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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
8 June , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Israeli prosecution drops charges against a settler filmed while firing at a Palestinian family
9 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Prosecution stated Monday that it is dropping all charges against an extremist Israeli settler, who shot two Palestinians at close range during an evacuation of an illegal settlement outpost in December of 2008. The shooting was captured on tape. 

Netanyahu tells Obama he intends to deliver a speech Sunday
9 Jun 2009 - In a phone conversation between the US President, Barack Obama, and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the later said that he intends to deliver a speech next Sunday to explain his government’s policy regarding peace and security. 

Abu Marzouq calls on Obama to hold direct talks with Hamas
9 Jun 2009 - Mousa Abu Marzouq, deputy chief of the Hamas political bureau called on the American President, Barack Obama, to hold direct talks with Hamas, and added that the US administration should realize that a political solution without Hamas will never succeed. 

Bahar slams Israel’s court decision to extend the remain of detained PLC head
9 Jun 2009 - Dr. Ahmad Bahar, the acting head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) slammed a decision by an Israeli court to extend the remand of the detained PLC head, Dr. Aziz Dweik until further notice, and considered this decision as “blackmail”. 

The Israeli military kidnapped five civilians during attacks in southern West Bank
8 Jun 2009 - Five Palestinian civilians were kidnapped during Israeli military invasions targeting a village near the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning.

Four Palestinians killed in Israeli shelling near Gaza city
8 Jun 2009 - Four Palestinian men were reported dead in an Israeli shelling targeting the border areas near Gaza city on Monday.

Settlers destroy lands owned by a Palestinian and the army kidnaps the owner
8 Jun 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped on a Palestinian farmer from the village of Awarta in the northern West Bank on monday after noon after settlers destroyed his land.

Israeli army demolishes water infrastructure of West Bank village
8 Jun 2009 - The Israeli army has been trying to take out water and electric systems of the small village Baqa, north of the Southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning. Around 5 people sustained injuries as they tried to stop the Israeli army from demolishing their water wells. Jeff Halper, from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) was arrested for trying to obstruct the military. 

Soldiers, settlers, attack peace activists near Hebron
7 Jun 2009 - The Maan News Agency reported Saturday that Israeli soldiers and settlers attacked dozens of International, Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who were protesting against the settlers of Susia illegal settlement outpost, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. 

PCHR prepares 936 lawsuits against Israel for war crimes in Gaza
7 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), based in Gaza, stated that Palestinian lawyers have prepared 936 lawsuits against the Israeli army for committing war crimes against the Palestinians during the Israeli war on Gaza. 

Gaza man killed by ordinance while working in his land
7 Jun 2009 - Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Saturday afternoon that a Palestinian man was killed and another was injured when an ordinance detonated near them while working in their land in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. 

Child dies of wounds sustained during Israel war on Gaza
6 Jun 2009 - Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Saturday that a Palestinian child died of wounds suffered during the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip in which more than 1600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, were killed and thousands were wounded. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF kills four Gaza militants, thwarting apparent kidnap bid
8 Jun 2009 - Military sources say Palestinian militants trying to infiltrate Israel had planned terror attack as well. 

Knesset still without panel for top secret intelligence affairs
7 Jun 2009 - Source told Haaretz government has had to 'sweeten the pill' for MKs not asked to join committee. 

Defense officials to meet on easing Gaza blockade
7 Jun 2009 - Decision to reexamine policy follows Obama's recent criticism of 'continuing humanitarian crisis' in Gaza. 

Report: Palestinians plan to file 936 lawsuits over Gaza 'war crimes'
6 Jun 2009 - Cases include alleged IDF shootings of Gaza children at close range, Der Spiegel reports. 

IDF tells officers: Lose the PowerPoint presentations
7 Jun 2009 - Deputy chief of staff sent open letter, saying slideshows make level of discussion, depth of study superficial. 

Israel to pay Palestinians for damage caused in 2008 Hebron riots
7 Jun 2009 - A total of NIS 250,000 to be paid to 50 residents whose property was damaged during forceful evacuation. 

Hezbollah still funding attacks on Israel from Gaza
7 Jun 2009 - Cairo sources say Lebanese group supports militants to undermine Egyptian regime, Hamas. 

With Israel in mind, Iran starts making new anti-aircraft missile
6 Jun 2009 - Tehran's defense minister says 'Shahin' surface-to-air missile has range of more than 40 kilometers. 

Ma'an News

Israeli blockade may force Blair Gaza sewage project to collapse
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – International peace envoy Tony Blair’s signature project to build a sewage treatment plant in Gaza may collapse because of Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory, Reuters reported on Monday. The news agency obtained an internal World Bank document dated 4 June that tells donors that Israel blocked delivery of pipes, cement, spare parts, and other key equipment needed to complete the project. According to the same report, an attempt to hire contractors for the 75 million US dollar north Gaza project also failed. "No bid was submitted as the bidders did not want to run into the security risk in Gaza," The World Bank said, according to Reuters, "The failure of attracting bidders in the second round will be devastative to the project. " International aid agencies and the United Nations have come up against the problem: Israel’s apparent. . . 

Four Palestinians killed in clashes along Gaza border
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an Exclusive – A dozen Palestinian fighters on horses and in booby-trapped cars attacked Israeli patrols near the Karni crossing east of Gaza City on Monday morning, sources told Ma’an. Initial reports said the fighters abducted an Israeli soldier before Israeli forces shelled them from the air. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli helicopters and artillery fired on the area. Palestinian medical sources confirmed that four dead and two injured men were evacuated to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Three of the slain fighters were identified as Hani Tarabein, Tahir Issa, and Muhannad Al-Minawi, all from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Israeli sources said the operation was aimed at abducting Israeli soldiers before air forces intervened. Israel's army said four Palestinian fighters were killed as they attempted to lay explosives and infiltrate Israel near the Karni crossing. 

Israeli soldiers seize 11 Palestinians in Hebron area
6/8/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers seized a total of 11 Palestinians in the Hebron area on Monday. Local sources said that Medhat Sabry Jaradat, 18, Alfruk Mohammed, 19 Ayman Abdel-Qader Mohammed Jaradat, 17, and his 15-year-old brother, Fadi Jaradat, were arrested when Israeli soldiers invaded the town of Sa’ir. Young men threw stones at the soldiers, who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets. Israeli forces also seized five people in the Al-Bouwayrah and Al-Baq’a areas, east of Hebron: Mohammed Jaber Nader, 17, Khadr Naji Jaber, 40, Saadia Mohammed Jaber, a high school student, and Maher Meswadeh, 19, and Sahib Meswadeh, 23. The five were arrested when they protested Israeli bulldozers who demolished five water collection reservoirs that Israeli authorities say were illegal. During early morning raids in the town of Surif, north of Hebron, Israeli forces. . . 

French company to withdraw from Jerusalem rail project
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Under pressure from pro-Palestine campaigners, a French company is poised to withdraw from the controversial Jerusalem Light Rail project that links the city center to illegal West Bank settlements. The company Veolia, which was supposed to operate the transport system after its construction, is now abandoning the project and also seeking to sell its 5% stake in Citypass light rail consortium, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The growing movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel hailed the move as a victory. “This great victory came as a result of years of hard, principled, meticulous and persistent work by French solidarity groups,” wrote Omar Barghouti of the BDS National Committee on the BDS movement website, also noting the contributions of groups across Europe. 

Israeli forces apprehend Palestinian near Qalqiliya
6/8/2009 - Qalqilia – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Monday morning stormed the northern West Bank town of Sanniriya southeast of Qalqiliya and apprehended 30-year-old Samir Muhammad Omar. Local sources said Israeli forces besieged Omar’s home at 1am before they detained him, taking him to an unknown destination. [end] 

73 Gaza children to receive trauma counseling in Poland
6/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an –Seventy-three Palestinian children left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing on Monday morning en route to Poland where they will receive trauma counseling for the affects of the recent Israeli war. The project coordinator of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program said that the Polish president will send a plane to Al-Arish, Egypt, near Rafah, to transport the children to Poland. Polish mental health workers are to accompany the children throughout the three-week visit. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the three-week Israeli military offensive against Gaza in December and January. [end] 

Israeli soldiers arrest Nablus area man
6/8/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man from the West Bank village of Awarta, near Nablus in the aftermath of a settler arson attack on his farm on Monday. According to Ghassan Dughlus, a Palestinian official in charge of settlement issues in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that dozens of settlers set fire to 20 dunums (20,000 square meters) of land owned by 37-year-old Amjad Suleiman Qawariq in Awarta near the settlement of Itamar overnight. When Qawariq went to survey the damage on his land on Monday, Israeli soldiers seized him. [end] 

PA security forces dispose of Israeli ordnance near Jenin
6/8/2009 - Jenin – Ma’an – The Palestinian National Security Forces said they safely disposed of unexploded Israeli ordnance found near a house in the West Bank village of Zababda, south of Jenin, on Monday. The public relations section at the National Security Forces branch in Jenin said officers received a report of the suspicious object and rushed to Zababda. Security men safely disposed of the object. Brigadier Radi Asida called on Palestinians to stay away from such objects and to contact the security forces if they find them. [end] 

Largest European MP delegation to visit Gaza on Tuesday
6/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The largest European delegation of parliament members is scheduled to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday through the Egyptian border, said Hamdi Sha’ath, head of the official anti-siege committee in Gaza. According to a statement released by the committee’s information office, “The delegation comprises 41 European parliamentarians and mayors of European cities, representing 15 countries. The delegation will be headed by Luisa Morgantini, vice-president of the European Parliament. Sha’ath explained that the delegation would visit areas which Israeli forces destroyed during the last military offensive against the Gaza Strip. [end] 

Israeli forces remove Jal’ud checkpoint in Qalqiliya
6/8/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Israeli forces began removing the southern Jal’ud checkpoint in Qalqiliya governorate on Monday, following an announcement the day before. Witnesses said they saw Israeli soldiers taking away cement blocks at the checkpoint while other blocks were still at the eastern checkpoint of the governorate, known as “DCO checkpoint,” which soldiers abandoned on Sunday. Israel had previously informed the Palestinian side that they were to take both checkpoints away four years after having erected them. [end] 

Report: US plans to strengthen PA security forces
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US security coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Keith Dayton, is preparing to submit a new plan aimed at enlarging Palestinian security services in the West Bank from three to 10 brigades. According to the Israeli daily newspaper Ma'ariv, Dayton’s plan is meant to tighten PA control in the West Bank after fearing that Hamas will attempt to stage a coup and take control as in the Gaza Strip. Dayton began supervising training of PA security services in the West Bank two years ago. Three brigades received training in Jordan under Dayton’s supervision, and they are now operating in the West Bank. Maariv added that Israel recently approved a PA request to train an additional brigade in Jordan, and it will be ready soon to deploy in the West Bank. A high-profile Israeli army officer told Ma'ariv that the new US plan to strengthen. . . 

Mitchell: Obama wants ’immediate’ Palestine-Israel talks
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – US President Barack Obama wants an “immediate” resumption in talks toward a comprehensive peace treaty, Middle East Envoy George Mitchell said on Monday. "The President has told me to exert all efforts to create the circumstance when the parties can begin immediate discussions," Mitchell told reporters at the start of a donor conference to support the Palestinian Authority in Oslo, Norway, according to Reuters. Reuters reported that Mitchell, who is making his way to the Middle East, said the aim of such talks was "a comprehensive peace and normalization of relations" between Israel and its Arab neighbors, which would also serve "the security interests of the United States. ”Mitchell will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Tuesday, and will seek an official response to Obama’s call for a total freeze on expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank. 

One Gaza crossing open
6/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an – Israel opened the Gaza Strip’s Kerem Shalom crossing for the transfer of humanitarian aid but closed the Karni crossing and the Nahal Oz fuel terminal on Tuesday. According to Palestinian border official Raed Fattouh, 141 truckloads of supplies were delivered to the Kerem Shalom crossing. A truck loaded with chlorine was also allowed to transfer its delivery to the Palestinian Water Authority. Fattouh said that Israel informed the Palestinian side that the Karni grain terminal and the Nahal Oz fuel terminal would both be closed. Separately on Monday Palestinian fighters attacked Israeli soldiers near the Karni crossing, resulting in the deaths of four fighters. 

Al-Maliki discusses Moscow summit with Russian officials
6/8/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki discussed plans for a proposed Moscow Mideast peace conference with a top Russian official on Monday. The proposal came up as the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Al-Maliki met with the director of the Middle East and North Africa Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Vershin, the Russian representative to the Palestinian Authority, Ahmad Subuh and a number of other officials. Al-Malki told the Russian officials, “The Moscow conference is a pressing necessity to launch peace negotiations and hope in the region, to end the Palestinians suffering and to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What Israel is doing, in amplifying the Iranian nuclear issue, is an attempt to divert the attention from conflict’s source in the region, the Israeli occupation. 

Egypt police discover eight Gaza tunnels
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egyptian police said they found eight smuggling tunnels along the border with the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday. Police said that four tunnels were found in the Salah Ad-Din area, two in the As-Sarsouria area, and two in the Al-Jabour area. They also said they confiscated a large quantity of goods intended to be smuggled into the Strip. Egypt’s security forces claim they have discovered more than 300 tunnels this year. Due to Israel’s closure of its borders with Gaza, the tunnels are the only reliable means of importing goods into the Strip. [end] 

Israel bans PLO official from travelling to UN conference
6/8/2009 - in 2007Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel banned a top Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official from travelling to a UN conference on Palestinian rights that began in Indonesia on Monday. Abdul Rahim Mallouh, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was to represent the Palestinian president at the UN Asian and Pacific Meeting on the Question of Palestine. Writing from the meeting in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, UN official Paul Badji said, “I denounced in the most definite terms the Israeli practices of which you were a victim as yet another example of the arbitrary policies of the occupying Power in the Palestinian Territory under its control. ”Badji, the chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, also expressed “respect and solidarity during these very trying times for your people. 

’Obama’s peace drive will fail without us,’ says Hamas
6/8/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – A senior Hamas leader called on the US to open direct talks with his group on Monday, predicting that President Barack Obama’s peace initiative would fail otherwise. Hamas' exiled deputy political leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, also told the AP that the group would not renounce violence, a key US condition for talks, which Obama reiterated in his landmark speech in Cairo last week. The Obama administration should change that position, Abu Marzouk told AP, "because they know that without Hamas their efforts will not succeed. " The US considers Hamas a terrorist group, although it won internationally-supervised parliamentary elections in 2006. Following a 2007 takeover, Hamas currently controls the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority (PA) under President Mahmoud Abbas currently only controls the West Bank. 

Netanyahu updates Obama on negotiations speech
6/9/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu updated US President Barack Obama on an upcoming speech outlining his policy on peacemaking in a phone conversation on Monday night. According Netanyahu’s office, the conversation was “positive and dealt with a series of issues. ”Netanyahu “updated President Obama on his intention to make a diplomatic speech at the beginning of next week, in which he will outline his policy to achieve peace and security. US President Obama said that he is looking forward to hearing the speech,” according to a statement. Meanwhile Obama’s Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell arrived in Israel on Monday evening for talks in which he is expected to urge a halt to construction in illegal West Bank settlements, according to Reuters. Earlier Mitchell said that Obama is seeking an “immediate” resumption in Palestinian-Israeli peace. . . 

Five arrested by de facto government for smuggling in Gaza
6/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - The de facto government in Gaza's General Intelligence service detained four Palestinians for facilitating the escape of a wanted criminal into Egypt on Monday. The men had reportedly been bribed, according to investigators, and had confessed under interrogation. They were transferred to the Strip's judicial system for legal proceedings. Meanwhile, Rafah investigators seized a quantity of illegal drugs smuggled through the tunnels, arresting another 44-year-old man who was found with 3,560 pills. [end] 

Abbas: Joint exams in West Bank, Gaza demonstrate unity
6/8/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited two schools in the Ramallah district in the central West Bank to check up on the general secondary exams, which started Monday morning both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “I hope these exams represent an element of Palestinian national unity,” Abbas said. Palestinian Education Minister Lamis Al-Alami and several of the ministry’s officials accompanied Abbas during the visit he paid to Al-Bireh Girls School and a Lutheran school in Ramallah. Acting governor of Ramallah and mayors of Ramallah, Al-Bireh and Betunia, as well as security commanders, joined the visit. Abbas thanked the Ministry of Education for its efforts in holding general secondary exams jointly in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for the third consecutive year, wishing success for the 86,000 thousand students taking their exams. 

Classes cancelled at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University fearing fighting
6/8/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an – Al-Azhar University in Gaza was forced to suspend classes on Monday fearing political infighting among students. The Fatah student bloc at the university accused the Hamas-aligned Islamic bloc of setting fire to rooms and offices in the student union building on Sunday afternoon, sources at the university told Ma’an. The University administration decided to cancel classes on Monday in order to avoid tension in the wake of Sunday’s events, calling on all Palestinian universities to neutralize political conflict and restore reasoned debate. Meanwhile the Fatah Youth Organization condemned the alleged arson at the student union, and called on all concerned parties to put an end to acts that violate the sanctity of Palestinian campuses, and for the perpetrators to be held accountable. 

Senior Hamas leaders headed for Cairo talks
6/8/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A Hamas leaders left Gaza and Damascus on Monday en route to Cairo following a formal invitation from Egypt to discuss an upsurge in internecine violence. Hamas said they were invited by Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Sulaiman, the powerful official in charge of mediating Hamas-Fatah talks. In a rare move, Hamas’ top leader, Khalid Mash’al is said to be travelling to Cairo from Damascus, where he lives in exile. Also from the Damascus branch, Moussa Abu Marzouq and Muhammad Nasr are joining. From Gaza, senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Az-Zahhar, Bassam Na’im and spokesperson Taher An-Nunu will join the talks. Hamas Spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said that the talks will focus on the recent fighting between Hamas men and Palestinian Authority forces in the West Bank city of Nablus, which left nine people dead last week. 

PA police seize drugs in Hebron
6/8/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Palestinian police said they seized 50. 5 grams of narcotics and arrested two people in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. Brigadier Ramadan Awad of the Hebron police department said that his forces received a tip about drug dealers operating near an Israeli military installation near Hebron. Police acted on the information, catching the two “red handed. ”The two suspects were taken into custody for investigation and legal proceedings. [end] 

The National

March 14 coalition wins in Lebanon
8 Jun 2009 - There is little optimism on the streets of Beirut that violence can be avoided following the defeat of the group's Hizbollah-led rivals.

Hizbollah chief congratulates winners
8 Jun 2009 - Lebanon's pro-Western coalition declares victory after fending off the Shiite militant group Hizbollah and its allies for the majority in parliament.

Loyalty oath' to keep Arabs out of Galilee town 
7 Jun 2009 - A community in northern Israel changes its bylaws to demand new residents pledge support for Zionism, Jewish heritage and settlement of the land". 

Festive atmosphere on polling day
7 Jun 2009 - Crowds start out early on Mount Lebanon, with supporters waving the colourful flags of their chosen parties as they go to vote.

Lebanon's heroes tell their stories
7 Jun 2009 - Documentary film-maker focuses on people cleaning up unexploded Israeli cluster bombs in Lebanon speaking of their fears and hopes for the future.

Polls close in Lebanon
7 Jun 2009 - Early results were expected during the night but official results were not expected before Monday.

A plea from the forgotten people
6 Jun 2009 - Correspondent's notebook Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Syria are waiting to be resettled. For most of them, returning home is not an option.


Nasrallah concedes election defeat
8 Jun 2009 - Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah congratulates March 14 bloc after it retained its majority.

US pushes urgent Middle East talks
8 Jun 2009 - Envoy returning to region to press Israel and Palestinians to hold "immediate talks".

Palestinian PM seeks aid money
8 Jun 2009 - Aid received over past five months amounts to less than half of the $1.5bn needed, IMF says.

Palestinians killed in border clash
8 Jun 2009 - Three fighters shot by Israeli forces near Nahal Oz crossing, Gaza hospital officials say.

Iran poll debate sparks clashes
7 Jun 2009 - Supporters and opponents of Ahmadinejad scuffle in Tehran square after TV face-off.


OPT: Sewage warning to swimmers, fishermen
GAZA CITY Friday, June 05, 2009 (IRIN) - The World Health Organization (WHO) in the Gaza Strip, in conjunction with the Gaza health ministry, began a public awareness campaign this week to warn swimmers and fishermen of raw sewage discharges, and the potential dangers.

OPT: Gaza building project experiments with clay, rubble 
GAZA CITY Thursday, June 04, 2009 (IRIN) - In the face of the ongoing Israeli ban on imports of building materials Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are looking at new building methods, and one project is using clay and rubble. 

Inter Press Service

LEBANON: March 14 Marches Ahead 
BEIRUT, Jun 8 (IPS) - The Jun. 7 election in Lebanon has provided another dramatic turn of events in the country's tumultuous political arena. While early opinion polls had pointed to a landslide sweep for the March 8 opposition that prominently includes Hizbullah, the Western and Arab backed March 14...

MIDEAST: Israel Cracks Down on Minority Rights 
RAMALLAH, Jun 8 (IPS) - Three bills recently making the rounds in the Israeli parliament have caused outrage amongst Israel's Arab minority.

LEBANON: Hizbullah Punching Above Its Numbers 
BEIRUT, Jun 6 (IPS) - Understanding Lebanon's complex political system is no easy task. In a relatively small country of about four million, Lebanon has more than 18 religious communities and dozens of active political parties. The sectarian political system divides the 128 seats of parliament between 10 of those...

LEBANON: Women Battle for Citizenship Rights 
BEIRUT, Jun 6 (IPS) - One can be born in Lebanon and live here all one's life, and still not be a Lebanese citizen. Lebanon is one of few remaining countries in the Middle East where a mother is unable to pass citizenship to her children.

Stop The Wall

Another killed in Ni'lin
5 Jun 2009 - Occupation forces shot and killed Yousef Sadiq Srour during a demonstration against the Wall this afternoon in Ni'lin. He was shot in the chest with a live bullet while he was trying to remove an injured person from the front lines of the demonstration. Soldiers attacked Ni'lin in the morning, shooting at villagers who were in the midst of praying with tear gas and live ammunition. Four other people were shot with live bullets today; three were hit in the leg and the fourth in the kidney. [

Boycotting in Qalqilya
6 Jun 2009 - On Wednesday, Palestinian students, activists, professors and politicians gathered in Qalqilya to discuss the boycott movement in the West Bank. Some 70 people attended, a majority of them students, to present ideas and assess the current successes as well as the obstacles to moving BDS forward in their schools and communities. [

PCHR Latest

(08-06-2009) PCHR Is Concerned Over Arrest Campaigns against Fatah Activists in Gaza and against Hamas Activists in the West Bank

Palestinian Security Officer and 2 Members of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades Killed in Qalqilya

PCHR Weekly Report

(28 May- 03 June  2008)

International Solidarity Movement

Another farmer injured by Israeli army whilst working in his field
International Solidarity Movement - Farming Under Fire - 5 June 2009 - On Friday 5th June 2009, Khaled Ismail Mohammed Jahjuh was shot in his lower spine by the Israeli army as he was leaving his fields in the village of Shoka in Rafah. Khaled had been working in his fields which are located 1. 5 kilometers from the Israeli border, together with his seven year old son Ahmed, since the early morning. At around 10 am they loaded the crops on their jeep and as soon as they started to drive an explosive bullet measuring 800 millimeters, was shot which entered the jeep through the left side door, passed through the driver's seat and entered Khaled's body. Families living in Shoka witnessed the incident and reported seeing an Israeli army hammer shoot. The bullet has damaged Khaled's nerve system leaving him with a dropped foot and unable to walk. The exit wound on his back is too large to be closed. 

Farmers in Saffa persist; access again denied
International Solidarity Movement - Palestine Solidarity Project - 7 June 2009 - This Saturday once again, international and Israeli activists joined farmers from the Saffa area of Beit Ommar on their land near the settlement of Bat Ayn. For the last two months, farmers have been forced to use Israeli and international accompaniment as they pick grape leaves and tend to their land in order to prevent attack from right-wing extremist settlers. The Israeli military has made it even more difficult by constantly ordering the entire area a closed military zone; an act that is supposed to be used temporarily but which this district commander has used to prevent farmers from accessing their land freely for 2 months, in violation of an Israeli supreme court order. The military, for the second week in a row, selectively enforced the closed military zone against the farmers and solidarity activists while doing nothing to prevent the settlers from moving towards the farmers. . . 

Settler documented firing in Hebron won’t be tried
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News - 8 June 2009 - The Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office plans in the coming days to renege on an indictment filed against Ze'ev Braude, who was accused of firingat an Arab family during the evacuationof a disputed building in the West Bank city of Hebron in December 2008. Ynet learned on Monday afternoon that the decision was made following the State's refusal to disclose evidence defined as classified information during the trial. Braude, who has been under house arrest in the past few months, was indicted for shooting and injuring two Palestinians during a clash with an Arab family living in Hebron. Part of the incident was documented in a video published later by several media outlets. About three months ago Braude's lawyer, Attorney Ariel Atari, appealed the Supreme Court, asking to receive classified information from the State Prosecutor's Office. 

Jerusalem rail operator jumps ship, Tel Aviv group isn’t even responding
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - 8 June 2009 - The light rail projects for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are both facing difficulties. In a body-blow to the future Jerusalem light rail, the French company Veolia, which was supposed to run the train system after its construction, is abandoning the project. Moving on to Tel Aviv, the city can't even get a response to the compromise it offered MTS, the consortium supposed to build an urban train system, in order to settle issues in dispute. It's waited a month and gotten no answer, causing not a little consternation in government circles. As for the Jerusalem system, Veolia not only wants out of running the future train; it's trying to sell its 5% stake in Citypass, the light rail consortium. In recent days Veolia has been sending feelers to the Egged or Dan bus consortiums, to potentially replace it as project operator. 

Leftists protest siege on Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News - 7 June 2009 - Dozens of left-wing activists arrived at the Erez crossing Sunday morning with sweets, toys, food items and medicines they asked to transfer to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli siege on the Hamas-ruled territory. In protest of the IDF's ban on the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Strip, the activists, all members of the Coalition of Women for Peace and the American group Code Pink, erected a playground on the Israeli side of the crossing. "We came here despite knowing that the chances of transferring these ‘goods that threaten Israel's security' were slim. We want to send a message that Gaza is the biggest prison in the world," activist Lena Haskiya (24) told Ynet. "The Israeli army won't allow children to play on a swing set because it's a security risk? It's just a playground," she said. “We want the entire world to see what the IDF is preventing us from transferring to Gaza. ”. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

What exactly did the U.S., Israel agree on settlement construction?
8 Jun 2009 - West Bank settlements have long been a bone of contention between Israel and the United States, which views them as an obstacle to peace. Over the past few years, however, Israel tried to reach a tacit understanding with Washington on settlement expansion, which is now put to the test: President Barack Obama demands a complete and utter construction freeze, whereas Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on building in settlement blocs, as his predecessors Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert during George W. Bush's term in office. ...

Netanyahu updates Obama on policy speech
8 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama talked on the telephone last night, amid mounting tensions in the relations between the two countries over Washington's demand that Israel freeze all settlement construction. ... 

Defeated Hezbollah accepts Lebanon election results
7 Jun 2009 - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday he accepted the result of the country's parliamentary election in which a U.S.-backed alliance defeated his group and its allies. ...

'Obama peace push will fail without talking to Hamas'
7 Jun 2009 - An exiled Hamas leader urged Barack Obama on Monday to talk directly with the militant group, saying it is the representative of the Palestinian people and the American president's drive for Mideast peace is impossible without them. ...

ANALYSIS / Hezbollah may have lost, but it will still rule Lebanon
7 Jun 2009 - The victory of Lebanon's Western-backed 14 March alliance in Sunday's elections essentially signifies the victory of sensible Lebanon - a state keen on ensuring its sovereignty and keeping distance from the long arm of Syria and Iran. ...

The Guardian

Israel's settlement setback | Seth Freedman
8 Jun 2009 - Obama's anti-settlement stance is giving the Israeli right a taste of its own medicine – and its howls of protest ring hollow President Obama's anti-settlement stance has, unsurprisingly, prompted an outpouring of wailing and teeth-gnashing among...

Letters: Obama's battle for Muslim hearts and minds
7 Jun 2009 - In his speech ( Barack Obama pledges new beginning between US and Muslims, 4 June ), President Obama preaches to the Palestinians living under a brutal military occupation that they "must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing...

Supermarkets may face action on Israeli labels, say lawyers
7 Jun 2009 - Retailers including UK supermarkets may be at risk of prosecution for misleading consumers by selling goods from the Palestinian Territories under the label "West Bank", lawyers have warned. Fruit, wine and cosmetics originating from illegal Israeli...

A war of water | Jens Toyberg-Frandzen
6 Jun 2009 - Environmental problems in Israel and the Palestinian territories can't wait for the resumption of peace talks The water spouts from a broken pipe, forming a perfect circle before it is dispersed by the wind and falls...

Ha'aretz National page

Netanyahu prevails as rightist MKs tapped for key judiciary panel
7 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored a political victory on Monday after his preferred choices for a seat on the Judicial Appointment Committee prevailed in a secret parliamentary ballot. ...

Ex-soccer star Revivo flees Israel due to mob threats on his life 
7 Jun 2009 - Former Israeli soccer star Haim Revivo was recently forced to leave Israel due to threats on his life from the local mafia. ...

Prosecution drops indictment against settler filmed shooting Palestinians
7 Jun 2009 - The prosecution has announced that it is dropping the indictment against Ze'ev Braude, the West Bank settler who was alleged to have shot two Palestinians at close range during the evacuation of a disputed house in Hebron in December 2008, and was caught on film doing so. ... 

Israel ministry wages settlement war against U.S.
7 Jun 2009 - Interior Minister Eli Yishai has begun to make good on a pledge to exploit all the resources of his ministry, "its branches and its influences over local government" to expand settlements in the territories. ... 

Ex-finance minister Hirchson guilty of multimillion shekel fraud
7 Jun 2009 - The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday convicted former finance minister Abraham Hirchson of multimillion shekel fraud. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Terror attack on Gaza security fence thwarted
8 Jun 2009 - Source: Government of Israel

Palestinian homes at risk in occupied West Bank
8 Jun 2009 - Source: Amnesty

Secretary-General, addressing Asia-Pacific Meeting on Question of Palestine, voices serious concern about Gaza situation, Israeli actions in West Bank
8 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

RCA, UNRWA discuss cooperation to help Palestinian refugees
8 Jun 2009 - Source: Emirates News Agency

OPT: Israel considers easing Gaza blockade
8 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Viewpoint - Doughnuts for residency
8 Jun 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

OPT: No talks if Israel won't accept two-state solution - Abbas
8 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Assessment of small ruminant breeders in rural Hebron, Jericho, Bethlehem and Ramallah
8 Jun 2009 - Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, Food and Agriculture Organization

YNet News

US says not trying to topple Bibi
8 Jun 2009 - As US-Israeli tensions persist, US officials assure Barak during his visit to Washington that the Obama administration is not trying to topple Netanyahu's government. Special envoy Mitchell lands in Israel for round of meetings in bid to heal rift, denies he accused Israel of 'lying all these years'

PA: Hamas West Bank terror plot exposed
8 Jun 2009 - Officials say member of Islamist group admitted to receiving 1.5 million euros to establish infrastructure aimed at undermining Abbas' regime 

Obama tells Netanyahu he is anticipating his speech
8 Jun 2009 - Associates say PM's speech will aim to minimize dispute with US over settlement, stress Israel's willingness to dismantle illegal outposts 

Latin American leaders 'mobilize support for Israel'
8 Jun 2009 - Over 50 Latin American officials arrive for Jerusalem International Conference; Minister Misezhnikov: You are here to help transform Middle East

Officer who killed Palestinian in Naalin under investigation
8 Jun 2009 - Border Guard officer who shot protestor dead during Friday's violent rally against West Bank security barrier says he opened fire because his life was in danger 

Palestinians: US will demand IDF pullout from West Bank cities 
8 Jun 2009 - Ahead of US envoy Mitchell's visit to region, PA demands control of positions it held prior to outbreak of second intifada in 2000; 'we lived up to our end of the bargain, now it's time Israel reciprocates,' Palestinian official says 

Mazuz: No problem for Tibi to visit Qatar
8 Jun 2009 - Attorney general rejects MK Ben Ari's request to examine MK Tibi's visit to Arab state where he met with representatives from Syria, Libya and Yemen

Obama praises Lebanon's 'courage'
8 Jun 2009 - US president congratulates Lebanese people for their 'commitment to democracy' after official election results award resounding victory to anti-Syrian camp


Investigation closed in case of Susiya settler attack
6 Jun 2009 - On 8 June '08, four settlers clubbed Palestinian shepherds near Susiya. A relative of the victims documented the attack with a B'Tselem camera. Recently, the Hebron police closed the investigation on grounds of “offender unknown”.

Testimonies: Settlers stone Palestinians
3 Jun 2009 - On 1 June 2009, settlers blocked a road near the Qedumim settlement and threw stones at vehicles. Testimonies given to B'Tselem indicate that the settlers assaulted a minibus carrying construction workers, wounding three of them. Soldiers at the site refu

Daily Star

Israei troops kill four Gazans with explosives-laden horses 
8 Jun 2009 - Gaza fighters equipped with explosives-laden horses approached the Israeli border early Monday, after which a battle that left four gunmen dead ensued, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The incident marked a serious flare-up along the border, which has remained tense but relatively quiet since a three-week military offensive in January.

'Anyone but Ahmadinejad' sentiment gathers steam among Iranian youth 
8 Jun 2009 - The young Iranians cruising noisily around upscale northern Tehran in cars plastered with election posters have only one thing on their minds: denying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term. Millions of reform-minded Iranians stayed away from the polls in 2005, disillusioned by how hardliners had stymied former President Mohammad Khatami's liberal initiatives.

Israel risks losing US financial support if settlement expansion continues 
8 Jun 2009 - Israel's economy, unscathed by costly wars in Lebanon and Gaza, faces a new challenge, this time from an ally - the United States. Differences with US President Barack Obama over Jewish settlement of Occupied West Bank land that Palestinians want for a state has some experts predicting a price in terms of US fiscal support and investment for Israel.

Palestinian Information Center

Ramahi: The PA practices in W.B are a practical application of the roadmap plan
9 Jun 2009 - Dr. Mahmoud Al-Ramahi, the secretary-general of the PLC, said that the Qalqiliya events and the political arrest campaigns were a practical application of the roadmap plan.

MP Bardawil hopes EU parliamentary visit would help change western positions
9 Jun 2009 - MP Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil has welcomed the visit to Gaza Strip by a big European parliamentary delegation hoping that it would contribute to explaining the oppression befalling the Palestinian people.

Maariv: Dayton plans to increase Abbas’s forces to eliminate Hamas in W. Bank
9 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Maariv newspaper revealed that US officer Keith Dayton intends to increase Abbas’s security forces in order to be more able to eliminate the Palestinian resistance spearheaded by Hamas.

Hamas MPs condemn continued detention of speaker
9 Jun 2009 - Hamas PLC members in the West Bank have condemned the Israeli court decision to continue holding PLC speaker Dr. Aziz Dwaik until a new sentence is passed against him.

Sawafte warns of new Israeli settlement project in O. Jerusalem
9 Jun 2009 - Faze' Sawafte, one of the leading political members of the Hamas Movement in the West Bank, has warned of a new Israeli settlement scheme in Beit Hanina, in occupied Jerusalem.

Haneyya: Zionist escalation reveals aggressive intention
9 Jun 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya on Monday charged that the Israeli occupation forces' bombardment of Gaza earlier today pointed to aggressive intention against the Gaza Strip.

Hamas delegation led by Mishaal in Cairo
9 Jun 2009 - Hamas has said that a delegation of the Movement led by Khaled Mishaal is heading to Cairo on Monday in response to an official Egyptian invitation to discuss resuming Palestinian dialog.

Gov't against siege: Biggest ever EU parliamentary delegation to visit Gaza
9 Jun 2009 - The government committee to break the siege declared that the biggest ever European parliamentary delegation is to visit the Gaza Strip on Monday to inspect the devastated areas in Gaza.

Four resistance fighters killed in clash with IOF troops
9 Jun 2009 - Four Palestinian resistance fighters were reportedly killed on Monday morning during a clash with an Israeli occupation forces' unit east of Gaza city, local sources told PIC reporter.

Israeli court adjourns new sentence against PLC speaker
9 Jun 2009 - The Israeli military court in Ofer has adjourned sentencing Dr. Aziz Dwaik, the speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, for the second time until Monday, lawyer Fadi Al-Qawasme said.

Los Angeles Times

Pro-U.S. March 14 coalition wins in Lebanon 
8 Jun 2009 - The Western-backed March 14 bloc upsets Hezbollah's alliance in general elections, unofficial results show. The American-backed political alliance of Lebanese parties fended off a strong challenge from a coalition led by Hezbollah on Sunday in a closely watched election that could have major repercussions, Lebanese news media reported, citing unofficial preliminary figures. 

Iranian presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai calls for peace 
8 Jun 2009 - The former soldier and insurgent who launched two of Iran's most acclaimed news websites says he can smooth Iran's relations with the international community. Like so many of his generation, Mohsen Rezai is a fighter. 

World Briefing 
8 Jun 2009 - Europe: Conservatives gain in European Parliament elections / Israel: Netanyahu to unveil peace plan / Israel: 7 Arabs charged in 2005 killing / Myanmar: Karen refugees flee to Thailand EUROPE 

New York Times

News Analysis: In Lebanese Election, Hopeful Signs for U.S.
8 Jun 2009 - Gains by the American-aligned coalition could mark a significant shift in regional dynamics, with another major election, in Iran, just four days away. 

Huge Campaign Rallies Snarl Tehran
8 Jun 2009 - A pair of sprawling campaign rallies brought Iran’s capital virtually to a standstill on Monday, ahead of Friday’s presidential elections. 

Israel Kills 4 Gunmen on Gaza Border
8 Jun 2009 - Israeli forces on Monday killed four gunmen from Gaza who attacked an army patrol along the Gaza border in one of the most audacious raids since the January war. 


Scott Horton Interviews Ray McGovern - June 5th, 2009 - Antiwar. com - Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses USS Liberty survivor Terry Halbardier’s belated Silver Star award, LBJ’s personal involvement in preventing military aid from reaching the besieged USS Liberty, two major theories explaining why Israel attacked the ship and Adm. Mike Mullen’s groundbreaking mention of the Liberty in an apparent attempt to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran. [end] 

Supermarkets may face action on Israeli labels, say lawyers 
The Guardian - 7 June 2009 - The Guardian - Retailers including UK supermarkets may be at risk of prosecution for misleading consumers by selling goods from the Palestinian Territories under the label "West Bank", lawyers have warned. Fruit, wine and cosmetics originating from illegal Israeli settlements are among the goods that lawyers representing Palestinian interests argue are regularly being wrongly labelled, so that buyers might conclude they are actually produced by Palestinians. In a separate issue, they say illegal settlements are also wrongly benefiting from preferential trade agreements with Israel, which are meant only for goods from inside its pre-1967 borders. " The use of the expression 'West Bank' may in many cases fail to give the consumer the full picture," said barrister Kieron Beal from Matrix Chambers. He added that in other cases, "where goods have come from the occupied Palestinian Territories they should not be labelled as having their place of origin as Israel. " 

Settler documented firing in Hebron won’t be tried 
YNetNews - State decides to renege on indictment filed against Ze'ev Braude for shooting and injuring Palestinians so as not to reveal classified information in court - The Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office plans in the coming days to renege on an indictment filed against Ze'ev Braude, who was accused of firing at an Arab family during the evacuation of a disputed building in the West Bank city of Hebron in December 2008. Ynet learned on Monday afternoon that the decision was made following the State's refusal to disclose evidence defined as classified information during the trial. Braude, who has been under house arrest in the past few months, was indicted for shooting and injuring two Palestinians during a clash with an Arab family living in Hebron. Part of the incident was documented in a video published later by several media outlets. 

AP Edits Palestinian Suffering Out of Obama’s Speech 
KABOfest - KABOfest - 6/8/2009 - An alert KABOBfest reader noted that an AP transcript of Obama’s speech “as provided by CQ Transcriptions” left out the President’s comments on the suffering of the Palestinians. The AP’s version has him jump from his moving description of Nazi crimes against the Jews to a warning against the dangers of a nuclear armed Iran:Six million Jews were killed, more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless. It is ignorant, and it is hateful. It’s about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path. In the transcripts posted on the White House’s website, the President’s words on the Palestinian experience are posted:On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they’ve endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations — large and small — that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. (Applause. 


Electronic Intifada
Hamas leader to Obama: Policy, not rhetoric
8 Jun 2009 - DAMASCUS (IPS) - The head of Hamas's political bureau, Khaled Meshal, gave a qualified welcome here Thursday to the big speech that US President Barack Obama addressed to the Muslim world in Cairo. "The speech was cleverly written in the way it addressed the Muslim world ... and in the way it showed respect to the Muslim heritage," Meshal told IPS in an exclusive interview. "But I think it's not enough. What's needed are deeds, actions on the ground, and a change of policies." 

Rights group decries political arrests in Gaza, West Bank
8 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights expresses is concern regarding the arrest campaign waged by security services acting on behalf of the governments in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. These campaigns target members of the political opposition: Hamas activists have been arrested in the West Bank, while Fatah activists have been arrested in the Gaza Strip. 

Israeli towns adopt "loyalty oaths" to bar Arab residents
8 Jun 2009 - A community in northern Israel has changed its bylaws to demand that new residents pledge support for "Zionism, Jewish heritage and settlement of the land" in a thinly-veiled attempt to block Arab applicants from gaining admission. Jonathan Cook reports from the Galilee.

The Darfur diversion: "Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror"
8 Jun 2009 - Mass slaughter perpetrated by the big powers, from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, is normalized through labels such as "counterinsurgency," "pacification" and "war on terror," while similar acts carried out by states out of favor result in the severest of charges. It is this politics of naming that is the subject of Mahmood Mamdani's explosive new book, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics and the War on Terror . Muhammad Idrees Ahmad reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
among the martyrs
8 Jun 2009 - Mohammed points to a pair of shoes and says “there were four of them, my friends and colleagues, sitting on the wall looking out at the sea.”  Like Mohammed, the men he mourns worked as policemen along the sea road. “It was during the first strikes, the morning of December 27th,” he recalls. “There were 3 F-16 bombs, all at once. I wasn’t with my friends, I was a little ways away. The blast threw me about 30 m.” He’s a youngish man, mid-20s, and his injuries have healed, unlike so many. “After I was able to get to my feet, I ran towards the spot where they’d been sitting,”...

Palestine Chronicle
How Much Really Separates Obama and Netanyahu?
7 Jun 2009 - By Jennifer Loewenstein Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama have one thing very much in common: both of them have nearly the same vision for the future of “Palestine”. They may not recognize it yet, but sooner or later, whether Netanyahu remains in power or is replaced by someone who speaks Dove-Liberalese better, they will shake hands and agree that the only thing that really separated them in the early months of President Obama’s administration was semantics: the language each man used to describe what he saw for the future of Palestine, or “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” –a phrase that suggests there are two sides each with a grievance that equals or cancels out the other’s and that makes a just resolution so difficult to formulate. How deeply have we been indoctrinated. If President Obama’s speech in Cairo signified anything, it was that the likelihood of a dramatic shift in United States’ policy toward Israel in the coming years is almost nil. The rejectionist framework in which both states have pursued their policies for the past 33 years – or since the 1976 UNSC resolution that first acknowledged Palestinian national rights within the context of two states—is slated to continue. If Obama clarified anything in his lengthy, often patronizing, often obsequious speech in Egypt – a country whose leader epitomizes the tyrannical and repressive regimes so often the primary recipients of massive US foreign aid for doing as they are told – it was the fact that no threat to the status...

Obama's Speech: The Tone and the Music
7 Jun 2009 - By Uri Avnery – Israel One man spoke to the world, and the world listened. He walked onto the stage in Cairo, alone, without hosts and without aides, and delivered a sermon to an audience of billions. Egyptians and Americans, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites, Copts and Maronites – and they all listened attentively. He unfolded before them the map of a new world, a different world, whose values and laws he spelled out in simple and clear language - a mixture of idealism and practical politics, vision and pragmatism. Barack Hussein Obama – as he took pains to call himself – is the most powerful man on earth. Every word he utters is a political fact. “A historic speech,” pronounced commentators in a hundred languages. I prefer another adjective: The speech was right. Every word was in its place, every sentence precise, every tone in harmony. The masterpiece of a man bringing a new message to the world. From the very first word, every listener in the hall and in the world felt the honesty of the man, that his heart and his tongue were in harmony, that this is not a politician of the old familiar sort – hypocritical, sanctimonious, calculating. His body language was speaking, and so were his facial expressions That’s why the speech was so important. The new moral integrity and the sense of honesty increased the impact of the revolutionary content. And a revolutionary speech it certainly was. In 55...

Provocative Shortcomings of Obama's Speech in Cairo
7 Jun 2009 - By Jerry Levin President Obama's address to the Muslim world certainly moved a significant distance down a confidence building road with Islamic States but it was not far enough. Not by a long shot. With respect to the Israel-Palestine conflict, he failed his historic opportunity to clarify the most pressing issue needing to be resolved before mutual security, stability, and justice can be established in the region. Instead of ingenuously assailing publicly one of the most fundamental causes of the mutual enmity, he continued to avoid that opportunity by disingenuously mouthing critical platitudes, which, though truthful, were designed to continue to obscure the truths standing in the way of a genuine wholly liberating peace agreement. Here’s what I mean. It was encouraging for the President to declare that “the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” because the “construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. [So] It is time for these settlements to stop.” However that supposedly bold assertion offered no incentive to actually stop them. It was also encouraging to hear him say “it is undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland, [and] they endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. [So] America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.” But sadly again there was nothing new in what he said, except that he...

Israeli Hawks Desire No Peace
7 Jun 2009 - By Iqbal Jassat – Pretoria Israel is in the throes of an intense debate about its identity and future. Failure by the Olmert regime to dislodge Hamas from the Gaza and itself being replaced by rightwing zealots under Benjamin Netanyahu are recent symptoms of deep-seated malaise in the body politic of the Zionist regime. New emerging trends reveal that all is not kosher in the Jewish state. Craving for recognition and acceptance from its former foes in the so-called “moderate” Arab world, yet ironically, Israel seems hell bent on continuing to commit major blunders in conflict with its desire to “normalize” ties. Two such flaws have evidently become global talking points: the refusal by Netanyahu to endorse a “two-state” solution and stubbornly continuing expansionist settlements. These have not only earned Israel a public rebuke from Barack Obama when he addressed a global audience from Cairo in a landmark speech to reach out to the Muslim world, they have potentially placed the Zionist state on a collision course with America. Latest reports indicate that the European Union is seriously considering using its trade clout with Israel to bolster US pressure. An option it has is to crack down on fruit, vegetables, olive oil and other produce grown by Jewish settlers on stolen Palestinian land. It is well known, though usually ignored, that such products are entering the EU at low import tariffs reserved for output labeled as coming from what is described as Israel “proper”. As the row begins to grow...

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