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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
10 July , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Soldiers attack the Ni'lin weekly Protest
10 Jul 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. 

Two kidnapped and dozens suffered tear gas inhalation during the weekly Bil'in protest
10 Jul 2009 - Two were kidnapped and 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. 

PCHR Weekly Report: Palestinian child killed, 5 civilians wounded by Israeli forces
10 Jul 2009 - According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 02 - 08 July 2009, a Palestinian child was killed and her father and uncle were wounded by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian civilians, including two children, were injured when Israeli forces used force against peaceful protest against the Annexation Wall. Israeli forces conducted 25 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 18 Palestinian civilians, including seven children, and an American human rights defender in the West Bank. 

Palestinian refugee dies at the Iraqi-Syrian border
10 Jul 2009 - A Palestinian refugee died on Thursday at the Al Waleed camp, on the Iraqi-Syrian border after a sharp decline in her health condition, while stranded along with hundreds of other refugees on the border. 

'Artery of Life' to head to Gaza on July 23
9 Jul 2009 - Jamal El Khodary, Chairman of the Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS), reported Thursday that the 'Artery of Life Convoy', currently in Egypt, is preparing to head to the Gaza Strip on July 23 carrying 180 activists. 

Gilad in Egypt for Shalit talks
9 Jul 2009 - Head of the Diplomatic-Security Bureau at the Israeli Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, arrived in Cairo on Thursday for a series of talks with Egyptian officials on the release on corporal Gilad Shalit captured by the resistance in Gaza since 2006. 

The Israeli military kidnap a Muslim cleric in Jerusalem and send him to Jericho
9 Jul 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped on Thursday at dawn Sheikh Ali Abbasi, the Imam of the Al Qassa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Palestinian fighters open fire at a settler car near Ramallah city
9 Jul 2009 - A group of Palestinian fighters opened fire on Thursday at an Israeli settler car near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Unknown gunmen kill a Palestinian man in Hebron city
9 Jul 2009 - Unknown gunmen killed on Thursday a Palestinian man in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Two Palestinians arrested for killing an Israeli cab driver
9 Jul 2009 - The Israeli police cleared for publication the recent arrest of two Palestinians who reportedly killed an Israeli cab driver from Ashdod two months ago.  Charges were officially filed against the two of Thursday morning. 

Hamdan: 'Abbas' call for elections, an attempt to avoid Cairo unity talks'
9 Jul 2009 - Usama Hamdan, a senior Hamas political leader, stated that the calls of President Mahmoud Abbas to hold presidential and legislative elections under Arab and International supervision, is an attempt to avoid holding unity talks in Cairo. 

Hamas holds talks with Palestinian factions in Gaza
9 Jul 2009 - Palestinian sources reported Thursday that Hamas movement held on Wednesday evening a series of talks with leaders of Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to discuss the latest development I unity talks and the agreements reached during the last round of internal talks in Cairo. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Exposed: The bitter row over Barak's pick for deputy IDF chief
10 Jul 2009 - Benny Gantz only chosen for post after clash between Barak, Ashkenazi drew fire from media and army. 

Benny Gantz named deputy IDF chief amid Ashkenazi-Barak row
10 Jul 2009 - Gantz has been serving as the IDF attaché in Washington for the last two years. 

3 years on, Israel still divided over Second Lebanon War
10 Jul 2009 - Barak: The sacrifice of the soldiers made up for the mistakes of the ranks above them. 

Barak, Ashkenazi discuss next deputy IDF chief of staff
10 Jul 2009 - Inability of defense minister, IDF chief to agree on Dan Harel's replacement could result in appointment of Benny Gantz. 

Egypt arrests Palestinian-led cell over Suez terror plot
9 Jul 2009 - Egypt: 25 detained on suspicion of plotting attacks on oil pipelines, ships crossing Suez Canal. 

Palestinian suspects: We killed cabbie because he was a Jew
9 Jul 2009 - West Bank men claim they murdered Gregory Rabinovich to avenge the IDF killing of their Islamic Jihad relative. 

Shalit deal stalled by freeze in Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks
9 Jul 2009 - Israeli defense sources: Likelihood of a speedy deal to release Shalit is slim. 

Suspected Lebanese spy believed to have fled to Israel
8 Jul 2009 - Suspected spy, Lt. Col. Daher Jarjoui, was the Lebanese army's liaison with a Spanish company in UNIFIL. 

Ma'an News

All three Gaza crossings closed on Friday
7/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Israeli military decided to close three key crossing points into the Gaza Strip on Friday, blocking deliveries of food, fuel, and other vital goods, according to Palestinian border crossings official Raed FattuhThe official added, "We were informed that the Kerem Shalom crossing will be closed on Friday due to technical repairs, despite that Kerem Shalom is only ever opened on Fridays. " Fattuh added that the Nahal Oz and Karni crossings will remain closed, as well. Meanwhile on Thursday evening the Group of Eight industrialized nations demanded that Israel open its crossings into the Gaza Strip. From Italy, the group called on Israel to allow in humanitarian aid and commercial goods, as well as people, into the besieged strip, but added that it must not be done in a way that harms Israel's security. 

Army erects ’searching room’ at south Tulkarem village
7/10/2009 - Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli troops erected a small room on Thursday to search people at the entrance of Kherbet Jabara village, south of Tulkarem, which is the main entrance for farmers to enter the Far’oun, Kfr Sour and Ar-Ra’s villages. Ma’an's correspondent reported back that the room is basically inside of a vehicle that has electronic machines inside to search the farmers' belongings, adding that this latest step had led to severe delays. The farmers accused the Israeli authorities of installing the system as part of an eventual attempt to confiscate their lands. Meanwhile Israeli troops about two months ago removed the Jabara checkpoint south of Tulkarems, but kept flying checkpoints from time to time to check cars, identities and to detain Palestinians. 

Egyptian authorities forced to burn expired Gaza aid
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Egyptian authorities on Friday said they planned to destroy a large amount of accumulated humanitarian aid bound for Palestinians in Gaza. The aid expired at the Al-Ouja border crossing between Israel and Egypt while authorities awaited Israel's permission to transfer it through, they said. The type of aid being transferred is regulated for certain crossing points, and the one for the expired shipment of 680 kg of peanuts, agricultural pesticides and medicine, was designated through one of the Israeli crossings into Gaza. However Israel never allowed the aid to enter its country and it expired. Authorities said they would set it ablaze in the city of Al-Sheikh Zayed to dispose of it. It was not the first time that Egyptian authorities disposed of humanitarian and medical aid due to prolonged waits at that particular Israel-Egypt crossing, although. . . 

Al-Bustan committee calls demolition plans 'ethnic cleansing'
7/10/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma’an - The demolition orders delivered to Silwan-area homes is akin to ethnic cleansing and a dangerous precedent to set, said Jerusalem Affairs representative Ahman Ar-Rwaidi Friday. On November 11, 2004, in an official letter to the head of the Department of Building Inspection, City Engineer Uri Shitreet ordered the clearing of the Palestinian homes from the Al-Bustan area. The order, if carried out would have seen the demolition of 88 homes. Residents appealed the order, which was part of a Jerusalem city plan that would see Al-Bustan turned into a park. In 2008 the appeal was rejected. “The committee tasked with defending the quarter prayed Fridaywith the residents of Al-Bustan in an effort to show support to the families who worry daily about whether they will return from work homeless,” Ar-Rwaidi said. 

Bil’in protesters remind soldiers of ICJ decision; teargassed
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Two were taken by Israeli soldiers and dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation at a reportedly non-violent protest Friday in the Bil’in village, north of Ramallah. International and Israeli supporters joined villagers and marched from the village center after the midday prayers toward the gate in the separation wall Israel is building on locally owned land. The protesters demanded the halt of the wall's construction and access to the village’s agricultural land on the other side of the gate. Israeli troops stationed at the gate fired a barrage of sound bombs, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at the group following their demands. The soldiers also used what the villagers called the "bad smell" water, chemically treated with sulfurs and other noxious smells. The water, sprayed on the group, caused many to vomit, including leader of the Palestinian. . . 

Egyptian president: Israel sabotaged Shalit deal
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Last-minute Israeli demands obstructed a prisoner swap for a captured soldier held in Gaza, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Thursday. In an interview published Friday in Israel's Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth, Mubarak said that Hamas was close to handing Corporal Gilad Shalit over to Egypt, but suddenly stopped negotiating over the soldier's release when Israel backed out. "You could have finalized the Shalit deal four or five months ago," the paper quoted the Egyptian president. "A number of conditions were set for a deal and we were already on the verge of finalizing and executing the first stage, but at the last minute you changed your mind at once, and the whole thing died. You caused the other side to toughen its stand and demand more prisoners. " Nevertheless, the Egyptian leader said that he believed the matter would be resolved,. . . 

Richard Falk: 'Tear down that wall, Mr Netanyahu'
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - On the fifth anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) finding that Israel’s building of a barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory was illegal, a United Nations independent human rights expert spoke out. "Tear down that wall, Mr. Netanyahu," said Richard Falk, the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, at Thursday's international conference at The Hague on the ICJ’s 2004 Advisory Opinion. That opinion called on Israel to halt construction and bring an end to its system of curbing the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank. Israel maintains the barrier is essential to its national security. By a majority of 14 to 1, the judges found that the barrier’s construction breaches international law, saying it violated principles outlined in the UN Charter and long-standing. . . 

After delay at Rafah, French neurologist arrives in Gaza
7/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – French neurologist Jack Pers entered Gaza on Thursday after having previously failed to enter due to holdups at the Rafah crossing. Shortly after arriving, the doctor began carrying out checkups for registered patients at the Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza City, as well as prescribing medication and scheduling surgeries. The doctor is scheduled to remain in Gaza until the 14th of this month, during which time he will attend to several unique cases, including rehabilitation cases for otherwise untreatable disorders. It was not immediately clear why Pers was blocked from entering Gaza on the Egyptian side, although both Cairo and Israel have maintained a near-total blockade on the coastal strip since July 2007, when Hamas took control. Meanwhile on Wednesday Israeli forces at Erez crossing were censured by French and British doctors, after refusing a delegation. . . 

Soldiers detain 'wanted' Palestinian in Ramallah
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – A Palestinian was detained in Ramallah on Friday at dawn, according to Israeli sources. They said that the detainee was "wanted," and that he was taken to an investigation center for interrogation. The Palestinian was not immediately identified, his location revealed, nor were any allegations or charges announced. [end] 

Egyptian authorities seize ’Palestinian-led’ cell
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Egyptian security forces are holding 26 alleged "Al-Qaeda loyalists" on charges that they planned to attack ships in the Suez Canal, according to news reports. The English-language Egypt Daily News reported that the country's Interior Ministry announced the charges on Thursday, and that at least one Palestinian was in contact with the "Al-Qaeda-linked" Islamic Army of Palestine. According to the newspaper and AFP the group was accused of preparing remote controlled detonators and explosives found in the Sinai Desert, and awaiting orders from Al-Qaeda abroad on how to commence. The cell was also responsible for an armed robbery that turned deadly, authorities said, when five people were killed after their jewelry store was robbed at gunpoint. Five of the suspects "gave detailed confessions on carrying out [the attack]. 

Report: Egyptian forces seize 700 kg of explosives
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma’an - Egyptian security forces seized 700 kilograms of explosives en route to the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon, according to Israeli sources. The sources reported from an Egyptian security source that the Egyptian security forces seized the explosives in a remote mountainous area in southern Al-Arish city, near the Egypt-Israel. The security source added that the explosives, which Israel and Egypt believe were en route to Gaza, were being retained until they could be properly disposed. [end] 

German FM reiterates opposition to settlements
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Illegal Israeli settlements remain an obstacle to peace in the region, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted on Friday. "A solution has to be found. . . but a solution will not be found as long as the settlements continue to be expanded," he told reporters in Berlin, according to DPA. The foreign minister, who was in the West Bank and Israel earlier this week, also praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent "careful acceptance" of a Palestinian state. German officials have been uncharacteristically critical of certain Israeli policies in recent weeks, following decades of hesitancy due to its past history. Earlier in June German Chancellor Angela Merkel made headlines when she added her voice to a growing international call to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, which she called a threat to the two-state solution. 

Mubarak rejects Israel’s ’Jewish state’ demands
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will not compromise on his refusal to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state," he said in a recent interview. Mubarak's comments came amid demands by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others that Palestinians recognize Israel by its majority religion. "Don't you have Arab citizens in Israel? "the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted him as asking on Friday, referring to the country's Muslims and Christians, who make up just over 20 percent of Israel's population. "You want to turn Israel into a Jewish state only? That's very bad. I'm telling you, it's a serious mistake which will harm you," the Egyptian leader went on to say. Palestinians who remained in the land that became the state of Israel in 1948 were eventually granted citizenship and the right to vote, although they have complained for decades of state discrimination. 

Israel’s Channel Two: Shalit talks to begin next week in Cairo
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an - The Israeli in charge of captured soldier Gilad Shalit will travel to Cairo next week to continue talks over a prisoner swap, Israeli TV Chanel Two said on Friday“The negotiations on Gilad Shalit will be resumed next week,” a report said, despite insistent statements from Hamas leaders saying no change in the situation is apparent and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak noting in a Friday interview that Israel sabotaged a near deal. The Israeli charged with the file is said to be Hagai Hadas, and Channel Two said he would meet with intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman in Cairo following meetings this week with the Israeli council of ministers where he told them a release could happen soon. In his interview with an Israeli paper earlier Friday Mubarak said “at the last minute you [Israel] changed your mind at once, and the whole thing [prisoner swap talks] died. 

PA police seize antiques smuggled into Bethlehem
7/10/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian Authority security forces in Bethlehem on Thursday evening seized antiques and earthen vessels stolen from Hebron. Police sources said that the vessels had been transferred from Hebron to Bethlehem, from where the thieves intended to sell them. The items were taken to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for safekeeping while police finish their investigations into the Roman and Byzantine era items, police added. Earlier last month a half-ton stone with a Byzantine-era cross engraved on its front was seized by Palestinian tourism police in Hebron, and was also handed over to the ministry for analysis and preservation. The man carrying the ancient carving did not have permission to trade in ancient artifacts, and admitted he found the relic while digging for antiquities in Bani Na’im near Hebron, tourism police said at the time. 

Hamas: Unity deal close; Egyptian delegation making headway
7/10/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – “The signs are there, we are on the verge of a unity deal,” Hamas leader Dr Mahmoud Az-Zahhar assured on Friday. Speaking after a Friday prayer session at the Al-Mahatta mosque Az-Zahhar added words of caution however, noting Hamas would not sit at the same table with Fatah for final talks until they resolve the “unresolved issues,” namely the file of politically motivated arrests of Hamas members in the West Bank. The Egyptian delegation in Ramallah is bringing ideas and agreements that will “break the ice” around sticking points, Az-Zahhar said, but “we are still waiting for the answers. ” He noted the next scheduled talks will take place on 25 July, but said it was not a final round. “If we receive no answers, the dialogue will be postponed,” Az-Zahhar said. Regarding Shalit, the Hamas leader said there were no new developments despite recent rumors,. . . 

Leftist parties tell Egyptian delegation milti-party talks key
7/10/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Leftist parties met with Egyptian negotiations officials in Ramallah Friday, where a big push for unity is being made ahead of a 25 July bilateral meeting between Fatah and Hamas. Leftist parties including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Palestinian People’s Party criticized the last round of unity talks in Egypt on 16 May for being “clan based” and excluding other parties who represented the Palestinian people. The Egyptian team met with PPP Secretary General Bassam As-Salhi, who headed a delegation from his party, and then separately with a delegation DFLPers headed by lawmaker Qais Abu Laila. Summaries of the meetings from both parties revealed similar opinions on central issues. Both the PPP and the DFLP were wary of the establishment of a higher committee. . . 

New H1N1 cases: Child from Bethlehem, man from Ramallah
7/10/2009 - Nablus - Ma’an - The Health Ministry announced on Friday morning that two more Palestinians were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, raising the total number of cases to 73. Dr Asa'ad Ar-Remlawy, the general director for healthcare within the ministry, told Ma'an that "after necessary exams, we diagnosed a man from Ramallah who had just arrived from the United States. " "Another child from Bethlehem caught the virus as a result of contact with patients," rather than bringing it from abroad, the official added. [end] 

The National

Paradise, all but forsaken
10 Jul 2009 - Wary of terror attacks, Israelis are avoiding the Sinai Peninsula, leaving Bedouin business owners wondering about their livelihoods.

Elite unit mooted for West Bank security
10 Jul 2009 - Israel may support the Palestinian Authority in its attempt to set up a special force to reduce casualties.

New chapter for Syria-Saudi relations
10 Jul 2009 - Analysis: Saudi Arabia's decision to send an ambassador to Syria is a clear sign that a new chapter really is beginning.

Achieving two states without a solution
8 Jul 2009 - Comment: Israel has been quietly assembling a framework for handing over a battered Gaza and West Bank without surrendering real control.


US politician urges Iran 'sabotage'
9 Jul 2009 - Former house speaker says "covert operations" should be used to replace government.

'Israel scuttled' Shalit's release
10 Jul 2009 - Egyptian leader advises Israeli officials to avoid openly discussing soldier's release.

Iranian police disperse protest
9 Jul 2009 - Protesters mark the 10th anniversary of an attack on Tehran University dormitory.

Iran attacks Biden's Israel remarks
7 Jul 2009 - Reacting to interview, Ali Larijani says US will be held responsible for any attack.


OPT: Gaza-Egypt crossing to open three days a month 
GAZA CITY Thursday, July 02, 2009 (IRIN) - Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border opened briefly on 25, 26 and 27 June allowing Gaza patients in need of emergency care, students, and foreign visa holders to exit. 

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. 

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

YEMEN: Problems Go Far Beyond Narrow U.S. Focus on Terror 
WASHINGTON, Jul 10 (IPS) - Yemen's recent reappearance on the U.S. radar due to its reputation as a safe haven for al Qaeda has brought more attention to the country of 23 million and its persistent underlying problems – the least of which may be terrorism.

RIGHTS-US: Acquittal No Guarantee of Freedom 
NEW YORK, Jul 10 (IPS) - Lawmakers and human rights advocates are questioning the assertion by the administration of President Barack Obama that Guantanamo terror suspects could be imprisoned indefinitely even if they are found not guilty by a U.S. court.

RIGHTS-US: Muslim Groups Seek Reform of Charity Blacklisting 
NEW YORK, Jul 8 (IPS) - While President Barack Obama conceded in his speech in Cairo last month that U.S. rules on charitable giving "have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation", civil rights advocates are pressing the president to turn his words into action.

U.S.: Obama Discredits 'Green Light' for Israeli Attack on Iran 
WASHINGTON, Jul 7 (IPS) - Seeking to end speculation about whether his administration had eased its opposition to an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday insisted that Washington's position remained unchanged.

Stop The Wall

New report on the impact of the Wall in the West Bank
9 Jul 2009 - Today, The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) and the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, issued a joint report entitled 

New report denounces Israeli aggression against Palestinian communities
8 Jul 2009 - “Repression allowed, resistance denied: Israel’s suppression of the popular movement against the Apartheid Wall”, a joint report from Stop the Wall Campaign and Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association examines Israel’s policies of arrest, detention and violent repression against Palestinian Popular Committees engaged in the struggle against the construction of Wall. Five years after the International Court of Justice’s landmark advisory opinion declaring the illegality of the Wall being constructed in the occupied Palestinian territory, the attention of those committed to the principles of international law should turn to the plight of those attempting to resist the Wall’s construction. [

PCHR Latest

(08 July)  On 5th Anniversary of ICJ Advisory Opinion on ‘The Wall’ PCHR Highlight Israel’s Continued Violations of International Law, and the International Community’s Complicity in Illegal Acts ..::..

(08 July)  Individuals’ Passports Requisitioned to Prevent Them from Traveling

PCHR Weekly Report

(02 - 08 July  2008)
On Thursday, 02 July 2009, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Gaza Valley village, fired three artillery shells at the area.  One shell landed a few meters away from the house of Kamal 'Abdul 'Aziz Abu 'Aayesh, 52, nearly one kilometer away from the border

International Solidarity Movement

Ni’lin demonstrators testify at the United Nations
International Solidarity Movement - The West Bank village of Ni'lin has been demonstrating since the Israeli government began for a second time to construct the Apartheid Wall on village lands in May 2008. To date, Israeli forces have killed 5 residents of Ni'lin and critically injured 1 American solidarity activist. According to local medics who volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent, over 450 people have been injured during demonstrations as of April 2009. Visibly, the violence from Israeli forces dramatically increased during and after the 22 day assault on Gaza that began on 27 December 2008. Israeli forces have killed 3 demonstrators since the beginning of the Gaza assault in Ni'lin. Additionally, the Israeli army has introduced new weapons against demonstrators; using the high-velocity tear gas projectile and a 0. 22 calibre live ammunition shot by sniper fire as a means of crowd dispersal. 

Israel’s wall still deepening the divide
International Solidarity Movement - The Guardian, 9 July 2009 - Five years ago today, the international court of justice in The Hague published its advisory opinion on Israel's separation wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The keenly awaited verdict, requested by the UN's general assembly, was clear: Israel's wall is illegal, it must be removed and adequate compensation paid. The wall's illegality, and Israel's obligation to dismantle the structure and pay damages for the consequences of the wall thus far, were all agreed by the judges by a margin of 14-1. (The ICJ also accepted the use of the term "wall", since "other expressions" are "no more accurate". ) There was also confirmation that Israel's settlements were "a flagrant violation" of the convention, established "in breach of international law" (contrast this with the mealy-mouthed nitpicking over outposts and "freezes" by Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu). 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Paris court convicts gang of 2006 anti-Semitic murder
10 Jul 2009 - A Paris court on Friday convicted a gang leader of the brutal 2006 killing of a young man prosecutors said was targeted because he was Jewish. ...

France Foreign Minister meets Hezbollah lawmaker
9 Jul 2009 - France's foreign minister held talks Friday with a Hezbollah legislator in the latest European outreach to the Iranian-backed militant group. ...

Paris court set to deliver verdict on brutal murder of French Jew
9 Jul 2009 - A Paris court was due to issue a verdict Friday in the case of 27 people on trial for the brutal 2006 killing of a young man prosecutors say was targeted because he was Jewish. ...

Report: Gilad Shalit talks to resume soon
9 Jul 2009 - Talks between Israel and Hamas on a prisoner swap involving captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit will resume soon, Egyptian sources told the pan-Arab daily Al Hayyat . ... 

Bach overtakes Wagner as Nazi's most revered composer 
9 Jul 2009 - Richard Wagner is the classical composer most associated with the Nazis, but Johann Sebastian Bach was the one the party dubbed "the most German of Germans" and whose music was played at rallies to stir up nationalist zeal. ...

The Guardian

Netanyahu turns to Nazi language | Peter Beaumont
10 Jul 2009 - The Israeli prime minister's use of the word 'Judenrein' is a cynical attempt to skew the fight over West Bank settlements There are words with meanings corrosive as acid. Heavy with the stench of historic crimes....

Israel's wall still deepening the divide | Ben White
9 Jul 2009 - Five years ago the international court of justice ruled that Israel's separation wall should be demolished. But it is still growing Five years ago today, the international court of justice in The Hague published its advisory...

The Dayton force dilemma | Nicholas Blincoe
8 Jul 2009 - A US-led Palestinian security force is said to be a barrier to unity government, but has brought a welcome calm to the West Bank A small battalion of soldiers had taken control of the main junction...

Israel criticised for thwarting humanitarian mission to Palestinian territories
7 Jul 2009 - • Border guards turn away team including British medics • Doctors had planned to perform surgeries on children Israel was yesterday criticised after it refused to allow a group of doctors on a humanitarian mission organised...

Ha'aretz National page

Six killed in head-on collision near Beit Shemesh
9 Jul 2009 - Six people were killed and two were seriously injured Friday in a head-on collision between two cars near the town of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem. ...

Israel takes surprise lead over Russia in Davis Cup quarters
9 Jul 2009 - Israel took a surprising 2-0 lead over Russia in the Davis Cup quarterfinals Friday after Dudi Sela rallied to beat Mikhai Youzhny in the second singles match. ...

Private investigators questioned over alleged probe of MDA director
9 Jul 2009 - The police detained two private investigators on Friday for allegedly surveilling Magen David Adom director general Eli Bin. ...

Relief Web

Further support for Palestine
10 Jul 2009 - Source: Government of Germany

OPT: Logistics Cluster Gaza crisis consolidated situation report, 26 Jun - 09 Jul 2009
10 Jul 2009 - Source: Logistics Cluster

OPT: Protection of civilians weekly report, 01 - 07 Jul 2009
10 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

OPT: "Tear down that wall, Mr. Netanyahu", says United Nations expert on key anniversary
10 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Human Rights Council

OPT: Gaza's children struggle with memories of war
10 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

OPT: Hamas - Ideological rigidity and political flexibility
9 Jul 2009 - Source: US Institute of Peace

Development assistance and refugees: towards a North-South grand bargain?
9 Jul 2009 - Source: Forced Migration Review, University of Oxford

USAID West Bank/Gaza mission program achievements: Week of 29 Jun 2009
9 Jul 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

YNet News

3.2-magnitude earthquake felt in north Israel 
10 Jul 2009 - Geophysical Institute says tremor's epicenter in southern Lebanon; no reports of injury or damage

IDF officers urge Galant not to retire
10 Jul 2009 - After Barak names Major-General Gantz as next deputy chief of staff, officers who served under Sothern Command chief during Gaza op say real race will be for IDF chief position 

'Hamas leaders don't know about Shalit's condition'
10 Jul 2009 - Group member in charge of kidnapped soldier's case denies reports on progress made in talks, says no one in Hamas leadership – including himself – knows whether Gilad Shalit is 'injured, sick or dead.' Captive's fate will only be revealed upon completion of deal, he adds 

Obama says G-8 leaders concerned about Iran
10 Jul 2009 - US president says world leaders gathered in Italy not looking to embrace harsher sanctions against Tehran yet, but adds 'we're not going to just wait indefinitely and allow development of a nuclear weapon' 

Officer who strangled settler gets community service 
10 Jul 2009 - Police Investigation Unit strikes plea bargain with Border Guard officer who was photographed choking a Gush Katif resident during rally against Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005; plaintiff's rep calls deal 'bewildering' 

Major-General Benny Gantz named deputy IDF chief 
10 Jul 2009 - Following long debate, Defense Minister Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi decide to appoint Israel's military attach? in Washington as deputy army chief 

Hamas-style education
10 Jul 2009 - Suicide bomber's children watch live reenactment of their mother's death on Hamas TV


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

Netanyahu's aide rules out pullout from Golan in any peace deal
10 Jul 2009 - Israel is ready to withdraw from areas of the Occupied Golan Heights, but it will not give up large parts of the occupied territory in any peace deal with Syria, a top aide to Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu said. National Security Adviser Uzi Arad also said in an interview with Haaretz newspaper published on Friday.

Gaza’s children struggle with memories of war
10 Jul 2009 - Fourteen-year-old Ghasan Matar won’t talk about the explosion that cost him his legs and killed his brother. In fact, six months after the end of the Israeli war on Gaza, he still barely talks at all. He spends most of his time staring at the walls and a huge poster depicting his older brother against a bloody background of war featuring.

Mubarak accuses Israel of scuppering deal to free captive soldier Shalit
10 Jul 2009 - Egyptian President Hos ni Mubarak accused Israel of scuttling a deal on the verge of ending the three-year captivity in Gaza of soldier Gilad Shalit, in an interview published in Israel’s top-selling daily Friday. Mubarak, whose government has led efforts to broker the release of the young conscript seized by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid in June 2006.

Palestinian Information Center

Abu Sha'ar: Jerusalem and Aqsa are facing most dangerous scheme since 1948
10 Jul 2009 - Dr. Talib Abu Sha'ar said that Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque are facing the most treacherous threat since 1948.

Number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank increased by 37% since "Road Map"
10 Jul 2009 - An Israeli human rights group said that the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, excluding E. Jerusalem, has reached 289,600 increasing by 37% since Israel agreed to the "Road Map"

Hamas: no agreement could be reached without clearing PA prisons
10 Jul 2009 - Hamas said on Thursday that no agreement could be reached during the forthcoming round of talks in Cairo slated for the 25 July unless PA prisons are cleared of political detainees first..

PA prisoners' ministry holds IOA responsible for life of Awwad
10 Jul 2009 - The PA ministry of prisoners' and ex-prisoners' affairs has held the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the life of Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Abdul Fattah Awwad..

Nasr: The PA leadership in Ramallah is building repressive regime in the W. Bank
10 Jul 2009 - Mohammed Nasr has accused Thursday the PA security forces in the West Bank of building repressive regime, stressing that ending political detention was the main entrance to reconciliation.

Raja: The PA in Ramallah has no political will to meet with resistance
10 Jul 2009 - Anwar Raja has warned of a possible failure of the Palestinian national dialogue in Cairo if the PA leadership in Ramallah remained insincere in the talks, and if Egypt remained biased to Fatah.

Hammad: We are ready to release Fatah criminals to make the dialogue succeed
10 Jul 2009 - Fathi Hammad said on Thursday that his ministry was ready to release criminal and security detainees affiliated with Fatah faction for the sake of making the Palestinian dialogue succeed.

PRC: Political detainees should be immediately released
10 Jul 2009 - The Popular resistance committees on Thursday said that the political detention file should be closed once and for all and political detainees should be immediately released.

Muzaini : Egypt did not tell Hamas about resuming prisoner swap talks
10 Jul 2009 - Senior Hamas official Osama Al-Muzaini stated Wednesday that the Egyptian side did not tell his Movement about anything related to the resumption of the prisoner swap talks with Israel.

Abbas's security rounds up four Hamas supporters
10 Jul 2009 - Security forces loyal to former PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday rounded up four Palestinians in various West Bank areas for supporting the Hamas Movement.

Los Angeles Times

Iran protests draw thousands but are quickly quelled 
10 Jul 2009 - Clashes erupt between demonstrators and police in Tehran, as the dispute over Iran's presidential election results continues. Violent clashes erupted Thursday in downtown Tehran between thousands of defiant protesters chanting "Death to the dictator" and security forces wielding truncheons, as the political crisis over Iran's disputed presidential election stretched into its fourth week. 

Iranian exile speaks out against militia he once supported 
9 Jul 2009 - Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, a former child fighter and political prisoner, says Iran's bloody crackdown on protesters prompted him to 'out' ex-colleagues in Ansar-e Hezbollah who took part in the beatings. For people around the globe, the images of club-wielding men on motorcycles beating demonstrators on the streets of Tehran was just another case of brutality in a far-off land. 

Protesters, security forces gather across Iran 
9 Jul 2009 - Demonstrations are planned in more than 200 cities and towns across the country, protesting last month's disputed election. Participants are advised to carry nothing heavier than a rose. Protesters and security forces have begun to gather in the streets of downtown Tehran as the nation braces for a potential day of violent confrontations. 

New York Times

Iran Protesters Take to Streets Despite Threats
10 Jul 2009 - Iranian security forces moved in quickly to try to disperse protesters, shattering 11 days of tense calm in Tehran. 

Lod Journal: Polishing a Lost Gem to Dazzle Tourists
8 Jul 2009 - Officials in a poor town hope that a 1,700-year-old mosaic floor, one of the largest and finest tiled floors in Israel, will help restore their city’s past glory. 

News Analysis: In Iran, a Struggle Beyond the Streets
7 Jul 2009 - Among Iran’s elite, there is unease that the system they rely on for power has been stripped of its legitimacy. 


The families driven apart by Israel’s red tape 
The Independent - Donald Macintyre, The Independent, 7/10/2009 - New regulations are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians from Gaza to see their relatives in the West Bank - The frequent claims by Gaza's 1. 5 million residents that they live in a "big prison" have become a cliché. But they have been given fresh force by new Israeli procedures that make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to leave Gaza even to reunite with their spouses and children in the West Bank. The Israeli government has recently eased movement within the West Bank for Palestinians. But a new and classified Israeli government document reveals that already heavy restrictions on Palestinian movement from Gaza to the West Bank have been tightened further. The document came to light after a Supreme Court challenge by the Israeli human rights organisation HaMoked. 

Israeli agents to screen judges before appointment 
The Independent - Fury as security service gets veto over judiciary - Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem, The Independent, 9 July 2009 - Israel's internal security service has been given a de facto veto over the appointment of judges in an unprecedented decision that has the country's embattled liberals up in arms. The move by the Judges Selection Committee on Friday is likely to make it harder for members of Israel's Arab minority and others with views that are not mainstream to become judges, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (Acri). Zahava Galon, a former MP of the dovish Meretz party, said the decision was "a scandal". She said: "We are turning into a kind of police state with Big Brother everywhere. A judge shouldn't have to pass the Shin Bet's tests. This is just something that isn't done. " The selection committee's membership – partly determined by the ruling coalition – has become more. . . . 

The journey to Gaza begins: Iraq War Vet Reports 
Uruknet - Uruknet, 7/10/2009 - After five days in Cairo, we are ready to set off with vehicles and medical supplies' - Iraq war veteran and ANSWER Coalition representative Michael Prysner reports on the Viva Palestina delegation’s journey to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza and deliver humanitarian supplies. - We filled New York’s JFK airport on July 4 with Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs, chanting “Viva, Viva Palestina!” as hundreds of international travelers watched us unload a truck full of wheelchairs, walkers and medical aid. This powerful image was a visual reminder of the hundreds of people in Gaza who have endured amputations and crippling injuries from U. S. munitions fired by Israel during the recent December-January massacre. The cruel Israeli blockade prevents even wheelchairs from entering Gaza. At the Cairo airport, the Egyptian security forces were overwhelmed by the number of Viva Palestina t-shirts amassed outside. 

Israel keeps its dubious crown 
Ha'aretz - Ha'aretz, 7/11/2009 - Israel has much to be proud of, but one dubious distinction it might prefer to do without is that the People of the Book have the highest proportion of hackers per Internet user in the world. The United States sports the highest absolute number of denial of service attacks. But Israel boasts the most malicious mischief per surfer in the world. In a recent report on Internet security threats around the world during the first half of 2007, virus buster Symantec claimed that 11 percent of the computers used by Israeli surfers are directly responsible for online attacks and other hacker mischief. AdvertisementSecond to Israel in proportion of hackers is Canada, followed by the U. S. At least some things change: In the last Symantec report, on the second half of 2006, Israel still placed first in hackers per user (with 9 percent), but the second and third places were held by Taiwan and Poland. 

Israel must stay ’deep in Golan’ 
BBC Online - BBC, 7/10/2009 - An aide to Israel's prime minister has said Israel must keep a large part of the Golan Heights, rejecting Syria's major demand for a peace deal. The previous government held indirect talks with Syria, assumed to be based on returning the Golan Heights, occupied in 1967, in return for peace. In June, Syrian President Bashar Assad said there was no partner for talks on the Israeli side. Correspondents say the aide's comments will serve to reinforce this view. Syria has remained in a state of war with Israel since its 1948 foundation. Israel took control of the Golan Heights, a strategic mountainous area now popular with Israeli holidaymakers, during the 1967 Six Day War. 'Integral role' - The comments come amid a thaw in relations between the US and Syria. US President Barack Obama has sent envoys on a series of visits, and Mr Assad recently invited the US president himself to Damascus. 

Judenrein! Israel adopts Nazi term to back settlers 
Yahoo! News - Reuters, Jul 9 - JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Hosting the German foreign minister this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used an especially tainted term to condemn the Palestinian demand that Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank be removed. " Judea and Samaria cannot be Judenrein," a Netanyahu confidant quoted him as telling Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Asked how Germany's top diplomat responded to hearing the Nazi Holocaust term for areas "cleansed of Jews," the confidant said, "What could he do? He basically just nodded. " Protocol might have indicated that a representative of the country that carried out the World War Two genocide, and which has since made much effort to atone, be spared such invocations. But these are not normal times for the right-wing Netanyahu coalition. It faces unprecedented U. S. pressure to make way for a Palestinian state on West Bank land that many Jews. . . . 

UK: We should not prove anti-Iran claims 
Press TV - Press TV, 10 Jul 2009 - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the burden must be put on Iran, rather than the world, to prove its nuclear program is directed at civilian purposes. Britain's Brown whose country possesses nuclear weapons told journalists present at the G8 summit in Italy that a tougher nuclear regime was needed, under which the countries that do not possess nuclear weapons, such as Iran, ought to shoulder the responsibility to prove the peaceful nature of their nuclear work. " We need a tougher regime so the onus will be on the countries that do not have nuclear weapons to prove this. . . If there is an international agreement that requires all countries to be open with the rest of the world then Iran would have to prove to us that it did not have nuclear weapons, rather than us to prove they were developing nuclear weapons. " 

VIDEO - Jewish Rabbi Talks About Israel Being A Name For Zionism And Not The True Nation For Jews
Revolutionary Politics - Blip. tv, 7/7/2009 - Neturai Karta demonstration [end] 


Palestinian Titanic 
Nadia Hijab, CounterPunch 7/9/2009
      Divide and Conquer
     Dialogue. Confidence-building measures. Joint committees. Prisoner exchanges. These are all terms we have grown used to hearing during the endless Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Now we’re hearing them about negotiations between the Palestinians themselves -- or rather among the political forces that claim leadership of the Palestinians, with the Fatah and Hamas movements at their head.
     Egyptian mediators billed the latest round of negotiations in early July -- the sixth such "national dialogue" -- as the make-or-break round for reconciliation. However, those talks only resulted in plans for another round on July 25, which is supposed to conclude with a reconciliation agreement on July 28.
     Each side appears willing to wait the other out. Fatah believes that Hamas, weakened by years of siege, will be further crippled by changes in the status of its allies: the weak showing by the Hizbullah-led alliance in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, the turmoil in the wake of Iran’s elections, and Syria’s growing rapprochement with the United States. Hamas is hoping that the international community’s stance towards it will continue to soften.
     Rarely have leaders appeared so disconnected from the needs and rights of the people they claim to represent. The conditions in Gaza are so dire that Americans, Europeans and other civilians undertake quixotic attempts to break Israel’s blockade, most recently through a humanitarian boat that was seized by the Israeli navy.

Prison Privatization in Israel 
Yonatan Preminger, Challenge 7/1/2008
      In Israel’s desert town of Beersheva, far from the eyes of the country’s self-proclaimed center, a new 800-bed jail is being built as an experiment in prison privatization. While other nations are having second thoughts about prison privatization programs, Israel is determined to press on, hampered only by a petition from the Ramat Gan Academic College of Law. This has pitted the High Court against the Knesset by claiming that this is not just another step in selling off state services, but one that undermines the state itself: it is contrary to Israel’s Basic Law on Government and therefore unconstitutional.
     Privatization is not new here. Since the 1980’s, Israel has been selling off state assets and services, from the Histadrut industries that “built the country” to Health Maintenance Organizations. More recently, the national employment services have been partly privatized by means of the so-called Wisconsin Plan. Cost efficiency is the stated motive behind all these moves: the use of private companies, it is claimed, drains less from the national budget, benefiting all tax payers.
     Despite ample evidence that this claim is false, the trend seems irreversible. No field has been immune from encroachment by the private sector: education, vocational retraining, even the staffing of military checkpoints in the Occupied Territories. “Out of a budget of 2.3 billion shekels (NIS) for welfare services,” wrote Ruth Sinai of Haaretz in 2007, “NIS 2 billion have been transferred to non-governmental organizations.”1 However, with the privatization of prisons, Israel goes one step further – a step that raises crucial questions about the kind of society we live in.

Electronic Intifada
The victory of defeat
10 Jul 2009 - While Israel has been buying yet more time with Washington in bickering over a paltry settlement freeze, it has been forging ahead with the process of creating two Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, that, despite supposedly emerging from occupation, are in reality sinking ever deeper into chronic dependency on Israeli goodwill. This is creating a culture of absolute Israeli control and absolute Palestinian dependency, enforced by proxy Palestinian rulers acting as mini-dictatorships. Jonathan Cook comments. 

Sheikh Jarrah residents refuse to be displaced
10 Jul 2009 - Fawzieh al-Kurd, 57, clad in black, spends her days on a promontory overlooking Tomb of Simon the Righteous in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Enduring the cold of winter and the summer's blazing sun, she relates her family's tragic story to visitors from around the world with dignity and resolve. Marcey Gayer writes from occupied East Jerusalem. 

Study: Tel Aviv University part and parcel of the Israeli occupation
9 Jul 2009 - A study prepared by the School of Oriental and African Studies Palestine Society outlines Tel Aviv University's (TAU) intensive, purposive and open institutional contributions to the Israeli military. The briefing paper presented irrefutable evidence of TAU's deep investment in the facilitation and prosecution (at both the material and conceptual level) of what amount to war crimes. 

Destroying Gaza
9 Jul 2009 - Recently, I spoke with some friends in Gaza and the conversations were profoundly disturbing. My friends spoke of the deeply-felt absence of any source of protection -- personal, communal or institutional. There is little in society that possesses legitimacy and there is a fading consensus on rules and an eroding understanding of what they are for. Sara Roy comments. 

In Gaza
urgent call to open Rafah
10 Jul 2009 - Iman, from the IMORB says: I’ve just got a call from Paki and Christian telling me that there’s a very sick Palestinian woman lying on the ground in front of Rahah gate. She has kidney problems and need a kidney transplant very soon, and as it can not be done in Egypt now for Palestinians , nor can Egypt allow her to travel abroad and have it somewhere else, the woman needs to return NOW to Gaza so she can be treated in Israel or travel to another country. Contact Egyptian embassies to let her go back home [NOTE: WHILE WAITING FOR THE WOMAN'S FULL NAME AND AGE, CALLS CAN STILL...

Palestine Chronicle
Still Avoiding Clash with Israel
10 Jul 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh Why are Barak Obama and his senior colleagues in the US administration weak kneed in confronting Israeli shenanigans, whether over Israeli colonialist policies in the occupied Palestinian territories or its regional stance, particularly over Iran? All Obama has to do is look at what his European partners are doing or saying. Here is French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling for the dismissal of Israel foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, known for his ethnic-cleansing policies and extremist views against Palestinian Arabs, who number more than one-fifth of the Israeli population. Sarkozy, according to the Israeli media, has compared Lieberman to the French far-rightist Jean Marie Le Pen. Lieberman had introduced legislation in the Knesset that would have curbed the rights of Arabs in Israel, and had suggested ceding their towns, mostly in the Galilee region where they form a majority, to the projected Palestinian state in exchange for the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Additionally, the European Commission also criticised Israel for its colonial policies which helped strangle the Palestinian economy and made the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid. “It is the European taxpayers who pay most of the price of this dependence,” the EU underlined, explaining that the expropriation of fertile Palestinian land for Israeli settlements, roads that serve settlers only and West Bank checkpoints help constrain Palestinian economic growth and make the Palestinian government more dependent on aid. The European Union is one of the largest donors to the Palestinian Authority, having contributed $...

Obama's Rollback Strategy and the Boomerang Effect
9 Jul 2009 - By James Petras The recent events in Honduras and Iran, which pit democratically elected regimes against pro-US military and civilian actors intent on overthrowing them can best be understood as part of a larger White House strategy designed to rollback the gains achieved by opposition government and movements during the Bush years. In a manner reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s New Cold War policies, Obama has vastly increased the military budget, increased the number of combat troops, targeted new regions for military intervention and backed military coups in regions traditionally controlled by the US. However Obama’s rollback strategy occurs in a very different international and domestic context. Unlike Reagan, Obama faces a prolonged and profound recession/depression, massive fiscal and trade deficits, a declining role in the world economy and loss of political dominance in Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia and elsewhere. While Reagan faced off against a decaying Soviet Communist regime, Obama confronts surging world-wide opposition from a variety of independent secular, clerical, nationalist, liberal democratic and socialist electoral regimes and social movements anchored in local struggles. Obama’s rollback strategy is evident from his very first pronouncements, promising to reassert US dominance (‘leadership’) in the Middle East, his projection of massive military power in Afghanistan and military expansion in Pakistan and the destabilization of regimes through deep intervention by proxies as in Iran and Honduras. Obama’s pursuit of the rollback strategy operates a multi-track policy of overt military intervention, covert ‘civil society’ operations and soft-sell, seemingly benign diplomatic rhetoric,...

The Two-State Solution, Israeli-Style
9 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Ramallah Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has been much criticized in Israel, as well as abroad, for failing to present his own diplomatic initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to forestall US intervention. Mr. Netanyahu may have huffed and puffed before giving voice to the phrase “two states for two peoples” at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, but the contours of just such a Palestinian state -- or states -- have been emerging undisturbed for some time. In fact, Mr. Netanyahu appears every bit as committed as his predecessors to creating the facts of an Israeli-imposed two-state solution, one he and others in Israel’s leadership doubtless hope will eventually be adopted by the White House as the “pragmatic” -- if far from ideal -- option. While Israel has been buying yet more time with Washington in bickering over a paltry settlement freeze, it has been forging ahead with the process of creating two Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, that, despite supposedly emerging from occupation, are in reality sinking ever deeper into chronic dependency on Israeli goodwill. This is creating a culture of absolute Israeli control and absolute Palestinian dependency, enforced by proxy Palestinian rulers acting as mini-dictatorships. For a growing number of Palestinians, the conditions of bare subsistence and even survival are Israeli gifts that few can afford to spurn through political activity, let alone civil disobedience or armed resistance. The Palestinian will to organize and resist as their land is seized for settlements...

Reawakening Ghosts of Ayodhya
9 Jul 2009 - By Aijaz Zaka Syed – Hyderabad One is not sure what had been the context of William Gladstone’s prophetic warning that justice delayed is justice denied. But it’s as though the British politician had India’s Liberhan Commission in his mind and the charade it has unleashed on an unsuspecting country when he proffered that much worn-out advice. Justice MS Liberhan has delivered a historic verdict on one of the most defining tragedies of our time; a tragedy that shook India to its core, forcing it to pause and ponder the road ahead and the direction in which the country was headed. Only he has delivered it a tad late. Seventeen years too late! The commission was formed after the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya. The commission, appointed by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao who himself was sound asleep at the wheel throughout that fateful day, was to look into the ‘events and circumstances’ that led to the demolition of the mosque and present its findings within THREE MONTHS. However, Justice Liberhan kept the Ayodhya saga alive by getting the term of his commission extended month after month, year after year, for seventeen long years. Prime ministers came and prime ministers went. Strange bedfellows formed most absurd coalition governments, only to be brought down with equally improbable allies. Justice Liberhan stayed on though and has survived to chronicle and recount that epic tragedy. Prime Minister Rao, who fiddled while Ayodhya burnt with the rest of India and...

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