InI Logo
InI Needs Your Support!
Subscribe to InI’s Mailing List/Newsletter

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
1 June , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Fatah and Hamas run forces kidnap members of both movements
1 Jun 2009 - Fatah run security forces in the West Bank and Hamas run forces in Gaza have arrested members of the rival faction on Monday and Sunday.

As the Israeli army kidnapped 11 civilians from the W.B today, its attacks in May leave 6 killed
1 Jun 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped 11 Palestinian civilians on Monday during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities.

Two civilians injured by military tear-gas near Hebron
1 Jun 2009 - Two Palestinian civilians were injured after Israeli troops fired tear gas at a home in Safa village on Monday afternoon, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

UN inquiry committee arrives in Gaza
1 Jun 2009 - The team of UN investigators assigned to probe war crimes committed during the22-day offensive against the Gaza Strip arrived on Monday morning into the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli military launches largest-ever military exercise
1 Jun 2009 - On Sunday, Israeli forces across the country began a five-day military exercise called 'Turning Point 3' to simulate a three-front war with Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Syrian army. The drill also includes training in how to repress the Palestinian population in the West Bank and inside Israel during the three-front scenario. 

Four Palestinians wounded, one seriously, as settlers attack Palestinians north of the W. Bank
1 Jun 2009 - Palestinian sources reported on Monday morning that four Palestinians were wounded, one seriously, after being attacked by a group of extremist settlers at the Kidumim junction on the Nablus – Qalqilia road. 

Al Sheikh: “Our forces defended themselves in Qalqilia”
1 Jun 2009 - Palestinian official, head of the Palestinian Coordination Office, Hasan Al Sheikh of Fateh movement, stated Sunday that the Palestinian security forces had to defend themselves after Hamas gunmen killed three security officers in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank. 

Halutz: “We tried to assassinate Nasrallah during the Lebanon war”
1 Jun 2009 - Former Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, stated Sunday that Israel had tried to assassinate Hezbollah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, during the war against Lebanon in 2006. 

Knesset turns down “loyalty oath bill”
1 Jun 2009 - Israeli sources reported Sunday that the Knesset’s Ministerial Legislative Committee  turned town a bill submitted by member of Knesset David Rotem of the extremist right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Party demanding any person who retains an Israeli citizenship to declare loyalty to Israel as a Jewish,Zionisgt, democratic state. 

Israel “disappointed” over US demands on settlement freeze
31 May 2009 - Israeli officials said Sunday that a noticeable tension is shadowing the Israeli-American relations over a US demand that Israel should halt its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. The tension rose after a failed round of talks between US envoy George Mitchell and Israeli officials in London last week. 

Six Palestinians killed in internal clashes in Qalqilia
31 May 2009 - Palestinians medical sources reported on Sunday at dawn that six Palestinians were killed in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the West Bank, during clashes that took place between Palestinian security forces and a group of fighters of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. 

Arab Committee: “Nakba bill, a call for war, an attempt to force us forget our history”
31 May 2009 - The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee slammed the Israeli government’s intention to hold a vote on Sunday on a bill outlawing marking the Nakba day by the Arabs in Israel. The Committee stated this bill is racist and aims at forcing the Arabs to forget and deny their own history. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Israel weighs easing Gaza siege to allow post-war repairs
1 Jun 2009 - Netanyahu reportedly worried blockade could be helping Hamas; changes would allow entry of building supplies. 

'U.S. may limit support of Israel to force settlement freeze'
1 Jun 2009 - Despite U.S. demand for total halt to construction, Netanyahu says Israel won't put settlement life on hold. 

Settlers attack Palestinians, block Jerusalem entrance to protest outpost evacuations
1 Jun 2009 - One Palestinian seriously hurt; settlers blocked West Bank roads, burnt tires during protest. 

MI: Iran will have enough uranium for nukes by year's end
1 Jun 2009 - Research chief Baidatz: The Iranian clock is ticking faster than the clock of international dialogue. 

Six die as PA cracks down on Hamas in West Bank
30 May 2009 - Forces loyal to Fatah-led Palestinian government were on mission to arrest Hamas operatives in Qalqilya. 

Barak: There is neither hunger nor crisis in Gaza
31 May 2009 - Shin Bet Chief: Hamas is cracking down on rocket fire, but simultaneously working to reinforce its own strength. 

Israel holds biggest civil defense drill in state history
31 May 2009 - Five-day exercise to simulate attack on country; Netanyahu: Drill not directed at any regional entity. 

Shin Bet officials met jailed Hamas leaders on Shalit deal
31 May 2009 - Meetings held at Ketziot Prison during Olmert tenure, in former PM's bid to secure prisoner release. 

Ma'an News

Settlers set fire to Palestinian farmland south of Nablus
6/1/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian-owned fields of wheat, barley, and olive trees in the northern West Bank villages of Burin, Asira, Surra, and Tell south of Nablus on Monday. Witnesses told Ma’an that Palestinian firefighters faced difficulties accessing the areas on fire because settlers attacked them. According to Ali Eid, head of the village council in Burin, the most serious fire was in the Jabal Salman area between Burin, Tell, and Asira. He asserted that fire burned large numbers of olive trees, and quantities of wheat, and barley. He also asserted that settlers obstructed fire fighters who attempted to extinguish the fire. The settlers’ attacks are in protest against the Israeli government’s decision to evacuate an illegal settlement outpost in the area called Nahlat Yousei near the Israeli settlement of Elon Moreh. 

Israel issues demolition notices for 28 Palestinian houses
6/1/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israel's army handed out demolition orders to 28 houses owned by Palestinians in the northern West Bank on Monday, according to an official there. The notices also announced the immediate demolition of five houses in the village of Tammoun, in Tubas, according to Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian Authority official responsible for settlement affairs in the north. Douglas added that the Israeli authorities handed the citizens these warnings after storming a number of houses in the areas of Khirbat Atuf, Al-Bki’a and Al-Hadidiyah near Tammoun. He insisted that the Israeli policy of demolishing houses and confiscating the lands is going unheeded, calling on human rights organizations to put an end to such attacks and stop the demolition plans. 

Two sisters injured by Israeli tear gas near Hebron
6/1/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – An Israeli tear-gas canister expelled CS gas that injured two sisters in the Hebron-area village of Beit Ummar on Monday, local sources said. The two sisters, 35-year-old Samira Ikhlil and her 14-year-old sister Samara, choked on the poisonous gas that Israeli soldiers fired at their house in Beit Ummar. Local sources told Ma’an that "some the boys threw stones at an Israeli unit in the area, which for its part fired tear gas that entered their house, causing these two cases. " Medical sources described the cases as stable and said they received required treatment. [end] 

70 patients return to Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon
6/1/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Seventy Palestinian patients have arrived in the Gaza Strip after receiving treatment at Egyptian hospitals, a Gaza medical official said on Monday. Egyptian authorities had opened the Rafah border to let them in on Monday afternoon, said Dr Mu’awiyah Hassanein, the head of Emergency and Ambulance Services in the Gaza Strip Health Ministry. He told Ma’an that ambulances collected and transferred the patients from the border. [end] 

Settlers vent anger at Palestinians amid outpost crackdown
6/1/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians, injuring six of them, at the Qedumim crossroads between the cities of Nablus and Qalqiliya, in the northern West Bank early on Monday morning. The attacks were the first incident in a day of violence which the settlers say is a response to the Israeli government’s dismantling of unsanctioned settler “outposts. ”According to Ghassan Dughlus, a Palestinian official in charge of settlement in the northern West Bank, the six were on their way to work when settlers attacked them. As a result, 44-year-old Ali As-Sadda from the village of Jit was seriously injured in the head. He was transferred to Al-Arabi Hospital in Nablus. Thirty-two-year-old Muhammad Khalid from the village of Jayyus was moderately injured. Shakir and Muhammad As-Sadda, also from Jit, sustained moderate to slight wounds. 

Israeli forces seize 11 Palestinians overnight
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli military said it detained 11 Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank early on Monday. According to the military, Palestinians were seized from their homes near near Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron, and were “taken for questioning” at unknown locations. All the arrestees were “wanted” by the Israeli forces. [end] 

Report: 30 Palestinians seized in Bethlehem during May
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces operating in the West Bank city of Bethlehem have seized 30 Palestinians in the past month, according to a report published on Monday. The Palestinian Detainees' Society reported that Israel raided the Bethlehem area at least 15 times in May, including the towns of Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Duheisha Refugee Camp and others. Soldiers raided several homes in these areas, detaining 30 residents, taking them to investigation centers throughout the West Bank and inside Israel. The Detainees' Society's lawyers say they are following up with detainees in Israeli jails and visiting them as prisons as part of their regular work. [end] 

Israel opens two Gaza crossings
6/1/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israel will allow limited quantities of fuel, food, and other goods into the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, according to Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh said that the Kerem Shalom crossing would be partially open to allow 50-59 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial merchandise in Gaza, while the Nahal Oz terminal will allow shipments of limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel needed to run the Gaza power plant. The Karni crossing, used to ship grain, will be closed, the official said. Both Egypt and Israel have maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip for the past two years, following Hamas' rise to power and takeover in 2007. Despite repeated calls from aid agencies and foreign governments for an end to the siege, Israel has been reluctant to allow fuel, food or aid into the Strip, and opens its crossings irregularly. 

Report: Egypt rejected US plan for normalization of Israel ties
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egypt has rejected a US proposal for Arab states to gradually normalize ties with Israel, even before it withdraws from territory occupied in 1967, according to news reports. The American proposal, which would begin with allowing Israeli planes to fly through Arab airspace, came up during a White House meeting that included the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmad Aboul Gheit, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Aboul Gheit told the newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat that Arab states insist on concrete action on Israel’s part before normalizing relations. If Israel complied with international demands, he said, "the Arab states could accede to gradual normalization, each according to its own considerations. " The 2002 Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative offers Israel normalized relations in exchange for a total withdrawal from the land it seized in the June 1967 war. 

Israel’s Barak faces strained relations on Washington trip
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will begin talks with top US officials in Washington on Monday amid a growing policy rift between the allies over issues including West Bank settlements. According to AFP Barak is likely to spend time assuaging US concerns about Israel’s attitude toward peace with Palestinians when the talks were supposed to focus on bilateral military ties and Iran. During the three-day trip, AFP reports, he is expected to meet Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones and President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. Barak is also expected to discuss US arms sales to Israel, including a request for it to buy up to 75 fighter jets for more than 15 billion US dollars. The Washington talks come two weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin. . . 

Spurned by Israel and welcomed by Hamas, UN war crimes investigators arrive in Gaza
6/1/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A UN fact-finding commission into alleged violations of international law committed during Israel’s recent offensive arrived in Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing on Monday morning. Israel has announced it will refuse to cooperate with South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s investigation, while Hamas, the ruling power in Gaza, says it welcomes the team, which was tapped by the UN’s Human Rights Council. In a statement issued on Monday Hamas said it praised all efforts by human rights committees and organizations that work to reveal the truth about the Gaza war. Hamas Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum welcomed Goldstone’s team, saying, “We are ready to help these committees and encourage them to unveil the truth and bring out all the hidden details of what took place during the war, hoping to show the entire world the truth. 

Ma’an radio program East and West explores European-Palestinian relations
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - In cooperation with the European Commission, Ma'an Network will launch “East and West,” a live radio talk show exploring European-Palestinian relations, at 8pm on Monday. The first episode will focus on the role of media in Europe, Palestine, and the Arab world. Prominent Palestinian journalists and media experts will discuss media cooperation, ways to promote press freedom, the way Palestinian media cover European affairs and how European media report on Palestinian issues. Subsequent episodes will discuss topics ranging from people with special needs to migration to alternative energy. The show aims to offer Palestinians a window onto diverse facets of the European Union (EU), as well as comparing and contrasting attitudes, policies, and institutions in Palestine and the Arab world with those in Europe. 

US General: Palestine-Israel peace ’very central’
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Commander of the US Central Command, General David Petraeus, said that resolving the Palestinians’ struggle for self determination is “very central” for his work as commander of US forces in the Middle East and elsewhere in an interview with the Al-Hayat newspaper published on Monday. Petraeus said that “the appointment of the Special Representative for the President, the envoy Senator [George] Mitchell is a very significant step, therefore, in our view, my view as Commander of the theatre. ”Asked if he thought American troops would be less threatened in the region if the Palestinian issue were resolved, he said, “I think a lot of things would be better if it were resolved. If there could be a just resolution of this issue that all accept and all support, needless to say, it removes some of the different arguments that various countries make, that various movements make. 

Study: Israel practices apartheid and colonialism in Palestine
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) released a study on Monday indicating that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. The interim report, which will form part of a discussion at an upcoming HSRC conference on the subject, titled Re-envisioning Israel/Palestine, on 13 and 14 June in Cape Town, serves as a document to be finalised later this year, according to a statement. The study's team found that Israel's policy and practices violate the prohibition on colonialism which the international community developed in the 1960s in response to the great decolonisation struggles in Africa and Asia. "Israel's policy is demonstrably to fragment the West Bank and annex part of it permanently to Israel, which is the hallmark of colonialism," the study concluded. 

Ramallah man sentenced to lifetime hard labor for treason
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian Authority court of first instance in Ramallah sentenced a man to lifetime penal servitude after he was found guilty of treason on Monday. Knowledgeable sources told Ma’an that the convict, who was referred to only by the initials “HA,” was found guilty of violating articles 11 and 112 of Palestinian penal law number 16 of the year 1960. He was told he could appeal the verdict. The suspect was first arrested on 2 May 2007 by Palestinian Preventive Security. In a hearing on 17 January 2008, he admitted to collaboration with Israeli intelligence along with another suspect after they were recruited as spies through two women who reportedly seduced them and took compromising video footage. HA was filmed by Israeli intelligence and troops in a natural area in Ramallah area having sex with the two women. 

Gaza forces stop Fatah lawmakers en route to Ramallah
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an -A travel ban was imposed by the de facto government in Gaza's security services on four Fatah members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on Sunday, according to Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). The ban prevented the PLC members from traveling to Ramallah on Sunday morning to attend a meeting of the Fatah Bloc in the PLC, the PCHR said in a statement to Ma'an. The PCHR called upon the Gaza government to cease such measures, "which restrict the right to freedom of movement ensured by the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards," the group said. According to PLC Member Abdul Hamid Al-Eila, 50, he and three other PLC members representing the Fatah movement, Mohammed Hijazi, 62, Raja'ei Baraka, 50, and Dr. Ibrahim Al-Musaddar, 57, travelled toward the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing at approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 31 May 2009. 

Fayyad: PA borrowed $530 million for worker salaries
6/1/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Monday that salaries for government workers will be distributed on Sunday, 7 June. Dr Fayyad said at his weekly meeting at the Ministers’ Council that the Palestinian Authorityhas borrowed 530 million US dollars from banks to pay the salaries at a time when the financial situation is facing a serious crisis, but that the authority is still committed to its people. Fayyad called on Arab states and donor countries to keep their promises on aid in order to enable the PA to pay Palestinians, especially for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The prime minister also called on the Arab and Islamic world to stand by Jerusalem and help in opposing Israeli plans "to exile all Palestinians" from their capital. 

Fuel prices in Palestine for June
6/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Ministry of Finance released regulated fuel prices across Palestine for June 2009 as follows:One liter of diesel = 4. 35 NIS (1. 12 US dollars)One liter of benzene (gasoline) 95 octane = 5. 8 NIS (1. 5 US dollars)One liter of benzene 96 octane = 5. 8 NIS (1. 5 US dollars)One liter of benzene 98 octane = 6. 13 NIS (1. 58 US dollars)On liter of kerosene = 4. 35 NIS (1. 12 US dollars)Twelve-kilogram bottle of cooking gas = 43 NIS (11 US dollars) for consumers48-kilogram bottle of cooking gas = 172 NIS (44. 3 US dollars) for consumersOne liter of cooking gas = 1. 95 NIS (0. 50 US dollars) [end] 

The National

The gates that keep Gaza hungry 
29 May 2009 - Before Israel imposed a goods blockade in 2007, about 600 lorries passed into Gaza each day. Now, barely 100 enter via only one crossing point.


UN war investigators arrive in Gaza
1 Jun 2009 - United Nations team enters Gaza to investigate Israel war crimes claims.

'Arson attack' hits Iran's Zahedan
1 Jun 2009 - At least six dead in incident in mainly Sunni city, scene of a mosque bombing just days ago.

Settlers 'rampage' in West Bank
1 Jun 2009 - Palestinians wounded as stones are thrown at vehicles and fields set alight, witnesses say.

Police raid sparks West Bank clash
31 May 2009 - Six Palestinians killed as police corner Hamas fighters in the occupied West Bank.

Israel 'loyalty law' rejected
31 May 2009 - Cabinet committee throws out draft bill calling for citizens to take oath of loyalty.


OPT: Grim housing, water situation in Gaza 
TEL AVIV Thursday, May 28, 2009 (IRIN) - Reports published recently by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Israeli NGO B'Tselem and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) paint a grim picture of life in Gaza more than four months after the 23-day Israeli offensive ended on 18 January.

OPT: Gaza liquidity crisis having tangible humanitarian impact 
GAZA CITY Monday, May 25, 2009 (IRIN) - A banking and liquidity crisis is affecting the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: Civil servants are struggling to get their salaries, and humanitarian aid is being delayed. Thousands of welfare benefit recipients are not getting their dues. 

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: Abbas Visit Comes as U.S.-Israeli Tensions Mount 
WASHINGTON, May 29 (IPS) - U.S. President Barack Obama’s first meeting on Thursday with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas was less remarkable for the actual talks between the two leaders than it was for the changed Washington political climate in which it took place.

POLITICS: Where Iran Fits in the Mideast Peace Puzzle 
ANKARA, Turkey, May 29 (IPS) - What is the relationship between the United States’ policy towards Iran and its performance on Arab-Israeli peacemaking, including the crucial quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians?

FRANCE: 'Defying Rules on Arms Sales to Israel' 
BRUSSELS, May 29 (IPS) - French arms sales to Israel are "in total contradiction" of European Union rules on the defence industry, the author of a new study has said.

MIDEAST: Palestinians Honour Holocaust Victims 
RAMALLAH, May 29 (IPS) - On a cool and overcast day, a procession of grim-faced people filed silently past pictures of heaps of skeletons piled high, of emaciated survivors with blank stares corralled behind barbed wire, barely clinging to life.

Stop The Wall

Two new videos online!
30 May 2009 - Two new video resources are online. The first is 

Bi'lin marks 40 days since Abu Rahma killing
30 May 2009 - Demonstrations in Ni'lin and Bi'lin were met with more violence this week. Five were injured in Ni'lin and three in Bi'lin, and dozens more suffered from tear gas that Occupation forces showered on the protests. Protestors in Bi'lin carried shields and posters of Basem Abu Rahma to mark the 40 days since his death. [

PCHR Latest

(01-06-2009) Gaza Security Services Prevent Fatah PLC Members from Traveling to Ramallah

3 Security Officers, 2 Members of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades and One Civilian Killed in Qalqilya

PCHR Weekly Report

(21 - 27 May  2008)
During the reporting period, IOF killed two Palestinian resistance activists in the Gaza Strip, and wounded 17 civilians, including four children and an old woman in the West Bank

International Solidarity Movement

An independent fact-finding committee calls for the prosecution of Israeli political leaders and members of the military
International Solidarity Movement - 30 May 2009 - An independent fact-finding committee (IFFC) established by the League of Arab States (LAS) to investigate and report on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law arising out of Israel's offensive in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, code named Operation Cast Lead, has submitted a report to the LAS in which it finds that there is sufficient evidence to substantiate prosecutions of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report also finds that the Israeli political leadership is responsible for such crimes. The IFFC, comprising of Professor John Dugard (South Africa, Chairman), Professor Paul de Waart (the Netherlands) , Judge Finn Lynghjem (Norway), Advocate Gonzalo Boye (Chile / Germany), Professor Francisco Corte Real (Portugal) and Ms Raelene Sharp (Australia: Rapporteur), bases its findings on a visit. . . 

Settlements continue to expand in Hebron
International Solidarity Movement - 25 May 2009 - North of Hebron, in a Palestinian village named Al Bueire, settlers had built an outpost over one and a half months ago. When Israeli forces finally removed the illegal outpost on , settlers coordinated attacks on the Palestinian residents. Around 4pm, settlers began to throw stones at the house of the Palestinian resident who owns the land upon which the outpost was built. Several Israeli solidarity activists were present at the scene and pressured the Israeli army and border police to prevent another attack from the settlers. During the night on , a road which leads to the village was blocked by settlers with big rocks. However, the Palestinian residents were able to remove the rocks in the morning. Additionally, settlers hoisted Israeli flags at the site of the outpost. 26 May 2009 - At 10am on Tuesday, 26 May 2009, settlers from Karmel settlement came unto remaining. . . 

How ‘the busy one’ ekes out a living from the devastation of Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian - 31 May 2009 - Mahmoud Mohammed Imad sits in front of his curtain made of rubbish. The opening to his shop in the Jabaliya refugee camp could be a work of art. A single black army boot hangs threaded through its eyes. It dangles among coils of plastic pipe, skeins of used string, a football boot, the wheel of a child's scooter. Disconnected electrical fittings are strung like beads. Shoes and more shoes. Fragments of the discarded and the broken. It is a suspended, frozen waterfall of junk that partially conceals the room that lies behind it, a place piled high with unruly heaps of clothes that threaten to fall through the door and out on to the street. In front of Imad are wooden sticks, stretchers for the kites the children make to fly or sell for a few shekels. Imad is missing an eye. A young man in the street in a striped shirt - who describes Imad as a local legend - says that he lost it in the first intifada, in which his son also died. 

Ni’lin demonstrates against construction of the Apartheid Wall
International Solidarity Movement - 29 May 2009 - Palestinian residents, alongside international and Israeli solidarity activists, gathered to protest construction of the Apartheid Wall in Ni'lin on Friday,at 12:30pm. After a prayer on their land, residents and activists marched towards the construction site chanting slogans against the Occupation. Demonstrators were able to reach the Wall and spent most of the demonstration in their olive groves. Upon reaching the barbed wire that separates Ni'lin from much of their remaining farmland, Palestinian demonstrators cut the wire. In both a symbolic and practical manner, Ni'lin residents sought to reclaim the land that was stolen from them for construction of the Apartheid Wall. According to the 2004 ruling given by the International Court of Justice, the Apartheid Wall is illegal. After protesters arrived at the site of the Apartheid Wall, Israeli forces began to throw and shoot tear-gas canisters. 

Israeli gunboats shoot at Gazan fishermen
International Solidarity Movement - Ramattan - 31 May 2009 - Israeli gunboats opened heavy fire at Palestinian fishermen in the northern coast of the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, Palestinian security sources said. Sources reported that the Israeli navy targeted a number of Gazan fishermen and their boats near Al-Sudaniya neighborhood north of Gaza, no injuries or damages were reported. The Israeli warships frequently open fire at the coast of Gaza, targeting the Gazan fishermen and their boats. The Israeli navy imposes tightened measures on the Palestinian fishermen and prevents them to sail more than 3 miles into Gaza regional water, what makes it difficult to find the good fish. Updated on June 1, 2009 [end] 

Dubai, jewel in Israel’s sales crown
International Solidarity Movement - Le Monde - 27 May 2009 - With the exception of Egypt, all Arab states officially boycott Israel, blacklist Israeli companies and ban imports of Israeli products. The same countries frequently lead the voices calling for sanctions against Israel. But sometimes life gets in the way. Just a few weeks after the world financial crisis broke, a super-luxury hotel, the Atlantis, opened its doors in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The French chatter website LePost. fr of 21 November 2008 trumpeted the headline: "2000 stars at the inauguration of Dubai's Atlantis Hotel". It wrote: "Dubai, Dubai, Dubai! Arab princes, flying carpets, oil, dollars"¦ and the Atlantis Hotel! An extraordinary palace, which cost more than $1. 9bn to create, celebrated its opening yesterday in high style. "This little junket cost a trifling $38m! That's what it took to tell the entire world. . . " 

Goldstone’s UN inquiry team arrives in Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - BBC - 1 June 2009 - A UN team investigating possible war crimes in Gaza, led by Richard Goldstone, has arrived in the Strip on a week-long fact finding mission. The four-member team entered from Egypt after Israel failed to grant visas, despite repeated requests by the UN. The UN wants to investigate whether Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during Israel's three-week operation in Gaza in December and January. Israel accuses the UN branch carrying out the mission of bias against it. The UN Human Rights Council has been accused of singling out Israel unfairly, and is viewed by some as having less credibility than other parts of the United Nations. But correspondents say the selection of Mr Goldstone, a respected South African war crimes prosecutor who is also Jewish, as head of the inquiry has given it greater clout. 

Harvest challenges
International Solidarity Movement - In Gaza - 1 June 2009 - Just after 7 am on May 30th, Palestinian farmers in Khoza'a, east of Khan Younis, returned to the land they'd been menaced off of 5 days earlier. "The same day the Israelis dropped papers saying they would shoot at us for being on our land they did shoot at us," Ahmed, a 22 year old farmer explained. It was around 10:30, he said. "They were shooting so much that the dirt rose in clouds of dust. " When we arrive on May 30th, the bales of wheat are ready, all neatly and compactly hand-bundled, covering 30 dunums (1 dunum=1000 square metres) of land belonging to Radi Abu Rayder. He has another 140 dunums which he can no longer access because it lies too close to the border, within the Israel-imposed "buffer zone". The farmers will take 2 days to clear the bundles from the field. The farmers today are two 18 year olds, two 22 year olds, and two men in their late 30s/early 40s

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

UN team arrives in Gaza to probe Israeli 'war crimes'
31 May 2009 - United Nations human rights investigators began work in the Gaza Strip on Monday to try to determine whether war crimes were committed during the offensive Israel launched in the Hamas-ruled territory last December. ...

'Proud Hungarians must prepare for war against the Jews'
31 May 2009 - "Given our current situation, anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews." ...

WATCH: Sacha Baron Cohen makes Eminem storm out of MTV awards
31 May 2009 - An enraged Eminem stormed out of the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night after Sacha Baron Cohen landed behind-first on the rapper's face. ...

Lebanese army colonel arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel
31 May 2009 - Lebanese security officials say they have arrested an army colonel on suspicion of spying for Israel, the second high-ranking military official detained in less than two weeks. ...

Thousands celebrate Israel at New York City parade
31 May 2009 - Tens of thousands of supporters of Israel crowded New York's Fifth Avenue on Sunday as part of the annual parade celebrating the birth of the Jewish state in 1948. ...

The Guardian

Tony Blair flags 'way forward' in Middle East peace process
1 Jun 2009 - Former PM tells foreign affairs committee that efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are entering a 'critical' phase Tony Blair said today he expected the Middle East peace process to find "a way forward" in the...

Tony Blair faces questions over Middle East peace envoy work
1 Jun 2009 - Foreign Affairs Select Committee to ask former prime minister about recent developments in region Tony Blair's post Downing Street role as a Middle East peace envoy will today come under the spotlight when the former prime...

Obama's speech in Cairo: getting the right audience | Editorial
31 May 2009 - Cast a weary eye over the map of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and there are, on any one day, at least a dozen flashpoints. One erupted yesterday in the West Bank town of Qalqilya, when a local...

Six die as Palestinian police clash with Hamas in West Bank
31 May 2009 - Three police officers killed in gun battle with militants The prospect of Palestinian reconciliation receded still further yesterday after six people were killed in the deadliest outbreak of fighting between Fatah and Hamas in the West...

Ha'aretz National page

AG: Lieberman would not be FM in a normal country
31 May 2009 - Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Monday leveled harsh criticism against the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister, saying, "A normal country would not have gotten into this situation." ...

Court: Entertainer Dudu Topaz was ringleader in attacks on TV execs
31 May 2009 - Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court ordered an eight-day extension of the remand of one of Israel's top television stars on Monday, branding Dudu Topaz the ringleader in a series of violent attacks on TV executives. ...

It's official: Madonna will perform in Israel in September
31 May 2009 - Madonna's plans to bring her Sticky & Sweet Tour to Israel were officially confirmed on Monday. The pop superstar will perform only one show, on September 1 at Tel Aviv's Hayarkon Park. ...

Katsav attorneys drop former president as client
31 May 2009 - The attorneys of Moshe Katsav announced on Monday they were dropping the former president as a client after a judicial decision Sunday to hold the rape trial against him for four days a week starting in September. ...

Shalit supporters: Mediator pick should have come sooner
31 May 2009 - Supporters of Gilad Shalit welcomed on Sunday the appointment of a new Israeli official to mediate the abducted Israeli soldier's release, but said the move should have come sooner. ...

Relief Web

Statement attributable to the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict
30 May 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

CWS Hotline - Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, OPT, Honduras, Mozambique
30 May 2009 - Source: Church World Service

OPT: U.N. war crimes inquiry to depart for Middle East
29 May 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

The Secretary-General's message on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers
29 May 2009 - Source: United Nations

Journée internationale des Casques bleus : Message du Secrétaire général de l'ONU, M. Ban Ki-moon
29 May 2009 - Source: United Nations

Press conference by United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Occupied Palestinian Territory
28 May 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

OPT: Disabled boy and Gaza family get help from LIFE and UAE Red Crescent 
28 May 2009 - Source: Life for Relief and Development

West Bank and Gaza: Gaza emergency response additional finance program
28 May 2009 - Source: World Bank

YNet News

Soldier indicted for looting in West Bank
1 Jun 2009 - Another Givati soldier admits he stole from Palestinian, attorney says confession extracted unlawfully

Barak tells Ban Israel sees UN probe as biased
1 Jun 2009 - Defense minister meets with UN secretary-general in New York, reiterates Israel will not cooperate with committee investigating allegations of war crimes during Gaza operation

IDF: MK Ben Ari was trying to provoke us
1 Jun 2009 - Army defends arrest of right-wing MK after he tried to block Border Guard vehicle transporting settler detainees 

Report: Obama to press for outpost evacuation
1 Jun 2009 - New York Times quotes administration official as saying White House may consider end to automatic support for Israel at UN debates unless Netanyahu toes line on settlement issue. Washington believes this will stir public backlash against PM for endangering ties to US

Settler protestors block Highway 1
1 Jun 2009 - Following series of violent incidents in West Bank in response to dismantling of illegal outposts, settlers block entrance to Jerusalem with burning tires

Firefighters refuse to put out blaze in Palestinian field
1 Jun 2009 - Defense officials accuse firefighters of refusing to come to West Bank thistle field owned by Palestinians after settlers set it on fire. Firefighters deny claims, say men were waiting for IDF escort into A Territories

Canada to allow terror victims to sue in its courts
1 Jun 2009 - PM Harper accepts award from Jewish center, says proposed bill to allow lawsuits against terror, anti-Semitism 'even if they damage Canada's popularity'

UN rights team probes Israel's Gaza offensive
1 Jun 2009 - Four-member investigation team headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone begins work in Strip to try to determine whether war crimes were committed during Operation Cast Lead. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman says committee told 'to find Israel guilty even before investigation begins'

Retired general slams 'draft dodger Bar Refaeli' 
1 Jun 2009 - Day after taking off his uniform, former head of IDF Human Resources Directorate compares draft dodging to Iranian threat, says 'our society is causing its own internal decay' 

Romanian president to Peres: Assad wants talks
1 Jun 2009 - After series of meetings with Arab leaders, President Basescu tells Israeli counterpart, 'Syria looking forward to renewing diplomatic talks with Israel… Not interested in being associated with Iranian image'


Testimony: Sixty laborers detained in refrigerator compartment
25 May 2009 - On 9 May, more than sixty Palestinians, in an attempt to enter Israel without a work permit, squeezed into a truck's refrigerator compartment. One of them related to B'Tselem that police stopped the truck, found the workers, and then made them remain insi

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.

Daily Star

Six killed when Abbas forces hit Hamas hideout in West Bank 
31 May 2009 - Six people were killed on Sunday when forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raided a Hamas hideout, just days after he promised in Washington to fulfill his security commitments. The violence erupted when police encircled a house in the West Bank town of Qalqilya where a top Hamas field commander.

Egypt rejects Israeli view that Iran threat more urgent than peace 
31 May 2009 - Egypt does not agree with Israel's point of view that Iran's nuclear ambitions are a higher priority for the region than Mideast peace, the presidential spokesman said Sunday. Israel is looking to rally various Arab nations around the idea that Iran is the common danger to the whole region. The comments from presidential spokesman Suleiman Awwad.

Iran defuses homemade bomb on airplane 
31 May 2009 - Security personnel defused a homemade bomb found on an aircraft during a domestic flight in Iran late on Saturday, Iranian media said, two days after a mosque bombing killed 25 people in the country's southeast. The incident occurred less than two weeks before the Islamic Republic holds a presidential election in which the conservative incumbent.

Israel begins its biggest military drill to date 
31 May 2009 - Israel began the biggest military drill in its history on Sunday, putting soldiers, emergency crews and civilians through rehearsals for the possibility of war at a time of rising tensions with Iran. The five-day drill, code-named Turning Point III, will include simulated rocket and missile attacks on Israeli cities.

Israel softens Nakba bill, rejects proposed loyalty oath 
31 May 2009 - e Israeli cabinet on Sunday softened a much-criticized bill on the Nakba, what many Palestinians lament as the "catastrophe" of the 1948 creation of Israel. The revised draft law now prohibits any government funds from being used for events marking the Nakba, instead of banning commemorations altogether, a government official said.

Israel rejects 'unfair' US demands to stop illegal settlement activity 
31 May 2009 - Israel refused on Sunday to bow to US calls for a freeze of all settlement activity in the Occupied West Bank, as it fumed over the "unfair" demands that have raised tensions between the key allies. "I want to say in a crystal clear manner that the current Israeli government will not accept in any fashion.

Muslims want to hear more than just talk from Obama 
31 May 2009 - US President Barack Obama has awoken hope for redress of grievances in the hearts of some of the more than a billion Muslims scattered in diverse communities across the globe.To win their minds, skeptical after a "war on terror" waged by his predecessor George W. Bush that many saw as an assault on Islam.

Leading Syrian dissident backs detente with West 
31 May 2009 - A leading Syrian dissident said on Sunday that US efforts to improve ties with Damascus could help democratic reform in his homeland. Riad al-Turk, 79, told Reuters in a rare interview that US President Barack Obama's initiative could also undermine what he called an "unconvincing alliance" between Syria and Iran.

Palestinian Information Center

Shedding our own blood to please Israel
1 Jun 2009 - The unnecessary death of six Palestinians, including two resistance fighters, by Palestinian hands will be an indelible and everlasting stigma of shame on the forehead of Israel’s Palestinian puppets.

Anti-siege gov’t committee: Many Gaza water wells will stop due to the blockade
1 Jun 2009 - The government committee for breaking the siege on Monday warned that a large number of water wells in the Gaza Strip stopped operating due to the Israeli siege that led to the absence of spare parts.

Hamas hopes UN fact-finding mission would end in trial of Israeli war criminals
1 Jun 2009 - Hamas on Monday welcomed the arrival of the UN independent fact-finding mission into Israeli war crimes committed during the latest Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

Masri: Hamas is pressured to shelve the national dialog after Qalqilia crime
1 Jun 2009 - MP Mushir Al-Masri stated that his Movement is pressured by many national figures to suspend its reconciliation talks with Fatah after the assassination of two Qassam leaders in Qalqilia.

Israeli gunboats shell Palestinian fishing boats
1 Jun 2009 - Palestinian fishermen on Monday barely escaped death when Israeli navy gunboats fired heavy machineguns at their boats off the coast of Rafah, to the south of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas security detains widow in ICU
1 Jun 2009 - PA security apparatuses in the West Bank are detaining the widow of Abdul Nasser Al-Basha, who was killed by those apparatuses on Sunday along with the two Qassam members in Qalqilia.

PA arrests Palestinian journalist Awadh Rajoub
1 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Authority (PA) security apparatus on Monday arrested Palestinian journalist Awadh Rajoub, the correspondent of in occupied Palestine.

Four Palestinians wounded in Jewish settlers' assault
1 Jun 2009 - Four Palestinian workers were wounded, one of them seriously, when Jewish settlers intercepted their car in Qalqilia district and beat them up using knives and sharp tools, local sources said.

Naim confers with visiting Norwegian medical delegation
1 Jun 2009 - Palestinian health minister Dr. Basem Naim on Sunday received a medical delegation from Norway for talks on health conditions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Hamas: Sheikh's statement reveals reason of the crime
1 Jun 2009 - The Hamas Movement in the West Bank charged that the statement by Hussein Al-Sheikh, Fatah secretary in the West Bank, pointed to the real reason for the murder in Qalqilia of two Qassam operatives.

Los Angeles Times

Living and breathing the hookah culture 
1 Jun 2009 - Alfonso 'Abou Salim' Ramirez has mastered the art of preparing Middle Eastern tobacco pipes, even carving trendy bowls out of fruit. The Mexican immigrant dreams of visiting Lebanon someday. Standing outside his hookah station at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Glendale, Alfonso "Abou Salim" Ramirez grabbed a red apple and, using a sharp knife, sliced off the top. He flipped the apple over and made four quick incisions, creating a small square. 

6 dead as Palestinian factions clash in West Bank 
1 Jun 2009 - Hamas says the clampdown on one of its armed cells will bring 'tough and harsh reprisal' against the Fatah-led administration in the West Bank. Tension between Palestinian factions exploded in their worst violence in nearly two years as a paramilitary police raid Sunday in the West Bank left six people dead. The clash underscored the risks for the Palestinian Authority as it moves forcefully, with fresh encouragement from President Obama, to disarm militants intent on attacking Israel. 

World Briefing 
1 Jun 2009 - Iran: Homemade bomb found on airliner during flight / Russia: Opposition protest blocked / The Philippines: Grenades kill 2 soldiers, civilian / China: Hong Kong march marks Tiananmen IRAN 

New York Times

6 Die as Palestinian Authority Forces Clash With Hamas
31 May 2009 - Palestinian Authority forces clashed with Hamas militants, leaving six dead in the bloodiest such encounter in two years. 

U.S. Weighs Tactics on Israeli Settlement
1 Jun 2009 - Administration officials are debating how to toughen their stance against Israeli settlement expansion ahead of a presidential speech in Cairo. 

Iran Hangs 3 Men Held in Bombing of Mosque
30 May 2009 - They were accused of being involved in an attack that killed 25 people and wounded more than 100 on Thursday. 


Growing stronger 
Anayat Durrani, Al-Ahram Weekly 5/28/2009
      The right to return is not up for negotiation, reports Anayat Durrani from the Al-Awda conference.
     "Freedom for Palestine, Growing Our Global Movement" was the theme for the seventh Annual International Al-Awda Convention 22-24 May in Garden Grove, California, attracting some 1,000 attendees. The convention marked the 61st year of the ongoing Nakba, or catastrophe, and 61 years of the struggle to return.
     "Our objective is to keep the right of return at the centre of any discussion of the Palestinian cause," said Zahi Damuni, co-founder of Al-Awda.
     Among the speakers was Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed during his service in Iraq. Sheehan gained international attention when she protested against the Iraq war, camping outside President George Bush’s Texas ranch.
     "My son is the victim of US foreign policy, as are the people of Palestine the victim of US foreign policy," said Sheehan. She spoke against the "aid" to Israel and described the US-Israel relationship as an "unholy alliance", affirming that "more Americans would have compassion for the Palestinian cause if they knew the truth."

Prussia on the Mediterranean? 
Roane Carey, The Nation 5/27/2009
      It is an assumption almost universally acknowledged among the liberal American intelligentsia that while the Israeli occupation is repressive and abhorrent, Israel itself is an open, fully democratic state with a lively, argumentative and very free press.
     Perish the thought. After spending three months in Israel on a fellowship, I can say that nearly every member of the liberal Israeli intelligentsia I’ve talked to says something quite different: that their country’s media are seriously diseased, failing to provide the minimal level of fair reporting and serious critical inquiry that are crucial pillars of an open society.
     Americans who don’t read Hebrew or watch Israeli television news may get a skewed view of the spectrum, assuming that Ha’aretz, the smaller-circulation daily read mostly by intellectuals and the political classes--and foreigners, who devour its English-language edition online--is representative, and that critical columnists and reporters like Gideon Levy, Akiva Eldar and Amira Hass are sprinkled throughout the Israeli media. It isn’t, and they aren’t. The larger-circulation dailies Yediot and Ma’ariv, as well as the Jerusalem Post and television news, are tilted much more to the right--just like the mainstream US media, which certainly have nothing to teach Israel in this regard.
     And as for being an open, fully democratic state, most people I talk to speak of a chilling of dissent in recent years, running in parallel with the election of increasingly right-wing governments. The nadir came during the recent Gaza "war." I’ve seen a microcosm of this myself here in Beer-Sheva, at Ben-Gurion University....

Electronic Intifada
In Gaza, women filmmakers find strength behind the camera
1 Jun 2009 - "My career has always been a challenge for me -- simply 'to be or not to be' -- especially under such very difficult circumstances," says Etimad Wshah. Wshah lives in the Jabaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, and is one of a small number of women filmmakers in Gaza. Since 1994 she has trained other women filmmakers at the Palestinian Women's Affairs Center in Gaza City. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

"Boycotts work": An interview with Omar Barghouti
1 Jun 2009 - Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian researcher, commentator and human rights activist and a leader of the Palestinian campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to uphold international law and universal human rights. Barghouti discussed the growing worldwide campaign with The Electronic Intifada contributor Ali Mustafa. 

At a breaking point: "Young Freud in Gaza"
29 May 2009 - In addition to a long list of films exploring themes of social injustice and conflict, Swedish filmmaker PeÅ Holmquist has directed several on Palestine. Young Freud in Gaza (2008), his most recent documentary on the subject, enters the recesses of Palestinian society as it copes with life under Israeli occupation. Directed with Holmquist's longtime partner, Beirut-born Armenian filmmaker and journalist Suzanne Khardalian, the 60-minute film follows Ayed, a 27-year-old psychologist working for the Palestinian Authority's Clinic for Mental Health in northern Gaza. Maymanah Farhat reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

West Bank rights violations on the rise
29 May 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - "I heard voices, I turned around to look, and saw a group of Israeli settlers assaulting my brother Hammad," says Abdallah Wahadin, 82, a Palestinian farmer from Beit Ummar near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. "Three of them surrounded me, while a fourth threw a rock at the back of my head. Lots of blood ran down onto my clothes. Other settlers then joined them," Wahadin told the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. 

In Gaza
harvest challenges
1 Jun 2009 - photo story: Just after 7 am on May 30th, Palestinian farmers in Khoza’a, east of Khan Younis, returned to the land they’d been menaced off of 5 days earlier. “The same day the Israelis dropped papers saying they would shoot at us for being on our land they did shoot at us,” Ahmed, a 22 year old farmer explained.  It was around 10:30, he said. “They were shooting so much that the dirt rose in clouds of dust.” When we arrive on May 30th, the bales of wheat are ready, all neatly and compactly hand-bundled, covering 30 dunums (1 dunum=1000 square metres) of land belonging to Radi Abu Rayder.  He...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel's Newfound Concern for UNIFIL
30 May 2009 - By Belen Fernandez A recent article in the online edition of the Jerusalem Post states that "Israel is becoming increasingly anxious about the fate of UNIFIL if Hezbollah increases its power in upcoming parliamentary elections in Lebanon." Anxiety over UNIFIL’s fate was apparently not an issue in 2006 when an Israeli air strike on a UN post in Khiam killed 4 UN observers; the introduction of the word “increasingly” is thus encouraging. Hezbollah has also been prone to bouts of worrying over the fate of Lebanon’s long-term guests, such as when UNIFIL enlisted the Party of God’s protection following a 2007 car bombing that killed 6 Spanish and Colombian troops. The bombing was attributed to Sunni militants whose proliferation in Lebanon had been encouraged by regional moderates like Fuad Siniora and the United States in order to counterbalance Iran; in other instances of convergence between radicals and moderates, Al Qaeda number two Ayman Al Zawahiri joined Israel in condemning innovative Lebanese answers to the question of who will guard the guards. Cooperation between Hezbollah and UNIFIL was not a new phenomenon, as demonstrated by a 2006 article on entitled “Unifil aided and abetted Hezbollah – provided detailed Israeli troop movement on website.” The article addresses claims by the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Zionist Organization of America that UNIFIL churned out real-time intelligence on Israeli coordinates during the July War while merely ambiguously noting that Hezbollah “fired rockets in large numbers from various locations.” As for more...

'Mucking out' British Politics
29 May 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood - London UK politicians are currently reeling from a public lashing for fiddling their expenses big-time. Such is their arrogance that many, when confronted with their crimes, don't see that they have done anything wrong. The guilty ones who step down will be further enriched with a lavish re-settlement allowance and a big pension pot. To appease voters’ anger Parliament and Government are now promising anti-sleaze reforms. They are calling on the impressive-sounding Committee on Standards in Public Life to investigate and make recommendations. Conservative leader David Cameron, who has expectations of becoming the next British prime minister, talks of purging his party of its cheats and racketeers. But swindling the taxpayer over MPs' expenses is nothing compared to other corruption that's rife in Westminster. It is said that becoming a Friend of Israel is a necessary stepping-stone to high office. As a result supporters of that foreign power are embedded at all levels in the fabric of British political life and at the heart of the Government. Eighteen months ago a group of concerned academics wrote to the Standards Committee complaining about Israel’s “deep penetration” of our political system and how it prevented Britain from taking a principled stand on Middle East affairs, including the Iraq war and the never-ending violations of Palestinian human rights. They asked the committee to consider the activities of the Friends of Israel as a matter for urgent investigation. The chairman, Sir Christopher Kelly, refused. Why? He wouldn't say. But some...

Netanyahu's New Quest: The Game is On
29 May 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud "We've accomplished quite a few things, and I think the most important one is to cement the principle that the path to peace is through negotiations and not through violence." These were the 'encouraging' words modestly uttered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a joint press conference with the US president. The President was then Bill Clinton, and the date was October 2, 1996. In the occupied Palestinian territories, the situation then seemed incredibly grim. But there was no Israeli wall. The settlements were smaller in size and in population. Gaza was besieged, but not to the point of total suffocation. Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu paid a highly anticipated visit to the White House, on May 18, 2009, this time meeting with Barack Obama. “I share with you very much the desire to move the peace process forward. And I want to start peace negotiations with the Palestinians. I would like to broaden the circle of peace to include others in the Arab world,” said Netanyahu. One need not emphasize the harm inflicted upon the Palestinian people during those years. The violence, which Netanyahu seemingly decried in ’96, visited Palestinians countless times. Starting December 27, 2008 and for 22 frightening days, much of Gaza was decimated by the Israeli army, using US weapons, killing and wounding thousands. There is now a giant wall, hundreds of miles in length, snaking around the West Bank, separating Palestinians from their land, livelihoods and any possibility of a true statehood....

Justice Must Prevail: An American Doctor's Account
29 May 2009 - By Bryan Saario Following up upon a Christmas donation to Palestine Children's Relief Fund in 2006, I offered my services as a retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon for one of their future cleft palate missions to Palestine/Israel. I was looking for an opportunity to fulfill a sense of not having done quite enough during my professional career to justify the self indulgent life I was living as an affluent American retiree; and in my research of looking for worthy causes, I had uncovered a disturbing scene of utterly neglected children devoid of medical care, living in the desperate conditions of refugee camps in a time warp of 1948 when their grandparents and great grand- parents were forced to flee their farms and homes. I eagerly accepted PCRF’s invitation to participate in a mission to the West Bank, and in April of 2007 entered though fortified gates and checkpoints into Nablus in the (militarily) occupied Palestinian territories and on to Rafidia Hospital where throngs of parents with their children awaited our surgical team. In a dawn-deep into the night schedule we operated on children who had a plethora of developmental and acquired facial disfigurements of cleft lips and palates, deformed and misaligned jaws, and untreated or poorly treated facial and traumatic jaw injuries stemming from the Israeli Palestinian conflict. In my attempt to contribute something of value to a people in need, I found my specific surgical skills to be limited to an assistant surgeon’s role for the many cases which...

Index | VTJP Archives