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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
4 August , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Army Command calls for withdrawal from Lebanon village
5 Aug 2009 - The Central Command of the Israeli Army called on the government to withdraw from the Ghajar Lebanese village, on the Lebanon border, and to hand it to the United Nations as part of the US-led regional peace initiative. 

Palestinian killed in Rafah tunnel
5 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian man was killed in a tunnel at the Rafah-Egypt border. 

Abbas: “We seek peace, but we reserve our right to legitimate resistance”
5 Aug 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated on Tuesday evening that the Palestinian Authority in committed to the peace process based on the principles of international legitimacy and justice, but added that the Palestinians reserve their right to legitimate resistance guaranteed by the international law. 

Israeli Radio: “Israel will not ease restrictions on Gaza without the release of Shalit”
4 Aug 2009 - The Israeli Radio reported Tuesday that the Israel will refrain from easing the restrictions on the Gaza Strip as long as the file of the captured Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, remains obstructed. 

Ministry of Health: “Hamas government barred patients from leaving Gaza"
4 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Ministry of Health issued on Tuesday a press release accusing the Hamas-run government in Gaza of barring dozens of patients, including patients with serious healthy conditions, from leaving the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment abroad. 

Egyptian border guard killed, another wounded at the Israel-Egypt border
4 Aug 2009 - Egyptian security sources reported Tuesday that an Egyptian border guard was killed on Monday at night and another was injured near the Israeli-Egyptian border, after clashing with smugglers involved in transferring illegal immigrants and drugs into Israel. 

Israeli army kidnaps 13 Palestinians from the West Bank
4 Aug 2009 - 13 Palestinians from different areas of the West Bank were taken from their homes by the Israeli army, during pre-dawn invasions on Tuesday. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Avi Issacharoff / Forecasts of West Bank violence may well come true
4 Aug 2009 - Senior Fatah members say next explosion between Israel and the Palestinians only matter of time. 

U.K. official seeks Syrian help to reign in Hamas, Hezbollah
4 Aug 2009 - Minister met with Syrian FM, told him of the 'important opportunity' presented by Obama's peace ventures. 

Security forces evacuate West Bank outpost
3 Aug 2009 - Eight people arrested during operation; Far-right activist calls evacuation of outpost 'brutal'. 

Smugglers gun down Egyptian guard near Israeli border
3 Aug 2009 - Clash occured after smugglers were intercepted trying to move African migrants into Israel. 

Al-Qaida's Zawahri: Israel should be wiped off the map
3 Aug 2009 - Group's second-in-command says Obama wants a Palestinian state to serve as 'an extension of the CIA'. 

Ma'an News

Gaza man killed, two injured as tunnel collapses
8/4/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian man was killed and two were injured as a smuggling tunnel collapsed under the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip on Monday night. The director of the Ambulance and Emergency department in the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Muawiya Hassanein said medical staff pulled the corpse of Khalid Abu Athira from the rubble of the tunnel which collapsed in the Salam neighborhood in southern Rafah. Hassanein explained that two other young men were injured. He identified them as Husam and Bassam Hamayda. Meanwhile, he added, a search for three other young men is ongoing. With the death of Abu Athira, the death toll from tunnel accidents rose to 111 since the tunnel industry sprang up after Israel began a blockade of the Gaza Strip in mid-2007. 

Hamas: PA torture lead to death of Abu T’eima in Jordan hospital
8/4/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Hamas leader Sheikh Kamal Abu T'eima dies at age 44 in the King Hussein Medical center in Amman, Jordan Tuesday, sources at the hospital confirmed. Sheikh Abu T'eima had been on life support since 26 July after suffering several blood clots that travelled to his brain. His treatment came following a nine-month imprisonment by the Palestinian preventive security service in Hebron. He was detained on 15 September 2008 and released on 3 June because of his "failing health condition. "  He was sent to Jordan almost immediately for treatment. Abu T'eima was detained from his home in Al-Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron. Hamas accused the preventive security service in Hebron of torturing Abu T'eima while he was in their custody. Hamas sources said he was hung from his wrists for 37 consecutive days. 

Israeli forces enter At-Tuwani amid demolition fears
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli military jeeps and a bulldozer entered the West Bank village of At-Tuwani, south of the city of Hebron, early on Tuesday morning increasing fears that local electrical infrastructure would be destroyed. An international fieldworker in the village, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), told Ma'an she saw six to eight Israeli jeeps in addition to a bulldozer operating near the recently-erected electrical pylons at 5:30am. She said the vehicles later left without causing any damage or injuries. Last Tuesday the Israeli army delivered demolition orders for the electrical pylons. Construction on the project began last after Quartet Envoy Tony Blair visited the village in late March on a tour highlighting the plight of Palestinian villages in Area C of the West Bank, land under direct Israeli military rule. 

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to honor Edward Said, Jerusalem
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The 10th anniversary convert of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Geneva will be presented under the banner Al-Quds Capital of Arab Culture 2009, and dedicated to the group's co-founder Edward Said. The concert will be held on 7 August, and music of artists from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Spain will accompany readings of poems about Edward Said and Jerusalem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, performed by co-founder Michael Barenboim and Edwar's son Karim Said. Founded in 1999 by the acclaimed Israeli conductor and pianist Barenboim and the late Palestinian literary scholar Said, the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra brings together musicians with the aim to perform music and promote reflection and understanding. Since 2002 the workshop and orchestra is based in Seville and is funded by the regional government of Andalusia. 

Israeli forces seize 13 Palestinians overnight
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli soldiers seized 13 Palestinians from their West Bank homes during overnight raids, according to Israeli figures. Five Palestinians were taken from the Qalqilya area, four from the Ramallah area, two from the Hebron area, and two others near Jericho. The previous night Israel said it detained 14 Palestinians in the nightly raids. In one such incursion, a force of 200 soldiers attacked the village of Bil'in, near Ramallah, seizing six Palestinians and one American activist. The village holds weekly demonstrations against the Israeli separation wall. [end] 

Thousands leave and enter Gaza through Rafah
8/4/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Twenty-one buses carried passengers from Egypt across the Rafah border into the Gaza Strip on Monday, the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza said. Another 12 buses left Gaza for Egypt, said Ihab Al-Ghussein, a spokesman for the Hamas-controlled ministry. Al-Ghussein said 1,046 passengers left Gaza, including 171 medical patients, while 1,729 passengers entered Gaza. Egypt decided to open the Rafah Border Crossing for three days this week. Al-Ghussein said the country also agreed to open the border for a fourth day on Thursday to allow foreign passport holders accompanying children under age 16 to cross. "There are promises that the border will open other times but there are no official dates or times set," he added. Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed most days since mid-2007. 

Israel allows trickle of goods, fuel into Gaza
8/4/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel decided to open the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz border crossings into Gaza, to allow delivery of food and fuel into the besieged territory. Ra'ed Fattouh, a Palestinian official charged with liaising with Israeli authorities, said that Israel planned to allow 58 to 68 trucks to deliver goods at Kerem Shalom. Cooking gas and industrial grade diesel for Gaza's sole power plant will be allowed through the Nahal Oz terminal, he said. The Karni crossing, used to ship grain, animal feed, and other aggregates, will be closed. [end] 

Israel releases two Ramallah Hamas leaders
8/4/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Israel released two Hamas leaders from a prison camp in the Negev desert after holding them for 19 months without trial. Israeli soldiers seized Hassan Abu Kwaik, 52, and Faraj Rumaneh 37 during a raid on Al-Am'ari Refugee Camp in Ramallah. Both men had previously served five years in Israeli jails. [end] 

Report: Prisoners, guard injured in jail clashes
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three Palestinian prisoners and one Israeli warden were injured on Tuesday morning in clashes that at Israel's Negev desert prison camp, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Center for Studies (PCS). PCS asserted that Israeli prison service has trained special units to counter Palestinian prisoners' protests. Amongst these units is one called Nehshon, and another called Matsada which use nonlethal weapons that can cause prisoners eyes to be plucked out, or pain lasting several days. These units, according to the PCS, ransack prisoners' living quarters overnight wearing masks, and even torture prisoners. They also confiscate prisoners' property such as family letters and photo albums. It was one of these raids that sparked the clashes. No further details were given. Israeli authorities have not commented on the report. 

Villager detained at checkpoint Monday evening
8/4/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Israeli troops detained and took to unknown destination a Palestinian from Beit Kahil on Monday evening. Palestinian security sources said troops arrested 45-year-old Hashem Atiyeh Az-Zuhour after stopping him at a checkpoint at the central gate to Edna village west of Hebron. The reasons behind his arrest remain unclear. [end] 

Israel: Settlers arrested for disturbing the peace
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Seven settlers were taken into Israeli custody by Israeli forces for disturbing the peace near the West Bank settlement in Havat Gilad on Monday morning, Israel News reported. The news service quoted the Samaria Settlers' Committee as saying "The Shin Bet is trying to recruit collaborators and was turned down. The (Civil) Administration is taking revenge for past confrontations. "Havat Gilad, or Gilad Farm, is an outpost in the northern West Bank, just south of Nablus. According to PeaceNow, the area has 19 trailers and two permanent structures, its says there are four families that live permanently in the area as well as numbers of youth who travel out to the area, four kilometers from the nearest settlement of Qedumim. 

France deplores East Jerusalem evictions
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - France registered its opposition to Israel's eviction of some 50 Palestinians from two homes in East Jerusalem make room for settlers on Sunday, its Foreign Ministry said Monday. "France deplores the expulsion by the Israeli police of the Palestinian families, insisted a statement from its Foreign Ministry delivered to Ma'an. "Such actions seriously affect the lives of residents. . . and are illegal under international law and detrimental. " Such actions "prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations," the statement noted. "For these reasons, France like all European states has called on Israeli authorities to suspend the expulsion of these families. "It said, "In this context, France today [Monday] expressed its deep concern at the decision taken by the Israeli government and before all authorities in East Jerusalem, who disregard commitments undertaken by Israel, particularly in the context of the Road Map. 

EU gives 12.75 million Euro for PA salaries and pensions
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The European Union contributed 12. 75 million Euro (18. 35 million US dollars) to help the Palestinian Authority (PA) pay the salaries and pensions of 80,620 employees and civil service pensioners in the West Bank and Gaza. The transfer was made through PEGASE, the EU's mechanism for channeling funds to the PA. The EU and its member states have delivered more than 222 million Euro to the PA since January 2009, most for budgetary support. Monday's was the eighth EU donation this year to the aid-dependent Palestinian government. An EU statement said "PEGASE channels EU assistance to help build a Palestinian State, in accordance with the priorities and needs identified by the Palestinian Authority. "  The statement also said the fund would support "Prime Minister Fayyad's budget priorities. "  The PA promised its employees their salaries by Tuesday. 

Kuwait to Obama: Normalization will not come without Israeli action
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel will be granted normalization when it demonstrates its willingness to abide by the terms of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Ash-Sabah in Washington Monday. "It is in our interest that peace be brought about [between Israel and the Arab world]" Al-Jazeera quoted the emir as saying during a meeting with Barack Obama at the White House. Members of the Arab league set out a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the entire Middle East that would see normal relations between all member states and Israel as soon as the state pulled back from the West Bank to the 1967 borders and restored East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. The plan also requires a just solution be found for the 4. 6 million Palestinian refugees. The reaction came following statements from American Middle East Envoy George. . . 

Abed Rabbo: Negotiations unlikely to resume
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Abed Rabbo does not expect a renewal of negotiations with Israel, he said during a Monday interview. Peace talks are unlikely to resume mainly because of the hardline position of the current Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said. Netanyahu has rejected many of the traditional parameters of negotiations, refusing to accept any compromise on key issues including Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees. "Negotiations, from the Palestinian side, aim to reach a detailed plan to end the occupation, and the agreement on defining the relationship between the Arab states and Israel in the future," he said in an interview with Ma'an in Bethlehem. "Normalization should start after the delineation of a border between Palestine and Israel [and]. . . 

Israel’s Dichter sees specter of 'third Intifada' in Fatah conference
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Decisions made at the Fatah conference in Bethlehem could result in a third Palestinian Intifada (uprising), former Israeli security chief Avi Dichter warned the day before the conference began. "Fatah's statements are clearing the way to what may eventually be the third Intifada," he was quoted as saying by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth in a story published late Monday. "Once you say that the fight will go on by all means necessary - anyone in their right mind understands that spells an armed conflict. . . Such a decision by the congress would send us years back. "Dichter, the former head of Shin Bet, Israel's spy agency in the occupied territories, specifically expressed concern that the Fatah delegates assembled in Bethlehem would reaffirm the movement's 1965 charter, which calls for the liberation of all of historic Palestine. 

Fatah leader in Lebanon urges strength and unity
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Special - Secretary of the Fatah movement in Lebanon Sultan Abul Enein called for the sixth conference of the Fatah movement to be bold, to re-establish the party on solid foundations and to restart the movement with its proper maxims, principles and objectives. Abul Enein entered the West Bank for the first time in his life on 1August; he was awed by the "sight of the sun rising over Palestine," but at the same time shocked at the settlements crawling over every hilltop and the separation wall snaking through fields and behind houses. "What I saw burns the hopes of the Palestinian people," he said of his tour of the West Bank, "and it does not give me hope for peace. I am convinced more than before that negotiation without national struggle is not effective at all. " Abul Enein said his hopes for the conference were that it would be a platform "get. . . 

Zaki compares 'unfortunate' election of Hamas to that of Lieberman
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an exclusive - "I'm sorry to compare," said Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, "but the Israelis elected Lieberman and appointed him as Foreign Minister, [and a similar mistake was made by the Palestinian people in electing Hamas, which] is setting up all the obstacles preventing the improvement of the national unity. "  The Fatah leader spoke live during an interview on Ma'anTV's Hard Questions with Chief Editor Nasser Lahham Sunday, ahead of the Sixth Fatah Conference in Bethlehem and hours after Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas called the Central Committee together to respond to issues around Gazan Fatah members boycotting the conference. Zaki declined to speak about Fatah's decisions around Hamas, but said outright to the movement that they would be best to remember that "the PA pays the salaries for 77,000 employees [in Gaza] and 58% of the government's budget is goes to the Gaza Strip. 

Abbas: Peace is our choice, resistance our right
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told Fatah members on Tuesday that "resistance" to occupation is still a legitimate option. He was speaking at Fatah's first general conference in two decades in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. "Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law," he said in a lengthy oration during the opening session of the conference. The term resistance is often used to encompass both violent and nonviolent means of struggle. He said the Palestinian side is committed to the US-backed Road Map peace plan, but the Israeli side failed to uphold its obligation under the document. The largest Palestinian political party, Fatah, is expected to elect two new leadership councils and approve a new platform at the three day meeting. 

MOH: Hamas government standing in way of good medical treatment
8/4/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported Tuesday that the de facto government prevented "very sick patients" from exiting the Strip to receive medical treatment abroad. According to the ministry, the patients travelled north toward the Erez crossing into Israel with the necessary documents from Israel and the ministry. The patients encountered de facto government police in Beit Hanoun, who told them to return home and seek permission from the de facto government for travel out of the area. The ministry condemned the movement's effective prevention of women, children and elderly Gazans from receiving life-saving treatment, noting there have been 55 such incidents recorded. In a statement following the incident the Ministry of Health expressed further frustration noting the bills for patients being treated outside the Strip have doubled in the past months,. . . 

Hamas: Fatah was complicit in Israeli war on Gaza
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hamas slammed President Mahmoud Abbas' speech inaugurating Fatah's sixth general congress in Bethlehem on Tuesday. Senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said the speech was full of "fallacies and lies. "  He accused the Fatah-backed Palestinian Authority of "complicity in the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip" explaining that his movement was informed by European countries that the PA also "participated in the siege on Gaza. "  He added that ministers of the Palestinian unity government who recently visited European countries were told that the PA contacted these countries and asked them to avoid supporting Hamas. Radwan was responding to Abbas speech in which the president said that he was committed to negotiations with Israel but that "resistance" is Palestinians' right under international law. 

Fatah guerilla in exile applauds Abbas’ speech, calls for reform
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Exiled Fatah leader and legendary resistance fighter Hussein Fayyad applauded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' opening speech at his party's Sixth Conference Tuesday, saying he supported the stance on "no negotiations with Israel until all Palestinians in Israeli prisons are free. " Fayyad one of the two Palestinian militants who survived a famous attack on a beach north of Tel Aviv on 11 March 1978, was refused entry into the West Bank by Israeli security. The country's security forces cited Fayyad's resistance activities as reason for preventing him from attending the conference. He is currently living in Algeria, and sent a message to the delegates at the Sixth Fatah Congress via Ma'an on Tuesday. An unknown number of Fatah resistance fighters were denied entry and cannot participate or vote in the congress. 

Fatah: Resistance will be within bounds of international law
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Resistance is a legal matter that must remain aligned with international law, said Fatah sixth congress spokesman Nabil Amr following the close of the first day of the conference Tuesday. "Political activity is one way of resistance," he elaborated, stressing "we are not talking about armed resistance. " Summing up some of the day's main topics Amr said dialogue with Hamas would be studied "alongside our Egyptian brothers. "  He said leaders at the conference felt "Hamas has crossed all limits especially when they prevented Fatah delegates from Gaza from attending the sixth congress. "  From now on, he added "Fatah will not accept any blackmail by Hamas, and will take any measures needed to protect Fatah's interests and the Palestinian people's interests. " Amr also noted the large number of international and local religious dignitaries who came. . . 

PPSF secretary general buried in Al-Bireh
8/4/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Hundreds of Palestinians joined in the funeral procession of Secretary General of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) of Samir Ghousha Tuesday, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The funeral started at three o'clock from the Governmental Hospital in Ramallah, and Ghousha's body was transported on an official military vehicle with Palestinian Presidential Guards flanking the convoy. The mourners travelled past the deceased's family home then to the Presidential Compound (Muqata'a) in Ramallah for an official ceremony. Ghousha was buried in the Martyrs Cemetery in Al-Bireh. Several Palestinian officials attended the funeral procession including member of the PLO executive committee Yasser Abed Rabbo, Ahmad Abdul-Rahman representing president Abbas, along with other members of the PLO's Executive Committee and members of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front. 

Israeli journalists covering Fatah conference speak to Ma’an
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Two Israeli journalists were at Ma'an's Bethlehem headquarters, which was offered Tuesday as a broadcast point for reporters wanting to cover the sixth Fatah conference which began the same day. That they were able to join Ma'an here in Bethlehem was significant because it is illegal under Israeli law for its citizens to visit areas administrated by the Palestinian Authority, except under certain circumstances. Israel Radio's Jal Burgur and the Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper's Rony Shakid met with Ma'an staff on Tuesday morning, and both explained they hoped to expose Palestine's internal politics to a largely disinterested Israeli audience. Of particular concern to the two journalists, from Israel's largest radio station and most distributed newspaper, were Fatah's position on Palestinians coming from abroad, peace negotiations. . . 

Police say Ramallah-area theft was drug related
8/4/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - A young man was arrested after police found he had sold a gold ornament stolen from his father's home to a Ramallah-area goldsmith Monday, in what police say was a drug related theft. A Ramallah-area resident phoned police Sunday after he noticed an expensive gold ornament was missing from his home, said Director of Public Relations and Media in Ramallah police Farid Al-Ladadweh. Police were dispatched immediately to local goldsmiths and authorized shops to find out whether the object had been sold for cash and warn prospective buyers that the object was stolen if someone approached them to buy it. A second team was sent to the home of the resident to investigate. Police were unable to identify any break-in point in the home. Shortly after police left the home the first team located the stolen object in a jewelry store, and the owner identified the seller as the resident's son. 

West Bank Industrial Production Index increases in Q2 2009
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Industrial Production increased by 0. 74% in the West Bank during the second quarter of 2009 over the first quarter, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reported on Tuesday. The overall Industrial Production Index (IPI) reached 100. 74 in the second quarter, compared to 100. 00 in the first quarter of 2009. PCBS' Analysis of the Industrial Production Index developments for showed increases in production in the following major areas: - Electricity: + 26. 62 %- Water Supply: + 24. 19 % - Manufacture of paper and its products:+ 21. 48 %- Manufacture of tobacco products:+ 19. 47 % - Manufacture of textiles: + 19. 34 %- Mining and quarrying: + 18. 35 % - Manufacture of basic metals: + 15. 47 %Meanwhile, there was a decrease in the following major groups: - Tanning of leather, manufacture of bags: - 36. 

PSE stocks drop: Al-Quds Index closes down 8.67 points
8/4/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Stocks on the Palestine Securities exchange stumbled on Tuesday. The Al-Quds Index closed at 490. 94, marking a decrease of 8. 67 points (1. 74%) over Monday's close. A total of 418,850 shares, valued at 1,182,626. 86) US dollars, were traded in 329 individual trades. The shares of 23 companies were traded. The shares prices of 12 companies rose, while the shares prices of nine declined The top five gainers were GMC by 4. 76%, ARAB by 4. 55%, AZIZA by 4. 05%, NCI by 3. 45%, and LADAEN by 3. 13%. The top five losers were PCB by 4. 76%, ISBK by 4. 29%, PALTEL by 3. 85%, PLAZA by 3. 64%, and PIIC by 2. 56%. [end] 

Egyptian border guard killed by smugglers
8/4/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - An Egyptian border guard was killed and his partner was injured on Monday in intense clashes erupted between smugglers along the Israeli border, Egyptian security sources told Ma'an. The sources said smugglers were attempting to bring African immigrants and large quantities of drugs into Israel when two border guards attempted to stop them. The sources identified the slain officer as 20-year-old Muhammad Fikri Ahmad, and the injured officer as 20-year-old Ibrahim Hassan Muhammad. The slain officer was shot in the neck, while his partner was injured in the thigh. The immigrants and the smugglers fled into the interior of Egypt. The slain officer was transferred to Rafah Hospital. 

The National

Abbas reserves right' to resistance 
4 Aug 2009 - Fatah leader reiterates his desire for unity and pins Palestinian division on Hamas during historic Bethlehem meeting.

Israel targets human rights groups
3 Aug 2009 - The Israeli government launches a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad.

Lieberman threatens to step down
3 Aug 2009 - Police say they have enough evidence to charge Avigdor Lieberman with accepting bribes, fraud, money laundering and other offences.

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.


Abbas maintains right to resistance
4 Aug 2009 - Palestinian president opens first Fatah party conference for 20 years.

US criticises Israeli eviction move
4 Aug 2009 - Secretary of state says removal of Palestinians from East Jerusalem is "regrettable".

Palestine News Network

Messages at Fateh conference in Bethlehem include launch of revolution and beginning of freedom
3 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem/PNN – Amid tight security, officials and press began entering the Terra Sancta School hall this morning — two hours before the start of Fateh’s Sixth General Conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. This is the first general conference in 20 years for Fateh, the largest political party in Palestine. The agenda of the three-day conference includes the election of...

Major-General Kamal Al Sheikh says Fateh conference not about judgment yet still denounces Hamas
3 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Despite statements made by party leaders, the Sixth General Conference of Fateh will not be spent critiquing the leadership of its members, said Major-General Kamal Al Sheikh said in an exclusive interview with PNN. Instead, Al Shiekh said, the 2,250-plus attendees at the conference will focus on achieving Palestinian unity. However, members of the People’s Committee against the Wall...

Three Palestinians injured by blaze in Israeli desert prison of Al Naqab where the cells are tents
3 Aug 2009 - Naqab / PNN – At dawn today three Palestinians were injured in such a way that the Israeli prison administration alerted its own media. The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot and Israeli Channel Two both reported that three Palestinian political prisoners were injured Tuesday morning in Al Naqab Desert Prison. The situation was reported upon it seems because it involves a fire where an...

Swedish presidency of the European Union adds its condemnation of Israeli action against E Jerusalem
3 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN - The occupying Israeli administration continues to operate in contravention to international law and Palestinian rights; a long-standing situation. But currently the outcries from London, Washington and the European Union are also going unheeded. In response to the overtaking of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah for settlers, the Swedish presidency of the European Union has issued a statement:“The...

Irish cyclists arrive after trans-Europe bike ride en route to besieged Gaza Strip 
3 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / Angela Godfrey-Goldstein - Cycling close to double the distance of the Tour de France, three Irish cyclists are now on the final stretch of their journey from Ireland to Gaza. The students, having just reached Palestine, arrived in Jerusalem yesterday and will attempt to cross into Gaza during the coming days. Their 6,000 km cycle aims to raise money in support...

Conflict, controversy and hope surround Fateh Sixth Conference 
3 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – The Fateh Sixth Conference, set to begin in Bethlehem on Tuesday, will restore the faith of Palestinians who have lost confidence in their government. This is the message of Fateh member Abdullah Abdullah, a Palestinian Authority lawmaker and chairman of a Legislative Council Committee. It is not unheard of to be in power to commit some errors, and this...

Attack on Sheikh Jarrah: Palestinians injured and several arrested as Israelis overtake neighborhood
2 Aug 2009 - Jerusalem / PNN – On Monday morning five citizens of Jerusalem were injured during clashes with Jewish extremists in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. This East Jerusalem neighborhood has been in the news as of late as one of many being destroyed by the occupying administration. The Israelis are removing Palestinians and replacing them with settlers, which has caused even the United...


GAZA: Swimming in sewage
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...

Inter Press Service

EGYPT: Opposition Equated With Terrorists 
CAIRO, Aug 4 (IPS) - The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing "global networks". Recent months have seen a host of government accusations - which critics say are fabricated - against opposition groups it claims have ties with Hamas,...

MIDEAST: And Still They Run These Taxis 
GAZA CITY, Aug 3 (IPS) - Salleh wonders how he will pay for a replacement car part he bought from the tunnels black market.

MIDEAST: 'Lay Not Thine Hand Upon the Boy' 
TEL AVIV, Aug 3 (IPS) - "And He said, Lay not thine hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God" (Genesis 22:12). Not so much in fear of God as in fear of their own conscience, Israeli leaders have...

MIDEAST: Obama Maneuvres Between Jewish Israelis, Jewish Americans 
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.

Stop The Wall

Ni’lin and Bil’in face chemicals and tear gas; demonstration in Barta’
3 Aug 2009 - This Friday, Occupation forces rained tear gas and foul-smelling chemicals on protestors in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin during the weekly march. In Barta’, a demonstration was organized at the terminal to protest the conditions imposed on the people there. [

Brides and grooms lead popular march in al-Ma’sara
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. [

PCHR Weekly Report

(23 - 29 July  2008)
During the reporting period, 7 Palestinians civilians, including one child and one woman, were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the West Bank.

International Solidarity Movement

Evicted Palestinians stand their ground - on thin mattresses
8/4/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Christian Science Monitor - It was 13-year-old Diala who was awoken first, just after 5 a. m. on Sunday morning, by the commotion outside. She rushed to the window, saw special riot police in black uniforms, and ran to wake her parents. By the time she did, the Israeli police were already breaking in through doors and windows, forcing the 17-member Hanoun family - three brothers, their wives, and children - to leave the home their relatives acquired a half-century ago. In all, 58 Palestinians were evicted in this predominantly Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah. Though they had received - and refused to obey - a court order in May to leave after losing a longstanding dispute over property rights, it was still a shock. "I had one shoe on and one off, and the policeman who was ordering me out tried to move aside the glass they broke to make sure that I didn't cut my feet," says Diala's mother, Nadia Hanoun. 

Activists demonstrate for a Danish condemnation of the evictions of Hanoun and Ghawe Family in Sheikh Jarrah
8/5/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - ISM Denmark - On Monday 4 August at 5pm approximately 20 danish solidarity activist gathered in front of the Danish foreign ministry to call for a condemnation of the eviction of another two families in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied East Jerusalem. The activists carried a banner saying "Stop Ethnic Cleansing" in danish as well as signs asking the politicians to actively condemn settlements and evictions in The Occupied Palestinian Territories. The manifestation remained calm for the hour and half it lasted. After the media storm the injuries and arrest of a Danish solidarity activist in Sheikh Jarrah caused in Denmark one danish party have suggested in parlaiment an official condemnation of the evictions of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem. The eviction of the Hanoun and Ghawe family made 53 persons homeless, made them refugees again. The 28 houses in Sheikh Jarrah threatened with evictions are build by the Jordanian kingdom and UNWRA in 1956 as a housing project for Palestinian refugees from 1948. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Coastal Road terrorist refuses to apologize, says peace 'important'
4 Aug 2009 - BETHLEHEM - Khaled Abu Asba, one of only two perpetrators still alive of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, in which 35 Israelis were killed and 71 wounded, is not willing to express remorse or to apologize for what he did. ... 

Anarchy still reigns within Fatah, convention demonstrates
4 Aug 2009 - Tuesday, the same day Fatah's sixth convention opened in Bethlehem, the head of Military Intelligence's research division told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Palestinian Authority President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas' government is stable. In Brig. Gen. Yossi Baidatz's view, no one currently threatens PA rule over the West Bank. ... 

Washington summons Israel envoy over East Jerusalem eviction
4 Aug 2009 - Washington issued another diplomatic protest over Israeli conduct in East Jerusalem on Monday, its second in as many weeks. ... 

3 Americans arrested in Iran - Extreme Zionists or backpackers?
4 Aug 2009 - Israel may not be the only country where efforts to secure the release of a kidnapped citizen affect government policy. Just as former U.S. President Bill Clinton was in North Korea in a bid to negotiate the release of two American journalists, a similar series of events was taking shape in Iran. ... 

AIPAC slams Obama for honoring 'anti-Israel' ex-Irish president
4 Aug 2009 - The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Tuesday slammed the Obama administration for its decision to give a former Irish president the presidential Medal of Freedom, saying they were "deeply disappointed" by the move. ...

The Guardian

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement holds first party conference for 20 years
4 Aug 2009 - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says peace is his movement's choice but does not rule out conflict if talks fail The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, opened his Fatah movement's first conference in 20 years today with a...

Reforming Fatah from the grassroots up | Nicholas Blincoe
4 Aug 2009 - Four elements must be incorporated into a new, transparent structure if the Palestinian party's conference is to be a success Fatah has long been the driving force of Palestinian nationalism but as a party of government...

Legitimising Lieberman | Antony Lerman
4 Aug 2009 - Israel's aggressively far-right foreign minister epitomises deeply ingrained trends – what was once outlawed is now acceptable Avigdor Lieberman is no aberration in Israel's polity. His aggressive rightwing Zionist rhetoric, racist demonisation of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis,...

Israel's evictions upset even its friends | Ian Black
4 Aug 2009 - Broad condemnation of the eviction of Palestinians in east Jerusalem reflects growing international anger over settlements It isn't necessary to be unduly cynical to wonder exactly what it takes for British diplomats to be "appalled" by...

Ha'aretz National page

Labor rebels: If Barak's constitution passes, it will split party 
4 Aug 2009 - Rebel Labor MKs are planning to boycott the party conference Wednesday to vote on a new constitution, which would significantly increasing the powers of the party chairman, defense minister Ehud Barak. ... 

Who needs the outdoors? A list of fun Web sites to explore
4 Aug 2009 - August heat is already here in full force, the camps are about to end and the alternatives left for amusing the kids without getting drenched in sweat are diminishing. This is the time to eke a few more moments of relative quiet out of the computer as well as some pleasure for parents and children together. ... 

Antiquities Authority to search for hidden treasures in attics 
4 Aug 2009 - The Israel Antiquities Authority Tuesday launched an unprecedented campaign to identify private antiquities collectors in Israel and enable them to register their collections in exchange for being allowed to keep the antiquities. ... 

Relief Web

Presidency statement on evictions in East Jerusalem
4 Aug 2009 - Source: European Union

Conférence de presse du président du Conseil de sécurité pour le mois d'août et Représentant permanent du Royaume-Uni, M. John Sawers
4 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

Conférence de presse du Représentant permanent du Mexique et de la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire Général pour les enfants et les conflits armés
4 Aug 2009 - Source: UN Department of Public Information

YNet News

AIPAC slams Obama's award to ex-Irish president 
5 Aug 2009 - Pro-Israel lobby group criticizes US president's decision to grant top honor to Mary Robinson, accusing her of bias towards Israel 

UK backs Syria-EU pact despite concerns
5 Aug 2009 - Deputy British Foreign Office minister calls for 'new beginning' with Syria, saying Damascus should be encouraged to change policies, despite its alliance with Iran and support for Hamas and Hezbollah 

Defense establishment: Hand over northern Ghajar 
4 Aug 2009 - Israel should hand over control over northern section of Lebanon border village to United Nations, defense establishment says; political sources estimate that move will be undertaken as part of US-led regional peace initiative 

IDF: Northern calm in danger
4 Aug 2009 - Senior IDF official tells The Times calm on Lebanon border 'could explode at any minute' 

North Korea frees jailed US journalists
4 Aug 2009 - Pyongyang releases two jailed American reporters after surprise visit by Bill Clinton 

Feds: NC terror suspect told family of jihad
4 Aug 2009 - Court told in hearing that suspected leader of terror cell said, 'Muslims must be protected at all costs' 

Peres: No peace means nuclear Mideast
4 Aug 2009 - President tells Republican Congress members it would be a mistake for Israel to miss chance for peace 


Don't silence "Breaking the Silence"
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.

Daily Star

Palestine’s Fatah party holds first congress in 20 years
4 Aug 2009 - President Mahmoud Abbas told his Fatah movement’s first congress in 20 years on Tuesday that Palestinians sought peace with Israel but “resistance” would remain an option. Strengthening the democratic credentials of the Western-backed leader under challenge by Hamas Islamists is part of a drive.

Jordan, Kuwait rebuff US call for gestures toward Israel
4 Aug 2009 - Jordan and Kuwait on Monday joined Saudi Arabia in publicly rejecting US appeals to improve relations with Israel to help restart Middle East peace talks, throwing a dampener on the Obama administration’s push for Arab support behind new negotiations. After talks here with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Muslim Brotherhood linked to terrorists
4 Aug 2009 - The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing “global networks.” Recent months have seen a host of government accusations – which critics say are fabricated – against opposition groups it claims have ties with Hamas, Hizbullah, and the ever-elusive Al-Qaeda.

UK minister presses Syria to promote Mideast peace
4 Aug 2009 - British Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis on Tuesday urged Syria to help push deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and also resume its own negotiations with the Jewish state. Lewis also told reporters that Israel should return the strategic Golan Heights to Syria as part of a comprehensive peace between the two arch-foes.

Texan: God sent me to seek oil in Israel
4 Aug 2009 - Texan John Brown says he is on a divine mission to find oil in the Holy Land. Brown, who calls himself Zionist Christian, is convinced that oil-dependent Israel is sitting on vast reserves of crude. Their location is mapped out in the Bible, he says. Standing on the platform of a 45-meter-high rig in central Israel, Brown says.

EU, US protest Israeli evictions in East Jerusalem
4 Aug 2009 - The United States and the European Union hit out late Monday at Israel for evicting Palestinian families from East Jerusalem, warning that such moves endangered the Middle East peace process. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the international condemnation, labeling the evictions.

UK urged to hold inquiry into torture allegation
4 Aug 2009 - Calls for an inquiry grew Tuesday after lawmakers said the British government was hiding behind a “wall of secrecy” over allegations that agents colluded in the torture of terror suspects abroad. The British government denied it condones and engages in torture after parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Palestinian Information Center

Hamas holds Abbas responsible for death of Abu Taima
5 Aug 2009 - Hamas held Mahmoud Abbas, former PA chief and Fatah leader, responsible for the death of Sheikh Kamal Abu Taima, one of its leaders in the West Bank, in his security apparatuses' jails.

Hamas leader dies under torture in Abbas's jails
5 Aug 2009 - Sheikh Kamal Abu Taima, one of the Hamas leaders, has been pronounced dead in a Jordanian hospital on Tuesday following a brain stroke suffered during torture in the jails of Mahmoud Abbas.

Haneyya: Judaization attempts would never wipe out Palestinian landmarks
5 Aug 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya has emphasized that all IOA efforts to judaize occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa would not succeed in changing the Palestinian identity of the city and the Aqsa.

IOF troops advance in southern Gaza
5 Aug 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced into Abbasan area, east of Khan Younis, to the south of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, local sources said.

Hamas: Abbas offered himself as a servant to occupation
5 Aug 2009 - Hamas said on Tuesday that Mahmoud Abbas, the former PA chief, has offered himself as a servant for occupation during his speech at the inauguration of Fatah's sixth general conference.

Hamas: Ramallah threats to stop sending money to Gaza add another siege
5 Aug 2009 - Hamas on Tuesday said that the Ramallah authority's decision not to allocate funds for Gaza in its budget posed as another siege to the Gaza Strip and reflected that authority's ill intention.

Three Palestinian prisoners wounded in Israeli quelling of protest
5 Aug 2009 - Three Palestinian prisoners were wounded at dawn Tuesday during the Israeli jailors' violent quelling of protests by prisoners over tragic incarceration conditions.

Ghoul: Israeli leaders should stand trial for crimes against women prisoners
5 Aug 2009 - Minister of prisoners' affairs Mohammed Al-Ghoul has said that Israeli leaders should stand trial as war criminals for their flagrant violations of Palestinian female prisoners' rights.

Hamas denies offer for release of all detainees
5 Aug 2009 - Hamas on Monday night denied receiving an offer to release all its cadres in West Bank in return for allowing Fatah in Gaza Strip to leave for the West Bank to attend their sixth general conference.

IOF soldiers bulldoze Palestinian farmlands
5 Aug 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) afternoon Monday advanced into northern Gaza Strip and bulldozed Palestinian farmland in Beit Lahia town, security sources said.

Los Angeles Times

At Palestinian congress, Abbas urges nonviolent resistance 
5 Aug 2009 - At his Fatah faction's first congress in two decades, the Palestinian Authority leader stops short of renouncing 'armed revolution.' But he says now is the time for peaceful struggle against Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opened his Fatah movement's first congress in 20 years Tuesday with a call to step up nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and to keep faith in peace talks despite years of setbacks to the dream of statehood. 

Iranian ceremony highlights split 
3 Aug 2009 - Dozens of officials and dignitaries boycott the confirmation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and street fighting erupts in Tehran between opposition supporters and security forces. A confirmation ceremony Monday meant to showcase the unity of the Islamic Republic's leadership highlighted its divisions, sparking clashes in the streets between demonstrators and security forces that stretched into the night. 

Avigdor Lieberman says he'll resign if indicted 
4 Aug 2009 - The Israeli foreign minister is accused of fraud, money laundering, bribery, witness harassment and obstruction of justice. He says he hasn't done anything wrong. Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that he would resign as Israel's foreign minister if the attorney general indicted him on corruption charges. 

New York Times

Abbas Urges ‘New Start’ at Fatah Conference
4 Aug 2009 - The mainstream Palestinian movement Fatah came together for a landmark three-day gathering, its first ever on Palestinian soil. 

Ahmadinejad’s Opponents Snub Election Ceremony
3 Aug 2009 - Several opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad avoided a ceremony recognizing his re-election in Iran. 

Newsweek Steps Up Effort to Free Reporter in Iran
3 Aug 2009 - In advertisements, petitions and in a report on its Web site, the newsmagazine is objecting to Maziar Bahari’s treatment in the country, where he has yet to receive access to a lawyer. 


Life in the Bubble: At Home in the Israeli Settler State 
Ed Kinane, 8/3/2009
      Given my Judeo-Christian roots, I’ve long wanted to visit “The Holy Land.” The U.S.-supported Israeli attack on Gaza this past winter lent urgency to that longing. In mid-May I joined a delegation going to Israel and the West Bank of the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian Territories. Altogether I spent a month experiencing those tense and militarized lands.
     What most surprised me on this tour was how at home I felt – not in the West Bank, but in Israel. Except for signs in Hebrew, things often seemed so “American” that it was like we were in the 51st state. For example, even in the Arab quarters of Israeli cities, many non-Arab Israelis dress with an immodesty (pleasing to my male, Western eye) that surely offends the indigenous Muslim people they live among.
     But this at-home feeling went beyond appearances. It was in the attitudes. The non-activist Israelis I met reminded me of many folks back in the U.S. Here were nice, hospitable, English-speaking people who – just as in the U.S. – live in what I call the “Bubble.” Colonizing and nationalizing our minds, the Bubble is spun by our governments and mainstream media. It narrows our horizons, drowns our dissent, stifles the voices of the voiceless. Distracting and trivializing, the Bubble shelters us from others’ pain.
     The non-activist Jewish Israelis I met seemed oblivious to – or were quick to rationalize – how predatory their military and the Israeli settlers they protect were being in the Occupied Territories. They took for granted the great theft of indigenous Palestinian land supported with their taxes (and with $3 billion a year of our taxes). After centuries of inhabiting what has become Israel proper, in recent decades Palestinians have been either pushed into exile or relegated by force to the caged reservations and “Bantustans” of Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli scholar Ilan Pappé calls this historical process “ethnic cleansing.”
     The fear that some Israelis feel regarding Palestinians mirrors the fear some U.S. whites feel toward people of color. These Israelis also were quick to blame the victim and to shudder at the “other.

Islamophobia, the Israel lobby and the Western media 
Paul J. Balles, Redress 8/3/2009
      Paul J. Balles considers the roles of Israel lobby propagandists and hate-mongers in the US media, such as writer Daniel Pipes and broadcasters Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly, in promoting and irrational fear of Muslims and Arabs.
     Most of us have had fears of one kind or another. Some fears are quite rational. If someone threatens you, and you have reason to believe that person will carry out his threat, your fear is rational. Not all fears are rational.
     Have you ever been short of breath, shaking, nauseated and light-headed within elevators, closed rooms or crowded places? Experienced a panic attack in a high-rise building? Do you have an irrational fear of germs? Of strangers or foreigners? Of shadows? Of thunder or lightening? Of spiders? Of public speaking? Afraid of flying?
     If you’ve experienced any of these, you’re suffering from a type of irrational fear called a phobia. These are some of the most common phobias. People suffer from literally hundreds of phobias.
     A relatively recent irrational phobia that hasn’t even appeared on all the lists is Islamophobia – fear of Islam.
     Kofi Annan told a UN conference on Islamophobia in 2004: "When the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry, that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia."
     In 1996, the Runnymede Trust established the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. The term was defined by the trust as "an outlook or world-view involving an unfounded dread and dislike of Muslims, which results in practices of exclusion and discrimination".

Electronic Intifada
Egyptian opposition branded "terrorist" 
4 Aug 2009 - CAIRO (IPS) - The Egyptian government is now accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of links to Palestinian resistance groups and of establishing "global networks." Recent months have seen a host of government accusations -- which critics say are fabricated -- against opposition groups it claims have ties with Hamas, Hizballah, and the ever-elusive al-Qaeda. "The government is making up so many charges of 'terror networks' and 'Islamist cells' that it's hard to keep track of them all," Islamist lawyer Montasser al-Zayat told IPS. 

"Beiruti in Jaffa, Yafawi in Beirut": Shafiq al-Hout's story in his own words
4 Aug 2009 - "In Jaffa we were called the "Beirutis" [the ones from Beirut] and in Beirut we became known the Yafawi. Who am I?" Shafiq al-Hout, the Palestinian political figure and founding member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, passed away in Beirut this week at the age of 77. In a tribute to his tireless efforts towards the liberation of the Palestinian people, the Electronic Intifada presents his story in his own words, as told to The Electronic Intifada contributor Mayssoun Sukarieh in Beirut in 1999. 

Israel moves to declare rights groups as foreign agents
4 Aug 2009 - In a bid to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during Israel's winter assault on Gaza, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad. It has begun by targeting one of the world's leading rights organizations, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month published the testimonies of 26 combat soldiers who served in Gaza. Jonathan Cook reports. 

Gaza's cars barely running
3 Aug 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - Saleh wonders how he will pay for a replacement car part he bought from the tunnels black market. "It cost more than $1,000. Before the siege, it would have been 500 to 1,000 shekels (roughly $125-$250), at most $250. Anyway, I had to buy it; you need to maintain the car when you use it all the time." The father of five drives one of Gaza's many run-down taxis, working around the clock but earning just enough to get by. 

In Gaza
4 Aug 2009 - Usually it’s a 15 minute trip along the coastal road from Deir al Balah to Gaza city. The trip affords views of sunsets, fishermen (and often Israeli naval ships in the distance, harassing fishermen), beach-goers, food-vendors (basics: roasted corn, nuts…), the black filth of Wadi Gaza’s sewage outpour into the sea (windows stay down, stench overcomes the car), and the few wedding halls and restaurants which struggle to stay open during hard economic times. It’s an interesting ride, much to see and think about, and Gaza always appears more quickly than I expect. Yesterday, the ride was longer. The long, yellow, 8 seater taxi which picked me up was going...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel Seeks Ways to Silence Human Rights Groups
4 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth In a bid to staunch the flow of damaging evidence of war crimes committed during Israel's winter assault on Gaza, the Israeli government has launched a campaign to clamp down on human rights groups, both in Israel and abroad. It has begun by targeting one of the world’s leading rights organisations, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as a local group of dissident army veterans, Breaking the Silence, which last month published the testimonies of 26 combat soldiers who served in Gaza. Additionally, according to the Israeli media, the government is planning a “much more aggressive stance” towards human rights groups working to help the Palestinians. Officials have questioned the sources of funding received by the organisations and threatened legislation to ban support from foreign governments, particularly in Europe. Breaking the Silence and other Israeli activists have responded by accusing the government of a “witch hunt” designed to intimidate them and starve them of the funds needed to pursue their investigations. “This is a very dangerous step,” said Mikhael Mannekin, one of the directors of Breaking the Silence. “Israel is moving in a very anti-democratic direction.” The campaign is reported to be the brainchild of the far-right foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, currently facing corruption charges, but has the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Early last month, Mr Lieberman used a press conference to accuse non-government organisations, or NGOs, of replacing diplomats in setting the international community’s agenda in relation to Israel. He...

On Exploiting Land and Natural Gas
3 Aug 2009 - By Dina Jadallah There is a paradox at the heart of recent news stories from Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority concerning various natural gas and land 'business deals.' For in this day of seemingly unsurpassed state power there is a tendency to downplay its true extent. It is frequently proclaimed that the exigencies of international power structures limit state agency. Often, the aim is to shield the state and/or the true holders of power in the state from the consequences of rapacious behavior toward citizens and resources. This is accomplished by subordinating political issues and political space to private economic entities. The latter are presented as imposing their own supra-national legitimacy and agenda dissociated completely from the political sphere of the state and thus, (conveniently) circumscribing and directing the actions of the state itself. The “political’ space includes the questions of poverty; access and influence over the direction of government; historical national rights and their protection; distribution of benefits from national resources; adherence to and application of national and international laws; and so forth. Many times, the “political” imposes limits on the state even when it is dictatorial as is the case in the Arab world. To counteract these limits, economic supra-national structures and the ideology of free market capitalism, liberalization, globalization, and privatization are used by the state as rationalizations. Thus, the state can: a) escape its responsibilities to its citizens; b) usurp the “national interest” in the sense of distributive benefits to the widest number possible; c)...

Life in the Bubble: At Home in the Israeli Settler State
3 Aug 2009 - By Ed Kinane Given my Judeo-Christian roots, I’ve long wanted to visit 'The Holy Land.' The US-supported Israeli attack on Gaza this past winter lent urgency to that longing. This spring I joined a delegation going to Israel and the West Bank of the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian Territories. Altogether I spent a month experiencing those tense and militarized lands. What most surprised me on this tour was how at home I felt – not in the West Bank, but in Israel. Except for signs in Hebrew, things often seemed so “American” that it was like we were in the 51st state. For example, even in the Arab quarters of Israeli cities, many non-Arab Israelis dress with an immodesty that surely offends the indigenous Muslim people they live among. But this at-home feeling went beyond appearances. It was in the attitudes. The non-activist Israelis I met reminded me of many folks back in the US. Here were nice, hospitable, English-speaking people who – just as in the US – live in what I call the “Bubble.” Colonizing and nationalizing our minds, the Bubble is spun by our governments and mainstream media. It narrows our horizons, drowns our dissent, stifles the voices of the voiceless. Distracting and trivializing, the Bubble shelters us from others’ pain. The non-activist Jewish Israelis I met seemed oblivious to – or were quick to rationalize – how predatory their military and the Israeli settlers they protect were being in the Occupied Territories. They took for granted the great...

NYT to Be First Signature on San José Accord
3 Aug 2009 - By Belen Fernandez Over the past few days in Honduras, I have received a number of emails from various parts of the world notifying me that the coup is over thanks to the San José Accord brokered by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. My attempts to discuss the breakthrough with Hondurans here in Tegucigalpa have largely been met with a wave of the hand and roll of the eyes, behavior that detracts slightly from the optimism of the July 29 New York Times article proclaiming: “Honduran Leader Backs Return of President.” Further detraction has been supplied by Honduran Leader Roberto Micheletti himself, whose reaction to a recent meeting in Managua between ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and US ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens is described on page 16 of the July 31 edition of La Tribuna. Micheletti is quoted as warning that Llorens is committing a grave error if he is considering a reinstatement of Zelaya as president; several paragraphs later, however, some of the spirit of “Honduran Leader Backs Return of President” is recuperated with the information that Micheletti welcomes Zelaya back to Honduras to be tried for his crimes. A link to the text of the San José Accord is provided in a July 25 New York Times article entitled “Military in Honduras Backs Plan on Zelaya,” which also provides a link to the military communiqué from which the New York Times deduced said backing. A glance at the communiqué reveals that the backing actually consists of support...

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