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

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
24 June , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Two solidarity ships to dock in Gaza Friday
25 Jun 2009 - The Free Gaza Movement announced that two solidarity ships sailing from Cyprus would dock in Gaza this Friday carrying 35 international supporters from Arab, American and European descents. 

Factional rivalry continues despite released PLC member Dweik's call for unity
24 Jun 2009 - Palestinian Authority forces, affiliated with the Fatah party, detained more than 40 Hamas affiliates during invasions in the West Bank on Wednesday. Among the people arrested was the deputy mayor of Nablus. The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip shut down another newspaper and detained the chief editor 

Israeli army damages three houses during pre-dawn invasion in the West Bank
24 Jun 2009 - The Israeli army invaded the village of Awarta, close to the northern West Bank city of Nablus, during the early morning of Wednesday and damaged three houses. 

Israel claims it would temporarily freeze settlement construction
24 Jun 2009 - Israeli sources reported Wednesday that Israel would temporarily halt the construction of settlements, excluding settlements that are currently being built, if the United States agrees that Israel continues the expansion of existing settlements for the so-called ‘natural growth’ purposes. 

Electric company tries to build high voltage electric poles on Palestinian land to supply settlement
24 Jun 2009 - Villagers of Nahhalin, close to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, managed to stop workers from the Jerusalem electric company from destroying their lands for the construction of high voltage electric polls, that will be build to supply a nearby settlement. 

Mitchell cancels Thursday meeting with Netanyahu
24 Jun 2009 - US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, decided to cancel a meeting scheduled for Thursday with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, reportedly for rejecting to freeze settlement construction and expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Israel denies Shalit was moved to Egypt
24 Jun 2009 - Israel official denied media reports which claimed that the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, was moved to Egypt in preparation to be handed to Israel in the framework of a prisoner-swap deal. 

Ad Dameer demands Abbas to declare a clear stance regarding political arrests
24 Jun 2009 - The Ad Dameer Society for Human Rights demanded a clear stance from president Mahmoud Abbas regarding political arrests in the West Bank especially since the number of political prisoners from the Hamas movement is on the rise.  

Palestinian woman diagnosed with swine-flu
24 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday evening that a Palestinian woman from Ramallah was diagnosed with swine flu. 

Israeli minister visits Al Aqsa mosque, Palestinians consider it a provocative act
23 Jun 2009 - The Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday.

The Israeli military releases the Palestinian Legislative Council head
23 Jun 2009 - Dr. Aziz Dweik, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), was released on Tuesday from an Israeli military detention facility after three years imprisonment. 

The Israeli military invades Bil'in village and kidnap four civilians
23 Jun 2009 - Israeli troops kidnapped two children and two adults during an invasion targeting the village of Bil'in in the central West Bank on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Ha'aretz Defense page

ANALYSIS / Hamas fears Shalit deal would be seen as surrender
24 Jun 2009 - The one who really controls Shalit's fate is Ahmed Jabari, who heads Hamas' military wing in Gaza. 

IDF was warned of kidnap plans day before Shalit seized
24 Jun 2009 - The details of the intelligence warning appear in debriefings that were done by the GOC Southern Command. 

Israel removes dozens of West Bank roadblocks
23 Jun 2009 - Change in policy follows PA security forces actions against Hamas, Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure. 

WATCH: 3 years after kidnap, world reads Shalit's peace tale
24 Jun 2009 - Consulate in N.Y. organizes media campaign around Shalit release; Noam Shalit: I've lost faith in government. 

Rights group: IDF, Shin Bet restraint practices tantamount to torture
24 Jun 2009 - Israeli security forces inflicting 'pain and humiliation' on Palestinian detainees, says group report. 

Barak authorizes construction of 300 new homes in West Bank
23 Jun 2009 - Construction in Talmon defies U.S. call for total settlement freeze; 60 of the 300 homes already built. 

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. 

Ma'an News

Report: Israel painfully shackles Palestinians in interrogation
6/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) issued its annual report highlighting ongoing abuse of Palestinians by the Israeli army and intelligence services. The report recorded testimony of some 600 Palestinian prisoners, according to the Hebrew newspaper Ma’ariv. Many of the testimonies were of prisoners recounting interrogations meant to produce confessions. The report shows that Israeli soldiers systematically shackle and blindfold prisoners then beat them while they are transported to prisons and detention centers. Detainees are frequently left handcuffed to chairs for hours on end. Other reports detailed soldiers handcuffing prisoners in painful positions that sometimes caused extreme back pain, with no medical treatment available during interrogation or minimal treatment long after permanent damage had been done. 

Israeli forces damage three homes during village raid
6/24/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli army forces raided Awarta village south of Nablus early Wednesday and damaged three homes during a large-scale incursion into the area. Head of Awarta local council Qays Awwad said more than twenty Israeli military vehicles entered the village after midnight, storming several homes. “Furniture and property was destroyed during the searches,” said Awwad, including some structural damage done my military vehicles. The family homes of Sa’d Salim Awwad, 39, Abd Al-Qader Ahmad Ibrahim, 43, and Mahmoud Jabr Darawsheh, 37, were the three most severely damaged. [end] 

Settlers raid Nablus construction site
6/24/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israelis from the settlement of Yizhar, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, raided a Palestinian construction staging area for the third time on Wednesday. Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Dughlus, who is charged with monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank said that the settlers destroyed water wells and smashed wood and other materials at the site, located in the Sahal area. The site is owned by Ibrahim Eid, 32, and Abdel Kareem Eid ,40, the official said. [end] 

Settlers destroy 120 olive trees north of Ramallah
6/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma’an - Israeli settlers from the illegal Hallamish settlement set fire to olive trees near Deir Nidham west of Ramallah Wednesday afternoon. According to citizens from the village the fire burnt 120 olive trees on fifteen dunums of local land owned by Samir Dieb Tamimi, Jamil Abdel Qader Tamimi, Karm Mohamed Tamimi and Yousif Nemar Tamimi. [end] 

Hamas releases names of 40 detained by PA forces overnight
6/24/2009 - Nablus/Gaza - Ma’an - Hamas officials released a list of 40 names of its members detained by Palestinian Authority forces overnight Tuesday. The movement released a similar statement detailing the detention of 64 members the day before, and announced that over the past two days more than 100 members were rounded up. The following are the names, by area: Qalqiliya: Iyad Hamad, 35, member of the municipal council, Moayad Shrym, 38, Qaies Abu Samra, Sameer Arar, 27, from Ras Atyah village, Hasan Melham, 45, Mohamed Tabasya, 40, a municipal employee, Mohamed Abu Asab, 27, Ahmad Sharie Nofel, 25, Ayoub Zmary, 30, Ahmad Ratb Mera’ya, 27, from Ras Atyah village, Sa’ad Fawzy Al-Shiekh, 33, from Seniryah village, Mohamed Radi from Jayyus, Hebron: Mohamed Abu Atwan, 50, Robin Abdel Samed Al-Haneeny, 24. . . . . . . 

Fatah: Abbas ordered release of 40 Hamas men detained overnight
6/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued an order to release 40 Hamas affiliates detained by PA forces in the West Bank overnight Wednesday, according to head of Fatah parliamentary bloc Azzam Al-Ahmed. On Thursday, again according to Al-Ahmad, Abbas ordered the release of the men as part of his current program of reviewing the files of those in detention following politically-motivated arrests. Abbas further promised to put an end to the file of politically motivated arrests and put a stop to the tension between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Abbas is reportedly pushing through an end to the issue ahead of the conciliation talks with Egypt. Al-Ahmad announced that committees would head to Cairo on Saturday, two weeks ahead of the Egyptian 7 June date for talks. He said the meetings would be of a “preparatory” nature. 

Haniyeh hails Dweik’s release a 'triumph'
6/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh hailed the release of Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik as a “triumph” on Tuesday night. Dweik, a Hamas member like Haniyeh, returned home to the West Bank after nearly three years in an Israeli prison on Tuesday. For reasons that remain unknown, Israel decided to release him nearly two months before the end of his prison sentence. Haniyeh said that Dweik represented those who upheld Palestinians“national constants” and refused to make concessions in the face of Israel’s arrests of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). “We are satisfied with … Dweik’s release as he represents originality and he is keen on the reconciliation and ending the [Palestinian] division to achieve freedom,” Haniyeh said in a statement. Haniyeh and other Gaza-based Hamas leaders were quiet on Tuesday after Dweik’s release. 

Ninety patients return to Gaza via Rafah
6/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - Ninety Palestinians being treated in Egypt returned to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing Wednesday. Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in Gaza Dr Muawiyah Hassanein confirmed that all 90 had completed their treatments. He confirmed that 18 of the patients came through in ambulances, while others were transported through in wheelchairs accompanied by their caregivers. The patients will continue follow-up treatment at homes and hospitals in the Strip. [end] 

De facto government shuts down Gaza newspaper, detains chief editor
6/24/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – De facto government forces shut down the offices of the As-Subeh (The Morning) newspaper and detained its Chief Editor Sari Al-Qudweh in an evening raid Tuesday. The Palestinian journalists’ union condemned the detention in a Wednesday statement saying the home and office of Al-Qudweh were raided, and his papers and computer confiscated before the editor was detained. The union called on all media and rights institutions to intervene and demand the immediate release of Al-Qudweh. Journalists should not be the target of political conflicts, the union’s statement said, and reminded the governments in the West Bank and Gaza that Al-Qudweh is not the only journalist who has been targeted in recent months. While calling for the release of Al-Qudweh and the re-opening of As-Subeh in Gaza, the union also called on caretaker government officials in Ramallah. . . 

Two Gaza border terminals partially open, third closed
6/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, while the Karni crossing will remain closed, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official. Fattouh said that 100 to 116 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods will enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s sole power plant will be shipped through Nahal Oz. On Tuesday Israeli demonstrators calling for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit blocked key border crossings, preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. Israel has imposed a severe border closure on the Gaza Strip since June 2007, curbing imports to 15% of pre-blockade levels. 

Scholarships established for Turkish students to study in Gaza
6/24/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas-led de facto government says it will provide scholarships for Turksh students to study in the Gaza Strip. The secretary-general of the cabinet in Gaza, Muhammad Awad, said that 37 applications were submitted for the scholarships. He said that the government will pay tuition and all living expenses for the students. In a statement, he explained that the decision to grant the scholarships was made during a visit by Gaza government officials to Turkey last week. “The scholarships are a letter of thanks and gratitude to the Turkish people for their permanent support for the Palestinian people, especially besieged Gazans,” said Awad. “Turkey always comes out with stands with us. We do appreciate … the Islamic [connection] between Palestine and Turkey. ”The statement did not say how the government could ensure that the students would enter the blockaded Gaza Strip. 

Netanyahu, Mitchell postpone meeting
6/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A meeting between Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell originally scheduled to take place in Paris on Thursday has been postponed with no new date set. US State Department Spokesperson Ian Kelly told reporters in Washington on Tuesday that “This was done because we want to give Special Envoy Mitchell a chance to meet with Defense Minister [Ehud] Barak, and that visit will take place on Monday where we hope to advance discussions on a range of issues. ”The meeting between Barak and Mitchell is scheduled for Monday in Washington. The news emerged while Barak was reported to have approved the construction of 240 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which have been a major point of contention with the administration of US President Barack Obama. 

UN official: Gaza crisis could undermine peacemaking
6/24/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The unresolved crisis in Gaza could undercut attempts to advance Palestine-Israel peace talks, the United Nations’ Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry told the Security Council on Tuesday. Serry was briefing the Security Council on the situation in the region ahead of a meeting of the international Quartet, a grouping of the UN, US, EU, and Russia, devoted to advancing peacemaking. “The unresolved crisis in Gaza has negative repercussions on all efforts to advance the peace process, and wreaks unacceptable havoc on the fabric of civilian life in Gaza,” Serry said. Gaza, which recently endured a devastating Israeli military offensive, will be on the agenda at the Quartet’s meeting in Trieste, Italy on Friday. In connection with this, Arab foreign ministers will also meet in Cairo on Wednesday. 

Qalqiliya: US consul says Obama to support investment and development
6/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - US Consul General Jake Walles visited Qalqiliya Thursday and met with local businessmen and women around the rebuilding of the Palestinian economy, the US consular office in Jerusalem announced. Following a tour of a local women-owned and operated textile factory Walles joined Qalqiliya Chamber of Commerce Chairman Walid As-Sabi, Governor of Qalqiliya Rabih al-Khandaqji, and area business leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges facing Qalqiliya businesses. Speaking to press during his visit, Walles stated, “private enterprise is the engine of any national economy. We applaud the work of the business community in Qalqiliya to create jobs and build hope for the population here. ”Walles emphasized the importance of creating a stable environment to attract investment. “As President Obama has made clear, the US will support efforts to build institutions that serve the needs of the Palestinian people,” he said. 

Sarkozy insists on settlement halt; Netanyahu refuses
6/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - French President Nicolas Sarkozy reiterated demands that Israel must immediately halt settlement construction when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. Sarkozy said Middle East peace depended on a “complete freeze” on settlement building during a news conference following a meeting between the leaders. Netanyahu and his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are both abroad on what appears to be an attempt to boost Israel’s image in the international arena and test the reaction of other nations to US President Barack Obama’s insistence on a halt to settlement construction. Shifting the questions Netanyahu, who has said he does not see settlements as an obstacle to peace, put the onus back on Palestinians, and the reaction against the Israeli leader’s statement that any peace deal would be with a demilitarized Palestine that recognized Israel as a “Jewish state. 

Ninth case of swine flu diagnosed in Ramallah
6/24/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian woman from the West Bank city of Ramallah was diagnosed with H1N1 flu on Tuesday evening, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Dr Omar An-Nasr, director of the Information Department of the ministry told Ma’an that a woman who arrived recently from the US was diagnosed with so-called swine flu, bringing the overall number of cases in Ramallah to nine. Four patients in Bethlehem in the southern West Bank diagnosed and then successfully treated, An-Nasr confirmed. He explained that the Palestinian Ministry of Health treats swine flu patients in their homes and provides all the necessary medicines as well as prevention information and guidance to their families. Separately, authorities said that 29 new cases of H1N1 were diagnosed overnight in Israel, bringing the total in the country to 375. 

Factional arrests dim unity prospects
6/24/2009 - Hebron - Ma’an Exclusive - Freed Hamas leader Aziz Dweik was released from Israeli prison Tuesday, and gave an exclusive interview to Ma’an where he spoke at length about his quest for unity, and the validity of his arrest at the hands of Israel. Dweik was taken by Israeli forces in July 2006 following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza. Dweik was one of more than two dozen PLC members taken by Israeli forces that summer. He was sentenced to three years detention. “I was not released early” said Dweik, though Israel announced his sentence would end in August 2009. “I should have been released the day after I was detained. ”On his time in prison he called every day after his detention a “sin,” and condemned Israel for the detention of more than 40 PLC members and their attempts to intervene in Palestinian legislative elections. 

Hamas’ Dweik has 'message of unity' in first interview since release from Israeli detention
6/24/2009 - Hebron - Ma’an Exclusive - Freed Hamas leader Aziz Dweik was released from Israeli prison Tuesday, and gave an exclusive interview to Ma’an where he spoke at length about his quest for unity, and the validity of his arrest at the hands of Israel. Dweik was taken by Israeli forces in July 2006 following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza. Dweik was one of more than two dozen PLC members taken by Israeli forces that summer. He was sentenced to three years detention. “I was not released early” said Dweik, though Israel announced his sentence would end in August 2009. “I should have been released the day after I was detained. ”On his time in prison he called every day after his detention a “sin,” and condemned Israel for the detention of more than 40 PLC members and their attempts to intervene in Palestinian legislative elections. 

The National

Khamenei rules out results annulment
24 Jun 2009 - Iran's supreme leader says he will not give in to pressure from the opposition as protests in downtown Tehran are brutally suppressed by state security.

Palestinian groups round up rivals
24 Jun 2009 - Tit-for-tat arrests as Hamas and Fatah ignore earlier agreement to swap prisoners, and put the prospects of reconciliation and future statehood in doubt.

US ambassador 'to return to Syria'
24 Jun 2009 - US media reports say President Barack Obama will reinstate an American diplomatic presence in Syria after a four-year hiatus.

Obama chastises Tehran for violence
24 Jun 2009 - Barack Obama offered his strongest condemnation yet of Iranian authorities, saying the US was 'appalled and outraged' by the brutal crackdown on protesters.

Protests resonate with émigrés
23 Jun 2009 - Many members of the Iranian diaspora in Australia have expressed solidarity with those protesting in Tehran and elsewhere.

Hamas parliament speaker released 
23 Jun 2009 - Israel releases Aziz Dweik, the Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament, after nearly three years in prison.

Tragic icon an 'innocent bystander'
23 Jun 2009 - The fiance of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose shooting during protests in Tehran was captured on video and turned her into a symbol for the opposition

Medvedev to address Arab League
23 Jun 2009 - Russian president heading to Egypt to boost his country's diplomatic clout in the Middle East.


Iran thwarts opposition protest
24 Jun 2009 - Riot police prevent rally in Tehran as supreme leader vows not to yield to protesters.

US to appoint ambassador to Syria
24 Jun 2009 - President agrees to send senior diplomat in order to improve ties, White House says.

Iran's Neda killing 'was illegal'
24 Jun 2009 - Nobel laureate says she is prepared to represent family of woman shot dead at rally.

Sarkozy in Israeli settlement plea
24 Jun 2009 - French president calls for "total freeze" on settlements after talks with Israeli PM.

Israel releases senior Hamas MP
23 Jun 2009 - After nearly three years, Abdul Aziz Dweik is released as dozens remain imprisoned.


IRAQ: Timeline of violence in 2009 
DUBAI Tuesday, June 23, 2009 (IRIN) - With just a week left until all US forces must leave Iraq’s major cities, violence in the war-battered country appears to be on the rise once again. More than 100 people have been killed in bombings and shootings in Iraq in the past three days. 

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.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: U.S. to Name Ambassador to Damascus after Four Years 
WASHINGTON, Jun 24 (IPS) - After informing the Syrian embassy in Washington on Tuesday night, the U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday that President Barack Obama will be sending an ambassador to Damascus for the first time since 2005.

MIDEAST: The Writing Is On the Settlement Walls 
JERUSALEM, Jun 24 (IPS) - A paralysing equation has long bedevilled would-be Middle East peacemakers: either, go directly to negotiating the kernel issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict - borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem - and leave, in the context of a full peace, the thorny question of Israeli settlements in the...

EXCLUSIVE-PART 3: U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran 
WASHINGTON, Jun 24 (IPS) - In March 1997, FBI Director Louis Freeh got what he calls in his memoirs "the first truly big break in the case": the arrest in Canada of one of the Saudi Hezbollah members the Saudis accused of being the driver of the getaway car at...

MOROCCO: African Refugees Targeted 
RABAT, Jun 23 (IPS) - More than 300 African refugees are gathered at the gates of the Moroccan United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), asking to be moved to another country because their rights are not respected in Morocco. Several refugees say they have been beaten up by Moroccan UN personnel.

Stop The Wall

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

Occupation forces raid Bil'in, kidnap youth
24 Jun 2009 - Soldiers stormed into the village of Bil'in at three in the morning on Tuesday. They conducted house to house searches and kidnapped fifteen-year-old Khalil Yassin and Kamil al-Katib, also fifteen. They also arrested Hassanain Mansour and Kefah Mansour, who were going to their isolated land, and brought them to an unknown location. [

PCHR Latest

(23 June) Defense of Universal Jurisdiction Speech Presented to Conference in Madrid on Behalf of PCHR Director, Raji Sourani

(23 June) PLC Speaker, Dr. Aziz al-Dwaik, Released from Israeli Detention

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

Israeli troops kidnap 4 West Bank civilians
International Solidarity Movement - Press TV, 23 June 2009 - Zionist troops have invaded Bil'in village in the central West Bank and kidnapped two teenagers and two adults. Palestinian locals said the kidnappings took place at two different times. The first incident took place late Monday night when two men – Hissen Mansour and Kifah Mansour – who were returning from their farmlands to the village located behind the apartheid wall, were detained. Although an Israeli court has given the farmers the right to reach their lands behind the wall and ordered the Israeli military to demolish the wall, the Zionist army still arrests farmers and refuses to dismantle the wall, local sources said Tuesday. In the second incident, Zionists troops stormed Bil'in village Tuesday morning, searched a number of homes, and then kidnapped two boys – Khalil Yassen and Kamel al-Kahteeb – both aged 15. 

Palestinian says settlers repeatedly damaged his home
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 24 June 2009 - Ibrahim Ayid, of the village of Borin near Nablus, says he cannot complete construction on his home because it has been attacked three times during the past week by settlers. The IDF stated that a number of incidents have occurred on the scene and that forces had to prevent physical violence from breaking out between Palestinians and settlers. Ayid said that on Wednesday three settlers, one of them armed, had arrived at the construction site to threaten him. "The settlers came down to the house, took apart the wood intended for construction, broke the water containers, and vandalized the property. They also threatened and chased away a tractor driver and electricians working there," he recounted. He said the previous incidents had occurred on Tuesday and Saturday of the past week. 

An open letter to President Obama from Christian Peacemaker Teams
International Solidarity Movement - An Open Letter to President Obama from Christian Peacemaker Teams: Call on Israel to Stop Its Violence against Palestinians - Dear President Obama, On Tuesday June 15th, you said of the protests in Iran, "When I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, whenever that takes place, it is of concern to me and it is of concern to the American people. " ¯For the last 13 years, Christian Peacemaker Teams have witnessed the brutal suppression of peaceful dissent here in Palestine. In the city of Hebron and the village of At-Tuwani, CPT supports vibrant Palestinian nonviolent resistance to Israel's military occupation. Every day, Palestinians hold nonviolent demonstrations and defy curfews and closed military zones. They rebuild demolished homes and work their land despite the threat of arrest and attack. Though their struggle is largely ignored by the media, we find inspiration in the way Palestinians are working for justice and peace. 

FGM: We are coming to Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - To: The Israeli Ministry of Defense, Fax: 972-3-697-6717, To: The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 972-2-5303367, From: The Free Gaza Movement -- This letter serves as a formal notification to you, as the Occupying Power and belligerent force in the Gaza Strip, that on Thursday, June 25, 2009 we are navigating the motor vessel Spirit of Humanity, and the motor vessel Free Gaza from the Port of Larnaca to the port of Gaza City. Our vessels will be flying the Greek flags, and, as such, fall under the jurisdiction Greece. We will be sailing from Cypriot waters into international waters, then directly into the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip without entering or nearing Israeli territorial waters. We will be carrying medical supplies in sealed boxes, as well as crayons, coloring books and toys for children, cleared by customs at the Larnaca International Airport and the Port of Larnaca. 

Pressure Israel to not attack FGM boats en route to Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - Please contact your representatives to demand that they pressure the Israeli government to not shoot at or stop the Free Gaza Movement boats on Friday, 25 June 2009. Additionally, call Israeli officials in the government to demand that the Free Gaza boats are not stopped or shot at when they are entering from international waters to Gazan territorial waters. [Contact information follows. . . ] [end] 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Netanyahu trying to reach compromise on settlements with U.S.
24 Jun 2009 - PARIS - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing with efforts to advance compromise formulas that will win support in the Obama administration on the issue of settlement construction. Ahead of the visit to Washington by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Netanyahu is planning to propose that increased construction in the settlements be allowed for "natural growth." ... 

U.S. sees Syria as key player for Mideast peace
24 Jun 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is examining a proposed Israeli-Syrian peace plan that is based on demilitarizing the Golan Heights and transforming it, along with a strip of the Jordan Valley, into a nature preserve, or "peace park," that would be open to visitors during the day. ... 

'George Costanza' offers humor as solution for Mideast peace
23 Jun 2009 - Jason Alexander, who spent nine years playing George Costanza on Seinfeld, told a crowd in Jerusalem on Wednesday that the search for an Israeli-Palestinian solution and the show about nothing that launched him to fame have one thing in common - neither seemed destined to succeed. ...

Netanyahu: No Palestine without demilitarization
23 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that his suggestion of a demilitarized Palestinian state was gaining international ground and was the only solution for Middle East peace. ...

Obama rescinds July 4 invites to Iranian diplomats
23 Jun 2009 - The Obama administration has rescinded invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend U.S. independence day celebrations on July 4, the White House said on Wednesday. ...

The Guardian

Israel and America: stopping the settlements | Editorial
24 Jun 2009 - Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu gave speeches earlier this month in Egypt and Israel which used the same vocabulary of peace and hope, but were otherwise about as opposed as two accounts of reality can be....

Israel defies US with plan for 240 new homes on Palestinian land
23 Jun 2009 - • Ehud Barak approved construction in West Bank • Scheme cuts farmers' access to land, say critics Israel's defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and...

A phoney war on Israel's soldiers | Seth Freedman
22 Jun 2009 - A Tel Aviv bar's illogical ban on uniformed soldiers tars all IDF personnel with the same dismissive brush It's one thing for a bar or club to employ a dress code for sartorial reasons, quite another...

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...

Ha'aretz National page

Ex-finance minister Hirschson sentenced to 65 months in jail
23 Jun 2009 - A Tel Aviv court on Wednesday sentenced former finance minister Abraham Hirschson to five years and five months in prison and a fine of NIS 450,000, for embezzling NIS 1.8 million from the national labor federation while he served as its chairman. ...

Israel's Dudi Sela wins through to third round at Wimbledon
23 Jun 2009 - Israel's Dudi Sela won through to the third round of the Wimbledon tennis championships on Wednesday after defeating 18th-seeded German Rainer Schuettler. ...

10 Jerusalem men suspected of dealing arms to terror operatives
23 Jun 2009 - Ten East Jerusalem-area residents have been arrested on suspicion of belonging to a cell involved in selling arms to criminal and terror operatives, a gag order lifted on Wednesday revealed. ...

Singer Leonard Cohen confirms concert in Israel this September
23 Jun 2009 - International music legend Leonard Cohen will perform in Israel on September 24, sponsor Discount Bank confirmed Wednesday. ...

Magen David Adom gets military award for work in Lebanon war
23 Jun 2009 - Senior officials and commanders in Magen David Adom, Israel's rescue service, were presented with the organization's first ever military honors Tuesday, for its work during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Working under fire - Secretary-General Ban commends UNRWA workers for bravery
24 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

Influenza A (H1N1): Eastern Mediterranean Region - WHO Information Bulletin 18
24 Jun 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

TPO : Bande de Gaza : 18.758 victimes aidées malgré le blocus
24 Jun 2009 - Source: Première Urgence

Le Coordonnateur spécial des Nations Unies informe le Conseil de sécurité de l'existence d'une « chance réelle de commencer à changer la dynamique » du processus de paix au Moyen-Orient
24 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

UN Envoy describes 'concerted push' to reinvigorate Middle East peace efforts, urges Israelis, Palestinians to carefully assess opportunity before them
23 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

Middle East: Gaza's fishermen struggling
23 Jun 2009 - Source: World Vision

UNHCR Iraq Fact Sheet May 2009
23 Jun 2009 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

OPT: Commissioner-General's opening statement at the UNRWA Gaza Women's Committee Workshop
23 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

YNet News

Jerusalem expects unprecedented calm at Pride Parade
24 Jun 2009 - For first time in eight years haredim refrain from threatening LGBT community before event

Barak: True nature of Iran regime exposed
24 Jun 2009 - Following renewal of violence in Tehran, defense minister says regime poses threat to region, world

Shalit: We don't have faith in the system 
24 Jun 2009 - Father of captive soldier says until government's words translate into results, family only trusts its own efforts to bring Gilad home. IDF chief of staff says army has obligation to soldier it sent out into battle

Netanyahu meets Sarkozy in Paris
24 Jun 2009 - Netanyahu meets with French president in Paris to discuss developments in Mideast, recent tensions with US. 'We will not build new settlements, but (settlers) must be allowed to live their lives,' PM says 

Palestinian says settlers repeatedly damaged his home
24 Jun 2009 - Resident of West Bank village says settlers prevented construction on his home three times in a week


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

Assad: Israel has no willingness for peace deal 
24 Jun 2009 - Syria said on Wednesday it could not make peace with Israel because Israel was not committed to coming to a deal. "Achieving peace requires an Israeli partner and commitment to international law, United Nations resolutions and the land for peace principles," Syrian President Bashar Assad said.

Khamenei vows no retreat on election dispute as around 200 join protest 
24 Jun 2009 - Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared on Wednesday that a disputed election result would stand, despite street protests that Iranian officials say Britain and the United States have incited. The opposition refused to be bowed, with reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi, who came last in the June 12 presidential election.

New arrivals make up large part of Israel settler growth 
24 Jun 2009 - Israelis moving to the Occupied West Bank accounted for more than a third of settler population growth in recent years, undercutting Israel's argument that it is continuing settlement construction only to accommodate growing families already living there.

Israeli official admits hard work needed to bridge gaps with US 
24 Jun 2009 - Bridging gaps between Israel and the United States over settlement growth in the Occupied West Bank will require hard work, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday, playing down prospects for a swift breakthrough. US President Barack Obama wants Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare a total settlement freeze.

'Neda' shows importance of citizen journalism in country's election conflict 
24 Jun 2009 - Youtube frames of "Neda," a young Iranian woman whose face is engulfed in blood, are a horrific image of what some are calling the Tehran spring. They also show the genie unleashed by citizen journalists. Identified on the photo-sharing website flickr as Neda Agha Soltan, the young woman shown on cameraphone footage falling.

Both sides in Iranian conflict remember lessons of history 
24 Jun 2009 - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," the Spanish-born philosopher George Santayana wrote. In Iran, both sides remember the past. Pro-democracy campaigners are imitating the tactics of the Islamic Revolution, while the authorities are seeking to avoid the errors of the shah as they defend what they consider the legitimate order.

Palestinian Information Center

Solitary Confinement Prescription for Slow Death or Insanity (Report)
24 Jun 2009 - Prisoners in solitary confinement try to break the routine of a deadly dull life in isolation cells where mercy is unknown and the only smells are those associated with depression, death or insanity.

Mousa castigates Israel for minister's tour of Aqsa
24 Jun 2009 - Amr Mousa, the Arab League Secretary General, has castigated the Israeli government and strongly denounced its internal security minister for touring the Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

Bardawil: Hamas received an Egyptian invitation to discuss events in WB
24 Jun 2009 - Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil stated that Egypt invited Hamas to discuss the field developments in the West Bank as well as the results reached by the committees formed to follow up the political arrest file.

Jewish armed settlers destroy Palestinian workshop, burn crops
24 Jun 2009 - Jewish armed settlers from the Halmish settlement established on lands of a Palestinian village west of Ramallah city on Wednesday set Palestinian crops on fire.

ICRC: Israeli illegal settlements cause hardships to Palestinians
24 Jun 2009 - "Settler violence and severe restrictions on movement are affecting the daily lives of Palestinians in southern part of the occupied West Bank", Matteo Benatti head of the ICRC's Hebron office said.

Fatah MPs block PLC speaker from entering its premises
24 Jun 2009 - Fatah MPs and PLC employees refused to open the gates of the PLC building in Ramallah for Dr. Aziz Dwaik, the PLC speaker, to address a press conference after his release from occupation jails.

European campaign: Int’l silence towards siege “crime against humanity”
24 Jun 2009 - The European campaign for ending the siege deplored the persistent silence of the international community towards the Israeli blockade, describing it as “an international crime against humanity”.

Hamas: PA security escalated arrests and kidnapped 40 citizens Tuesday
24 Jun 2009 - Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the PA security apparatuses escalated Tuesday their political arrest campaigns and kidnapped 40 Palestinian citizens including the deputy mayor of Nablus.

Haneyya: The release of Dweik is a triumph for all Palestinian patriots
24 Jun 2009 - Ismail Haneyya said that the release of speaker Dr. Aziz Al-Dweik is a triumph for the steadfastness of all Palestinian patriots who upheld the national constants and refused to make concessions.

IOA delivers new demolition orders to Jerusalemites
24 Jun 2009 - The Israeli occupation authority on Wednesday handed many Palestinian house owners in Aisawiye village north of occupied Jerusalem notifications that their homes would be demolished.

Los Angeles Times

Obama condemns Iran violence, singles out shooting of woman seen on video 
23 Jun 2009 - Iranian protests are among hot topics at the president's news conference today, which also covered his push for healthcare reform, 'clean energy' jobs and the president's efforts to quit smoking. President Obama today condemned the ongoing government crackdown on Iranian demonstrators, using his strongest language yet, but declined to spell out consequences for the violence, saying there is still time for officials in that country to respect universal "norms and principles" of freedom. 

Obama denounces Iran crackdown on protesters 
24 Jun 2009 - But President Obama stops short of calling off his diplomatic overture to Tehran and refuses to threaten consequences. Under pressure to speak out more forcefully, President Obama on Tuesday condemned the Iranian government's violent suppression of dissent and declared the world "appalled and outraged" by its crackdown on protesters. 

Iran extends deadline for election inquiry 
24 Jun 2009 - The Guardian Council, which is overseeing the probe into allegations of vote fraud, says it needs more time for 'meticulousness.' The council earlier said Ahmadinejad would be sworn in by mid-August. Iran's constitutional watchdog received approval Tuesday to extend its examination of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection victory beyond today's deadline to Monday, state television reported. 

New York Times

Fresh Clashes as Ruling Cleric Says Iran Will Not Yield
24 Jun 2009 - Hundreds of protesters clashed with security forces in Tehran, witnesses said, as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would not yield to pressure over the election. 

Obama Will Send Envoy to Syria, Officials Say
24 Jun 2009 - The move is a sign of the deepening engagement between the Obama administration and the Syrian government. 

News Analysis: In Iran, Both Sides Seek to Carry Islam’s Banner
21 Jun 2009 - Both the government and the opposition are portraying themselves as pursing the ideal of a just Islamic state. 


UK rules out ’arms embargo’ on Israel 
PressTV - PressTV, 24 Jun 2009 - The UK has dismissed a petition asking the key EU power to put an arms embargo on Israel and press other countries to stop supplying arms to Tel Aviv, over its conduct in the Gaza War. The petition on the prime minister's office site was initiated by a man named Yusuf Ibrahim and was signed by over 38,000 people -- far more than the quorum 500 signatures it needed to receive a response from the office. The government responded last week to the petition posted to forestall another Operation Cast Lead, which left more than 1,450 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip and left thousands of others wounded in late December 2008 and early January. The petitioners called on Gordon Brown "to do everything in his power to impose an arms embargo on Israel in light of the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip and to apply pressure on countries supplying Israel with 

DOJ: AIPAC case witness was asked to ’fake...suicide’ 
Politico - Politico, June 22, 2009 - Two people asked a Pentagon official cooperating with prosecutors in an investigation into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to fake his own death to avoid testifying against two pro-Israel lobbyists charged in the case, according to the Justice Department. Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin pled guilty in October 2005 to participating in a conspiracy with AIPAC officials Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman to obtain and distribute classified information. The Justice Department dropped the case against Rosen and Weissman last month as a trial approached. " Just prior to the entry of his guilty plea, Franklin was approached by two individuals who made a pitch to Franklin about faking his death by suicide and disappearing, thus thwarting any cooperation in the case against Rosen and Weissman," prosecutors wrote in a brief filed in connection with a motion 

Iran’s Post-Election Unrest Could Benefit Israel 
The Forward - Leslie Susser (JTA), The Forward, June 22, 2009 - JERUSALEM — Like the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago, the outcome of the post-election unrest in Iran could be of major strategic significance for the Middle East and for Israel. Israeli analysts see three possible scenarios:President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ruling ayatollahs use force to reassert the authority of their regime. Ahmadinejad’s presidential rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, sweeps to power on a wave of popular support and reforms what still remains an essentially clerical regime. The unrest takes on a dynamic of its own, driving the ayatollahs from power. In each scenario, Israel stands to benefit. Clearly, regime change in Tehran could alter radically the political landscape of the entire region. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Middle East gradually adopted a new but equally bipolar character: 


Attack on water brings sanitation crisis 
Eva Bartlett, Electronic Intifada 6/22/2009
      GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (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 the coastal aquifer and ground water, which serves Gaza’s agriculture, commercial, industrial and public sectors, says Ahmed. But through the three weeks of Israeli attacks on Gaza last December and January, much of the water network infrastructure was destroyed or damaged, rendering already scarce water all the more scarce.
     The destruction caused by Israeli shelling, tanks and bulldozers throughout the Strip further damaged Gaza’s sanitation network, causing 150,000 cubic meters of untreated and partially treated sewage waste water to flow over agricultural and residential land and into the sea during the attacks. The daily average of wastewater being pumped into the sea is still a staggering 80,000 cubic meters.
     The water treatment crisis has been a catastrophe in the making for decades. In 2004, a report on water alternatives published by the Islamic University of Gaza’s Department of Environment and Earth Science said groundwater had already "deteriorated to a limit that the municipal tap water became brackish and unsuitable for human consumption" throughout the Strip.

Israel won’t let Gaza boy see his only parent 
Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz 6/23/2009
      In protest over the complaint the United States dared to lodge against Israel over the plight of Gaza Strip residents, the Defense Ministry declared there is no humanitarian crisis there, nor did one ever exist. 
     According to the ministry’s criteria for humanitarian cases, our American friends got a little carried away. For example, is the case of a 7-year-old Gazan who lost his mother and wants to rejoin his father, who lives in Hebron, to be considered a humanitarian case by the Defense Ministry? That’s not a sure thing. 
     The procedures of the office of the coordinator of activities in the territories for handling requests from Gaza Strip residents seeking to settle in Judea and Samaria stipulates that if there is a relative in the vicinity who can take him in, the boy should remain in Gaza. And what of a chronically ill or elderly person in need of assistance and whose only daughter unfortunately chose to live in Nablus? Is he to be considered a humanitarian case? Nonsense.
     According to the rules for family reunification, dictated by Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai (Labor), they will apply to the man only if there is no other relative in Gaza, not necessarily a first-degree relative, who can care for him. "Family ties, in and of itself, are not reason enough to justify a humanitarian case allowing residency in Judea and Samaria." Of course, when necessary, he writes, the petitioners will be summoned to an interview with officials from the office of the coordinator of activities in the territories’ to reassess the humanitarian need.

Electronic Intifada
Political arrests may derail unity talks
24 Jun 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Egyptian mediators have set 7 July as deadline for final Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo. The Egyptians say time is running out, and if there is no progress in July, they will no longer be prepared to arbitrate. Continued political detention and abuse of Palestinian prisoners by Hamas in Gaza and by the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank could, however, derail the talks before they even begin. 

Audio: A reporter tries to buy new equipment in Gaza
24 Jun 2009 - In late 2008, I needed to replace my old recording equipment that had poor sound quality and purchase a new audio recorder. Unfortunately, with the ongoing Israeli siege, this simple task of obtaining a new recorder was nearly impossible. The following audio diary tells the story of my efforts to receive a new audio recorder from the US so that I could continue documenting the many untold stories of the people of Gaza. Rami Almeghari writes from the Gaza Strip. 

Argentina case threatens to criminalize criticism of Israel
24 Jun 2009 - In what Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel has termed "a witch hunt and an attack on democratic freedoms," nine pro-Palestinian protesters in Argentina have been detained following a demonstration at an event celebrating Israel's 61st anniversary. The activists have been vilified as violent anti-Semites by politicians and the television and print media, and now face up to 12 years in prison for "ideological arrogance," under revived Juan Peron-era anti-terrorism legislation of dubious constitutionality. Hugh Harkin reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

New short films showcase breadth of Palestinian cinema
24 Jun 2009 - Of the 27 films featured in the 2009 Chicago Palestine Film Festival held last April, two exceptional shorts demonstrate the breadth of recent Palestinian cinema. Approaching the Israeli occupation from contrasting vantage points, Be Quiet (2006) and The View (2008) press viewers to imagine life under a system that dictates virtually every minute of one's being. Maymanah Farhat reviews for The Electronic Intifada. 

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
US Intervention in Iran
24 Jun 2009 - By Terry Lacey – Jakarta The Iranian authorities, shocked by the massive popular protests against alleged election malpractices have blocked web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, blocked SMS messages, restricting use of cell phones, restricting the foreign media, and clamping down hard on protesters. (AP. Jakarta Post 23.06.09). The government side will cry foreign intervention. How much will they be right? In a global electronic world Iranian resistance and NGO networks are active, financed and involved. How much are states involved in backing them? What sort of economic or even criminal interests got involved, and why? These are reasonable questions and not a criticism of those struggling for more freedom. The Internet represents a new form of foreign intervention in popular protests and uprisings exploited by social groups, foreign exiles and intelligence agencies. The State Department did intervene to advise Twitter not to close for maintenance during these events, advantaging Mousavi and the protestors. The Iranians, and many interested governments will be watching all this with some concern. There is no monopoly on resistance by social networking which could stoke up riots in Paris, London or New York as well as in Tehran or Beijing. During the election campaign Tehran was divided into two political territories reflecting beneficiaries and losers in the Islamic revolution. The new rising middle class are based in the Northern suburbs of Tehran, and similar suburbs in other cities, and have been waiting their chance to protest at what they see as an oppressive and...

Israeli Left Fails at Logic
24 Jun 2009 - By Belen Fernandez In a June 24 article on the Haaretz website entitled 'Leave the settlers there,' opinion writer Yair Sheleg condemns the Israeli left for comparing Jewish settlers to Hamas. According to Sheleg, the comparison is “based on the following logic: The Israeli majority is the equivalent of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which recognized Israel and is willing to make peace with it, while the settlers are equivalent to Hamas in their refusal.” Sheleg’s review of the defects of this analogy does not include the most obvious one—that Hamas is more likely to recognize a Jewish state within the 1967 borders than are the settlers. He instead focuses on such issues as how “even the most moderate Palestinians have yet to voice consent to the ideas that most moderate Israelis have been promoting for many years – see, for instance, their demand for the refugees’ ‘return’ to Israel.” The argument is thus transformed into one in which not even Palestinians willing to embrace Israeli existence are moderates, and that the only moderate view—espoused by most moderate Israelis, who have been nobly espousing it for many years—is that there is no right of return. The writer goes on to expose other fatal flaws in the comparison by the Israeli left, such as that “most of those who equate the settlers with Hamas also generally argue that Hamas must be treated as a significant player in the negotiations. But the settlers, they say, should be ignored.” This political snubbing may have...

Who's A Low Level Terrorist? Are You?
24 Jun 2009 - By Emily Spence Recently, an American Civil Liberties Union report pointed out, "Anti-terrorism training materials currently being used by the Department of Defense (DoD) teach its personnel that free expression in the form of public protests should be regarded as 'low level terrorism'." [1] Despite that DoD officials removed the offensive section from their educational resources at the urging of ACLU members, the DoD stance is still troubling since a longstanding practice to designate peaceful, law abiding activists as dangerous and treasonable still exists in many government departments and agencies. Indeed the participants of the first antiwar protest against the Vietnam incursion, put together in the mid-1960's by peaceable Quakers and FOR members after having discussed Gandhi's Salt March as a model for a nonviolent demonstration, faced government operatives filming them face by face from rooftops as they moved en masse down Broadway to the UN Plaza. (My mother, a pacifist married to a World War II Conscientious Objector, and I, a child at the time of the march, both were in attendance. When the film crew focused on us, she stood tall, faced the agents with their telephoto lens, glared in disdainful defiance and, simultaneously, throw the corner of her coat over my face. Afterwards, she muttered, "How dare they try to intimidate us!") This sort of happening in mind, the treatment of Nobel Peace Award winner Aung San Sui Kyi in Myanmar is not necessarily all that different than the response that she'd receive in the USA and,...

Obama's and Netanyahu's Solutions: An Emperor's New Clothes
24 Jun 2009 - By Jamil Toubbeh There are as many permutations of the Emperor’s new clothes as there are of US foreign policy in the Middle East, and Israel’s, on Palestine. Since 1948, the policies of the US and Israel in the region have contributed substantially to the alienation of the Arab and Muslim World. With the exception of Eisenhower administration’s policies in the region, all other policies since have been subject to the influence of Israel and its myriad lobbies. Notable among these is AIPAC. This influence transcends those of established single-issue lobbies: it influences networks, journalists, TV and radio anchorpersons, political commentators and hosts, academia, entertainment industry, the military-industrial sector, but most prominently Federal and State government officials, Congress and the Executive branch of the government. Ha’aretz, Israel’s quasi liberal newspaper, referred to Obama’s WH Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, as “our man in the White House”. Emanuel occupied an office next to former President Clinton’s Oval Office. Obama’s address to the Arab and Muslim World was timely. It was necessary diplomatic jargon, but it left much to be desired especially on the topics of relevance to Arabs and Muslims. One may easily forgive cultural and linguistic flaws in speeches, but flaws in presentation and perusal of topics addressing a specific audience are troublesome; they render presentations ineffective, or at best, distorted. Obama’s topics were over-crafted and too ‘balanced’ to suit the palate of Arab and Muslim populations, hungry for political reform, eager to shed every form of colonialism. Obama’s speech...

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