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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
24 May , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Nasrallah: Death penalty must be imposed on Israeli spies
23 May 2009 - Lebanon must impose the death penalty on Lebanese suspects that are found guilty of spying for Israel, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared on Friday. 

Obama will not present his peace plan on June 4
23 May 2009 - Robert Gates, spokesperson of the White House, reported on Friday evening that the US President Barrack Obama will not present his new Middle East Peace Plan during his June 4 speech at the Egyptian Capital, Cairo. 

France criticizes Netanyahu for declaring Jerusalem Israel's undivided capital
23 May 2009 - France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Occupied Jerusalem would forever be Israel's undivided capital. 

“Hope” expected in Gaza Sunday morning
23 May 2009 - The Governmental Committee for Breaking the Siege in the Gaza Strip reported on Friday that the European Hope Aid Convoy is expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning. 

Independent UN Probe Committee slams Israel for lack of cooperation
23 May 2009 - The independent investigation committee appointed by the United Nations to investigate Israeli violations during the offensive against the Gaza Strip, slammed Israel for the lack of cooperation, and said that this issue is obstructing their investigation. 

Army: “Fighters detonate a bomb near military patrol at Gaza border”
23 May 2009 - Israeli military sources reported Friday that Palestinian fighters detonated a bomb near a military jeep patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip. 

Settler found dead near Nablus
23 May 2009 - Israeli military sources reported that an Israeli settler was found dead on Friday evening near Eli settlement, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. 

Eight injured in military attack on weekly protest in Nil'in
22 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. 

Bil'in: three injured and dozens suffered teargas inhalation at weekly protest
22 May 2009 - Residents of Bil'in, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah marched on Friday after midday prayer in the weekly protest. They were joined by international and Israelis activists. 

PCHR Weekly Report: 12 Palestinians, including 5 children, injured by Israeli forces this week
22 May 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 14 - 20 May 2009, 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children and one woman, were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank. A Palestinian resistance fighter and a farmer were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces forced a Palestinian civilian to demolish his house. The Israeli judiciary ordered the evacuation of a number of Palestinian homes, which will render at least 70 civilians homeless. 

Hamas: “Statements of Netanyahu regarding Jerusalem, part of Israel’s aggression”
22 May 2009 - Yousef Farhat, media spokesperson of Hamas in the Central Gaza Strip, stated that the statements of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, regarding “the unified Jerusalem” as the eternal capital of Israel, as old news that are part of the ongoing Israeli aggression against Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa mosque. 

Two Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip
22 May 2009 - The Israeli army reported on Friday morning that its soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians near the Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) Crossing, in the Gaza Strip. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Netanyahu: We'll build in existing settlements
24 May 2009 - In reference to outposts, premier says his government committed to preserving law in territories. 

Hamas claiming IDF troops were 'cowards' during Gaza war
23 May 2009 - Gaza man: In 1967 Arabs were defeated in 6 days; in 2009, Hamas was undefeated for 21 days. 

Palestinians rescued after five days trapped in collapsed tunnel
23 May 2009 - Officials say smuggling tunnel was struck by IAF Tuesday; Two killed in collapsed tunnel nearby. 

MK Vilnai: Removing West Bank outposts a 'central issue'
23 May 2009 - Deputy Defense Minister says Labor will not set an ultimatum for Netanyahu to carry out policy. 

'Israeli assassination of Nasrallah would set region ablaze'
22 May 2009 - Hezbollah deputy tells 

'1 in 4 Israelis would consider leaving country if Iran gets nukes'
22 May 2009 - According to Tel Aviv University study, some 85 percent of Israelis are wary of an Iranian bomb. 

2 Palestinians, 1 IDF soldier hurt in anti-separation fence protest
22 May 2009 - Some 400 protesters hurled firebombs and rocks and rolled burning tires at IDF troops. 

Bomb explodes near IDF patrol at Gaza border
22 May 2009 - Blast comes hours after IDF soldiers killed two Palestinian terrorists early Friday morning. 

Ma'an News

Two Palestinians found dead in collapsed Gaza tunnel
5/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Medics discovered the bodies of two Palestinians inside a collapsed tunnel in the Al-Brazil neighborhood of southern Rafah on Saturday. Dr Mu’awiyah Hassanein, the head of Emergency and Ambulance Services department within the Gaza Health Ministry, told Ma’an that the young men were identified as Abed Abu Salah and Hamzeh Abu Jarad. The two were found dead under the rubble and were taken to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah, Hassanein added. Emergency workers were scouring the area into the late afternoon on Saturday. About 100 Palestinians have been killed in tunnel collapses since Israel and Egypt blockaded the Strip in 2006 following Hamas' rise to power there. 

Eight truckloads of medical aid arrive in Gaza Strip
5/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A convoy of medical aid arrived in Gaza on Saturday, delivered by theOrganization of Islamic Conference in support of the Palestinians. A’wni Al-A’klouk, head of the public service hospital in Gaza, said, "The hospital received this delivery which contained eight truckloads of medication, equipment and other aid to be distributed among all hospitals and non-governmental health centers in Gaza according to the need of each. " Manal Siyam, head of the hospital's projects department, expressed gratitude for the efforts made by the Islamic Conference "and the role it is playing in supporting the Palestinians," affirming that the hospital will continue with efforts and contacts with international organizations and donor parties to continue delivering aid. 

100 disabled Hebron children threatened with homelessness
5/23/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Some 100 disabled Palestinians could become homeless when the facility housing them shuts down in June, its directors warned on Saturday. The children have been living at the Al-Ihsan charitable society building in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, which is being forced to shut down due to lack of funds. According to Omar Abu A'ram, the acting administrative director of the organization, a 2004 halt to internal and external financial support will lead the society to be unable to fulfill its mandate past May. He said the Palestinian Social Affairs Ministry, which had been funding the society, stopped paying in 2004, and that each child's cost is 1,800-2,000 Israeli shekels each month. In addition to the ministry's 300-shekel payments for each child, other funds came from Hebron's residents and others across Palestine. 

Tulkarem: Israeli soldiers shoot three teenage demonstrators
5/24/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Three Palestinian teenagers were shot with live ammunition during clashes with invading Israeli soldiers at eh entrance of Nur Shams Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Sunday. Ambulances took the three to Thabet Thabet Hospital. Medical officials said one of the teens was admitted to the operating room. The injured were identified as Mohamed Khalil Abed Al-Latif Alnbrisi, 16,Omar Ahmad Hassan Masharqa, 15, and Hassan Ali Hussein Abu Kasido, 15, who was to undergo surgery for a gunshot to his right leg. At the time of writing Israeli soldiers were still stationed on a traffic circle on the main road that connects Tulkarem with the refugee camp. 

Israeli bulldozers destroy barn, walls of compound near Jerusalem
5/24/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma’an – Israeli bulldozers destroyed a livestock barn and the walls of a residential compound in the West Bank town of Issawya, northeast of Jerusalem, on Sunday. Israeli authorities bulldozed the walls surrounding the houses Naser Muhammad Abu Riala, Ali Ata Ilyan and Khalid Muhammad Shehada, on the grounds that they were built without a permit. Israel has issued more than 60 demolition orders in the town since January, and has also prohibited the owners of the land in the east of the village from entering the area. [end] 

Gaza ’Hope Convoy’ stranded as Egypt limits access
5/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A 39-person solidarity convoy to Gaza was turned away at the Rafah crossing on Sunday when Egyptian authorities agreed to allow only 16 of the activists to cross the border. The organizers of the European Hope for Gaza Convoy refused Egypt’s offer to allow only part of the group into Gaza, insisting that all 39 members cross, according to Ahmad Al-Kurd, the minister of social affairs in the Gaza government. Al-Kurd held a press conference at the main gate of Rafah crossing during which he asserted that Egypt first informed the Palestinian side that the whole convoy will be given access to the Strip, then changed its decision, granting entry to only 16 people. An organizer of the convoy, Amin Abu Rashid, for his part, said, “The Egyptians informed the convoy it would not be allowed to pass to the Gaza Strip. 

Man loses leg after shot by Israelis near Nablus checkpoint
5/24/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers at the Shave Shomrron checkpoint to the west of Nablus shot 22-year-old Mufid Rafiq Shihab on Saturday evening, ultimately causing the amputation of his leg. Palestinian medical sources in Nablus told Ma’an that soldiers opened fire at the Sabastiya man following clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces near the checkpoint. Over the course of the incident, the young man received bullet wounds to the leg and was transferred by Palestinian Red Crescent staff to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where his leg was ultimately removed. His condition was described as moderate to serious. [end] 

Netanyahu: Construction in existing settlements acceptable
5/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised not to found new settlements in the occupied West Bank but said he would allow construction in existing settlements. “We do not intend to build any new settlements, but it wouldn't be fair to ban construction to meet the needs of natural growth or for there to be an outright construction ban," Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to news reports. In making this pronouncement the Israeli leader rejected international calls for an all-out freeze on settlement construction as a goodwill gesture that could persuade the West Bank Palestinian leadership to return to peace negotiations. Last week US President Barack Obama called for a settlement freeze during a meeting with Netanyahu in at the White House. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to resume peacemaking until Israel accepts the two-state peace formula and halts settlements. 

Palestinian teen reported missing near Tulkarem
5/23/2009 - Tukarem – Ma’an – A sixteen-year-boy, Thaer Jamal Mohammad Qasem of Nur Shams Refugee Camp east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem, has been missing since Friday. The boy’s father told Ma’an that his son Thaer, who stopped attending school about two years ago, had left his home at around 8am to buy breakfast from inside the camp and never returned. Palestinian security forces have been informed of the disappearance and have promised to search for the missing teen, the boy's father said, adding that police can be reached at the following three numbers: 0598103642; 0598243206; 0599073539. In January, police found the body of a 14-year-old boy down a well in the center of a village north of Tulkarem. The boy, Faraj Mahmoud Ali Amarneh from the village of Qaffin, was reported missing on 24 January. Police investigated the death as an accident. 

Europe’s 'Hope' convoy expected to arrive in Gaza within hours
5/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A European aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip will arrive sometime on Saturday night, according to a statement sent to Ma'an. The head of the anti-siege committee in the Gaza Strip, Hamdi Sha'ath, said that "the Hope convoy has begun to move, heading from the Egyptian Port Said to Rafah. " He added that “the convoy is about 150 kilometers away from the Rafah crossing and will be accompanied by Egyptian security forces to facilitate their way through to the crossing. ” [end] 

Three Palestinians rescued from bombed Gaza tunnel
5/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Three Palestinians trapped for five days in a tunnel between the Gaza-Egypt border were rescued on Saturday, officials said. The tunnel had collapsed as a result of an Israeli bombardment on Tuesday. Meanwhile, de facto Palestinian government sources said two Palestinians were killed and four others were missing in an unrelated collapse on Saturday. At least 100 Palestinians have been killed in tunnel collapses since Israel began its crippling blockade on the Strip following Hamas' takeover in 2007. [end] 

Missing Tulkarem boy found hours after Ma’an report
5/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A sixteen-year-boy was found unharmed on Sunday, two days after he was reported missing and hours after Ma'an issued a report with his photograph. On Saturday, Ma'an had published a plea by the boy's father with a photo and phone numbers to reach Tulkarem police with information about the boy, Thaer Jamal Mohammad Qasem of Nur Shams Refugee Camp east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem. On Sunday, it was learned that a reader saw the report, had information about the boy's whereabouts and notified police, who were able to locate the missing teen. [end] 

Palestinian MK slams move to ban Nakba Day
5/24/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Nothing in the world can prevent Palestinians living inside Israel from commemorating the Nakba of 1948, said Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset Muhammad Baraka on Sunday. He added, “Neither Israeli legislation, nor threats could prevent that commemoration. ”Baraka’s comments came in response to a decision by the Israeli Government’s Legislation Committee to approve a bill that would ban all activities marking the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their historic homeland at the creation of Israel. The draft law was suggested by Israeli Member of Knesset Alex Miller. Under the law, those who insist on commemoration could be jailed up to three years. “The Netanyahu-led government adopts legislations which match its structure. It is a racial legislation by a racial marginal Knesset member who wants to forge history and truth by force. 

Jerusalem court orders Palestinian to demolish room of his home
5/24/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – A local Israeli court has ordered a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem’s Old City to demolish a room of his house and pay a 6000 shekel (1500 US dollar) fine for building without a permit. Riyad Agha said he was given 45 days to complete the demolition. He is facing a three month jail term if he does not comply with the decision. Agha also said that he already paid an 8000 shekel (2000 dollar) fine in 2004 for installing the one-room addition to his house without a permit from the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality, which notoriously refuses Palestinians permits. Hundreds of Palestinian-owned structures throughout the city are facing demolition for similar reasons. Three months ago Agha was summoned to the municipal court, where he told the judge he applied for a license through an engineer, and submitted the application to the judge. 

Israeli troops detain three, search homes near Hebron
5/23/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli forces detained three from Beit Al-Roush village south of Hebron, during a raid before sunrise Friday morning. Security sources said Israeli forces raided the village, broke into and searched houses and detained three men identified as: Hassan Kamal Hassan Ash-Shawamreh, 20, Rasmi Fayez Rasmi Ash-Shawamreh, 18, Mohamed Ghalib Suleiman Ash-Shawamreh, 20. [end] 

PA security forces dismantle explosive charge in Jenin village
5/23/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority security forces dismantled an explosive charge left behind by the Israeli army in a Jenin-area village on Saturday, according to the police. The bomb was found in the village of Faqu'a, near Jenin, following a tip from a nearby resident. Police arrived on the scene and dismantled the explosive, according to the security forces' media and public relations department. The department said that officials had detonated a number of explosive found near schools and residential areas in recent weeks. Radi A’aseeda, commander of the Jenin-area security forces, urged residents to inform the security departments of any such incident, reminding the public that unexploded ordinance are extremely dangerous. 

PA investigating damaged church cemeteries near Ramallah
5/24/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Two Ramallah-area Christian graveyards were discovered with damaged tombstones and crosses on Sunday, according to church officials. According to George Abdu, pastor of the Orthodox Church in Jafna village, at least 70 graves, as well as some Christian symbols, were desecrated. Abdu added that the Palestinian authorities were informed about the assault, and demanded that the attack be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted. By early on Sunday morning, Palestinian Authority security forces had rushed to the scene to investigate. Ramallah police chief Munir Al-Talbani and Birzeit police chief Muhammad Abu Baker arrived with other police forces and Deputy Munib Awwad to supervise the investigation. Both churches involved condemned the attacks, insisting that such practices aim to spread discord amongst Palestinian Muslims and Christians. 

Two Palestinians among seven arrested in connection with Cairo blast
5/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Two Palestinians are among seven people arrested in Egypt on charges of a bomb attack against a Cairo bazaar that killed a French tourist in February, the Egyptian government said on Saturday. Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that the suspects are members of a group called the Palestinian Islamic Army, which is led by two Egyptians, who, according to AP, “remain at large outside the country. ”In addition, two Egyptians, a British-Egyptian, a Belgian-Tunisian and a French-Albanian woman, were arrested in connection to the plot to bomb the Khan Al-Khalili market, AP reported. Some of the suspects allegedly entered the country as students. The AP report quotes an anonymous Egyptian security official who said members of the group had travelled to Gaza through the smuggling tunnels in order to receive training and instructions. 

Two Israeli women lost in West Bank escorted out by PA police
5/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Tulkarem-area police escorted two Israeli women out of the West Bank Saturday morning after they had lost their way and entered what is a restricted zone for Israeli citizens. The Palestinian security forces turned the women over to the Civil Administration's Coordination and Liaison Authority, the Israeli body in charge of administering the West Bank. They were reportedly taken in by Israeli police for questioning. [end] 

Sources: Israel may appoint Arab Druze as next ambassador to Egypt
5/23/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister and Arab Druze citizen of Israel Majli Wahbeh is the likely candidate to replace Shalom Cohen as Israeli ambassador to Egypt this summer. Cohen’s term ends mid-June, and sources have indicated new Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has fingered Wahbeh for the role. The appointment comes at a critical time for Israel, as world public opinion of the government sinks, and regional attitudes toward a peace deal between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries are grim. Netanyahu does not endorse a two-state solution but prefers to discuss the conflict with Palestinians in economic and regional terms. The move to appoint an Arab to the post in Cairo is seen as an attempt to maintain good relations with Egypt despite poor performance on Egyptian priorities in the area.

Hamas: Netanyahu’s Jerusalem claims 'arrogant'
5/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Jerusalem will remain the capital of Palestine and Palestinians will defend it, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in response to recent comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The right wing Israeli leader commented Thursday that "United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided," which sparked a flurry of reaction. Hamas called Netanyahu’s statements “arrogant” and said they highlighted his racism and extremism targeting Palestinians. Israeli media outlets expressed surprise when details of the US call for a peace process including “establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital” emerged Thursday, though for years Palestinian negotiators have been clear that if Jerusalem were not the capital of a Palestinian state the negotiated deal would have no legitimacy. 

Official: 54 patients returned to Gaza in past 48 hours
5/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Some 54 Palestinians who were seeking medical treatment in Egypt have returned to the Gaza Strip during the last two days, a crossing official told Ma'an. The official, Adel Zu'rob, said the patients were permitted to enter Gaza through the southern Rafah crossing, in addition to the body of Muhammad Seidam. Some 25 international left Gaza during the same period, Zu'rob added. Meanwhile, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing on Thursday for 116 trucks loaded with goods and aid, and on Friday 46 trucks crossed through. [end] 

De facto government calls on Islamic leaders to visit Gaza
5/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto government spokesperson Taher An-Nunu on Saturday called for foreign affairs ministers throughout the Islamic world to visit the Gaza Strip. In a statement, An-Nunu said that the ministers, who are meeting in Damascus on Saturday, should also "urgently move to halt Israeli acts and violations carried out in East Jerusalem concerning the Al-Aqsa Mosque. " He urged them to "take clear efforts to break the siege on Gaza by visiting to take in firsthand the disastrous consequences of the latest offensive and the suffering of residents" there, and to immediately begin sending goods, money and construction materials into the besieged coastal strip. 

Gaza: Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz open, Karni closed
5/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel will open both the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, but keep Karni closed, according to crossings official Raed Fattouh. Fattuh said that Kerem Shalom would be partially open to allow 81 truckloads of supplies to the agricultural and commercial sectors in Gaza and that Nahal Oz would allow shipments of cooking gas and industrial diesel. Fattouh also confirmed that Karni is expected to remain closed on Sunday. [end] 

President Abbas to visit Canada on Tuesday
5/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottowa on Tuesday. In a statement issued on Saturday Harper said he looked forward to "discussing the current peace process and the important security and economic issues that face the Palestinian Authority,” according to AFP. The meeting is scheduled one day before Abbas meets with US President Barack Obama in Washington, part of an international initiative to restart the stalled, 17-year-old Middle East peace process. Since taking office in 2006, Harper's Conservative government has sided with Israel on a variety of issues and was the first to impose an embargo on the Palestinian Authority when Hamas won elections that year. On Thursday a Canadian civil society delegation was denied entry to Gaza by the Israeli military. 

US: Jerusalem’s future subject to negotiation
5/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US State Department quietly rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his declaration Israel will never concede East Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of a future state. "Jerusalem is a final status issue. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resolve its status during negotiations. We will support their efforts to reach agreements on all final status issues," the State Department said in a statement released when asked to respond to Netanyahu's remarks. At an official ceremony marking Israel’s Jerusalem Day on Thursday, Netanyahu said "United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided. " After occupying East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel annexed the area in 1981, declaring the whole city its “eternal capital,” a move not recognized by the international community. 

Russia: Hamas talks needed for mideast peace
5/24/2009 - LavrovBethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Russia's foreign minister was quoted on Sunday saying talks with Hamas are "needed" to achieve peace in the Middle East, a day after he met the group’s political leader in Damascus. "We are certain that this is needed," Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Sergei Lavrov as saying on Sunday after meeting Khalid Mash’al, the head of Hamas’ political bureau in the Syrian capital, where he lives in exile. "It was the first very important step on the way to overcoming the present stagnation in the negotiations process," Lavrov said about the meeting. "The two main aims are to stop Israel's current policy on the settlements and from the Palestinian side to rebuild and reunite the peoples [Hamas and rival Fatah]," he said, according to reports. The Israeli government, meanwhile, said it was “deeply disappointed by the. . . 

Gaza: De facto government Coast Guard rescues drowning child
5/23/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto government coastal police rescued a drowning child from the wavy Mediterranean Friday evening off the Gaza City shore. Onlookers alerted the Coast Guard when they saw the boy struggling near the southern port area. Rescuers rushed to the scene and managed to pull the 15-year-old out of the waves. Police released a statement to the public warning them of choppy spring conditions on the Gaza coast, particularly during evening hours. [end] 

Drug dealers, thousands of illegal pills seized in Rafah
5/23/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The drug squad of the de facto government police in Gaza seized 35,000 US dollars in illegal substances in the Strip and arrested several distributors Saturday afternoon, police announced. Head of the anti-drug unit Jamil Dahshan said that forces seized 1,470 pills and several distributors living in Rafah. The men have been charged and are being transferred to the district prosecution. [end] 

Police seize man taking drugs in deserted Jericho house
5/23/2009 - Jericho – Ma’an - The anti-drugs department at the police station in Jericho seized a man taking drugs on Saturday, according to a statement. The police report said that a local called the police reporting on that a man was taking drugs and the police rushed to the spot, a deserted house in the city. The police seized the man and quantities of narcotics. The head of public relations at the police station in Jericho, Iyad Daraghmeh, said, The man was seized and will be taken to court for legal action," adding that he will be given treatment for the apparently life-threatening effects of the substances and his condition. [end] 

Gaza death sentences cause Hamas-Fatah row
5/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Hamas military court in Gaza sentenced three men convicted of killing two journalists to death by firing squad on Sunday, prompting protest from Hamas’ opponent, Fatah. A three judge panel handed the sentences to Shadi Khader Ahmad, 30, Shadi Abd Al-Karim Al-Madhoon and Raed Sabri Al-Maqousi, 29, for the kidnap and murder of journalists Muhammad Abdo and Suleiman Al-Ashi in May 2007. Abdo and Al-Ashi worked for Filastine (Palestine) a newspaper considered to be pro-Hamas. They were killed in a spate of Hamas-Fatah violence just one month before the civil war in which Hamas took full control of Gaza. Khader Ahmad, one of the defendants, Khader Ahmad, was identified as a member of the Palestinian National Security Force. Fatah warned Hamas, who is control the Gaza Strip, against harming three. 

The National

Lebanon accuses Israel of violating ceasefire
23 May 2009 - Israeli units entered Lebanon to help accused spies avoid arrest, diplomats claim.

Gaza homeless count cost of siege
23 May 2009 - Five months after the end of Israel's assault that left 50,000 people displaced, wide-scale reconstruction has yet to start.

Egypt ministers to meet Obama
23 May 2009 - Egypt's foreign minister and intelligence chief will travel to the USto meet with Barack Obama according to Egypt's state news agency.

US sanctions may curb Syria's recovery
21 May 2009 - Embargo disappoints reformists as critics claim Obama's decision allows Washington to exert diplomatic pressure on Damascus.

Fighting in Tripoli leaves both sides sorry
21 May 2009 - Poverty is the legacy of violence in Lebanon with business profits down 90 per cent because of clashes.

Rift deepens between Palestinian factions
21 May 2009 - Hamas rejects Fayyad government, calling the administration illegal and accusing Fatah of trying to undermine unity talks.


Hezbollah denies Hariri murder role
24 May 2009 - Lebanese group rejects reports it was involved in killing of former prime minister.

Palestinians rescued from tunnel
23 May 2009 - Three men found alive and two dead after five days trapped in collapsed Gaza tunnel.

Arrests over Cairo bomb attack
23 May 2009 - Egypt says members of al-Qaeda-linked group are suspects in February blast that killed tourist.

Iran 'blocks' access to Facebook 
23 May 2009 - Move allegedly made to prevent campaigning for an opposition candidate.

Assad reaffirms peace objective
23 May 2009 - Syrian president says new talks with Israel possible but questions leadership's sincerity.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-US: Iran Hawks Push Obama on Deadline for Diplomacy 
WASHINGTON, May 22 (IPS) - After an uneventful first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that seemed to produce no real breakthroughs, hawks in the U.S. and Israel are seizing upon what they claim is a significant concession by Obama: his setting a "timetable"...

KUWAIT: ‘Gender-Bender’ Election Raises Optimism 
DUBAI, May 22 (IPS) - Despite the reappointment of the Kuwaiti ruler’s nephew as premier, the results of last week’s elections - the historic victories of women candidates, and the decline of Islamist representation in parliament - are being perceived as a vote for change in the Gulf state.

MIDEAST: Israel Slow to Recognise New U.S. Face 
JERUSALEM, May 22 (IPS) - A ballistic missile, an anti-missile defence system and the transfer of nuclear technology - three inter-related issues addressed on the same day this week highlight the radical re-adjustment in U.S. priorities as the Obama Administration demarcates a fresh strategic outlook for the Middle East.

POLITICS: At East-West Crossroads, Turkey Presses Ambitious Agenda 
ISTANBUL, May 21 (IPS) - Two soaring bridges link Asia and Europe in this historic city, which straddles the two continents.

Stop The Wall

Homes destroyed while settlements expand in Nablus, Jordan Valley
24 May 2009 - In the past month, the expansion of settlements and related infrastructure has continued. Lands were confiscated in Nablus for the expansion of settler roads as well as for settlement expansion. Also in Nablus, five Palestinian homes were destroyed in the village of 'Aqraba. Most recently, Occupation authorities authorized the construction of a new settlement in the Jordan Valley. [

Third critical injury from tear gas canister in Ni’lin
23 May 2009 - Occupation forces have shown no change in their increasingly violent response to the weekly demonstrations in Ni'lin and Bil’in against the Apartheid Wall. 15 people were injured, among them Mustafa ‘Amira, who was critically wounded after being shot in the head with a tear gas canister. Soldiers also arrested another young man, who was beaten severely in custody. [

PCHR Latest

(21-05-2009) PCHR Clarify Confusion Regarding Spanish Parliament Proposal Concerning Universal Jurisdiction Legislation

PCHR Condemns Gaza Security Services' Prevention of Women's Rights Activists from Traveling to Ramallah

PCHR Weekly Report

(14 - 20 May  2008)
During the reporting period, 11 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were wounded by IOF in the West Bank, and a resistance activist and a farmer were wounded by IOF in the Gaza Strip.

International Solidarity Movement

Palestinians protest annexation of East Jerusalem
International Solidarity Movement - 21 May 2009 - On Thursday 21st of May, a group Israeli and International activists staged a protest contesting the celebration of Jerusalem day, which marks Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Activists held placards showing support for the persecuted Palestinian population of occupied East Jerusalem as right-wing Israelis marched by on their route from the West to the East of the city. The protest caused anger amongst the marchers and they repeatedly attempted to take the banners and rip them. The police arrived and forced the protest back, and away from the march, by physically pushing the activists. The protest continued through Jaffa St and Ben Yehuda Street, where it was met with another baying crowd of right-wing Israelis who chanted "Death to all Arabs" and attempted to intimidate the activists by pursuing them through the streets. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Syria denies deal with Russia over advanced aircraft fell through
23 May 2009 - Syria denied on Sunday a Russian media report that Moscow no longer wants to sell it eight advanced MiG-31 planes because of pressure from Israel. ...

Israel: Arrest Hezbollah chief over Hariri assassination
23 May 2009 - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Sunday called for an international arrest warrant for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to be issued over his militant group's reported role in the assassination of Lebanese former prime minister Rafik Hariri. ...

Israel furious over Russia FM's meeting with Hamas leader
23 May 2009 - Senior officials in the Foreign Ministry were furious on Sunday over the news that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Hamas leader Khaled Meshal in Damascus. ...

Hamas sentences Fatah security men to death over 2007 killings
23 May 2009 - A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced three former Fatah security men to death by firing squad for the 2007 killing of two journalists at a pro-Hamas newspaper. ...

Only settlers are taking Obama seriously in Israel
23 May 2009 - The acute shift in the United States' attitude toward Israel interrupted the public in the middle of its springtime nap. This nonstop sleep has continued for at least a decade. Sleep? Heck, this has been a coma. ... 

The Guardian

Armed Israeli police close theatre on first night of Palestinian festival
24 May 2009 - Officers walk in to Palestinian National Theatre in east Jerusalem and order it to be closed on opening night of literary event Armed Israeli police last night tried to halt the opening night of a prominent...

Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action | Ben White
21 May 2009 - A obsession with even-handedness is stopping Anglicans taking a firm stand on Israel's disregard for Palestinian rights At the 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting, held in Jamaica earlier this month, a resolution on the Middle...

Fatah is key to Palestinian polity | Karma Nabulsi
21 May 2009 - As Fatah prepares for its sixth congress, it must recapture the essence of its movement if it is to redeem Palestinian politics In September 1965, two years before Israel occupied the remainder of historic Palestine (Arab...

Israeli tourist office withdraws ads after map complaints
22 May 2009 - Posters on London Underground made no distinction between Israel and occupied territories, sparking hundreds of complaints The Israel Government Tourism Office is withdrawing a series of posters displayed in London Underground stations featuring a map that...

Ha'aretz National page

WHO: Life expectancy in Israel among highest in the world
23 May 2009 - Israelis on average live long lives, among the highest in the Western world, yet there is still a gap to close with the Japanese, according to a World Health Organization study. ...

Court: No crime to shout 'Heil Sharon' while giving Nazi salute
23 May 2009 - A Jerusalem magistrate court ruled last week that a Hebron settler who shouted "Heil Sharon" - a reference to then-prime minister Ariel Sharon - at a police officer while making a stiff-armed Nazi salute should not be tried for insulting a public sector worker. ...

Police suspect Jaffa man murdered his elderly father
22 May 2009 - Police suspect a man stabbed his elderly father to death and lightly wounded his mother in their apartment in Jaffa on Saturday. ... 

Police find body of man in West Bank settlement of Eli
21 May 2009 - Police on Friday found the body of a man in his forties in the West Bank settlement of Eli. ...

Taking to the high seas 
21 May 2009 - Taking a cruise may not be the ideal vacation for adventurous nature lovers or museum mavens, but can be the perfect solution for anyone seeking a loosely structured getaway. It's really no wonder more and more Israelis are spending their vacations afloat. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: Ninety women prevented from travelling to West Bank
24 May 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

OPT: Israel plans to remove 26 settlement outposts in West Bank
24 May 2009 - Source: Voice of America

OPT: Attempt to plant explosive devices north of Kerem Shalom crossing thwarted
23 May 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

European aid convoy expected in Gaza Strip on Sunday
23 May 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

OPT: Health conditions worsening in Gaza as borders remain closed – UN agency
23 May 2009 - Source: UN News Service

WHO resolution: Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (WHA62.2)
23 May 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

CWS Hotline - 25 May 2009: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, OPT. Kenya
23 May 2009 - Source: Church World Service

OPT: Regular press briefing by the Information Service 22 May 2009
22 May 2009 - Source: United Nations

YNet News

Syria says MiG deal with Russia still on 
24 May 2009 - Damascus says report that Moscow wants to call off sale of eight advanced planes 'part of attempts to undermine friendly relations between Syria and Russia' 

PM says will not green-light new settlements
24 May 2009 - Nevertheless, Netanyahu says government will accommodate natural population growth in West Bank communities 

Iranian general: I can stop Israel with ‘one strike’
24 May 2009 - Former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai says Jewish state will not dare threaten Islamic republic if he is elected president

Post-op Gaza: Life in a tent city 
24 May 2009 - (Video) UNRWA, WHO report worrying deterioration in Gazans' living conditions following Israeli offensive and in light of ongoing blockade. B'Tselem volunteers document life in post-war Strip 

Settler leaders vow to renew West Bank construction 
24 May 2009 - Rightists infuriated by recent outpost evacuations, say: Bibi has turned out to be a hypocrite. He received the Right's votes, but is implementing the Left's policy 

Palestinian who plotted attack via Web gets 15 months
24 May 2009 - Military Court finds 21-year-old West Bank woman guilty of contacting Islamic Jihad operatives via chat room, planning suicide attack in Israel

Egypt and Hamas: No one to talk to on Shalit 
24 May 2009 - Gaza official says Egypt, Hamas ready to renew negotiations on kidnapped soldier's release, waiting for Netanyahu to appoint envoy to handle matter 


Investigate officers for policy of routine use of violence
20 May 2009 - B'Tselem and ACRI demand that a Military Police investigation be opened, following the publication of testimonies by the Kfir Brigade commander and the Shimshon Battalion commander, which indicate a policy of deliberate violence toward Palestinians.

Palestinians displaced by Operation Cast Lead living in tents
20 May 2009 - According to the UN, Israel destroyed 3,500 homes in Operation Cast Lead. Some of the displaced persons now live in tents, in harsh conditions. Participants in B'Tselem's video project documented life in one encampment.

Daily Star

Israeli troops kill two Gazans 'planting bombs' 
22 May 2009 - Israeli troops crossed into Gaza and killed two Palestinian militants who were planting a bomb along the border fence before dawn Friday, the Israeli military said. Violence has largely abated along the tense frontier since Israel's devastating offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers early this year, but sporadic border violence and rocket fire have continued.

France accuses Netanyahu of prejudicing final status agreement 
22 May 2009 - France accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of prejudicing the outcome of the Middle East peace process by declaring that Occupied Jerusalem would forever be Israel's undivided capital. "The declaration made by the Israeli premier yesterday in Jerusalem prejudices the final status agreement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Frederic Desagneaux told reporters in Paris.

Palestinian Information Center

Assad: The peace process’ only positive side is its exposure of Israel’s reality
24 May 2009 - Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad said on Saturday that the only positive aspect of the peace process that it laid bare Israel before the whole world.

Lavrov: Hamas represents the majority of the Palestinian people
24 May 2009 - Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, stated, during his meeting with Khaled Mashaal that Russia finds itself right in its decision to establish a relationship with Hamas.

Haneyya's gov't urges Muslim FMs to declare Jerusalem capital of Palestine
24 May 2009 - The democratically elected PA caretaker government of Premier Ismael Haneyya has called on Muslim foreign ministers to declare the occupied city of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Hope arrives at the Rafah crossing, on way to Gaza
24 May 2009 - The European campaign for lifting the siege on Gaza Strip has announced Saturday that the Hope convoy has arrived at the Rafah crossing in preparation to enter into the besieged Gaza Strip.

11 injuries, dozens of suffocation cases in Ni’lin and Bil’in anti-wall protests
24 May 2009 - The IOF troops attacked Friday the weekly anti-wall protests in the Ramallah villages of Ni’lin and Bil’in which led to the injury of about 11 protesters and caused dozens of suffocation cases.

WHO demands Israel to immediately lift its blockade on Gaza
24 May 2009 - The world health organization (WHO) demanded, in a resolution approved by its general assembly on Friday, Israel to immediately lift its siege on the Gaza Strip.

Ihsanoglu: We strongly reject all Israel’s attempts to Judaize O. Jerusalem
24 May 2009 - Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary-general of the organization of the Islamic conference, strongly denounced the Israeli occupation’s escalations to Judaize occupied Jerusalem.

UN probe committee slams Israel for lack of cooperation
24 May 2009 - The independent investigation committee formed by the UN to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza castigated Israel for the lack of cooperation and not facilitating its mission.

Qaradawi: Muslims' support for Palestine is a must and not a favor
24 May 2009 - The prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi has urged Friday all those supporting the Palestinian rights to join their efforts together, and to unite in this course..

Two resistance fighters killed, resistance destroys Israeli occupation jeep
24 May 2009 - Quds Brigades announced that two of its fighters were killed Friday morning during a resistance mission east of the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip..

Los Angeles Times

Egypt's Ayman Nour reports attack 
24 May 2009 - The democracy activist says he suffered burns on his head when an assailant ignited a substance and a flame shot toward him. A prominent Egyptian dissident said Saturday that he was attacked by a man on a motorcycle who ignited a flammable substance in his face, burning his head. 

World Briefing 
24 May 2009 - Sri Lanka: U.N. seeks access for aid groups / Egypt : Seven terrorist suspects held / Serbia: Church shuts rehab center after apparent abuse video / Nepal: Madhav Kumar Nepal elected prime minister SRI LANKA 

New York Times

Egypt Arrests 7 in Bombing of Cairo Bazaar
23 May 2009 - The authorities said the bombing at the Khan al-Khalili bazaar was intended as the start of a campaign of terrorism aimed at destabilizing Egypt. 

Spies’ Roots Reach Deep in Lebanon
22 May 2009 - The extent of an Israeli spying network has mesmerized and infuriated Lebanese officials. 

Biden Arrives in Beirut Ahead of Vote
22 May 2009 - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Lebanon ahead of a parliamentary election in June, in which the militant group Hezbollah is seeking to strengthen its position. 


Electronic Intifada
Power struggle killing patients
23 May 2009 - *GAZA CITY (IPS) - The lives of hundreds of critically ill Gazans continue to be jeopardized by the power struggle between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, and political blackmail by Israel. Mohammed Zibdeh, 12, who has cancer of the brain is waiting in Gaza City for a permit to travel to Israel for advanced treatment. He is dependent on a ventilator connected to his throat for survival. Last year Mohammed was able to secure a permit to travel to an Israeli hospital where he received chemotherapy for his brain tumor, causing the tumor to shrink significantly. 

Israel destroying Gaza's farmlands 
22 May 2009 - On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza's eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees. Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Eva Bartlett reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

"The next generation must continue our struggle"
22 May 2009 - Dr. Abdullah al-Hourani (Rami Almeghari) Dr. Abdullah al-Hourani is a Palestinian politician and researcher based in the Gaza Strip. He is the director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for National Studies in Gaza and chairman of the Palestinian Popular Committee for the Defense of the Right to Return. On the occasion of the 61st aniversary of the disposession of Palestine, The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari interviewed Dr. al-Hourani at his Gaza City office. 

No hope or change from Obama-Netanyahu meeting
21 May 2009 - Seldom has an encounter between an American and Israeli leader been as hyped as this week's meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As expected, Obama committed himself to diplomacy with Iran and pledged an enormous effort to achieve a two-state solution. Netanyahu continued to incite confrontation with Iran and refused to commit himself to a Palestinian state. Ali Abunimah comments. 

In Gaza
Israel destroying Gaza’s farmlands: arson in Johr ad Dik
22 May 2009 - A farmer holds crops destroyed by Israeli troops. Electronic Intifada : On the morning of 4 May 2009, Israeli troops set fire to Palestinian crops along Gaza’s eastern border with Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that 200,000 square meters of crops were destroyed, including wheat and barley ready for harvest, as well as vegetables, olive and pomegranate trees. Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by...

Palestine Chronicle
Words that Start with L Are Confusing
23 May 2009 - By Belén Fernández According to Lebanon-based researcher Franklin Lamb , the opening words of US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Beirut yesterday consisted of: "I am happy to be in Libya… I mean Lebanon… this morning!" The confusion was not reported by other media outlets but is nonetheless plausible based on the fact that both nations contain a city called Tripoli. Lebanon-Libya mix-ups are by no means a novel occurrence. One such mix-up occurred in 2006 among a group of British tourists on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, where the information that I had just been traveling in Lebanon was met with the indignant rejoinder: “But they bombed our plane!” Following a frantic scan of mental archives, I finally determined that the plane in question was Pan Am flight 103, and that Lockerbie also started with L. Iran, however, did not—nor did the USS Vincennes, which had shot down an Iranian airliner with 290 civilians on board shortly before the Lockerbie bombing. Presumed Libyan motives for Lockerbie included US air strikes on civilians in Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, in which one of the civilians had been Muammar Gaddafi’s adopted daughter. The BBC News quotes then-White House spokesman Larry Speakes as proclaiming that “US forces have executed a series of carefully planned air strikes against terrorist targets in Libya” and that “[e]very effort has been made to avoid hitting civilian targets,” thus lending credence to the idea that Israel had also mistaken Lebanon for Libya in 2006. Hezbollah’s Al Manar news...

King Abdullah's '57-State Solution'
23 May 2009 - By Rannie Amiri "What we are talking about is not Israelis and Palestinians sitting at the table, but Israelis sitting with Palestinians, Israelis sitting with Syrians, Israelis sitting with Lebanese. And with the Arabs and the Muslim world lined up to open direct negotiations with Israelis at the same time. So it’s the work that needs to be done over the next couple of months that has a regional answer to this – that is not a two-state solution, it is a 57-state solution. "That is a very strong statement when we are offering a third of the world to meet them with open arms. The future is not the Jordan River or the Golan Heights or Sinai, the future is Morocco in the Atlantic to Indonesia in the Pacific. I think that’s the prize." -- Jordan’s King Abdullah in an interview with the Times of London, 11 May 2009. Seasoned analysts of the litany of Middle East “peace proposals” floated over the years inevitably stumble on one obstacle preventing their implementation: Israel always has another “problem” to deal with before it can resolve its dispute with the Palestinians. This manufactured excuse regularly cycles among the usual parties and countries – Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iraq, Iran etc. One or another invariably constitutes an “existential” threat jeopardizing the nuclear-armed country’s security. By convincing the United States it has more pressing issues to deal with, Israel has successfully managed to delay, postpone or suspend negotiations with the Palestinians for decades. Doing so...

Concrete Monster – A Poem
23 May 2009 - By Rassool Jibraeel Snyman It rises In all its brutality Inhumanity Bestiality A concrete monster Snaking through the land of Palestine Speaking gutturally of one people’s Hatred of another The exploitation of one by another The theft of land and lives And dreams And peace A monument of all that is ugly In human nature A badge of shame And dishonor A stain on the history of humanity Even the Gods blush And are shamed At what their hands have wrought (South Africa – January 03, 2009; "Tales of Extreme Sanity")

Sudan Airstrikes: How Contradiction Became Evidence
22 May 2009 - By Guy Gabriel When asked about the alleged Israeli involvement in airstrikes in north-east Sudan in early 2009, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert responded: "There is no point in going into detail, and everybody can use their imagination. Those who need to know, know." The Israeli leader was taken at his word; analyzing global media coverage of the story, it becomes clear that imaginations were used liberally by reports which felt it necessary to go into the details, despite Olmert's interdiction. In under a week, a story set in motion by the testimony of multiple unnamed sources in a new Egyptian newspaper, al-Shurooq, became a customized yet globally significant story that supposedly confirmed the long, clinical arm of Israel protecting itself from Iran. However, certainty was an afterthought to a finished product that appeared assuredly in the Sunday papers and weekly news magazines, when in fact the foundations were provided by a sizeable number of unnamed and openly contradictory sources. Furthermore, it would seem as though the lesson of the story - that Israel has a long, protective arm - was valedictory enough to credit obscure or fringe sources with enough substance to provide the central theme of the story in the absence of witnesses, or officially confirmed substantiation. The Event Piecing together information from various reports, this is a composite picture of what happened: The attackers were American, Israeli, or of unidentified origin, using perhaps gunships, F15s, F16s, or Hermes 450 drones and Eitan UAVs, taking off from Eritrea, Djibouti...

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