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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
4 May , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

The Jerusalem municipality hands out more demolishing orders to Palestinian-owned homes
4 May 2009 - The Israeli municipality handed out a new wave of demolishing orders on Monday to Palestinian families in Jerusalem old city and around it.

The Israeli military kidnaps ten Palestinians during invasions targeting West Bank communities
4 May 2009 - Ten Palestinian civilians were kidnapped during Israeli military invasions targeting a number of west Bank cities on Monday.

Israel to Gaza patients: Be a TRAITOR and you can get Medication
4 May 2009 - Israel's Shin Bet internal security service has increased its interrogations of people seeking to leave Hamas-run Gaza for medical treatment, a rights group said in a report on Monday.

Israeli Interior Minister confirms support to illegal settlement outposts in Silwan
4 May 2009 - Hatim Abdul-Qader, Jerusalem Affairs Advisor to the Palestinien Prime Minister, sated that Israel’s vice Prime Minster, Interior Minister, Eli Yisha, stated during a Sunday night meeting with extremist settler groups at a Palestinian home illegally captured in Silwan town, in East Jerusalem, that his government will approve all settlement plans provided by settlers groups. 

Israeli troops kidnap a Palestinian from Beit Sahour
4 May 2009 - Israeli soldiers carried out on Sunday at dawn a fast invasion into Beit Sahour town, near Bethlehem, and kidnapped a 29-year old Palestinian man after breaking into his parents’ apartment, and the apartments of his three uncles. 

Soldier stabbed near Tel Aviv
4 May 2009 - Israeli sources reported Sunday that a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli army soldier in the neck as the soldier was getting of a bus in Ramat Gaza city, near Tel Aviv. 

Two Palestinians injured by military fire in the Gaza Strip
4 May 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported that one Palestinian man was moderately wounded on Sunday at night by Israeli military fire targeting an open area east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.  Another Palestinian was injured in a separate attack in northern Gaza. 

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. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Syria looks to Lebanon War for tips on arming Hezbollah
4 May 2009 - Sources say Syria intent on maintaining a military strategy based mainly on air defense and anti-tank weapons. 

Jerusalem publishes plan to boost housing for city's Arabs
4 May 2009 - Mayor says 'master plan' to comprise 23,550 new housing units; Palestinians call outline insufficent. 

UN to press Israel to exit Lebanon border village
4 May 2009 - While in Lebanon, UN peacekeeping chief says hopeful deal can be reached soon on divided town of Ghajar. 

Gaza smugglers kill Egyptian soldier near Rafah border
4 May 2009 - Smugglers flee into Egypt after guards begin shooting at them, some 12 miles south of border. 

Poll: 66% of Israeli Jews back attack on Iran
3 May 2009 - ADL poll finds a majority of those who favor strike would maintain their support even if U.S. opposed strike. 

Second IDF soldier stabbed in central Israel in two days
4 May 2009 - Soldier lightly hurt, incident apparently not terror-related; police arrest suspect in Ramat Gan stabbing. 

Police arrest suspect in IDF soldier stabbing in Ramat Gan
4 May 2009 - Eye-witnesses said the soldier had gotten off a public bus when another man ran stabbed him and fled. 

If Israel acquiesces on Iran, world will follow suit
3 May 2009 - Israel's ambiguity has failed to attract international support or deter Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. 

Ma'an News

Gazans pressured to collaborate in exchange for medical treatment 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s intelligence services are increasingly pressuring Palestinian patients from Gaza to spy and inform on other Palestinians if they want to enter Israel for medical treatment, a report released on Monday by an Israeli rights organization said. Data and 30 testimonies collected by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) and presented at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva, indicates a rise in the number of Palestinian patients interrogated and forced to provide information, usually at the Erez border crossing into Israel. According to PHR-I, Israel’s General Security Service (GSS, known as Shabak) interrogated minors; photographed patients against their will; harassed, accused, cursed and intimidated patients during interrogations. Patients that did not cooperate were returned to Gaza without receiving a permit to exit for medical treatment, the report said. 

Palestinian injured in Israeli shelling in southern Gaza Strip 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – At least one Palestinian was injured on Sunday evening after Israeli artillery shelled an open area east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Dr Muawiya Hassanein, director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, said one injured man was delivered to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, having sustained moderate wounds. Separately, Palestinian sources and eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces fired machine guns again toward eastern Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. There was no word on casualties. The sources said helicopters were also seen flying over the area. [end] 

Settlers chop down Palestinians' olive, fig trees near Ramallah 
5/4/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Dozens of Israeli settlers chopped town Palestinians’ olive and fig trees in the village of Sinjil, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday. Sinjil’s Mayor Imad Abdullah Masalmeh explained that the settlers cut the trees owned by the sick father of four disabled children, Shawqi Hussein Ghafari. The settlers also cut down olive trees owned by Ali Hussein Fuqaha, Adib Ali Fuqaha, Hussein Farhan Dar Khalil, and the family of Muhammad Yousef Khalil. The mayor explained that this village is frequently attacked by settlers, pointing that five settlements and outposts encircle the community. He added that the municipality formed a committee to defend the land from settlers and the expansion of settlements. He said large swaths of the town are threatened with confiscation as a result of settlement expansion. 

World Press Freedom Day: Israel drops to 'partly free' 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's press was downgraded to "partly free" by the annual US-funded Freedom House rankings of media freedom around the world on Sunday. Tying with Benin, Israel was dropped from "free" for the first time in the ranking's history due to its policies of self-censorship over military matters, and particularly the Government Press Office's decision to ban reporters from entering the Gaza Strip during the country's devastating assault that began in late December 2008. "Restrictions on journalists and official attempts to influence coverage during the Gaza conflict led to Israel's Partly Free status," Freedom House said. Israel was ranked 71 this year. Meanwhile, Palestine's ranking stayed the same, at "not free," due to press restrictions and assaults against journalists by both the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip government and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which is dominated by Fatah. 

Israeli troops apprehend Gaza boy after shooting him 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli forces apprehended a young Palestinian after injuring him east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Local sources said Israeli troops seized 12-year-old Ayman Shamiyya after shooting him while he was playing. There was no word about how serious the boy's injuries were. [end] 

Israel arrests 282 "illegal" Palestinians 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Border Guard police have arrested 282 Palestinians residing "illegally" inside Israel, according to Israeli media on Monday. In raids that began on Saturday, Israeli forces seized and transferred the Palestinians to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. Some 21 Israelis suspected of employing Palestinians were also arrested. [end] 

Refugee camps' committees to shut down West Bank UN offices 
5/4/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Popular committees in West Bank refugee camps will close down the offices of UNRWA, the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, in protest of alleged reductions in aid. Ibrahim Saqr, the director of Nablus refugee camps’ committees, said that that the decision to strike came after the UN once again rejected the committees’ demands. He also said that the shutdown was a “first step” in a program of protest. On Thursday the committees will shut down the offices of UNRWA’s regional directors as well as warehouses. The committees shut down UN offices in early April in the same dispute. [end] 

Spain to continue investigation into 2002 Israeli bombing of Gaza 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Spain’s National Court plans to proceed with an investigation of Israeli officials for possible war crimes against humanity over the 2002 killing of a Hamas fighter and 14 civilians. Judge Fernando Andreu announced on Monday that the inquiry would continue over the recommendations of prosecutors, who called on him last month to stop the investigation on the grounds that Israel was still investigating the bombing. Andreu said on Monday that he found no evidence of such an investigation, according to AP. The case was opened in January at the request of Palestinian relatives of victims of the attack. Nine children were among the dead. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, crimes such as genocide, terrorism or torture can be prosecuted in Spain even if they were perpetrated elsewhere. 

Three Palestinian boys injured by ordnance in Gaza 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Three Palestinian boys were injured on Sunday evening when ordnance left by Israeli military forces exploded near the eastern cemetery in Gaza City. The victims were evacuated to Kamal Udwan Hospital, where medics said they sustained moderate to light injuries. [end] 

Israeli troops set fire to wheat and barley fields in Gaza 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli troops on Monday morning set fire to Palestinian-owned fields of wheat and barley in Juhor Ad-Dik, in the southeastern Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that the fire devoured several fields at the eastern border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which Israeli forces have labeled a military zone. Firefighters hurried to the area and began extinguishing the flames. [end] 

Fatah affiliates target Israeli soldier near Gaza City 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The militant wing affiliated with the Fatah movement claimed to have targeted an Israeli soldier at the border near Kissufim in southern Gaza on Monday. The group, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, said in a statement to Ma'an that Brigades fighters "targeted an Israeli soldier while he was located at the border line near Kissufim. " The statement added that "this attack is a normal response to all the Israeli crimes committed against Palestinians and the latest assaults on Jerusalem. "[end] 

Israeli court orders prisoners to pay compensation for 2002 Netanya bombing 
5/4/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma'an – An Israeli court has awarded 9 million shekels (2. 16 million US dollars) in damages to the Park Hotel in the city of Netanya over a March 2002 bombing attack. The lawsuit names seven Palestinians who are all currently jailed in Israel, along with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), and Hamas. Thirty Israelis were killed in the attack. Earlier reports indicate that Israel has already frozen 7 million shekels of the PA’s tax revenue in an attempt to coerce it into paying the fine. The 30-page accusation specifically identifies the seven Palestinians, all from the West Bank city of Tulkarem, as being responsible for the attack. The court gave the families of the detainees 30 days to respond. Abdel Basset Odeh from Tulkarem, a member of Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, blew himself up in the hotel on 27 March 2002. 

Gaza border crossings with Israel to open Monday 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided to open all three commercial crossings to the Gaza Strip on Monday for shipment of fuel and food products, said Raed Fattouh, Palestinian crossing points official. Fattouh told the press that the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip will allow the passage of more than 100 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, as well as food products. Karni crossing, according to Fattouh, will also be open and allow passage of 45 trucks loaded with wheat and fodder. Meanwhile, limited quantities of industrial fuel and cooking gas will be shipped through the Nahal Oz crossing, he said. [end] 

Israeli court freezes NIS 7 million in PA tax revenue 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli central court has ordered the freezing of NIS 7 million of tax revenue Israeli authorities have collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The decision, according to Israeli sources, was taken on 1 May, after a court hearing related to a case filed by an Israeli family seeking NIS 600 million from the Palestinian government as compensation for the deaths of two Israelis who were killed near the illegal West Bank settlement of Givat Zeev in 2001. The judge determined that tax money under control of the Israeli government does not guarantee any future verdict regarding compensation. He explained that the case had political dimensions, but cannot be taken as a motive to dismiss the case, especially because there is information which proves the Palestinian Authority was responsible for the killing. 

Israel closes Karni and Nahal Oz, keeps Kerem Shalom open 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Despite assurances that three Gaza Strip crossing points would open for fuel and food on Monday, Israel kept two closed. The Kerem Shalom crossing in the southeastern Gaza Strip opened on Monday. Crossings official Raed Fattuh told Ma'an that the other two remained closed for unknown reasons. [end] 

PA calls for UN investigation into Jerusalem demolitions 
5/4/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian cabinet on Monday held its weekly session headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, where officials called on the United Nations to examine Israeli plans and assaults in Jerusalem. Cabinet members criticized Israel's mass land confiscations and the establishment of new settlements, as well as the enlargement of existing ones. The cabinet highlighted that Israeli authorities have demolished dozens of homes in the Old City of Jerusalem and have kicked out residents. Worshippers, both Muslims and Christians, are deprived of accessing holy places in Jerusalem, the cabinet highlighted. They also pointed out that Israeli authorities stole an Umayyad-era artifact from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and put it in the courtyard of Israeli Knesset. The Palestinian cabinet welcomed the UN's call for Israel to stop house demolitions in Jerusalem and in. . . 

Hamas blames Arab and Islamic countries for Gaza siege 
5/4/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas condemned on Monday all Arab leaders for bring responsible for the results of the Israeli blockade over the Gaza Strip, calling on Islamic leaders to begin anew and oppose Israeli practices against Palestinians. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement to Ma’an, "It is impossible to see our people in Gaza dying in cold blood as a result of this siege, and all the other leaders are standing by and overseeing these people and their suffering without doing anything. " "Until this moment the Arab reaction doesn’t equal the Gazan massacre and there is not any justification that the Israeli flags fly in the air of the Arab countries while the siege imposed over Gaza is not lifted," he said. Barhoum added, "I am surprised why the Arab summits in Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Saudi Arabia couldn’t take any real decision to lift the siege imposed over. . . 

Peres gives nod to Arab peace plan 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Monday that he hoped the 2002 Arab Peace initiative would be turned into the basis for a final agreement between Israel and its neighbors. “Israel wasn’t a partner to the wording of this initiative. Therefore it doesn’t have to agree to every word,” Peres said of the Saudi-backed plan which offers Israel full diplomatic relations if it pulls back to its 1967 borders. “Nevertheless, Israel respects the profound change, and hopes it will be translated into action. I trust that the leadership of [US]President Obama will pave the way to both to a regional agreement and meaningful bilateral negotiations,” Peres said in a speech to the annual conference of the US’ most powerful pro-Israeli lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 

Palestinian Authority police improving 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – One thousand new recruits joined Palestinian police forces in recent days, including experts in family affairs, the internet, and fraud crimes. Police services were also provided with 280 new police vehicles. But Palestinian police commander Hazim Atallah feels several tasks are yet to be accomplished by police services. “It is insufficient that relations amongst police officers be based on good will, but we rather believe inspection and monitoring are the highest levels of trust,” said police commander. A report by the monitoring department gave Palestinian police an evaluation of 91%, and commander Atallah considered that a medal of honor, as in previous reports police got only a 14% evaluation. Atallah attributes the recent success to appointment of young specialists and academics who perform within the scientific method with clear goals and objectives. 

Employees union: PA Salaries to be paid Thursday 
5/4/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority salaries will be paid by Thursday at the latest, according to Amjad Abu Ra'd, the head of the Employees Union in Nablus. Abu Ra’d said that the union received confirmations from the Palestinian Ministry of Finance saying that salaries will be paid on time and will be available in banks before the 7th of this month. [end] 

Fatah denies rumors Abbas picked sixth conference delegates 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Fatah Central Committee Secretary Hakam Bal’awi denied rumors on Sunday that Palestinian presidency chose members to join Fatah’s sixth conference. He said in a statement, “This is false and the whole buzz is a lie aimed at incitement because the president’s office and related authorities and institutions have a quota of members, following decision of the Preparatory Committee. ”Media outlets had published various numbers of members joining the conference, including news that President Mahmoud Abbas had worked to include a number of members related to him in that conference, numbering some 120 delegates. [end] 

Hebron police forces arrest two alleged kidnappers 
5/4/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - The police investigations department in Hebron arrested two suspects over an alleged kidnapping on Sunday. The investigation center said in a statement received by Ma’an, "The police force directly moved to the spot as soon as they received a report on a citizen who was kidnapped and in less than two hours the kidnapped was released and the two kidnappers were seized by the forces. ”Brigadier Ahmad Atawneh, the head of public relations at the Hebron police department, said that while investigating the two kidnappers they admitted their crime, saying that the issue was over a financial dispute between them and the person who was kidnapped, as well as the victim's family. 

Strong winds knock down 270-year-old Tulkarem palm tree 
5/4/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Hajj Abu Ala Al-Eteili wept when he awoke to find that high winds knocked down a 270-year-old palm tree in his garden in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Monday morning. Al-Eteili told Ma’an that that the tree was knocked down in the early morning hours. He said his father and grandfather were born during the tree’s lifespan. He said that he had cared for the tree his entire life and had taught his children to care for it. ”Today I am mourning my tree. I am so upset to lose it,” said Al-Eteili. Strong winds knocked down trees across the West Bank on Monday morning and also damaged several greenhouses. [end] 

Israel plans to transfer animal vaccines to Gaza Strip 
5/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's Agriculture Ministry is planning to transfer 75,000 doses of vaccinations for livestock to the Gaza Strip, according to Monday news reports. The vaccinations will be used to prevent the spread of disease for sheep, cattle and chicken in Gaza. [end] 

The National

Israel steps up patient interrogation
4 May 2009 - Physicians for Human Rights says Palestinians are forced to become informants to be allowed out of Israel for treatment.

Israel names Oren as US ambassador
4 May 2009 - Benjamin Netanyahu has named the US professor and historian Michael Oren as the next ambassador to Washington.

Lieberman takes first foreign trip as minister
3 May 2009 - The visit is viewed as part of the Israeli government's campaign to ease tensions with EU states.

Clashes over Egypt swine cull
3 May 2009 - Riot police clash with pig farmers trying to prevent their animals from being slaughtered as part of a mass nationwide cull.

Gaza costs Israel its reputation for press freedom
2 May 2009 - Israeli restrictions on journalists during its Gaza offensive have seen the state downgraded in a survey of press freedom.

Hizbollah and Egypt continue the war of words
2 May 2009 - Defender for group accused of planning attacks on Egypt says the country's political climate will make his job an uphill struggle.

West Bank refugees build a stage the pope might not be allowed to use
2 May 2009 - Israel is fiercely opposed to the construction of a stage Adia refugee camp residents hope the pope will speak from during his visit.

Bahrain arrests two for planning terror acts
1 May 2009 - The two people suspected of planning terrorist acts in the country and the region had weapons and ammunitions in their houses.


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.


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

RIGHTS-IRAN: Damaging Forced Confessions 
NEW DELHI, May 4 (IPS) - Iranian political refugees living in India say there is an all too familiar ring about the supposed confessions of arrested journalist Roxana Saberi, which they expect to see footage of on television soon.

RIGHTS-IRAQ: U.N. Report Paints Grim Picture 
NEW YORK, May 4 (IPS) - Iraqi prisons are torturing detainees, locking people up for months without charges and, in most cases, allowing the perpetrators of these human rights abuses to escape justice, according to a new United Nations report.

MIDEAST: Environment Emerges as a Major Casualty 
GAZA CITY, May 4 (IPS/IFEJ) - Countless fruit groves across the Gaza Strip are now gone, entire farms bulldozed. The remains of thousands of destroyed homes emit toxic asbestos, while dilapidated infrastructure dumps raw sewage into the Mediterranean Sea. An already deepening environmental crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip has...

POLITICS-US: AIPAC Conference Comes Amid Turmoil 
WASHINGTON, May 3 (IPS) - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington’s powerful and hawkish pro-Israel lobby, kicked off its annual policy conference this weekend during a period of unusual turbulence both for the organisation and for the U.S.-Israel relationship.

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

(04-05-2009) PCHR welcomes the Spanish National Court’s decision to continue investigating suspected Israeli war criminals

PCHR Strongly Condemns Israeli Plans to Confiscate 12,000 Donums of Palestinian Land in Order to Link the Illegal "Ma'ale Adumim" and "Qedar" Settlements

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

Two Palestinians shot during settler riot in Saffa
International Solidarity Movement - 2 May 2009 - For three days in a row settlers from the right-wing extremist settlement Bet Ayn have entered the land of Khirbet Saffa, an area of Beit Ommar Municipality, shooting at Palestinian homes and damaging agricultural land. On Friday, May 1, approximately 20 settlers set fire to fruit trees belonging to residents of Saffa. Israeli soldiers arrived and chased the settlers away, but then prevented residents from accessing the land to put out the fire, which continued for hours. Soldiers used tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets on Palestinians who gathered in the area to defend the land. On Saturday, May 2, at approximately 10:30am, settlers again entered privately-owned Palestinian land. They left shortly after, but later at approximately 4:30pm returned in a group of 30 individuals who came within 75 meters of Palestinian homes. 

PCHR strongly condemns Israeli plans to confiscate 12,000 donums of Palestinian land in order to link the Illegal "Ma'ale Adumim" and "Qedar" settlements
International Solidarity Movement - 4 May 2009 - The (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli Ministry of the Interior's decision to expand the illegal West Bank settlement of "Ma'ale Adumim" and to confiscate 12,000 donums (12 million square meters) of Palestinian land. In the context of policies aimed to establishing a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem - thereby consolidating its illegal annexation - the Israeli Minister of Interior, Elli Yishai, decided to adopt the recommendations of a special committee established by his ministry to link "Qedar" settlement with the larger "Ma'ale Adumim" settlement, east of Jerusalem. Under the Israeli Ministry of Interior's plan, at least 12,000 donums of Palestinian land will be annexed to "Ma'ale Adumim", linking it with the smaller "Qedar" settlement, which is located nearly 3 kilometers to the east. 

Palestinians demonstrate against Susiya settlement expansion
International Solidarity Movement - 5 May 2009 - Over one hundred Israeli and Palestinian members of Combatants for Peace gathered peacefully in the Palestinian village of Susiya on 5 May to mark the installation in the village of solar panels and a wind turbine which will provide electricity to the Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills. After viewing the panels and turbine, and listening to leaders of the nonviolent resistance in the South Hebron Hills, the group walked towards a house that settlers from the nearby Susiya settlement had built on Palestinian land. Soldiers met the group and read aloud an order declaring the area closed. The group then returned to the village and remained for two hours, talking together and learning about the effects of the occupation on the area. The original village of Susiya was established in the 1830's when Palestinians from the South Hebron region purchased the land on the outskirts of the region. 

Gazans demonstrate in Gaza City for May Day
International Solidarity Movement - 1 May 2009 - Thousands of Palestinians, mainly supporters of the 3 main Palestinian leftist parties (PFLP, DFLP, PPP) gathered in Gaza City for the Workers Day demonstration, which was celebrated this year on Thursday the 30th of April because of the holiday on Friday. Many children and young men participated, but almost no women. The supporters of the 3 different parties were marching all together, without forming separate blocks, giving a clear sign of unity of the left and of the Palestinians in general. In the same day, two Palestinian civilians, workers in the tunnels in Rafah area, were killed in an accident when one of the tunnels collapsed. Because of the siege imposed by Israel and Egypt, Palestinians are forced to dig tunnels in order to cross the borders to Egypt and bring the necessary food, fuel and other goods in Gaza Strip. 

Release the Palestinian activists arrested in al-Ma'sara
International Solidarity Movement - 4 May 2009 - After arrests and injuries on Workers Day, Palestinian workers and activists call on trade unions around the globe to increase solidarity On May 1, people from the village of al-Ma'sara and the neighbouring villages in Bethlehem area commemorated Workers Day with a march in protest against the Apartheid Wall. The Wall continues to encroach on their land and isolates their villages. The demonstration and Workers Day festival was organized by the popular committees of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign in al Ma'sara and Bethlehem district, in cooperation with the Bethlehem branch of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). Israeli Occupation forces repressed the mobilization and fired on the crowd with tear gas, sound bombs and rubber coated steel bullets. Nine people were injured, among them the head of the PGFTU, Shaher Sa'ad. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Lieberman to push EU to upgrade Israel ties 
4 May 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, on his first official trip abroad, said he had traveled to Europe to exchange opinions on Israel's new policies and push for a planned upgrade in EU relations, which some officials in the bloc have threatened to put on hold. ...

Dozens killed in attack on fragile Turkish-Kurd region 
4 May 2009 - Unidentified gunmen armed with rifles and grenades attacked a wedding party in southeastern Turkey on Monday, killing at least 44 people, local officials said. ...

Israeli envoy taunted with anti-Semitic slurs in Madrid 
4 May 2009 - A torrent of anti-Semitic epithets met Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, Saturday evening as he walked home from a Real Madrid-Barcelona soccer match in the Spanish capital. Shotz said the three perpetrators, patrons of a pub, shouted slurs like "Jewish dog" and "dirty Jew" until they were driven off by Spanish police escorting Shotz. ... 

WATCH: American officials address AIPAC pro-Israel lobby
3 May 2009 - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ... 

Lieberman: This government will reach peace with Palestinians
3 May 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that he was confident the current Israeli government could reach peace with the Palestinians, but stopped short of endorsing the two-state solution sought by Europe and the United States. ...

The Guardian

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...

End Palestinian demolitions in Jerusalem, UN tells Israel
1 May 2009 - Report increases pressure over displaced families but mayor says planning policy even-handed The United Nations has called on Israel to end its programme of demolishing homes in East Jerusalem and tackle a mounting housing crisis for...

Lieberman begins European tour in attempt to sway EU policy on Israel
4 May 2009 - Initiative by ultra-nationalist foreign minister comes at low point in relations between EU and Israel Israel's new ultra-nationalist foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, kicked off his first tour of European capitals today amid Israeli threats to shun...

Antisemitic alarm bells | Antony Lerman
4 May 2009 - The outcry over Caryl Churchill's play is rendering the word 'antisemitism' meaningless There are already many words on record denouncing Caryl Churchill's play Seven Jewish Children as antisemitic. We can now add to them the official...

Ha'aretz National page

Israeli Arabs sue bus company for refusing to let them board
3 May 2009 - Four Israeli Arabs on Monday sued the Dan bus company for allegedly barring them from boarding a vehicle because of their ethnicity. ...

Netanyahu: Lands administration reform will reduce housing prices 
3 May 2009 - "The [Israel Lands Administration] reform will enable the general public to become the owners of the apartments and houses that they live in, and will end the dependence on inefficient and burdensome Bureaucratic mechanisms," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monda after a ministerial committee approved the changes to the ILA. ...

Second IDF soldier stabbed in central Israel in two days 
3 May 2009 - An Israel Defense Forces soldier was hospitalized on Monday with lights wounds, after he was stabbed in the central city of Ra'anana. ...

Heat wave across Israel causes fires, airport delays
3 May 2009 - Israeli airports on Monday experienced delays and closures due to the extreme weather conditions affecting the country. ...

Depeche Mode fans count down to group's Israel concert
3 May 2009 - British rock band Depeche Mode, which is scheduled to perform in Ramat Gan on May 10 to kick off their upcoming world tour, will record the concert and sell it as a live album, the group announced at a news conference on Monday. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Members of UN human rights probe into Gaza conflict meet in Geneva
4 May 2009 - Source: UN News Service

OPT: MCC blankets, relief kits build friendships in Gaza
4 May 2009 - Source: Mennonite Central Committee

OPT: Reflections on the role of UNRWA
4 May 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: New data about GSS (Shabac) unorthodox methods at Erez Crossing
4 May 2009 - Source: Physicians for Human Rights

OPT: The silent population
4 May 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

Over 24,600 Palestinian families facing hardship in the Gaza Strip to collect social allowances due in March 2009
3 May 2009 - Source: European Commission, Palestinian National Authority

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

YNet News

US answers Assad – 'Stop supporting terror first' 
4 May 2009 - State Department rejects Syrian president's call urging Washington to negotiate with Hamas and Hizbullah, suggests Damascus use its influence over aforementioned organizations in positive manner

Bat Ayin shooter suspected to have been on drugs
4 May 2009 - Court remands arrest of two soldiers involved in violent clashes near Palestinian village on Saturday. Evidence one had used narcotics, other not authorized to handle firearm

Hamas bans weddings 'to help students concentrate'
4 May 2009 - Officials in Gaza say massive weddings held in street disrupt students preparing for final exams

Homegrown terror – Bedouins strengthen ties to Palestinians
4 May 2009 - Has high levels of unemployment led to a generation of wayward youths, or is this another step in the radicalization process? Experts weigh in on terrorism in the Bedouin community

Siniora cites spy arrests as Israeli reason to withdraw from Ghajar
4 May 2009 - Lebanese PM says rumored IDF pullout from Arab border town is 'expression of anger and confusion' following spy ring arrests, while UN peacekeeping chief says UNIFIL hopeful for withdrawal

Dichter: Spain fails to distinguish terror from anti-terror measures
4 May 2009 - Former Shin Bet chief slams Madrid judge's decision to pursue legal action against Israeli officials involved in 2002 killing of Hamas leader Salah Shehade, says 'non-judicial' motives clearly at play 

PM: Recognition of Israel basis for peace
4 May 2009 - Netanyahu says on Knesset's Herzl Day that 'Zionism won' due to establishment of Jewish State

Israel: Spanish probe a 'cynical move'
4 May 2009 - Foreign, Justice ministries say 'PCHR using Spanish legal system to promote move against Israel'


Soldiers abuse young Palestinians in Hebron District
29 Apr 2009 - According to testimonies given to B'Tselem, on 26 April, soldiers randomly detained six young men in Dura, took them to the Adorayim army base, and held them until daybreak, during which they beat and humiliated them and deprived them of sleep, food, dri 

Testimonies: Soldiers abuse Palestinians in the Jordan Valley
27 Apr 2009 - On 2 April, soldiers at the Almog checkpoint barred four Palestinians from crossing, despite the army’s declaration of free access to the Dead Sea. According to testimonies, the group drove to a nearby hilltop instead, where the soldiers later found them 

Daily Star

Lieberman skirts Palestinian state issue during Europe tour 
4 May 2009 - Israel's foreign minister, whose anti-Arab statements have frayed diplomatic nerves, committed himself on Monday to Mideast peace, but did not endorse the idea of a Palestinian state as sought by the US and the EU. As he kicked off a European tour in Rome, hardline politician Avigdor Lieberman skirted around the issue of a Palestinian state.

Peres vows to resist 'Iran's nuclear threat' 
4 May 2009 - Israeli President Shimon Peres vowed Monday, on the eve of talks with US President Barack Obama, that Israel would not yield to Iran's nuclear threat and voiced hope for peace with the Palestinians. Peres, who will be the first top Israeli to meet Obama since the new US administration took office.

Tehran set for showdown with West at talks on nuclear treaty 
4 May 2009 - Iran has attacked the United States ahead of a major meeting on the troubled global anti-nuclear arms treaty, slamming US cooperation with Israel and India while ignoring President Barack Obama's offers of dialogue. Four working papers prepared for the meeting by Iran and obtained by show Tehran is redoubling. 

Israeli restrictions prevent Palestinian police from pursuing criminals 
4 May 2009 - When Nasser Qaout went to investigate strange sounds in his sheep pen late at night, a gang of armed thieves shot him in the leg and made off with half his flock. He and Palestinian police know who the thieves are - and even where they are - but a year-and-a-half later, they're still in their homes about 5 kilometers down the road.

Obama's outreach to Muslim world worries Israelis 
4 May 2009 - A solid majority of Jewish Israelis worry that President Barack Obama's outreach to the Arab and Muslim world will come at their expense, a new poll showed Monday. Israelis also strongly back stopping Iran's nuclear program, even if Israel has to attack Iran without American approval, according to the survey.

Palestinian Information Center

Time to say ‘No” to Israeli fascism
4 May 2009 - Israel and her supporters are making rabid efforts to enhance the ugly image of the new Israeli government.

Hamad: Opening the Rafah crossing point is an urgent necessity
4 May 2009 - Dr. Ghazi Hamad, the head of the crossing points' authority said on Monday that his department can facilitate the departure of 3,000 Palestinian citizens if the Egyptian authorities cooperate.

Agriculture ministry condemns IOF burning of wheat, barley crops
4 May 2009 - The agriculture ministry in the Gaza Strip on Monday denounced the Israeli occupation forces for targeting wheat and barley crops in eastern and northern areas of the Gaza Strip.

Khudari: IOA judaization rapidly, seriously escalating
4 May 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari, the head of the popular committee against the siege, on Monday championed Arab, Islamic and international stand against the IOA accelerated steps to judaize occupied Jerusalem.

Hamas expresses indignation at Arab stand toward Gaza siege
4 May 2009 - Hamas on Monday said that nothing justified retaining a strangling siege on one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for more than two years.

Bardawil: Success of dialog waiting for American green light to Abbas
4 May 2009 - MP Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil has said that "important" progress was made in the fourth round of national dialog talks in Cairo but success of the entire dialog was hinged on American green light.

Anti siege committee asks Palestinians in Europe to intensify media efforts
4 May 2009 - The higher committee against the siege has highly appreciated the Palestinians living in Europe for their insistence on their right of return to their homeland Palestine.

Tafakji: IOA pursues new policy to eliminate O. Jerusalem landmarks
4 May 2009 - The IOA has endorsed new rules regulating construction in occupied Jerusalem that would primarily bloc Jerusalemites from building in their own city, Khalil Al-Tafakji, the land expert, said.

Palestinian citizen wounded in IOF tank shelling
4 May 2009 - A Palestinian man was injured when Israeli occupation forces fired tank shells at Abasan area east of Khan Younis district south of the Gaza Strip late on Sunday evening, medical sources reported.

Mousa: Trial of West Bank deputies aims to absent Hamas from political arena
4 May 2009 - Hamas MP Yehya Mousa has charged that the Israeli occupation authority's renewal of Palestinian West Bank MPs' trial proved that a "bunch of gangsters" were ruling the "Zionist entity".

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. 

New York Times

Leader Says Hamas Will be ‘Part of the Solution’
4 May 2009 - Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, said that it would stop firing rockets at Israel and added that the movement was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967. 

News Analysis: Israel Faces a Hard Sell in Bid to Shift Policy
3 May 2009 - The new government wants to reorient Israeli foreign policy away from a prospective Palestinian state and toward the rising threat from Iran. 

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. 


Rorschach 'Rachel' 
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon, 5/3/2009
      An Israeli film explores the ambiguous death of Rachel Corrie, peacenik angel to some and "terrorist-loving swine" to others.
     Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Simone Bitton’s documentary "Rachel," which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, is what’s not in it. Bitton, a Moroccan-born Jewish filmmaker who spent many years in Israel and now lives in France, conducts a philosophical and cinematic inquiry into the death of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American activist who was killed under ambiguous circumstances in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip in March 2003. But the political firestorm that followed Corrie’s death, which saw her beatified as a martyr for peace by some on the left and demonized as a terrorist enabler by some on the right, is virtually absent from the film.
     We do not see the infamous photograph of the keffiyeh-clad Corrie burning an "American flag" -- not a real flag, but a crude children’s drawing of one -- at a demonstration about a month before her death. Nor do we see the torrent of exaggerated and often shocking verbal abuse to which Corrie was subjected, postmortem, on right-wing bulletin boards and Web sites. Corrie, who suffered massive internal injuries when she was either crushed by a bulldozer or buried under construction debris, was routinely dubbed "Saint Pancake" in such venues, or described as "terrorist-loving swine." (That’s without getting into the grotesque sexual fantasies and elaborate conspiracy theories.)

The Spies Who Got Away 
Justin Raimondo, 5/3/2009
      And one who didn’t
     After five years of legal maneuvering and orchestrated protests from the Lobby’s amen corner, Israel’s point men in Washington have finally succeeded in their efforts to quash the prosecution of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who had been charged with committing espionage on behalf of Israel. It is a victory that not only signals the continuation of the Lobby’s dominance in Washington, in spite of growing popular revulsion against lobbyists in general, but also gives the Israelis a blank check to spy on their American patrons to their hearts’ content.
     The hosannas being sung by the Lobby’s media echo chamber – the Washington Post, the neocon blogosphere, and the official conservative movement represented by National Review and the Weekly Standard – are all about "vindication." That is the word used by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s Israel-centric columnist, to describe the decision to drop the charges, but – as usual – his interpretation of the facts leaves much to be desired.
     The statement from the prosecutors avers that the case was dropped due to the success of the "graymail" strategy pursued by the defense. The government had to consider "the likelihood that classified information will be revealed at trial, any damage to the national security that might result from a disclosure of classified information and the likelihood the government would prevail at trial," as well as the "changed landscape" of the case, a reference to the many rulings by judge T.S. Ellis that forced prosecutors to delay going to trial for five years.

Electronic Intifada
Petition seeks expulsion of Palestinian activist from Israeli university
4 May 2009 - A self-styled McCarthyist academic monitor group in Israel has launched a petition calling for the expulsion of Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, from Tel Aviv University, where he is enrolled as a doctoral student. 

Lebanon's empty notion of justice
4 May 2009 - On 1 March 2008, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon came into effect pursuant to the request of the Lebanese government and United Nations Security Council resolutions 1644 and 1757. The trial is intended to bring to justice to those who carried out the assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. Sami Halabi comments for Electronic Lebanon. 

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. 

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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