settlers shot at and injured at least six Palestinians standing near a school in the village of Urif south of Nablus Friday afternoon. Following the incident Israeli forces imposed a curfew on the village, and according to Head of the Village Council Fawzi Shehada began firing at Palestinians alongside the settlers. Palestinian official responsible of the settlement file in the northern West Bank Ghassan Daghlas said the settlers, from Yitzhar, opened fire at the locals from 20 meters away. He called the incident a “clear and dangerous violation of the rights of the Palestinian residents on their lands. ”Shehada said the shooting was intentional and meant to cause injury. He explained that the intensity of the fire prevented him from leaving a home near the school where he was visiting family. 

European Parliament VP to participate in Bil’in nonviolence conference; anti-wall protest 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Bil’in’s fourth annual conference on nonviolent resistance will see at least two presentations by Vice President of the European Parliament and outspoken supporter of Palestine Luisa Morgantini, who will stay in Palestine for a week. The “priority objective” for Morgantini’s visit will be addressing the conference, though her itinerary also includes a meeting with Palestinian caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and several meetings with the Beit Jala International Women’sCommittee. Morgantini will also take part in the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the construction of the Israeli separation wall in Bil’in Friday. [end] 

Bethlehem governor condemns Israeli attempts to prevent pope from visiting Refugee Camp 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israel’s attempts to prevent Pope Benedict XVI from visiting Aida Refugee Camp during his visit to Bethlehem are proof the country wants to hide its “repressive practices against Palestinians” from the Holy Father, Governor of Bethlehem Salah At-Ta’mari said Friday. Israeli troops stormed Aida camp Thursday night and raided a meeting of the preparatory committee for the Papal visit. Committee members were harassed and questioned then informed that because the camp is in Area C - i. e. under Israeli civil and military control - that organizers must get a special permit to hold celebrations for the pope. At-Ta’mari explained that the camp is being included in the tour prepared for the pope because it exemplifies the conditions that many Palestinians live in. Organizers are preparing information for the pope to explain the development of camp life since the Nakba (Catastrophe of 1948) to the present. 

Report: Mash'al set to axe politbureau in Damascus in favor of committee of West Bank, Gaza, exiled members 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Sources close to Hams told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida that the movement is preparing a massive overhaul in structure, including dismantling the Damascus political bureau, that would be certain to increase tensions in struggle for influence on the movement between Cairo and Tehran. Head of the Damascus political bureau Khalid Mahs’al is said to be arranging the overhaul searching to strike a better balance between the often opposing forces. The paper’s sources said Mash’al decided to axe the political bureau, seen by many as the command center for Hamas, in favor of an executive committee made up of 18 leaders, six from abroad, six from Gaza and six from the West Bank. The move would ensure that no one wing of the party would control internal decision making. All proposed changes will come into effect following the next internal Hams elections, not set. . . 

PA Ministry of Health: Transfer of 413 Gazan patients to external hospitals arranged 
4/24/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 413 Gazan patients in critical condition were transferred to West Bank, East Jerusalem, Jordanian and Egyptian hospitals in the last month, despite the Hamas takeover of the Department of External Medical Treatment in Gaza city two months ago. The caretaker government’s Ministry of Health sent out a statement Thursday following calls from the Palestine Center for Human Rights and a joint statement from tens of NGOs in Gaza urging action to ensure Gazan patients receive medical treatment despite battles for control over the Gaza Strip medical sector and crossing permissions. Last week Hamas officials coordinated with Egyptian authorities to see the Rafah crossing opened for patients, students and passport holders, and announced three weeks ago that all efforts were being made to coordinate the transfer of patients to hospitals in Israel. 

Israeli authorities release 51-year-old Nablus politician after ten month term 
4/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli authorities released 51-year-old Nablus municipal government representative Sheikh Hussam Ad-Din Qatalony from Israeli prison following a 10 months term late on Thursday. Qatalony spent most of his term at the Megiddo and Negev prisons, Nablus mayor Adli Ya’ish told Ma’an by phone Friday morning. Israeli forces took Qatalony from his Nablus home on July 15 2008 during an arrest campaign targeting several well known figures in the city. [end] 

Israeli violence sends one to hospital at Ni'lin anti-wall rally 
4/24/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Dozens choked on tear gas and four others were injured by rubber coated bullets when clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers in the village of Ni’lin during the weekly anti-wall protest Friday. Residents at this week’s rally commemorated the death of Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh, killed by a high-velocity tear-gas canister shot at his chest in Bil’in village’s anti-wall protest last week. They were matched by a dozen Israeli settlers marching on the opposite side of the wall. Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Mustafa Al-Barghuthi attended the protest, as well as a dozen international peace activists. Barghuthi’s aide, Marwan Abu Ras, choked on tear gas and 18-year-old Mu’men Al-Khwaja was transferred to hospital after being shot in the face with a rubber-coated bullet. 

European Parliament’s VP joins Bil’in anti-wall protest; pledges to bring Israel in front of ICC 
4/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma’an - Ten protesters were injured as European Parliament VP Morgantini promised to “bring Israel in front of the International Court of Justice,” and noting that “Israel cannot remain unpunished for all the crimes that has committed. ”Attendees of Bil’in’s fourth annual conference on nonviolent resistance walked with village residents to the site where Israeli soldiers shot and killed 29-year-old Basem Rahmeh one week ago and erected a monument in his honor amid torrents of Israeli bullets and tear gas. As the monument was constructed, Luisa Morgantini, vice president of the European Parliament, told the ralliers:“We are here Palestinian, Israelis, internationals from everywhere to say together: stop the occupation, stop building the wall, stop confiscating land, stop the siege of Gaza! But also to build together a strategy of popular nonviolent resistance,” she told listeners. 

Al-Mezan Center secures return of Israeli-confiscated fishing boat to Gazans 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights secured the release of a Palestinian fishing boat confiscated by Israeli forces on 25 March after gunboats opened fire on the vessel off the Rafah shore. The fishermen were detained and the boat confiscated. While the Gazans were released the following day, the boat was not released until Wednesday, following court action by the Al-Mezan center. According to the center a complaint was delivered to both the Israeli Minister of Defense and the Commander of the Israeli Naval Forces on 29 March demanding that the boat be returned to its owners. On 7 April Al-Mezan received a response from the Israeli Navy saying they would return the boat on 22 April; it war returned through the Kerem Shalom crossing. 

Projectile lands in western Negev; act remains unclaimed by Gazan factions 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli meida reported no damages after a projectile allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip landed near a kibbutz in the western Negev Thursday night. The projectile marks the fourth in two weeks to land in Israel. No injuries were reported from any of the projectile fire, though Israeli forces responded to a Wednesday projectile by bombing a northern Gaza home they said was being used as a base for kidnapping opperations. One Gazan infant died as a result of wounds sustained in that attack. [end] 

Israeli soldiers shoot at backfiring car carrying family; beat brother as car forced to stop 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli army attacked the Palestinian family as they drove near the illegal settlement of Etzion south of Bethlehem on Friday. Two of the Alami brothers, as well as the wife and three children of one of the men, were driving past an Israeli military vehicle when the car began to malfunction and the engine made several grinding noises. Soldiers opened fire on the car, which was forced to pull over to the side of the road. When one of the brothers exited the vehicle to calm the situation and check on the car, Israeli soldiers approached the car and beat the man in front of his family members. None of the family members were detained, and the brothers were able to repair the car and drive safely to their destination. 

Israeli security warns citizens of Hizbullah attacks abroad 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hizbullah is continuing its efforts to conduct attacks and kidnap Israeli citizens overseas in order to avenge the death of party leader Imad Mughniyyah, an Israeli official warned Friday. A senior security source told Israel Radio that national security was briefing high-risk Israelis on how to avoid kidnapping and stay safe from attacks. The official noted that several businessmen had already taken part in the briefings. The security official noted that there were no indications that travel to Europe was unsafe, and did not identify any high-risk areas. Mughniyyah was assassinated by Israeli agents in Lebanon on 12 February 2008. Israel has issued several warnings to its citizens over possible retaliatory actions from Hizbullah fighters. There have been no attacks to date. 

UN ready to work with "any Palestinian government" under Abbas 
4/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - "The UN stands ready to work with any Palestinian government under President Abbas that emerges from the reconciliation process," Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry said during a Thursday visit to Birzeit University. Serry was speaking at the university’s law school and international relations department on “The UN and the Middle East Peace Process,”the diplomat said “ending the occupation and seeing the creation of two states living side by side in peace and security is [the] only way forward and our international responsibility. We cannot give up because no Palestinian state has emerged so far. ”In his talk Serry spoke of his long involvement as a diplomat with the Palestinian issue which began in the 1980’s during his time with the Dutch Foreign Ministry including his participation in the Madrid Peace Conference. 

Rafah crossing officials admit "mistakes were made" during last opening 
4/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The coordination between Egypt and the de facto Hamas government for the transfer of Palestinians in and out of Gaza saw some mistakes, Gaza officials said, but said there was “no mediation” controlling who came and went. The crossing authorities sent a statement on Thursday, following the April 17-18 opening for patients, students and passport holders. Following the opening accusations were made that privilege was given to Hamas-affiliated individuals and that others were denied permission to leave based on political affiliation. “We do not deny that some mistakes were committed by the crossing employees and we will charge those employees,” the statement said, though it said authorities strove to ensure that “all people were dealt with equally and all buses sent by the de facto interior ministry were received and searched for safety reasons. 

Czech Prime Minister meets Fayyad; pledges to maintain support for Palestine 
4/24/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad met his Czech counterpart Mirek Topolánek in Ramallah on Thursday for discussions relating to the EU relationship with Israel and the future of a Palestinian state. Fayyad praised the support which the EU both financially and politically, but noted that progress made so far must be cemented in the near future by the realization of a Palestinian state “on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. ”He further pressed the Czech PM, whose country will soon take over the rolling presidency of the European Parliament, that the current focus in Palestine is “the necessity to totally halt Israeli settlement activity, military invasions into Palestinian areas and to activate seriously the crossing agreement of 2005 to end the Gaza siege and to remove the checkpoints in the West Bank. 

Al-Mujahideen Brigades call for unity, promise to continue Jihad 
4/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Fatah-affiliated Al-Mujahideen Brigades called all the Palestinian factions to unite and solve all issues preventing national unity during a commemoration ceremony in Gaza City Thursday. Marking the second anniversary of the Israeli assassination of brigades’ leader Omar Abu Shri’a the group gathered supporters in the Rashad Ash-Shawwa area of central Gaza City. In speeches during the event leaders called on rival parties and military groups to prepare the coming generations to be more united for a better future. The brigades promised their late general and all Palestinians who sacrificed their lives that they would remain committed to Jihad and resistance, but that they would also work to ensure unity in an effort to strengthen the Palestinian position. 

Hamas: Egypt continues to host the Palestinian national dialogue rounds 
4/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Egypt will continue to host the Palestinian national talks, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said Friday. The affirmation came following a report in the Cairo newspaper Al-Masryoun, saying that if no agreement is reached before the end of May, Cairo will no longer play the role of broker in Palestinian unity talks. “We are going to the third round of the talks I Cairo on 26 April hoping that round will achieve national unity and we will put an end to all struggles and problems,” Radwan noted. There was no indication, however, as to whether or not Egypt has placed a timeline on their mediation efforts. 

PA security forces seize 14 illegal vehicles near Jenin 
4/24/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - Palestinian National Security Forces confiscated five illegal cars and seven motorcycles in their security campaign in the villages east of Jenin on Friday. The Public Relations and Information Office at the police headquarters said the forces carried out campaigns in Faqu’a and Deir Al-Ghazali and Jalbun villages. Brigadier Rady Asidah in Jenin said the ‘Law and Order Campaign’ would continue in the coming weeks. [end] 

PPP: Ballot box, not Egypt's proposed Higher Committee, should end division 
4/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – “Going to the ballot boxes is the best solution to end division if we cannot reach a national agreement that would restore unity to the Palestinians,” said member of the politburo office of the Palestine People’s Party Walid Al-Awad said on Friday. Al-Awad’s comments came following a report and then denial of rumors suggesting Egypt has put a time limit on its willingness to act as negotiations brokering between Hamas and Fatah. “Undoubtedly,” Al-Awad said, Egypt “cannot go on brokering a dialogue that would not lead to outcomes. ”The PPP leader noted his reservations about the current Egyptian proposal under consideration; the formation of a higher committee, rather than a transitional government to replace the Hamas de facto Gaza government and the Palestinian Authority caretaker government in the West Bank. 

Palestine Telegraph

Apartheid regime and popular resistance in Bili'n 
Ramallah, April 24 (Pal Telegraph) - Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi is taking part in the three-day Bil'in conference on nonviolent resistance alongside activists like local organizer Iyad Burnat and the Vice President of the European Parliament.

Convoy Update: Ambulances and Medical aid to Gaza
London, April 23, 2009 - As part of its activities, The European Campaign to End the Siege in Gaza (ECESG), is restlessly preparing, in race against time, a convoy of medical aid to Gaza.

US hampers Palestinian unity govt with Hamas
Washington, April 23 (Pal Telegraph)- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday the United States would not deal with or fund a Palestinian government that included Hamas unless it met three international conditions.

Hamas hints at extending its term in Palestinian parliament
Gaza Strip, April 23, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - A senior Hamas leader hinted Thursday that the radical Islamist movement would extend its term in the Palestinian parliament if no agreement was reached with the rival Fatah party, dpa reported.

Four Palestinian fishermen abducted, 2 boats stolen by Israeli Navy
Gaza Strip, April 21 (Pal Telegraph) - At least 4 Palestinian fishermen were abducted and 2 fishing boats stolen today by the Israeli navy in yet another act of piracy.


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.


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

RIGHTS-US: Dozens of CIA "Ghost Prisoners" Missing 
NEW YORK, Apr 24 (IPS) - At least three dozen detainees who were held in the CIA's secret prisons overseas appear to be missing – and efforts by human rights organisations to track their whereabouts have been unsuccessful.

US-MIDEAST: Obama and Netanyahu - Storm Clouds Ahead? 
WASHINGTON, Apr 24 (IPS) - A big confrontation is brewing between the United States and Israel’s new government over the Palestine issue.

Q&A: Islamophobia Alive and Well in the U.S. 
BERKELEY, California, Apr 24 (IPS) - In an Apr. 6 address to the Turkish Parliament on the final day of his European trip, President Barack Obama praised Muslim Americans for "enriching the United States".

MIDEAST: Gaza Resistance Destroys Fatah Faction 
CAIRO, Apr 24 (IPS) - The recent onslaught against the Gaza Strip - and Israel's failure to achieve its military objectives there - left Palestinian resistance group Hamas politically stronger than ever. Concurrently, it dealt a possible death blow to the faction within Fatah led by strongman Mohamed Dahlan, long...

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

International Solidarity Movement

Commemoration of Tom Hurndall's shooting
International Solidarity Movement - 22 April 2009 - April 11th 2009 marked the 6th anniversary of the shooting of British ISM activist Tom Hurndall by Israeli occupation soldiers that lead to his death 9 months later. It wasn't possible for ISM volunteers to enter the Gaza Strip for several years due to the clampdown of the Erez crossing, so this was the first time ISM activists managed to commemorate the anniversary in Gaza itself. Last October, in the occasion of the release of a new television drama based on the killing in Gaza of Tom Hurndall ('The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall', Channel Four Television), Amnesty International has renewed its call for justice for Mr Hurndall's family. Even before the recent onslaught, the human rights organization has described a situation where Israeli military forces kill civilians in Gaza with "˜near-total impunity' - and while Mr Hurndall's death 

Jerusalem's mayor defends demolition of houses in Arab area
International Solidarity Movement - 23 April 2009 - Israel's mayor of Jerusalem defended the demolition of houses in the Arab east of the city today and insisted Jerusalem could not be a future capital of a Palestinian state. Nir Barkat, a secular businessman elected as mayor five months ago, rejected international criticism of demolitions and planning policy in east Jerusalem as "misinformation" and "Palestinian spin". There is growing international concern about Israeli house demolitions and settlement growth in East Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognised by most of the international community. Critics of Israeli policy point out that planning permits are rarely given to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and that space allowed in the east for building is heavily restricted. Last month the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, described demolitions. . . 

Israel defies US and destroys Palestinian home
International Solidarity Movement - 23 April 2009 - Brushing aside international criticism, Israel demolished a Palestinian house in East Jerusalem in the latest in a series of actions that critics say is racheting up tensions in the city, harming chances for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ammar Hudidon, a resident of the Jebel Mukaber neighbourhood and a father of seven children, said a bulldozer flattened his home yesterday after the Jerusalem municipality said he lacked building permits. Palestinians complain that the permits are virtually impossible to obtain. A municipality spokesman stressed that the demolition was "conducted completely under the auspices of the Interior Ministry and the government of Israel" and was not ordered by the Mayor, Nir Barkat. It comes a day after President Barack Obama called on Israelis and Palestinians to take measures to promote. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Vatican and Arab League agree to work together toward world peace
23 Apr 2009 - The Vatican and the Arab League have agreed to work together to promote peace and justice in the world, the Vatican said Friday, after a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the league's secretary-general. ...

Jordan's King Abdullah: Israel must choose integration or isolation
23 Apr 2009 - Jordan's King Abdullah on Friday said that Israel must choose between integrating into the region or remaining isolated, and warned that delaying a two-state solution would be disastrous for Israelis and Palestinians. ...

Czech police detain former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke
23 Apr 2009 - Czech police detained former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in Prague on Friday on suspicion of supporting or denying the Holocaust, the Czech news agency CTK reported. ...

Clinton: Israel at risk of losing support against Iran threat
23 Apr 2009 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautioned Israel's right-wing government on Thursday that it risked losing Arab support for fighting any threats from Iran if it shuns Palestinian peace talks. ...

Czech PM: We'll fight EU calls to freeze Israel ties
23 Apr 2009 - Czech Prime Minister Mirel Topolanek told President Shimon Peres on Friday that his country, which holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency, would fight against calls within Europe to suspend the upgrade of relations with Israel. ...

The Guardian

Video: Seven Jewish Children
24 Apr 2009 - Watch Caryl Churchill's play, Seven Jewish Children, which was written in response to the situation in Gaza in January this year

Guardian reading for Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children
24 Apr 2009 - It is only eight minutes long but it has proved to be one of the most controversial plays in years. There have been howls of protest and declarations of support, and it has spawned alternative versions...

Roy Greenslade: Seven journalists wounded by Israeli forces
24 Apr 2009 - Seven journalists have been injured in recent weeks at the hands of Israeli soldiers, according to the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders . In a letter to Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak last week it...

Jerusalem's mayor defends demolition of houses in Arab area
23 Apr 2009 - Nir Barkat rejects international criticism and says east of city could never be capital of Palestinian state Israel's mayor of Jerusalem defended the demolition of houses in the Arab east of the city today and insisted...

Ha'aretz National page

One word can sum up Israel's new government: Lieberman
23 Apr 2009 - If asked to sum up the 23 days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's second government, one word will do: Lieberman. Our new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has hijacked the national agenda. From the minute he entered the ministry, from his crude behavior toward U.S. envoy George Mitchell to his interview in the Russian papers and his comments on the Arab initiative, his unfortunate deputy at the Foreign Ministry, Daniel Ayalon, has had to trot after his boss to put out the fires Lieberman has ignited in the diplomatic fields. ... 

Tel Aviv parties by pedal power on Earth Day
23 Apr 2009 - Thousands of people in cities across Israel turned off their lights for an hour on Thursday night, to mark Earth Day. In Rabin Square in Tel Aviv - already buzzing from a month of celebrations for its centennial - more than 10,000 people gathered for a concert powered by dozens of volunteers pedaling away on the stage next to the performers. ... 

Secret Shin Bet probe clears police chief of wiretap charges
23 Apr 2009 - The Shin Bet carried out a secret investigation in October 2008 leading to the dismissal of allegations that Police Commissioner David Cohen had tapped into the telephone conversations of Maj. Gen. Uri Bar-Lev and current Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, his attorney at the time. ... 

Tel Aviv runners pack the streets for 100th birthday marathon
23 Apr 2009 - Thousands of runners packed city streets on Friday morning for the Tel Aviv Marathon. ...

PM spokesman: Naming Gaza op 'Cast Lead' was a PR mistake
23 Apr 2009 - Naming Israel's incursion into Gaza Operation Cast Lead was a public relations faux pas, a top government spokesman said on Wednesday. ... 

Relief Web

OPT : UNRWA wins prestigious "Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity" award 
24 Apr 2009 - ...conflict in Gaza , UNRWA's...thousands of Palestinians affected by...thousand staff in Gaza who showed extraordinary...UNRWA staff. " Gaza has been in...working in the West Bank , Jordan, Lebanon and Syria...opportunities to Palestine refugees, some... 

OPT : UNRWA Commissioner-General visits Syria 
24 Apr 2009 - ...and the Syrian people solidarity for the Gaza Campaign launched by UNRWA early January...Government in support of the people in Gaza . Afterwards she will inaugurate the European...Theater in support of "For the Children of Gaza " Campaign. Before returning to Amman... 

Israeli army must make public findings of its probe into Gaza conflict 
24 Apr 2009 - ...forces of some 300 Palestinian children and hundreds...Donatella Rovera, Israel / Occupied Palestinian Territories researcher at Amnesty...civilian buildings in Gaza ." A briefing paper, distributed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to journalists... 

OPT : Al Mezan condemns the mass summoning of Fatah movement leaders in Gaza and calls for an investigation into violations of the law 
24 Apr 2009 - ...shooting incident in the West Bank which targeted PLC member...summoning of Fateh members in Gaza are believed to be a...arrests whether in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip and regardless of, and comply with Palestinian law governing detentions... 

OPT : Al Mezan secures release of Palestinian fishing boat seized by IOF 
24 Apr 2009 - ...Center for Human Rights managed to secure the release of a Palestinian fishing boat that was confiscated by the Israeli Occupation...the boat, close to Rafah beach. The IOF also detained the Palestinian fishers who were on the boat, but released them the next... 

EU to send 90 election observers to Lebanon 
24 Apr 2009 - ...strong election observation team to Lebanon ahead of polls on June 7, the EU's...a team of 10 experts on the ground in Lebanon paving the way for the observation mission...process, while a final 50 are set to fly to Lebanon for the vote itself. The EU has already... 

OPT : Protection of civilians weekly report, 15 - 21 Apr 2009 
24 Apr 2009 - ...structures in the West Bank due to the...displacement of 37 Palestinians , including...women in the Gaza Strip in the West Bank Military...killed two Palestinians , including...killing a Palestinian boy and injuring...Jerusalem and Israel during the... 

Lebanon : 2009 Article IV consultation and assessment of performance under the program supported by emergency post-conflict assistance 
24 Apr 2009 - ...the 2009 Article IV consultation with Lebanon and the assessment of performance under...March 5, 2009, with the officials of Lebanon on economic developments and policies...statement by the Executive Director for Lebanon . The policy of publication of staff reports... 

YNet News

Settlers, Palestinians injured in clash near Yitzhar 
24 Apr 2009 - Members of West Bank settlement's emergency squad dispatched to vineyard south of community following arrival of nearby village's resident. Palestinians report 14 residents hospitalized after IDF soldiers, settlers enter village 

Jordan: Israel must choose integration, or isolation
24 Apr 2009 - King Abdullah urges US to fully back Palestinian statehood, says Jewish state can 'integrate into the region ... or remain fortress Israel, isolated, holding itself and the entire region hostage to continued confrontation' 

No longer wanted: New life of Alaa Sanakra 
24 Apr 2009 - Up until less than two years ago, he was one of most wanted men in West Bank. Following amnesty agreement, he became a member of Preventive Security Service in Nablus. Last week he began another new chapter in his life by getting married. But his past sometimes still haunts him: 'I have nightmares' 

Palestinians: Dialogue to encounter many difficulties 
24 Apr 2009 - While Hamas wishes to discuss all issues on the agenda, Fatah seeks to focus on election date, composition of government. Meanwhile, Egypt threatens to halt mediation efforts 

'Egyptians waiting for public apology from Lieberman' 
24 Apr 2009 - Palestinian source tell Ynet he believes Cairo in no hurry to forgive foreign minister for his past remarks: 'The Egyptians have made it clear that if Lieberman wants to visit their country, he must apologize at the same place and in the same way he attacked their leadership' 

Palestinian wounded during Naalin protest 
24 Apr 2009 - Week after Palestinian demonstrator is killed during Bilin rally, witnesses say another protestor sustains moderate to serious head injuries after being hit by IDF tear gas canister in other West Bank village . 'The gas grenade hit the protestor exactly like last week,' one demonstrator says. Israeli citizens arrive in Naalin to express support for security forces 

Czech PM: Committed to advancing EU ties with Israel 
24 Apr 2009 - 'Israel will always be able to rely on the support of the Czech Republic,' Czech PM tells President Peres during meeting in Jerusalem 

IDF: Botched helicopter rescue result of human error
24 Apr 2009 - Findings of army investigation into fatal accident that led to Alaa Agbariya's death determine human error, rather than equipment malfunction, behind accident. IDF says no steps will be taken against any of those involved 


Testimony: Settlers assault young pregnant Palestinian
22 Apr 2009 - On 10 April, Roqaya al-Hazalin, together with a group of women and children, were grazing sheep near their village, in the Hebron District. According to her testimony, four armed settlers with sticks approached them. The other shepherds she was with ran a

Independent apparatus needed for investigation of Operation Cast Lead
21 Apr 2009 - On 22 April, the results of Israel's military investigation of Operation Cast Lead were published, indicating that dozens of innocent civilians were killed due to what the army referred to as "rare mishaps." In response, human rights organizations pointed

Daily Star

Lieberman hits out at Iran, rejects talks with Syria 
24 Apr 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview published Friday Iran was a key obstacle to resolving the Mideast conflict and rejected resuming indirect talks with Syria. The biggest obstacle to any comprehensive solution "is not Israel, it is not the Palestinians. It's the Iranians."

Israeli settlers wound seven in West Bank 
24 Apr 2009 - Israeli settlers opened fire and wounded seven Palestinian villagers Friday after massive clashes outside the town of Nablus in the Occupied West Bank, security and army sources said.A number of settlers from Yitzhar, a bastion of radical Jews, entered the nearby village of Ourif.

EU ministers will urge Iran to take advantage of US overtures 
24 Apr 2009 - The European Union will urge Iran to take advantage of a change in US policy to seal a deal and end the standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, according to a draft document Friday.European foreign ministers, at a gathering in Luxembourg Monday, will welcome Washington's new attitude, saying.

Egypt's Brotherhood refuses to risk open confrontation with state 
24 Apr 2009 - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, increasingly excluded from mainstream politics, says it will not risk open confrontation with the state by taking to the streets in large-scale protests only to be crushed by security forces. Mohammad Habib, deputy leader of Egypt's most powerful opposition group, said the Brotherhood would not risk.

Abbas-backed mobile network gets US aid earmarked for Palestinian farmers 
24 Apr 2009 - US aid in the form of loan guarantees meant for Palestinian farmers and other small to mid-sized businesses has been given to a mobile-phone firm backed by President Mahmoud Abbas and Gulf investors. The shift in US taxpayer support to Wataniya Palestine, a joint venture between a Kuwaiti and Qatari telecoms group and a holding company for public assets.

Palestinian Information Center

Norway's chief prosecutor considers Israeli war crimes case
24 Apr 2009 - After the filing on Wednesday of a war crimes case against Israeli leaders by a group of Norwegian lawyers the chief prosecutor said the complaint will be studied.

Radwan: External meddling only obstacle derailing national reconciliation
24 Apr 2009 - Dr. Ismael Radwan underlined Friday that foreign meddling in the dialogue was the only factor that derails national reconciliation.

Nahshon units beat Palestinian captives for rejecting orange uniform
24 Apr 2009 - The PA ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners' affairs in Gaza has condemned Thursday the repressive IOA measures against Palestinian captives in Ashkilon prison for refusing the orange uniform.

Abbas's forces arrest critics, allege criminal offences against them
24 Apr 2009 - Local Palestinian observes have expressed their anxiety over the deliberate attempts of the PA security forces under Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to suppress freedom of expression.

Palestinians prepare to commemorate 61st anniversary of Nakba
24 Apr 2009 - The Hamas Movement and the Palestinian people are preparing to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) in which 78% of Palestine was usurped by armed Jewish gangs.

A Scottish Parliamentary delegation visits PLC
24 Apr 2009 - A Scottish parliamentary delegation bringing medical aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip crossed Thursday the Rafah boarder crossing into the Strip and visited the PLC..

MP Haj: Palestinian prisoners especially patients live in very harsh conditions
24 Apr 2009 - MP Ahmed Al-Haj, who was released from Israeli jails on Wednesday, said that the Palestinian prisoners live in very harsh incarceration conditions especially the patients.

Radwan: Israel issues reports to acquit its leaders from committing war crimes
24 Apr 2009 - Dr. Ismail Radwan said that the report issued by Israel that says IOF troops acted during the war on Gaza according to international law is aimed to exculpate Israeli war criminals.

Jewish settlers storm Joseph Tomb
24 Apr 2009 - Tens of Jewish settlers stormed Joseph Tomb east of Nablus city at a late hour on Wednesday under strict protection of the Israeli occupation forces.

Hamdan: Clinton's remarks stem from the fear of the Zionist lobby
24 Apr 2009 - Osama Hamdan said that US foreign minister Hillary Clinton's remarks about her administration's refusal to deal with Hamas stem from the American fear of the Zionist lobby.

Los Angeles Times

Boyfriend of U.S. journalist jailed in Iran waits, hopes 
23 Apr 2009 - Kurdish Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi doesn't want to leave Iran until his girlfriend, Roxana Saberi, is freed on appeal. He partially blames himself for her imprisonment. His girlfriend is in jail for espionage and acclaimed Kurdish Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi is thinking about packing up his scripts and editing equipment and heading to Europe. He is tired, he says, of censors and Islamic politics intruding upon his life and art. 

Israel army clears itself in Gaza war 
23 Apr 2009 - The IDF says an investigation found the military acted in accord with international law in its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Human rights groups have called for an independent probe. The Israeli military said Wednesday that internal investigations concluded that the army "operated in accordance with international law" throughout last winter's war in the Gaza Strip against Hamas fighters who terrorized Israeli civilians and, according to the army, exploited Palestinians as human shields. 

New York Times

S.I. Man Gets Prison Term for Aid to Hezbollah TV
24 Apr 2009 - Javed Iqbal was sentenced to 69 months for assisting the station Al Manar, which the United States has called a global terrorist entity. 

Israel Says Actions in Gaza Not War Crimes
23 Apr 2009 - Israel’s conclusions of several internal investigations into its military’s conduct countered criticism of its actions and accusations of war crimes. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: Hints About Commuting Sentence of Journalist
21 Apr 2009 - A statement from the judiciary spokesman said that the eight-year prison term for an American-Iranian journalist may be reconsidered during her appeal. 


Why did the Harman case break now? 
Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 4/23/2009
      The Jane Harman case is confusing to newcomers. The most important question that arises is why now? Why four years after the phone call? It is the most important question because it speaks to the fact that the central fight here, between the Israel lobby and the critics of the Israel lobby, is a fight that has been going on for more than 60 years in the underground of the Washington establishment. It never dies because it involves principled conflicts that are never resolved. They are never resolved because the press and our politicians can’t deal with these questions due to Harman-style orthodoxy/corruption, and the battle is suppressed. Though now and then it breaks the surface.
     The specific reason the story is coming out now is that my side, the critics of the Israel lobby, are about to lose a battle: it looks like the case against Steven Rosen and Ken Weissman, the Israel lobbyists charged with sharing secrets with the Israelis five years ago, a case postponed forever, is going to get dropped by the Justice Department. The lawyers who believe in that case are surely upset about this and have managed to leak one of the big truffles of their investigation to the press so as to goose the public outrage over the central issue at stake: corruption of policymaking due to the Israel interest. I don’t know that they’re the source. But that’s my supposition.
     We may lose this fight, but we are winning the larger battle. Remember that We lost the Chas Freeman fight, the nomination of an Arabist/realist to the National Intelligence Council, but we won that one too because he freely exposed the Israel-first gang that had gone after him. Suddenly the Israel lobby was on the front pages. It’s on them again, a month later, with the Times coverage of Harman. This is unprecedented. At last the Israel lobby, which people denied as a fact of our political life when Steve Walt and John Mearsheimer had the Emperor’s-new-clothes temerity to say it existed three years ago, is being openly mentioned. Andrea Mitchell said frankly on MSNBC the other day that it is a well-known and powerful lobby. -- See also: NYT: Gonzales Said to Have Intervened on Wiretap

Yoav Shamir’s great film, ’Defamation’, offers a devastating and transcendent portrait of Foxman 
Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 4/24/2009
      I saw a great movie last night, the documentary Defamation, by Yoav Shamir, an Israeli filmmaker. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and it is about the consecration of anti-Semitism as the central mode of Jewish identity and the raison-d’etre of Jewish nationalism--it sustains Israel. The group of Israeli kids traveling to Majdanek carries the Israeli flag into the ruined gas chambers, and they all wear sweatshirts with the star of David and the word Israel on the back. The point of the film, stated by one of the sour concentration-camp tour-guides near the end, is that this is a miserable basis for Jewish existence, a cult of death and fear and mistrust. The Israeli kids are so indoctrinated they think that the Poles are out to kill them now, and they don’t go out of their hotel room.
     The film is great journalism for Shamir’s tenacity at insiniuating himself into the emotional life of events, and for his portraits: of Abraham Foxman, Charles Jacobs, John Mearsheimer, Uri Avnery, and Norman Finkelstein.
     The Foxman portrait is the core of the film and at once devastating and sympathetic. We see him manipulating the Holocaust in a number of situations. The scenes of ADL staff coming up with anti-Semitic incidents in the US to keep the ball rolling are strictly farcical. There is even farcical music, as they tell you of threats that aren’t threats. Foxman is shown pressing Ukrainian president Viktor Yuschenko in a conference room over Holocaust remembrance/guilt. Later, in Rome, enroute to meet the Pope, Foxman tells Shamir that there’s a "very thin line" between the perceptions of Jewish power by anti-Semites and the actual power that Jews have in the world. "Jews are not as powerful... as our enemies think we are." But we’re not going to try and convince them otherwise, he says. Yes: the man is going to meet the Pope. Of course Jews have power, and Foxman has no awareness of this.
     The portrait becomes transcendent at Babi Yar. Foxman gathers the board of the ADL at the Ukrainian massacre site and all the old Jews are talking about how Israel must be maintained because it may be necessary for all Jews in the world to go there, and then Foxman says a Hebrew prayer and his voice trembles and he is in tears. The scene gave me tremendous sympathy for Foxman. He is locked in his childhood of suffering. It makes perfect sense that he has projected his childhood demons on to the world, but they are just demons. The same point is made with an old Israeli journalist who has blue numbers tattooed on his arm and writes about anti-Semitism night and day. Well he has a fine reason, Shamir is saying. -- See also: Defamation, the Film

Electronic Intifada
UK campaigners score victory towards arms embargo
24 Apr 2009 - As the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions grows, an arms embargo strategy is a key element of the wider sanctions call. Refusing to trade weapons with Israel sends a powerful message of disapproval for its actions, and the current review being undertaken by the British government demonstrates how grassroots campaigning can make a real difference in forcing governments to justify their actions. Yasmin Khan comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Film review: Kindness as vengeance in "Heart of Jenin"
23 Apr 2009 - After his young son Ahmad was shot and killed by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp in 2005, Ismail Khatib was propositioned by the Israeli doctor treating his son: would Ismail wish that his son Ahmad's organs be donated to children (in Israel) who needed them? The Electronic Intifada's Maureen Clare Murphy reviews Heart of Jenin , a documentary about the Khatib family's experience. 

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. 

In Gaza
everyone knows a prisoner
24 Apr 2009 - I visited Anwar in his Rafah home last week, 2 days after April 17th Palestinian Political Prisoners’ Day. Prison is a theme for all Palestinians living in occupied Palestine, whether they themselves have been abducted and imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces, or whether someone in their family (a brother, father, son, daughter, mother) is being held in one of Israel’s prisons. So while the visit was to meet Anwar’s family, the prison theme was unavoidable. Anwar spent 3 years in an Israeli prison after taking his then 3 year old son, Yousef, to Egypt for treatment for his cerebral palsy. He, his wife and children ha’d spent 2 months outside...

Palestine Chronicle
Palestine and the Tactic of Non-Violence
24 Apr 2009 - By Ray Zwarich Response to Ramzy Baroud's article Non-Violence in Palestine: Timing and Intentions – The Palestine Chronicle and CounterPunch . The tactic of non-violence has certainly been highly propagandized, to the point that many of us have erroneously come to believe that it was non-violence, as practiced by Gandhi, that freed India from British colonial rule, and that it was the non violence of Dr. King that won the victories for minority rights in the US. The lessons suggested by the actual history of these struggles is obscured when we elevate this propaganda to accepted dogma, as so many of us seem to. In reality, the Indian struggle against British rule was characterized by the release of significant degrees of civil violence, which had a great effect upon the decisions made by the British. To suggest that Gandhi's non-violence was the only factor in winning Indian independence is simply false, and even arguing that it was the most important factor is highly problematic. Gandhi himself was a controversial figure among many factions that were a vital part of this struggle. He was often highly criticized, and sometimes even reviled, by others in this movement, for the decisions he made, and for the actions he took, which many considered to be highly counter productive to the movement. Often huge amounts of resources and energies that were invested into building actions of resistance were wasted when Gandhi pulled out at the last minute if the least degree of anger, suggesting possible violence,...

Middle East 'Spies': A New Front for Gaza's Conflict
23 Apr 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud The reverberations of the Israeli war on Gaza are still felt throughout the Middle East. One could in fact speak of a silent war being waged in the region. Now that Israel’s clear intentions in Gaza - discrediting Hamas and ultimately ousting them from their democratically elected position - resulted in utter failure, Israelis are hoping to exploit regional conflicts to rein in Hamas and other such organizations through alternative means. In the past several years, Israel has suffered what may seem like insurmountable losses in their barrage of military conquests. In July and August of 2006, Israel unleashed its military fury against Lebanon for several weeks, with one major objective: to permanently "extract" Hezbollah as a fighting force from South Lebanon and undermine it as a rising political movement capable of disrupting, if not overshadowing, the "friendly" and "moderate" political regime in Beirut. While the Lebanese suffered blows from which it may take years to recover, the Israeli war in South Lebanon was recognized largely as an astounding military failure, defeat even for Israel, as several thousand fairly ill-equipped Hezbollah fighters forced Israel’s multi-billion dollar military machine to retreat. While at the time, Hezbollah had strong backing by the poor and destitute population of Lebanon, including Palestinian refugees, support from official Lebanese institutions was, at best, lacking. But the war changed all of that. Today, Hezbollah is regarded by many as the guardians of Lebanon and enjoy an unprecedented level of moral and popular support. Israel...

How Much Israeli Arrogance Will the US Take?
23 Apr 2009 - By Joharah Baker The UN Conference on Racism which just closed in Geneva was one of the many instances that Israel was able to enforce its dictates on the United States (and others, obviously). After tremendous pressure from Israel, the US backed down from attending the conference even though the opening declaration might as well have been tailor-made for Israel. In any case, one would think Israel would be satisfied with the United States' obvious alliance with it, especially given the latter's superior position as the only "superpower" today. This is not the case, however, and even Palestinians – accustomed to Israel's arrogance, are slightly shocked at its effrontery. The instance in question revolves around US President Barack Obama's newest proposal to revive the bedridden peace process, not only between the Palestinians and Israel but with the Arabs as well. On April 21, Obama met with Jordanian King Abdullah II and outlined his "gesture plan" to jumpstart the process in the region, which includes a "series of confidence-building gestures" between Palestinians, Israel and the Arab world. One of these gestures is a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank in exchange for normalization steps by the Arabs. In any case, the news of the plan had barely broken before new Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman put in his two-cents worth on the subject. "The Obama Administration will put forth new peace initiatives only if Israel wants it to," Lieberman told a Russian daily. "Believe me, America accepts all our...

Mubarak's Expanding Enemies List
23 Apr 2009 - By Rannie Amiri A telltale sign of a dictator’s waning influence is increasing paranoia. And this is exactly what Egypt's U.S.-backed dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, is suffering from. At a time when criticism over Egypt’s abetment of the Israeli siege and attack on Gaza is intensifying, and its traditional role as leader of the Arab world is being eclipsed, Mubarak’s standing and legitimacy in the eyes of his people has plummeted. His paranoia, conversely, has skyrocketed. This was on display when the state-controlled Egyptian daily Al-Ahram published an article last Saturday accusing the following nations, people and organizations of attempting to destabilize the country, or in the words of the paper, to “ … bring Egypt to the brink of chaos and facilitate a coup”: Iran, Syria, Qatar, Hezbollah, Hamas, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahdi Akef, and the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news network. Lebanon also joined the ever-expanding list a few days later. Relations had already deteriorated earlier in the month when Egyptian security officials made public that they had uncovered a Hezbollah-sponsored “espionage ring” and “terrorist cell” operating in the Sinai. Twenty-five “agents” were arrested, and the hunt continues for an equal number more. Nasrallah did admit that one of those captured was a Hezbollah member, tasked with helping to smuggle arms into Gaza. He denied however, the constantly shifting Egyptians claims that the group’s real objective was to instigate the Sinai...

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