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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
28 July , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Israeli court prohibits a settlement company from using church property
29 Jul 2009 - The Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem decided on Sunday to prevent an Israeli settlement company from using the properties of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.  

Israeli right-wingers insult Obama during protest against his Middle East policy
29 Jul 2009 - Hundreds of extremist Israeli right-wingers marched in Jerusalem on Tuesday at night while chanting slogans against the US president, Barrack Obama, and US Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, for their Middle East policies. 

Deteriorating conditions throughout Israeli prison system, serious violations in Al Naqab
28 Jul 2009 - For prisoner Akram Abdul-Aziz Mansour a life sentence in prison may not take much longer to complete. He is one of hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners who the Israeli administration refuses to treat despite illness. 

The Israeli military invades Nablus and injures a boy
28 Jul 2009 - A Palestinian boy was injured on Tuesday during an Israeli military invasion targeting the northern West Bank city of Nablus.  

Israeli tanks invades areas in Gaza
28 Jul 2009 - A number of Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded on Tuesday midday areas in Gaza City close to the borders with Israeli.  

New outpost activity as a response to US pressure
28 Jul 2009 - Israeli settlers organizations, such as the Land of Israel Faithful and the Youth for the Land of Israel, have been building 11 new outposts in the West Bank on Sunday and Monday, largely in a response to the visit of US special envoy George Mitchell. 

Unidentified gunmen set fire to Nablus festival stage, Palestinian police unable to do anything
28 Jul 2009 -  Three masked gunmen put the main stage of the Shopping Festival on fire in Nablus city center on Monday before dawn. The Palestinian police was unable to act because of existing security arrangements with the Israeli army stating that if the army announces security patrols in Nablus the Palestinian Authority have to evacuate all together. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Tensions rise on Lebanon border, but IDF insists 'quiet prevails'
28 Jul 2009 - Lebanese news agency: Israeli, Lebanese forces deployed on both sides of border in Har Dov area. 

IDF's information much more secure: No leaks during Gaza op
28 Jul 2009 - Army's information security department conducts routine checks to ensure officers are not disclosing military information. 

IDF chief on ethics issues: Our camp must be pure
28 Jul 2009 - Ashkenazi on Operation Cast Lead: IDF acted properly, in accordance with international law. 

Report: Lebanon army raises alert along border with Israel
28 Jul 2009 - Lebanese news agency reports deployment of Lebanese forces in response to advancing Israeli tanks. 

IDF chief: New Israel-Hezbollah war unlikely
28 Jul 2009 - Israeli officials said Monday they think Hezbollah will try to escalate tensions along Israel-Lebanon border. 

Ma'an News

Seventh body pulled from rubble of tunnel collapse
7/28/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The death toll from Sunday's tunnel collapse in southern Gaza rose to seven on Tuesday morning when the charred corpse of another worker was pulled from the pit. The latest victim was identified as Ayman Jamal Abu Samak, 32. Deported from the West Bank by Israel eight years earlier, he began working in the tunnels several months ago. Abu Samak lived alone in Deir Al-Balah because he was unmarried and his family lives in the West Bank. Muawiyah Hassanein, the head of emergency and ambulance services at the Gaza Health Ministry, said Abu Samak's body was taken to Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Crews are still searching for five others missing since the collapse, which was caused by a fire set off by leaking fuel. Two bodies were found in the rubble on Monday evening, identified by ambulance workers and fireman as Issa Muhammad Al-Qisy, 24, and Tamer Sayyid Saraj, 21. 

Settler rabbi: Israel must ’Judaize’ Nazareth Illit
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel should follow Hebron's example and 'Judaize' the town of Nazareth Illit, settler Rabbi Dov Lior said on Monday, according to the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. "In Nazareth, much like in Hebron, it takes a determined Jewish community to transform an area that has always been Jewish and that is currently inhabited by Arabs, into an area of emerging Jewish life and Jewish revival," the rabbi said. Nazareth Illit is in fact already quite Jewish. About 91 percent of its inhabitants are Israeli Jews. The other nine percent are mostly Christian-Palestinian citizens of Israel, while three to four percent are Muslim. Insisting that the area has always been Jewish, the Yesha Rabbis Council chairman and right-wing leader called on residents "to act determinedly for a Jewish Nazareth Illit," and was accompanied by some of his yeshiva students from the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, inside Hebron. 

Ir Amin: E Jlm settlement plans Israeli message to Obama
7/28/2009 - The following is a report produced by the Israeli human rights group Ir Amin as part of their "Settlements in Focus" series. This article explains the controversy over the most recent Israeli plans to demolish homes in Sheikh Jarrah and build a hotel on the site: Q: What does this current controversy in Jerusalem mean for peace? The current project is a direct challenge to President Barack Obama and his effort to launch negotiations that can lead to Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace. If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sees sense and finds a way to back down and cancel/freeze this project, the chances for a serious peace process, with a credible result, may very well improve. Alternatively, [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and others may well have decided to do everything possible to use this project to deal a fatal blow not only to Obama's efforts but to the two-state solution. 

At settler rally, Hebron rabbi calls Obama racist
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A rabbi from the illegal settlement Kiryat Arba called US President Barack Obama a racist during a rally on Monday, the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday. "Obama is a racist," said Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, who heads the Nir yeshiva at the settlement, while addressing a pro-settler rally in Jerusalem's Paris Square on Monday. The demonstration was in response to US demands that Israel stop building in occupied East Jerusalem. "How dare he [Obama] tell the Jews where they can or can't live? "he added at the protest organized by the Yesha Council of settlements, which announced earlier this week it would set up 11 new West Bank outposts in defiance of both the US and Israel. Some 1,500 Israeli settlers, right-wing activists and members of the Knesset attended the rally on Monday, during which crowds reportedly carrying. . . 

Gaza: Two crossing points operational on Tuesday
7/28/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities said they would open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings into Gaza on Tuesday, according to Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh. Humanitarian aid, cooking gas and industrial diesel will all be allowed to enter the besieged coastal strip including 54-64 truckloads of humanitarian aid through Kerem Shalom, and cooking gas and industrial guel for Gaza's only power plant through the Nahal Oz crossing. Fattouh added that the Karni crossing will remain closed. A limited amount of diesel and benzene for use in civilian cars was purchased from Israel and allowed in Monday, the first time since October 2008 that such a transfer was permitted, an official said. Mahmoud Al-Khizindar, deputy chairman of the Union of Gas Station Owners, said Israeli authorities had requested information on needed quantities of diesel and benzene, and that. . . 

500 balloons launched from Ramallah in honor of child prisoners
7/28/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Balloons representing the nearly 350 minors being kept in Israeli prisons were released during a demonstration in Ramallah on Tuesday Each carried the name of a current or former child prisoner detained by Israeli forces. The 500 green, red, black and white balloons were released from the Al-Manara circle in the center of Ramallah in a protest organized by the families of prisoners. Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of the detained minors held pictures of their loved ones. One mother, Um Muhammad, said she had not seen her son for more than two years because Israeli security refused her permission to travel and visit the detention facility. Another mother, Umm Ibrahim, said she had been able to visit her son, but found the experience horrifying, "We are insulted and humiliated by Israeli soldiers and inspectors during visits to prison, and sometimes they deny us access arbitrarily," she said. 

Pine falls at Al-Aqsa; committee says Israeli excavations at fault
7/28/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Palestinians accused Israeli excavations beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound of being behind the fall of a very old tree Tuesday morning on the edges of the Noble Sanctuary. The fall of the near-ancient pine rooted near Qaytbay alley near the Cotton Market will be investigated by a committee, formed by the General Director of Jerusalem endowment office. The office said several trees have died and toppled following excavations that killed their root-systems that ran beneath the mosque and its compound where Israeli excavators are digging. 

Civilian home in Beit Lahiya bombed; internal forces suspected
7/28/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A locally made explosive device detonated in front of a civilian home in Beit Lahiya in the northern Strip Tuesday, causing material damages to the building and a car but no injuries. Locals said the blast went off at 1:15am in front of the home of Khader Karmoot. De facto government police and security were at the scene shortly after the explosion, but would not say what was detonated, by who or why. They said an investigation was initiated. Before the Israeli war on Gaza a series of cafes, salons and CD/DVDshops were targeted by groups allegedly wishing to enforce fundamentalist Islamic norms in Gaza. The most recent explosion targeted the wedding party of a Fatah-affiliated family, the Dahlans, in the northern Strip last week. 

Gaza factions claim two attacks on invading Israeli patrols
7/28/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Gaza militants claim two attacks on Israeli forces early Tuesday morning and another in the afternoon, allegedly injuring one. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)'s military wing the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades claimed to have shot an Israeli soldier when armored vehicles entered the Ash-Shuhada cemetery east of Gaza City Tuesday. The brigades said in a statement that they shot at a soldier standing near a bulldozer on its way into the cemetery. Earlier in the day the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, said they launched a rocket propelled grenade at Israeli patrols that entered into Gazan territory east of the Jabaliya Refugee Camp. Israeli military spokespeople confirmed the launch of a mortar shell in the north-eastern Strip, noting the projectile landed "inside the fence. 

US says American-based cell plotted attacks inside Israel
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Six American men and one Kosovo national were arrested on Monday in the US state of North Carolina on charges they were plotting attacks inside Israel, according to a federal indictment. Authorities charged the men with "conspiring to provide support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people abroad," the Raleigh, NC-based News & Observer reported Monday evening. The men had visited Israel in 2007, where attacks they allegedly planned there failed, the FBI said. Other locales visited for either training or operations reportedly included Pakistan, Jordan, Gaza and Kosovo. The defendants were identified as Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, who is considered the ringleader and allegedly fought with Afghans against the Soviets, as well as his two sons, Zakariya Boyd, 20, and Dylan Boyd, 22. 

UN, 25 NGOs call on Israel to end Gaza blockade
7/28/2009 - The UN Humanitarian Coordinator Philippe Lazzarini and a coalition of 25 international NGOs demanded Israel allow "full and unfettered access into and out of Gaza" so institutions can "restore the Gazan educational system" before the school year starts in September. The call was issued on Tuesday, and included a reminder of Israeli damage to Gaza's educational infrastructure during the war. The list included: -18 schools were completely destroyed, - at least 280 schools were damaged, - none of these schools have been properly rebuilt or rehabilitated due to lack of construction materials, - Since the imposition of the blockade, students have faced chronic shortages of educational supplies including textbooks, paper and uniforms. The appeal said the Israeli war and siege caused a "crisis of human dignity" in Gaza. 

Allenby extends daily operating hours to midnight
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel agreed to extend the opening hours of the Allenby Bridge for passengers and goods until midnight starting 4 August, according to Hussein Ash-Sheikh, director of the civil affairs department. Ash-Sheikh explained on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority had requested that Israel extend the operating hours to help West Bank Palestinians travel abroad via Jordan, as Israel banned Palestinians from using Ben Gurion International Airport. The Allenby Bridge is the only international border crossing available to Palestinians from the West Bank, who refer to it as Al-Karameh. Located five kilometers east of Jericho, the bridge spans the ancient River Jordan. PA crossings director Nathmi Muhanna said Prime Minister Salam Fayyad issued directives for the Palestinian side of the border to open up through midnight, as well, in coordination with Israel's post at the Jordan River. 

Swiss ambassador to UN calls for panel on Gaza reconstruction
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Switzerland requested the UN create a panel to oversee the construction of the Gaza Strip, the country's representative to the international body said Monday. Swiss Ambassador Peter Maurer addressed the request to an open meeting of the UN Security Council and called on the institution to establish a mechanism to guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid. He also suggested that under the UN umbrella, Israel would have to allow access of reconstruction materials into the Strip. Following the call Maurer reasserted the nation's call for a freeze in Israeli settlement construction and condemnation of Israeli plans to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey will discuss Switzerland's proposals for the Middle East with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday, according to the Swiss news agency. 

Hamas: PA arrested three West Bank members
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas said on Tuesday that Palestinian Authority security forces arrested three of its members in the West Bank. The affiliates were seized in Tulkarem and Jericho, according to a statement from the Islamic movement. The accusation came the same day Hamas reiterated its demand that PA forces stop politically motivated arrests before it would allow Fatah affiliates to leave Gaza for an upcoming conference in Bethlehem. The sixth Fatah conference is scheduled to start on 4 August, but Hamas has not confirmed whether it would allow Fatah members living in Gaza to exit the Strip, which the Hamas-backed de facto government has controlled since 2007. On Tuesday Fatah's official spokesman, Ahmad Abdul Rahman, called on Hamas not to obstruct Fatah's members. The Fatah-affiliated PA has for months adamantly insisted its forces do not arrest Palestinians based on their political affiliations. 

De facto government accuses PA of issuing forged passports
7/28/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The passport department of the Hamas-run de facto government in the Gaza Strip accused the Palestinian Authority of issuing forged passports in a Tuesday statement. According to the release, special computer software in Gaza identified the forged passports, all issued by the Ramallah-based government. The statement called on all human rights organizations to be aware of these forged passports which harm the reputation of Palestinian travel documents. It also called on the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to show respect for the law. [end] 

PA okays 2 million for Arafat museum plans
7/28/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority will find the building of a museum dedicated to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the cabinet decided Monday. The PA will assume the costs of construction and operations of the new museum, which will play home to documents and artifacts from the history of the Palestinian National Movement, including many articles that belonged to Arafat. The collection will take the form of a retrospective on Arafat's life, and has a budget of 2 million US dollars for its first phase. Palestinian architect called Ja'far Tuqan is set to design the building. Also on the agenda of the weekly cabinet meeting was the financial crisis of the Palestinian National Authority (or PA) and issues around some donor countries, including Arab and western states, not yet fulfilling their pledges. 

Fayyad praises efforts of Jerusalem Encyclopedia Project team
7/28/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Fayyad pledged his continued support to The Jerusalem Encyclopedia Project, launched earlier this year with the support of the Ministry of Information, the Palestinian Prime Minister reiterated Tuesday. The encyclopedia is a collaborative project with partners from diverse Palestinian factions, universities, research foundations and independent academics. The project has planned four volumes of the reference work, for information on History and Geography; Culture, Heritage, and Architecture; Jerusalem Under Israeli Occupation; and, Attempts to Change the City's Identity. Each section will also include articles on Jerusalem's outstanding figures, international and regional resolutions related to Jerusalem, and a bibliography cataloguing writings and books about the city. The project is overseen by undersecretary of the Palestinian information ministry Taha. . . 

Youth summer camp in Gaza organized by the Hamas party
7/28/2009 - Palestinian children take part in a summer camp organized by Hamas at the Palestine stadium in Gaza City, 27 July 2009. The summer camp is open to all boys, and is described as functioning like a Boy Scout camp. Summer camps teach youth valuable skills, but are there disadvantages to affiliating them with political movements so young? On the other hand, if UNRWA camps are full, is there any other choice? [end] 

Halhoul to host prestigious horse show
7/28/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Halhoul municipality will host the Khalil Ar-Rahman Horse Show Friday, with entries from Palestinians across Israel and the West Bank and prizes worth more than 5,000 US dollars. The show's judges travelled from Holland to take part in the competition, and will judge the purebred Arabian horses on performance and training in several tasks. The competition will be held in the Halhoul playground, under the patronage of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "With entries from Haifa, Lod, Umm Al-Fahem, Beerhseva and across the West Bank," organizer Obeida Al-Muhtaseb said, "the competition is sure to be top notch. " Organizers have invited locals to participate as spectators, and promised a beautiful show. Prizes for first and second place are 1,500 US dollars while third and fourth place will be awarded 1,000 US dollars. 

Football star Ronaldo cast in Palestinian film
7/28/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Brazilian footballer Ronaldo will participate in a film about a Palestinian fan who was killed by a land mine before she could fulfill her dream of meeting him, his club said on Sunday. "[Ronaldo] confirmed that he made an agreement with the Iranian director to make the film in the Palestinian territories," Reuters quoted a spokesman for the Brazilian club Corinthians as saying. The untitled film is based on the true story of a young Palestinian girl who played soccer and idolized Ronaldo. The daughter of 1948 refugees died after losing a leg when she stepped on a land mine in southern Lebanon. The film's producers said they hope to film it in the Middle East, and Ronaldo's appearance will be shot while in the region for a friendly between his team and Flamengo at a Palestinian venue on 15 September. 

The National

Palestinians feel insecure in Jordan
28 Jul 2009 - Recent measures to revoke the citizenship of hundreds of Jordanians of Palestinian origin is creating a state of panic and confusion among people who fear they will be deported and left stateless.

Rival Lebanese factions close to an agreement on cabinet
28 Jul 2009 - Lebanon's political divisions appeared to take a step closer to healing yesterday as the incoming majority alliance that won June's parliamentary elections forged a compromise with the Hizbollah-led opposition on the make-up of the new cabinet.

US envoys in Israel to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions
27 Jul 2009 - The US secretary of defence arrives in Israel to try to narrow differences with the US ally on an approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear programme.

Settlement deal will likely test all sides
27 Jul 2009 - Media reports suggest Israel and America are close to an agreement that may dash hopes for renewed peace negotiations.


Iran releases detained protesters
28 Jul 2009 - Authorities free 140 people detained during demonstrations against disputed election.

Egypt shuns pressure in Nile talks
28 Jul 2009 - Cairo insists on retaining rights to Nile river in talks over water sharing.

Palestine News Network

Public officials condemn attack on Constantine Dabbagh
27 Jul 2009 - Gaza/PNN – Public officials are condemning last week’s violent attack on Constantine Dabbagh, which is the latest in a series of assaults on the small Christian community in the Gaza Strip.Dabbagh, a Christian, is executive secretary of the Near East Council of Churches. He filed a criminal complaint stating that three masked men broke into his home in the western suburbs of...

Invading settlers evacuated from Sheikh Jarrah house ahead of court hearing
27 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem/PNN - Police have “temporarily” removed settlers from a seized home in Sheikh Jarrah amid protests by locals and international activists.The home was invaded yesterday by setters who claim to have ownership of the land, despite the original occupant having documents proving otherwise. A court hearing is due to take place today to settle the dispute.Protestors surrounded the home chanting “open up,...

Blasts in Balata camp during dawn invasion by occupation troops
27 Jul 2009 - Nablus/PNN - Several homes have been bombed by the occupation in a dawn raid on Balata refugee camp.Witnesses reported an incursion by dozens of military vehicles in the early hours of this morning. Bombs were set in the doorways of homes near the camp’s clinic, blowing out doors and destroying the facades of neighbouring houses.There were no reported injuries or arrests.Balata refugee...

U.S. proposes 18-month negotiation plan, but Israeli settlements may make the task impossible
27 Jul 2009 - Ramallah/PNN – In an attempt to resume peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is meeting with several leaders in the region. But his efforts will be futile without a stop to Israeli settlements, according to sources close to Abbas. In several meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Mitchell acknowledged that the...

Deteriorating conditions throughout Israeli prison system, serious violations in Al Naqab
27 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – For prisoner Akram Abdul-Aziz Mansour a life sentence in prison may not take much longer to complete. He is one of hundreds of Palestinian political prisoners who the Israeli administration refuses to treat despite illness. Mansour is a detainee in the Israeli desert prison of Al Naqab where he and several others met with a Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer...

Settler numbers mount to 300,000 while claims of "natural growth" are proven false, ...
27 Jul 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN - With the number of settlers in the West Bank hitting 300,000 for the first time, the population is escalating far faster than can be explained by what the Israelis would like to suggest is “natural growth.” And the population is expected to take an even steeper jump in the second half of this year, including 11 new outposts to...

First young diabetes patient in Palestine receives insulin pump
27 Jul 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Life will never be the same for young Tema Gibran, a Palestinian child suffering from diabetes. She has been given the chance to live a more normal childhood, thanks to a small life-saving device.Tema is the first child in Palestine to receive an insulin pump, which monitors her levels and gives injections as needed.The pump, provided by Danish development...


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

EGYPT: Bloggers Fly Into Security Trap 
CAIRO, Jul 28 (IPS) - Cairo's airport has been unusually busy the past month as Egypt's security apparatus steps up its campaign against online political activists.

LEBANON: No Law for Detained Palestinians 
BEIRUT, Jul 28 (IPS) - Palestinian refugee Youssef Shaaban was released from prison early this month - after serving 16 years in a Lebanese prison for a crime he did not commit.

MIDEAST: Building Peace on an Incomplete Wall 
JERUSALEM, Jul 27 (IPS) - Beneath the towering eight-metre concrete slabs, an army jeep patrols the Israeli side of the 'security wall' that cuts through Palestinian territory, dividing the occupied West Bank from Israel.

EGYPT: Disputes Rise Over Quotas for Women MPs 
CAIRO, Jul 27 (IPS) - Disputes have arisen over new legislation setting a quota for female representatives in parliament. Spokesmen for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Hosni Mubarak describe the quotas as a milestone for women's rights, but some critics say the move threatens to create more...

Stop The Wall

Weekly protests met with tear gas
28 Jul 2009 - Protests in Ni'lin and Bil'in were met with volleys of tear gas and sound bombs as they approached the Wall this past Friday. In Bil'in, soldiers fired on the march after a protestor threw a football over the fence. In al-Ma'sara, Occupation forces blocked the march from reaching village land. [

Youth to mobilise in the north
28 Jul 2009 - A conference, entitled “The Role of Youth in the Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement” saw lively and productive discussion from dozens of young activists from Tulkarm, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilia, Jayyous, Tubas and Salfit. Youth gathered and discussed their role in grassroots resistance, BDS and normalisation, occupation, and the difficulties specific to the younger generations. Following the conference, it was decided that youth committees would be formed in seven areas in the north of the West Bank following a successful conference. [

PCHR Latest

Decision to Impose Traditional Robes and Veils on Female Lawyers in Gaza Is Illegal

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

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

Remembering Rachel, and resisting without despair
International Solidarity Movement - Daily Kos, 26 July 2009 - The screening of ‘Rachel' yesterday at the SF Jewish Film festival, and to say the least, it was a truly emotional moment for many people, and for many reasons. Of course there is the ‘controversy' (can I say how much I like the alternative pronunciation of this word? ) which has been diaried, but I'd like to discuss other feelings and thoughts this film brought up, with me, with friends, and so forth. The film takes on the subject of Rachel Corrie in a very clinical way, in terms of its analytical structure. It asks some basic questions, and delves into resolving them by interviewing the people involved, and filming the places where events took place, as well as incorporating pictures and video of the events in question. This is done very thoroughly, and with the filmmaker (Simone Bitton) staying off camera, although we hear her questions from interview to interview. 

UN: Israel must allow building supplies to Gaza
International Solidarity Movement - Associated Press, 28 July 2009 - U. N. agencies and two dozen international aid groups urged Israel on Tuesday to lift its blockade of Gaza or at least allow in construction materials to repair war-damaged schools. Out of Gaza's 640 schools, 18 were flattened and 280 suffered some damage during Israel's three-week offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers seven months ago, the groups said in a statement. Since the war, Israel has refused to allow construction materials into Gaza, arguing that Hamas could divert iron rods and concrete to build rockets and bunkers. Both Israel and Egypt have kept Gaza's borders largely closed since the Islamic militant Hamas seized control of the territory by force more than two years ago. The border blockade and the war have further burdened Gaza's education system, which even before the Hamas takeover suffered from serious overcrowding. 

Norway examines the ethics of its Israel investments
International Solidarity Movement - Amira Hass, Ha'aretz , 28 July 2009 - Norway is reexamining its investments in several Israeli companies, in particular Elbit Systems. Two representatives of the Council on Ethics of the Norwegian finance ministry visited Israel at the beginning of June, in the wake of growing criticism of Israel in Norway in the months following last winter's Israeli offensive in Gaza. The representatives met with, among others, groups of Palestinians and Israelis who claim that Norway invests in businesses directly involved in the Israeli occupation, which, they say, contradicts its commitment to abide by international law and to a just solution for the area. The Council on Ethics was established to insure that foreign investments by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Global meet its ethical guidelines. At the end of 2008, the fund was invested in about 8,000 international companies, to the tune of 2,275. . . 

Protest over Sheikh Jarrah house continues
International Solidarity Movement - The Jerusalem Post, 27 July 2009 - A woman was arrested in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Monday evening, after a scuffle broke out between police and foreign left-wing activists who were protesting the entry of Jews into a nearby home the previous day. The house is the subject of a legal dispute in which the Jewish claimants, who say they purchased the property legally, have been granted the right to enter the premises, although a stop work order had been issued for the property and was scheduled to take effect at 5 p. m. on Tuesday. Sheikh Jarrah residents, however, said on Monday that the home had belonged to an elderly woman, Mrs. Hijazi, who had recently passed away, and that the Jewish claimants had falsified their ownership papers for the house. "We have papers dating back to the Turkish government that show this home to be Palestinian property," said. . . 

Five years after ICJ ruling, Israel expands its illegal Wall onto more Palestinian land
International Solidarity Movement - Ben White, Media Monitors Network, 28 July 2009 - "The wall has changed not just the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, but also the dynamic of the Palestinian struggle. The reality created inside the occupied territories (a process begun during the Oslo accords) by Israel's colonies, Areas A/B/C zoning, the permit system, separate roads–and now the wall–has led to the creation of a Palestinian enclave-state in waiting, and thus the death of a genuine "two-state solution. " Five years ago this July, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague handed down its advisory opinion on Israel's separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories (see p. 32). Both the Israeli government and the Palestinians had been preparing for the decision since December 2003, when the U. N. General Assembly passed a resolution requesting an ICJ advisory opinion. 

Sheikh Jarrah demonstrates against settler takeover and demolition
International Solidarity Movement - At 4pm today Sheikh Jarrah demonstrated against the Israeli settler takeover and partial demolition of the Darwish Hijazi home yesterday. The day began with a meeting held in Sheikh Jarrah's Um Kamal protest tent, which has become a powerful symbol of Palestinian steadfastness in face of the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, and international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) heard moving stories from local residents whose houses are under threat of demolition. From there, around 30 demonstrators accompanied by HRWs marched on the Hijazi house to find Israeli settlers on the stolen land. The protesters attempted to gain access to the property, only to be initially denied by settler security and Israeli police, and then a large deployment of Israeli Police and Border Police. The protesters remained at the site, chanting and demanding the settlers leave the property. The Border police later began to attack the crowd, pushing and kicking protesters as they lay on the ground. One Palestinian woman was arrested. 

Israel pays NIS 3.25 million to protester shot by Border Police
International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz, 28 July 2009 - The Defense Ministry has recently paid NIS 3. 25 million in compensation to Limor Goldstein, 31, who was shot in the head by Border Policemen during an anti-separation fence protest in the West Bank town of Bil'in in 2006. Goldstein filed a lawsuit against the state over disabilities incurred when a rubber bullet pierced his brain and traveled to his eye socket, his neck and his shoulder. The lawsuit ended in a deal between the complainant and the state, which was authorized by the Tel Aviv district court. Under the terms of the deal, the state would pay Goldstein NIS 3. 25 million while refraining from admitting any responsibility for the event or mentioning the extent of the damage, while Goldstein would be forbidden from filing any lawsuits on the matter in the future. In the lawsuit, filed in 2007, Goldstein argued that he had suffered physical,. . . 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Israel might talk with Lebanon by reviving 1949 armistice commission
28 Jul 2009 - Israel is considering negotiating with Lebanon by reestablishing one of the 1949 armistice commissions that ended Israel's War of Independence. ... 

It's a sorry plight to be a citizen in many Arab states
28 Jul 2009 - It's not easy living in an Arab state. Egyptians stay away from government hospitals; illiteracy among women in some countries can top 50 percent A new United Nations report presents a bleak and sometimes scary picture of a citizen's life in the Arab countries. One out of every five people in the region lives on less than $2 a day; the illiteracy rates are very high; and, for the most part, public health services cannot be relied on at all. ... 

Obama begins pressuring Arab leaders on deal with Israel
28 Jul 2009 - WASHINGTON - Freezing the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank was once seen as a unilateral Israeli obligation. But the Obama administration is now treating this as part of a package that will require concessions from Arab states as well. ... 

The world smiles on Obama, but not Israel
28 Jul 2009 - Israel alone in a poll of 25 nations has decreased its approval of the United States since President Barack Obama took office earlier this year, according to a recent survey. ... 

Israel, U.S. claim 'progress' in settlement dispute
27 Jul 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the top U.S. Mideast envoy said they made progress Tuesday on their dispute over West Bank settlements, but offered no sign of a breakthrough at a meeting in Jerusalem. ...

The Guardian

Militant Jewish settlers set up outposts in the occupied West Bank
28 Jul 2009 - Defying calls from the US to freeze settlements, young Israelis set up tents and huts on hilltops Israeli settler groups have set up 11 new outposts in the occupied West Bank, in a direct rebuttal of...

The self-righteous left's simplistic world | Carlo Strenger
28 Jul 2009 - Gal Wettstein invokes the smug left on censorship in Israel. Democracy there is healthier than in most Middle Eastern states There is a phenomenon, the self-righteous left, which lives in a simple black-and-white universe, governed by...

The US peace team Obama sent to Israel
27 Jul 2009 - Robert Gates, defence secretary Gates worked for 26 years at the CIA, and nine years as a member of the national security council. A career intelligence officer, Gates was the first person to rise from entry...

Militant group issues threat over mockery in Bruno film
27 Jul 2009 - A Palestinian militant organisation that was ridiculed in the new Sacha Baron Cohen film has threatened to "respond in the way we find suitable" against the London-born satirist. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of...

Ha'aretz National page

Palestinian group threatens 'Bruno' star Sacha Baron Cohen
28 Jul 2009 - The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of the ruling Fatah movement in the West Bank, is threatening a "suitable" response to its inclusion in Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy, "Bruno." ...

All your biometric information will soon be public domain
28 Jul 2009 - On Tuesday the government presented a solution dating from the Stone Age, technologically speaking, as a panacea for the problems created by the biometric database law. It's another stage in the government's method of coping with the howls of outrage aroused by the law: Band-aids on top of Band-aids. ... 

First Arab woman undercover cop nabs 31 drug, arms dealers 
28 Jul 2009 - Yasmin Melsha went to bed last night knowing she could sleep well. She had just told her father and her brother that she had spent the past five months as an undercover police officer, and had brought about the arrests of 31 drug and weapons traffickers in an operation Monday night. ... 

Relief Web

Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/64/77-E/2009/13)
28 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Economic and Social Council, UN General Assembly

OPT: US envoy meets Israeli PM in Mideast peace drive
28 Jul 2009 - Source: Agence France-Presse

UN Media Seminar on Middle East Peace is opportunity for journalists to convey positive message to peoples on both sides of region's broadest divide
28 Jul 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

YNet News

4 years since pullout: Evacuees want to return to Gush Katif
28 Jul 2009 - 'Bring the people of Israel back to Gush Katif' rally held near Kissufim crossing; former settlers bemoan Israeli unilateral withdrawal from Strip, say 'abandoned' by State 

Netanyahu: Palestinians will eventually topple Hamas 
28 Jul 2009 - PM tells National Security Academy graduates 'radical Islam will be defeated by global information revolution, but this may be delayed by nuclear armament'; reiterates demand that future Palestinian state be demilitarized 

US seeks sanctions waivers for exports to Syria
28 Jul 2009 - State Department spokesman says Mideast envoy Mitchell informed Assad Washington will seek sanction waivers to export aircraft, additional equipment to Damascus, but other officials say move does not indicate easing of sanctions imposed in 2004 

1 US terror suspect still sought
28 Jul 2009 - Investigators arrest seven men involved in group that plotted 'violent jihad' abroad, including Tel Aviv; another American still at large, but authorities 'hope to have him apprehended shortly' 

UN calls on Israel to allow Gaza schools to rebuild
28 Jul 2009 - Humanitarian coordinator Lazzarini urges Jerusalem to allow construction materials into coastal enclave, says blockade caused 'untold suffering to Palestinian children, who face another academic year in terrible conditions' 

Report: Lebanese, IDF forces deploy along border 
28 Jul 2009 - Beirut news agencies say armored personnel carriers deployed along southern border; country's military claims Israeli warplanes violated airspace. IDF chief: No winds of war 

Daily Star

Mitchell, Netanyahu upbeat despite rift on settlements
29 Jul 2009 - US envoy George Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not agree on a Jewish settlement freeze in talks on Tuesday but said negotiations were advancing. “We are making progress,” Netanyahu told Israel Army Radio. “I think we held a very important and productive talk and we will continue.

Iran frees 140 vote protestors, orders detention center closed
29 Jul 2009 - Iranian authorities on Tuesday freed 140 people detained in street protests over last month’s disputed election and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted them all released soon. In what was seen as a gesture to the opposition campaigning against Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

UN agencies urge Israel to allow building supplies into Gaza to rebuild schools
29 Jul 2009 - UN agencies and two dozen international aid groups urged Israel on Tuesday to lift its blockade of Gaza or at least allow in construction materials to repair war-damaged schools. Out of the Gaza Strip’s 640 schools, 18 were flattened and 280 suffered some damage during Israel’s three-week war on the coastal territory seven months ago.

Clinton expected to meet transitional Somali president
29 Jul 2009 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to meet the president of Somalia’s transitional government during a seven-nation trip to Africa next week, the State Department said on Monday. Clinton will become the highest-ranking US official to meet Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmad, signaling the Obama administration’s strong wish to bolster.

Hamas dress code aims to make Gaza more Islamic
29 Jul 2009 - Police order a lingerie shop to hide its scantily clad mannequins. A judge warns female lawyers to wear headscarves in court. Beach patrols break up groups of singles and make men wear shirts. It’s all part of a new Hamas campaign to get Gazans to adhere to a strict Muslim lifestyle – and the first clear attempt by the group to go beyond benign persuasion in doing so.

Palestinian Information Center

Hamas slams Fatah for disclaiming responsibility for its militias’ crimes
29 Jul 2009 - Hamas strongly denounced Fatah for repudiating its responsibility for the crimes committed by its militias in the West Bank and trying to portray that these militias are only controlled by Fayyad.

Interior ministry: Ramallah authority issued forged passports
29 Jul 2009 - The general department for passports in the Gaza strip has revealed that many passports issued by the Ramallah authority were forged or carried repeated numbers.

MP Mousa: American administration offers nothing new
29 Jul 2009 - Hamas MP Yehya Mousa has belittled the importance of the new American administration's policy in the Middle East, adding that it did not add any new qualitative change in its positions.

European campaign hails house of commons for slamming Israeli siege on Gaza
29 Jul 2009 - The European campaign for ending the siege welcomed the report issued by the committee on foreign relations in the British house of commons which condemned Israel for imposing a blockade on Gaza.

IOF troops kidnap 200 workers, blast Palestinian homes
29 Jul 2009 - IOF launched a large-scale search campaign in the village of Barta'a, Jenin district, at a late hour on Monday and rounded up more than 200 workers before leaving the village at dawn Tuesday.

Palestinian health minister meets with American-British delegation in Gaza
29 Jul 2009 - Minister of health Bassem Naim met on Sunday with foreign officials from the American center for humanitarian dialog and the international foundation for development projects based in Britain.

Ex-prisoner dies in tunnel collapse
29 Jul 2009 - Medical and civil defense rescue teams on Tuesday retrieved the body of a Palestinian man who died in the collapse of a tunnel on the Egyptian-Palestinian borders in Rafah.

Israeli occupation police assault, detain chairwoman of studies center
29 Jul 2009 - Israeli occupation policemen on Monday evening kidnapped Huda Al-Imam the chairwoman of the Quds center for studies after assaulting her and breaking her arm.

Resheq: Hamas has two demands in return for letting Fatah leaders go to W. Bank
29 Jul 2009 - Ezzat Al-Resheq stated that Hamas does not wish to prevent Fatah leaders from participating in their sixth conference, but it has two just demands that must be met by the Palestinian authority.

Jewish settlers perform rituals in Aqsa Mosque
29 Jul 2009 - The Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage said that a group of Jewish extremists stormed the Aqsa Mosque and preformed bizarre rituals for half an hour at the closed triple door.

Los Angeles Times

Iran hard-liners warn Ahmadinejad he could be deposed 
29 Jul 2009 - The warning over the president's defiant actions highlights the rift among Iran's conservatives. Meanwhile, the government denies a request for a rally by Mousavi's supporters. Political hard-liners warned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday that he could be deposed like past Iranian leaders if he continued to defy the country's supreme religious leader. 

Iran opposition leader calls for more street protests 
28 Jul 2009 - In a provocative move, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who lost to Ahmadinejad in a controversial election, asks his supporters to flood Tehran during a festival next week. Iran's leading opposition figure called on his supporters Monday to head into the streets daily during a religious festival next week, potentially escalating tensions at a time when his election rival, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to be sworn in for a second term. 

Gates' Israel visit aims to ease tensions over Iran 
28 Jul 2009 - The U.S. Defense secretary says the Obama administration is ready to press for tougher sanctions if diplomacy fails to halt Tehran's nuclear progress. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates promised Israeli leaders Monday that American overtures to Iran are "not open-ended" and said the Obama administration is ready to press for tougher economic sanctions if diplomacy fails to halt what the two allies say is Iran's progress toward building a nuclear weapon. 

New York Times

Iran to Release Some Detained in Election Crackdown
28 Jul 2009 - Iran said that it would release 140 of the hundreds of people detained in the crackdown that followed the disputed election. 

Unsettled: In West Bank Settlements, Sign of Hope for a Deal
27 Jul 2009 - Two growing ultra-Orthodox settlements offer the surprising potential for Israeli compromise with the Palestinians. 

Gates Says U.S. Overture to Iran Is ‘Not Open-Ended’
27 Jul 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s comment came as the Israeli defense minister expressed impatience that the United States was willing to talk to Iran at all. 


Militant Jewish settlers set up 11 outposts in the occupied West Bank 
The Guardian - 28 July, Rachel Shabi in Tel Aviv - Defying calls from the US to freeze settlements, young Israelis set up tents and huts on hilltops - Israeli settler groups have set up 11 new outposts in the occupied West Bank, in a direct rebuttal of mounting US calls to freeze settlement activity. Young Jewish groups are reported to have set up the structures – mostly tents and huts on hilltops – in the West Bank over Monday night, in a move timed as a precursor to the meeting between the US special envoy, George Mitchell, and Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu today. On Monday, hundreds of settlers set up an outpost near the Palestinian village of Tulkarem, reportedly without intervention from the Israeli army. Settler groups said they were mimicking the fabled activities of 1946, when the area was ruled by British mandate and 11 Jewish outposts were defiantly erected in the Negev desert during one night. 

Israeli Government Atttempts to Stop Foreign Funding of Breaking The Silence 
Alternative Information Center - July 27, 2009, The Alternative Information Center (AIC) - In reaction to a recent report by Breaking the Silence, containing testimonies of Israeli soldiers, discussing possible Israeli military violations of international law during the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, it was reported that the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands met with the director general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, demanding that the Dutch government reevaluate its funding of the organization. However, according to the Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies that Israel has complained. There is therefore no reason for public subsidy to stop. "This fits into the human rights policy, a priority of Minister Verhagen. Founded in 2004 to expose Israeli society to the experiences of soldiers who have served in Gaza and the West Bank, and to widen the continuum of conversation 

Israel: Iran the biggest supporter of terrorism 
Ha'aretz - 727/2009 - Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev on Monday called Iran the biggest supporter of terrorism because of the money, support, and training the Islamic Republic gives to terror organizations in the Gaza Strip and South Lebanon. Shalev added that the Islamic Republic's nuclear program and its support of terrorism pose a threat to the entire Middle East. Shalev's comments came during a special UN Security Council session held to discuss the situation in the Middle East, in which she also called on the international community to take serious, immediate action to put a stop to Iran's nuclear program and support of terrorism. Shalev also accused Iran of being responsible for the sabotage of the peace process. 

Gates in plea to Israel for ’patience’ over Iran 
The Independent - 28 July - US fears Israel may take military action over Iran's nuclear programme - The United States has once more urged Israel to remain patient as it attempts to reignite fizzled diplomatic contacts with Iran over its nuclear enrichment programme while indicating that the window for Tehran to respond would not remain open for ever. The message, which betrays renewed anxiety in Washington that Israel may be tempted to take military action, was carried to Jerusalem yesterday by the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, who held talks on regional security with his counterpart Ehud Barak and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. For their part, the Israeli officials did little to hide their impatience with the diplomatic track apparently still preferred by Mr Gates and by his boss, President Barack Obama. " I don't think that it makes any sense at this stage to talk a lot about it," 

U.S. envoy sees progress with Israel on peace push 
Reuters - Jul 28 - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U. S. envoy George Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not agree on a Jewish settlement freeze in talks Tuesday but said negotiations were advancing. " We are making progress," Netanyahu told reporters. " I think we held a very important and productive talk and we will continue with the effort which, I believe, in the end will succeed in advancing peace and security between us and our Palestinian neighbors and the region in general. " After more than two hours of talks with Netanyahu, Mitchell told reporters: "We have made good progress. " Mitchell said he looked forward to continuing discussions with Netanyahu and moving toward a "comprehensive peace" envisioned by U. S. President Barack Obama. He did not say when he would next meet the Israeli leader. Obama's demand, in line with a 2003 peace plan, to freeze Israeli settlement in the 

Europeans funding ’Breaking the Silence’ 
Jerusalem Post - Jul 17 - A day after releasing a damning report on Operation Cast Lead, and amid accusations that it is operating without transparency, the group Breaking the Silence on Thursday presented The Jerusalem Post with its donor list for the year 2008, which included several European governments. On Wednesday, Breaking the Silence released a report including testimonies from 26 unnamed soldiers who participated in the campaign and which claimed that the IDF used Gazans as human shields, improperly fired incendiary white phosphorous shells over civilian areas and used overwhelming firepower that caused needless deaths and destruction. On Thursday, military sources and NGO Monitor - a Jerusalem-based research organization - raised suspicions regarding Breaking the Silence's setup as a nonprofit limited company and not an amuta, or nonprofit organization. 

’FBI sting was a case of anti-Semitism’ 
Jerusalem Post - Jul 27 - Anti-Semitism was behind the highly publicized arrests last week of rabbis, including three from the Aleppo-Syrian Jewish community in New York and New Jersey, according to Yitzhak Kakun, editor-in-chief of the Shas weekly Yom Le'Yom. "There is a feeling here that the FBI purposely attempted to arrest as many rabbis as possible at once in an attempt to humiliate them," Kakun said in a telephone interview Sunday. " Regardless of the details of the case - I am not familiar with the precise charges and the evidence - you would never see the FBI and police behaving that way with Muslim sheikhs or Christian priests. It is so obvious that the whole thing is motivated by anti-Semitism," he said. Kakun added that he planned on devoting the editorial of his paper to an attack on the Obama administration for attempting to whip up anti-Semitic feelings against the Orthodox Jewish community in the U. 

Israeli Wall Bound to Become an Issue Again - July 28 - JERUSALEM – Beneath the towering eight-meter concrete slabs, an army jeep patrols the Israeli side of the "security wall" that cuts through Palestinian territory, dividing the occupied West Bank from Israel. Suddenly, a soccer ball flies over the wall and lands on the roof of the jeep. The soldiers kick it back. The ball comes flying back. The soldiers get on their mobile phones, and several more jeeps arrive. With women soldiers in the role of cheerleaders, a bizarre game kicks off against invisible players – presumably Palestinians on the other side of the wall. This TV ad for an Israeli cell-phone company has become the talk of the country. For all the jolly impression, Israelis are mostly oblivious to the less-than-cheerful reality on the other side of the wall. Israeli political cartoonist Amos Biderman draws starkly what his countrymen can’t see, choose not to see: in 

Massacre of Bedouin in 1918 revealed 
JTA - July 27, 2009 - SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) -- Revelations of a massacre in a Bedouin village in Palestine in 1918 has tarnished one of Australia’s greatest military victories. A new book revealed that Australians joined New Zealand soldiers in the massacre of dozens of Bedouin shortly after the end of World War I. The claim was corroborated in a audio recording of an Australian soldier, Ted O'Brien, found by Australian journalist Paul Daley at the Australian War Memorial. In his book "Beersheba," Daley recounted O’Brien’s recollection of the massacre of between 40 and 200 Bedouin residents of Surafend in 1918 in what was then Palestine. He said about 200 Australian and New Zealand troops, including some from the famed Australian Light Horse Brigades, murdered the locals. The incident, which barely rates a mention in the official record, tarnishes one of Australia’s greatest military victories 

Facebook removes Haniyeh fan site 
YNetNews - 07. 26. 09 - Friends' of Hamas prime minister enraged, Al-Hayat reports site is 'under pressure from Israel, US' - The operators of the internet site Facebook have recently removed a webpage dedicated to fans of Hamas' prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, the London-based Al-Hayat reported Sunday. The webpage, called 'Commander Ismail Haniyeh', had attracted more than 10,000 Facebook users by the time it was removed from the internet. One such user told the Arab daily that the site's operators had not provided an explanation for their action. He warned that similar action may be taken against other Hamas-affiliated Facebook webpages, including that of Hamas' politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, which has already accumulated 17,000 'friends'. Many Facebook users have protested the move by its editors by sending emails to the site's owners, demanding they restore Haniyeh's webpage 


On the Right of Resistance 
Ramzy Kysia, CounterPunch 7/27/2009
      The Siege of Gaza
     “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” - Desmond Tutu
     We live in an era defined by its brutality. Our challenge is whether to accept this - or to take the risks necessary to transform our world commons in beloved community.
     A year ago this August, forty-four ordinary people from seventeen different countries sailed to Gaza in two, small wooden boats. We did what the world would not do - we broke through the siege of Gaza. Over the last year the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven more voyages, successfully arriving to Gaza on five separate occasions. Ours remain the only international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in over forty-two years.
     In the Middle-East, the struggle for justice is an uncertain endeavour in the best of times. On all sides human rights workers are beset with difficulties and distress. The Arab states are tyrannies, their peoples subject to secret police, arbitrary arrest, torture, and oppression. Within their societies, the Arab world is equally fractured by ethnic and class tensions, poverty, and political stagnation. From the outside, from the West, the Middle-East faces both open and covert acts of intimidation, intervention, economic destabilization, and even war, invasion, and mass killings.
     Standing astride all these troubles, blocking near every attempt at progress in the region are the twin colossi of big oil and Israel. Seldom have a people been cursed with burdens more bitter, more devastating, and seemingly more intransigent than have the Arabs with oil and Israel.
     Nowhere is this truer today than in Gaza. In 1999, British Gas discovered huge natural gas fields, worth billions of dollars, in Palestinian territorial waters off the coast of Gaza. Israel has already built a horizontal pipeline to siphon off gas from at least one of these fields. If there is an unspoken reason for the siege of Gaza - this is it.

Real Peace -- Or A Mirage? 
Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation 7/27/2009
      One way to keep Bibi Netanyahu from making trouble is to keep him so busy meeting US envoys and diplomats that he doesn’t have time for anything else. That appears to be President Obama’s strategy this week, since Netanyahu will be meeting with a veritable avalanche of Americans, including: George Mitchell, the US special envoy; Jim Jones, Obama’s national security adviser; Robert Gates, the holdover secretary of defense who is showing no signs that he intends to go away; and Dennis Ross, the neocon-linked NSC official whose actual job remains ever vague.
     Unless this is an covert effort to push Israeli hotel prices higher during the tourist season, the goal of the US effort seems to be to prepare Israel for what may, in fact, be a serious effort by the United States to resolve the Palestine conflict. There’ve been rumors floating that Obama may be thinking about proposing the outlines of a comprehensive US peace plan as early as this September. If so, it would be a plan that goes far beyond the nasty dispute over Jewish "settlements" -- i.e., massive, concrete and asphalt cities being built in the environs of Jerusalem and around the West Bank -- to include the elements of a final status agreement.
     Or, on the other hand, Obama can do what AIPAC wants, namely, to continue to call for endless negotiations between the two sides.
     It’s been known for many years, or decades, what that might look like: the establishment of state called Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, within borders slightly modified from the 1967 lines acceptable to both sides, with Palestine’s capital in now-occupied East Jerusalem, an accord on Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland, etc.

Electronic Intifada
Homeward bound: Gaza in 24 hours
28 Jul 2009 - As soon as I arrived home I felt a great relief, if that is the right word. I have been unable to return to Gaza before because of Israel's winter invasion and the ongoing siege. I am not sure that the word relief summarizes my intense and conflicting emotions. Mixed feelings of relief, happiness, but also disorientation continued to overwhelm me. Dr. Mona El-Farra writes from the Gaza Strip. 

Palestinians in Israel forced to study Zionist anthem
28 Jul 2009 - A leading Arab educator in Israel has denounced the decision of Gideon Saar, the education minister, to require schools to study the Israeli national anthem. Officials announced last week that they were sending out special "national anthem kits" to 8,000 schools, including those in the separate Arab education system, in time for the start of the new academic year in September. 

Lies and Israel's war crimes
28 Jul 2009 - This month marked six months since the "official" conclusion to Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip, "Operation Cast Lead." Electronic Intifada contributor Ben White looks at some of the strategies of Israel's campaign of disinformation, confusion, and lies -- and the reality of its war crimes in the Gaza Strip. 

Fatah, Hamas rule increasingly authoritarian
28 Jul 2009 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - What remains of Palestinian civil rights is rapidly being eroded by the dictatorial Palestinian governments that respectively control the divided Occupied Palestinian Territories. Palestinian civilians are paying the price as Hamas, which controls Gaza, and the PA, which rules the West Bank, continue to target their political opponents as part of their bitter power struggle. 

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
When Will Americans Come to the Aid of Palestine?
27 Jul 2009 - By Jeff Gates Unless President Barack Obama resolves to expunge 'special' from the U.S.-Israeli 'special relationship,' this entangled alliance will continue to ensure that the U.S. is portrayed as guilty by its association with Tel Aviv's thuggish behavior in Palestine and elsewhere. And by the U.S. insistence that Israel not be held accountable under international law. On July 3rd, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren claimed “Iran nuke could wipe Israel off the map in seconds.” An accurate translation reveals that what the president of Iran proposes is that Zionism be “erased from the pages of history.” But why quibble over words and their intent when Israel’s intent is to create a consensus that ensures war with Iran? Two days after Oren’s saber-rattling speech, Vice-President Joe Biden was asked in a televised interview whether the Obama Administration would restrain Israeli military action against Iran. President Obama was then out of the country. A self-proclaimed Zionist, Biden responded , “Israel can determine for itself—it’s a sovereign nation—what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.” Unfamiliar with the refrain, “loose lips sink ships,” Biden’s cavalier comment evoked memories of Vice President Dick Cheney who routinely waited until his boss was out of town to make bellicose remarks that moved the U.S. steadily closer to war in Iraq. Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, scrambled to offset the impression left by Biden’s comment. Astute strategists know it is the small impressions that, step-by-step,...

Arab Pupils Expected to Learn Zionist Song
27 Jul 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth A leading Arab educator in Israel has denounced the decision of Gideon Saar, the education minister, to require schools to study the Israeli national anthem. Officials announced last week that they were sending out special “national anthem kits” to 8,000 schools, including those in the separate Arab education system, in time for the start of the new academic year in September. The kits have been designed to be suitable for all age groups and for use across the curriculum, from civics and history classes to music and literature lessons. The anthem, known as Ha-Tikva, or The Hope, has long been unpopular with Israel’s Arab minority because its lyrics refer only to a Jewish historical connection to the land. Mr Saar’s initiative is widely seen among Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens as a further indication of the rising nationalistic tide sweeping policymakers. Last week the ministry also announced that textbooks recently issued to Arab schoolchildren would have expunged the word “nakba”, or catastrophe, to describe the Palestinians’ dispossession at Israel’s founding in 1948. Hala Espanioly, who chairs the education committee of the Arab minority’s supreme political body, the Higher Follow-Up Committee, told the Israeli news website Ynet: “If there is an attempt to force the Ha-Tikva anthem on Arab schools and Arab pupils, it will be akin to a kind of attempted rape of their identity.” The issue of the national anthem, based on a 120-year-old poem by Naftali Hertz Imber and an ancient folk melody,...

Bruno: A Glimpse into Zionism?
27 Jul 2009 - By Gilad Atzmon - London Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest invention is a grotesque Austrian gay celebrity who comes to America to try to boost the ratings of his fashion television program. Bruno is one of the most repugnant characters ever to appear on the big screen, something Baron Cohen probably takes pride in. Bruno is Cohen’s third gross character in succession. At times it seems as if Cohen is seeking pleasure in being repelling. After mimicking an ignoramus stereotype of a non-black suburban male who revels in Black and Jamaican culture (Ali G) and a Kazakh misogynist, racist buffoon and anti-Semite (Borat), Bruno can be grasped as another creative attempt to challenge the Western liberal discourse. Those who insist on approving Cohen’s intellectual aspirations argue in his favor that he manages to bring to light some of our inherent Western diseases: racism (Ali G), xenophobia (Borat) and homophobia (Bruno). I am slightly doubtful of such an interpretation of Cohen’s intellectual endeavor. None of Cohen’s protagonists can evoke empathic feelings amongst the people they harass. Instead they seem to compete amongst themselves for the ultimate Vulgar Award. Whether it is Borat, who approaches his host’s dinner table and his guests with his excrement in a plastic bag, or Bruno, who shares with us his anally intimate love games, Cohen’s protagonists are rejected for being truly and genuinely disgusting. Yes, Cohen’s characters can be entreating, they can make us laugh; yet, the fact that they are rejected contemptibly is far from...

Politicizing Faith in Egyptian Crackdown
27 Jul 2009 - By Ali Jawad For analysts and observers of Middle Eastern politics, the prominence of 'sectarianism' in any post-Iraq invasion discourse has been one of the major developments in a region otherwise defined – according to Western coverage – by the stasis of undeviating central themes; oil, the Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism, socio-economic stagnation, authoritarianism etc. Truth be told, the sectarianism card is in many respects a façade that serves to mystify geopolitical developments and cloaks these changes in divisive religious symbols in the best interests of imperial powers and their regional hirelings. As an example, according to the prevailing sectarian-discourse (unwaveringly supported by so-called “moderate” Arab states), resistance movements like Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are presented as – before all – servants of an Iranian-led “Shi’a” agenda. Any cursory perusal of a pan-Arab daily or government-funded media outlet would reveal this sinister ‘Iranian-Shi’a’ connection supposedly at work. Hardly a day goes by without grandiloquent references to a swarming ‘Shi’a tide’; or some shady ‘Shi’a connection’; or the ‘Shi’a crescent’. Outside of this sectarian-discourse however, the real agenda is far more worldly and indeed unholy. In fact, one could make a very strong case in arguing that one of the major success stories for the autocratic – but nevertheless “moderate” – Arab allies of the US has been in drawing a direct causal relation between the geopolitical rise of Iran and the salience of sectarian divisions in the Middle East. Early last week, Amnesty International released a report highlighting the misuse...

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