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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
3 May , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Israeli forces arrest nine Bedouins as 'terrorists' for throwing stones, toppling poles
3 May 2009 - According to Israeli police, nine Bedouin Arabs from the town of Shfaram in Israel have been arrested as a 'terrorist cell' for throwing stones at Israeli cars while Israel was invading Gaza in January. 

Israeli soldier claims he was attacked by Palestinian with knife
3 May 2009 - An Israeli soldier claimed to have been “attacked by an Arab” while getting off the bus in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan. He said the man stabbed him in the neck with a knife, but he was not badly injured by the attack. 

Israeli settler bulldozes Palestinian orchards near Bethlehem
3 May 2009 - Local sources reported that a lone Israeli settler took a bulldozer and completely destroyed 5 acres of Palestinian almond groves and vineyards, damaging at least 70 more acres, in Al Khadr village near Bethlehem. 

U.S. Plans to drop charges against alleged Israeli spies
3 May 2009 - The U.S. Government announced Friday that it plans to drop all charges against two long-term lobbyists of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), after a U.S. Congressmember was implicated in the case. The move came just two days before the opening of the AIPAC Annual Convention in Washington, DC, at a time when polls of the US population show increasing discontent with the level of US government aid given unconditionally to the state of Israel. 

Four settlers, including two settler-soldiers, arrested after attacking a Palestinian village
3 May 2009 - Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported on Saturday night that four Israeli settlers, including two soldiers on leave, were arrested by the army after attacking Khirbit Safa village, near the southern West Bank City of Hebron. 

Al Asra Society calls for ensuring medical treatment for an ailing detainee from Khan Younis
3 May 2009 - The Al Asra Media Center, part of the Al Asra Society for Defending the Detainees, called on Saturday on international organizations and the Red Cross to intervene in order to ensure medical treatment to a detainee from Gaza who is currently in critical condition at the Al Ramla Prison hospital. 

Bodies of two Palestinians located in tunnel shelled by the Israeli air force
3 May 2009 - Palestinian medial sources reported on Saturday that medics and rescue teams located the bodies of two Palestinians under the rubble of a tunnel that was shelled by the Israeli air force earlier on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the army shelled several areas in the Gaza Strip and bulldozed farmlands. 

Fighters fire mortars at undercover forces invading Jabalia
2 May 2009 - The Salah Ed Deen Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committee, reported Saturday that its fighters fired three mortar shells at undercover forces invading an areas east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Obama to meet Peres at the White House
2 May 2009 - White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, stated that the US President, Barack Obama, is scheduled meet Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, at the White House next Tuesday. 

Palestinians mark International Workers Day in Jerusalem
2 May 2009 - Under strict Israeli measures and ongoing violations against Arab neighborhoods in occupied Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians marched in Jerusalem marking Mayday in the heart of Jerusalem, in Mount Olive, expressing determination and steadfastness of the Palestinians in the city. 

Haniyya: "Unity talks achieved some progress, but did not achieve the needed breakthrough"
2 May 2009 - Prime Minister of the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, stated Friday that the latest round of internal talks in Cairo achieved some progress but did not achieve the needed breakthrough on core issues. 

Four injured, dozens suffer gas effects in Ni'lin weekly protest
1 May 2009 - Israeli soldiers on Friday attacked Palestinian and international peace activists holding the weekly non-violent protest against the Wall in Ni’lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Four protestors were injured and dozens were treated for the effects gas inhalation. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF troops shoot, lightly wound Palestinian in Gaza Strip
3 May 2009 - Troops opened fire on man after he was spotted walking near the security fence on border with Israel. 

'Israel won't allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons'
3 May 2009 - Michael Oren, slated to be next Israeli envoy to U.S., reportedly makes remarks at AIPAC conference. 

Police: Ramat Gan stabbing was likely terror attack
3 May 2009 - IDF soldier sustains moderate to serious wounds in incident in Ramat Gan; says assailant was an Arab. 

IAF hits Gaza tunnels; Palestinians say 2 die
2 May 2009 - Dead are believed to be the first fatalities since an air strike against Gaza tunnels in March. 

'IDF staged drills over Gibraltar, in preparation for Iran strike'
3 May 2009 - Despite L'Express report, Israel has denied rumors it is planning to attack Tehran over its nuclear program. 

Nine Bedouin suspected of plotting terror attacks
3 May 2009 - Shfaram cell formed in response to Gaza war was allegedly planning series of attacks on central highways. 

Hamas: We won't oppose Israel-Syria talks
3 May 2009 - Gaza officials tell 

Two IDF troops arrested during clashes between settlers, Palestinians
2 May 2009 - Four settlers arrested during clashes at end of mourning period for Bat Ayin terror attack victim. 

Ma'an News

Israel may withdraw from Lebanese village of Al-Ghajar 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce this week that Israeli forces will withdraw from the northern part of Al-Ghajar village on the border with Lebanon. An Israeli political source in Jerusalem said on Saturday that Netanyahu wanted to respond to a US request, and that the measure could be a goodwill gesture toward Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora prior to Lebanese parliamentarian elections in June. Withdrawal from Al-Ghajar village is expected to take place only after Lebanese elections. Some of the village’s Israeli settlers are expected to appeal to the Higher Court of Justice against the withdrawal decision, which might be discussed in a meeting for the Knesset security and political committee on Wednesday. Israel occupied Al-Ghajar in 1981, and it was settled by Israelis. 

Israeli interior minister okays enlarging West Bank settlement 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai has decided to approve recommendations by a special committee within the Israeli Interior Ministry to expand the illegal West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim by 12,000 dunums (12 million square meters). Expansion will include 6,000 housing units to be built between the Ma’ale Adumim and Qedar settlements, it was announced on Sunday morning. Yishai examined the committee’s recommendations last week, saying, “The decision will be pro-Israeli, despite expected international reactions. ”The expansion of Ma'ale Adumim will further separate the northern West Bank from the south, and isolate Jerusalem from the West Bank as a whole. The special committee had originally approved the plan in late April, despite objections from the United States. The plan would link Ma’ale Adumim, the largest settlement in the West. . . 

PRC: Israeli unit expelled from attempted cross-border raid 
5/3/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The militant wing of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) on Sunday morning claimed to have launched a mortar shell toward an Israeli Special Forces unit. According to the statement from An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, the Israeli unit was attempting to cross the border near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, but was repelled by a mortar shell. The statement went on to say that the shelling occurred specifically in the Al-Qarara village, where the Israeli unit attempted to cross over into Gaza. [end] 

Israeli forces apprehend two Palestinians near Bethlehem 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Sunday morning apprehended two young Palestinians from the Bethlehem district. Local sources said an Israeli force raided the city of Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem, and detained 29-year-old Nidal Bannoura after ransacking his home. Separately, another Israeli force stormed the village of Battir, west of Bethlehem, and seized 20-year-old As’ad Ash-Sheikh. Both detainees were taken to an unknown location. [end] 

PA minister: Ending Hamas rule is a national, moral and religious duty 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority minister of Agriculture and Social Welfare on Sunday told an Israeli radio station that "ending Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip is a national, moral and religious duty. " The minister, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, added that removing Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip "should be accomplished as soon as possible. " The comments came during an interview with Israeli journalist Gal Burger. Ma’an telephoned Burger and asked for further details, and he said Al-Habbash did not preach toppling Hamas by military force. However, Burger said other Palestinian officials had already demanded that, but he refused to name those officials. Al-Habbash's remarks follow the failure by Hamas and Fatah to reach an agreement in Cairo, and in light of talks about the Palestinian president planning to ask an independent figure to form a new government soon. 

Boars released by settlers attack barns, beehives near Nablus 
5/3/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Boars set free by Israeli settlers on Sunday damaged sheep barns and beehives in the northern West Bank village of Salem, east of Nablus. According to Ja’far Ishtayya, deputy mayor of Salem, “Boars attacked three homes and sheep barns, owned by Theib and Ziad Hasan, as well as 32 beehives owned by Taha Hamdan. The boars also attacked a car owned by Baha’ Hussein on his way out of the village. ”Ishtayya appealed to the Palestinian Authority to work out a solution for the boar attacks, highlighting swine flu fears, as well as physical damage caused by the animals. [end] 

Report: Israel staged air force drill over Gibraltar 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's air force conducted an exercise over the British colony of Gibraltar, on the coast of southern Spain, the French weekly L'Express reported on Sunday. According to the report, the exercise was carried out nearly 4,000 kilometers from Israel, perhaps to prove that Israel can strike as far away as Tehran, Iran. [end] 

Israeli cabinet approves creation of three new ministries 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's cabinet on Sunday approved the creation of three new government ministries, according to Israeli news reports. The three will deal with strategy, intelligence and information, and will be led by Moshe Yaalon, Dan Meridor and Yull Edelstein, respectively, the Israeli news agency Ynet reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said that "the creation of the new ministries is not meant to curtail the responsibilities of other ministries. "[end] 

Palestinian police arrest alleged murderer 
5/3/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority police on Saturday arrested a man accused of murdering a 28-year-old man from the village of Qatanna on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Detectives from the PA's Jerusalem district police, accompanied with a government prosecutor, had examined the victim at a hospital in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The attorney ordered that the body be sent for autopsy. The man accused of the murder, a 31-year-old Palestinian from Qatanna, was arrested. He was handed over to PA preventive security. According to police, a fight had erupted between the alleged killer and the victim, where the latter had shot the former in the head and left leg. Then, the alleged killer grabbed a gun he had stolen from an Israeli settlement, emptying all the rounds into the victim, police said. 

PFLP wing fires at Israeli army unit in northern Gaza 
5/3/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The militant wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, claimed responsibility on Sunday for targeting an Israeli army engineering unit east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. The group said in a statement that they fired at the Israeli unit using machine guns, asserting that the attack "comes in retaliation for Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. " [end] 

Nine Bedouin Palestinians arrested for planning attacks 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Police in Israel, in coordination with the country's Shin Bet intelligence agency, arrested nine Bedouin Palestinian men suspected of planning attacks on Israel, according to a gag order lifted Sunday. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the men are residents of Shraram, all in their 20s, and were detained within the last few days. They are accused of plotting attacks on Israeli civilians on national highways, the newspaper reported. They allegedly planned to topple electrical poles, block traffic and throw stones and tires on central Israeli highways, police said. The group was reportedly formed in late December 2008, in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The suspects have admitted to their involvement in the cell, police said, and were responsible for toppling two poles along a highway, lightly injuring an Israeli woman. 

De facto police ban loud celebrations in light of exams 
5/3/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto police in the Gaza Strip announced on Sunday that they will ban street celebrations without licenses due to upcoming final exams in the Palestinian territories. The police said in a statement they will give out licenses for celebrations on the condition that hosts agree they will end by 11pm. Loudspeakers will also have to be turned to low to provide an appropriate atmosphere for students in the Gaza Strip to study, the de facto police statement added. 

Gaza airstrike victims laid to rest 
5/3/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Two Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes were laid to rest after a solemn funeral procession in the city of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. Hamdan Al-Astal and Khalil Abu Jarad were killed when Israeli warplanes bombed smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border in the city of Rafah on Saturday. The air attacks followed three months of relative calm in Gaza. Dozens of family members and local residents marched in the procession, which followed a funeral prayer at the city’s main mosque. The two were buried in the main cemetery in Khan Younis. [end] 

Israeli soldier stabbed near Tel Aviv 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – An Israeli soldier was stabbed after disembarking a bus in Ramat Gan, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv on Sunday. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a man stepped off the bus immediately after the soldier and stabbed him in the neck with a knife. The soldier told rescue workers that the attacker “was an Arab,” according to the same report. Police are still searching for the assailant, who fled the scene. While there is speculation that the attack may have been an act of political violence, authorities have not yet pronounced the incident a “terrorist attack. ” There has been no claim of responsibility from any Palestinian group. [end] 

Hamas confirms: Mash’al reelected as leader 
5/3/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas confirmed on Sunday that Khalid Mash’al has been reelected as the leader of its Political Bureau after a series of secret elections. Three leaders from Gaza, Mahmoud Az-Zahhar, Khalil Al-Hayya and Nizar Awadallah, have also been elected to the Political Bureau, Hamas sources confirmed. The news of Mash’al’s reelection first leaked to Ma’an on 27 April. Hamas is refusing to release the names of its leaders in the West Bank who are joining the political bureau, citing security reasons. In March, Israel seized ten senior Hamas leaders in an overnight sweep. Hamas has also confirmed that Muhamad Nazzal, formerly a prominent member of the Political Bureau, was replaced in the election by Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon. Other changes were made to the makeup of the Political Bureau, but Hamas is refusing to disclose the full list, fearing Israeli assassinations and arrests. 

Abbas to tell Obama: No negotiations without two-state goal 
5/3/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will tell US President Barack Obama that renewed peace negotiations with Israel are conditioned on its acceptance of the two-state model. “We will go the Washington on May 28 to talk with the US administration about our conditions to resume peace negotiations with Israel in the future," Abbas said after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday, according to AFP. "Our conditions and demands are based on the two-state solution and Israel's halt of settlement building as well as house demolitions. These are our demands and the demands of the Americans themselves to resume the talks," he said, according to AFP. Abbas also said that King Abdullah raised “important issues” and suggestions for Abbas’ meeting with Obama. Obama invited the leaders of Palestine, Israel, and Egypt to the US over the coming month in a bid to resume formal peace talks. 


Two die in air raid on Gaza tunnels
2 May 2009 - Israeli bombings near Rafah said to be in response to Palestinian rocket fire.

Iranian jets 'hit' Iraqi Kurd areas
2 May 2009 - If confirmed, the Sulaymaniya raid would be the first by Iran targeting the region.

Hezbollah slams Hariri death probe
1 May 2009 - Nasrallah calls investigation into Hariri's death dishonest and political.

UN says Egypt pig cull real mistake
29 Apr 2009 - Agency says no reason for slaughter as flu is spread from human-to-human.


OPT: Gaza citizens at risk from rubbish, rubble, unexploded ordnance
GAZA CITY Thursday, April 30, 2009 (IRIN) - Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the uncontrolled dumping of rubbish pose the greatest environmental and public health risks to residents of the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP). A further study is planned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

MIDDLE EAST: Regional efforts to prepare for swine flu 
DUBAI Wednesday, April 29, 2009 (IRIN) - Middle East countries are taking precautionary measures against swine flu as the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the global influenza pandemic alert level to Phase 4 after the influenza A /H1N1 virus infection claimed more than 150 lives in Mexico and spread to several other countries. 

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: 60,000 Palestinians at Risk in Jerusalem, UN Warns 
JERUSALEM, May 1 (IPS) - A report published Friday by a United Nations agency has warned that the problems facing the people of Silwan, who are facing eviction from their homes, are replicated throughout East Jerusalem.

LEBANON: Generals’ Release May Influence June Election 
WASHINGTON, Apr 30 (IPS) - On Wednesday, a judge at the Hague-based "Special Tribunal for Lebanon" (STL) ordered Lebanon to release four senior Lebanese generals imprisoned since 2005 on suspicion of involvement in killing former prime minister Rafiq Hariri in February of that year.

ENVIRONMENT: Israel Stripping West Bank Quarries 
RAMALLAH, Apr 30 (IPS) - Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din is taking the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court.

MIDEAST: A Former 'Terrorist' Speaks Out 
JENIN, Northern West Bank, Apr 30 (IPS) - A former high-level Palestinian resistance fighter, who spent years on the run from Israel's security forces, has just been appointed to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, and made honorary theatre director.

Stop The Wall
3 May 2009 - After arrests and injuries on Workers Day, the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the popular committees against the Apartheid Wall in al Ma'sara and the district call on trade unions around the globe to increase solidarity and join the BDS call. [

Four al-Ma’sara popular committee members arrested
2 May 2009 - This week, anti-Wall demonstrations held to commemorate the first of May were met with violence and organizers arrested. Occupation forces attacked a May Day festival and demonstration in al-Ma’sara, injuring nine people and arresting the village popular committee. Soldiers also fired upon residents in Bi’lin and tried to break the protest in Ni’lin, where they occupied homes in the early morning. [

PCHR Latest

Military Court in Hebron Sentences Civilian to Death, PCHR Urges President not to Ratify Sentence

PCHR Weekly Report

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 23 - 28 April 2009
PCHR - During the reporting period, 20 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children, were wounded by IOF and Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

Five Palestinian farmers and two internationals detained while trying to work lands near Israeli military camp
International Solidarity Movement - 30 April 2009 - On the 30th of April, five farmers from the village of Asira ash-Shamaliya and two international solidarity activists were detained while trying to farm their lands close to an Israeli military camp.   Asira ash-Shamaliya is a Palestinian village north of the city of Nablus.   An Israeli military camp was built more than ten years ago on the mountain between the village and Nablus.   Lands close to the military camp belong to several Palestinian farmers, who until recently have been too afraid to access their lands due to constant army harassment. At around 9pm, the five farmers and solidarity activists arrived at the fields with a tractor, a donkey, and a horse.   As soon as the farmers appeared, an army jeep drove up along the military road which connects the camp to nearby Checkpoint 17.   Three soldiers got out and ordered the farmers and internationals to give them their IDs. 

Palestinian youth shot by Israeli settlers while working his land
International Solidarity Movement - 27 April 2009 - On Monday, the 27th of April, 17-year-old Mohammad Farraj was shot by Israeli settlers while working his lands in Madama, southeast of the city of Nablus.   At around 12:00pm, Mohammad was alone picking almonds on his land near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar.   At least one settler drove up along the nearby settler-only road and shot him in the chest from about 200 meters away.   Mohammad heard three or four shots, and at least one bullet hit him, entering his upper shoulder and exciting through his back. Mohammad was found wounded by other villagers in the area, who took him in a taxi to the local clinic.   From the clinic, he was transferred by ambulance to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.   Once at Rafidia, he underwent an emergency operation and was connected to blood tubes.   His condition was described by doctors as moderate. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Leading German politician says Netanyahu government won't harm ties with EU 
3 May 2009 - He is one of the leading members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union party, a possible successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel and minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country's most populous and richest state. In speaking with Jurgen Ruttgers, 57, one gets the impression he is also a committed, almost blind, friend of Israel, at a time when the attitude toward Israel in a number of European capitals has become noticeably cooler. ... 

How many cigarettes is a dead Jew worth? 
3 May 2009 - Jamlitz, Germany - In late January 1945 an order was issued to liquidate the Nazi labor camp of Lieberose, located near this small village in Brandenburg state. On the morning of February 2, after two separate selection processes, over 2,000 prisoners who were still fit for work embarked on a death march that would take those who survived it to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. ... 

On Iran, Barack Obama is no Chamberlain
2 May 2009 - In the factory churning out threatening scenarios, the economic slump has had no effect. But there's still a wide variety, something for everyone. Swine flu, North Korean ballistic missiles, collapsing banks, Hezbollah getting stronger, and of course, the mother of all threats, the Iranian nuclear program combined with an American president who has already been compared to Neville Chamberlain because of his conciliatory approach. This triangle, nukes-Iran-Obama, incites hypochondriacs to new heights. They are certain the whole world is about to kneel before tremendous evil. ... 

Abbas to tell Obama: No peace talks until Israel backs two states
2 May 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he will tell U.S. President Barack Obama at an upcoming meeting that Middle East peace talks hinge on Israel's support for a two-state solution. ...

Irate pig farmers clash with police in Egypt
2 May 2009 - Egyptian police and armored cars charged into a crowd of a 1,000 irate pig farmers armed with stones and bottles, leaving 12 people wounded as residents of a Cairo slum resisted government efforts to slaughter the nation's pigs to guard against swine flu. ...

The Guardian

Israel's budding autocracy | Dimi Reider
30 Apr 2009 - The arrest of members of a pacifist NGO is symptomatic of a country that is becoming militarised at an alarming pace The first raids took place at about 7am on Sunday. Across the country, activists in...

Israel bombs tunnels on Gaza-Egypt border
2 May 2009 - Israel says its aircraft have attacked three smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border. There were no reports of injuries. Yesterday's air strikes came hours after Gaza militants fired two mortar shells at southern Israel, causing no...

Letters: Reality of gaining access to Gaza
1 May 2009 - Bill Rammell is disingenuous when he says that the UK does not control access to Gaza (Letters, 28 April). He knows the Egyptians require those wanting to cross the border to have a letter from their...

US government to drop espionage charges against Aipac officials
1 May 2009 - Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman accused of providing US defence secrets to Israeli embassy in Washington The US government is to drop espionage charges against two officials of America's most powerful pro-Israel lobby group accused of...

Ha'aretz National page

One more suspected case of swine flu in Israel
2 May 2009 - A 3-year-old girl has been hospitalized in Jerusalem after displaying flu-like symptoms upon her return from Mexico, the Health Ministry relayed Sunday, sparking fears that one more Israeli could have contracted swine flu. ...

Man convicted of burning girlfriend to death after financial dispute
2 May 2009 - A Haifa district court convicted Ivtor Avshalomov Sunday of murdering his life-partner, Larissa Davidov. ...

Third Israeli diagnosed with swine flu
2 May 2009 - Doctors at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center on Saturday quarantined a 34-year-old man who recently returned from Mexico and was diagnosed with swine flu. The man's 27-year-old partner, who was with him in Mexico, is also under quarantine but has not yet been positively identified as having the virus. ... 

Ex-IDF chief named to head Ministry of Strategic Affairs 
2 May 2009 - The Cabinet on Sunday approved the creation of three new government ministries, to oversee affairs of strategy, intelligence and public relations. ...

Israel set to quit divided Lebanon border town
2 May 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to announce this week that Israel is interested in withdrawing from the northern part of the village of Ghajar on the border with Lebanon. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers - eyewitnesses
2 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

OPT: Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza tunnel
2 May 2009 - Source: Reuters

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 25 Apr - 01 May 2009
2 May 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

Secretary-General appoints Marta Santos Pais of Portugal as Special Representative on Violence against Children
1 May 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

OPT: Palestinian refugees - the regional perspective
1 May 2009 - Source: Chatham House

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 256, 27 Apr - 03 May 2009
1 May 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: First Israeli strike in 2 months hits Gaza tunnels
1 May 2009 - Source: Reuters

OPT: UN human rights investigators leaving for Gaza next week
1 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

YNet News

Another swine flu patient released from hospital 
3 May 2009 - Tel Aviv resident recovers just day after being admitted to hospital; his partner also released after testing negative for disease. Doctor says swine flu cases in Israel 'very mild' 

Yishai vows to settle Jews in east Jerusalem
3 May 2009 - Interior minister tells Jews who purchased property in Silwan village that they have right to land because 'City of David is bedrock of our existence'; PA official retaliates: 'Israeli gov't is gov't of settlers'

Assad urges US to talk to Hamas, Hizbullah
3 May 2009 - In interview with French TV, Syrian president says Damascus ready to help broker contacts with terror groups, says isolating them 'counterproductive if Washington wants to seek regional peace' 

Iran slams US-Israeli 'nuclear cooperation' 
3 May 2009 - Papers submitted by Tehran's delegation to upcoming conference on Non-Proliferation Treaty say Washington in clear breach of accord by developing new atomic weapons, providing nuclear aid to 'Zionist regime' and India; Western diplomats: Iran on the offensive to keep focus away from its nuclear program 

Report: Syria tightens control on media, Internet 
3 May 2009 - 225 Internet sites blocked last year, including several Arab newspapers and portals, Amazon, Facebook and YouTube, author of report on censorship in Syria says, adding 'internal and external conditions combined to make it easier to violate individual rights' 

Japanese court sends Israeli to prison for possession of drugs 
3 May 2009 - Y, one of three ultra-Orthodox youths caught with 90,000 ecstasy pills, hopes to serve 8-year term in Israel

Soldier stabbed in suspected terror attack; sustains mild to moderate wounds 
3 May 2009 - IDF soldier sustains light to moderate wounds after being knifed while getting off bus in central Ramat Gan by man who eyewitnesses say 'looked like an Arab'; assailant flees scene on foot, security forces launch manhunt; investigators increasingly convinced attack nationalistically motivated 

Future ambassador to US: Israel won't allow nuclear Iran
3 May 2009 - During annual AIPAC convention, Michael Oren says he doesn't believe Israel will allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapon; MK Sheetrit: Anyone who supports an Israeli strike in Iran is mad


Policemen sentenced to prison for incident exposed by B'Tselem
27 Apr 2009 - The Jerusalem District Court sentenced two additional border policemen for their involvement in the 2002 abduction and killing of ‘Imran Abu Hamdiya, a Palestinian from Hebron.

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

Daily Star

Netanyahu favors Israeli withdrawal from Ghajar - report 
3 May 2009 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favors an Israeli withdrawal from a village on the Lebanese border and will discuss the issue with cabinet ministers this week, an Israeli government source said on Sunday, according to media reports. Israel's Haaretz newspaper said the United States was pressing Netanyahu for a pullout from Ghajar.

Lieberman to press Europe to delay peace push 
3 May 2009 - Israel's ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman leaves on Sunday on his first official trip abroad, aiming to reassure the Europeans amid rising tensions over the stalled peace process. The minister, who has triggered controversy over his virulently anti-Arab stance, will tell the Europeans to be patient while Israel's new cabinet draws up.

Nearly 20,000 infected with HIV in Iran 
3 May 2009 - At least 19,435 Iranians have been infected with the HIV virus, with more than 1,000 new cases recorded since December 2008, the ISNA news agency reported Sunday, quoting the Health Ministry. Of those infected, 1,875 are already confirmed as having AIDS, it said.

Israeli air strikes kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza tunnels 
3 May 2009 - Israeli warplanes bombed tunnels beneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Saturday killing two Palestinians. Palestinian fighters also fired several mortars at Israel from the coastal territory, medical workers said. The workers, who reached the area hours after the attacks, said.

Iran execution of woman draws Amnesty's ire 
3 May 2009 - Iranian authorities executed on Friday a 23-year-old woman convicted of a murder allegedly committed when she was still a teenager, the rights group Amnesty International said, expressing outrage over the execution. Delara Darabi was found guilty of murdering a relative during a burglary she carried out along with a friend at the age of 17.

Palestinian Information Center

Hamas vows to resist any fresh IOF aggression on Gaza
3 May 2009 - The Hamas Movement has vowed Sunday to confront any Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip with all available means, pledging not to surrender or concede any of the national constants..

Abu Marzouk: Palestinian negotiators committed unforgivable mistake
3 May 2009 - Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas, has expressed fears that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu might insist on the idea of a "Jewish" state.

Bardawil: Habbash statement reflects state of tension
3 May 2009 - MP Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil said that the statement of Mahmoud Habbash, the minister in Ramallah's illegitimate government, reflected the state of tension which he and his government were experiencing.

Khater: IOA wants to turn Jerusalem into a closed Jewish ghetto
3 May 2009 - Dr. Hassan Khater, the secretary general of the Islamic-Christian front, charged that the IOA wants to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish ghetto after getting rid of all its non-Jewish inhabitants.

Hamas renews election of Mishaal as political bureau chairman
3 May 2009 - Hamas has completed its internal elections process and renewed chairmanship of Khaled Mishaal for its political bureau for the fourth consecutive time, a responsible source in the Movement said.

IOF soldiers fire at Palestinian farmers
3 May 2009 - Israeli occupation forces on Sunday opened machinegun fire at Palestinian farmers who were tending to their lands in Farahin area east of Khan Younis district, south of the Gaza Strip.

Haneyya asks Europe to lift Hamas from "terrorism" list
3 May 2009 - Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA government, has asked the European countries to lift Hamas from the list of "terrorist" organizations, highlighting that Hamas is a national liberation movement.

PA in Ramallah plans to build 52 new prisons in West Bank
3 May 2009 - The PA in Ramallah under Mahmoud Abbas, whose term in office expired last January, is planning to build 52 new prisons in various West Bank areas, senior security sources revealed on Saturday.

PFLP: Formation of expanded gov't without consensus endorses split
3 May 2009 - Dr. Rabah Mihana, the politburo member of the PFLP, has said that the reported establishment of an expanded PA government without national consensus would only deepen the internal Palestinian rift.

Two Palestinians killed in IOF raid
3 May 2009 - Palestinian medics on Saturday evening retrieved the bodies of two citizens who were buried under the rubble of one of the tunnels at the Egyptian-Palestinian borders following an Israeli air raid.

Los Angeles Times

Rights groups denounce execution in Iran 
3 May 2009 - Human Rights Watch says authorities ignored a judge's stay of execution. Delara Darabi, 23, was hanged after being convicted of murder in an unfair trial, the rights groups say. Human rights groups on Saturday condemned Iran for executing a 23-year-old woman who they maintained had received an unfair trial when she was convicted of murder as a juvenile. 

Israel warplanes strike Gaza border tunnels 
3 May 2009 - The military attacks the conduits for weapons smuggling from Egypt after militants fire mortar rounds into southern Israel. Two Palestinians are killed. Israeli warplanes on Saturday bombed tunnels beneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, killing two Palestinian men, after militants fired mortar rounds into Israel from the coastal territory, according to the Israeli military and Palestinian medical workers. 

Israel picks historian Michael Oren as ambassador to U.S. 
3 May 2009 - The New York-born dual citizen, a prize-winning author who is well connected in U.S. political circles, is likely to be an effective advocate for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A New York-born and Princeton-educated historian and commentator on Middle East affairs has been chosen Israel's next ambassador to Washington, Israeli news media reported Saturday. 

New York Times

2 Killed as Israel Hits Egypt-Gaza Tunnels
2 May 2009 - The Palestinians who were killed were the first fatalities in the conflict with Israel since early March. 

American-Born Academic Appointed Israeli Ambassador to U.S.
2 May 2009 - Michael Oren has worked at a conservative research institute and has taught at leading universities. 

Rights Groups Condemn Iran for Execution
2 May 2009 - Iran has executed a woman convicted of murdering her father’s cousin when she was 17, Iranian news media reported Saturday. 


The complicit silence continues 
Dr. Haidar Eid, The Palestine Telegraph 5/1/2009
      Millions of people looked forward to Barack Obama’s presidency with a sense of pride and hope. But Obama’s first 100 days have raised critical questions about the limits of what we can expect from a Democrat in the White House--and what it will take to get the change we want.
     What do you think of Obama’s 100 days? And what does the left need to do now to move the struggle forward? We asked a group of writers and activists for their answers to these questions. This commentary is from Haidar Eid, a professor, a resident of Gaza City, and a leading activist in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel’s apartheid.
     I NEVER had high expectations for Barack Obama, because he still represents the Democratic Party, which is a part of the American establishment. Obama’s victory in the presidential elections did not produce a change in the nature of American imperialism.
     I think the difference between the Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. is similar to the difference between Likud and the Labor Party in Palestine.
     I thought, even prior to his taking office, that Obama’s role would be to bring about a new fiction--or rather renew the of fiction--of a two-state solution in Palestine-Israel. That is, to breathe new life into the idea that one state for Jews and another state for Palestinians will bring peace to the region.

Obama and 'Two States' 
Ellen Cantarow, CounterPunch 4/30/2009
      A false claim is wafting through the press: Obama is hanging tough with Benjamin Netanyahu, he’s going to “twist Israel’s arm” and at long last force the Jewish state into a two-state agreement, settling the Israel-Palestine question for good. There’s even talk that Obama backs the Arab League’s 2002 peace initiative, complete with its main demand: Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967 borders.
     There’s no proof for any of this. Obama has said nothing about when, where, and with what boundaries a Palestinian state might be established. Neither did George Bush. The slide from one regime to the next has been seamless on the score of Israel and Palestine as on much else.
     In regard to a critical document invoked by Obama in his first policy speech about the region last January -- the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative -- Obama has not changed an iota, at least publicly. He gave the speech before State Department employees last January, announcing George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy. Most important, the speech delineated the clear outlines of Obama’s Middle East doctrine, as I described in my “The Problem Isn’t Avigdor Lieberman”
     Obama’s reference to the Arab Peace Initiative was crucial for what it omitted -- the proposal’s first part, the precondition for everything that follows: “Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.” Only after these preconditions have been laid out does the document continue: “Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following….” In “Consequently,” the intent is unmistakable: Once Israel fulfills the crucial condition requiring Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 lines, the Arab countries will do x, y, and z. One of the corollaries following the “Consequently” clause reads: “Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace [emphasis mine]”. Nothing could be clearer. Moreover, the Arab League’s request of Israel, “the context,” expresses the international consensus for the past 30 years, routinely blocked by the US and Israel.

Electronic Intifada
Second annual Palestine Festival of Literature launches this month
3 May 2009 - The second Palestine Festival of Literature will take place from 23-28 May 2009. Because of the difficulties Palestinians face under military occupation in traveling around their own country, the festival group of 17 international writers will travel to its audiences in the West Bank. It will tour Ramallah, Jenin, al-Khalil/Hebron and Bethlehem. To mark Jerusalem's status as Cultural Capital of the Arab World for 2009, the festival will begin and end in Jerusalem. 

Gaza citizens at risk from rubbish, rubble, unexploded ordnance
2 May 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Unexploded ordnance and the uncontrolled dumping of rubbish pose the greatest environmental and public health risks to residents of the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Development Programme. A further study is planned by the UN Environment Programme. 

Hamas gaining international legitimacy
2 May 2009 - JERUSALEM (IPS) - Delegations from the rival Fatah and Hamas organizations have again failed in Cairo to bridge their differences meant to usher in a Palestinian unity government, but this has in no way slowed inroads which the Islamist movement has been making to increase its international legitimacy -- much to Israel's concern. 

Israel stripping West Bank quarries
2 May 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din is taking the Israeli military, the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court. The rights group alleges they are illegally stripping Palestinian West Bank quarries of raw construction material for the benefit of the Israeli construction industry and the building of illegal Israeli settlements. 

In Gaza
fallen journalists
3 May 2009 - * Fadel Shana’a , killed in April 2008 by invading Israeli tanks’ shelling (photo source unknown ) “ Journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians … They shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this protocol, provided that they take no action adversely affecting their status as civilians…” -Article 79 – Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (Protocol 1) Fadel Shana’a is among the most prominent of Palestinian journalists and media workers recently killed by Israeli soldiers. The 23 year old was targeted by an invading Israeli tank which, after observing Shana’a filming for a number of...

Palestine Chronicle
When, Where the Pope Inspires No Hope
3 May 2009 - By Nicola Nasser - Bir Zeit, West Bank Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to be the third pontiff to visit the Holy Land from 8-15 May, following in the footsteps of Paul VI in 1964 and John Paul II in 2000, on a mission officially described as a “pilgrimage” and one of “peace and reconciliation.” However, the Pope will be stepping into “a diplomatic minefield,” where the Catholic highest spiritual authority will be unmercifully scrutinized by the protagonists of the one hundred year old Arab-Israeli conflict for the Holy Father’s every step, word and handshake, which would force him into the defensive in an impossible balancing act that will rule out any hope his presence is supposed to inspire, especially among the down-trodden Arabs of Palestine, whether those who are “Israelis” living as second class citizens since 1948 or those Palestinians living under the Israeli military occupation since 1967. Even the pontiff’s own Catholic diminishing flock in the Holy Land seems in controversy over the timing and the itinerary of his pilgrimage. "We will ask him why he came, what he intends on saying … and why he isn't coming to Gaza," Father Manuel Mussalam, the pastor of the only Catholic church of about 300 believers in Gaza, out of 3000 Christians in the Israeli besieged Mediterranean strip, was quoted by AFP as asking. "We'll tell him that this is not the right moment to come and visit the holy places, while Jerusalem is occupied," Mussalam added. In November 2006,...

Netanyahu Has a Plan; The Emperor's Old Clothes
3 May 2009 - By Uri Avnery Everybody's is talking about the first 100 days of Barack Obama. And there's a lot to talk about. Like a young bull he stormed into the arena. A deluge of new ideas in every direction, a tsunami of practical initiatives, some of which have already begun to be implemented. Clearly he had been thinking about them for a long time and intended to put them into practice from his first moment in office. He put his team together long ago, and his people started to act even before his triumphal entrance to the White House. During the first days he appointed the ministers, most of whom he had designated long before - this seems to be an effective cabinet, whose members are up to their tasks. Everything according to a rule that was laid down long ago: what a new president does not initiate in his first 100 days, he will not accomplish later on. In the beginning everything is easier, because the public is ready for change. An Israeli cannot, of course, resist comparing Obama to Binyamin Netanyahu, our old-new Prime Minister, who did not exactly storm into the arena. He crawled into it. One could have expected that Netanyahu would trump even Obama in this respect. After all, he has already been there. Ten years ago he was sitting in the Prime Minister’s chair, gathering experience. And from experience – especially bad experience – one can and should learn. Moreover, Netanyahu’s victory was no great...

Oil and Aguardiente in the Ecuadorian Elections
3 May 2009 - By Belén Fernández - Puerto Francisco de Orellana, Ecuador In the run-up to the Ecuadorian elections of April 26, 2009, Guadalupe Llori - the Pachakutik movement candidate for prefect of Orellana province in the eastern Amazonian region - promised the Quechua community of Pako Rumi a paved road. The road would connect Pako Rumi with the highway to the provincial capital of Puerto Francisco de Orellana, colloquially known as Coca; the promise was made after the Pachakutik candidates had traveled the road themselves several times while preparing for a community dance. Llori’s name had become intimately linked with the practice of road paving in 2007 during a prior term as prefect, when 40 kilometers of asphalt destined for the road from Coca to the oil producing town of Dayuma were reduced to 23 kilometers of asphalt due to the state´s failure to pay the road construction company. Following a November strike by the residents of Dayuma, whose complaints also included the lack of adequate compensation for oil contamination and the lack of motivation on the part of the oil companies to hire local labor, Llori was deemed to be a strike instigator, removed from the prefecture, and imprisoned for 10.5 months in Quito on counts of terrorism and sabotage. As the strike impeded oil production more than did the missing 17 kilometers of asphalt, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa expanded the terrorism charge to apply to all those who were opposed to the country’s development. Hugo Chávez offered a slightly more...

The Lethargy Virus
3 May 2009 - By Ralph Nader The Swine Flu (or H1N1 virus) is in the air. The public health authorities are acting "in excess of caution" to curb its spread from Mexico into this country. Already, however, this virus and the publicity around it is providing another occasion to question our nation’s priorities. Let’s put it this way—the gravest terrorists in the world today are viruses and bacterium and their astonishing ability to mutate, hitchhike and devastate human beings. Yet despite small outbreaks—such as the SARS virus from China—we collectively seem to be waiting until the “big pandemic” before we come to our senses and redefine national security and national defense. It is not that we are unaware of the massive toll that tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS and many other infectious diseases exact year after year. Just those three diseases take over 5 million lives a year. It is not that we fail to realize how international trade, tourism and other travels—together with environmental disruptions—accelerate the spread and range of these silent forms of violence. Our lethargy stems from the fact that the causes of such casualties are seen as impersonal, unlike 9/11 terrorists or state inflicted terrorism which is viewed as anthropomorphic. That is, they are attributed to proper names of specific people, gangs, armies and nations. In 2004, when I was on the Bill Maher show, Bill asked me why I was running for president outside the two major parties. I replied that one reason was to call public attention to such...

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