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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
recommends indicting Lieberman
2 Aug 2009 - Fatah platform outline calls for supporters to use limited violence against Israeli targets.
Two killed in shooting at Tel Aviv gay center
1 Aug 2009 - 15 others wounded in shooting spree; police launch manhunt for black-clad gunman in apparent hate crime.
IAF mulls purchase of South Korean fighter jets
1 Aug 2009 - For first time in 40 years, Israel considers jet not made locally or in U.S. to replace veteran Skyhawk.
IDF wants you - to say if chief of staff grants enough interviews
1 Aug 2009 - Army commissions telephone poll to determine public stance on Ashkenazi's famously scarce media appearances.
Report: Lebanon man gets life for Israel spying
1 Aug 2009 - The Associated Press quotes Lebanon officials as saying man convicted of handing over info on Hezbollah.
8/2/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israeli police and border guard forces stormed the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and evicted two Palestinian families from their homes on Sunday morning. Ma'an's correspondent was on the scene, and reported that the Israeli forces first demolished gates on the two houses and then forced the families out at gunpoint, without letting them remove furniture or belongings. Israeli forces also destroyed a protest tent near the Al-Ghawi and Hanoun family homes, while 20 foreign solidarity activists were detained and journalists were prevented by police from entering the area. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported clashes during the eviction. The Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth wrote, "The execution office evacuated two Arab families who had invaded houses owned by Jews. " In an interview with Ma'an, Fatah's Jerusalem affairs liaison Hatem Abdul Qader. . .
PA: 255 delegates to Fatah’s conference in Israeli custody
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - About 255 delegates to Fatah's sixth conference are detainees in Israel's custody who were jailed before 1994, according to Issa Qaraqi, Palestinian minister of prisoners affairs. The list of delegates was ratified by the Fatah leadership in Israel's custody before it was sent to the conference' preparatory committee, he said. The list is expected to be read during the conference. Qaraqi applauded the Palestinian president and the preparatory committee for staying focused on the 255 delegates. A number of detained Fatah leaders will be nominated for the Fatah Revolutionary Council, he added. The Fatah movement is holding its sixth conference in Bethlehem from 4-5 August. The meet is the first in over 20 years.
Gaza: Swimming in sewage (IRIN)
8/2/2009 - GAZA CITY, 2 August 2009 (IRIN) - Less than 50m from a black, barrel-sized pipe pouring raw sewage directly into the sea, children are playing in the waves. The pipe runs from one of three main sewage pumping stations in Gaza, with multiple outlets into the sea. The water authority in the Gaza Strip has been unable to import the parts necessary for the maintenance and repairs at water and sewage pumping stations since Israel imposed its two-year long blockade of the territory, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Gaza. "We know there is sewage in the water, but the borders are closed and we can't travel," said Mariam Al-Halu, who brought her two sons to swim. With scorching temperatures and intermittent electricity, many Gazans seek refuge from the heat in the polluted waters, residents say. According to a July 2009 report (not available online) on the quality of Gaza's seawater by the World Health Organization (WHO), seawater samples collected monthly from April to June by the public health laboratory in Gaza were polluted with faecal bacteria, specifically coliforms and streptococcus.
UN official: Israel’s J’lem evictions totally unacceptable
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The United Nations special coordinator for Mideast peace condemned Israel's decision to evict 50 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem on Sunday. "I deplore today's totally unacceptable actions by Israel," the official, Richard Serry, said in a statement to Ma'an. Serry alleged that Israel removed the Palestinians, refugees registered with the UN, from their homes to make way for settlers wanting to take control of their property. "These actions are contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions related to occupied territory. " "They also contravene the united calls of the international community, including the Quartet, which in its recent statement urged the Government of Israel to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions and evictions," he noted.
Fayyad: PA backs effort to recover Palestinian corpses from Israel
8/2/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority (PA) has made it a top priority to recover the corpses of all those who died in the conflict with Israel, Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Sunday. Fayyad, in a statement, promised "all forms of support and assistance to the families of martyrs and missing persons. " The missing bodies in question are believed to be buried or otherwise held in Israel. He said the "return of the martyrs is a patriotic act. " The prime minister said the issue of recovering bodies was an issue on which there is a national consensus. He also praised the efforts of the National Campaign for the recovery of bodies, and mentioned that there will be a national day dedicated to the campaign on 27 August. The Coordinator of the National Campaign Salem Khelleh gave Fayyad documentation of 273 people from the West. . .
Israel opens two Gaza Strip border crossings
8/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities will open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossing points on Sunday to allow in humanitarian aid, cooking gas and fuel into the Gaza Strip, Palestinian crossings official Raed Fattouh said. Fattouh told Ma'an that the Kerem Shalom crossing would be open to allow in 63-73 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid. He said cooking gas and industrial diesel needed to run Gaza's only power plant will be transferred through the Nahal Oz crossing. He added that the Karni terminal, now normally used to transfer grain and animal feed, will remain closed. Israel and Egypt have maintained a near-total blockade of the Strip by land and sea since June 2007, and the quantities and types of goods allowed into Gaza are subject to tight restrictions. Many Palestinians have turned to smuggling items from Egypt through tunnels.
Israel: Soldier injured by stones
8/2/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - An Israeli soldier was lightly injured by rocks thrown by Palestinians on Monday, the country's military said. The alleged incident occurred in the Al-Mazra'a Al-Qibliyya area of Ramallah, according to Israeli sources. [end]
Israeli soldiers seize one, injure another in overnight incidents
8/2/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank village of Sa'ir, near the city of Hebron, early on Sunday and abducted one man. According to local Palestinian sources, the soldiers seized Fahim Al-Shalaldeh, 37, after raiding and searching his house. Separately, medics at Beit Jala Government Hospital in Bethlehem said that that another man from the same village, called Jad Abdul Rahman, was wounded in an apparently unrelated incident. The medics said Jad Abdul Rahman arrived at the hospital after Israeli soldiers threw a stun grenade at him at the Zayem checkpoint in East Jerusalem. [end]
Former PA minister: Fatah should ally with Iran
8/2/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - The time has come for Fatah, Palestine's largest political party, to seek a strategic alliance with Iran, the movement's Jerusalem affairs liaison Hatim Abdul Qader told Ma'an on Saturday. In a statement, Abdul Qader said that in light of Israel's disinterest in achieving a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, the Fatah movement was left with no choice but to seek help abroad from Iran. He insisted that he was referring just to the party, and not to the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah. Abdul Qader resigned from his post as PA minister of Jerusalem affairs in July. The more secular Fatah has in the past avoided relations with Iran ever since its Islamic Revolution in 1979, although the Palestinian movement was generally supportive of Iran's efforts to throw off Western rule. Fatah's rival, Hamas, is known to have warm relations with Iran.
PLO denounces Israel over East Jerusalem evictions
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Chief Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) negotiator Saeb Erekat strongly condemned the eviction of over 50 people from their homes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem on Sunday. "Israel, the occupying power, once again has shown its commitment to the settler organizations by evicting more than 50 Palestinians, many of them children, from the houses where they have lived for more than 50 years," Erekat said. "Tonight, while these new settlers from abroad will be accommodating themselves and their belongings in these Palestinian houses, 19 newly homeless children will have nowhere to sleep," he added. "Israel is once again showing its utter failure to respect international law, the Road Map and the most basic moral and humanitarian principles," Erekat noted.
Hamas official retracts ’close to recognizing Israel’ comment
8/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef said on Sunday that the Islamic movement will never recognize Israel, backtracking on remarks printed by the British magazine The Economist. Yousef said that the magazine misunderstood him when it quoted him saying that Hamas is close to recognizing Israel. He characterized the report as "totally untrue. " In a statement to Ma'an, Yousef, who is the deputy foreign minister in the de facto government of Gaza, said that "no law" can force Palestinians to recognize Israel. "We can't admit the existence of the state and the nation that is occupying us. They are the ones that should recognize Palestinian rights," he said. In an article printed in the magazine's 30 July edition, Yousef is quoted as saying, "Hamas is very close on recognition of Israel," and, "We show all sorts of ideological flexibility on this.
This Week In Lieberman: Strange Rumblings in South America
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - "Where's Lieberman? " was the query posed by the US-based magazine Newsweek on Sunday, noting that the "halls of Jerusalem's foreign ministry are eerily quiet this week. "According to the foreign minister's schedule and bombshell-laden Spanish news reports over the past ten days, Avigdor Lieberman has spent time away from Israel around South America, for reasons not entirely clear. Some sources in Israel said the ultranationalist settler was deployed to the continent to maintain a low profile domestically, probable given that Israel's state prosecution on Sunday moved a step closer to indicting the West Bank resident on a number of charges. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz quoted a police source saying their investigation was "practically over" by Sunday, and that there exists a sufficient body of evidence to indict Lieberman on bribery, fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges.
Shafiq Al-Hout, PLO founder, dead at 77
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Shafiq Al-Hout, an original founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), died on Sunday. He was 77. President Mahmoud Abbas announced his death on Sunday afternoon. The cause of death was not immediately made public. A member of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) and PLO Executive Committee representative in Lebanon, Al-Hout was considered a renowned figure in the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. The politician and writer was born 13 January 1932 in Jaffa, Palestine. He graduated from Al-A'mreiyah High School in 1948, and was expelled along with his family to Lebanon the same year. He never returned. Al-Hout completed his studies at the American University of Beirut in 1953, and went on to teach in Lebanon until 1956, before moving to Kuwait. In 1958, he returned to Beirut to take up the post of chief editor at the Lebanese magazine Al-Hawadeth.
Fatah in Gaza: No decision on conference boycott
8/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Fatah movement's leadership in Gaza has not yet decided to boycott the movement's sixth conference, Central Committee member Zakariyya Al-Agha said on Saturday. He noted that a final decision would be taken following a meeting of the committee in Ramallah, which met later on Saturday and affirmed the conference would not be cancelled in any event. Al-Agha explained that the Fatah leadership in Gaza would send a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas and the Central Committee, explaining that it was essential Fatah members from Gaza be permitted to attend. The letter also addressed the number of delegates attending, which the committee later confirmed was 2,265. Hamas has threatened to prevent Fatah delegates from Gaza from attending their movement's conference in Bethlehem unless the Palestinian Authority releases Hamas affiliates in the West Bank.
PA seeks international pressure on Hamas
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority is exerting efforts at local and international levels to pressure Hamas to allow Fatah leaders from Gaza leave for the movement's sixth conference in Bethlehem on Tuesday. Abbas Zaki, the Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, told the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite TV that contacts were being held with Syria, Turkey and Egypt at high levels to find a way out of the current impasse. "Fatah's Central Committee will be holding an open-ended session, and the movement's Revolutionary Council will also hold a session Sunday to discuss preparations for the conference as well as the Gaza delegate crisis," Zaki added. "Detained Hamas supporters have admitted to having committed violations which necessitate legal action, thus, you can't compare a suspect to an innocent one," Zaki said, commenting. . .
PFLP leader offers help for Fatah conference
8/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine will help Fatah hold its conference, leader Zaher Ash-Sheshtry said on Monday. The official added that he expected the conference to benefit the Palestinian national movement for the better, according to a statement. "It is our view that the Fatah conference will improve the national movement and the Palestinian internal condition," he said. "This conference will oppose many challenges in the Palestinian arena. "Ash-Sheshtry also said that the conference would go on despite the state of internal division. "We will make every effort for the success of this conference and to strengthen the Fatah movement. "[end]
Independent Palestinian lawmaker embarks on regional tour
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The head of independent Palestinian lawmakers said he would embark on a tour of Arab and Islamic countries in an effort to encourage the Palestinian dialogue and end division between Fatah and Hamas. The official, Yasser Al-Wadiyah, pointed out a number of efforts to follow up on the dialogue and a number of other issues, including Jerusalem. He called on Fatah and Hamas to unite in order to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Wadiyah also stressed the issue of refugees in the West Bank, Gaza and abroad. He said their lives were miserable and "need our help to make efforts for their sake, especially the ones in Syrian and Iraqi refugee camps. "
Tense Fatah members await Bethlehem conference
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The lobby of the Bethlehem Hotel is bustling with Palestinian ambassadors, regional Fatah officials, and party functionaries from around the world. Many of the guests are greeting comrades they haven't seen in decades. Others are making phone calls to their Palestinian villages and cities of origin that they have never in fact visited during their lives in exile. The mood in the hotel is tense. The delegates are waiting to find out what will come out of the first general conference of the largest Palestinian political movement. "We hope this conference will bring back Fatah movement to its prime," said Muneer Ghannam, ambassador of Palestine to Qatar. Commenting on the additional delegates to the conference, he said it was meant to secure representation of a wider range of Fatah members from inside Palestine and in Diaspora.
Israel bars three Fatah delegates from leaving Gaza
8/2/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel has refused to allow three Fatah delegates to leave Gaza in order to attend the movement's Sixth Conference in Bethlehem this week, the men said. Mazin Shahin, a member of the Fatah leadership in southern Khan Younis district in the southern Gaza Strip told Ma'an via telephone that he was informed by Hussein Ash-Sheikh, head of the Palestinian Civil Affairs department that Israel denied requests for permits for himself and two others leaders, Ahmad Ayish from the western Gaza district, and Issa Mughrabi from the northern Gaza district. Shahin pointed out that all other Gazan delegates to the conference were granted permissions by Israel, yet they are waiting for the Hamas authorities in Gaza to allow them out. Fatah's first general conference in more than two decades is set to open in Bethlehem on Tuesday.
Fatah leader in Sidon, Lebanon, speaks to Ma’an
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Only through internal accountability and execution of the Higher Movement Court, can Fatah begin to renew itself as a force, says Qasim Subih, the Fatah secretary in the city of Sidon in southern Lebanon. Subih granted an interview to Ma'an during his current visit to Bethlehem for Fatah's sixth general conference. Sidon is the site of two major Palestinian refugee camps, Ein El-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh. "Those who were responsible for Fatah's defeat must be held accountable, and the status quo must be diagnosed," Subih said stressing his view that Fatah could not move forward as long as there are individuals and groups in the movement who care only for their own interests. Aksed his expectations for the sixth conference, he said "Maybe the most important thing is to maintain that our movement is still in the national liberation stage preparing. . .
Guerilla leader urges restoration of Fatah’s revolutionary past
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - "I have waited 30 years to come back to Palestine, and I won't leave. I will wait until I get a Palestinian ID card so I can bring back my wife and children," said Khalid Abu Isba, one of two Palestinian fighters who survived the famous attack on a beach in north of Tel Aviv on 11 March 1978. In the city for Fatah's upcoming convention, Abu Isba was speaking during an interview at Ma'an's Bethlehem office. The operation that made him famous was led by the legendary female fighter Dalal Al-Mughrabi. Al-Mughrabi's name is synonymous with the 1978 attack, which is today a symbol of an earlier era when the Palestinian movement was led by refugees living in Lebanon and other places of exile, struggling to retrieve the homeland they lost in 1948. The Palestinians who carried it out called the attack the "Martyr Kamal Udwan operation," after the PLO chief of operations killed in an Israeli commando raid on Beirut in April 1973. The Israelis called it "Coastal Road Massacre.
School year postponed due to swine flu, Ramadan
8/2/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority announced on Sunday that the school year will be pushed back from August until 1 September over concerns related to the spread of H1N1 swine flu and the timing of the fasting month of Ramadan. Hassan Abu Libdeh, the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers made the announcement along with Jamil Shehadeh the Secretary-General Palestinian Teachers Union Mohammed Abu Zaid, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The school year will end on 10 June 2010 and the remainder of the working days will be made up during the year. Shehadeh, the union leader, originally called for the school year to be postponed, noting that the fasting Month of Ramadan begins in August, persistent hot weather, and the spread of H1N1. "This is a continuation of the cooperation, understanding and ongoing integration between the. . .
Hamas unmoved by Fatah pressure over Gaza delegates
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas reiterated on Sunday afternoon that it will not allow Fatah leaders to attend their party convention in the West Bank city of Bethlehem unless the Palestinian Authority releases prisoners. Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon and a high-ranking member of the group, said during a Beirut news conference that the only way out of the crisis is for the Fatah-backed Authority to release Hamas members he said are still in prison in the West Bank. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is using Fatah members' desire to travel to Bethlehem as an opportunity to pressure their rivals over the political prisoner issue. "The request in the current crisis is not acceptable. We have prevented the Fatah members from travelling even though we [in Hamas] respect the Fatah movement and we do not interfere in its internal affairs," Hamdan said.
Zakarneh: PA to pay workers on Tuesday
8/2/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority (PA), the country's largest employer, will disburse salaries to civil servants and members of the security forces on Tuesday, public sector union leader Bassam Zakarneh said. Zakarneh said in a statement that the PA Ministry of Finance confirmed that the salaries will be released for PA employees in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He called on the Monetary Authority to extend efforts to persuade Israel to allow the transfer of cash to the Gaza Strip so that PA workers there can receive payment at the same time as their counterparts in the West Bank. [end]
Palestinian-Israeli woman’s death linked to H1N1 flu
8/2/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli Health Ministry said on Sunday evening that it suspects that the death of a 24-year-old Palestinian was the result of H1N1 "swine flu. " The woman, a citizen of Israel, was admitted to a hospital in the northern Israeli town of Nahariya over the weekend with flu symptoms and then died overnight. [end]
Manhunt for Israel's gay club killer
2 Aug 2009 - Police impose blackout on details of their investigation after two shot dead and at least eight wounded in Tel Aviv club shooting.
Palestinian families evicted from homes
2 Aug 2009 - Israeli police have evicted two Palestinian families from an east Jerusalem neighbourhood, says UN spokesman.
Hamas blocks Fatah delegates from summit
1 Aug 2009 - General Conference an opportunity for Fatah members to elect leaders to ruling body but Hamas bars movement to Bethlehem.
Brotherhood on the defensive in Egypt
1 Aug 2009 - The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's strongest opposition group, is reportedly seeking a deal with the government to end recent efforts to dismantle the group.
2 Aug 2009 - Israel criticised over expulsion of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem homes.
Khatami criticises Iran trial
2 Aug 2009 - Former president denounces case against those accused of post-election violence.
2 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / Munjed Jaddo for PNN – The Fateh Sixth Conference is being criticized by Israeli ministers, including Netanyahu and Katz. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Israel demands that the Palestinians recognize the state of Israel as being for the Jewish people.”For his part, Israeli Minister Yisrael Katz, said today that the Fateh program in its refusal to recognize the Israeli...
Presidential official: Israeli overtaking of East Jerusalem homes is nail in the coffin of peace
2 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – In blatant disregard to international law, the Israeli administration has overtaken two more homes in Sheikh Jarrah. The message is clear: East Jerusalem will be destroyed for Israeli settlements. By changing any facts on the ground in Jerusalem the Israelis have contravened international law as it is officially occupied territory and cannot be altered until the final status is...
Summer camp for Palestinian children of torture victims explores ways of dealing with trauma
2 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - Palestinian victims of torture are prevalent with such a high number arrested by Israeli forces: currently between 9,500 and 11,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons. The Palestinian Prisoners Society and the Palestinian Authority’s prisons ministry regularly report on the extensive use of torture by the Israelis against Palestinians.The Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture has just concluded...
Learning each otherâ€™s historical narratives: new textbook for use in Palestinian and Israeli ...
2 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - With both Palestinians and Israelis accusing the other of incitement in the classroom, a new textbook is coming out based on three years of research. PRIME, Peace Research Institute in the Middle East, in cooperation with Georg Eckert Institute (Germany), held last week the final conference of a three-year project, Learning Each other’s Historical Narratives: A Bi-national Textbook for...
Nine honor killings in Gaza Strip and West Bank this year: six women, two men, one child
2 Aug 2009 - Gaza City / PNN - Late last a week a woman died in the Gaza Strip. She was 27 years old and killed by her father, allegedly “to maintain family honor.” On Friday morning Jawdat Al Najar of northern Gaza’s Jabaliya Refugee Camp turned himself in at the local police station. He confessed to killing his daughter Fadia Jawdat Al Najar.He explained that...
Activists released after being arrested attempting to prevent violent seizure of Sheikh Jarrah home
1 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – A Fateh official is still banned from nearing the solidarity tent in Sheikh Jarrah, having been given a 15-day sentence. Other Palestinians were released after being arrested last week while trying to protect a home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood. Dozens of settlers had invaded a home in Sheikh Jarrah, attacking local and international activists with the help of...
Bethlehem prepares for Fateh Sixth Conference as some residents complain of partisan politics
1 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN - Bethlehem is nearly ready as far as traffic and security are concerned for the Sixth General Conference of the Fateh movement. Although not officially beginning until Tuesday, events are underway with a meeting of the Fateh Central Committee.After numerous delays and failing to find an alternate venue the conference is being held in the West Bank’s Bethlehem near Manger...
GAZA CITY Sunday, August 02, 2009 (IRIN) - Less than 50m from a black, barrel-sized pipe pouring raw sewage directly into the sea, children are playing in the waves.
HOW TO: Do a food airdrop
NAIROBI Thursday, July 30, 2009 (IRIN) - The humanitarian cavalry is the food airdrop: when you need to shift serious tonnage in a hurry to somewhere inaccessible, nothing quite does it like a large cargo plane and skilled pilot and crew.
MIDDLE EAST: First swine flu death in Egypt
DUBAI Monday, July 20, 2009 (IRIN) - The Middle East registered its first death due to H1N1 2009 after a 25-year-old Egyptian woman returning from Umrah, the lesser Muslim pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, died in hospital on 18 July after testing positive for the virus, according to the Egyptian health...
WASHINGTON, Jul 31 (IPS) - Pres. Barack Obama has repeatedly declared himself a close friend of Israel. But many Israelis inside and outside their country's government have now expressed concern about the lack of closeness, or even just of attention, with which they feel Obama is treating them.
MOROCCO: Western Sahara Drains Development
RABAT, Jul 31 (IPS) - Informal talks are being held in Vienna between the different parties involved in the long lasting conflict over the Western Sahara. A new plan proposed by the Obama administration will be discussed between the Polisario and the Kingdom of Morocco.
MOROCCO: Farmers Overcome Water Scarcity
BENI MELLAL, Jul 31 (IPS) - Researchers in the central Moroccan region Beni Mellal are introducing new agricultural techniques that increase production while reducing water usage.
MIDEAST: Israel Prepares for War Over Reports
JERUSALEM, Jul 31 (IPS) - Six months after Israel's devastating assault on Hamas, its south-western border with Gaza has not been as quiet in a decade - only two rockets in the past six weeks on Israeli towns. Yet, the plight of Palestinian civilians in Gaza continues to haunt Israel.
1 Aug 2009 - Summer is wedding season in Palestine, and Friday in al-Ma’sara brides and grooms led the weekly march against the Wall and settlements. Hundreds of people participated, confronting Occupation forces at the entrance of the village. Scuffles occurred when some broke through the razor wire, and three people were arrested. [
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. [end]
During the reporting period, 7 Palestinians civilians, including one child and one woman, were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the West Bank.
8/2/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - UPDATE: Seven of the arrested activists were released after court, with a condition to not be in Sheikh Jarrah for 3 weeks. One American solidarity activist has been taken to the immigration prison for deportation. Another international activist is reportedly refusing to give her name and intends to go on hunger-strike, according to the released activists who were in detention with her. Rami Hannoun is being treated at a local hospital after being beaten by Israeli forces. For Immediate Release: 2 August 2009: Israeli forces have evicted the Hanoun and al-Ghawe families from their homes. At around 5:30 in the morning, Israeli police arrived at the Hannoun family home and broke into the house through the windows. They forcefully removed Maher Hanoun, his wife Nadia and their 3 children. The police violently separated the family from the international and Israeli solidarity activists that were staying in the home. Police then arrested the international and Israeli solidarity activists that were staying with the family.
Israel evicts Palestinians from Jerusalem homes
8/2/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - AFP - Israeli riot police wielding clubs kicked out two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied east Jerusalem on Sunday, defying international protests over Jewish settlement activity in the area. Clashes erupted after police moved in at dawn around the homes in the upmarket Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah following an Israeli court decision ordering the eviction of the 53 Palestinians, including 19 minors. "I was born in this house and so were my children," said Maher Hanoun, whose family was evicted along with the neighbouring Ghawi household. "Now we are on the streets. We have become refugees. "The Supreme Court ordered the evictions following an appeal by the Nahalat Shimon International settler group which claimed Jewish settlers have title deeds for the properties, despite UN and Palestinian denials. Jerusalem authorities have also given permission for the construction of about 20 housing units in Sheikh Jarrah, in defiance of global calls for a halt to all settlement activity in occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Israel evicts Palestinian families
8/2/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Al Jazeera - Israeli security forces have forcibily evicted two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem after a court rejected an appeal against their eviction. The al-Ghawi and al-Hanoun families who were evicted on Sunday have been living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood since 1956. Israel has reportedly set aside the land their houses were built on for a planned hotel project. The eviction comes amid international calls for Israel to halt settlement activity on occupied Palestinian land. A large police force was involved in the operation in Sheikh Jarrah, one of the most sensitive and upmarket Arab neighbourhoods closest to the so-called Green Line which separates east and west Jerusalem. Violent 'scuffles'Sherine Tadros, Al Jazeera's correspondent in East Jerusalem, said: "According to the Hanoun family, the members that I have. . .
Israel asks Spain to stop funding group that reported IDF ‘crimes’ in Gaza
8/2/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ha'aretz - Israel on Thursday asked the government of Spain to halt its funding for the human rights group Breaking the Silence, which has been critical of the Israel Defense Forces' conduct during January's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Similar requests have been made of Britain and The Netherlands. Senior Foreign Ministry officials have said that at this stage the ministry has no intention to take action concerning other non-governmental organizations that receive funding from foreign governments. There is no intention, the ministry stressed, to act against organizations working for peace or coexistence. During the past year, Spain has provided tens of thousands of euros to fund patrols run by Breaking the Silence in Hebron. In a meeting with the director of international cooperation at the Spanish Foreign Ministry, the Israeli deputy ambassador asked Spain to. . .
U.S. condemns eviction of Arab families from East Jerusalem
2 Aug 2009 - The United States and the United Nations sharply condemned the eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and their replacement with Jewish families on Sunday. ...
Israel bars Fatah men with terror ties from West Bank summit
2 Aug 2009 - Israel has prevented a number of senior Fatah representatives from Lebanon from participating in the movement's general conference in Bethlehem starting on Tuesday. ...
Kibbutz volunteers following in their parents' footsteps
2 Aug 2009 - It may no longer be the egalitarian, modest and naive traditional kibbutz of the 1960s and 70s that their parents knew, but in any case the generation of the future still wants a small taste of kibbutz life. ...
VIDEO / Inside Ofra: a settler's perspective
1 Aug 2009 - Ofra is one of the largest and oldest settlements in the West Bank with close to 3,000 residents.
Netanyahu: We uprooted Israelis from Gaza, and now it is a terror base
1 Aug 2009 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked on the four-year anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. At the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that "Israel uprooted 10,000 of its citizens from their homes and Gaza has turned into a terror base under the control of Hamas, and sponsored by Iran." ...
2 Aug 2009 - Police evicted two Palestinian families in east Jerusalem today, then allowed Jewish settlers to move into their homes, drawing criticism from the UN and the US. Part of the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah was cordoned...
How fame made it harder for Baron Cohen to fool his victims
31 Jul 2009 - Sacha Baron Cohen is notoriously reluctant to explain himself and his methods to the media, but a few of his secretive Ali G/Borat/Brüno techniques have emerged. It's fairly clear, in the Ali G days, that Baron...
The non-profit worker from Bethlehem who was branded a terrorist by Bruno
31 Jul 2009 - • Christian activist plans to sue Sacha Baron Cohen • Interview was filmed in hotel, not refugee camp For a supposed terrorist, Ayman Abu Aita is remarkably easy to find. It takes one phone call to...
Kite Festival in Palestine
31 Jul 2009 - Thursday 30 July, 2009: Thousands of children in the Gaza Strip attempted to set a new world record by flying colorful homemade kites on a Mediterranean beach in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. The event was...
2 Aug 2009 - An 80-year-old Ramat Gan woman died on Sunday at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Shomer after she was given a transfusion of the wrong blood type during surgery. ...
Israelis joining global 'meatless Monday' initiative
2 Aug 2009 - The latest culinary trend will delight the part of population that until now made do with side salads and side dishes - vegetarians. Israel is joining the "meatless Monday" initiative, a not-so-new innovation wherein diners both at home and in restaurants refrain from carnivorous activity for one day a week. ...
Israel's gay community uneasy since shooting in Tel Aviv
2 Aug 2009 - Finding the person who attacked a gay and lesbian community center Saturday night, killing two and wounding 15, would provide a major step in coping with the tragedy, a psychiatrist who is a member of the Israel gay Youth Organization said on Sunday. ...
2 Aug 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet
Influenza A (H1N1): Eastern Mediterranean Region - WHO latest update, 02 Aug 2009
2 Aug 2009 - Source: World Health Organization
OIC Secretary General condemns Israel's policies in Al-Quds
2 Aug 2009 - Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference
2 Aug 2009 - Gay community reps meet with Social Affairs Ministry officials, introduce data suggesting 80% of gay teens in Israel suffer some sort of sexual orientation-related abuse. Minister Isaac Herzog orders office to prepare aid and intervention program meant to assist gay teens
Gay center shooting victims laid to rest
2 Aug 2009 - Friends, relatives, deputy IDF chief of staff pay last respects to Nir Katz; 'we must wave the pride flag and show what empty hatred can lead to,' his sister says. Liz Trubeshi, 16, buried in Holon; 'never spoke of her sexual inclinations,' classmate says
Gay MK: Tel Aviv shooting a hate crime
2 Aug 2009 - Hundreds gather in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beerhseba to protest Saturday's deadly shooting at gay youth center. Opposition leader Livni: I hope this terrible incident will mark turning point
Police recommend indicting Lieberman
2 Aug 2009 - National Fraud Unit says has solid case against foreign minister, suggests charges include fraud, bribery, money laundering and breach of trust. Lieberman: The more political power Yisrael Beiteinu and I gain the worse the attempts to force me out of public life get
Hebron's Zion Route opened to Palestinians
2 Aug 2009 - Settlers protest decision to open road connecting between Kiryat Araba, Hebron's Jewish settlement, which has been site of several terror attacks. IDF says security measures taken
1 Aug 2009 - Ten Israeli human rights and social change organizations have written to the prime minister protesting the government's attack on "Breaking the Silence", which escalated with the government's attempt to thwart funding for the group.
3 Aug 2009 - Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families in Occupied East Jerusalem Sunday, then allowed Jewish settlers to move into their homes, drawing criticism from Palestinians, the UN and the State Department. Police arrived before dawn and cordoned off part of the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before forcibly removing over 50 people.
Saudi Arabia rebuffs US calls to normalize relations with Israel
3 Aug 2009 - Saudi Arabia on Friday rebuffed Obama administration appeals for immediate Arab gestures toward normalizing ties with Israel and the kingdom urged Tel Aviv to show it was serious about peace. Seated next to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal rejected a “step-by-step” diplomatic approach.
Christian refugees in Israel can die in their village but not live there
3 Aug 2009 - Unlike Palestinian refugees, the residents of the Arab village of Iqrit know for certain that Israel will one day allow them to return to their ancestral home – when they are dead. The several hundred people living in the hilltop village near Lebanon’s border were ordered out of their homes in October 1948 amid ongoing fighting of the first Israeli-Arab war.
Fatah to reaffirm its refusal to recognize Israel as Jewish state – document
3 Aug 2009 - Palestinian Pre sident Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction will reaffirm its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state at a major congress next week, according to a document ob tained by AFP on Saturday. The congress document also reiterates the refusal of the Pa lestinian leadership to resume peace talks with Israel.
Generic drug consumption in Lebanon can cut health costs
3 Aug 2009 - Cutting health spending and buying effective cheaper medications have become the obsessions of many Leba nese families in these dire economic times. One of the ways to reduce the pharmaceuticals bill is to buy what is known in medical terms as generic drugs. There is a general consensus among pharmaceutical professionals.
PLO co-founder Shafiq al-Hout passes away at age 77
3 Aug 2009 - Shafiq al-Hout, a founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), died in Lebanon on Sunday at the age of 77. Hout, a politician and writer who was a prominent figure in the Palestinian struggle for self-rule, died of cancer at the American University Medical Center.
Saeed Hajjarian: The brain of reformists
3 Aug 2009 - Saeed Hajjarian was arrested at his Tehran home on June 15, 2009, just three days after the disputed presidential election awarded to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with 63 percent of the vote. Amid hundreds recently de tained in Iran, Hajjarian, 55, is notable both for his deep influence on the wider reformist movement and for his physical frailty.
3 Aug 2009 - Hamas MP Atef Odwan has lashed out at the IOA police's forced evacuation of two Jerusalemite homes and kidnapping their owners along with foreign activists after beating them up.
Bardawil: No reconciliation on the basis of recognizing the occupation
3 Aug 2009 - Spokesman for Hamas parliamentary bloc Salah Al-Bardawil stressed that there can never be national reconciliation on the basis of recognizing the Israeli occupation.
Hamas extends condolences over demise of Shafiq Al-Hout
3 Aug 2009 - Hamas on Sunday extended heartfelt condolences to the Palestinian people in general and the family of Shafiq Al-Hout in particular over his sad demise.
Yousef: Economist misread my remarks and Hamas will never recognize Israel
3 Aug 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Yousef, a political advisor to Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya, categorically denied that he told the British Economist newspaper that Hamas was about to recognize Israel.
Barhoum demands expediting trial of Israeli war criminals
3 Aug 2009 - Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, has said that the world community should expedite the trial of Israeli war criminals or else they would commit more crimes against the Palestinian people.
Israeli settlers assault Palestinian young man in Al-Khalil
3 Aug 2009 - Palestinian local sources in Al-Khalil city reported that Israeli settlers from Daboya settlement tried to kill a Palestinian young man as he was crossing a street in the city center.
Agha denounces IOF aggression on farmers and fishermen
3 Aug 2009 - Agriculture minister Dr. Mohammed Al-Agha has denounced the IOF for repeatedly attacking Palestinian farmers and their farms and fishermen and their boats in northern Gaza Strip.
Nunu: Fatah leaders’ travel to West Bank is in Abbas’s hands
3 Aug 2009 - Taher Al-Nunu stated that the participation of Fatah leaders in their sixth conference is in the hands of Abbas who could issue a decision to release all political prisoners in his jails.
Israeli policemen forcibly evacuate two Jerusalemite homes
3 Aug 2009 - Israeli occupation police on Saturday forcibly evacuated the homes of two families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem and handed their homes to Jewish settlement societies.
Maqdah: Fatah members must choose leaders who are adherent to resistance
3 Aug 2009 - Muneer Maqdah, a candidate for membership of the central committee of Fatah, said that members of the sixth conference must elect leaders who are adherent to the resistance against the occupation.
2 Aug 2009 - Opposition leaders call the mass indictment baseless. Analysts say the trials are meant to bolster the cause of hard-liners ahead of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's confirmation for a second term. Iran's hard-line judiciary Saturday put 100 prominent moderate politicians and others on trial, accusing the country's main reformist political groups of working with foreigners to foment a popular uprising against the government.
Gunman kills two at gay center in Israel
2 Aug 2009 - A masked gunman slipped into a community center for gay teenagers in Tel Aviv and sprayed the room with automatic rifle fire late Saturday, killing two people and wounding at least 10 in what activists called Israel's deadliest crime against homosexuals.
Amid the ruins in Gaza, Palestinians wait for rebuilding to start
1 Aug 2009 - More than six months after the Israeli offensive, little rebuilding has begun. A blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt and slow aid delivery have made materials hard to find. Each morning, Thaeer Alsheikh sits beside the ruins of his family's two-story house, destroyed by Israeli forces in the final days of the 22-day Gaza Strip offensive in the winter.
2 Aug 2009 - A day after the Iranian authorities began a mass trial of people they accused of trying to start a revolution, opposition figures denounced the proceeding as a show.
Israel Evicts Palestinians From Homes
2 Aug 2009 - Israeli security forces evicted two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem after they lost a long legal battle to remain in the contested properties.
Iran Says It Arrested 3 American Hikers
1 Aug 2009 - Efforts were under way to secure the release of three American hikers who crossed the border with Iran.
8/2/2009 - The Guardian - A UN spokesman said the families had lived in the homes for more than 50 years - Police evicted two Palestinian families in east Jerusalem today, then allowed Jewish settlers to move into their homes, drawing criticism from the UN and the US. Part of the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah was cordoned off by police before 50 people were forcibly removed, said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees. The police cited a ruling by the country's supreme court that the houses belonged to Jews and that the Arab families had been living there illegally. Gunness said the families had lived in the homes for more than 50 years. [end]
Israeli police recommend fraud prosecution of Avigdor Lieberman
8/2/2009 - The Guardian - Hardline foreign minister complains of police 'campaign of persecution' against him - Israeli police today recommended that the hardline foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, be indicted on corruption charges. A police statement said that having completed their inquiries, detectives believed there was sufficient evidence to bring Lieberman to trial on charges of receiving bribes, fraud, deception, breach of trust by a public servant, money laundering, obstruction of justice and tampering with a witness. According to the Ha'aretz newspaper, Lieberman and his associates are suspected of establishing several companies, some of them shell companies, in order to launder millions of shekels and funnel them into his pockets. One of those companies was allegedly headed by Lieberman's daughter Michal. Police have investigated whether Lieberman continued running these alleged operations even after becoming a public official.
Judge: Israeli law applies in disputed West Bank territory
8/3/2009 - Ha'aretz - Akiva Eldar - Israeli authority applies to disputed territory near Latrun, Judge David Shoham of the Ramle Magistrate's Court said last week. Sovereignty over the land is supposed to be settled in the final-status agreement. The territory, near Latrun, was never annexed (unlike East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). The judge's decision implies Israeli law applies to several Palestinian villages east of the 1967 border, as well as applying to Israelis living in the disputed territory. The decision of the Ramle judge, that the application of the law is territorial, means that Israel could confiscate land belonging to Palestinians who used to reside in the area and are now refugees, in accordance with the Absentee Properties Law. Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas had said on several occasions that the territory of the Palestinian state should amount to 4,502 square kilometers.
Report: Lebanon man gets life for Israel spying
8/1/2009 - Ha'aretz - Associated Press - A military court in Lebanon on Saturday sentenced a man to life in prison for spying for Israel and giving it information about Hezbollah, The Associated Press quoted Lebanese judicial officials as saying. The officials added that the court also sentenced him for entering Israel and using forged documents, according to the news agency. They were quoted as adding that the man denied transporting Israeli agents to and from Lebanon. The man, who is in custody, can appeal Saturday's verdict, The Associated Press reported. Lebanon considers itself at a state of war with Israel and bans its citizens from holding any kind of contact with Israeli citizens or visiting the country. Lebanese authorities have made dozens of arrests of people suspected of collaborating with Israel in recent months and filed preliminary charges. The crackdown began earlier this year.
Did Israel play a role in 1979 South Africa nuclear test?
8/2/2009 - Ha'aretz - Nearly 30 years later there still is no certainty that a flash detected by the sensors of an American satellite indeed signaled a nuclear test that, according to foreign publications, involved Israel. In September 1979, a United States intelligence nuclear detonation detection source, a Vela type satellite, which covered the Indian Ocean, detected a flash several hundred kilometers off South Africa's coast. In 1963, the United States, the Soviet Union and Britain had signed an agreement that partially banned nuclear tests - at sea, in the atmosphere and in space (though not above ground and underground). Since 1996, there has been a comprehensive treaty that bans nuclear tests at sea, in the air, in space and on the ground, to which Israel is a signatory. The Vela type satellites were equipped with sensors to detect flashes of light and radioactive radiation characteristic of nuclear explosions.
Israeli settlers establish settlement in N. West Bank
8/1/2009 - Kuwait News Agency - RAMALLAH, Aug 1 (KUNA) -- Extremist Israeli settlers seized land located between Nablus and Qalqilya, and established a new settlement in northern West Bank, said the official responsible for the settlements file, Ghasan Daghlas, on Saturday. The armed extremists, who are backed up by the army, are currently stationed at the new settlement which they named as Tzipi Ami, he added. The settlers' threats to establish 11 new settlements coincided with the arrival of four US senior officials to Tel Aviv to demonstrate their refusal of Washington's demands to halt settlements. The international road map at its initial stage implies that all settlements be removed from the West Bank, after being first established in 2001, but Israel did not comply and insists on carrying out its agenda.
Israeli settlers ’are wrecking peace process’
8/3/2009 - Times of London - Britain has accused Israel of allowing extremist Jewish settlers to disrupt attempts at relaunching the peace process after police evicted more than 50 Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem. As Jewish settlers moved into the Palestinian homes, the British consulate said it was appalled by the evictions, which took place a few hundred yards from the diplomatic mission, after an Israeli court decided in favour of the settlers. “Israel’s claim that the imposition of extremist Jewish settlers into this ancient Arab neighbourhood is a matter for the courts or the municipality is entirely unacceptable,” the consulate said in a statement. “Their actions are incompatible with Israel’s desire for peace. We urge Israel not to allow extremists to set the agenda. ”The evictions came at a sensitive time, with the US Administration pushing a reluctant right-wing Israeli government towards a freeze
Israeli troops should withdraw from disputed area: Lebanese president
8/1/2009 - China View - BEIRUT, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese President Michel Suleiman Saturday demanded the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the disputed area in south Lebanon, and urged full implementation of UN Resolution 1701. Addressing Army graduating officers on the 64th anniversary of establishing the Lebanese Armed Forces, Suleiman said Israeli armed force violated Lebanese airspace, territorial seas and land, calling it a serious violation of UN Resolution 1701 which ended the 34-day war between Israel and Lebanese Shiite armed group Hezbollah. Suleiman urged the Jewish state to stick to the UN resolution and the country would never allow any changes of it. He said UN Resolution 1701 is crucial to protect the Lebanese borders, along with the coordination between the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Army. The president said this has not deterred Israel from continuing its violations towards
Fatah to reject Israel as Jewish state at congress: document
8/1/2009 - Yahoo! News - RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction will reaffirm its refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state at a major congress next week, according to a document obtained by AFP on Saturday. The congress document also reiterates the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to resume peace talks with Israel as long as it continues building Jewish settlements in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. The Fatah congress that opens in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday will be the mainstream Palestinian faction's first such meeting in 20 years, with some 2,000 delegates expected to attend from around the world. Israel has come under diplomatic heat over its settlement activity particularly in east Jersualem which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community.
AIPAC Spy Case Convict Alleges U.S. Anti-Semitism
8/2/2009 - Arutz Sheva - (IsraelNN. com) United States official Larry Franklin, who was convicted of passing classified information to senior members of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), has lashed out at the Bush administration and the FBI in a series of recent interviews. In his latest interview, given to the Washington Times, Franklin accused the FBI of anti-Semitism. " You know, I felt dirty sometimes,” Franklin said, detailing his talks with FBI handlers. “One agent said to me, 'How can an Irish Catholic from the Bronx get mixed up with all these. . . . ,' and I finished the sentence for him: 'Jews? '” he recalled. " That [anti-Semitism] dimension was part of this investigation and may have been an initial incitement of this investigation,” he said. In addition to asking him about AIPAC officials and Israeli diplomats, he continued, FBI agents questioned him regarding American Jews serving in the office of the Secretary of Defense.
Israeli Settlements: Obama Should Know Better
Mairav Zonszein, The Nation 7/31/2009
Early in the morning on July 7, an excited crowd of more than 100 gathered in Ben-Gurion International Airport to greet 232 new Jewish immigrants to Israel who arrived from North America on an El Al charter flight organized and funded by Nefesh B’Nefesh (which means "Soul in Soul" in Hebrew). The airport’s old and defunct Terminal 1 has been transformed into a celebratory arrival hall for new immigrants brought by the nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2001 with the aim of revitalizing immigration to Israel from North America and Britain.
Recently considered by the Jewish Agency to be serious competition when it comes to immigration, NBN is now recognized as the official operator of North American immigration to Israel. After some years of animosity and tension between the two groups, the Jewish Agency, along with the Israeli government, signed a contract with NBN last September that not only grants formal recognition to NBN but also guarantees that the government and the Jewish Agency will each fund a third of NBN’s $12 million annual budget. The remaining third comes from private donors. It is noteworthy, given the fact that Israeli taxpayer money goes toward this enterprise, that so few Israelis have heard of it.
NBN’s declared mission is to remove any obstacles that may stand in the way of those who wish to move to Israel. As such, it offers incentives, primarily cash. In addition to the "absorption basket"--a set of social and financial benefits provided by the government--new immigrants are flown over in an El Al plane, given their immigrant certification upon arrival and receive a lump sum of money. This money is stipulated as an advance, awarded only after the olim (immigrants) have lived at least three years in Israel. Amounts vary, depending on family size and financial situation. Although all immigrants sign a contract with NBN requiring that they "agree not to disclose the amount of the advance of funds to any person," a single man who moved from the United States in 2006 was willing to divulge that he was granted $4,000 when he moved.
In the years since its first plane landed, NBN has brought 20,000 immigrants to Israel from North America and Britain. Of those 20,000, NBN PR and communications manager Renana Levine claims that fewer than 3 percent (600 people) have moved beyond the Green Line to settlements in the West Bank.
On the Fatah convention and on Palestine
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ma’an News Agency 8/1/2009
Bethlehem is abuzz with security preparations for the Fatah conference on Tuesday.
The locals I’ve talked to were either indifferent or worried about reaching school or work or perhaps doing shopping during the days of the conference.
The Fatah people I’ve spoken with are unsure of how this will go and what will happen.
A big segment of the Fatah cadres who are real resistance fighters from abroad or underground will not be able to attend. It is suspicious that Israel is allowing so many others to enter and even facilitated a few to come from Gaza across the Green Line to the consternation of Hamas, which wanted Fatah to release its political prisoners from West Bank jails before allowing Fatah officials from Gaza to travel to Bethlehem.
Fatah, the biggest and most well financed of the Palestinian factions, is certainly at a crossroads. In the time of Arafat, he managed by his sheer personality and charisma to keep the various political factions and trends together under one umbrella (even those supportive of violent resistance and those against it).
When Arafat was president and Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] was prime minister, they did not get along. Farouk Qaddoumi recently dropped a bombshell by releasing a transcript he claims showed Abu Mazen at a meeting in which Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan and Israeli leaders discussed assassinating Arafat. But rumors and stories of the past aside, the future is far harder to shape.
I have no way of predicting what will happen at the meeting on Tuesday. I only wish people in power believed in the power of ordinary citizens to create more accountable and democratic forums.
I had a fantasy that attendees would do what the first convention of Palestinian women did in 1929: go the streets, challenge the occupation and demand self-determination. Most of the people I talk to (of various political leanings) believe that this convention will instead likely validate the negotiations track taken during Oslo (many opposed these talks that were not based on human rights and international law).
United for freedom and universal justice
31 Jul 2009 - For years, many people who might have played an active role in striving for an end to Israeli occupation and other violations of Palestinian rights, have stayed silent, loathe to be attacked for criticizing Israel lest they be vilified as anti-Semites. All over the world, people are breaking free of this fear, including significant numbers of Jews, and uniting to support boycott, divestment and sanctions. Omar Barghouti and Sid Shniad comment.
A night in Bilin
31 Jul 2009 - Over the last few weeks, the residents of Bilin have been subjected to constant night raids by the Israeli military, in retaliation to their weekly nonviolent demonstrations, now in their fifth year, against the Apartheid Wall, which has stolen over half of their land. Jody McIntyre tells what happened one recent night when Bilin's residents turned the tables on their occupiers.
Amnesty urged to reject "tainted" funds from Leonard Cohen concert
31 Jul 2009 - Amnesty International has been urged to dissociate itself from a fund Palestinian campaigners say will be used to "whitewash" Israeli crimes in the occupied territories. The fund, which Amnesty agreed to administer, is to receive the profits from a planned concert in Israel by singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. Currently on a world tour, Cohen has been greeted by demonstrators in several cities urging him to cancel his concert in Israel.
As blockade bites deep, more Gaza children must work
31 Jul 2009 - Zaher and Jihad are two boys living in Gaza. Every day they get up early and rush to Gaza City's streets so that they might find something to sell to those walking or driving by. They are just two of a growing number of children who are forced to work to help feed their families as the Israeli-led blockade of the Gaza Strip continues to take its toll on every aspect of life. Rami Almeghari reports.