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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
1 July , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Dexia Bank decides to stop financing Israeli settlements
2 Jul 2009 - The Belgian-French financial group, Dexia, has declared that it is stopping all financial support to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, through its Israel Branch. 

Tourism increasing in Jericho
2 Jul 2009 - A report published by the Tourism Police in Jericho district revealed Wednesday that tourism is increasing in the city and that more tourists are staying in local hotels while visiting the ancient and touristic sites. 

Dweik calls for the release of all legislators imprisoned by Israel
2 Jul 2009 - Dr. Aziz Dweik, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) called on Wednesday for the release of all elected Palestinian legislators and officials illegally imprisoned by Israel. 

Seven new swine-flu cases diagnosed in the West Bank
2 Jul 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported Wednesday that seven more Palestinians were diagnosed with the swine-flu. 

Court orders military to press stronger charges against soldiers who shot a Palestinian civilian
1 Jul 2009 - The Israeli High Court of Justice ordered on Wednesday the Israeli military to press stronger charges against a an officer after shooting a bound and blindfolded Palestinian civilian in the West Bank.

7 new demolition orders handed out for Palestinian-owned houses in East-Jerusalem
1 Jul 2009 - Israeli authorities informed on Wednesday 7 families in the Silwan neighborhood of East-Jerusalem of its plans to demolish their houses. 

Israeli settlers ignore US pressure completely and establish new outpost
1 Jul 2009 - A group of Israeli settlers took over farmland in the village of Kafr Al-Labad, near Tulkarem, in the North of the West Bank on Wednesday. The settlers put up three tents where they are living in now, completely ignoring the pressure the US is mounting on Israel to freeze all settlement building activity. 

Jewish-Muslim Initiative to counter Israel's 'Museum of Tolerance'
1 Jul 2009 - As Israel is constructing the so-called 'Museum of Tolerance' on the site of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, a new Jewish-Muslim initiative is trying to stop the construction, hoping to get the construction site declared as ritually impure under Jewish law so that Jews would refrain from visiting it. 

Barak-Mitchell meeting ends with no agreement on settlements
1 Jul 2009 - A four-hour Tuesday meeting between Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and US Middle East Special Envoy, George Mitchell, came to an end without an agreement on the illegal Israeli construction of settlements. Mitchell would be holding a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in two weeks. 

Israel to deport 21 peace activists kidnapped while sailing to Gaza
1 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Authorities decided to deport 21 international peace activists who were kidnapped by the Israeli Navy while sailing to Gaza carrying humanitarian aid and medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip. 

Spanish court drops criminal charges against Israeli officials; Israel happy
1 Jul 2009 - Several Israeli leaders were pleased to hear that the Spanish National Court decided on Tuesday to shelve an investigation into the death of 14 Palestinians, mainly women and children, when the army shelled a building in Gaza in 2002 and assassinated a Hamas leader. 

Red Cross: 'Gazans still living in despair, unable to rebuild their homes'
1 Jul 2009 - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that six months after the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, the besieged coastal region is still under siege and the residents living in despair, poverty, and are unable to reconstruct their homes. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

IDF opens major West Bank checkpoint to Palestinian foot traffic
1 Jul 2009 - Hawara is one of the most heavily-used West Bank checkpoints; IDF to continue to man the roadblock. 

Court: IDF must toughen charges for shooting of bound Palestinian
1 Jul 2009 - High Court: 'Improper conduct' charge not appropriate for shooting of rubber bullet at man in West Bank. 

PA: Israel planning to expropriate another 2% of West Bank land
30 Jun 2009 - Defense establishment rejects claim, says land in question had been under Dead Sea waters now receded. 

Activist on boat seized by IDF laments world apathy to Gaza
29 Jun 2009 - IDF seizes control of Free Gaza Movement's boat after it enters Gaza waters; boat taken to Ashdod. 

Egypt extends deadline for Palestinian unity talks to July 28
30 Jun 2009 - A deal would aim to end divisions by setting up a joint committee to handle the reconstruction of Gaza. 

Rights group: IDF didn't verify air strike targets in Gaza conflict
30 Jun 2009 - Human Rights Watch says IDF 'failed to take all feasible precautions to verify that the targets were combatants.' 

Kadima MK: Restrict Mossad chief's tenure to four years
29 Jun 2009 - Edery's bill comes in wake of controversial extension of Meir Dagan's tenure, resignation of deputy. 

Red Cross: Israel trapping 1.5m Gazans in despair
29 Jun 2009 - Organization says Israel-led blockade 'strangling' economy, preventing reconstruction efforts. 

Ma'an News

Israel to demolish more Jerusalem homes
7/1/2009 - Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israel’s Municipality of Jerusalem handed out demolition orders to seven new families in the Wadi Hilwa neighborhood of Silwan, south of the Old City on WednesdayThe families targeted in this round of demolition orders are: Ziad Abu Sneina, Muhammad Abbasi, Abdul-Kareem Abu Hadwan, Nasim Siyam, and three other families living in the same building. The demolition orders came a day after municipal authorities demolished a house on the Mount of Olives. Earlier the same week the municipality, an Israeli institution that also governs occupied Palestinian areas, said it would freeze 70% of demolition orders. Most of the orders are issued on the grounds that the houses were built without hard-to-obtain building permits. 

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian, Israeli youth protesting land confiscation
7/1/2009 - Tulkarem - Ma'an - A group ofPalestinian and Israeli youth with Combatants for Peace were attacked by a group of settlers south of Tulkarem Wednesday. The group was in the West Bank to, among other activities, set up a protest tent on lands recently occupied by colonizing settlers. A group of at least 14 settlers from the nearby Avnei Hefetz settlement approached the group and assaulted several members, coordinator at the organization Nour Ad-Din Shihadeh said. The organizer said Israeli troops came to the aid of settlers shortly after the hostile group approached the youth, and ordered the group to leave the area. [end] 

Shots from settlement injure four, one critically south of Nablus
7/1/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israel forces shot and injured four Palestinians near the Kfar Tuppuah settlement Wednesday south of Nablus. One youth, identified as 15-year-old Layth Saleh Muhammad Hamayel is in critical condition at the Nablus hospital after sustaining two gunshot wounds in the leg. He was evacuated by Red Crescent medical crews who have not been able to reach the other three victims. According to Saleh two other youth were taken by Israeli police, reportedly to a hospital in Israel, though he did not clarify the reason the group was in the area, which is surrounded by settlements. Saleh identified another boy, also allegedly injured, as 15-year-old Maher Fawzi Ahmad Hamayel. 

Nativity Church deportees flee Gaza, stranded at Jordan’s airport
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Nativity Church deportees who left Gaza last week were detained at Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport after Egyptian authorities refused to allow the men to return to their port of origin. The two men, Nadir Abdul Aziz and Issa Abu A’ahour, were deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip in 2002 following the siege of the Church of the Nativity and its negotiated end which saw the thirteen men dispersed to locations in Gaza and Europe with promises not to return to the West Bank. Abdul Aziz and Abu A’ahour left Gaza on Tuesday using Jordanian passports via the Rafah crossing, and flew to Jordan where they had arranged to live with their wives and children, from whom they have been estranged since their deportation. As West Bankers supported in part by the Palestinian Authority, who negotiated their release, the men said previously that they. . . 

Bethlehem mayor initiates campaign against Israeli land annexation
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Bethlehem Mayor Abdel Fattah Hamayel called residents and owners of the 139,000 dunums of land recently slated for annexation to a meeting to coordinate a consolidated objection to the Israeli plan. On Friday the Israeli Land Registration office published its rolls indicating the thousands of dunums would be declared “abandoned” land and thus be available to annexation to the nearby Israeli settlements. The land set for designation as “abandoned” is in An Nabi Mousa near Jericho, as well as Beit Ta’mir, Rashayda and Al-Beida areas near Bethlehem. The Wednesday meeting in Bethlehem brought together the districts’ popular committees against the wall and settlement building, as well as representatives from affected Bedouin communities and local associations. Hamayel stated at the start of the meeting that it was clear the Israeli decision to declare. . . 

Nablus refugee camps to protest alleged aid cuts
7/1/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Local refugee camp committees in Nablus will launch a series of strikes over the coming week to protest what they say is insufficient aid from the UN agency UNRWA. According to Ahmad Thouqan, the committees coordinator in the West Bank, a meeting was held in Askar Refugee Camp and committees reiterated their opposition to what he said was UNRWA’s reduction in services to refugee camps. Nablus committee coordinator Nablus Ibrahim Saqr said that the week of protests will continue until 7 July. On 4 July, all UNRWA stores will be closed completely, and the agencies vehicles will not be allowed to move. The committees will also stage a demonstration in a central square. Both Saqr and Thouqan expressed sorrow that the situation reached this point. They demanded the UNRWA to stop its ‘reduction policy’ and provide refugee camps with the needed fund for all emergency programs it had in the past. 

PCHR to appeal Spanish court’s Gaza ruling
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian human rights organization says it plans to appeal a Spanish court’s decision to shelve an investigation Israel’s 2002 killing of 14 civilians in Gaza. On Tuesday, Spain’s National Audience, the country’s highest criminal court, ended an investigation into the Israeli bombing that killed Hamas member Salah Shehadeh and 13 others in Gaza City. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), working with Spanish and British lawyers, plan to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The case is seen as a key test of universal jurisdiction, and efforts to hold alleged Israeli war criminals accountable. In their decision, the National Audience accepted the argument of the Spanish state prosecutor, which contended that Israel and not Spain should investigate the incident. The ruling overturns a previous decision to continue an investigation into the attack. 

Israel seizes five West Bank Palestinians
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The Israeli military said that it detained five Palestinians during overnight raids in the West Bank on Wednesday. Neither the identities of the detainees, nor their current location, is known. The Israeli army said only that they were “taken in for questioning by security personnel. ”[end] 

Two mortar shells from Gaza land near Karni crossing
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli sources reported on Wednesday that two mortar shells launched from Gaza landed near the Palestinian side of the Karni crossing. No injuries have been reported. Palestinian groups have not claimed responsibility for the reported attack. [end] 

Israeli settlers establish new outpost near Tulkarem
7/1/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an Exclusive – Dozens of Israeli settlers took over farmland in Kafr Al-Labad village, in the northern West Bank by erecting three tents that now play home to dozens of settlers, the town’s mayor said on Wednesday. The area now under settler occupation is public property owned by the Islamic Waqf, or endowment, said Kafr Al-Labad Mayor Ziad Jab’iti, and is located outside the village's residential area. “The municipal council along with local active organizations will resist settlers and try all means to prevent confiscation of this land,” the mayor asserted, appealing to the Palestinian Authority and other national organizations to join the fight. He explained that settlers took advantage of the fact that the lands are in a remote area with little traffic. He also speculated that Israeli authorities would later remove the outpost in an attempt to show its compliance with international demands. 

Two Gaza Strip border crossings open; Karni closed
7/1/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an - Israeli authorities decided on Wednesday to partially open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points into the Gaza Strip, while the Karni crossing will remain closed, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official. Fattouh said that 100-110 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods would pass through Kerem Shalom in the southern Gaza Strip. Furthermore, limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s only power plant will be shipped through Nahal Oz, Fattouh said. The Karni terminal, currently only used for shipments of grain, will remain closed. According to the United Nations, the current amount of goods Israel allows into the Gaza Strip is around 15% of what was permitted before the imposition of a blockade in June 2007. 

UK deplores Israel settlement expansion
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – British Foreign Secretary David Miliband condemned in unusually stark terms Israel’s decision to build 50 new housing units in an illegal West Bank settlement. “Settlements are illegal under international law and they are a major blockage to peace in the Middle East on the basis of a two-state solution,” Miliband told parliament, according to Reuters. “There are reports coming through of the Israeli Ministry of Defense yesterday granting permission for 50 new housing units at the Adam settlement which is something that we completely deplore,” he said, according to the news agency. “This is the worst possible time for new settlements to be initiated or for construction to be started,” he was quoted as saying. "We are at an absolutely vital moment as the new American administration comes to a decision about how it will prosecute its commitment to a two-state solution. 

Hamas criticizes world’s ’silence’ at capture of Gaza aid boat
7/1/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Hamas officials criticized what it called international indifference to Israel’s capture of a civilian ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, officials said Wednesday. Israeli’s navy intercepted, then took control of the Spirit of Humanity shipTuesday afternoon, towing it to the Israeli port of Ashdod and arresting the crew. The voyage was organized by the Free Gaza Movement, which has already staged three successful journeys in defiance of an Israeli blockade. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said, “The abduction of a ship carrying solidarity activists from 22 [sic] countries indicates that Israel is going too far with its criminal acts, and widening its range of aggression. ”Barhoum asserted that the Gaza Strip badly needed the efforts of all international activists and human rights groups to help women, children, the elderly as well as victims of the recent Israeli military offensive. 

US renews Israel loan guarantees
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The US has renewed a program of massive loan guarantees to Israel in spite of an ongoing dispute about the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank. According to Reuters, the program allows Israel to sell bonds and take out loans with the backing of the US. The nine billion dollar program was originally approved in 2002 to help Israel cope with an economic downturn. According to Israeli economist Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, the loan guarantees are actually contradictory to the US’ diplomatic stance on settlements. “The US is allowing its money to be used to violate international law,” Hever told Ma’an in a phone interview. “The US cannot claim to be an impartial arbiter,” because of its overall economic support for Israel. Hever also said that the issue is much larger than loan guarantees. 

Sources: Israel to allow Palestinian cars through Nablus’ Huwwara checkpoint
7/1/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an Exclusive – Israel will allow Palestinians to drive cars through the Huwwara military checkpoint, the main access point into the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian sources said. According to a recent Israeli decision the pedestrian passage most travelers must pass through will be closed completely, and instead Palestinians will cross the checkpoint by car, the source said. Israeli sources, however, said the only change at Huwwara would be an easing of checks at the military point for pedestrian traffic. If the first rumor is true, the change-over at Huwwara will drastically ease travel from the northern West Bank to the south and central regions. As it stands the massive military post forces 90% of travelers to disembark from cars and taxis, walk through the turnstiles and undergo a search when passing from north to south. 

Rights confirms continued Hamas, Fatah political arrests
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Center for Human Rights confirmed allegations of politically-motivated arrests from both Fatah and Hamas in a report released Wednesday, and called for all sides to uphold their agreements to cease and desist. The well-respected organization based in Gaza, PCHR said that its own investigations gave credence to the claims of both parties that that their members had been harassed and arrested recently. The report catalogues de facto government arrests of Fatah members as recent as Sunday and Monday, and records round-ups, questioning around affiliation with rival factions, poor treatment and harassment. In Gaza Fatah members were warned against organizing any public events, and told would be unable to continue any party-based activities until all Hamas prisoners in the West Bank were released and recently released Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Dr Aziz Ad-Dweik resumed his duties. 

Eight factions urge Abbas to include them in unity talks
7/1/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – The leaders of eight Palestinian factions urged President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to open up unity talks to the full political spectrum. During the meeting in Abbas’ office in Ramallah, the factions reiterated their argument that a plan for an Egyptian-backed bilateral agreement between Hamas and Fatah is flawed. These factions expressed the same view in a letter delivered to the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah earlier this week. The Participants in the meeting were the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), Fida, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF), Arab Liberation Front (ALF), Palestinian Liberation Front (PLF), and the Arab Palestinian Front (APF). “Bilateral dialogue between Hamas and Fatah represents a fallback in what has been achieved. . . 

Hamas: PA detains 10 affiliates in the West Bank
7/1/2009 - Salfit – Ma’an – The Hamas movement announced in a statement on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority’s security services detained ten Hamas supporters in the West Bank. According to the statement, detentions took place in Qalqiliya in the north, Hebron in the south, and Jericho in the east. [end] 

PA forces release 6 Hamas members detained in Qalqiliya
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Six Hamas affiliates were released from Qalqiliya Wednesday afternoon, sources within the Palestinian Authority said. The release came as efforts continue to solve the issue of politically-motivated arrests in the West Bank and Gaza, with both Fatah and Hamas promising to stem the arrest campaigns in their respective zones. On Tuesday the Palestinian Center for Human Rights confirmed allegations of arrests from both Hamas and Fatah, collecting testimony that political-detainees were mistreated and harassed. [end] 

Haniyeh: Fatah hung up on Israeli security commitments
7/1/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called the sixth round of unity talks “difficult and stressful,” after the Hamas delegation returned from Cairo on Tuesday. In his Wednesday commentary on the talks Haniyeh said the hardships faced at the talks were the result of Fatah obstinacy and the party’s insistence on listening to interference from Israel and the United States. Haniyeh accused Fatah of paying more attention to its “security commitments” with Israel than the issue of political arrests , which Hamas members have called the central issue ‘from which all other issues will be resolved. ’The de facto Prime Minister gave the comments as he participated in a sit-in held in Gaza City protesting the continued detention of more than 40 PLC members in Israeli prisons. ***Get breaking news from Palestine: Click to follow Ma’an on Twitter. 

Seven new cases of H1N1 flu diagnosed in the West Bank
7/1/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Seven new cases of H1N1 flu have been diagnosed in the West Bank bringing the total number to 37, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday. According to As’ad Ramlawi, director of the Medical Care department in the ministry, one of the new cases discovered in Nablus in the northern West Bank is a Palestinian living in the US who came to visit. The other six were diagnosed in Ramallah in the central West Bank, and received the virus from other people locally. [end] 

Fuel prices in Palestine for July
7/1/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Ministry of Finance has released regulated fuel prices for consumers across Palestine for July 2009 as follows:One liter of diesel = 4. 74 NIS (Israeli shekels)One liter of benzene (gasoline) 95 octane = 5. 95 NISOne liter of benzene 96 octane = 5. 95 NISOne liter of benzene 98 octane = 6. 40 NISOne liter of kerosene = 4. 74 NISTwelve-kilogram bottle of cooking gas = 49 NIS for consumers48-kilogram bottle of cooking gas = 196 NIS for consumersOne liter of cooking gas = 1. 62 NIS[end] 

The National

The great – disgruntled – chefs of Egypt
1 Jul 2009 - At the old Egyptian Chefs' Club veterans lament the lost art of cooking and remember a time when prestigious families wouldn't eat outside.

A secret meeting with Lebanon's notorious drug war lord
1 Jul 2009 - Nawah Zoitar, who has been on the run from authorities over four months after a series of deadly clashes with authorities, pleads for amnesty.

Lebanon's drug barons vs the law: a battle for survival
1 Jul 2009 - The past year Lebanon has been unusually stable, but there have been a series of killings of drug traffickers linked to the large tribes of upper Beqaa.

Big screen returns to West Bank town
30 Jun 2009 - Two local businessmen open a brand new cinema in the centre of the city to compete with satellite TV and create genuine excitement.

Israel and US hold settlement discussions
29 Jun 2009 - The crucial meeting comes as the rift between the US and Israel grows over West Bank occupation.


Mousavi denounces Iran poll results
1 Jul 2009 - Legitimacy of Ahmadinejad's new government will not be recognised, his challenger says.

Israel blamed over drone attacks
30 Jun 2009 - Rights group says missiles were fired during Gaza war without always verifying targets.

Israel stops aid ship to Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - Vessel carrying aid to Gaza intercepted by Israeli navy.

Israel permits new settlement homes
30 Jun 2009 - New units approved and more land taken as Ehud Barak visits US in bid to defuse tensions.

UN assesses trauma of Gaza conflict
29 Jun 2009 - Experts tell panel of psychological damage of residents trapped in Israel's war.


ISRAEL-OPT: By the numbers 
TEL AVIV Tuesday, June 30, 2009 (IRIN) - A new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) paints a grim picture of life in the Gaza Strip: insufficient housing, damaged infrastructure, limited access to clean water and the discharge of raw sewage into the sea. 

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.

MIDDLE EAST: Swine flu cases on the rise
DUBAI Thursday, June 25, 2009 (IRIN) - The number of cases of the A(H1N1) virus, otherwise known as swine flu, is growing in the Middle East, with many new suspected and confirmed cases in the past few days, but so far no one has died of the disease.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Nobel Laureate 'Abducted' by Israeli Navy 
RAMALLAH, Jul 1 (IPS) - Twenty-one international peace activists were seized by Israeli naval frigates in international waters Tuesday as their boat 'The Spirit of Humanity' tried to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza.

MIDEAST: Finding Fish, But Israelis Too 
GAZA CITY, Jul 1 (IPS) - "They told us 'go west or we will shoot you'," says Ashraf Sadallah. "Initially, we refused, so they began shooting very close all around our boat."

MIDEAST: When Drones Become Indiscriminate 
JERUSALEM, Jun 30 (IPS) - The concerted effort of international human rights activists to rein in violations of laws of war was given a major impetus when Human Rights Watch researchers presented a report Tuesday on the unbridled use by the Israeli military of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCLAV), commonly...

US-IRAQ: Troops Leave Cities, as Questions Remain 
WASHINGTON, Jun 30 (IPS) - U.S. combat troops pulled out of most Iraqi cities Monday, a day before the Jun. 30 deadline for their withdrawal in accordance with the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) ratified by the Iraqi parliament in November 2008.

Stop The Wall

Massive Bil'in raids aimed at breaking protest
30 Jun 2009 - Over the past several weeks, the village of Bil'in has been targeted by near-nightly raids. Occupation forces have abducted children and threatened activists in the most systematic campaign of arrests against the village in some time. A total of eight people, most of them youth, have been kidnapped since these raids began. [

Settlers bulldoze 40 dunums in Nahalin
30 Jun 2009 - Last Monday settlers, under the protection of Occupation forces, bulldozed 40 dunums of land belonging to the village of Nahalin, west of Bethlehem. Villagers had planted olives, grapevines, fig and other fruit trees on the land, which is a source of livelihood for many families in this village of over 10,000 people. [

PCHR Latest

(30 June)  PCHR will Appeal to Supreme Court against Spanish Appeals Court’s Decision

(30 June)  PCHR Organizes Press Conference for Canadian Author Naomi Klein..::..

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

Israeli forces and settlers harass shepherd
International Solidarity Movement - 6/29/09 - At 9am a group of 5 settlers from the Sussya settlement in the south Hebron hills, accompanied by a uniformed soldier, approached a young shepherd and his sheep. They came with a tractor and trailer and they divided the sheep into two groups and attempted to steal an estimated twenty sheep. The family of the boy saw what was happening and went to help, at this time they were verbally harassed and abused by the settlers. They took photographs, shouted and swore at the Palestinians and internationals before separating from the tractor and trailer and walking back to the settlement and the tractor driving away as the army arrived. Two jeeps with 8-10 soldiers attended but made no attempt to stop the settlers from walking away despite being clearly visible and not far away. One further vehicle drove past the settlers on the road back to the settlement but did not stop. 

Settlers set fire to Palestinian land in Asira al Qibliya
International Solidarity Movement - 6/29/09 - Around 7 p. m. on Monday night, dozens of heavily armed settlers trespassed on farmers land, setting fire to the wheat crop and attacking a home in Asira al Qibliya. Settlers fired high-caliber weapons into a family's home where 4 children live the youngest one only a year and a half old. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1. gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1. gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } Internationals and Palestinians sit around the house after the attacks passing around the high-caliber casings from the weapons used by the settlers earlier in the evening. "Made in the USA" one local said. Solar water heater destroyed with rocks by settlers Monday night Israeli soldiers responded to the event around 8:30, shooting tear gas into the family's home after the settlers retreated. 

In the West Bank, suburb or settlement?
International Solidarity Movement - The Washington Post, 29 June 2009 - Chaim Hanfling knows a lot about this settlement's population boom. Six of his 11 siblings have moved here from Jerusalem in recent years to take advantage of the lower land prices, and at age 29, he has added four children of his own. Located just over the Green Line that marks the territory occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the booming ultra-Orthodox community, home to more than 41,000 people, shows why the settlement freeze demanded by the Obama administration is proving controversial for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and also why Palestinian officials are insisting on it. Amid their gleaming, modern apartment buildings, with Tel Aviv visible on the horizon, residents say they have little in common with the people who have hauled mobile homes to hilltops in hopes of deepening Israel's presence in the occupied West Bank. 

Israeli incursion in Al Faraheen
International Solidarity Movement - Farming Under Fire, 1 July 2009 - Israeli forces have entered the village of Faraheen this morning and are still currently there using bulldozers to destroy farmland. According to local villagers there are now 2 graders, 4 tanks, 2 tanks armored with canons, 2 tractors and 4 bulldozers on the farmland. The army has also ignited a fire. Updated on July 1, 2009 [end] 

Finding fish, but Israelis too
International Solidarity Movement - Eva Bartlett, Inter Press Service, 1 July 2009 - At 6am on Jun. 16, Sadallah and his brother Abdel Hadi Sadallah, in their early twenties, went roughly 400 metres out to sea off the coast of Sudaniya in Gaza's northwest. "We wanted to bring in nets we had left out the night before," says Sadallah. Their small fishing boat, known as a hassaka, was in Palestinian fishing waters when three Israeli navy boats approached the brothers. "After they opened fire on us, we paddled about three kilometres west where a larger Israeli gunboat was waiting. When we were about 30 metres from the gunboat, Israeli soldiers ordered us to take off our clothes, jump into the water, and swim towards them. " The gunboat, Sadallah said, moved half a kilometre away after the two fishermen had jumped into the water. "We swam for about 15 minutes to reach it," he said. 

Ha’aretz: ‘Court: IDF must toughen charges for shooting of bound Palestinian’
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 1 July 2009 - The High Court ordered the Military Advocate General on Wednesday to file harsher charges against an Israel Defense Forces officer who ordered a soldier to shoot a rubber-coated metal bullet at a bound Palestinian. Lt. Col. Omri Burberg, the officer, and Staff Sgt. L. , the soldier, were formally charged with "improper conduct" over the incident, which took place in the West Bank village of Na'alin last September. Justices Ayala Procaccia, Amnon Rubinstein and Hanan Meltzer abstained from ruling Wednesday on what charges would be appropriate for the shooting. They unanimously accepted a petition submitted by Ashraf Abu Rahmeh, 27, the victim, and four human rights organizations against the Military Advocate General, Avihai Mandelblit. The petitioners had demanded that the charges against Burberg and the soldier be changed in order to reflect the "gravity of the acts. 

Israel to deport peace activists sailing to Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - YNet News, 1 July 2009 - Israel is planning to deport within the next few days the 21 peace activists who arrived on a boat from Cyprus with the intention of entering the Gaza Strip. An Israeli Navy unit boarded their boat and escorted it to Ashdod port. Immigration police will transport the detained activists to Ben Gurion Airport, and from there they will be deported out of the country. Among the peace activists are two Israeli-American citizens, and 19 others, including five from Ireland, three from Britain, five from Bahrain, three Americans, and Danish, Jordan, and Yemenite citizens. Eight immigration police arrived at Ashdod police and performed a search of the activists' belongings. The detainees will then be transferred to the Immigration Administration in Holon. The police will take their fingerprints, and then send them to Ben Gurion Airport, where each one will face a hearing before the Interior Ministry before being deported. 

Israeli High Court rules against Judge Advocate General’s 'extremely unreasonable' decision
International Solidarity Movement - B'Tselem, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din - 1 July 2009 - The Israeli High Court ruled today in favor of changing the indictments filed against the soldier and commander who were involved in the shooting of a handcuffed detainee in Ni'lin, so as to reflect the gravity of the offenses. The human rights organizations who had filed the petition to change the indictments expressed satisfaction with the decision, saying that it conveys a crucial message that protection of human rights must be a primary consideration for law-enforcement agencies. The organizations said they hope that in the future, High Court intervention will not be necessary for military law-enforcement agencies to convey to soldiers and commanders an unequivocal message to safeguard human life and dignity. 

Israeli forces invade Balata refugee camp
International Solidarity Movement - Early morning the 29th of June, the Israeli Occupation Force invaded four houses in the Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus. The soldiers arrested 3 boys of between 16 and 17 years old, without letting them or their family know why. In several of the houses, the soldiers had destroyed furniture, mirrors, cabinets and kitchen equipment. At around 2 o' clock in the morning, about 40 heavily armed soldiers with around 8 jeeps surrounded the house of the Mamroti family in the Balate Refugee Camp in Nablus. When the soldiers entered the house, they wanted to talk to the father in the house, Daod Salem Mamroti, whom they asked to undress. Later, the soldiers forced the parents with their five children out on the street, and demanded to see all their ID-cards. When they found the family's 16 year old son Mohamed Daod Salem Mamroti, they took him to the school nearby while the rest of the family had to stay inside a groceryshop close to their house. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Israel is bullied because it acts like a doormat
1 Jul 2009 - Anyone who acts like a doormat when he visits one foreign ruler should not be surprised when other rulers come along and act as arrogantly as the first. From day one we have let the world understand that we are a country with no self-respect, that we can be insulted and punched and will respond, if at all, with restraint and meekness. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was able to say what he said about Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman because for years Israel has been getting across the message: You can treat us arrogantly. ... 

Rome gives honorary citizenship to Gilad Shalit
1 Jul 2009 - Rome has given honorary citizenship to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by militants linked to Gaza's militant Islamic Hamas group three years ago ...

Peres to Saudi King: Meet me in Jerusalem, or in Riyadh
30 Jun 2009 - President Shimon Peres on Wednesday invited Saudi King Abdullah to come to Jerusalem, or meet him in Riyadh, to initiate discussions that would enable the implementation of a comprehensive peace between Israel and all the Arab states. ...

Netanyahu: Obama was right, U.S.-Israel bond unbreakable
30 Jun 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a Fourth of July celebration at the home of American ambassador to Israel James Cunningham on Wednesday, and said that the bond between Israel and the U.S. was still strong. ...

Thousands support Israeli doctor accused of complicity in torture 
30 Jun 2009 - Thousands of people this week signed a petition in support of the Israeli president of the World Medical Association, following a campaign to impeach him from the world ethical body for alleged complicity in torturing Palestinians. ...

The Guardian

No change in Jerusalem, yet | Mick Dumper
1 Jul 2009 - The hints of hopeful developments in the Palestinian-Israeli situation have not yet reached the centre of the conflict Something is moving in the Middle East but it has not yet arrived in Jerusalem. A new chess...

The settlement freeze fraud | Richard Silverstein
30 Jun 2009 - The Obama administration should make it clear that Israel's new settlement expansion proposal is unacceptable Ehud Barak arrives in Washington bearing a new Israeli proposal to bridge the differences over a settlement freeze that have arisen...

Israeli peace activist faces jail over homes demolition protest
30 Jun 2009 - Ezra Nawi expects sentence of up to 18 months for resisting 'dehumanisation' of Palestinians A prominent Israeli peace activist is expected to be sentenced to several months in jail tomorrow in a high-profile prosecution which began...

Israel expected to propose a temporary and partial freeze on the construction of new homes in the West Bank
29 Jun 2009 - • Plan falls short of Obama's demands • Ehud Barak admits to authorising new construction • Israeli defence minister to meet Obama's special envoy Israel has despatched its defence minister, Ehud Barak, to the US as...

Ha'aretz National page

Ultra-Orthodox on ascendant, and the majority remains silent
1 Jul 2009 - The ultra-Orthodox protests against the operation of the Safra parking lot in Jerusalem on Shabat remind one of things forgotten. We've all been there before, in the '70s and '80s, and we all know how it ends. Very well, as far as the Haredi community is concerned. ... 

New task force rounds up over 300 foreign workers in Tel Aviv raid
30 Jun 2009 - A newly-created task force dealing with illegal immigration carried out its first raid Wednesday, rounding up 300 foreign laborers in Tel Aviv's southern neighborhoods. ...

Naomi Klein: Oppose the state, not the people 
30 Jun 2009 - Ramallah's intellectual elite, foreigners and curious spectators gathered last Saturday at the Friends School in Ramallah to hear writer and political activist Naomi Klein lecture to a packed auditorium. ...

What was thought to be a fetus, turned out to be a banana
30 Jun 2009 - A passerby in Herzliya on Wednesday discovered a bag containing what appeared to be a dead fetus near a grocery store's parking lot. Police launched an investigation. ...

Residents of northern Israel evacuate homes in the path of brush fires 
30 Jun 2009 - Several brush and forest fires broke out in northern Israel on Wednesday, threatening a number of residences that lie in the path of the flames. ...

Relief Web

Jerusalem Palestinians face no-win housing choice
1 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

'Sense of solidarity and justice' brings world together to mark 60th anniversary of Palestine refugee agency, says UN SG in video message
1 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Secretary-General

OPT: Fatah, Hamas to miss unity deadline set by Cairo
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Israeli navy boards activist ship to Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

The Center for Faith-Based & Community Initiatives Newsletter - 30 Jun 2009
30 Jun 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

OPT: UN Human Rights mission collects gruesome testimonies from Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Palestine Monitor

OPT: Finding new life through wood carving in Bethlehem
30 Jun 2009 - Source: Mennonite Central Committee

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 262, 22 - 28 Jun 2009
30 Jun 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

YNet News

Abbas: Hamas hoarding weapons in plot to assassinate PA officials
1 Jul 2009 - Palestinian president discusses tensions with rival faction Hamas, says Islamic group hoarding weaponry, presidential guard uniforms ahead of secret plot. Hamas cell planning attacks against PA arrested earlier this week

Netanyahu: Our bond with the US is unbreakable
1 Jul 2009 - Speaking at Independence Day celebrations at US ambassador's home in Herzliya amidst growing tensions over settlement issue, prime minister pledges Israel's ties to America are 'close and unbreakable' 

J'lem: 11 haredim indicted for rioting 
1 Jul 2009 - State presses charges against ultra-Orthodox residents of Jerusalem who took part in riots following city's decision to keep parking lots open on Shabbat. Police says more indictment to follow

Hamas source: Price for Shalit will only go up
1 Jul 2009 - Hamas official says significant progress achieved in negotiations for release of captive Israeli soldier, but warns price will only rise as time progresses 

Fires plague north; arson suspected
1 Jul 2009 - Israel Fire and Rescue Services report of 25 blaze hubs since Tuesday, the majority of which are believed to have been set on purpose; situation compounded by heat wave 

IDF to stop checking pedestrians at Nablus checkpoint
1 Jul 2009 - Army expands easing of travel restrictions on Palestinian population in West Bank, stops checking individuals after adoption of similar policy for vehicles leads to significant drop in pedestrian traffic 


High Court orders harsher indictment in Ni'lin shooting
30 Jun 2009 - In July '08, a soldier shot a handcuffed detainee in the presence of his commander, yet the two were charged only with “unbecoming conduct”. Today, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favor of changing the indictments to reflect the gravity of the 

New report: Foul Play
27 Jun 2009 - In its new report B'Tselem warns about the danger inherent in neglecting wastewater treatment in the West Bank. The report criticizes both Israel and the Palestinian Authority for their failures, which have harmed the health and future water supply of all

Daily Star

Israel's Barak links settlement freeze to regional peace drive 
1 Jul 2009 - Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday Israel would consider a limited moratorium on new construction in Jewish settlements, linking the step to US efforts to bring Arab states into a broad peace process. The offer, which Barak made in a Fox News interview, fell short of Washington's call for a total.

Iranian opposition leaders denounce regime 'coup' 
1 Jul 2009 - Iran's embattled opposition leader urged his supporters Wednesday to keep pressing for their rights, and he joined a reformist ex-president to denounce what both men called the regime's "coup" against those contesting the outcome of last month's presidential election. Mir Hossein Mousavi said Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government would be illegitimate.

Top Sarkozy aides hold talks with Syria's Assad 
1 Jul 2009 - Two top aides to President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad this week, the French Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, in the latest sign of improved ties between France and Syria. The meeting in Damascus on Tuesday came ahead of a planned visit by Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to Syria and Lebanon.

Palestinian minister for Occupied Jerusalem resigns 
1 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Authority's minister for Occuiped Jerusalem affairs said on Wednesday he has resigned from his post over the government's failure to aid residents in battling Israeli housing demolitions. "The government made promises to aid the people of [Occupied] Jerusalem but it never followed through with them," Hatem Abdel-Qader told.

Abbas laments failure to reach agreement with Hamas in Cairo 
1 Jul 2009 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed regret on Wednesday that his secular Fatah party and its Islamist Hamas rivals had been unable to reach an Egypt-brokered unity agreement. "The president expresses his regret over not achieving an agreement to end the divide and restore unity in the sixth round of talks," Abbas' office said in a statement.

Amnesty says Israel 'wantonly' destroyed Gaza 
1 Jul 2009 - Amnesty International said on Thursday Israel inflicted "wanton destruction" in the Gaza Strip in attacks that often targeted Palestinian civilians during an offensive in December and January in the Hamas-run enclave. The London-based rights group, in a 117-page report on the 22 days of fighting.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood unlikely to challenge Mubarak succession 
1 Jul 2009 - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will avoid confrontation over attempts to install President Hosni Mubarak's son as president because it fears a crackdown by the authorities could destroy the Islamic group.But the group, Egypt's most powerful opposition force, will stay within ever-narrowing margins of freedom the state allows it.

Muslim teen killed in Egypt sectarian attack, 25 arrested 
1 Jul 2009 - A Muslim teenager was killed after a quarrel between Muslims and Christian Copts in a Nile Delta town, police officials said Wednesday. Police said the trouble in Mansoura, some 110 kilometers north of Cairo, began after a verbal exchange between the Muslim teenager and a Coptic street vendor.

Palestinian Information Center

Naim discusses with Red Cross delegation ways of developing health sector
1 Jul 2009 - Dr. Bassem Naim, the health minister, met with a delegation from the international committee of the Red Cross and discussed with them the health situation in Gaza and ways of developing this sector.

IOF troops block firefighters from extinguishing fire in Palestinian land
1 Jul 2009 - IOF on Tuesday night blocked Palestinian firefighters from reaching cultivated lands of Anin village to extinguish a fire that started at a late night hour and continued till Wednesday morning.

Gov't committee against siege: Intercepting aid boat act of piracy
1 Jul 2009 - The government committee against the siege has described the Israeli occupation forces' interception of the "spirit of humanity" boat carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip as "an act of piracy".

Haneyya: The latest round of dialog was uneasy and strained
1 Jul 2009 - PA Premier Ismail Haneyya stated that the latest round of the national dialog was difficult and strained, attributing this to the refusal of Fatah to deal positively with the political arrest file.

Hamas: Abdul Qader's resignation reveals Fayyad government's suspicious role
1 Jul 2009 - Hamas on Wednesday said that the resignation of Hatem Abdul Qader from the illegal government of Salam Fayyad reflected this government's submission to the Zionist agenda.

Goldstone: Some witnesses in Gaza did not give testimonies for security reasons
1 Jul 2009 - Richard Goldstone noted that some citizens expressed willingness to give their testimonies during public hearings, but they backtracked after they felt that this entails security risks.

Report: PA security killed six Palestinians, abducted hundreds last month
1 Jul 2009 - A report issued by Hamas Movement’s information office on Wednesday stated that the PA security apparatuses in the West Bank killed in June six Palestinian citizens and kidnapped 504 others.

Abu Zayd: Israeli siege takes Gaza back to the Middle Ages
1 Jul 2009 - Karen Abu Zayd, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) commissioner general, has warned that the 24-month-old Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip was bringing Gaza back to the Middle Ages.

HRW: Israel used drone aircraft to kill unarmed civilians in Gaza
1 Jul 2009 - Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) dispatched pilotless aircraft to kill at least 29 Palestinian civilians in the war on Gaza, Human Rights Watch said in a 39-page report.

Palestine discussion forum blocked for two days in Gaza and West Bank
1 Jul 2009 - The Palestine discussion forum returned to operate normally in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Tuesday evening after it was blocked for two days by the PA telecommunication company in Ramallah.

Los Angeles Times

Iran's president says enemies' 'soft overthrow' failed 
1 Jul 2009 - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says unspecified foes caused the turmoil in which hundreds of thousands of Iranians protested alleged election fraud. A reformist group calls for an end to demonstrations. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his controversial reelection affirmed by clerical allies a day earlier, on Tuesday hailed his victory as a triumph for the nation as opponents continued to question the legitimacy of the vote. 

World Briefing 
1 Jul 2009 - Gaza Strip: Israel intercepts activists' ship / Italy: 14 killed in train blast / Spain: Worker arrested in hit on boss / Russia: Probe halted in death of Forbes editor / Belarus: U.S. lawyer freed GAZA STRIP 

Iran council certifies election result 
30 Jun 2009 - The Guardian Council, after a recount of 10% of the vote, deems President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection valid. Contender Mir-Hossein Mousavi's supporters vow to continue struggle. Reporting from Tehran and Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- After quickly finishing a partial vote count it said confirmed the initial tally of ballots, Iran's Guardian Council on Monday pronounced as valid President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's June 12 reelection, which opponents say was marred by massive vote fraud. 

New York Times

Europe Weighs Pulling Envoys From Tehran
1 Jul 2009 - The European Union is considering pulling out all 27 ambassadors in a dispute over Iran’s detention of British Embassy personnel. 

Iran Seeks to Close Door on Further Protests
30 Jun 2009 - As security forces filled the streets, the government made a series of moves to close the book on weeks of protest. 

Human Rights Group Says 29 Civilians Were Killed by Israeli Air Attacks in Gaza
30 Jun 2009 - A report released by Human Rights Watch questions whether Israeli forces had taken “all feasible precautions” to avoid civilian casualties in strikes by drones in Gaza. 


Report Cites Indiscriminate Drone Use by Israel - Antiwar. com, June 30, 2009 - JERUSALEM – The concerted effort of international human rights activists to rein in violations of laws of war was given a major impetus when Human Rights Watch researchers presented a report [. pdf] Tuesday on the unbridled use by the Israeli military of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCLAV), commonly known as drones, during Israel’s 22-day assault on Hamas in Gaza at the beginning of the year. Titled “Precisely Wrong,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report focuses on six cases of Israeli drone-launched missile attacks in which 29 Palestinian civilians, eight of them children, were killed. Based on cross-referenced eyewitness accounts corroborated by doctors, as well as ballistics and forensic evidence collected on the attack sites, the report asserts that “in none of the cases did HRW find evidence that Palestinian fighters were present in the immediate area of the attack at the time. 

Israel, U.S. inch toward deal on settlements 
Ha'aretz - Haaretz, 7/1/2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U. S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell will meet in two weeks to reach a final agreement on settlement construction in the West Bank. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and George Mitchell agreed during their talks in New York this week that Israel must take action toward easing access for Palestinians in the territory and halting settlement activity. Their four-hour discussion brought Israel and the United States closer to ending its dispute over settlement construction, a source close to Barak said. Mitchell did not explicitly tell Barak that Israel must impose a complete freeze on settlements - as the U. S. has been demanding - but rather emphasized that Jerusalem must take "action" on the matter, according to a Defense Ministry statement following the talks. 

US remains silent over McKinney arrest by Israel 
Press TV - Press TV, Jul 1 2009 - Nearly a day after the detention of former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney by Israeli forces, Washington has yet to make a reaction. Israeli Navy detained former US congresswoman and Nobel Prize laureate Cynthia McKinney and twenty other human rights activists on board a relief boat outside Israel's territorial waters on Tuesday as they were heading to Gaza on a humanitarian mission. Tel Aviv claims the boat was trying to break Israel's two-year siege on Gaza. Ms McKinney -- the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States-- has accused Tel Aviv of violating the international law by seizing an aid vessel in international waters. "This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," McKinney said in a statement. 

U.S. reapproves loan guarantees with Israel 
JTA - JTA, June 30, 2009 - WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The United States has reapproved its loan guarantee program with Israel. Israel still has $3. 8 billion of guarantees left in the $9 billion total package, which it must use by 2011. Israel already has issued $4. 1 billion in bonds backed by the guarantees, and $1. 1 billion has been deducted for Israeli settlement building and objections to the route of the West Bank security fence, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported Tuesday. The U. S. first approved the guarantees, which allow Israel to sell bonds internationally with the backing of the United States, during the 2002 recession. As part of the deal, Israel must also hit certain economic targets regarding the size of budget deficits and levels of government spending. 


Pirates of the Mediterranean 
Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch 7/1/2009
      Israel Kidnaps Peace Boat Crew
     On June 30, the government of Israel committed an act of piracy when the Israeli Navy in international waters illegally boarded the “Spirit of Humanity,” kidnapped its 21-person crew from 11 countries, including former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Laureate Mairead MaGuire, and confiscated the cargo of medical supplies, olive trees, reconstruction materials, and children’s toys that were on the way to the Mediterranean coast of Gaza. The “Spirit of Humanity,” along with the kidnapped 21 persons, is being towed to Israel as I write.
     Gaza has been described as the “world’s largest concentration camp.” It is home to 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven by force of American-supplied Israeli arms out of their homes, off their farms, and out of their villages so that Israel could steal their land and make the Palestinian land available to Israeli settlers.
     What we have been witnessing for 60 years is a replay in modern times, despite the United Nations and laws strictly preventing Israel’s theft of Palestine, of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century theft of American Indian lands by US settlers. An Israeli government spokesman recently rebuked the President of the United States, a country, the Israeli said, who stole all of its land from Indians, for complaining about Israel’s theft of Palestine.
     I knew the “Spirit of Humanity” would fall to Israeli piracy the minute I received on June 25 from an official of an Israeli peace organization a “public advisory” that the government of Cyprus had withheld permission for the “Spirit of Humanity” to leave for Gaza. The US State Department had advised that “The Israeli Foreign Ministry informed U.S. officials at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv that Israel still considers Gaza an area of conflict and that any boats attempting to sail to Gaza will not be permitted to reach its destination.” The “Spirit of Humanity” obtained permission to leave Cyprus when all aboard signed a waiver absolving Cyprus of all responsibility for the crew’s safety at the hands of the Israelis.

Israeli doctors colluding in torture 
Jonathan Cook in Nazareth, Redress 7/1/2009
      ...while world’s medical ethics chief turns blind eye
     Jonathan Cook looks into the role of the Israeli Medical Association in the torture of Palestinian prisoners, against the background of an international campaign by doctors to oust the Israeli head of the world’s governing body on medical ethics because of his alleged complicity in torture.
     Israel’s watchdog body on medical ethics has failed to investigate evidence that doctors working in detention facilities are turning a blind eye to cases of torture, according to Israeli human rights groups. The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has ignored repeated requests to examine such evidence, the rights groups say, even though it has been presented with examples of Israeli doctors who have broken their legal and ethical duty towards Palestinians in their care. The accusations will add fuel to a campaign backed by hundreds of doctors from around the world to force Yoram Blachar, who heads the IMA, to step down from his recent appointment as president of the World Medical Association (WMA). More than 700 doctors have signed a petition arguing that Dr Blachar has disqualified himself from leadership of the WMA, the profession’s governing ethical body, by effectively condoning torture in Israel. The campaign against Dr Blachar has gained ground rapidly since his appointment as president in November. Critics said his alleged complicity in the use of torture in Israeli detention facilities can be traced to 1995, when he became chairman of the IMA.

Electronic Intifada
Month in pictures: June 2009
1 Jul 2009 - The below photographs are a selection of images from the month of June 2009. "The month in pictures" is an ongoing feature by The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net. 

Drug addiction on the rise in besieged Gaza
1 Jul 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - They are little white, yellow or green pills and are available almost anywhere. At the pharmacies or in the market, they are accessible, addictive and cheap. "I take them because it makes me forget, at least for a little while, that I'm in Gaza," says Abu Alaa, a resident of the strip and father of four. "There is no alternative." Looking to escape years of war, searing poverty and an unrelenting economic blockade, medical officials in the Gaza Strip say residents have developed a serious addiction to the narcotic painkiller Tramadol. 

Salam Fayyad's false optimism
1 Jul 2009 - A Palestinian state could become "a firm reality" by the "end of next year or within two years at the most," Salam Fayyad, the prime minister appointed by Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted as saying on 22 June in a speech at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, a village outside Jerusalem. Such expectations have been frequently voiced before by former Palestinian prime minister and negotiator Ahmad Qureia, or the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But what is more evident are the facts on the ground that do not provide much support for these expectations. Rami Almeghari comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

Israeli gunboats seize Gaza aid ship
30 Jun 2009 - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the Spirit of Humanity, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel. 

In Gaza
Israeli naval abductions and shooting at Palestinian fishermen: it’s routine
1 Jul 2009 - *Palestinian fishing boats damaged by Israeli firing attacks. [photo: Emad Badwan ] GAZA CITY, Jul 1 (IPS) – “They told us ‘go west or we will shoot you’,” says Ashraf Sadallah. “Initially, we refused, so they began shooting very close all around our boat.” At 6am on Jun. 16, Sadallah and his brother Abdel Hadi Sadallah, in their early twenties, went roughly 400 metres out to sea off the coast of Sudaniya in Gaza’s northwest. “We wanted to bring in nets we had left out the night before,” says Sadallah. Their small fishing boat, known as a hassaka, was in Palestinian fishing waters when three Israeli navy boats approached the brothers....

Palestine Chronicle
Pro-Israel Lobby Alarmed by Growth of Boycott, Divestment Movement
1 Jul 2009 - By Art Young The movement to call Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people is growing, it is "invading the mainstream discourse, becoming part of the constant and unrelenting drumbeat against Israel." It could eventually threaten the existence of the Jewish state by undermining the support it receives from its strongest backer, the U. S. government. That was the message of alarm delivered by the Executive Director of the American Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Howard Kohr, to the AIPAC Policy Conference on May 3.[i] AIPAC is one of the principal organizations that lobby publicly on behalf of Israel in the United States, where it is an important influence on foreign policy. Among the 6,000 dignitaries who attended its policy conference were more than half of the members of the Senate and a third of the members of the House of Representatives. Featured speakers included Vice President Joe Biden, Senator John Kerry, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israeli President Shimon Peres. AIPAC and its allies are often alleged to act as a kind of shadow government in Washington, distorting policy in Israel's interest rather than that of the U.S. This stands reality on its head. The pro-Israel lobby carries real weight in the halls of power, but only because the U.S. and Israel share the same fundamental interests. The U.S. relies on Israel to keep the Arab states of the Middle East divided, weak, and under constant threat...

Israeli Doctors Colluding in Torture
30 Jun 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Israel's watchdog body on medical ethics has failed to investigate evidence that doctors working in detention facilities are turning a blind eye to cases of torture, according to Israeli human rights groups. The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has ignored repeated requests to examine such evidence, the rights groups say, even though it has been presented with examples of Israeli doctors who have broken their legal and ethical duty towards Palestinians in their care. The accusations will add fuel to a campaign backed by hundreds of doctors from around the world to force Yoram Blachar, who heads the IMA, to step down from his recent appointment as president of the World Medical Association (WMA). More than 700 doctors have signed a petition arguing that Dr Blachar has disqualified himself from leadership of the WMA, the profession’s governing ethical body, by effectively condoning torture in Israel. The campaign against Dr Blachar has gained ground rapidly since his appointment as president in November. Critics said his alleged complicity in the use of torture in Israeli detention facilities can be traced to 1995, when he became chairman of the IMA. Until 1999, when Israel’s Supreme Court restricted torture, Israeli doctors routinely supervised the medical treatment of abused detainees, mostly Palestinians from the occupied territories. During that period Dr Blachar surprised many colleagues by expressing support for Israeli interrogators’ use of “moderate physical pressure” in a letter to The Lancet, the British medical journal. The phrase covers a wide range...

Hezbollah after the Elections
30 Jun 2009 - By Franklin Lamb – Dahiyeh, Lebanon While on the surface the pro-US team here did preserve its 'majority', the Hezbollah led opposition actually won the election by nearly ten percent of the popular vote. Of approximately 1,495,000 votes cast on June 7, 815,000 voted for the National Lebanese Resistance led by Hezbollah while 680,000 voted for the March 14 government parties. As Lebanon’s new Prime Minister, Saad Hariri labors to put together a coalition Cabinet, Hezbollah is currently stronger politically in Lebanon than it has ever been. The Party can largely determine the construction of the next Lebanese government and insist on key cabinet posts going to its allies, as it prefers keep a low profile and influence policy through quiet consultation rather than threats and muscle flexing. As one Hezbollah friend explained, “If Hezbollah has just one member sitting in Parliament, the Majority understands that the whole Resistance is there. We don’t need to be flashy, rather we need to collaborate and make this new government work. Our supporters are demanding this.” Post election popular support for Hezbollah appears to have increased due to its post-election sportsmanlike acceptance of the results and its conduct ad efforts at accommodation with its political adversaries despite ongoing misgivings about the “US Team.” This stance is illustrated by a Hezbollah joke that is currently bouncing around Dahiyeh, a major Resistance area where there is not massive support for the US March 14 team. A Hezbollah member writes to Ayatollah Ali Khameini, Iran’s Supreme...

Demonizing Iranian Democracy
30 Jun 2009 - By Dr. Elias Akleh For the last three weeks the Western media had bombarded us with what they called the Iranian stolen election. They allege that the election was fraudulent and that the masses went into the streets of Tehran protesting the results and demanding new election. The Iranian government is described as fascist and oppressive and is responsible for the chaos in the streets. The opposition is described as reformists and democratic, who are peacefully demonstrating in the streets demanding justice and freedom. This brings memories of similar previous Western media campaigns about elections in different countries around the world such as 2004 Georgia’s election, 2002 Venezuela’s election, 1992 Mongolias’s election, 1991 Albania’s election, and 1990 Bulgarian election just to name a few, where elections were described as stolen and the winning parties as oppressive of the, usually pro-American, alleged peaceful demonstrators in the streets demanding freedom and justice. What is worth noting is the fact that none of the entire Western so-called Iran experts, who had strongly claimed that there was an obvious wide scale electoral fraud , had never provided any shred of evidence of such fraud. The lack of any evidence leads one to believe that such fraud accusations are only unsubstantiated accusations based on wishful thinking. They based their evaluation on what they claim the highly unlikely statistical probability that Ahmadinejad would have surpassed his opponents with almost 11 million votes (32%) margin. They denied the possibility of Ahmadinejad’s wide popularity and successful campaigning. Many had...

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