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

VTJP Archives | VTJP 2009
24 July , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Two Qassam fighters killed in central Gaza
25 Jul 2009 - The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas movement, reported that two of its fighters were killed late Friday during what the brigades described as a “jihadist mission’ east of Al Boreij refugee camo, in central Gaza. 

Settlers annex 40 Dunams of Palestinian lands in Nablus
25 Jul 2009 - Dozens of armed extremist Israeli settlers, enjoying Israeli army protection, illegally annexed on Friday morning 40 Dunams of Palestinian lands south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank. 

US to transfer USD 200 million in aid to P.A
25 Jul 2009 - The United States announced Friday that it decided to transfer M 200 USD as a direct, urgent aid to the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Soldiers attack the Ni'lin weekly Protest with Chemical water
24 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 in central West Bank on Friday.

Dozens suffered teargas inhalation during Bil'in Weekly Protest
24 Jul 2009 - Scores suffered on Friday effects of tear gas inhalation during the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in Bil'in village central west Bank. 

US: We will impose sanctions on Israel
24 Jul 2009 - The US state department stressed on Friday that President Obama is not at all considering to impose economic sanctions on Israel when it fails to comply with US demands to end construction in settlements. The US is also not willing to consider mounting international pressure on Israel. 

An-Nasser Brigades fire three projectiles at Israeli forces in Gaza
24 Jul 2009 - The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, stated on Friday that it fired three self made projectiles at Israeli forces that had entered the Gaza Strip in the Rafah area, close to the border with Egypt. 

Israeli army seizes two Palestinian men from the West Bank
24 Jul 2009 - Israeli troops invaded different areas of the West Bank during pre-dawn invasions on Friday, seizing two Palestinian men from Nablus and Ramallah. 

US Rabbis, politicians caught in money laundering scheme involving Israel
24 Jul 2009 - A major raid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, netted 40 well-known figures in New Jersey for money laundering and corruption, in a scheme that involved sales of Israeli kidneys in the US and other corruption rackets. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Report: Hamas militants killed in blast en route to 'holy mission'
24 Jul 2009 - Islamist group identify two of its fighters as victims of Gaza refugee camp blast. 

UN envoy says convinced Lebanon-Israel truce will hold
24 Jul 2009 - Envoy says confident Security Council will renew peacekeeping mandate for south Lebanon next month. 

IDF arrests wanted Al-Aqsa gunman in Nablus
24 Jul 2009 - Nasr Mahmoud Abu Kishk suspected of carrying out shooting attacks, large-scale weapons trafficking. 

Nuclear Iran wouldn't pose existential threat to Israel
23 Jul 2009 - The public should not allow itself to be dragged into supporting a destructive military operation. 

ANALYSIS / Iran can rejoice as Israel fails missile defense test
23 Jul 2009 - Despite attempts to portray test as a 'partial success,' in truth it was a resounding failure. 

Ma'an News

International activists removed from hilltop claimed by settlers
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers forced international peace activists to leave an abandoned hilltop military base near Bethlehem that Israeli soldiers seek for a new outpost on Friday. Palestinian, Canadian, American, Italian, Austrian and German activists arrived at the Oush Ghrab camp in the town of Beit Sahour on Friday morning before an expected settler incursion. Israeli forces declared the area off limits and ordered the group to leave, ushering the settlers in. According to settler movement websites, such as Women in Green, the settlers planned a martial arts training and a panel discussion on Jewish immigration to Israel. Since the military removed its permanent presence at the camp in 2006, settler groups have agitated to reoccupy it with a settlement. Settlers hold weekly events at the site as a part of the campaign.

PA: Yizhar settlers fired tear gas on Palestinian village
7/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Dozens of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the village of Asira Al-Qibliya south of Nablus Thursday night, according to a Palestinian Authority official. Eyewitnesses said the settlers came from the nearby settlement of Yizhar and fired dozens of rounds of shots at the eastern side of the area. PA settlement monitor Ghassan Daghlas said settlers attacked the homes of Ibrahim Makhluf and Abed Al-Baset Abd Ar-Rahman, firing tear-gas canisters on the families inside. Several Palestinian civilians reported suffering tear-gas inhalation. It was not clear where the settlers would have acquired tear gas, although many settlements do operate their own security services and militias. Earlier this week settlers from the same colony in the West Bank set fire to olive groves in the villages of Tell and Madma, north of Asira Al-Qibliya, following the evacuation of one of the group's illegal outposts. 

PA official: Settlers seized more land near Nablus
7/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Dozens of Israeli settlers seized control of 40 dunums (40,000 square meters) of Palestinian land south of Nablus on Friday while Israeli soldiers looked on, a Palestinian Authority official said. Ghassan Dughlus, the PA official charged with monitoring settler activity in the northern West Bank, said the settlers arrived on the land near the Huwwara military checkpoint at noon. The Israelis unloaded metal and barbed wire from trucks and fenced off the plot of land, which lies between the villages of Kafr Qalil and Burin. Soldiers stationed at the checkpoint did not intervene, he said. Dughlus said that the occupied land belongs to the Saud and Abed Ar-Rahim families, and two other private residents, Suleiman Qasem Sa'id Najjar and Adnan Yousef Qadus. Settlers have launched dozens of violent attacks on Palestinians and their property in the Nablus area over the past several weeks. 

Haniyeh says Hamas won’t obstruct state on ’67 borders
7/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas will not stand in the way of the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Friday. Haniyeh was speaking during his first visit to the Grand Mosque in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza since last winter's war. He said Hamas and his government are "not an obstacle in front of establishing a Palestinian State on 1967 borders and [are] working on achieving [such a state] but this does not mean giving up the rest of the land and the rights of the coming generations. " While Hamas' charter calls for a Palestinian state throughout historic Palestine, the movement's leaders have said for years that they would accept the goal of a state on the 1967 borders of the West Bank and Gaza. Haniyeh also spoke about the long-stalled negotiations to reconcile Hamas with the rival Fatah movement. 

Hizb Ut-Tahrir supporters rally in Gaza
7/23/2009 - Palestinian supporters of Hizb Ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), an international pan-Islamist party seeking the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, hold a demonstration in Al-Bureij Refugee Camp, in the central Gaza Strip, 20 July, 2009. The rally was one of the party's rare public events, as the group does not recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas rule in Gaza. The organization, which exclusively advocates nonviolent struggle, has a relatively small but committed following in the West Bank and Gaza. [end] 

Bil’in activists test out Cellcom advert at Friday rally
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Dozens of Palestinian residents, Israeli activists and international supporters suffered tear-gas inhalation at a rally against the separation barrier in the village of Bil'in on Friday, according to local activists. In one encounter soldiers immediately fired on a Palestinian who jokingly tossed a football over the barrier, countering a recent portrayal by an Israeli mobile company, the village's chapter of the Popular Committee Against the Wall said in a statement. The large mobile provider Cellcom aired a controversial ad showing soldiers and Palestinians in an impromptu match and party, accompanied by music and dancing girls, after a ball is kicked over the West Bank wall. But Friday's incident conveyed what the activists said actually happens when a ball lands across the barrier. "The TV commercial makes light of the Palestinian situation," according to the committee. 

Gaza faction launches three projectiles at Israeli forces
7/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, claimed to have fired three homemade projectiles at Israeli forces patrolling eastern Rafah in the south of the Strip. Eyewitnesses said Israeli forces entered Gazan territory beyond the Israeli-controlled "buffer zone" area. When the vehicle left the buffer area forces fired on the troops. The incident marks a slow rise in violence between Israeli forces and Gazan factions. Last week one projectile was fired at Israeli civilian areas east of Gaza, and Israeli soldiers shot and killed a 15-year-old, who was later found to be unarmed. In a separate incident, the National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said that they exchanged fire with Israeli forces in northern Gaza at 1:15am. 

Israeli forces seize Al-Aqsa Brigades man in Nablus
7/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces seized Abdel Nasser Ibrahim Abu Kushk, a member of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, in Askar Refugee Camp near Nablus overnight. According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli soldiers surrounded the 33-year-old's house in the camp before arresting him. No one was injured, he said. Israel's military spokesperson said that Abu Kushk was "wanted" for involvement in shooting attacks on Israeli forces in the West Bank, and had killed a Palestinian for collaborating with Israel. In one such attack, on 25 March 2001, near the Yizhar settlement, an Israeli soldier was seriously injured. Israel has also accused him of recent involvement in arms trafficking. The military statement also said that the raid was a joint operation with Shin Bet, Israel's spy agency in the occupied territories. 

Israeli troops detain PPP man at Azzun gate
7/24/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - Israeli troops detained 19-year-old Palestine People's Party activist Diya Muhammad Younis at the entrance of Azzun village early Friday. Younis was detained as he travelled out of the village. Soldiers stopped him at an improvised checkpoint on the road leading out of the area, and took him to an unknown location. Locals say Israeli forces are frequently stationed at the road gate, one of the 613 closure obstacles in the West Bank, and regularly pull locals out of taxis and detain them. Azzun village is surrounded on all sides by the Israeli separation wall, illegal settlements and a settler-only bypass road. Israel built a two-lane road tunnel beneath the settler road to maintain separation between the road systems. It is the only road out of the village. 

Report: Bedouin attacked over support for Shalit
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Armed men opened fire on a Bedouin Palestinian inside Israel on Thursday night, according to Hebrew news reports. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the incident that reportedly occurred in the Rahet village of southern Israel. The would-be victim, Sheikh Salim Hazil, has been harassed in the past due to his support for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Sources added that the Bedouin's family has also been threatened. Shalit was seized by Palestinian gunmen in a cross-border raid into the Gaza Strip in summer 2006. He has been held ever since while Hamas and Israel negotiate a prisoner swap. [end] 

Report: Lebanese soldiers kill Palestinian gunman
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A Palestinian man was killed after an exchange of fire at a military checkpoint north of the Lebanese capital, Beirut on Friday morning, Lebanese security sources said. The Lebanese National News Agency reported that four men driving in a Mercedes 300 car opened fire at the Madfoun checkpoint in the Harissa area, about 20 km north of Beirut. The soldiers returned fire, killing the Palestinian man. One Lebanese soldier was mildly injured. The soldiers arrested the three others, who were a Palestinian, a Lebanese, and a Syrian. All four were reportedly wanted by the Lebanese government. An estimated 422,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon about 10% of the country's population. Denied the right to return to Palestine, Palestinians in Lebanon are also excluded from social services, voting rights, and the right to work. 

Jerusalem mufti: The occupation is wiping out our history
7/24/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Palestinians living in Jerusalem are in great need of support to withstand Israeli attempts to wipe out their identity, General Mufti for Jerusalem and Palestine Mohammad Husein urged Friday. Citing the recent decision to delete the word "Nakba" (Catastrophe, referring to the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in historic Palestine in 1948) from textbooks in Jerusalem, and the ongoing campaign to change the names of Arab cities, towns, villages and streets now in Israel to "Jewish names," like the re-naming of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) to Yerushalaim, a transliteration of the Hebrew. Husien issued a statement urging International organizations and universities to support the Palestinians in confronting this "escalation in the racist campaign against their existence and culture. " The statement continued, asking if "Palestinians do not have the right. . . 

US warns Israel: E1 construction would be disastrous
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The US has warned Israel in harsh terms not to build illegal settlements on a key section of the West Bank east of Jerusalem called E1, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The newspaper said that the US administration told Israel that any change in the status quo in E1 would be "extremely damaging," and "corrosive. " The report did not say what organ of the US government issued the warning or when the message was sent. E1 is an area between East Jerusalem and the large Israeli settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. Israeli domination over the area would essentially bisect the West Bank, eliminating any chance of a territorially contiguous Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to build a settlement in E1. Several of his predecessors have made the same pledge, but none have implemented the plan due to US pressure. 

PA: Netanyahu peace rhetoric not enough
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel must halt construction of illegal West Bank settlements if it wants renewed peace negotiations, Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said late on Thursday. In a statement carried on the official news agency WAFA, Rudeineh said, "We need words to be translated into action on the ground, in particular a halt to settlements in East Jerusalem and [Israeli] recognition of the two state solution. " "Peace on all tracks will lead to a permanent and just peace in the Middle East," he also said. Rudeineh was responding to remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who voiced tentative support for the 2002 Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied in 1967. "We appreciate the efforts by Arab states to advance the peace initiative. 

Hamas denies plot to divert Gaza reconstruction funds
7/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas denied an Israeli news report on Friday that the movement could have diverted or stolen international funds donated to the reconstruction effort in war-torn Gaza. Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said during an interview with Ma'an that the report consisted of "lies" put forward by Israel in order to continue its blockade of the Gaza Strip's borders. He also said that the entry of foreign aid to Gaza is overseen by Israel, not the Hamas-affiliated government in Gaza. Donor states, including the US, European countries, and Gulf Arab states, have pledged billions of dollars to help Gaza rebuild from a three-week Israeli military offensive last winter, which according to Palestinian officials killed more than 1,500 Palestinians. The ruling Hamas movement in Gaza, which won parliamentary elections in 2006, is officially boycotted by much of the international community and Israel. 

UNRWA denies chief fled Gaza after death threat
7/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The United Nation's relief agency for Palestinian refugees denied an Israeli newspaper report on Friday that its director fled the Gaza Strip after Hamas death threats. UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said reports that John Ging had fled Gaza were entirely false. " "At no stage has Mr Ging ever fled Gaza and any suggestion that Hamas has any control or influence over UNRWA aid is as baseless as the absurdity about John Ging, (whose) track record in the face of previous threats and attack is a matter of public record," he said in a statement, according to Reuters. Approached by Ma'an, UNRWA sources also denied the report, which appeared in the Hebrew-language newspaper Ma'ariv. Also on Friday Hamas and UNRWA denied a report in Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper that the Islamic movement could have diverted or stolen international funds donated to the reconstruction effort in war-torn Gaza. 

US transfers 200 million dollars to PA
7/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The American government has transferred 200 million US dollars to the Palestinian Authority, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Friday. Clinton confirmed the transfer, part of a pledge to alleviate PA budgetary shortfalls, via teleconference at a signing ceremony between US Consul Jack Wallace and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. The American assistance is considered an effort to bolster Palestinian factions considered by the Americans to be more moderate than Hamas, which the US has labeled a terrorist organization. Clinton had pledged 900 million US dollars at a March conference in Egypt, which focused mainly on rebuilding the Gaza Strip following Israel's devastating assault that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians last winter. The secretary of state has insisted that American funds would not reach Hamas, and would instead be distributed by third parties for reconstruction there. 

Factions split over Dweik’s return as PLC speaker
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian political parties are divided on whether or not to accept PLC Speaker Aziz Dweik's decision to return to his post at the lawmaking body, with the Fatah bloc rejecting the option. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) reported that an agreement was made between all factions at the Palestine Legislative Council according to which Dweik will keep his post until a new term is opened at the council. The agreement, according to member of the DFLP politburo Qais Abed Al-Karim, cannot go forward without a presidential decree. "All members must agree to implement a decision by the high court taken following the suspension of the PLC concerning the separation between the parliamentary and administrative tasks of the body," Al-Karim said. The DFLP official said the agreement was in line with Palestinian Basic Law, and is a move that will help bridge the gap between factions. 

Hamas: Gaza’s Fatah members can attend conference if PA stops arrests
7/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas leader Dr Mahmoud Az-Zahhar said the Islamic movement would allow Fatah officials in Gaza to attend an upcoming conference only if Palestinian Authority security forces stop arresting Hamas affiliates. The long-awaited sixth Fatah conference is scheduled to begin in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on 4 August, but the movement's rival Hamas controls Gaza's interior, and has not said whether it would allow Fatah members to leave. "If Fatah says they won't stop political arrests until the division is over, we say that when the division is over each side will move freely," Az-Zahhar said at Friday prayers in northern Gaza, reiterating Hamas' stand that its members are often arrested by Fatah-backed PA forces in the West Bank. The issue of politically motivated arrests has been a major sticking point in talks aimed at resolving the two-year internal Palestinian divide. 

Dweik: Document proves I’m still PLC speaker
7/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The most recently elected speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council insisted on Friday that a document signed by all party blocs confirms he remains speaker. Aziz Dweik of Hamas told Ma'an that "the document was signed by all blocs that chose me as the head of the PLC, which resolves all this confusion over my post and authorization. "Palestinian political parties are divided on whether or not to accept Aziz Dweik's decision to return to his post at the lawmaking body, with the Fatah bloc rejecting the option as recently as Thursday. But the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) has said that an agreement was made between all factions at the PLC, according to which Dweik will keep his post until a new term is opened at the council. "I rely on this document that was signed by all of the parliamentary blocs, including the head of Fatah's. . . 

The National

Egypt's workers find their voice
24 Jul 2009 - Faced with increasing hardship as a result of free market reforms and a rising cost of living, labour groups are banding together.

Turkey's peace role in question
23 Jul 2009 - The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attempts to resume his diplomatic mediation with a one-day visit to Syria.

Courier case highlights co-operation
22 Jul 2009 - Syria helps in the arrest of an alleged mastermind planning an extremist base in a Lebanese camp.

Iranian anniversary prompts rallies
22 Jul 2009 - Hundreds of opposition supporters protest in Tehran and other Iranian cities to mark a symbolic nationalist anniversary.


Several killed in Iran plane blaze
24 Jul 2009 - At least 17 people killed after plane catches fire in the country's north east.

Iran's vice-president 'sacked' 
24 Jul 2009 - The decision comes after Iran's supreme leader ordered the president to reverse his choice. 

Palestine News Network

Unicef: Rising poverty in Gaza leading to child exploitation
23 Jul 2009 - Gaza/PNN - With blockades driving the Strip into ever deeper poverty, the children of Gaza are being forced out of the classroom and into the workplace.A press release by Unicef yesterday reported that child labor is rising in an area where household incomes are dropping below $250 a month for families with seven or more children.According to Palestinian child laws, employment of...

Outpost evacuations delayed after threats of violence
23 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem/PNN – Israel has confirmed that it intends to evacuate illegal outposts in the West Bank, but suspended plans until September amid fears of an “uprising” by evicted settlers.Defense officials previously denied plans for a one-day operation to clear 23 illegal settlements, but admitted that preparations were taking place for an evacuation over several days. The date is to be officially set...

Egypt: Political in-fighting will prevent Palestinian unity
22 Jul 2009 - Cairo/PNN – Despite several rounds of Palestinian unity talks in Egypt, Fatah and Hamas seem unable to reach any agreement. This according to an official who said frustrated Egyptian leaders feel the gap is widening between the two rival political factions.Tension between Hamas and Fatah intensified after Hamas won the 2006 elections in Gaza. The conflict is called Wakseh among Palestinians, meaning...

Jewish groups entering Al-Aqsa Mosque increase tensions between Palestinians & Israelis
22 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – Israeli security allowed a group of 45 Ultra-Orthodox Jews to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque late Wednesday morning, according to Azzam Al-Khatib, the director of the Al Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage.The Israeli police escorted the settlers inside the mosque grounds in groups of 12 to 15, the director said.The settlers’ visit marked the Ninth of Av on the...

Ex-minister’s release delayed for four months as his family prepare for his return
22 Jul 2009 - Jenin/PNN - A former Palestinian minister has had his administrative detention extended for the seventh time, just hours before his expected release.Prisoner’s rights groups have condemned the decision by Israeli security not to release Wasfi Izzat Qabha, the former Minister of State, who has spent the past 27 months in detention without trial.His wife, Umm Osama, has expressed grief at the extension...

Troops tear gas Palestinians filming phone advert spoof
21 Jul 2009 - Bil’in/PNN – An attempt to parody a controversial Cellcom advert has ended in violence as troops responded with tear gas.The advert, which has been condemned as “in bad taste” by Palestinians and human rights groups, shows a friendly football match between an Israeli patrol and unseen Palestinians on opposite sides of the Wall. Soldiers are shown calling colleagues to join in the...

Settlers threaten uprising against both police and Palestinians if outposts are evacuated
21 Jul 2009 - Ramallah/PNN – Settlers in illegal outposts have warned of a campaign of violence if Israel carries out its plan to dismantle 23 unrecognised settlements in one day.After yesterday’s reports that troops were preparing for a lightning operation, leaflets were distributed threatening a large-scale uprising that would target both Israeli police and army and local Palestinians.Leaflets compared planned reprisals to the two intifadas,...


IRAQ: Trenches to protect Christians 
BAGHDAD Thursday, July 23, 2009 (IRIN) - Security measures nationwide have been stepped up to protect the Christian community from militant attacks, security officials say, including digging trenches around Christian towns in remote areas.

AFRICA: Male circumcision slowly taking off 
CAPE TOWN Thursday, July 23, 2009 (IRIN) - The World Health Organization endorsed male circumcision (MC) as an HIV-prevention measure two years ago, but implementation of large-scale male circumcision programmes has been relatively slow.

SOMALIA-YEMEN: Registration programme "to weed out illegal migrants"
SANAA Wednesday, July 22, 2009 (IRIN) - A campaign to register Somali refugees with the aim of creating a government database and identifying illegal African migrants is under way in Yemen, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Fatah's Leadership Crisis Deepens 
WASHINGTON, Jul 24 (IPS) - Fifty years ago, a small group of Palestinian teachers and engineers living in Kuwait founded a secretive movement aimed at liberating those portions of previously British-ruled Palestine that became the State of Israel in 1948.

U.S.: Pro-Israel Groups Push Back Against Settlements Policy 
WASHINGTON, Jul 24 (IPS) - As the clash between the U.S. and Israeli governments over settlements in the occupied territories intensifies, many of Israel's traditionally staunch defenders in Washington have been pushing back, tentatively but with increasing assertiveness, to urge the Barack Obama administration to alleviate its pressure on Israel.

MIDEAST: Defiant Netanyahu Plays his Jerusalem Card 
JERUSALEM, Jul 23 (IPS) - Israel's newly installed ambassador in Washington says the "disagreement" with the U.S. over Israel's settlement policy will be resolved "soon". Speaking on Israel Radio, Michael Oren was giving his first interview since taking up his post.

MIDEAST: Rampaging Settlers Shatter Fragile Calm 
RAMALLAH, Jul 22 (IPS) - The northern Palestinian West Bank is turning into a flashpoint as Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinian civilians and their property as part of a "price tag" policy.

Stop The Wall

Eye-Witness to Murder Targeted in Reprisal Arrest
22 Jul 2009 - A member of the Ni'lin popular committee was arrested the day before yesterday on his way back from testifying to Israeli war crimes at the United Nations. Attention will now turn to the UN's response to Mohammed's arrest. [

PCHR Latest

PCHR Condemns Injury of 61 Persons in attack on Wedding Party in Khan Yunis

Preventive Security Service Refuse to Implement High Court of Justice Ruling Ordering Release of Journalist Mustafa Sabry

PCHR Weekly Report

(16 - 22 July  2008)
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a mentally disabled Palestinian civilian and wounded another one in the Gaza Strip.  In the West Bank, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall.

International Solidarity Movement

Lebanese urged to help break Gaza siege
International Solidarity Movement - The Daily Star, 24 July 2009 - A Lebanese human rights worker with the Free Gaza Movement made a plea on Thursday for Lebanon to show solidarity over the issue of the Palestinian right of return and play a more active role in breaking the siege. Natalie Abou Shakra, who returned Wednesday from the Gaza Strip after an eight-month humanitarian mission, said it was Lebanon's duty to help ease the situation in the Palestinian territories. The plea comes a week after President Michel Sleiman told Russian Mideast envoy Alexander Saltanov that any attempt to achieve peace in the Middle East must include the Palestinian right of return. Shakra, the only Lebanese activist currently on the ground, said the resettlement of Palestinians from countries offering refuge is one of the most important issues that Lebanon should support. 

Bil’in vs. Green Park
International Solidarity Movement - Corporate Watch, 24 July 2009 - The Green Park construction company is engaged in building illegal settlements in the West Bank, notably, the settlements of Mattiyahu East and Modi'in Illit, which have been built on land annexed from the Palestinian village of Bil'in, by the Israeli apartheid wall. The village of Bil'in has been struggling against the construction of the wall for over five years, holding weekly demonstrations, first at the construction site and then at the gate in the apartheid wall separating the villagers from their land. The Israeli army has often responded by attacking demonstrations with water cannons, sound bombs, plastic bullets and live ammunition. Bil'in has also been used as a testing site for new weapons. Demonstrators have been subjected to high-pitched screeching and doused with nerve agents, blue dye and, most recently, a foul-smelling 'skunk' weapon. 

New Yorkers call for boycott of Motorola over dealings with IDF
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 23 July 2009 - Protesters in the New York borough of Queens held a rally last week to call for a boycott of Motorola over the firm's business dealings with the Israel Defense Forces. At the demonstration, which was organized by the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, protestors waved Palestinian flags and signs saying: "Goodbye Moto, Goodbye Apartheid," and "Boycott Motorola, Free Palestine. "The group also wrote songs and conducted street theater to draw the attention of passersby. The organization's spokesperson, Aaron Levitt, told Haaretz this week that over 300 people have signed a petition for a boycott of Motorola after just four events in New York City. "Every time we go out to flyer, we meet many people who express support for the campaign and even sign our pledge to boycott Motorola," said Levitt. His organization has more events planned for the coming month. 

Well-watered and soldier-free: the good old days on Palestinian farmland
International Solidarity Movement - Eva Bartlett, In Gaza, 23 July 2009 - The young farm worker wasn't oblivious to the danger: working in the Israeli-imposed "buffer zone" is no task for the faint-hearted. But, like so many, he either needed the paid labour, or his family depends on the land. The farmers had returned two days after their land was again ravaged by Israeli military bulldozers and tanks: 2 and 4 of each respectively. The war machines ate up the land, finished off a house they'd not quite destroyed the last time, and tore up a water source, the farmers' well. The day after the incursion, Yousef, one of the farmers, had dared to peek at the well, doing so furtively although it is on their land. The Israeli army incursion into Abassan Jeddida, just east of southern Gaza's Khan Younis, had ended the same afternoon it started -July 21st -but the farmers knew all too well that Israeli military jeeps, hummers,. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

EU interfaith delegation in White House to learn about dialogue
24 Jul 2009 - An interfaith delegation, comprising European rabbis and imams, visited the White House on Thursday in a bid to rally American support for their campaign against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and extremism. ...

Syria: We are rebuilding relations with U.S.
23 Jul 2009 - Syria's foreign minister said Friday his country is working to rebuild its diplomatic relationship with the United States. ...

Ahmadinejad caves to Iran hard-liners, fires VP for 'pro-Israel' remarks
23 Jul 2009 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caved into pressure from hardline clerics and the country's supreme leader Friday and allowed the resignation of his top deputy after a week-long standoff. ...

Iranian airliner skids off runway killing 17
23 Jul 2009 - An Iranian passenger plane burst into flames and skidded off the runway as it was landing in a northeastern city, killing 17 people, said the state news agency. ...

U.S. to transfer $200 million to Palestinians
23 Jul 2009 - The United States has transferred $200 million to the Palestinian government to help ease a growing budget deficit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday. ...

The Guardian

The rising tide of British antisemitism | Mark Gardner
24 Jul 2009 - New figures reveal an unprecedented rise in antisemitic incidents in Britain. Anti-racists must take action against them Figures released today by CST show that January's Israel-Hamas conflict continued the pattern whereby Middle East events trigger outbreaks...

Michael Tomasky: Palestinian p.r. operation
24 Jul 2009 - Some of you weren't so keen on my suggestion last week that the Palestinian leadership should have been a little more concerned down the years about public relations. But now comes this report from today's New...

History used and abused in Israel | Ian Black
23 Jul 2009 - Banning the word 'nakba' from Arab textbooks signals a step backwards for the Middle East The problem with the Israel–Palestine conflict, someone once wisely observed, is that it involves too much history and not enough geography....

1948 no catastrophe says Israel, as term nakba banned from Arab children's textbooks
22 Jul 2009 - Israel's education ministry has ordered the removal of the word nakba – Arabic for the "catastrophe" of the 1948 war – from a school textbook for young Arab children, it has been announced. The decision –...

Ha'aretz National page

Three people drown off Israel's beaches over past 24 hours
23 Jul 2009 - Three people drowned in the waters off Israel's coast over the last twenty-four hours, the youngest victim being a 21-year-old man who died off the Dolphinarium beach Thursday night. ...

How the FBI used a rabbi's son to crack massive U.S. corruption case
23 Jul 2009 - A few years ago, Solomon Dwek was the black sheep of the New Jersey Jewish community where his father Yitzhak was a prominent rabbi. After a string of failed real estate ventures and charges of bank fraud, Dwek's career appeared all but over. But the rabbi's son found his true calling as an FBI informant, where he is now achieving stardom after helping bring indictments against 44 defendants, including a number of prominent rabbis, four ex-mayors and a former senator, in one of the largest money-laundering and corruption investigations seen in the U.S. in years. ...

Mother suspected of starving son released to house arrest
23 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem Magistrate's Court President Shulamit Dotan ruled Friday to release to house arrest a woman suspected of having systematically starved her son. ...

Relief Web

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 265, 20 - 26 Jul 2009
24 Jul 2009 - Source: World Health Organization

OPT: UNRWA Director of Operations dispels rumors he has fled Gaza
24 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Radio

OPT: Direct budget assistance to the Palestinian Authority
24 Jul 2009 - Source: US Department of State

YNet News

Gaza: 2 Hamas men killed in 'work accident'
24 Jul 2009 - Members of Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades die in blast while placing explosive charges near border fence 

UN initiates fence against Israeli cows 
24 Jul 2009 - UNIFIL troops from Spain, India offer to build fence surrounding pond in southern Lebanon, which they say attracts cows from Israel 

Iran president caves in over VP controversy
24 Jul 2009 - Ahmadinejad accepts supreme leader Khamenei's call to dismiss senior official who has said Iran is friendly with everyone, even people of its sworn foe Israel 

US announces $200M in aid to Palestinians
24 Jul 2009 - Secretary of State Clinton says there had been some progress toward reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in 'near future'. Money transferred directly to PA will help it meet budget shortfall, she adds 

Syria says rebuilding relations with US
24 Jul 2009 - Foreign Minister Moallem tells reporters in London his country is looking forward to visit by Obama's special Middle East envoy as 'the first step of dialogue' 

Haniyeh says won't impede deal for Palestinian state 
24 Jul 2009 - Speaking at Khan Younis mosque, Hamas' prime minister in Gaza says 'we won't serve as an obstacle to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, but we won't concede what is left of the Palestinian land' 

3 people drown off Israel's beaches 
24 Jul 2009 - Body washed ashore in Rishon Lezion believed to be 22-year-old Ramla resident who has been missing since Thursday. Remains of 21-year-old man found on Tel Aviv beach; 45-year-old man drowns in Jaffa neighborhood 

Daily Star

Syria says it is rebuilding relations with US
24 Jul 2009 - Syria’s foreign minister said Friday his country is working to rebuild its diplomatic relationship with the United States. Walid al-Moallem told reporters in London that his country is looking forward to a visit by US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell as “the first step of dialogue.”

Plane accident kills at least 17 in Iran
24 Jul 2009 - At least 17 people were killed on Friday in a plane accident in Iran’s second city of Mashhad, the second deadly air crash to hit the Islamic Republic in 10 days, the official IRNA news agency reported. “There was an accident and a fire involving a passenger plane from Tehran to Mashhad that has left 17 people dead and 19 injured,” IRNA said.

Britain plays down contacts with Hizbullah
24 Jul 2009 - Foreign Secretary David Miliband played down British contacts with Hizbullah lawmakers on Friday, saying they are not negotiating with the leadership of the group. Amid reports of US discontent over London’s decision to open low-level contact with the political wing of Hizbullah, a group viewed as terrorists in Washington.

Twitterers paid to spread Israeli propaganda
24 Jul 2009 - The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitters and Facebook may not be all that it seems. Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.

UN agency denies boss fled Gaza death threat
24 Jul 2009 - The main United Nations agency supplying aid to the Palestinians strongly denied an Israeli newspaper report on Friday that its director had fled Gaza after death threats from the enclave’s Islamist rulers. The assertion that John Ging fled after threats from Hamas because he refused to hand over millions of dollars in aid funds.

US rabbis, mayors in wave of corruption arrests
24 Jul 2009 - Dozens of New Jersey politicians, officials and pro minent rabbis were arrested on Thursday in a sweeping federal probe that uncovered political corruption, human-organ sales and money laundering from New York to Israel, officials said. The 10-year investigation, dubbed “Operation Bid Rig,” exposed influence-peddling.

Eyes of the world on Jeita Grotto as voters select New Seven Wonders of Nature
24 Jul 2009 - Lebanon may be known for its political volatility, silky wines and ancient Cedars, but it now looks set to become just as famous for something else: a massive river tucked away in a series of subterranean chambers. Jeita Grotto, 20 kilometers north of Beirut, was selected on Tuesday as one of 28 finalists in a global competition.

Palestinian Information Center

Zaidan: The world should move against Israel's measures in Jerusalem
24 Jul 2009 - Palestinian lawmaker Abdul Rahman Zaidan has called on the Arab and Muslim worlds to take decisive measures against the heinous Israeli practices in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Ministry of culture denounces deleting Nakba term from Arabic curriculum
24 Jul 2009 - The PA ministry of culture in Gaza has strongly condemned the Zionist decision to remove the term Nakba "catastrophe" from the curriculum of the Arabic schools..

Palestinian MPs: Netanyahu's conditions prove futility of PA-Israeli negotiation
24 Jul 2009 - Palestinian lawmaker Ibrahim Abu Salem has derided the conditions put forward by Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu to make "peace" with the Palestinians.

Haneyya: The siege will be broken
24 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Prime Minster, Ismail Haneya, stressed during his Friday sermon on the importance to protect the resistance as the Palestinians' strategic option in the face of occupation.

Hamas renews its commitment to struggle for liberation
24 Jul 2009 - On the anniversary of the assassination of four of its leaders Hamas has issued a statement renewing its commitment to struggle against occupation until liberation is achieved.

Detained MPs condemn the sacking of elected municipality officials
24 Jul 2009 - Hamas MPs detained in Israeli jails have condemned a recent decision by the Minister of Local Government in Ramallah for sacking three elected councillors for the municipality of Qalqilya.

European researcher: the Gaza war shocked Europe
24 Jul 2009 - A European researcher said that the Israeli war on Gaza which began late last year was a great shock to the Europeans and has resulted in changing the way Europeans view the Palestinian issue.

Settlers attack Palestinian homes under IOF protection
24 Jul 2009 - Scores of settlers on Thursday evening attacked Palestinian homes in the village of Asseera al-Qibleyyeh to the south of Nablus city in the northern West Bank, according to local sources.

Israel plans to demolish Bustan area in O. Jerusalem
24 Jul 2009 - The Ir Amim organization said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is preparing a plan to demolish the whole Bustan neighborhood in Jerusalem and build in its place a Jewish historical park.

Hamas deplores Abbas’s militia for kidnapping Hadayda
24 Jul 2009 - Hamas strongly denounced the security apparatuses of Mahmoud Abbas for kidnapping Jamal Hadayda, one of its senior leaders in Tulkarem, immediately after his release from Israeli jails.

Los Angeles Times

Israeli warships' passage through Suez Canal causes a stir 
24 Jul 2009 - The mission prompts speculation that Israel sought to send a message about its military might to Iran and give the impression of close cooperation with Egypt against regional security threats. There's no sneaking a warship through the Suez Canal, so it's best to sail through and remain coy. 

Iran opposition leader plans large-scale social movement 
23 Jul 2009 - Mir-Hossein Mousavi praises the protest movement as a cornerstone for change in Iran. The opposition continues to challenge the authority of supreme leader Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad. Iran's political crisis intensified Wednesday when the nation's main opposition figure announced that he would create a political organization to "lay the groundwork for a large-scale social movement" stemming from his disputed election loss to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

New York Times

Hamas Shifts From Rockets to Culture War
23 Jul 2009 - Seven months after Israel’s military campaign against its rockets, Hamas has shifted its focus to cultural initiatives to gain support at home and abroad. 

In Iran, President’s Deputy Is Stepping Down
24 Jul 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial new deputy withdrew on Friday in response to a letter from the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, state television and news agencies reported. 

16 Killed as Plane Burns in Iran, 9 Days After 168 Died in Crash
24 Jul 2009 - An Iranian passenger plane skidded off the runway and caught fire while landing in the northern city of Mashhad on Friday. 


Israel doesn’t see U.S. limiting loan guarantees 
Yahoo! News - Jul 23 - TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel does not expect the United States to limit use of loan guarantees despite a dispute with Washington over building in East Jerusalem or in West Bank settlements, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Thursday. " I don't see any limitations on the horizon. It's not time to be concerned about that," Steinitz told reporters. He added that Israel would prefer not to use them. " I don't see any need to use them in the near future," Steinitz said. "But it's good they are there. " He noted that prior disputes over settlement building have led the United States to deduct rather than cancel the guarantees. In 2002, to help Israel deal with a recession caused by a global downturn and a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings, the U. S. provided a package of $9 billion in loan guarantees, where Israel could sell bonds internationally with the backing of the United States. 

Activists say Israel gave key site to settlers 
Yahoo! News - Jul 23 - JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel has handed control over much of a key Palestinian area in annexed east Jerusalem to hardline settler groups in a creeping takeover kept away from public scrutiny, a report by an activist group said on Thursday. Government bodies have transferred both private Palestinian property and national parks in the Silwan neighbourhood outside the walls of the Old City to the settler organisation Elad, said Ir Amim, a non-profit group specialising in Jerusalem issues. " It was done in the dark, in flagrant violation of the rules of good government and in some cases in violation of the law, without open and official decisions by the government or Knesset and without public discussion, inquiry or scrutiny," said the report entitled "Shady Dealings in Silwan. " Elad is dedicated to expanding Jewish ownership in Arab areas of east Jerusalem, which Israel captured from 

Israel rejects French calls to freeze settlements 
Yahoo! News - Jul 23 - JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel on Thursday rejected calls by France to freeze Jewish settlement building and to reopen border crossings into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. " A solution to the settlements can only be reached through a comprehensive and final peace agreement," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP. " In order to promote peace, France would do well to persuade the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations" with Israel which have been frozen since the end of last year, he added. Palmor said Israel's blockade of Gaza was the result of "the state of war imposed by Hamas" as well as the "detention for more than three years of (Israeli-French) soldier Gilad Shalit. " Shalit was captured by militants from Hamas and two smaller groups who had tunnelled out of Gaza on June 25, 2006 and attacked an army post, killing two other soldiers. 

Despite Obama’s appeal, Saudis unlikely to push Mideast talks 
Yahoo! News - McClatchy Newspapers, Jul 23 - RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Barack Obama's strategy for rejuvenating Arab-Israeli peace talks is running into resistance from Saudi Arabia , which has rebuffed the American leader's appeals for the influential Middle East ally to play a more active role in his plans. Saudi officials have expressed skepticism about Obama's attempts to secure concessions from the Arab world in exchange for a commitment from Israel to stop building Jewish homes in the Palestinian-dominated West Bank. To drive that point home, the Saudis have been putting private pressure on their regional allies to make sure that they don't make any dramatic gestures unless Israel takes the first step. Most recently, when Bahrain made a public overture to Israel , Saudi Arabia gave its blessing but cautioned its neighbor not to go too far, one Saudi official said. 

VIDEO - Paralysed girl’s story reflects Gaza’s plight 
BBC Online - 23 July - There was something particularly shocking about this story. The family alleged that Israeli soldiers had opened fire at close range - as they lined up outside the house and while Samar's grandmother waved a white flag. -- Four-year-old Samar Abed Rabbu lost her two sisters during Israel's offensive in Gaza last December and January. The BBC's Christian Fraser has been following the plight of Samar and her family - now divided across two continents, as Samar receives treatment in Belgium with her mother. Throughout these months of gruelling therapy Belgian doctors say Samar Abed Rabbu has demonstrated remarkable courage. She is desperate to walk again - she even simulates it on the bed with her fingers - but there is nothing the Belgian doctors can do to repair Samar's broken back. " She has had two operations so far," said physiotherapist Pierre Van Lierde. 

Report says Israel is subsidising settlements 
The National - July 22. 2009 - AP - TEL AVIV // In another sign of Israel’s continuous support for Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, a new report yesterday showed that the settlements obtain a significantly higher share of government funds than municipalities in Israel overall. According to the study by the Israeli European Policy Network, a joint project of European and Israeli scholars that explores issues on the agenda of Israel’s relations with the European Union, Jewish settlements in the West Bank received 57 per cent of their budget funds from the Israeli government in recent years. That is higher than the 34. 7 per cent share of budget funds attained by Israeli municipalities as a whole from the state, the report said. Roby Nathanson, an economist and one of the main authors of the report, which tracked the development of Jewish settlements since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, 

US: We will not use sanctions against Israel 
Uruknet - July 24, IMEMC - The US state department stressed on Friday that President Obama is not at all considering to impose economic sanctions on Israel when it fails to comply with US demands to end construction in settlements. The US is also not willing to consider mounting international pressure on Israel. The announcement came after the Israeli society had reacted in shock to comments made by a government spokesperson earlier. A spokesperson had answered a question about whether the US was considering to impose sanctions, saying "It? s premature to talk about that". To calm down the public storm in Israel, the US government now emphasized that it will not contemplate sanctions, even if Israel will not live up to US demands and continues to break international law. International humanitarian law outlaws settlements as it puts forward that it is illegal for a state to transfer its own population into occupied territory. 

Christian Right Crusades for Israel 
Arutz Sheva - July 25, '09 - John Hagee, a leading Christian evangelist who heads the Christian United for Israel movement, told 4,000 followers in Washington Wednesday night that, "The chief obstacle to peace in the Middle East is not Israelis living on the West Bank but the regime in Tehran. "He charged that U. S. President Barack Obama is “singling out Israel" for concessions towards the establishment of a new Arab state within Israel's current borders. Speaking at “A Night to Honor Israel" conference, Hagee declared, "Hello, Congress. We are putting pressure on the wrong people here. You want to get tough, get tough with the terrorists, not the the only democracy in the Middle East. " Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, trying to garner support against the pressures of the Obama administration, spoke to the group on Wednesday via satellite after a conversation earlier in the day with leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. 

Israel Concerned Over Hamas Plans for Gaza Aid 
Arutz Sheva - July 25, '09 - (IsraelNN. com) Defense officials expressed concern this week over recent developments in Gaza, particularly reports that Hamas is intimidating humanitarian organizations, and has begun working more closely with the United Nations. There is evidence to suggest that Hamas may get its hands on billions of dollars meant as humanitarian aid for Gaza civilians, they said. Reports that Hamas has threatened UN workers in Gaza began to surface months ago. During Operation Cast Lead, Hamas stole truckloads of supplies, some of which were later returned. According to the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, pressure got so bad in recent weeks that the UN's Gaza chief, John Ging, fled the area for fear of his life. The threats were made by members of Hamas who told Ging to ensure that aid money would be directed to individuals specified by Hamas, the paper said. 


Israeli Warships in the Red Sea 
Nadia Hijab, CounterPunch 7/23/2009
      Threat Diplomacy
     Two Israeli missile class warships sailed through Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Red Sea this week, some days after one of their nuclear submarines. The news barely blipped the media surface of the United States.
     It should have raised a few questions: Will Israel really attack Iran? What does the law have to say to Israel -- and to Egypt? Will the world act to prevent war?
     The idea of an Israeli attack on Iran is almost unthinkable. It could devastate Iran and have repercussions beyond a counter-attack on Israel. Nuclear fallout could affect neighboring countries. Americans in the region and elsewhere could be vulnerable. Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz through which about 20% of world oil flows, perhaps felling a global economy already on its knees. As French president Nicolas Sarkozy said at the G8 summit, such a unilateral act would be an "absolute catastrophe."
     Barack Obama wants a diplomatic resolution of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, so perhaps all we are seeing is Israeli sabre-rattling. If this is all, it is still useful to Israel. Israeli strategists have openly said they prefer Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power -- his inflammatory rhetoric is more likely to keep Iran at loggerheads with the world -- and an external threat strengthens Ahmadinejad against his reformist rivals. Israeli military maneuvers also reinforce Iran’s determination to seek a nuclear deterrent, thus keeping the country isolated. And it distracts attention from Israel’s relentless colonization program in the occupied Palestinian territories.
     Yet an attack cannot be ruled out: Israel has been known to do the unthinkable. The world cannot afford to wait and see. The United States in particular needs to take more muscular action. The Obama administration does not have to expend political capital by taking Israel on by itself. It can make use of the protection provided by the United Nations and international law.

The Reality of Israel’s 'Open' Jerusalem 
Jonathan Cook, Jerusalem, CounterPunch 7/23/2009
      Ghettos, Demolitions and Housing Shortages
     No one would have been more surprised than Fawziya Khurd by the recent pronouncement of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, that Israel operates an “open city” policy in Jerusalem.
     Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following the 1967 war -- what he called the city’s “unification” -- meant that all residents, Jews and Palestinians alike, could buy property wherever they chose.
     “Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city,” he said. “There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city’s east.”
     Mr Netanyahu was trying to justify recent construction in East Jerusalem by settler organizations in defiance of demands from the US that Israel halt all such work. In particular, US officials are objecting to the recent takeover of property by settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Mrs Khurd used to live, as well as the Old City, Silwan and Ras al-Amud.
     According to experts, however, the reality is that in both a practical and legal sense Mr Netanyahu’s “open city” is a fiction, extended only to the settlers and not to Mrs Khurd or to the 250,000 other Palestinians of East Jerusalem.
     Mrs Khurd, for example, has been forced to live in a tent after settlers ousted her from her East Jerusalem home of five decades in November. She also has no hope of moving back to the house taken from her family in Talbiyeh, now in West Jerusalem, during the 1948 war that established Israel.
     In addition, movement restrictions mean that almost all of the nearly four million Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are banned from entering the city or visiting its holy sites.

Electronic Intifada
Families celebrate academic excellence amidst the siege
24 Jul 2009 - The Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Education announced the results of the annual tawjihi -- the general secondary school examination -- on 21 July. Graduating high school students take exams either in the science stream or humanities stream, with those getting the highest grades best able to compete for university places. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada. 

"The best place one could be on Earth"
24 Jul 2009 - Rolling into Gaza I had a feeling of homecoming. There is a flavor to the ghetto. To the Bantustan. To the "rez." Last March, poet and novelist Alice Walker traveled to the Gaza Strip just weeks after the 22-day Israeli assault. The Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, now recounts the stories of people she met in Gaza, and offers a lyrical analysis that ties their struggle to what she and her community experienced in the segregated American South. 

Gaza artist, survivor finds power in paint
23 Jul 2009 - Ziad Deeb, a young artist, lost his entire family and both his legs in the Israeli attack on Gaza six months ago. In his grief, Deeb has found solace in his work. Memories of the massacre inspire him "to keep painting more and more, I believe this is the only thing that can't be taken away from me and my disability can't be an obstacle." Eman Mohammed reports for The Electronic Intifada from Gaza. 

Israeli officer promotes war crimes at Harvard
22 Jul 2009 - On 9 July Harvard University's Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research invited Colonel Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, former Israeli military legal adviser, to their online Humanitarian Law and Policy Forum. The stated aim was to bring "objective" discussion to the principle of distinction in international humanitarian law. Maryam Monalisa Gharavi and Dr. Anat Matar report for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
23 Jul 2009 - * taking out the trash [photo: Emad Badwan ] how will your kids pass summer? lemonade stand? ymca courses? family vacation? hope so, and as a child i did these myself. here’s how a vast number of kids spend summer (and others fall, winter, spring) in Gaza: boy with birds dump sifter tea seller * beach sales [photo: Emad Badwan ] * Sharef Barbakh, one of Namaa Barbakh ’s surviving children; three were matryed by a drone attack in the Israeli winter 2008/2009 attacks on Gaza . * waiting , Deir el Balah camp * creating fun , Deir el Balah camp * Deir el Balah camp

Palestine Chronicle
Who Killed Arafat and Why?
24 Jul 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Who killed Yasser Arafat? When the Palestinian leader was declared dead in a French hospital on Nov. 11, 2004, there was no way of knowing how questions related to his death should be phrased. Was he killed or did he die from old age? If he was killed, then who killed him and why? The “mysterious” nature of his symptoms gave birth to a theory that he was poisoned over a period of time, provided enough evidence that foul play was involved, even accusing some of those closest to him. Although the man’s story has been recorded in the ever-growing chronicle of the Palestinian struggle and Palestinians have somehow moved on, recent breaking news has blown his story wide open once again, breeding new controversy and stories of conspiracy. Nearly five years have passed since Arafat died. During those years, a number of high-ranking Palestinian leaders, especially from the Hamas movement, have been assassinated by Israel in various and consistently gory methods. Among Palestinians, Arafat is referred to like all those killed by Israel, as a “martyr”, an indication of the widespread belief that his death was hardly the result of natural causes. If Arafat was indeed killed and since his death was not caused by an Israeli airstrike or an assassin’s bullet, a key question has been lingering, giving rise to all sorts of answers — who killed Arafat and how? Israelis made little secret of their desire to see Arafat dead. Former Israeli Prime Minister...

The Reality of Israel's 'Open' Jerusalem
24 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Jerusalem No one would have been more surprised than Fawziya Khurd by the recent pronouncement of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, that Israel operates an “open city” policy in Jerusalem. Mr. Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following the 1967 war -- what he called the city’s “unification” -- meant that all residents, Jews and Palestinians alike, could buy property wherever they chose. “Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city,” he said. “There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city's east.” Mr. Netanyahu was trying to justify recent construction in East Jerusalem by settler organizations in defiance of demands from the US that Israel halt all such work. In particular, US officials are objecting to the recent takeover of property by settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Mrs. Khurd used to live, as well as the Old City, Silwan and Ras al-Amud. According to experts, however, the reality is that in both a practical and legal sense Mr. Netanyahu’s “open city” is a fiction, extended only to the settlers and not to Mrs. Khurd or to the 250,000 other Palestinians of East Jerusalem. Mrs. Khurd, for example, has been forced to live in a tent after settlers ousted her from her East Jerusalem home of five decades in November. She also has no...

Why Support for Israel Shrinks
24 Jul 2009 - By Steve Breyman A poll conducted for The Israel Project found that American voters' support for Israel plunged 20 percent in the past nine months. Now, less than half the electorate (49%) call themselves supporters of Israel. This potentially important shift—should it endure--comes at a good time for President Obama, and at a bad time for Prime Minister Netanyahu. It’s good for Obama because he’s taken the first halting steps to get Israel to end its four decades long policy of illegally placing ever more colonists in the militarily occupied territory of its stateless neighbor, the Palestinians. It’s bad for Netanyahu because his government wants to continue to settle Russian, American and other Jewish immigrants to Israel outside its 1967 borders. Explaining the decline in support for the Israeli government is straightforward. It’s a direct consequence of growing public awareness of official Israeli policy and behavior. Neither the policy nor the behavior are new, and vary little regardless of which parties or coalition is in power. What’s new is that objectionable Israeli behavior is much harder to hide (if not to continue to deny) in this age of computer networking, YouTube, and international solidarity campaigns. Anyone with a search engine can find examples of Israeli soldiers demanding Palestinians at checkpoints play violins for them or slap themselves in the face, shooting a handcuffed and blindfolded young man, breaking into homes killing a woman, hijacking relief vessels in international waters, unleashing attack dogs on innocent civilians, and countless other well-documented cases....

'Breaking the Silence': Testimonies of Israeli Soldiers
24 Jul 2009 - By Stephen Lendman – Chicago "Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers that collects anonymous testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada." They recount experiences that deeply affected them, including abusing Palestinians, looting, destroying property, and other practices "excused as military necessities, or explained as extreme and unique cases." They believe otherwise in describing "the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military" to which Israeli society and most Western observers turn a blind eye. "Breaking the Silence" was established to force an uncomfortable reality into the open to "demand accountability regarding Israel's military actions in the Occupied Territories perpetrated by us in our name." Its new booklet features 54 damning testimonies from 30 Israeli soldiers on their experiences in Operation Cast Lead. They recount what official media and government sources suppressed with comments like: "You feel like an infantile little kid with a magnifying glass looking at ants, burning them." Another referred to "not much said about the issue of innocent civilians." Anyone and anything were fair game, and laws of war went out the window. They explained wanton destruction, crops uprooted, human slaughter, women and children killed in cold blood, illegal weapons used, free-fire orders to shoot to kill anywhere at anything that moved, and using civilians as human shields. Israeli commanders refuted their accounts as groundless, but B'Tselem reported that the military "refused to open serious, impartial investigations," even when provided with detailed information, including victims'...

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