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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
27 June , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

More Palestinian lands annexed for settlement construction
28 Jun 2009 - The Al Quds newspaper reported that the Lands Registration Department at the Maaleh Adumin settlement in East Jerusalem published advertisements in Israeli papers declaring intentions to annex nearly 139.000 Dunams claimed to be ‘unregistered’. 

Israeli authorities threaten demolition of 500 church buildings in Jerusalem
28 Jun 2009 - The Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches in Jerusalem released a statement Saturday that the Israeli authorities have threatened to force the demolition of 500 buildings owned by the churches in the Old City of Jerusalem. 

Free Gaza boat convoy delayed in Cyprus
27 Jun 2009 - The Free Gaza Movement was ready to set sail yesterday from Larnaca Cyprus on their eighth mission, bringing Human rights workers, dignitaries and construction materials to help rebuild the devastated region of Gaza, but their ships were not given permission to leave due to concerns about their welfare and safety. 

Sixth round of internal Palestinian talks Sunday
27 Jun 2009 - The Palestinians hope the this Sunday’s sixth round of internal talks in Egypt would be the one that leads to a unity deal. Yet, political leaders of the rival Fateh and Hamas movements continue to trade accusations casting doubts on the outcome of this upcoming round. 

Three swine-flu cases diagnosed in Nablus
27 Jun 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on Friday that three more Palestinians were diagnosed with the swine-flu infection. This rises the number of officially diagnosed cases to 15. 

UN Fact-finding committee arrives in Gaza
27 Jun 2009 - The United Nations Fact-finding Committee arrived in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening through the Rafah border terminal, and would be holding hearing sessions with the residents and the victims of Israel’s war on Gaza. 

The Israeli military attacks Bil'in weekly protest
26 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. 

Scores treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as Israeli soldiers attack the Nil'in's weekly
26 Jun 2009 - Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian villagers along with their international and Israeli peace supporters during the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday.

Mashal: 'Hamas willing to cooperate with international efforts, will not accept demilitarized state'
26 Jun 2009 - Hamas political bureau head, Khalid Mashal, stated Thursday that the movement would cooperate with any international effort that would end the Israeli occupation, but would not accept the notion of a demilitarized Palestinian state. 

Palestinian killed, four missing, in Gaza tunnel collapse
26 Jun 2009 - Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that one Palestinian was killed and four others on Friday morning when a tunnel collapsed on then near the Gaza-Egypt border in Rafah. Four other residents are believed to be buried under the rubble. 

US Praises Israel over the removal of some West Bank roadblocks
26 Jun 2009 - The United States Administration praised Israel for what it described ‘actions taken to ease the daily life of the Palestinians in the West Bank’, after the Israeli army removed some roadblocks. 

Fateh publishes a list of 210 members imprisoned by Hamas in Gaza
26 Jun 2009 - Fateh movement, headed by president Mahmoud Abbas, published a list containing the names of 210 members imprisoned by Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip. The list comes while Hamas denied it has political prisoners in the coastal region.  

Ha'aretz Defense page

2nd IDF soldier refuses to serve over violence towards Palestinians
27 Jun 2009 - Infantry soldier refuses orders until army probes his claims of unjustified violence during W. Bank op. 

Syria threatens to take back Golan by force
27 Jun 2009 - Officials: Israel has not shown willingness to achieve peace or return Syrian land. 

IDF troops, left-wing activists clash in West Bank
27 Jun 2009 - Several people wounded as soldiers prevent activists from entering fields in Safa, north of Hebron. 

Shalit's father: My son has only one wish - his freedom
25 Jun 2009 - Noam Shalit gives keynote address at Tel Aviv rally to mark three years since Gilad Shalit fell into captivity. 

Israeli sources: IDF to limit West Bank raids
25 Jun 2009 - Israeli and Western sources say IDF to refain from entering Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and Qalqilya. 

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

IN PICTURES / Gilad Shalit - three years in captivity
25 Jun 2009 - The IDF corporal was snatched in a raid by Gaza militants that left two of his comrades dead. 

Cyprus prevents activists from sailing to Gaza
25 Jun 2009 - Cyprus says ship still needs to undergo safety inspection; Free Gaza spokeswoman 'absolutely outraged.' 

Ma'an News

Ten injured, 15 activists arrested in Beit Ummar
6/27/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - An Israeli and a Palestinian woman were severely beaten and between 15 and 24 Israeli activists were arrested as the group attempted to access Palestinian agricultural lands near the Bat Ayin settlement north of Hebron Saturday. A Palestinian’s leg was broken as soldiers beat him with rifle butts, and an Israeli activist had her wrist fractured. The group had entered an area long declared a “closed military zone” after the nearby Israeli settlement expanded. The no-go zone is a buffer between the settlement fence and the Palestinian agricultural area. The area around the settlement, next to Safa village, was declared a "closed military zone" since 2 April when an unidentified man, thought to be a Palestinian, attacked a settler youth with an axe, killing the boy. The attempted entrance into the closed zone was organized by Palestinian solidarity group. . . 

UN mission to broadcast Gazan war testimonials live
6/27/2009 - Gaza - Ma’an - A UN fact-finding mission arrived in Gaza via Rafah on Friday, and is scheduled to collect testimonials from victims from the Israeli war on the coastal region carried out over December and January. The mission will hold public sessions on Sunday and Monday in Gaza while two other sessions will be held in Geneva on 6 and 7 July. The mission will fly both Gazans and Israelis from the border towns near the Strip to Switzerland to give testimony, because Israel refused to host the UN-sponsored group on its territory. Sessions are aimed at collecting information from victims of the war so specialists can study consequences and impact. Due to security arrangements in Gaza, media outlets will be invited to cover the procedures of the hearing sessions from a hall outside the actual site where testimonials are being collected. 

Israel threatens church convents with self-demolition
6/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - At least 500 homes leased by the church to Christian families in the Old City are under threat for self-demolition orders by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, church officials said Saturday. According to a statement from the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre there are currently four suits underway where Christian families leasing church land or buildings are being told to tear down alleged renovations on their homes. Bassam Ayyash, who rents a 50 square meter apartment from the Greek Orthodox Church inside the Patriarchate's convent, received a demolition order claiming that this 50 square meter apartment is an expansion to his home. According to the church, “Bassam is puzzled with the persistence of the authorities in not agreeing to come and investigate the matter. ” “My only home is the 50 square meter apartment. 

Israeli Land Office registers 139,000 dunums as 'abandoned'
6/27/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian lands abutting the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim were allegedly registered by the Israeli Land Registry Office and declared abandoned, the daily newspaper Al-Quds reported Saturday. The report said the land, 139,000 dunums in all, are these in the An Nabi Mousa near Jericho, as well as Beit Ta’mir, Rashayda and Al-Beida areas near Bethlehem. They were labeled abandoned under the Israeli “ordinance of abandoned areas” act. The announcement in Al-Quds said any individual with an objection to the land registration must send an objection warrant to the Beil El District coordination office within 45 days. [end] 

Haniyeh: We will permit joint control of Rafah crossing
6/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday said he would accept joint control of the Rafah crossing. In a news conference, Haniyeh said his government would be ready to accept joint control of the Rafah crossing based on participation by the de facto government’s security, the Egyptians, the Europeans, and the Palestinian Authority’s presidential guards. "The issue of the Rafah crossing is always part of Palestinian dialogue, and it is also being discussed with our brothers in Egypt. We still believe closure of the crossing point is a national and pan-Arabist wrongdoing because words can’t describe the suffering in the Gaza Strip. " Also on Saturday, the de facto prime minister admitted that impediments still hinder the Cairo dialogue aimed at reaching an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. 

Israeli hackers target Prisoners’ Society website
6/27/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – Israeli hackers on Saturday mounted a second attack against the electronic website of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in six months, according to Salah Awwad, head of the society’s information department. He explained that Israeli hackers attacked the website in order to prevent conveying Palestinian prisoners' messages to the world. However, the prisoners’ society asserted nothing would prevent them from sending prisoners’ news abroad. However he did note that the website will be shut down during the coming few days until it is reconstructed. [end] 

Israel: Given go ahead for construction of Dead-Red sea canal
6/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - The World Bank will help forward a multi-billion dollar project linking the Dead and the Red seas, Israeli media reported Saturday. The Jerusalem post quotes Vice Premier Silvan Shalom as saying he was “assured” by World Bank President Robert Zoellick in Washington Friday that the international institution would support the program. A 2005-2007 15. 5 million US dollar feasibility study for the project, which warned of drastic environmental changes, estimated building the 180 kilometer canal would cost at least 5 billion and take up to 20 years to complete. Five days earlier an article from the Associated Press on the shrinking Dead Sea noted there was “little optimism it will happen. ”The canal would see the receding waters of the Dead Sea replenished, and a hydro-electric plant installed on the downstream end, it would also further desalinization efforts. 

Dweik denies statements on prisoners’ swap, truce
6/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council on Saturday denied rumors reported by local media outlets about an upcoming prisoner swap or long-term truce with Israel. The speaker, Hamas-affiliated Aziz Dweik, was recently released from Israeli captivity earlier this week. Dweik called the reports baseless and "totally untrue," but said he would hold a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday to elaborate further. Sources close to the official told Ma'an that they expect Dweik will discuss holding a session of the PLC before the end of this week, along with reaching an agreement between Fatah and Hamas. Dweik had earlier said in an interview with Ma'an's Nasser Lahham that he supported holding a session of the PLC soon. 

Fatah’s Al-Ahmad: Mash’al and Hamas not ready to sign a deal
6/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - “I do not expect an agreement to be signed by 7 July,” said Speaker of Fatah bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council Azzam Al-Ahmad on Friday, citing a recent speech by Hamas leader in Exile Khalid Mash’al as hinting the party was “not ready to sign an agreement. ”Earlier Friday Hamas members confirmed their invitation from Egypt to head to Cairo for pre-unity talks that would see bilateral conversations between Hamas and Fatah on the issue of politically-motivated arrests. Al-Ahmad said Egypt was angling at having an agreement signed by 7 July with both factions agreeing to end the rivalries and secretary generals of all factions pledging support to the agreement. According to Hamas, the central issue is the political-prisoners in the West Bank. According to party spokesman Fawzi Barhoum Friday, all other issues standing in the way of unity will be resolved once the prisoner file is closed. 

Taysir Khalid: Bilateral talks represent clans, not Palestinians
6/27/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – PLO executive committee and DFLP politburo member Taysir Khalid said planned closed door Hamas-Fatah talks would negatively affect the Palestinian situation and called for an immediate halt. His comments came as announcements around a Sunday start date for bilateral talks around the prisoners issue in Cairo were confirmed by both Hamas and Fatah. Khalid said the talks, which exclude left-wing and independent parties, would result in agreements that do not represent all Palestinians. Anything the two parties agree on behind closed doors should not be implimented because it is "against the democratic process" and in the interest of "two clans, Fatah and Hamas. "He said the two "clans" represented themselves and not Palestinians. Casting the clan talks in the light of achieving national consensus is misleading, said Khalid, noting he preferred a dialogue that. . . 

Hamas: PA security forces arrest 17 West Bank affiliates
6/27/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an –The Hamas movement said on Saturday that Palestinian Authority security forces arrested 17 of its affiliates in the West Bank. The movement added in a statement sent to Ma’an that PA security forces arrested the following from Qalqiliya governorate: Mohammad Yousef Ayoub, from Azzun Atma, Omar As-Samman, 14 years old, Hesham Al-Haj Hassen, trader, 55 years old, Mu’ath Nassar. Hamas also claimed that PA forces arrested the following from Hebron: Khaled Awwad, from Al-Fawwar refugee camp, Husam An-Natshah, 23 years old, Nader Sabarneh, from Beit Ummar. From Nablus: Ala’ Jarar’ah, student at An-Najah University, Naser Jarar’ah, from Asira Ash-Shamalia. From Ramallah: Yaser Imteir, from Qalandiya refugee camp, Riyad Ismail Barash, 35. From Jenin: Ala’ Nawahdah, 24 years old, Ziad. . . 

PLC official: Gaza will soon be free of drugs
6/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Illegal drugs will soon disappear from the Gaza Strip thanks to police and a recent legal amendment, said deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmad Bahar on Saturday. "Before the amendment, drug dealers and addicts could have been sentenced only if they were caught red-handed, but the PLC in the Gaza Strip amended the law enabling sentencing of anyone who is found guilty of dealing with drugs, or taking them anyway," he said. Bahar’s comments came during a meeting he held in the PLC in Gaza City with the de facto government’s anti-narcotics police commanders. [end] 

Haniyeh optimistic major issues to be resolved by 7 July
6/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister of the Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, admitted on Saturday that impediments still hinder the Cairo dialogue aimed at reaching an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. However, he said he hopes an agreement will be reached on 7 July. Haniyeh told journalists during a checkup visit at the Rafah crossing that "major issues will remain unresolved if a session is held on Sunday, and I hope an agreement will be signed on 7 July. " He also described the situation in the West Bank as painful to “every free and decent person," an apparent reference to the near-constant politically motivated arrested by the Palestinian Authority. "Detention and pursuits are still going on, and even the PLC speaker found the PLC headquarters closed indifferently," he said, explaining that such a situation impedes reaching an agreement. 

Fatah delegation to Cairo to arrive Saturday evening
6/27/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The Fatah delegation to the sixth round of Palestinian dialogue in Cairo will arrive on Saturday evening, hoping to reach a comprehensive conciliation, according to Fatah spokesperson Fahmi Za’arir. Za’arir asserted the dialogue could be a success if Hamas stops considering “the coup” they staged in the Gaza Strip an accomplishment to be maintained. “Fatah and all patriotic Palestinians consider what happened in Gaza a disaster, which should be gotten rid of because having one authority guarantees continuity and progress of that authority,” he said. The Fatah spokesperson added that the major issues that are yet to be resolved are those of the election system, restoring security and building a comprehensive security service, especially in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the national consensus government. 

Senior Palestinian official: Division will end this July
6/27/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – A representative of Palestinian political independents affirmed on Saturday that July will see an agreement to Fatah-Hamas infighting in Palestine. The man, Yasser Wadieyah, said in a statemeht that “Egypt's intensive efforts to reach formulas to handle the suspended files began to be achieved after a series of rounds and meetings with internal parties concerning conciliation. ”He added that "the efforts that were made include working on reaching a national unity government that is able to unify the organizations of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in addition to preparing for the elections in 25 January 2010. " He also said that the final talks would include the reconstruction of Gaza, which was decimated during Israel's three-week assault on the besieged Strip. 

Palestinian drama centers on teams, division and the realities of occupation
6/27/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Minister of Culture Khoulud Da’iebes made a guest appearance on the set of a new Palestinian soap opera series last week ahead of its debut this Ramadan. The program, called The Team, centers on a young man, Karam, who is at once a university student, a professional soccer player and half of a young couple living with his widowed mother in a refugee camp in Palestine. Modern modes of love and sportsmanship clash with political agendas and members of the soccer team battle in the gaps between ideologies off the pitch, just as they struggle to prove themselves on it. Injustice and oppression confront Karam at every turn and the young man is forced to reconcile love and hate, the cultures of the university campus and the refugee camp, and find places for both ancient social traditions and changing values. 

The National

Lebanon searches for unity as Hariri's son becomes PM
27 Jun 2009 - Forming an effective government will likely prove to be difficult in the country's factious parliament.

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing
27 Jun 2009 - The reopening is seen as a step forward in negotiations between Palestinian factions and Israel over the fate of an Israeli soldier.

Iran bans Mousavi ally from leaving country
27 Jun 2009 - Abolfazl Fateh, the head of the political leader's media office, said he has been banned from leaving Iran

Crowd caught student's killer' 
26 Jun 2009 - The doctor who tried to save Neda Agha Soltan seconds after she was hit by a bullet during a post-election protest in Tehran said she was shot in the chest from close range.


Hariri designated as Lebanon PM
27 Jun 2009 - President invites Saad Hariri to form government after winning backing of MPs.

Reformists reject Iran poll recount
27 Jun 2009 - Opposition candidates say Guardian Council is not able to give "just judgement" on poll.

Quartet urges settlement freeze
26 Jun 2009 - Russia, EU, UN and US call on Israel to halt settlements and open border crossings. 

Egypt re-opens Rafah crossing
27 Jun 2009 - Gesture will allow patients, students and visa-holders to leave besieged Gaza Strip.

Egypt tycoon death verdict ratified
25 Jun 2009 - Confirmation in Lebanese singer's murder case follows grand mufti's approval of sentence.


YEMEN: Major new water source discovered in parched Hadhramaut 
MUKALLA Thursday, June 25, 2009 (IRIN) - A water company in Hadhramaut Governorate, southern Yemen, has discovered an important new source of water near the provincial capital, Mukalla, after four months of exploration.

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. 

Inter Press Service

POLITICS-EGYPT: Women Get Help on Road to Parliament 
CAIRO, Jun 27 (IPS) - Egypt elected the first Arab woman to parliament in 1957, but in the half century since, the most populous country in the Arab world has gone from being a leader in women's political participation to a lagger.

MIDEAST: Arabs Court U.S. via Baghdad 
CAIRO, Jun 26 (IPS) - Egypt finally appointed an ambassador to Iraq earlier this month after four years without diplomatic representation in Baghdad. While the last year has seen other Arab capitals do likewise, some critics question the wisdom of the move in light of Iraq's still volatile security situation.

IRAQ: Lame-Duck Lawmakers Push Through Kurdistan's New Charter 
WASHINGTON, Jun 26 (IPS) - A draft constitution passed by the parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan has drawn divided reactions, with some questioning the very legitimacy of a lame-duck parliament to pass the single most important legal document of the Kurdish region and others touting it as a positive step forward.

MIDEAST: Iran Crisis Ripples Outward 
WASHINGTON, Jun 26 (IPS) - As the political crisis that erupted after Iran’s Jun. 12 elections enters its third week, it is becoming evident that this crisis will have repercussions in many parts of the Middle East - and far beyond.

Stop The Wall

Protestors destroy Wall in Ni'lin
27 Jun 2009 - Youth cut razor wire and smashed motion sensors during the weekly protest against the Wall in Ni'lin. In Bil'in, protestors were accompanied by author and activist Namoi Klein, who held a news conference calling for boycott following the demonstration. [

International Conference: “Experiences of unification and rejuvenation of the left in Palestine and worldwide”
25 Jun 2009 - On June 26 – 28, the Palestinian National Democratic Progressive Movement (PNDM - Tayyar) will hold a three-day-conference on `Experiences of uniting the left in Palestine and the world` at the meeting hall of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Al-Bireh (Ramallah) and in Gaza. See 

PCHR Latest

PCHR Concludes Third Training Course Targeting Activists in CBOs in Khan Yunis

PCHR Stresses Illegitimate Nature of Legislation Passed under Political Fragmentation and the Ministerial Decision Concerning Non-Profit Companies during a Workshop in the PLC

PCHR Weekly Report

(18- 24 June  2008)
PCHR Position Paper:PCHR has Reservations about Regulations Adopted in the Context of Ongoing Political Fragmentation

International Solidarity Movement

East Jerusalem residents prepare for demolitions
International Solidarity Movement - The people of Silwan, East Jerusalem, were on red alert on the morning of June 23rd, as rumours spread the neighbourhood that the army was set to arrive to demolish houses. This was based on warnings from the Palestinian Authority, a journalists tip, and the fact that many special police forces were visibly analysing the road crossings the night before. ISM volunteers joined residents of Silwan in the early hours of Tuesday morning in expectation of the bulldozers arriving. Ultimately, they never came, but the Palestinian residents of Silwan continue to live in fear of their homes being destroyed. In the Bustan neighbourhood of the area 88 houses are planned to be demolished to make way for a new planned Archaeological Park. Renewed demolition orders were given to families recently but resistance to Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing remains fierce amongst Palestinian locals who have lived in their houses for generations. 

Israeli forces arrest Israeli and international activists in Safa
International Solidarity Movement - 27 June 2009: Israeli forces arrest 24 solidarity activists and 2 hired Palestinian Israeli drivers in the West Bank village of Saffa. At 7. 30am, 35 Israeli and 10 international solidarity activists joined 3 Palestinian families from Beit Ummar to harvest their land. As the group tried to go down to their lands, 50 soldiers and border policemen stopped them. Before reaching the land, Israeli forces arrested 10 Israeli and international activists, under the premise that Saffa was under a Closed Military Zone*. The army was aggressive towards the group and used violence against them. After pushing the group, border policemen arrested another 9 activists. Yousef Abu Maria from the Palestine Solidarity Project, had his leg broken from the use of excessive force. Israeli soldiers tried to arrest him, but the solidarity activists negotiated for the soldiers to release him and allow him to be taken by an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent. 

Ni’lin demonstrates against the Apartheid Wall
International Solidarity Movement - Approximately one hundred and fifty Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters gathered in the hot sun for the weekly demonstration in Nilin. They marched together towards the separation barrier, chanting and waving Palestinian flags. As the demonstrators reached the wall and started cutting the razor wire on the walls edge, Israeli armed forces opened fire with teargas. Their jeeps fired multiple rounds of teargas in an effort to blanket the whole area and they continued firing until the demonstration dispersed. Several of the protesters suffered from the effects of teargas, but no one was badly injured. The protest lasted for about one hour and a half and protesters succeeded in removing parts of the razor wire and damaging the fence. Updated on June 27, 2009 

Israeli soldiers scuffle with activists in WBank
International Solidarity Movement - Reuters, 27 June 2009 - Several people were wounded on Saturday in scuffles between Israeli soldiers and peace activists accompanying Palestinians to agricultural fields in the occupied West Bank, witnesses said. Palestinian witnesses said several people, including a Reuters photographer, were treated for bruises and minor wounds. The scuffles erupted when soldiers tried to prevent Israeli peace activists from entering fields in Safa, north of the city of Hebron. An army spokesman said the area was a military zone closed to Israelis and foreigners but open to Palestinians. He said some 15 people were arrested. Palestinians frequently clash with Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank where close to half a million Jewish settlers live among some 2. 5 million Palestinians. (Reporting by Haitham Tamimi; Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Dominic Evans) 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Peres to make landmark visits to Azerbijan, Kazakhstan
27 Jun 2009 - President Shimon Peres will visit Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on Sunday, the first trip by an Israeli president to either of the Muslim countries. ...

Where has ex-Iran president Rafsanjani vanished to? 
27 Jun 2009 - If anyone can serve as the ultimate barometer of the political mood in Iran, and knows what to say without looking like someone who has stepped out of line, it is Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, says Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA intelligence analyst and Iran researcher at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute in his book "The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict between Iran and America" (Random House, 2004). ... 

Mousavi would shun nuclear weapons, says Iran scholar 
27 Jun 2009 - Even if the Iranian authorities succeed in suppressing the large demonstrations, the opposition might adopt other forms of protest - such as manifestos, strikes and mass resignations by university professors. That is the assessment of Ervand Abrahamian, a professor of history at the City University of New York and author of several books about Iran, most recently "A History of Modern Iran" (Cambridge University Press, 2008). "There is talk about the opposition trying to encourage its supporters to go out into the market places and prevent commercial activity," he told Haaretz last Wednesday in a phone conversation from New York. "That's the question: How will the bazaars behave, will the strike reach commerce." ... 

Hamas, Fatah reconciliation talks to resume in Cairo
27 Jun 2009 - Another round of talks between Fatah and Hamas representatives will begin in Cairo on Sunday, where Egyptian mediators are trying to convince the two sides to enter a reconciliation agreement that will lead to a Palestinian unity government. The talks are scheduled to last a week. ... 

ANALYSIS / Shalit has become key to peace in Mideast
27 Jun 2009 - Never before have so many senior officials dealt so long with the fate of a single captive soldier, a soldier that became the key to so many important moves. ... 

The Guardian

Abuse videos damage Israel | Seth Freedman
27 Jun 2009 - That Israeli border police abuse Palestinians is bad enough, but to post videos of these crimes on YouTube is extraordinary That the Israeli border police has its fair share of racist thugs in its ranks is...

Israel eases up on West Bank checkpoints
26 Jun 2009 - Move reflects growing confidence in Palestinian security forces but UN says Israeli restrictions as a whole more entrenched Israel's military has eased some of its checkpoints in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks and agreed...

BBC anti-Israel bias is a myth | Sharif Nashashibi
26 Jun 2009 - The broadcaster favours Israeli over Palestinian sources in its news reports – as does al-Jazeera, a new study shows I am always baffled at the ferocity and frequency of accusations that the BBC's Middle East coverage...

Europe must respond to Obama on Middle East | Letters
25 Jun 2009 - President Obama is setting forth on an entirely new path in the Middle East with great courage (Leaders, 25 June). He has broken with the previous policies and is engaging in an effort to build for...

Ha'aretz National page

Israeli researchers desalinating sewage for agricultural use
27 Jun 2009 - Now that Israel is desalinating seawater, researchers at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology are experimenting with the desalination of purified sewage, in an effort to expand its use in agriculture. Up until now its use was limited due to its poor quality. ... 

Journalist, B'Tselem founder Amnon Kapeliouk dies aged 78 
27 Jun 2009 - The journalist and well-known leftist, Amnon Kapeliouk, died Friday at the age of 78. Kapeliouk, one of the oldest active journalists in Israel, had worked for Al HaMishmar and Yedioth Aharonoth, as well as Le Monde and Le Monde Diplomatique. He was also known for his close ties to Yasser Arafat and other leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization. ... 

Israeli fans angry at rumors Michael Jackson killed himself
27 Jun 2009 - Israeli fans of Michael Jackson still feel picked on. "We have to go on dealing with the disrespect toward Michael even in his death," one fan attending a commemoration in Tel Aviv for the performer said Saturday. "The accusations of hurting children weakened him. And we don't yet know the true reason for his death." ... 

28 arrested as Haredim riot over Shabbat opening of Jerusalem parking lot
27 Jun 2009 - Twenty eight ultra-Orthodox demonstrators were arrested and six people were wounded during riots in Jerusalem on Saturday over the opening of a parking lot in the capital on Shabbat. ...

Israel's Dudi Sela reaches fourth round at Wimbledon
26 Jun 2009 - Dudi Sela became the first Israeli man to reach the fourth round of a grand slam for 17 years on Friday when he knocked out Spain's Tommy Robredo to set up a clash with Novak Djokovic. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Gaza-Egypt crossing opens for patients, students
27 Jun 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Week in review - World insists on settlement freeze, Israel does not
27 Jun 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

OPT: End all settlement-building, G8 ministers urge Israel 
27 Jun 2009 - Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur

UN and partners seeking meaningful' progress from Israel, Palestinians – Ban 
27 Jun 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Despite progress, civilians continue to bear brunt of conflict, says Under-Secretary-General in briefing to Security Council
26 Jun 2009 - Source: UN Security Council

OPT: Statement by Middle East Quartet, 26 Jun 2009
26 Jun 2009 - Source: Middle East Quartet

OPT: Israeli blockade thwarts efforts to rebuild war-shattered Gaza
26 Jun 2009 - Source: AlertNet

OPT: Gaza war traumatised a generation
26 Jun 2009 - Source: Islamic Relief

YNet News

Jerusalem shaken by riots 
27 Jun 2009 - Shabbat war escalates: Man seriously injured, four police officers sustain light wounds as ultra-Orthodox protestors clash with security forces across capital Saturday; dozens of rioters arrested 

Jerusalem: Seculars rally, Orthodox riot
27 Jun 2009 - Shabbat war continues: Ultra-Orthodox riot in Jerusalem, hurl stones, bottles at police; meanwhile, seculars gather to protest 'Orthodox bullying'; Meretz MK: Haredim trying to make people's lives unbearable

Italy expels Palestinian hijacker to Syria
27 Jun 2009 - Achille Lauro hijacker part of four-man team that executed elderly Jewish man in 1985

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for 3 days
27 Jun 2009 - Cairo orders its side of Rafah border be open for three days, to allows some 5,000 Palestinian with proper permits to cross over to Egypt

Lebanese army: Don't answer Israeli phone messages
27 Jun 2009 - Beirut warns local residents against responding to alleged recorded phone messages by Israel asking for information regarding missing IDF soldiers

15 leftists detained near Bat Ayin settlement
27 Jun 2009 - Group of left-wing activist attempting to reach Palestinian village of Hirbat Safa detained by IDF soldiers for violating closed military zone order. One activist suffers broken arm after altercations with soldiers, Palestinian activist lightly injured


Hamas must release Gilad Shalit immediately and unconditionally
24 Jun 2009 - B’Tselem repeats its demand that Hamas release Gilad Shalit immediately. The circumstances of Shalit's capture three years ago and the behavior of his captors clearly indicate that he is legally a hostage. Hostage taking is absolutely prohibited under int

B'Tselem's video camera distribution project wins British award 
22 Jun 2009 - On 22 June 2009 B'Tselem won a prestigious British prize for its groundbreaking work in the field of citizen journalism. The One World Media award was given to the organization for its camera distribution project.

Daily Star

Iranian cleric says leading rioters should be executed 
26 Jun 2009 - A hardline Iranian cleric called on Friday for the execution of leading "rioters" to teach a lesson to the tens of thousands who have protested against the result of the presidential election two weeks ago. Iran's top legislative body, the Guardian Council, said it had found no major violations in the election.

G8 denounces Iran election violence, calls on Tehran to resolve conflict 
26 Jun 2009 - Group of Eight powers on Friday deplored violence in Iran after the disputed presidential election and called on Tehran to resolve the crisis peacefully. But the G8 foreign ministers were careful not to slam the door on possible talks with Iran over its nuclear program. They encouraged Tehran to accept an offer of nuclear negotiations although.

Freed Hamas speaker urges Israel to accept truce 
26 Jun 2009 - The Hamas speaker of the Palestinian Parliament, freed by Israel this week after three years in prison, has urged Israel to accept a long-term truce offered by the Islamist group. Although Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, it is offering "some type of reconciliation" that could, if accepted, bring lasting peace to the Middle East, Abdel-Aziz Dweik told in an interview on Thursday. 

Canadian author takes call to boycott Israel to West Bank 
26 Jun 2009 - Bestselling author Naomi Klein on Friday took her call for a boycott of Israel to the Occupied West Bank village of Bilin, where she witnessed Israeli forces clashing with protesters. "It's a boycott of Israeli institutions, it's a boycott of the Israeli economy," the Canadian writer told journalists.

Israeli officials deny knowledge of Gaza deal 
26 Jun 2009 - Israeli officials played down reports on Friday that a deal was close with Hamas that would include the release of an Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Israeli and Palestinian political sources and Western diplomats confirmed, however.

Jordan River is now a sickly trickle kept alive by sewage water 
26 Jun 2009 - Pilgrims might think twice about baptism in the brackish waters after walking in the footsteps of Jesus down to the Jordan River. The stream that watered "the garden of the Lord," where Moses led the Jews to the Promised Land, is a sickly trickle through a closed military zone, kept alive by sewage water.

Turkish Army chief lashes out at coup-plot speculation 
26 Jun 2009 - Turkey's army chief Ilker Basbug on Friday called for an end to speculation about an alleged plot to bring down the government, denouncing what he called a smear campaign against the military. "At a time when there are important things taking place in the world, notably in Iran, Turkey has used a lot of energy pointlessly over a piece of paper," he told reporters angrily.

Iran's regime may ride out the storm, but at a hefty price 
26 Jun 2009 - Iran's Islamic regime may well ride out the post-election crisis, but not without collateral damage. The contours of what's likely ahead are already taking shape: more isolation from the West and a leadership turning on the pressure at home, with its military forces and street-level vigilantes swiping hard at anything or anyone perceived as a threat.

Palestinian Information Center

Haneyya: West Bank events main obstacle before Palestinian reconciliation
27 Jun 2009 - Ismail Haneyya, the PA premier, on Saturday said that the political detention of resistance cadres in the West Bank constituted a stumbling bloc before any inter-Palestinian agreement.

Bahar: Kidnapping MPs failed in blackmailing them
27 Jun 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the PLC, has said that Israeli kidnapping of PLC members did not succeed in blackmailing them into offering political concessions.

IOF troops wound 13 Palestinians, arrest 20 activists
27 Jun 2009 - Israeli occupation forces on Saturday wounded 13 Palestinians and 3 journalists in confrontations in Safa village, south of Bethlehem city, media sources reported.

Haneyya asks Egypt to permanently open Rafah crossing
27 Jun 2009 - PA premier Ismail Haneyya on Saturday asked Egypt to completely and permanently open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza Strip and Egypt to alleviate the suffering of the Gaza inhabitants.

Sawafta: Efforts underway to end political detention before 7th July
27 Jun 2009 - Faze' Sawafta, one of the Hamas political leaders in the West Bank, has said that efforts were being exerted to end the political detention file in preparation for reaching national agreement.

PCDP: 98% of Palestinian prisoners in IOA jails subjected to torture
27 Jun 2009 - PCDP has charged that Israel was among the few countries in the world to exercise excruciating torture in its prisons in a bid to extract confessions from detainees.

MP Ashqar: Abbas's security serves as Israel's striking force
27 Jun 2009 - Hamas MP Ismail Al-Ashqar has charged that the security apparatuses loyal to former PA chief Mahmoud Abbas have turned into Israel's striking force that is used to quell Palestinian resistance.

Radwan: Hamas represents big portion of Palestinian people
27 Jun 2009 - Hamas's readiness to open dialog with the American administration without any pre-conditions is based on its representation of a big portion of the Palestinian people, Ismail Radwan said.

American historian: I read in faces of Gazans immense strength and confidence
27 Jun 2009 - The American historian, Professor Paul Aron, who is visiting the Gaza Strip said that the situation in Gaza after the war is horrifying adding that he expected this situation to persist.

UN fact-finding mission on war on Gaza to hold public hearings
27 Jun 2009 - The UN fact-finding mission on the recent Gaza conflict, mandated by the Human Rights Council and led by Justice Richard Goldstone, will hold public hearings this Sunday and Monday in Gaza City.

Los Angeles Times

Senior Iranian cleric says rioters should be severely punished 
27 Jun 2009 - Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami says those involved in 'destructive acts' during postelection protests are enemies of God and 'should receive the severest of the punishments.' A senior cleric who is close to Iran's supreme leader said in a Friday sermon that anyone who engaged in violence in protests over alleged fraud in the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should receive the "severest of punishments," according to state broadcasting. 

Mir-Hossein Mousavi slams Iran's leaders 
26 Jun 2009 - Opposition leader Mousavi speaks out after days of quiet, blasting the supreme leader and state-controlled media. He pledges to continue his campaign to have Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection annulled. After days of relative quiet, the candidate defeated in Iran's disputed presidential election launched a broadside Thursday against the nation's leadership, an indication that the country's political rift is far from over. 

New York Times

Unlikely Ally for Residents of West Bank
27 Jun 2009 - A Jewish Israeli plumber has been criticized, and prosecuted, for his work helping Palestinians in the South Hebron hills. 

In Tehran, a Mood of Melancholy Descends
27 Jun 2009 - There were further signs that the opposition was running out of options in challenging the election results. 

Lebanon Chooses Saad Hariri as Premier
27 Jun 2009 - Mr. Hariri, the son of Lebanon’s slain former prime minister, will begin assembling a cabinet to help manage a state that has been plagued by war, divisions and debt. 


Israel Deflects Settlement Freeze Calls From Obama, International Community 
Huffington Post - Huffington Post, June 27, 2009 - JERUSALEM — Israel deflected growing international demands for a settlement freeze Saturday, saying the issue should be dealt with in future peace talks with the Palestinians. On Friday, the Quartet of Mideast mediators and foreign ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations, meeting in Italy, called for a halt in construction. They rallied behind President Barack Obama, who seeks a freeze but has encountered Israeli resistance. Israel argues that it should be allowed to keep building to accommodate "natural growth" in settlements, built on lands the Palestinians want for a future state. The Palestinians won't resume peace talks with Israel without a freeze, saying the ongoing building pre-empts the outcome of negotiations. Under the U. S. -backed "road map" plan, Israel is required to halt construction. 

Blair: Peace within reach if Israel compromises 
Ha'aretz - Haaretz, 27/06/2009 - Former British prime minister Tony Blair said Friday that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be within reach if Israel compromises on issues such as halting settlement expansion. "There is a virtual consensus across the international community not just as to what needs to happen, but how. . . which was not the case a couple of years ago," Blair, who represents the Quartet of Middle East mediators, told Reuters. "If Israel were to join that, we could get an agreement and an agreement in my view that protects completely the state of Israel. "Blair added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election could prove a blessing, since his right-leaning government could have the domestic support to make concessions. "I hope and believe Prime Minister Netanyahu is sincere about wanting a Palestine state and wanting to help create one. 

Rare show of unity by Lebanese politicians 
The National - The National, June 26, 2009 - BEIRUT // Lebanon took the first step yesterday towards forming a new cabinet with the re-election of Nabih Berri to his fifth term as speaker of the parliament in a vote that showed widespread political support for the opposition figure from the majority. Mr Berri and his Amal Movement played a large role in the opposition’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat the majority in elections this month, but his close ties to some majority parties – not to mention a dearth of alternatives acceptable to Lebanon’s Shiite community – all but ensured his re-election. Under an unofficial tradition that divvies up power among Lebanon’s various confessions, the speaker must be a Shiite Muslim, while the president is Christian and prime minister a Sunni. Mr Berri saw some opposition from Christian parties in the majority, who argued that his role in the political battles that 


Thoughts on Manhood From the Rafah Tunnel 
Emily Ratner,Rafah, CounterPunch 6/26/2009
      Under Pressure in the Gaza Strip
     Today I went to the tunnels in Rafah. I climbed into a loop of rope attached to a wire on a pulley and was lowered 7 meters to the tunnel floor. When I stood up the man next to me signaled me to follow him into a narrow passage, maybe three times as thick as my torso. Soon I was walking, crouched, behind him. When I turned back I saw some of my friends beginning to follow. But the tunnel must have taken a bend a few meters later, because when I turned a second time I saw only the wire suspending small lights along the tunnel wall. My guide beckoned again, and again I followed, promising myself I would turn back at the next light. But when we got there I saw more lights ahead, and I thought maybe he was taking me to a room, or another chimney out of the tunnel, and I followed further.
     We continued this way for I don’t know how many meters, and soon I couldn’t hear anyone behind me, only a murmur that might have been distant voices ahead. Each point of light held the promise of hot sun and desert air, but each time I arrived to find only more tunnel, and a hand imploring me to follow deeper.
     Soon my legs were burning with wanting to stand. It became so dark in the long lapses between electric lights that my guide had to take my hand as we felt our way along. So many times I said “Khalas”—I have seen enough. But at each light he would signal that it was just a little further.
     Finally, I was finished. I could not remember why I had followed, and why I had continued to follow. I’d lost track of how many lights we’d passed, and had no idea how far the journey back would be. My guide pointed to a light maybe 8 meters ahead, and this light was different. Brighter, and more yellow. I knew this time we’d almost reached our destination, perhaps the end of the tunnel and the relative freedom of Egyptian sun and sand, but I couldn’t continue. “Khalas,” I said, and this time he knew I meant it. I turned and began to feel my way back.
     ...The tunnels provide a necessary lifeline for the people of Gaza, but as my guide patiently awaited the end of my panic attack, I began to realize that they are born out of another necessity: The tunnels offer an opportunity for men to reclaim their place as protectors and providers in a society where occupation and siege make those roles virtually impossible.

'Holocaust abuse'? 6/3/2009
      Almost all of Khaled’s work is controversial to someone. When I first tell Jewish friends about “the Arab man who opened a Holocaust museum,” they say something like “amazing”, and basically think he’s a saint.
     Yes, part of what Khaled is doing is courageously confronting Arab/Moslem denial about the Holocaust (he was after all, on the way to the December, 2006, Holocaust Conference in Tehran, when the Iranians denied his visa at the last moment.)
     But then later, when they (again the Jewish friends) learn that he sometimes puts photos of the Nakba next to Holocaust photos in his tiny museum, or worse, confronts Israelis (even Israeli soldiers) with Holocaust photos, my Jewish friends change their tune.
     I’m re-posting the video clip above (won’t do this often, promise) that some of you may not have seen. One acquantance emailed me when I first put it up, saying Khaled is “simply using the Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust to make a case for himself. There is no connection or even slight similarity between the atrocities carried out by the Nazis and the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
     She asked what I thought, so I answered her - yes, the Separation Fence (which cuts through the village in the video, separating them from many dunams of olive trees and thus income) has cut down drastically on suicide bombings. But why is the Fence not built on the Green Line? And why not even near the settlements in the West Bank, but many hundreds of meters east of them, apparently to allow future growth for the settlements?

Electronic Intifada
Israeli banks accused of Holocaust profiteering
27 Jun 2009 - Israel's second-largest bank will be forced to defend itself in court in the coming weeks over claims it is withholding tens of millions of dollars in "lost" accounts belonging to Jews who died in the Nazi death camps. Bank Leumi has denied it holds any such funds despite a parliamentary committee revealing in 2004 that the bank owes at least $75 million to the families of several thousand Holocaust victims. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Australia's pro-Israel policies, pro-Palestine public
26 Jun 2009 - The little Sydney-based pro-Palestine lobby group which I chair called Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine decided we would commission a high class, well-known, opinion poll company to test whether Australia's Labor machine or politicians knew something we didn't -- for example, that their one-sidedness reflected "the will of the people." Peter Manning comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Report finds Israel still torturing Palestinians
26 Jun 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel has accused the Israeli security forces of deliberately shackling Palestinian prisoners in a painful and dangerous manner, amounting to a form of torture. The report, "Shackling as a Form of Torture and Abuse," based on the evidence of over 500 prisoners, was released in advance of the UN International Day in Support of Torture Victims Friday, 26 June. 

Video: Nahr al-Bared "Two Years Under Siege"
25 Jun 2009 - Two years after it was destroyed in the wake of fighting between the Lebanese army and a militant group, the fate of the Palestinian refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared remains unclear. This 10-minute film, the co-owner of an ice cream factory, the president of the local traders committee and the imam of the al-Quds Mosque, all Palestinian refugees, speak about the siege and its economic consequences. 

Palestine Chronicle
Palestine: Harnessing the Drum Major Instinct
27 Jun 2009 - By Anna Brown On February 4th, 1968, just about a month before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Drum Major Instinct” sermon from the pulpit of Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The “drum major instinct,” according to King, is the desire for “recognition, importance, and attention.” It’s a shorthand way of speaking about the relentless, though perhaps unconscious, desire to “be number one.” While those in the social justice, peacemaking and civil rights movements might assume that King was only addressing the wealthy and the powerful, it would be a mistaken assumption. King, relying upon the psychological studies of Alfred Adler, contends that the desire to “lead the parade,” is a pervasive human tendency. For King, the “great issue in life is to harness the drum major instinct.” Failure to do so lends itself to a range of debilitating practices, particularly for the nonviolent activist. The unharnessed drum major instinct, for example, fosters a snobbish exclusivity not a welcoming inclusiveness; destructive competition not affirming cooperation; gossip and not meaningful conversation, etc. When properly harnessed, however, the drum major instinct fuels true human greatness: “to be first in love, to be first in moral excellence and to be first in generosity.” Further, there is no “Ph.D.” required for this kind of creative genius; it is a field of study and application open to all. Meditating upon his death, though not knowing how soon that would come to pass, King asked that all of his achievements be...

US Likely Source of Interference in Iran's Election
27 Jun 2009 - By John Chuckman A recent article called "Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It" by Flynt and Hillary Leverett is not the only source with serious credentials offering reasonable, non-sensational explanations for events around Iran's presidential election. Kaveh Afrasiabi, a scholar who once taught at Tehran University and is the author of several books, says many of the same things. Close analysis of the election results gives absolutely no objective basis for making charges of a rigged election. Mousavi’s expected win – expected, that is, by the Western press and by Mousavi himself - never had any basis in fact. Afrasiabi also tells us that Ahmadinejad is extremely popular with the poor in Iran, a very large constituency, and he tells us further that Ahmadinejad spent a great deal of time traveling through the country during his first term listening to them. Ahmadinejad is himself a man of fairly humble origins with a good deal of genuine sympathy for the poor. Of course, the public in the West has been treated to a barrage of propaganda about Ahmadinejad, conditioned by countless disingenuous stories and editorials to regard him as the essence of evil, ready to stir up trouble at a moment’s notice. These perceptions, too, have no basis in fact. Ahmadinejad is a highly educated man, ready and willing to communicate with leaders in the West, although given to poking fun at some of the shibboleths we hold to. His office as president is not a powerful one in an Iran where...

'Armchair' Killing: A US-Israeli Trade-mark
27 Jun 2009 - By Stuart Littlewood – London Reports of prisoner abuse at the US prison at Bagram air force base in Afghanistan come as no surprise. They are just the latest example of the world’s biggest bully behaving badly as usual. As if that weren't enough, I'm reading how some 83 people, mostly civilians, were killed and over 50 injured in three drone attacks within 12 hours in Lataka, South Waziristan. The first strike killed several suspected Taliban. Later, a second drone fired three missiles into a crowd of funeral mourners. One of the wounded commented: "If the Taliban are bombing the mosques and America is bombing the funerals, what is the difference between them? We are stuck between Taliban and US attacks and when we are killed, not only no one cries for us, but also we are dubbed militants." Since August 2008, over 40 US drone strikes have killed at least 410 people. US troops in neighboring Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy unmanned drones in the region. The use of armed drones is a particularly cowardly form of warfare. These lethal "assets" are computer-controlled from the comfort and safety of an armchair a hundred miles away and guided by dodgy “intelligence”. Or, if the truth be known, no intelligence at all. The Israelis use them extensively in Gaza to unleash death and destruction on civilian targets by remote control. Engines for Israeli drones are believed to be supplied by a British manufacturer, although the government here pretends not...

Will Iran Election Turmoil Affect Hezbollah?
27 Jun 2009 - By Franklin Lamb – Dahiyeh, Lebanon Some Legmen for the US Israeli lobby, and even some here in Lebanon appear barely able to contain themselves, such is their felt glee over the Lebanese and Iranian election results. Some supporters of Israel see these results as two recent victories while others calculate that Israel is scratching for some good news given that polling data from Israeli surveys show that more than 50% of its population favors bombing Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Another survey, late last month, found that nearly one third of Israelis polled said they would leave Israel if Iran gets a nuclear weapon which it likely will have-if it decides to-within the next 18 months according to estimates by the Israeli Defense Ministry. Meanwhile US visa applications have broken records, according to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv for three out of the past five months. One, election Israel hoped would help it maintain its occupation of Palestine was the June 7th Lebanese election (which the Hezbollah led opposition actually won by nearly ten percent of the popular vote.) But it may have to look elsewhere for solace because rather than being defeated and weakened, Hezbollah is currently stronger in Lebanon than it has ever been. The Party is dominating the construction of the next Lebanese government, as it negotiates the terms of its support for Saad Hariri as Prime Minister. Hezbollah’s popular support has increased due it its post election sportsmanlike acceptance of...

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