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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
12 July , 2009


Ha'aretz Defense page

ANALYSIS / IDF's top 3 generals now set sights on Ashkenazi's post
12 Jul 2009 - The competition highlights the generals' past positions, not how each would shape the future IDF. 

General decides to stay on after rival named deputy IDF chief
12 Jul 2009 - Yoav Gallant had been reportedly 'contemplating his career in the IDF' after Benny Gantz was picked. 

IDF chief during Lebanon War says he'd do it again the same
12 Jul 2009 - IDF sources warn of Hezbollah rearmament; MK: Hezbollah has more rockets, better range than in 2006. 

UN investigator: Gaza war report will be balanced
11 Jul 2009 - Richard Goldstone tells Channel 1 that report will also deal with 2006 abduction of Gilad Shalit. 

Top doctor slams group's first aid course for West Bank protestors
11 Jul 2009 - Dr. Yoram Blachar: Physicians for Human Rights is a 'radical political group disguised as a medical organization.' 

Hamas nabs two Islamic Jihad men preparing to fire mortars at Israel
11 Jul 2009 - Since Cast Lead, Hamas has arrested several militants trying to launch rockets from Gaza at Israel. 

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. 

Ma'an News

PCHR says Gaza government barred prison access
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said that its lawyers have been denied access to its clients in prisons run by the Hamas de facto government in Gaza. PCHR said that the ban is a violation of Palestinian and international law, including the right to legal counsel. PCHR said it is “further concerned that access restrictions may be motivated by the desire to hide illegal practices against detainees, including torture and other forms of cruel treatment. ”Since the beginning of 2009, the organization said it received 200 complaints related to detentions by the Internal Security Service (ISS), and had been granted power of attorney from detainees’ families. However, the organization said in a statement, “PCHR has been denied access to at least 60 detainees who have been detained by ISS. 

Bat Ayin settlers set fire to Palestinian farmland
7/12/2009 - Hebron – Ma’an – Israelis from the illegal West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, which is built on the land of the Palestinian town of Beit Ummar, set fire to large areas of olive, almond, and grape fields on Sunday. The mayor of Beit Ummar, Nasri Al-Masri, along with Mousa Sleibi, advisor to the Palestinian governor of the Hebron district, and the director of Ministry of Agriculture’s office in Hebron, Iyad Za’aqiq visited the burned areas. Last month, Israeli settlers uprooted more than 200 trees in the same area. Bat Ayin's settlers have also frequently assaulted Palestinian farmers in the area. [end] 

PA: Settlers burned 1,200 dunums of West Bank land
7/12/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli settlers residing illegally in the West Bank have set fire to more than 1,200 dunums (1. 2 million square meters) of Palestinian land in a series of recent attacks, the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture said on Sunday. Settlers have gone on the offensive since the spring, attacking Palestinian farmers particularly in villages surrounding the cities of Nablus and Hebron. The statement was issues as settlers set fire to more farmland near the West Bank town of Beit Ummar on Sunday. The mayor of the town said that large areas of large areas of olive, almond, and grape fields were burned. The ministry also expressed concern about recently-announced Israeli plans to confiscate 139,000 dunums of land stretching from the eastern edge of Bethlehem to the Dead Sea (including land in the villages of Al-Ubeidiya, Ar-Rashayida and At-Ta’amara), and the area. . . 

EU’s Solana: UN should recognize Palestinian state by set deadline
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The European Union’s top foreign policy official called for the United Nations Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain deadline even if Israel does not. Javier Solana made these comments on Saturday at a lecture in London. The Palestinian Authority leadership currently refuses to enter negotiations with Israel until it stops construction of illegal West Bank settlements, recognizes past agreements, and agrees to the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state. "After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution should proclaim the adoption of the two-state solution," Solana said, adding the declaration should include the borders of the Palestinian state, the fate of Palestinian refugees, control over Jerusalem and security arrangements, according to Reuters. 

Two Gaza crossing points partially open; third closed
7/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points into the Gaza Strip on Sunday, while the Karni crossing will remain closed, according to Raed Fattouh, a Palestinian border crossings official. Fattouh said that 43 to 53 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid and commercial goods would enter the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel for Gaza’s sole power plant will be shipped through Nahal Oz. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. According to the UN and aid agencies some items, such as construction materials needed to rebuild from the recent war, are completely banned. 

Israeli soldiers seize Bethlehem health worker
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized a medical worker from his home in Duheishah Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday morning, the Health Work Committees said. The organization said that Isam Al-Hasant, an X-ray technician who works in a clinic in the nearby town of Beit Sahour was detained after Israeli soldiers surrounded his house. He is being held at an unknown location. The Health Work Committees added that Al-Hasant is a father of two. In a statement the organization also noted that Israel continues to imprison the head of its finance department, Walid Abu Ras. The organization urged human rights organizations to pressure Israel to stop arrests of those who work for national and non-governmental organizations. 

Israeli forces seize six in Nablus and Bethlehem
7/12/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces apprehended four young Palestinians from the Nablus district in the northern West Bank and Bethlehem in the south on Sunday morning. Palestinian security sources said Israeli forces stormed the village of Aqraba at midnight and ransacked several homes before seizing 35-year-old Mahmoud Deiriyya, 18-year-old Ahmad Bani Jabir, 18-year-old Uday Bani Jabir, and 38-year-old Yahya Bani Jabir. In Bethlehem, according to Palestinian security sources, Israeli forces stormed the city and Deheisha refugee camp before seizing 31-year-old Isam Al-Hasanat and 28-year-old Ahmad Al-Hreimi. Sunday morning's raids came following an announcement from Israel less than one month ago that its soldiers would stay out of four city districts in the West Bank, Bethlehem, Qalqiliya, Jericho and Ramallah, except for "exceptional cases. " 

Israel to jail Palestinian fighter for 20 years
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli military court in Beersheba sentenced a Palestinian resistance fighter identified as Samih Maher Haddad to 20 years imprisonment on Sunday. Israeli sources said that Haddad was charged with firing homemade projectiles toward Israel from Gaza, and planned to implement other attacks, including killing Israelis or offering assistance to such attempts. [end] 

Netanyahu urges Abbas to meet him ’anywhere in Israel’
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel's prime minister on Sunday invited President Mahmoud Abbas to meet him inside Israel, according to Hebrew news reports. "There is no reason that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and I should not meet immediately, anywhere in this country," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, using Israel's title for the Palestinian presidency. Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have generally refused to meet with the new Israeli government, which continues to expand illegal settlements in the West Bank, or with Netanyahu, who had for years repeatedly refused to accept a Palestinians state in the occupied territories until pressed by the incoming American administration. Speaking at a special cabinet meeting in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Sunday, Netanyahu specifically called on leaders of Palestine and other Arab countries to visit, saying, "Let's meet, let's cooperate. 

Abbas meets Romanian president in Ramallah
7/12/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hosted his Romaniancounterpart Traian Basescu at the security compound in Ramallah on Sunday. The central West Bank meeting was part of a series of talks held in the Middle East to revive the peace process. The Romanian president visited the tomb of late President Yasser Arafat during his visit. Basescu was accompanied by his foreign minister, Cristian Diaconescu, who has recently been tasked with signing a cooperation agreement with the Palestinian Authority. [end] 

In effort to improve image, Lieberman may appoint envoy
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has offered the former head of Israel's New York Consulate a position as his special envoy, the Hebrew news site Inyan Merkazi (Central Issue) reported on Sunday. The unconfirmed appointment of former Consul General Alon Pinkas to the new position would be viewed as an attempt to break the international boycott of the controversial foreign minister, who remains a resident of an illegal settlement near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. The generally firm worldwide boycott has rendered Lieberman's position virtually meaningless as many of the international community's top diplomats refuse to host him or invite him on official visits, demonstrated last Tuesday when Israeli President Shimon Peres uncharacteristically departed for Egypt in his stead. 

Abbas: No Israel talks before settlement freeze
7/12/2009 - Romanian counterpart Traian BasescuRamallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that he would not renew peace negotiations with Israel unless it halts construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank on Sunday. Abbas’ comments, at a joint press conference with Romanian counterpart Traian Basescu in the presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, were a response to remarks earlier in the day by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged Abbas to begin talks. Netanyahu repeated an offer for “economic peace,” a measure short of a full peace treaty that would entail the creation of a Palestinian state. “We are walking towards a solution with Israel and a solution for the internal dispute among the Palestinians,” said Abbas. The solution, Abbas said “would lead to establishing a Palestinian state, with. . . 

Former PA minister held at Israeli military checkpoint
7/12/2009 - Bethlehem – Ma’an – Former Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Ashraf Al-Ajrami said that Israeli soldiers detained him at a West Bank military checkpoint for more than three hours on Sunday. Al-Ajrami told Ma’an in a phone interview that an Israeli officer stopped his car at ther “Container” checkpoint near Bethlehem (on the Wadi Nar road) despite the fact that he has a “VIP card” used by Palestinian officials. Palestinian officials, like normal Palestinians, continue to face long waits at Israel’s more than 600 checkpoints and roadblocks throughout the West Bank, in contrast with Israeli officials’ recent claims that they intend to ease freedom of movement. [end] 

PA officers killed in Qalqiliya clashes commemorated
7/12/2009 - Qalqiliya – Ma’an – More than 25,000 Fatah supporters on Saturday participated in a commemoration of Palestinian Authority (PA) security officers who were killed in armed clashes with Hamas militants in Qalqiliya a month ago. The northern West Bank city was the site of two early June standoffs that left nine Palestinians dead in renewed clashes between Hamas and the PA, which is largely affiliated to Fatah. “Qalqiliya extinguished a disturbance with its people’s blood to protect the future of the Palestinian people in the West Bank,” said Nabil Amr, PA Ambassador to Egypt, in a speech during the commemoration. He asserted that the Gaza Strip would be "freed" one day from the Hamas-backed de facto government, which gained control in 2007. With regard to dialogue between Hamas and Fatah, Amr said, “Had Hamas given up a little bit on its emirate in the Gaza Strip, we would have gotten rid of this coup, and Egypt bears witness to that. 

Hamas organizes mass wedding in Gaza
7/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Hamas movement organized a mass wedding in the At-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City on Saturday. Amongst the grooms was Muhammad Al-Ay, a Hamas affiliate who served 17 years in Israel’s custody. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum attended the event, which included 13 couples, along with several other Hamas officials. The wedding was organized in Al-Mahatta park by three mosques in the area, in association with the At-Tayseer charitable society, which donated money to the marrying couples. According to Wael Az-Zaead, the society’s director, two other mass weddings were organized last week and the week before, and a new wedding will be held in the Radwan neighborhood for more than 32 couples. He highlighted that a mass wedding for blind couples would be organized later in July, which would be the first of its kind in the Middle East. 

Fayyad appoints new director for PA’s Information Office
7/12/2009 - Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Saturday appointed Dr Ghasan Al-Khatib director of the Palestinian caretaker government’s Information Office. The office was moved last week from the Information Ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office. The office will be the Palestinian government’s official source of information and its means to contact the public, civic society organizations, Arab countries and the world. Dr Al-Khatib holds a Ph. D in Middle East Politics from Durham University in the UK, and an MA in Development. He is currently vice president of Birzeit University. Al-Khatib held the portfolio of planning and labor in the previous Palestinian government. Founder of the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center and its director from 1988 to 2002, he was again appointed to the top spot in 2006. 

Haniyeh: Hamas ready to comply with national consensus
7/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – De facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday that Hamas and its Gaza government would comply with the Palestinian national consensus, intended to restore Palestinian national and geographic unity. Haniyeh’s comments came during the graduation of a class of Qur'an students in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. “What the Palestinian people are subjected to is much greater than internal disputes,” he said, expressing hope that Egyptian efforts to reconcile Hamas with its West Bank-based Fatah rivals would succeed. “We believe Egypt has been exerting huge efforts over the past few days to bridge the gap,” added Haniyeh, who asserted that elections and security issues were still being discussed. With regard to the issue of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Haniyeh said, “I have not been updated, although I think the case is being handled, but there is nothing new. 

Health minister: Gaza free of swine flu
7/12/2009 - Gaza – Ma’an – The Minister of Health in the de facto Palestinian government, Bassem Na’im, declared that the Gaza Strip is free of H1N1 swine flu on Sunday. Na’im told a meeting of the Hamas parliamentary bloc that two suspected cases were later tested negative for the disease. He said however that the Ministry of Health had taken precautionary measures to deal with H1N1, including forming a joint committee including the ministries of Health, Agriculture, Local Governance, Interior, and border crossing officials. The minister also said that border authorities had installed special equipment that can detect cases of swine flu as people enter Gaza. [end] 

Ramallah man arriving from US diagnosed with H1N1
7/12/2009 - Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian man arriving from the United States was diagnosed with swine flu, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health on Sunday morning. Dr As’ad Ramlawi, director of medical care at the Health Ministry, told Ma’an that with this newly diagnosed case, the total number of swine flu patients has risen to 76 in the West Bank. [end] 

Report: Iraqi sandstorm heading toward region
7/12/2009 - Dubai – Ma’an/Agencies - Meteorologists warned Sunday that a large dust storm carrying two billion tons of sand and soil was advancing toward Palestine on Saturday. According to a report aired on the Dubai-based Al-Arabiyya satellite TV station,the week-long storm is an expansion of one that descended on Iraq last week, sending hundreds of people to the hospital. The storm hit Saudi Arabia on Thursday. Many Baghdad shops stayed closed last Sunday, while police wearing masks directed thin streams of traffic through eerily misty streets. Hospital emergency rooms were packed with people complaining about breathing problems, officials said. "This is the worst dust storm we have ever had in Iraq," said Dr Jasib Lateef, operations manager at the Iraqi Health Ministry. "A large number of people are turning up at emergency rooms at hospitals, straining our resources. 

The National

Brothers divided by Gaza rivalry
12 Jul 2009 - Nidal and Ismail share a home and family ties despite deep ideological differences.

Israeli tourists desert Sinai 
11 Jul 2009 - Wary of terror attacks, Israelis are avoiding the 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.


Iran offers G8 new issues to debate
11 Jul 2009 - Tehran restates plan to present points for discussion at nuclear talks with West. 

'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.


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

MIDEAST: Succession Issues Face Key U.S. Allies 
WASHINGTON, Jul 12 (IPS) - Two key U.S. allies in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are now both facing succession crises that may absorb, or even split, their political elites. This promises a period of political unpredictability ahead in both countries.

POLITICS: Behind Detainee Release, a U.S.-Iraqi Conflict on Iran 
WASHINGTON, Jul 12 (IPS) - The release Friday of five Iranians held by the U.S. military in Iraq for two and a half years highlights the long-simmering conflict between the U.S. and Iraqi views of Iranian policy in Iraq and of the role of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)...

SAUDI ARABIA: New Bill Fails to Protect Domestic Workers, HRW Says 
WASHINGTON, Jul 10 (IPS) - Despite a bill passed by Saudi Arabia's Shura Council on Wednesday, a prominent New York-based human rights group is asking for more protection for the estimated 1.5 million domestic workers in the country.

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.

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

PCHR Denied Access to Clients Detained in ISS Prisons in Gaza

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

IDF’s JAG says .22-caliber rounds should not be used to disperse protesters
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 12 July 2009 - The army does not classify. 22-inch caliber bullets as a suitable means to disperse demonstrators, the judge advocate general, Brig. -Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, told the human rights group B'Tselem yesterday. According to the organization, the use of. 22-caliber bullets resulted in the death of at least two unarmed Palestinians. On February 13, Az a-Din al-Jamal, 14, was killed in Hebron; and on June 5, Aqel Sror, 35, was shot and killed in a demonstration in the village of Ni'lin. Dozens of people have been wounded from the bullets, some seriously. B'Tselem says since Sror's death, 0. 22-caliber bullets have not been fired at demonstrators in Ni'lin. Yesterday morning, shots were fired at an Israeli car near Ramallah, south of the settlement of Ofra. The shooting did not result in casualties or damage. Updated on July 12, 2009 

Leonard Cohen is not playing in Ramallah!
International Solidarity Movement - 12 July 2009 - Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) - PACBI has been heartened by the untiring efforts of BDS activists in the US and UK in organizing demonstrations and pickets at Leonard Cohen's performances in advance of his planned concert in Tel Aviv later this summer. The call, "don't Play Israel!" has been heard loud and clear. After exhausting all attempts to convince Cohen to apply his avowed humanistic principles in a morally consistent way by refusing to entertain Israeli apartheid and whitewash its crimes, we called on all supporters of a just peace in our region to shun Cohen's concerts and CDs and to protest his appearances everywhere. In an open letter to Cohen in May, we warned that we considered his performance in Israel a form of complicity in its grave violations of international law; we reminded him that by violating. . . 

International day of solidarity with East Jerusalem residents facing eviction or demolition of their homes
International Solidarity Movement - 12 pm, Monday, 13 July 2009: Israeli and international solidarity activists will set up tents on King George St. in West Jerusalem as part of a coordinated campaign in solidarity with Palestinians facing home evictions and demolitions in East Jerusalem. 4 pm, Monday 13 July 2009: A press conference will be held at theSheikh Jarrah protest tent. Speakers will include: Sheikh Raed Salah - President of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line - Mr. Maher Hanoun - Owner of one of the house in danger of eviction,Sheikh Jarrah - Mr. Fakhrie Abu Diab - Owner of one of the houses in danger of demolition, Al Bustan , Silwan - Maher Hannoun, a Sheikh Jarrah resident facing eviction and imprisonment, said: As refugees and people living under occupation, we are asking the Israeli and international public to help us with our struggle for our rights. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Akiva Eldar / Obama's settlement talks are insulting to Abbas 
12 Jul 2009 - If I were Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas I would be deeply insulted by the negotiations U.S. President Barack Obama is conducting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over building permits in the settlements. Who authorized the Americans - this administration or the previous one - to do business with Palestinian land? ... 

Kiev names street after mass-murderer of Jews 
12 Jul 2009 - KIEV - On May 25, 1926, Symon Petliura was shot to death while walking down a street in Paris. He was then president-in-exile of the Ukrainian republic that had briefly existed as an independent state before the Soviet Union overran it in 1919. His assassin was Sholom Schwartzbard, a Jewish poet and revolutionary. ... 

WATCH: Facebook group slams ad showing IDF troops playing soccer by separation fence
12 Jul 2009 - A Facebook group is trying to get Israel's leading cell phone operator, Cellcom, to pull a new TV commercial showing Israeli soldiers near the West Bank separation fence, arguing that the advert is "racist." ...

U.K. hits Israel with partial arms embargo over Gaza war 
12 Jul 2009 - Britain has slapped a partial arms embargo on Israel, refusing to supply replacement parts and other equipment for Sa'ar 4.5 gunships because they participated in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year. ... 

Internal Foreign Ministry memo slams Lieberman's Egypt envoy pick
12 Jul 2009 - The possible posting of Col. (res.) Shaul Kamisa as ambassador to Egypt could damage Israel-Egypt relations, according to an internal memo sent to Foreign Ministry director-general Yossi Gal on Sunday. ... 

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...

No state for refugees | Dimi Reider
12 Jul 2009 - Israel, which berates other nations for historically failing to help Jewish refugees, is cracking down on asylum seekers Israel – the " state of the refugees " whose culture has been shaped , for better and worse, by migration...

Jerusalem Jews come to blows over car park
11 Jul 2009 - Two religious Jews were stabbed and another was beaten in a fight with secular Jews in Jerusalem. The assailants fled and there were no arrests, a police spokesman said. Resentment has been simmering for years as...

Ha'aretz National page

Israel bringing in thousands of migrant workers despite recent arrests
12 Jul 2009 - Despite the high-profile operation by the immigration authorities to arrest hundreds of illegal immigrants, Israel is still issuing permits to bring in new workers, Haaretz has learned. There are currently tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, though just 56,000 work permits have been issued to caretakers. ... 

Amira Hass / Israeli Jewish worldview sanctifies West Bank inequality
12 Jul 2009 - The Jahalin tribe sends happy tidings from the West Bank to their brethren in Gaza: The effects of the Israeli siege can be overcome by building homes from used tires filled and covered with mud. This way refuse can be recycled, construction costs minimized and structures insulated from the cold and heat, something concrete buildings cannot do. ... 

Israel grants 12,000 Holocaust survivors NIS 6,000 apiece 
12 Jul 2009 - For the second time in one year, some 12,000 Holocaust survivors will receive a grant of NIS 6,000 from the Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets. But 80,000 needy people who also survived the Holocaust will receive no such assistance. ... 

Relief Web

OPT: PCHR denied access to clients detained in ISS prisons in Gaza
12 Jul 2009 - Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Palestinians reject any Israel-U.S. settlement deal
12 Jul 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

Children risk their lives in Gaza's blockade-busting tunnels
12 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

UAE to train 20 disable Palestinians
12 Jul 2009 - Source: Emirates News Agency

OPT: Week in review - Hope springs for unity, not for settlement freeze
11 Jul 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

OPT: Settlement expansion - Un-natural growth
11 Jul 2009 - Source: Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

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

YNet News

Israel rejects Solana's call for deadline on Palestinian state
12 Jul 2009 - European Union's foreign policy chief urges Security Council to set tangible deadline for formation of Palestinian state, endorse overall solution for issues of border parameters, refugees, control over Jerusalem; Israel says proposal 'undermines peace efforts'

'Political appointment to Cairo wrong'
12 Jul 2009 - Foreign Minister Lieberman's decision to name confidante Shaul Kamisa Israel's next ambassador to Egypt infuriates ministry officials who say such move may harm Israel's relations with neighbor form south. Position's sensitivities require a professional diplomat, says former ambassador

PM to Palestinians: Abandon right of return
12 Jul 2009 - During State ceremony marking 105 years since Herzl's death, Netanyahu says Palestinians' must 'recognize Jewish nation's right to its own state, relinquish desire to gradually eat away at Israel'; Peres: Zionist reality outdid the dream 

Galant to remain GOC Southern Command; southern councils relieved 
12 Jul 2009 - Head of IDF Southern Command puts rumors surrounding his future in the military to rest, says will remain in office despite decision to name Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz deputy chief of staff; 'decision contributes greatly to our security,' Eshkol Regional Council head says 

Abbas: No peace talks before settlement freeze 
12 Jul 2009 - In response to Netanyahu's call for meeting in Beersheba, Palestinian leader says during joint press conference with Romanian counterpart, 'PA cannot negotiate unless all Jewish West Bank construction halted' 

Northern shelters improve, but not in non-Jewish sector 
12 Jul 2009 - Defense Ministry and local authorities can boast wide range renovations to public shelters since 2nd Lebanon War. In non-Jewish sector conditions are far from satisfactory. In Nazareth, for instance, only quarter of residents will have shelter during war

MK Horowitz: Foreign workers with kids shouldn’t be arrested 
12 Jul 2009 - Meretz Knesset member proposes new bill barring immigration authorities from placing illegal workers' children in jail. 'These kids have done nothing wrong and they do not belong in Israel Prison Service facilities,' he says


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 

Daily Star

Palestinians reject any US deal with Israel on settlements
12 Jul 2009 - Palestinians reject any deal between Israel and the United States that would allow even limited Jewish settlement construction in the Occupied West Bank, a top Palestinian negotiator said on Sunday. "There are no middle-ground solutions for the settlement issue: either settlement activity stops or it doesn't stop," Saeb Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio.

Geithner to talk regulations on Mideast, Europe tour
12 Jul 2009 - US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner left Washington late Sunday for four days of talks in Europe and the Middle East expected to focus on financial regulations, Iran and terrorism financing. Geithner is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, France and Britain, three of the countries participating in September’s Group of 20 summit.

September may bring push for Iran sanctions
12 Jul 2009 - After a half-year of extending patient feelers to Iran, President Barack Obama has set a timeline – warning Tehran it must show willingness to negotiate an end to its nuclear program by September or face consequences. If the West weighs new moves against Iran later this year, as Obama suggested Friday.

Children risk their lives in Gaza’s blockade-busting tunnels
12 Jul 2009 - Anwar, 15, cannott read or write, but says he’s good at tunnel work. He needs a new job as Israeli planes bombed his workplace, one of hundreds of smuggling tunnels on Gaza’s border with Egypt. His rough voice and tough looks belie his young age, but his small, wiry body is what makes him a perfect candidate for the job.

Forty-one journalists jailed in Iran, watchdog charges
12 Jul 2009 - Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Sunday announced the arrest of five more journalists in Iran, saying 41 reporters and bloggers were now behind bars a month after the country’s contested election. Paris-based RSF said two photographers, Majid Saidi and Tohid Bighi, were detained Friday and Saturday.

Egypt holds talks with Darfur rebels in push for unity
12 Jul 2009 - Egypt began a round of talks Saturday with several Darfur rebel groups to try to persuade them to return to peace negotiations with Sudan’s government. Darfur’s most powerful rebel group, however, was not taking part in the meetings in Egypt. The splintering of Darfur’s rebels into a growing number of groups with differing agendas has complicated efforts to end the conflict.

Palestinian Information Center

Rezqa: The European openness to Hamas is a result of Gaza steadfastness
12 Jul 2009 - Dr. Yousuf Rezqa stated that the European openness to Hamas and the government is a natural product of the Gaza people’s steadfastness in the face of the Israeli aggression and blockade.

Agha: IOA seeking to wipe out sanctity of Aqsa Mosque
12 Jul 2009 - PA minister of tourism Dr. Mohammed Al-Agha has charged the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) with attempting to wipe out the sanctity of the holy Aqsa Mosque from Muslim minds and hearts.

Haneyya: The Egyptian delegation proposed solutions to bridge the rift
12 Jul 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya stated that the Egyptian delegation proposed solutions for eliminating the contentious points between Hamas and Fatah especially the file of political arrest.

Hamas appreciates Lebanese presidential pardon
12 Jul 2009 - Hamas hailed Lebanese president Michel Suleiman for issuing a special pardon for the Palestinian prisoner Yousef Shaaban, hoping that other humanitarian steps would be taken.

Coalition for J’lem slams Fayyad for comparing Palestinians with settlers
12 Jul 2009 - The coalition for Jerusalem deplored Salam Fayyad for comparing the Palestinians of 1948 occupied lands to Israeli settlers, saying that such comparison is reprehensible and imprudent.

Gov’t committee against siege slams Egypt for not allowing in lifeline-2
12 Jul 2009 - The government committee for breaking the siege denounced the Egyptian authorities for barring humanitarian convoy lifeline-2 from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

MP calls for enacting laws to block transfer of Jerusalemite land to Israelis
12 Jul 2009 - Jerusalemite MP Sheikh Mohammed Abu Tir has called for enacting strict legislations in the PLC that would prohibit selling land or real-estate in occupied Jerusalem to Israeli occupiers.

Islamic Jihad: The division won't end while political arrests in WB are ongoing
12 Jul 2009 - Islamic Jihad stated that the Palestinian dialog would not culminate with success as long as the PA in Ramallah is persistent in its political arrest policy against the Palestinian resistance.

Galloway declares intention to organize lifeline-3 with participation of Chavez
12 Jul 2009 - British MP George Galloway has announced that he was planning a third charity convoy lifeline-3 with the participation of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Israel plans to settle 15,000 Jewish fanatics in Wadi Ara
12 Jul 2009 - The Arab center for alternative planning in 1948 occupied Palestine has warned that the Israeli housing ministry was planning to install 15,000 Jewish Haredim (fundamentalists) in Wadi Ara area.

Los Angeles Times

Advisor to Iran supreme leader calls for tolerance of dissent 
12 Jul 2009 - The cleric urges the government to reach out to protesters, even as a top military official warns that troops are willing to sacrifice their lives to quell unrest. A top advisor to Iran's supreme leader Saturday urged the country's establishment to be more tolerant of dissent, even as military officials stepped up their rhetoric in the latest signs of divisions created by the marred reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad one month ago. 

Iran rally in Washington urges more U.S. action 
12 Jul 2009 - More than 200 march from Capitol Hill to the White House, calling on Obama to 'reject the sham elections' in Iran. Scores of protesters, many of them Iranian Americans, marched from Capitol Hill to the White House on Saturday, most holding Iranian flags and chanting demands for the U.S. to take more action in response to Iran's disputed election. 

Senior Iranian cleric calls for revision of election laws 
11 Jul 2009 - Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani tells worshipers that spelling out rules regarding campaigns and debates could remove tensions. An Iranian American academic is detained again. A senior Iranian cleric called Friday for a revision of election laws to fix "shortcomings" that he said contributed to the nation's worst political crisis since the first years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

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. 

Senior Cleric Says Leaders of Iran Are Unfit to Rule
12 Jul 2009 - Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, responded to Group of 8 leaders but held firm on retaining the country’s plans for its nuclear program. 

Jo Amar, Genre-Blending Jewish Singer, Dies at 79
9 Jul 2009 - Mr. Amar was a Moroccan-born Jewish singer whose melding of Andalusian and Israeli musical influences made him a star. 


Netanyahu: Palestinian recognition of Jewish state ’key to peace’ 
Ha'aretz - Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Sunday that the recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state was key to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. " I am convinced that the root of the solution is in the refusal to recognize the Jewish state," said Netanyahu at a state ceremony to mark the 105th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism. " Therefore, the key to peace is the explicit recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state. " The premier made the same demand in a key policy speech he delivered a month ago at Bar Ilan University, naming it as his condition for supporting the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state. At the ceremony, which took place at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, where the Zionist visionary is buried, Netanyahu added: "I look forward to the day when the moderate leaders of the Palestinians 

Hamas nabs two Islamic Jihad men preparing to fire mortars at Israel 
Ha'aretz - 7/11/2009, DPA - Two militants preparing to fire mortars into Israel were detained Saturday by interior security officials of the Islamic Hamas movement, reported a group to which the militants claim membership. The statement, from the Saraya al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, announced the arrest of their members Saturday, reporting that the two men had been arrested as they engaged an Israel Defense Forces unit along the border of Israel and the eastern Gaza Strip. Hamas, which has held de facto control of the Gaza Strip since June 2007, has stopped rocket attacks on Israel, in an unofficial, unannounced and fragile ceasefire with Israel that was reached January 18 at the end of the last Israeli military offensive into Gaza. Since the end of the Israeli military offensive in Gaza, Hamas has arrested several militants from other factions trying to launch homemade rockets from Gaza at southern Israel. 

Report: Egypt drops bid for Palestinian unity government 
Ha'aretz - Egypt has ceased efforts to mediate the formation of a national unity government between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, Israel Radio reported on Saturday. Officials who met with the senior echelon of Egyptian intelligence said that Cairo is instead proposing that two separate governments - the Hamas regime in Gaza and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank - continue to function until general elections are held. In parallel, Egypt would like to see the Palestinian factions agree on the formation of a committee that will lay the groundwork for the next elections as well as the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported. Hamas has informed the Egyptians that it is demanding that Fatah release all of the group's members that are currently in Palestinian Authority prisons before the resumption of reconciliation talks in Cairo, which is scheduled for to take place in two weeks. 

Israeli Military Official Threatens Lebanon War 
Arutz Sheva - (IsraelNN. com) Israel will wage war against Lebanon, its infrastructure and all those who support Hizbullah, if the new Lebanese cabinet legitimizes the terrorist group, former head of the Israeli National Security Council Giora Eiland said on Sunday. Hizbullah’s political wing, closely tied with its military-terrorist division, may gain a strengthened position in the parliament during attempts to form a government following the recent elections. According to the Now Lebanon report, Eiland called for the formation of an international diplomatic plan by all states that support Lebanon’s stability, and urged the international community, particularly the United States, France and Saudi Arabia, to put pressure on the Lebanese cabinet to change its policy toward Hizbullah. Eiland warned the Lebanese cabinet and people of Israel’s ability to wage a stronger offensive than during the 2006 July War, which left over 1,100 Lebanese dead. 

Ayalon: Israel unaware of US deadline 
Jerusalem Post - Israel is unaware of any six-month deadline placed by the US for freezing settlement construction in the West Bank, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said on Saturday night. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, left, meets with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, right, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday. According to a report earlier in the day in Lebanon's An-Nahar daily, visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told Lebanese officials that if Israel failed to stop all Jewish construction in the West Bank by the six-month deadline, the US would end its support for peace talks. "We have no knowledge of this whatsoever," Ayalon said through a spokesman. The Lebanese paper quoted Kouchner as expressing the fear that Israel's "stubbornness, intentional foot-dragging and acquiescence to the Israel lobby" would convince the Americans to pull out of peace discussions altogether. 

Egypt stops Gaza-bound medical convoy 
Press TV - Egyptian authorities have refused to allow 'Viva Palestina' activists trying to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to cross into the Sinai Peninsula. The largest-ever US aid convoy to help the people of Gaza was stopped at the Suez Canal on Saturday on its way to Al Arish, where the rest of the group and supplies will join them before heading for the border crossing into Gaza. The activists are part of a convoy of at least 200 people -- all Americans, including Charles Barron, a New York City Councilman -- that plan to be in Gaza by July 13. Former US Congresswoman from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney, who was arrested by Israeli forces earlier this month while heading to Gaza on a humanitarian mission, will also join the convoy. Viva Palestina activists say despite earlier arrangements, Egyptian border officials are not allowing the medical convoy to pass and have even threatened 

VIDEO - 11th July 2009 Video Free Gaza Live from Spirit 
YouTube - VIDEO by Ishmahil Blagrove - RicenPeas - Passenger among the Free Gaza 21. The following video is the last footage taken onboard the Spirit Of Humanity before its voyage, to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, was prematurely halted by Isreali special forces. It shows the atmosphere inside the cabin as the crew try to negotiate with the Isreali ship via radio. [end] 

Conflict-worn Palestinians carve out niches of joy 
Miami Herald - 7/11/2009, Mohammed Daraghmeh, AP - RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Middle-class matrons shop for imported furniture in a marble-and-glass emporium. A new movie house is screening "Transformers. "Teens bop to a Danish hip-hop band performing on their high school basketball court. Life in the West Bank - in sharp contrast to beaten down, Hamas-ruled Gaza - has taken on a semblance of normalcy. Exhausted after more than two decades of on-and-off conflict with Israel and deeply skeptical about prospects of statehood, Palestinians here are increasingly trying to carve out their own little niches of happiness. " We need to enjoy our life despite all the difficulties," said housewife Nadia Aweida, in her 50s, after taking in a dance show in the town of Ramallah. It would seem that the West Bank, under U. S. -backed President Mahmoud Abbas, has finally made first steps toward the stability the international 


To know what Bibi really thinks, listen to his father 
Tony Karon, The National 7/11/2009
      When a top sportsman wants to express opinions that might get him into trouble with his employers, his father often pops up in the media to reveal what his son is really thinking. In the same way, while Benjamin Netanyahu would risk incurring Washington’s wrath if he were to admit the cynicism behind his apparent embrace of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his father has no such qualms. On Israeli TV last week, the 100-year-old historian and stalwart of the Israeli right, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, was blunt when asked whether his son now supports the creation of a Palestinian state: “He does not support it. He supports such conditions that they [the Palestinians] will never accept it. That’s what I heard from him. I didn’t propose these conditions, he did. They will never accept these conditions. Not one of them.”
     @body arnhem:Mr Netanyahu’s national security chief and key adviser, Uzi Arad, confirmed this view at the weekend. He argued that the conflict will not end in “the coming years” and accused the Palestinians, including President Mahmoud Abbas, of lacking a genuine interest or will to end it. “Even the moderates among them do not really want a settlement. At most, they are striving towards a settlement in order to renew the confrontation from a better position.”
     A Palestinian state could emerge if the US pushed for it, he said, but it would be a hollow “event” of little consequence. “Stamps, parades, carnival. That could happen. A fragile structure, yes; an arrangement resting wholly on wobbly foundations."

In Ramallah, art imitates men’s minds 
Omar Karmi, The National 7/11/2009
      RAMALLAH // Noor Abed no longer walks down the streets of Ramallah without her iPod. She simply does not want to hear the comments from the men on the street.
     “It could be anything. Some comment on my body or my eyes. Some just shout out their phone number. Every time I walk in Ramallah I feel I am being raped by men’s eyes. It’s shameful and it’s demeaning.”
     But it also proved a source of inspiration for the 21-year-old artist.
     When she was approached by the local Mahatta Gallery in April to participate in a public art project as part of the festivities associated with Jerusalem: Arab Capital of Culture, she decided she would try to make the young men of Ramallah look at themselves in a different way.
     “I wanted them to take a step back and see if they really thought their behaviour was acceptable, or at least notice what that behaviour was.”
     The idea behind the exhibit was that the public had to contribute in some way to the creation of the work. Ms Abed decided to place a mannequin in a long white dress in Manara Square in central Ramallah. Then, with two male colleagues, she urged passersby to write comments on the dress. She asked them to write what they might have thought had they seen a woman walking down the street in similar attire.

Electronic Intifada
Argentinian singer urged to cancel performance at Israeli festival
11 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing to express its grave concern about your upcoming appearance in the "Festival Argentina-Israel" in Israel on 14 July. As an artist with a great following because of your commitment to justice, we are writing to urge you to cancel your participation in a festival sponsored by a state that is complicit in some of the worst human rights abuses of our modern era. 

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. 

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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