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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
21 June , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Palestinians hold sit-in at site of scheduled home demolitions
22 Jun 2009 - A group of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, including lead clerics with the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, held a non-violent demonstration Sunday in the Al-Bastan neighborhood in Silwan, an area scheduled for takeover by Israeli authorities. According to documents made public by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, Israel plans to destroy 88 Palestinian homes and apartment buildings in the neighborhood – a move that would displace up to 1500 Palestinians. 

Palestinian fighters fire two shells, Israeli forces invade central Gaza
21 Jun 2009 - Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza fired two homemade shells toward an Israel military base Sunday morning, causing no injuries or damage. Following that incident, dozens of Israeli forces armed with tanks, armored jeeps and heavy armaments invaded deep into Al Boreij refugee camp, in the Central Gaza Strip. 

Israeli human rights group lawsuit exposes government complicity in settlement expansion
21 Jun 2009 - As the lawsuit filed by several Israeli human rights groups, including Yesh Din, continues its proceedings in the Israeli High court, the documents that continue to be exposed show a wide swath of support for Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank by the Israeli government, in violation of both international law and Israel law. 

Another Palestinian in Old Jerusalem forced by Israeli troops to demolish own home
21 Jun 2009 - Muhammad Najib Al-Ju’ba, who has lived with his family for generations on Virgin Street near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, was forced by Israeli troops to demolish his own home this weekend, making the third home demolished in this way this week alone. 

More settlement units, no buyers
21 Jun 2009 - The Israeli TV aired a report on Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, and revealed that while word leaders might believe Israel had stopped the construction of settlements, more units are being built with no buyers in sight. 

Lieberman sees future for 'peace' and settlements
20 Jun 2009 - Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, stated that he sees good chances for pace with the Palestinians, without any preconditions, but he also believes that settlement construction in the occupied territories should not stop. 

New solidairty ship to sail to Gaza on June 25
20 Jun 2009 - On June 25th, the Free Gaza movement will set sail on its eighth mission to break Israel’s horrific siege and collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

Carter proposes direct dialogue between Hamas and the United States
20 Jun 2009 - Former United States President, Jimmy Carter, presented to the Hamas movement a proposal to hold direct talks with the United States. Carter met with senior Hamas leaders on Tuesday and the movement revealed the offer Friday.  

PPP organizes a protest against the Wall in Azzoun Al Atma
20 Jun 2009 - The leftist Palestinian People Party (PPP) organized on Friday a protest against the Israeli Annexation Wall in Azzoun Al Atma village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia. 

Eighth swine-flu case diagnosed in the West Bank
19 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported Friday that a Palestinian woman from Ramallah was the eight person diagnosed with swine-flu in the Palestinian territories. 

Israeli soldiers attack the Nil'in's weekly protest
19 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian and international peace activists during the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday.

The Israeli military attack Bil'in weekly protest
19 Jun 2009 - Dozens suffered from gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest in Bil'in village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday afternoon.

Ha'aretz Defense page

Mossad chief kept on for another year to monitor Iran
21 Jun 2009 - Security source says Dagan given mandate to sabotage Iran's nukes program before any full-scale Israeli strike. 

Truck bomb kills more than 70 in northern Iraq
21 Jun 2009 - Blast came hours after Iraqi PM warned of more violence as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraqi cities. 

Israel allows first shipment of cattle into Gaza for 9 months
20 Jun 2009 - Sources: Israel bowed to U.S. pressure to end ban, which didn't prevent cattle from being smuggled by the thousands. 

Protesters at Paris Airshow call for Israel boycott
20 Jun 2009 - Police disperse around 20 protesters who blocked entrance to Israeli pavilion. 

A settlement road trip after Netanyahu, Obama speeches
20 Jun 2009 - A visit to the West Bank shows that settlers have not changed their determination to keep building. 

Israeli troops humiliate Palestinians - and put it on YouTube
19 Jun 2009 - Border Police 'tradition' has Palestinians slapping themselves, singing songs of praise to troops. 

How an IDF colonel trains infantrymen to think
18 Jun 2009 - Since the Second Lebanon War, the IDF has invested a great deal in the infantry Brigades. 

VIDEO: Border Police upload footage of their abuse of Palestinians to YouTube
18 Jun 2009 - Palestinan forced to slap himself, sing 'I love you, Border Police' in clip flimed by cops posted on YouTube. 

Ma'an News

Israel hands over demolition order to Nablus woman
6/21/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an - Israeli authorities notified a woman from a village south of Nablus that they intend to demolish her home due to its proximity to several settlements. The homeowner, identified as Khadija Abdel-Qader Aweis, 44, has been told that her four-bedroom home in Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya is slated for destruction in the coming days, according to a Palestinian Authority specialist on settlements in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Dughlus. Doughlas told Ma'an that israel is stepping up attacks on residents by issuing demolition orders to homes near settlements, particularly near Ma'ale Levona and Eli. [end] 

Israel postpones release of senior Fatah deputy
6/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Israeli authorities have decided to postpone the release of Fatah-affiliated lawmaker Jamal Hwiel from prison, according to reports on Monday. The Fatah leader from Jenin Refugee Camp finished a seven-and-a-half-year sentence on on 20 June, a Saturday, but was postponed due to the Jewish sabbath, or Shabat. Regardless, Israel also on Monday refused to release the man, despite that his sentence has expired now by two days. Authorities did not provide an explanation. Huweel was originally arrested on 11 April 2002 from Jenin Refugee Camp. [end] 

Israeli forces raid Tulkarem, summon residents for interrogation
6/21/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces raided Nur Shams Refugee Camp and other areas in and around the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Sunday morning. Firing in the air, Israeli soldiers knocked down the doors of Palestinians’ houses, handing over written orders summoning residents for interrogation by the Israeli intelligence. Speaking to Ma’an, Palestinian sources identified those who were summoned to the intelligence: Ahmad Shames Ad-Deen Ghreefy, Dia Abdel-Kareem Sabbah, Muhammad Yousif Salim, Sulaiman Khalil, Ahmad Sulaiman Khalil, all from Nur Shams Refugee Camp, and Ashraf Bilal Tbbal from the town of Dubanah. [end] 

Red Cross: 'Illegal settlements cause hardship for Palestinians'
6/21/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – A Red Cross official has denounced the violence of Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron in unusually stark terms in an interview posted to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) website. Matteo Benatti, who has been head of the ICRC's office in Hebron since September 2007, focused on the day-to-day consequences for Palestinians in explaining the situation The interview appears alongside a statement that “It is unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies. ”The following is the full text of the question and answer session:What are the humanitarian issues in Hebron? The settlements have made many aspects of life very difficult for Palestinians. In the old city of Hebron, about 600 settlers live in colonies, in close proximity to some 30,000 Palestinians. 

Settlers torch tent with Palestinians inside near Hebron
6/21/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Three Palestinians from a small hamlet near Yatta, south of Hebron, on Sunday narrowly escaped death after Israeli settlers set fire to a tent while they were inside. Local residents told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the nearby Susia settlement, which sits on Palestinian land, set fire to a large tent used as a meeting hall for the small village. The tent belonged to Muhammad Nasr Nawaj’ah, and was about 50 square meters in size. Local residents who were awakened by pleas for help hurried to extinguish the fire and administered first aid to the injured, who were identified as 22-year-old Abd Ar-Rahman Nawaj’ah, 21-year-old Yahya Nawaj’ah, and 22-year-old Ibrahim Nawaj’ah. 

Israeli forces invade central Gaza after mortar fire
6/21/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an – Israeli forces invaded deep into Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday after Palestinian fighters launched two mortar shells at forces along the border. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the incursion, in the east of the camp. The Israeli military also said that it defused four exposive devices along the border. The armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades claimed responsibility for launching the mortars at the Israeli position east of Al-Bureij. [end] 

Two Gaza border crossings partially open; Karni closed
6/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided on Sunday to partially open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points into the Gaza Strip, while the Karni crossing will remain closed, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official. Fattouh said that 60-71 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods would pass through Kerem Shalom, limited quantities of cooking gas, and industrial diesel for Gaza’s only power plant be shipped through Nahal Oz. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. According to the UN and aid agencies, some items, such as construction materials needed to rebuild from the recent war, are completely banned. Exports are also prohibited, and Gaza’s. . . 

US pressure leads to first Gaza cattle shipment in months
6/21/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel has allowed a shipment of cattle into the Gaza Strip for the first time in nine months on Sunday, according to news reports. Israel's coordinator for activities in the occupied territories, Amos Gilad, reportedly allowed the 350-cattle shipment into the besieged strip after US pressure on Israel to lift restrictions of food into Gaza, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The newspaper quoted sources who also pointed out the planned visit of the country's defense ministry, Ehud Barak, to Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Haaretz also reported that preparations are ongoing for the importation of more cattle next week, and for nearly 4,000 during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins in September this year. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since. . . 

De facto gov.: 22% of meds donated to Gaza Strip expired
6/21/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian minister of health in the Hamas-run de facto government, Basim Na’im, said on Sunday that 22 percent of medicines donated to the Gaza Strip were either expired or refined, and were unfit for consumption. He explained that some medicines have became abundant, while others remained rare due to inappropriate selection. Na’im also pointed out that the Union of Arab Physicians began a distance training program for Gazans who work in the health sector. He noted that Dr. Muhammad At-Tawil from Qatar had announced that his country agreed to host a conference for training health sector workers in Gaza. Na’m’s comments came during his participation in a workshop in Cairo on reconstructing health facilities. The workshop focused on the Gaza Strip. 

Abbas in Damascus: No negotiations while settlements expand
6/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Saturday evening that he will not negotiate with Israel until all settlement activity is put to a halt. Abbas met with the exiled Secretary-General of the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Nayef Hawatmeh, in Damascus. After the meeting, the two issued a declaration of their rejection of settlements. They also agreed that Abbas’ recent meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington was a “positive step” toward achieving Palestinians’ rights in the context of an independent state. In their statement, Abbas and Hawatmeh also said that Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy speech failed to respond to international resolutions, or to Palestinian, Arab and international calls to end settlements. They also said the speech ignored Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan. . . 

Palestinian Authority opens new police station in Nablus
6/21/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an - Palestinian Authority police formally announced on Sunday that they will open a new police station in Qabalan village, south of Nablus in the northern West Bank. The general director of public relations for Nablus police, Ashraf Metlaq, told Ma’an that on Sunday the police station in Talfit will be moved to Qabalan. This station will be the sixth Palestinian police station built in Nablus after Urif opened a few days ago. Metlaq affirmed that the opening will take place on Monday at 11am in the presence of officials. "The Palestinian police work to impose security and safety among all Palestinian citizens in all the Palestinian territories," he added. 

Largest-ever kunafa to break Guinness world record in Nablus
6/21/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian company in the northern West Bank city of Nablus has received approval from the Guinness Book of World Records to prepare the largest kunafa in the world. The plate of the Palestinian delicacy will be 75 meters long and two meters wide, and will weigh 1,350 kilograms, according to Muhannad Ar-Rabi, director of the Palestinian Company for Real Estate Development and Construction. Ar-Rabi added that all the necessary documents from Guinness have been prepared, and that the giant kunafa will be created during the city's annual shopping festival, which will start in mid-July. He asserted that he began working on that concept long ago, and that the mayor of Nablus, Adli Ya’ish, encouraged the idea. The giant kunafa will be prepared in front of the municipally complex at a cost of about 15,000 US dollars. 

More cases of fatal fly disease reported in Jordan Valley
6/21/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Residents of the Jordan Valley, both in Jordan and Palestine, face the threat of sand flies and a disease known as Leishmania. Studies have revealed that the fly flourishes on untreated chicken dung from farms on the Jordanian side. Symptoms of Leishmania are skin sores that form for a period of several weeks to months after the affected person is bitten by a sand fly. The sores can lead to fever, damage to the spleen and liver, and anaemia. The disease is occasionally fatal. According to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, on Sunday, the organization Friends of the Earth Middle East organized a meeting between Israeli and Jordanian environment authorities to discuss the disease and try to work out a solution for the dangerous fly. The organization suggested that authorities take responsibility for treatment and purification of dung before it is used as compost for agriculture. 

The National

Opposition supporters in Dubai insist struggle must continue
21 Jun 2009 - Iranian residents in Dubai are feeling shocked and helpless in the aftermath of bloody protests in Tehran, which have left approximately 19 dead and several hundred injured.

Iran lashes out at media coverage
21 Jun 2009 - Confusion surrounds the Tehran demonstrations death toll as media ordered to leave the country and the daughter of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani is arrested.

Obama calls on Iran to stop unjust' actions 
21 Jun 2009 - The US President condemns Tehran's post-election response as reports reveal 13 people had been killed in clashes.

Violence in Tehran as protesters defy ban
20 Jun 2009 - Mousavi defies Khamenei by renewing demand for results to be annulled and calls for strikes in case of his arrest.

Pride inspired by an orphanage rising out of mud bricks and rubble
20 Jun 2009 - A new orphanage is the kind of institution increasingly in demand in the battered Gaza Strip.

Lebanon's military is deployed at border
20 Jun 2009 - The military deploys in an aggressive posture and called on United Nations peacekeepers to end Israeli aggression.

Congress disapproves of equivalency' 
20 Jun 2009 - While Congress was busy putting its stamp on Middle East budget legislation, the rest of Washington was riveted by a series of speeches and elections Lebanon's and Iran's.

Protesters defy Ayatollah, police fire tear gas
20 Jun 2009 - Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Tehran where riot police have fired tear gas and water cannons at them.


Iran's Mousavi urges more protests
21 Jun 2009 - Lockdown on streets of Tehran as signs of struggle emerge among ruling clerics.

Iran condemns West's 'interference'
21 Jun 2009 - Ahmadinejad attacks the US and Britain for speaking out on the disputed election.

'Jewish state' recognition urged
21 Jun 2009 - Israel's Barak says Arab acceptance a pre-condition for creation of Palestinian state.

'Suicide bomber' hits Tehran shrine
20 Jun 2009 - Bomber reported to have blown himself up near former leader's shrine.


EGYPT: Needle sharing rife among drug users
DUBAI Sunday, June 21, 2009 (IRIN) - The prevalence of HIV among intravenous drug users (IDUs) in Egypt is relatively low, but needle sharing is rife among this group, putting them at risk of contracting the virus, experts say. 

IRAQ: Call to protect, support Iraqi refugees worldwide 
BAGHDAD Sunday, June 21, 2009 (IRIN) - Marking World Refugee Day on 20 June, Iraqi non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies working in Iraq appealed for support for Iraqi refugees and called for assistance in creating the right conditions for voluntary, dignified and sustainable returns.

ISRAEL: Still a destination for human trafficking 
TEL AVIV Thursday, June 18, 2009 (IRIN) - The latest US State Department report on trafficked persons, released on 16 June, says Israel is still a destination for men and women trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Inter Press Service

EGYPT: Unquiet Flows the Nile 
CAIRO, Jun 21 (IPS) - Differences over sharing of Nile waters may have deepened following the failure among the nine countries along the Nile to come to an agreement.

MIDEAST: Aid Agencies Slam Gaza Blockade 
RAMALLAH, Jun 20 (IPS) - Forty international aid agencies and NGOs have released a joint statement condemning Israel's blockade of Gaza, to mark the second anniversary of the coastal territory being hermetically sealed off from the outside world.

LEBANON: Defeated Shias Ponder Uncertain Future 
TYRE, Jun 20 (IPS) - A large highway cuts through the green hills connecting Lebanon's south to the Mediterranean Sea. Here, nestled amid banana trees and colourful bougainvillea bushes, lies the city of Tyre, a bastion of the Shia community and a significant base of the Lebanese opposition. Now, following...

US-MIDEAST: Carter Adds Weight to Shuttle Diplomacy Push 
WASHINGTON, Jun 19 (IPS) - Pres. Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and peace envoy Sen. George Mitchell have been moving steadily ahead with the campaign Obama launched on his first day in the White House, to broker a comprehensive and sustainable Arab-Israeli peace.

Stop The Wall

302 Palestinians face demolition, 20 displaced in June
21 Jun 2009 - Last month, Occupation forces distributed demolition orders to 32 families in the Jordan Valley. The demolitions, if carried out in total, are set to affect 304 people. Demolitions began in June, and on the 17th bulldozers leveled structures in Jiftlik and Wadi Malih, displacing 20 people. For years, the people of the Jordan Valley have faced these types of attacks, which aim to drive them from their lands and clear the land for settlement expansion. [

Open Letter to Palestine solidarity activists and human rights defenders
19 Jun 2009 - Dear friends,

PCHR Latest

(21 June) PCHR and Spanish Civil Society Organize Conferences in Madrid In Defense of Universal Jurisdiction

(15 June) Detainee Dies in the GIS Prison in Hebron

PCHR Weekly Report

(11- 17 June  2008)
During During the reporting period, IOF conducted at least 26 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. IOF arrested 11 Palestinian civilians, including a child.

International Solidarity Movement

Support Sheikh Jarrah: International day of actions against house demolitions in Palestine
International Solidarity Movement - The community of Shiekh Jarrah calls on the international community to set up tents outside of Israeli embassies worldwide in solidarity with the neighborhoods threatened with eviction or demolition in occupied East Jerusalem. Tents have become a powerful symbol of the struggle of Palestinian people living in occupied East Jerusalem. They have been set up as centres of protest in neighbourhoods threatened by numerous eviction and demolition orders, part of Israel's wider policy to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian population. Ultimately this would destroy any hope of East Jerusalem becoming the capital of a future Palestinian state. A number of the tents, notably the one in Sheikh Jarrah, have been built by Palestinian residents forcibly evicted from their homes as a result of Israel's racist policy. Palestinians, who became refugees in 1948 & 1967 are, once again, facing 

Help Israeli human rights activist Ezra Nawi
International Solidarity Movement - Without international intervention Israeli human rights activist Ezra Nawi will most likely be sent to jail. Ezra Nawi has been active for years in the area known as South Mt. Hebron. The Palestinians in this small desolate area in the very south of the West Bank have been under Israeli occupation for almost 42 years; they still live without electricity, running water and other basic services, and are continuously harassed by the Jewish settlers who constantly violate both Israeli and International law, and are backed by a variety of Israeli military forces, all of which operate in an effort to rid the area of its Palestinian inhabitants and create a new demographic reality in it. Nawi`s persistent NON VIOLENT activity in the area is aimed both at aiding the local population in its plight to stay on their lands, but also at exposing the situation in the area to both the Israeli and international public eye. 

Brick by brick
International Solidarity Movement - Free Gaza Movement, 18 June 2009 - On June 25th, the Free Gaza movement will set sail on its eighth mission to break Israel's horrific siege and collective punishment of 1. 5 million Palestinians in the Gaza strip. "The Israelis violated international law by ramming the boat I was on which was carrying medical supplies to Gaza. Therefore, I never got to Gaza. Especially after Operation Cast Lead, I want to go to Gaza, and if I'm lucky, one day, I'll also get to visit a free Palestine," said former Representative Cynthia McKinney, one of the passengers coming back. Along with McKinney, 36 others will board the FREE GAZA , a fishing boat, and the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, a small ferry loaded with building supplies such as cement, only a token of what is needed in Gaza, but a prelude to larger shipments the Free Gaza movement expects to take throughout the summer. 

Palestinian harvest in Hebron disrupted by settlers and Israeli forces
International Solidarity Movement - 19 June - On a piece of land located between two Jewish settlements (Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha'Avot) in an area north-east of Hebron, Palestinian farmers attempted to harvest their land. Accompanied by international from ISM and Israeli activists from Tayyoush, Palestinians hoped to participate in an agricultural activity on the al Jabari family land. The group's objective was to harvest barley and olive tree branches to feed the family livestock. The land is also the site of a large tent erected by settlers. The tent has been repeatedly demolished by the Israeli army but has been rapidly re-built following each demolition. After ten minutes of harvesting, two settler women walked into the general vicinity and made calls on their cell-phones. They remained in the area for several minutes before leaving, after which a truck carrying three Israeli soldiers arrived. 

Seven arrested as dozens support farmers picking grape leaves in Saffa
International Solidarity Movement - Palestine Solidarity Project, 20 June 2009 - Despite understanding that they would only be able to harvest for one hour at most, that they would be met with settler aggression, grape leaves need to be picked and so, for another Saturday, a group of approximately 30 International and Israeli activists joined Hamad and Jabber Soleiby and their families as they tended their land in Saffa, near the Bat 'Ain settlement. For yet another Saturday, the group was greeted to the land by a crowd of masked right-wing Israeli settlers. The group of farmers and activists slowly headed down the hill and toward the orchards as the settlers hurled stones from slingshots. A group of settler girls could be heard repeatedly screaming "Mohammad is a pig!" from a higher location on the hillside. This continued for approximately ten minutes before the first army jeep arrived, which sent most of the settlers running up the hill. 

Fishermen abducted and released, three boats and net stolen
International Solidarity Movement - Fishing Under Fire - 21 June 2009 - Two fishermen, Ashraf Subhi Sadallah and his brother Abdulhadhi Subhi Sadallah were abducted by IDF on Tuesday 16th June 2009 and released on the same day after being interrogated. Their boats (hassakas) and net remain in IDF custody to this day. At 6 a. m. the brothers set out in three boats (hassakas) in the region known as Sudaniyya in order to collect the net which they had placed the night before. The net was 400 metres away from the shore. As soon as they arrived close to the net IDF gun boats shot in their direction. The brothers were asked to remove all their clothes and to jump in the sea, which they did. Once in the sea they swam for 30 metres towards the patrol boat. The gun boat moved back 470 metres and the brothers then were forced to swim this distance. They were handcuffed and blindfolded and taken to Ashdod where they were interrogated. . . 

Lawsuit brings murky West Bank land deals to light
International Solidarity Movement - The Associated Press, 21 June 2009 - It reads like a standard real estate contract between a Zionist institution and an Israeli couple. But it offers a rare glimpse into the bureaucratic smoke screen that helps ensure a strong Jewish presence on lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. The document, which surfaced in a case before Israel's Supreme Court, shows that the World Zionist Organization, acting as an agent of the Israeli government, took private Palestinian land in the West Bank and gave it to Jewish settlers, even though the state itself had declared the property off-limits to settlement. The affair points to a chaotic mix of a government at odds with itself and involved in murky real estate deals fronted by one of the Zionist movement's most respected organizations. It's not the first time such land deals have come under fire, but in the year since the case went to court, the political context has been overturned. 

Demonstrators march in Al Ma’asara
International Solidarity Movement - 19 June 2009 - Demonstrators gathered in Al Ma'sara today to protest the construction the wall and the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements. 100 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals marched through the streets carrying a 30-foot long Palestinian flag, chanting against the Wall and demanding an end to the occupation. As the march approached a main thoroughfare, soldiers blocked the road with razor wire and refused to let the demonstrators pass. Protesters gave speeches and shouted at the soldiers, demanding to know why they had blocked their peaceful march. Tensions mounted when a soldier began making menacing gestures at an elderly Palestinian woman, but the situation deescalated without confrontation. At one point the protesters sat down in the shade of the Palestinian flag and began having a picnic. The protest lasted for a little over an hour, and dispersed peacefully. 

Palestinians protest closure of Azzoun Atma gate
International Solidarity Movement - 20 June - Today there was a demonstration, led by the P. P. P. , the "People's Party of Palestine," at the `Azzoun `Atma gate, in the Qalqilia district. This was the first demonstration in one year. The last demonstration ended with arrests, so the objectives of the demonstration were to maintain peace and to feel out the situation in order to better plan for future protests. It appears that these objectives were fulfilled. There were approximately fifty people in the demonstration, approximately half Palestinians and half internationals, Israeli activists, and members of the Palestinian, Israeli, and international press. Groups present included EAPPI, IWPS, ISM, Anarchists Against the Wall, as well as others possibly. Internationals maintained silence and documented with cameras and video recorders, while the Palestinians waved flags, displayed banners, and chanted in Arabic. 

Ni’lin residents demonstrate against the Apartheid Wall
International Solidarity Movement - 19 June - Following a relatively calm demonstration last week, and the unprovoked murder of Aqel Sror on 5 June, demonstrators marched towards the Apartheid fence with apprehension, unsure of what force would meet them. It was eerily quiet as demonstrators managed to reach the wall without the whistle of tear gas flying through the air. The youths, well organized and prepared, were able to cut several sections of the razor wire fence that makes up this section of the ilegal Apartheid Wall. Contrary to the reaction of the Israeli army in all previous demonstrations which is generally disproportionate and excessive, these actions received no immediate reaction from the Israeli army, which permitted the youths to remove approximately 50 meters of the razor wire and damage several metal posts in the fence. After perhaps an hour however, four jeeps began to drive back and forth below the area the. . . 

Settlers set fire to Palestinian home in Susiya
International Solidarity Movement - 21 June - On Sunday morning at 4 am, some settlers tried to burn a tent in the small village of Susiya, south Hebron hills, with people sleeping inside. The burned tent was used to host international volunteers and guests in the village and as common and social place during the day. Today very early in the morning three young Palestinians were sleeping there when they suddenly realized the tent was starting to burn. With help of other members of the village they were able to stop the fire and call the police. They could not see the settlers who did the action. The police arrived around 5 am and took the three witnesses to Kiryat Arba police station for further investigation, which lasted 4 hours. Susiya is a small group of tent located in the south of Yatta village. For a long time, locals have had problems with the violence from settlers and soldiers. 

PCHR and Spanish civil society organize conferences in Madrid In defense of universal jurisdiction
International Solidarity Movement - Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 21 June 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), in cooperation with Spanish civil society partners and national and international human rights organizations, are organizing two events in Madrid, Spain, on 22 and 24 June 2009. The events will take place in the Spanish Cultural Centre and the Spanish Congress. These events are being organized in opposition to a proposed amendment to Spain's universal jurisdiction legislation. On 19 May 2009, the Spanish Parliament requested that the government draft legislation limiting the scope of Spain's universal jurisdiction legislation, this amendment will be presented to the Lower House on 26 June. Spain has long been an advocate of universal jurisdiction; it is widely believed that the current amendments are introduced consequent to concerted political pressure on behalf of States intent on shielding alleged war criminals from justice. 

Gaza bonanza
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 15 June 2009 - Every week, about 10 officers from the Israel Defense Force's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT? ) unit convene in the white Templer building in the Kirya, the Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv, to decide which food products will appear on the tables of the 1. 5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Among those taking part in the discussion are Colonel Moshe Levi, head of the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO), Colonel Alex Rosenzweig, head of the civil division of COGAT and Colonel Doron Segal, head of the economics division. These officers decided, for example, that persimmons, bananas and apples were vital items for basic sustenance and thus permitted into the Gaza Strip, while apricots, plums, grapes and avocados were impermissible luxuries. Over the past year, these officers were responsible for prohibiting the entry. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Mousavi to supporters: Keep protesting, but with restraint 
21 Jun 2009 - Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi on Sunday urged supporters to continue protests over the re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a direct challenge to the Islamic Republic's leadership. ...

New Yorkers head to Tel Aviv beach - in Central Park
21 Jun 2009 - NEW YORK - The weather in Manhattan Sunday was not quite the same as on the Tel Aviv coast, but thousands of New Yorkers ignored cool temperatures and rain from the previous night's downpour still dripping from the trees, and headed for a day at "the Tel Aviv beach" - in Central Park. ... 

Israel taps new negotiators for Shalit deal 
21 Jun 2009 - A new negotiating team is examining ways to move forward in the case of Gilad Shalit, the Israel Defense Forces soldier abducted by Hamas nearly three years ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday after meetings in Egypt. ... 

U.S. road cleaned by neo-Nazis could be renamed after rabbi
21 Jun 2009 - A litter prevention program got an unusual ally last year: A neo-Nazi group adopted a section of highway in Springfield and picked up the trash. ...

ANALYSIS / Expect things to get worse in Iran - at least for now
21 Jun 2009 - The lenses of cell-phone cameras have become the West's only tool for assessing the scope of the demonstrations now taking place in Iran's streets, since conflicting blog posts and government pronouncements offer a distorted picture of reality. As a result, the number of people thronging a few Tehran streets has become the sole means by which to measure the "revolution." This is an important - but it is insufficient. ... 

The Guardian

Dispatches: Cameras for action | Funding the truth | Too much reality?
21 Jun 2009 - Media awards Cameras for action A pioneering Israeli human rights project in which Palestinians have been given cameras to film human rights abuses is tipped as the favourite to win the Special Award at tonight's One...

Doctors demand Yoram Blachar resign as ethics chief for ignoring Israeli torture | Sarah Boseley, health editor
21 Jun 2009 - More than 700 doctors from 43 countries have written a letter of protest to their governing ethical body, the World Medical Association, alleging that its recently appointed Israeli president has turned a blind eye to the...

The Middle East in motion| Joschka Fischer
20 Jun 2009 - Since Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo things in the Middle East have been in flux Great speeches are all too often underestimated as being mere words. In fact, they can have powerful...

Obituary: Ephraim Katzir
21 Jun 2009 - Scientist and president of Israel during the Yom Kippur war The celebrated scientist Ephraim Katzir, who has died aged 93, was Israel's fourth head of state, and his presidency was distinguished by extraordinary highs and lows....

Ha'aretz National page

Health Ministry: HMOs, not hospitals, will treat swine flu patients 
21 Jun 2009 - The Health Ministry announced Sunday that swine flu patients will from now on be treated by the four health maintenance organizations instead of the hospitals. ... 

Israelis and Palestinians 'hug' Jerusalem for peace
20 Jun 2009 - Some 100 people gathered together on Sunday for the third annual Jerusalem Hug, aimed at bringing together people of all denominations and filling the city with love. ...

Palestinian sets Guinness record for world largest knafeh 
20 Jun 2009 - A Palestinian man from the West Bank city of Nablus set a Guinness world record recently after baking the world's largest knafeh pastry, the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported Sunday. ...

Quarry dating to time of Jesus discovered near Jericho 
20 Jun 2009 - Israeli archaeologists said on Sunday they had discovered the largest underground quarry in Israel, dating back to the time of Jesus and containing Christian symbols etched into the walls. ...

Druze rally against 'state discrimination' near Netanyahu office
20 Jun 2009 - Several hundred Druze demonstrators clashed with police outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office during a protest on Sunday against what they said was state discrimination against their community. ...

Relief Web

OPT: 250 mn dlrs for settlements in Israel budget - radio
21 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory 11 - 17 Jun 2009
21 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Remarks with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
21 Jun 2009 - Source: US Department of State

OPT: Week in review - 'Natural growth' for settlers only
20 Jun 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

HM Queen Noor honors World Refugee Day
19 Jun 2009 - Source: Refugees International

OPT: Secretary-General calls again on Israel to ease Gaza blockade
19 Jun 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 261, 08 - 21 Jun 2009
19 Jun 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: Early recovery mapping workshop report
19 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Development Programme

YNet News

Gaza summer camps underway; no sign yet of weapons training
21 Jun 2009 - In apparent break from previous years, Hamas' camps provide cartoons rather than military training

16 Yemenite immigrants arrive in Israel
21 Jun 2009 - Assisted by Jewish Agency, three families are to spend first adjustment period at absorption centers

Gazan officer, fearing for his life, asks to stay in Israeli detention
21 Jun 2009 - PA loyalist who escaped Hamas by infiltrating Israel, turning himself in asks court not to send him back

3 years since Kerem Shalom attack 
21 Jun 2009 - Noam and Aviva Shalit take part in memorial service for their son's commander Hanan Barak three years after his death in the same attack Gilad was kidnapped in. 'I will try to live as best as I can, until we meet again,' Hanan's mother Nela says over his grave 

Litzman wants Maccabiah participants tested for swine flu 
21 Jun 2009 - Deputy health minister expresses concern ahead of arrival of thousands of sportsmen for Jewish athletic event next month, says Israel must prevent disease from spreading even more

IDF defuses 4 explosive devices on Gaza border 
21 Jun 2009 - Explosives placed along border fence, near Kissufim crossing. Palestinians fire mortar shells at force during activity; no injuries reported 


Prohibit use of live ammunition to disperse demonstrators
17 Jun 2009 - B'Tselem reiterates its demand to prohibit use of 0.22 bullets to disperse demonstrators. Despite the prohibition on using this lethal weapon since 2001, two persons have been killed by it recently, one of them a 14-year-old boy.

Lift the closure on Gaza
16 Jun 2009 - To mark the two years of closure that Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip, Israeli human rights organizations have released a new online film with the message "Lift the closure - give life a chance".

Daily Star

Abbas talks Palestinian unity with Assad 
21 Jun 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed with Syrian President Bashar Assad Saturday efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation. "We agree with Syria that the dialogue should succeed," Abbas's aide Nabil Abu Rdainah told reporters.

Barak insists Israel must be respected as Jewish state 
21 Jun 2009 - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that more needs to be done for the creation of a Palestinian state, including Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Barak was speaking after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman - Egypt's pointman for Palestinian affairs.

Gunfire heard in northern Tehran after 10 die in election unrest 
21 Jun 2009 - Gunfire rang out in Tehran late on Sunday and pro-reform clerics stepped up criticism of Iran's authorities after more than a week of unprecedented popular defiance against the leadership of the Islamic Republic. "I heard repeated shootings while people were chanting Allahu Akbar [God is greatest] in Niavaran area," said a witness.

Druze in Israel protest against state discrimination 
21 Jun 2009 - Seven policemen and a demonstrator were wounded when a protest by Israeli Druze outside the premier's office turned violent on Sunday, police said. Hundreds of Israel's minority Druze population gathered in central Jerusalem to demand better treatment from the government, pelting police with eggs and shouting slogans in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian.

West presses Iran to allow street protests 
21 Jun 2009 - Iran must allow peaceful protests against its disputed presidential election and ensure a fair result, Western governments said on Sunday, rejecting charges they were interfering in Iranian affairs. Foreign countries have played no part in supporting the violent street protests that erupted in Iran after its June 12 election.

Palestinian Information Center

Bardawil: No new Israeli ideas about the swap deal worthy of attention
21 Jun 2009 - Salah Al-Bardawil, the spokesman for the Hamas parliamentary bloc, denied that there are new Israeli overtures regarding the prisoner swap deal worthy of study and attention.

Yemeni president discusses Palestinian developments with Abu Marzouk
21 Jun 2009 - Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Sunday conferred with deputy political bureau chairman of Hamas Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk on latest Palestinian developments including the Cairo dialog.

Settlers burn tent, attack peaceful march under IOF protection
21 Jun 2009 - Three Palestinians miraculously survived after Jewish settlers from the Susya settlement started fire in a tent in Khirbat Susya, south of Al-Khalil city, and were treated for suffocation.

Ministry of detainees calls for supporting rights of Palestinian prisoners
21 Jun 2009 - The ministry of prisoners called on the popular and official institutions to organize wide campaigns in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners against the Israeli violations of their rights.

No meeting between Mishaal and Uraikat
21 Jun 2009 - A reliable source has denied media reports that Khaled Mishaal, the political bureau chairman of the Movement, had met with Saeb Uraikat, who is heading the PLO department of negotiations.

Free Gaza intends to launch its eighth sea trip to help Gaza people
21 Jun 2009 - The Free Gaza movement announced its intention to set sail on its eighth mission to break the unjust Israeli siege and mass punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

IOA extends administrative detention of Hamas spokesman
21 Jun 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority has extended the administrative detention of Sheikh Khaled Al-Haj, the Hamas spokesman in Jenin, for the fourth consecutive time.

Radwan: Fatah talk about the release of prisoners is misleading
21 Jun 2009 - Ismail Radwan stated that Fatah talk about the release of 20 political prisoners is a deceptive step aimed to cover up for the violations committed by the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank.

ADL incites against raising funds for Palestinians
21 Jun 2009 - ADL has urged the US Justice Department to investigate whether a U.S.-based campaign is raising funds for "the purpose of providing material support to Hamas."

Sheikh Salah warns of Israeli hysterical steps to demolish holy Mosque
21 Jun 2009 - Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement, warned Friday that the Israeli government might take hysterical steps to demolish the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and build the alleged temple.

Los Angeles Times

As protests continue in Iran, so do rallies in Los Angeles 
21 Jun 2009 - More than 1,000 gather in Westwood to show solidarity with Iranian opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his supporters. Hundreds attend a similar demonstration in San Diego. As many of their friends and relatives clashed with security forces in Iran, hundreds of demonstrators gathered Saturday in front of the Federal Building in Westwood to join the protests over allegations of voter fraud in the June 12 Iranian presidential election. 

Top Iran leader orders halt to protests; Tehran on edge 
20 Jun 2009 - Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech defending vote results. Opposition leaders vow to march today in defiance, setting the stage for a potentially violent clash. Iran's tense capital braced for the possibility of violence after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded Friday that protesters end their mass demonstrations against alleged vote-rigging and suggested that those who defied him would be responsible for the consequences. 

Tussle with Israel puts Obama credibility on the line, observers say 
20 Jun 2009 - The public disagreement between President Obama and the Israeli government appears to be headed for a solution. But concessions by the U.S. could undercut Obama's influence among Arabs. President Obama's public quarrel with Israel over the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is developing into a test of the U.S. leader's international credibility, say foreign diplomats and other observers. 

New York Times

Relatives of Former Iranian President Are Arrested
21 Jun 2009 - As scattered violence continued to grip Tehran, the government arrested relatives of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, exposing a rift among top clerics. 

The Lede: Sunday: Updates on Iran’s Disputed Election
21 Jun 2009 - To supplement reporting by New York Times journalists inside Iran on Sunday, The Lede is tracking the aftermath of Iran’s disputed presidential election online. 

Obama Resists Calls for a Tougher Stance on Iran
19 Jun 2009 - President Obama’s reluctance to respond more forcefully may change if Tehran carries out a sweeping crackdown. 


Guest speaker hurt in assault 
Columbia Daily Tribune - Janese Heavin, Columbia Daily Tribune, June 21, 2009 - An “inspirational” speaker for 15 years at the Missouri Scholars Academy was attacked this week after visiting the Columbia camp. Hedy Epstein, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor, was walking to her home from a Metrolink station in St. Louis on Wednesday when someone pushed her hard from behind. She fell to the ground and lay in a state of shock, bleeding profusely from her chin. The attack occurred so quickly, Epstein said, that she thought she saw a man running but can’t remember what he looked like. . . . The attack might not have been random. Epstein is part of a movement opposed to Israel’s treatment of Gaza and has received threatening messages. After she gave a television interview earlier this year, someone left a phone message telling Epstein she should be ashamed of herself. 

New Tel Aviv bar bans IDF soldiers in uniform, settlement products 
Ha'aretz - Ha'aretz, June 21 - A new vegan bar opened last week in Tel Aviv that bans Israel Defense Forces soldiers in uniform and boycotts products made in West Bank settlements. The Rogatka - "slingshot" - bar was opened by an "anarchist collective" who once ran the Salon Mazal bar; it is located on Yitzhak Sadeh street in central Tel Aviv. The new ideologically-devoted bar will not seek to make a profit, and the founders say they hope it will bring together left-wing activists, environmentalists, and other fellow travelers, under the banner of cheap drinks and fair trade products. The bar's ban on soldiers in uniform and the carrying of weapons, along with its boycott on products made in the settlements, derive from what employees see as the connection between all forms of oppression, from the slaughter of animals to sexism to occupation. 

’Twitter revolutionized Israeli diplomacy’ 
Ha'aretz - Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent, 6/17/2009 - An Israeli envoy to the U. S. said on Tuesday that Twitter, the short messaging website, has revolutionized Israeli diplomacy and become a leading advocacy apparatus. David Saranga, the Consul for Media and Public Affairs, said that in the past the diplomatic service had to wait until someone published an article presenting Israel's standpoint, whereas today, they use Twitter to spread Israel's message to thousands of followers at a fast pace. Saranga spoke at New York's 140 Characters Conference, an online media convention organized by internet mogul Jeff Pulver. Among other participants in the two-day conference are Twitter founding president Jack Dorsey, TV presenter Ann Curry, musician Wyclef Jean and Business Week editor John Byrne. 


The language that absolves Israel 
Saree Makdisi, Los Angeles Times 6/19/2009
      A special political vocabulary prevents us from being able to recognize what’s going on in the Middle East.
     On Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech that -- by categorically ruling out the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state -- ought to have been seen as a mortal blow to the quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
     On Monday morning, however, newspaper headlines across the United States announced that Netanyahu had endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state, and the White House welcomed the speech as "an important step forward."
     Reality can be so easily stood on its head when it comes to Israel because the misreading of Israeli declarations is a long-established practice among commentators and journalists in the United States.
     In fact, a special vocabulary has been developed for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the United States. It filters and structures the way in which developing stories are misread here, making it difficult for readers to fully grasp the nature of those stories -- and maybe even for journalists to think critically about what they write.
     The ultimate effect of this special vocabulary is to make it possible for Americans to accept and even endorse in Israel what they would reject out of hand in any other country.

National Canadian Jewish organization votes to boycott Israel 
Press release, Independent Jewish Voices, Electronic Intifada 6/18/2009
      Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) voted to join the growing international campaign in support of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, at its first Annual General Meeting this past weekend. This decision makes IJV the first national Jewish organization in the world to do so. The adopted resolution states that IJV will "Support the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and complies with the precepts of international law, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194."
     "Independent Jewish Voices has voted to join the international boycott campaign because we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and support their right to self-determination," says Diana Ralph, co-chair of IJV. "We are calling on the Canadian government and all Members of Parliament to push for immediate sanctions on Israel."
     "The time has come for people around the world to rise to the challenge in Israel/Palestine, as we did for South Africa," says Fabienne Presentey, Steering Committee member of IJV. "All voices that can be raised against this injustice must be."
     The resolution, which passed with the support of 95 percent of voting delegates, also calls on the Canadian government to "1) cease its one-sided and uncritical support for Israel and 2) insist that Israel abide by international law."

Electronic Intifada
Nahr al-Bared's future remains unclear as army holds on to neighborhoods
19 Jun 2009 - The three-month-long war between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam militants in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon ended on 2 September 2007. While the Lebanese army has allowed displaced residents to return to some parts of the camp, the fate of other parts of the camp still under the army's control remains unclear. Ray Smith reports for Electronic Lebanon. 

Canadian diplomat honored on confiscated Palestinian land
19 Jun 2009 - Canada's chief diplomat in Israel has been honored at an Israeli public park -- built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law -- as one of the donors who helped establish the park on the ruins of three Palestinian villages. Jon Allen, Canada's ambassador to Israel, is among several hundred Canadian Jews who have been commemorated at a dedication site. Jonathan Cook comments. 

Nonviolent resistance in the south Hebron hills
18 Jun 2009 - A couple of months ago I had the great pleasure of watching Palestinians successfully graze their sheep near Avigail settlement, on land where they are regularly attacked and harassed. The joy I felt in watching my friends and partners grazing their sheep on their ancestral lands was overwhelming. Sitting on the hill and eating lunch together felt like having a party. Joy Ellison writes from Hebron. 

National Canadian Jewish organization votes to boycott Israel
18 Jun 2009 - Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) voted to join the growing international campaign in support of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, at its first Annual General Meeting this past weekend. This decision makes IJV the first national Jewish organization in the world to do so. 

In Gaza
Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis
18 Jun 2009 - Wadi Gaza, collection site of central Gaza’s untreated waste, which then pours into the sea . [photo: Emad Badwan ] First Published (IPS) – ‘Biddun mey, fish heyya’, they say in Arabic for a universal truth: ‘Without water, there is no life’. While diminishing water resources are a global concern, in Palestine the struggle for water is not against global warming or multinational corporations, but for access to water, and against contamination of what precious resources there are. Mohamed Ahmed, director of the Water Control Department in the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), says “there continues to be a very rapid depletion and deterioration of ground water.” The main source of water is...

Palestine Chronicle
Ahmadinejad, Israel and Obama's Iran Puzzle
19 Jun 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud The election victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely to complicate US President Barack Obama’s new approach to his country's conflict with Iran. The reason behind the foreseen obstacle is neither the US nor Iran’s refusal to engage in future dialogue but rather Israel’s insistence on a hard-line approach to the problem. Iran’s presidential elections on June 12 were positioned to represent another fight between Middle Eastern ‘moderates’ vs. ‘extremists’. That depiction, which conveniently divided the Middle East – according to the prevailing US foreign policy discourse - to pro-American and anti-American camps was hardly as clear in the Iranian case as it was in Palestine and most recently in Lebanon. Ahmadinejad’s main rival, Mir Hussein Moussavi served as Iran’s Prime Minister for 8-years (between 1981-1989) during one of Iran’s most challenging times, its war with Iraq. He was hardly seen as a ‘moderate’ then. More, Moussavi was equally adamant in his country’s right to produce atomic energy for peaceful means. As far as US interests in the region are concerned, both Ahmadinejad and Moussavi are interested in dialogue with the US, and are unlikely to alter their country’s attitudes towards the occupation of Iraq, their support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine. Neither is ready, willing or, frankly, capable of removing Iran from the regional power play at work in the Middle East, considering that Iranian policies are shaped by other internal forces beside the president of the country. This is not to...

Iranian Elections: The 'Stolen Elections' Hoax
19 Jun 2009 - By James Petras "Change for the poor means food and jobs, not a relaxed dress code or mixed recreation... Politics in Iran is a lot more about class war than religion." -- Financial Times Editorial, June 15 2009. Introduction There is hardly any election, in which the White House has a significant stake, where the electoral defeat of the pro-US candidate is not denounced as illegitimate by the entire political and mass media elite. In the most recent period, the White House and its camp followers cried foul following the free (and monitored) elections in Venezuela and Gaza, while joyously fabricating an ‘electoral success’ in Lebanon despite the fact that the Hezbollah-led coalition received over 53% of the vote. The recently concluded, June 12, 2009 elections in Iran are a classic case: The incumbent nationalist-populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (MA) received 63.3% of the vote (or 24.5 million votes), while the leading Western-backed liberal opposition candidate Hossein Mousavi (HM) received 34.2% or (3.2 million votes). Iran’s presidential election drew a record turnout of more than 80% of the electorate, including an unprecedented overseas vote of 234,812, in which HM won 111,792 to MA’s 78,300. The opposition led by HM did not accept their defeat and organized a series of mass demonstrations that turned violent, resulting in the burning and destruction of automobiles, banks, public building and armed confrontations with the police and other authorities. Almost the entire spectrum of Western opinion makers, including all the major electronic and print media, the...

Bush Jumps over Maine, Carter Lands in Gaza
19 Jun 2009 - By Rannie Amiri "And you know, because I was president it sends a message all around. Go out and get something doing. Just 'cause … old guys can still have fun and still do stuff." -- Former President George H.W. Bush in an interview prior to skydiving over Maine on his 85th birthday, 12 June 2009. "My primary feeling today is one of grief and despair and an element of anger when I see the destruction perpetrated against innocent people. I have to hold back tears when I see the deliberate destruction that has been wracked against your people. I feel partially responsible for this as must all Americans and Israelis. [This school was] … deliberately destroyed by bombs from F16s made in my country." -- Former President Jimmy Carter, 84, in comments made near the Israeli-leveled American International School during his tour of Gaza, 16 June 2009. There is little doubt that at their age, both former United States presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter remain vigorous, energetic, spirited individuals. The activities they engaged in this past week however, could not have been more different. Bush Sr. went skydiving in a tandem jump over Maine as he turned 85, and pledged to do the same at 90. Few would deny it was a remarkable feat for his years. Yet the bravery required to undertake the birthday skydive paled in comparison to what Carter did just a few days later: He went to Gaza. And what he saw there...

Iran's Election and US - Iranian Elections
19 Jun 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago In the run-up to Iran's June 12 presidential election, early indications suggested the media's reaction if the wrong candidate won. On June 7, New York Times writer Robert Worth reported "a surge of energy (for) Mir Hussein Mousavi, a reformist who is the leading contender to defeat Mr. Ahmadinejad (and) a new unofficial poll (has him well ahead) with 54 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him compared with 39 percent for Mr. Ahmadinejad." No mention of who conducted the poll, how it was done, what interests they represented, or if Mousavi winning might be the wrong result. Writing for the influential far right Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Fariborz Ghadar described the contest as "pit(ting) the hard-line Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against two relatively moderate and one conservative challenger." In spite of one or more independent polls showing Ahmadinejad way ahead, he suggested that "the outcome (isn't) all that clear." The Wall Street Journal sounded a similar tone in calling Ahmadinejad's opponents "two reformists and one conservative (who) criticized his government for its lack of tolerance. Each has promised more personal and social freedom if elected." Newsweek quoted Iranian historian Mohammed Javad Mozafar saying: "The choice is....between democracy and an authoritarian government. If Ahmadinejad wins, that means the end of this reformist dream for a while. Many of these young people will be depressed and even leave the country. But if Mousavi wins, that means the citizens have won despite Ahmadinejad's deceitful...

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