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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
26 August , 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Progress made in swap-deal, Palestinian reporter says
27 Aug 2009 - According to Mustafa Sawaf, a Palestinian reporter believed to be close to Hamas, a prisoner-swap deal between Israel and Palestinian fighters holding Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit captive is nearing. 

PPS appeals urgent medical treatment for two detainees
27 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) published a press release appealing the International Community and Human Rights Organizations to intervene, and to pressure Israeli into allowing two Palestinian to receive urgent medical treatment due to the severity of their conditions. 

Reporters Without Borders slams Israel’s attack, closure, of Bethlehem 2000 Radio
26 Aug 2009 - Reporters Without Borders published a press release slamming the Israeli Army for attacking the Radio Bethlehem 2000 station, in Bethlehem, shutting it down and seizing its equipment. 

85 Palestinian patients return to the Gaza Strip though Rafah crossing with Egypt
26 Aug 2009 - Palestinian sources announced that 85 Palestinian patients returned to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday through the Rafah Crossing the borders with Egypt.

The Israeli military kidnaps four civilians from the West Bank
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli military kidnapped on Wednesday at dawn four Palestinian civilians during invasions targeting a number of West Bank communities.

The Israeli military shoots a Palestinian man in Hebron city
26 Aug 2009 - A Palestinian man was critically injured on Wednesday after Israeli troops shot him in the old city of Hebron, southern West Bank.

U.S. believes it is narrowing gaps with Israel on settlements
26 Aug 2009 - Israeli sources reported that Israel and the United States managed to close several gaps in the positions of the two countries regarding the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Hamas: Only breakthrough in Shalit deal is German mediation
25 Aug 2009 - Netanyahu nearing deal, as Palestinian pundits says Hamas may show flexiblity on Israeli demands. 

Barak vows outposts will be evacuated within weeks
25 Aug 2009 - Labor MK Ben-Simon says party will campaign in cabinet if evacuation not complete by winter session. 

Philippines arrests rebel leader over plot against Israel embassy
25 Aug 2009 - Leader of Abu Sayyaf-linked group allegedly planned attacks on Israeli, American and British embassies. 

Jailed Palestinians barred visits as Shalit campaign mounts
25 Aug 2009 - Israel has temporarily halted family visits at Shikma and Hadarim prisons, as Shalit activists hold rally. 

Israeli TV broadcasts footage of Hamas men executing rebels
24 Aug 2009 - IDF soldier lightly wounded as mortar shells hit Israel in wake of cross-border shooting incident. 

Ma'an News

Two Old City Jerusalem families forced to demolish own homes
8/26/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Two Palestinian families in Jerusalem's Old City have been forced to demolish their own house after Israeli authorities threatened him with heavy fines if he did not. One resident, Muhammad Faysal Jabir lived with his family of five in a 28 square meter house in the Aqbat Al-Khalidiyya neighborhood of the Old City. Jabir told Ma'an that the apartment used to be just 12 square meters, and that he added an extension apparently without permission from the Jerusalem Municipality. The Israeli controlled Jerusalem Municipality frequently refuses Palestinian requests for construction permits, using this as a pretext for house demolitions. Self-demolition is often the least expensive route for Palestinians facing the destruction of their homes. Israel occupied and later annexed East Jerusalem, a step not recognized internationally. 

Israeli forces invade Qalqiliya-area village
8/26/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - Israeli forces entered the West Bank village of Sanniriya, south of the city of Qalqiliya, on Wednesday evening. Witnesses told Ma'an that soldiers spread out throughout the Old City of the village, taking up positions in abandoned houses for over two hours. No casualties or damage were immediately reported and the reason for the incursion remains unknown. An Israeli military spokesperson however denied the report, saying that there was no military activity in the village. The spokesperson also said that there was a "routine" military patrol in the nearby village of Azzun. Residents of Sanniriya have been angered recently by Israeli excavations in the area. Locals say the tomb of the village's founder, Issa As-Saniri was exhumed. Sanniriya is flanked to the south by the Israeli separation wall, which circles around the nearby settlement of Ez Efraim. 

Soldiers shoot Palestinian man in Hebron
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli soldiers shot and lightly injured a young Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Hebron. According to the Israeli army, the man pulled out a knife as if to stab a soldier, although this could not be immediately verified. No soldiers were reported injured. According to Israeli sources, the man was reportedly shot in the leg and treated on the scene. Palestinian sources later identified the man as Maher Al-Qudsi, 26. Palestinian sources also said he was injured seriously, receiving gunshots to the leg and chest. They said the soldiers left him to bleed on the ground before medics rushed him to a local hospital. The shooting took place at a military checkpoint on Ash-Shuahada Street, in the center of Hebron, in the "H2" area which is under direct Israeli military control. 

PLO factions agree on six new Executive Committee members
8/26/2009 - Gaza/Bethlehem - Ma'an - Sources told Ma'an on Wednesday that the new six members to join the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are Saeb Erekat, Ahmad Majdalani, Salih Raafat, Ziad Amr, Ahmad Qureia, and Hanna Amira. These six members were agreed on during talks among the rival factions, sources told Ma'an. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities refused to give the Gazan members of the PNC permission to leave to the West Bank to join the meeting in according to Walid Al-Awad, a member of the politburo of the Palestinian People's Party. He also told Ma'an that intensive contacts and meetings were held between PLO factions and the Executive Committee leading to agreement on the six new members. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to approve the new members during Wednesday's meeting. 

Israeli forces seize three Palestinians
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces siezed three Palestinians during raids in the West Bank on Wednesday night, according to the website of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. They have been taken for questioning, the report said. Palestinian sources have not identified where the detentions took place. [end] 

Carter, Tutu among ’Elders’ promoting peace in Israel, West Bank
8/27/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Former US and Irish Presidents Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, as well as South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and other international luminaries, visited Qalandiya Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday. Together they form The Elders, an organization founded by former South African President Nelson Mandela in 2007. The group was visiting Israel and the West Bank over the past week to gather support for a renewed peace process. The delegation was led by former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, and included Indian microfinance pioneer Ela Bhatt and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland. Meeting with residents at the refugee camp, and under the shadow of Israel's large Qalandiya military checkpoint, the world leaders listened to locals' tales of life under occupation. 

Abbas vows to reform PLO
8/26/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to reform the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and expressed solidarity with Lebanon and Syria on Wednesday at an emergency session of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Ramallah. Abbas called for the PNC meeting in order to appoint new members to fill vacant positions on the PLO's high-ranking Executive Committee. Abbas vowed to give the PLO a more active role in Palestinian affairs saying, "We will endeavor to promote the role of the PLO's Executive Committee and get it to function regularly in order to play an effective role especially in peace negotiations with Israel. " Speaking at the beginning of the session Abbas admitted that the PLO has not been functioning recently. "We will find a creative way to secure that the PLO will be a reference for the Palestinian Authority. . . " 

Islamic Jihad: Reform PLO before convening PNC
8/26/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A top Islamic Jihad leader reiterated his movement's objection to President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to hold a meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Ramallah on Wednesday. Abbas called the meeting of the PNC, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) parliament in exile, in order to appoint new members of the PLO Executive Committee, a top decision-making body. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who are formally excluded from the PLO, have objected to the decision to hold the meeting because they see it as a violation of promises to restructure the PLO. Senior Islamic Jihad Leader Nafeth Azzam told Ma'an that at a summit of Palestinian factions in Egypt in march, it was agreed that the PLO should be overhauled. Azzam said the decision to hold the PNC meeting will only further complicate a contorted Palestinian political situation. 

Hamas, Jihad reject Fayyad plan for de facto state
8/26/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas and Islamic Jihad rejected caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan to establish a de facto Palestinian state within two years, arguing that "resistance" is the only way to establish a Palestinian state. Fayyad's 65-page plan deepens "the reality of [Palestinian] division and the presence of the Israeli occupation. This fulfills the desire of the occupation in line with the policy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum. "Fayyad is not authorized to make determine the political course for the Palestinian people "¦ Fayyad's government is not legitimate because he believes in coordination and negotiation with the [Israeli] occupation," Barhoum added. "We have one path for our Palestinian state to be established. The only way to do so is through resistance and a state without settlements,. . . 

Israel opens three Gaza crossings
8/26/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel decided to open three commercial crossing points into the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday, according to Palestinian official Raed Fattouh. Fattouh explained that 88 to 99 trucks loaded with commercial goods and humanitarian aid will be delivered through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Meanwhile,theNahal Oz terminal will be open to allow in limited quantities of cooking gas and industrial diesel used to run Gaza Strip's only power plant. Fattouh added that the Karni crossing, which is ususally closed, will be open to deliver a few truckloads of wheat and animal feed. [end] 

Gaza man killed in clan brawl
8/26/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian man was killed and another was critically injured in a clan-related fight in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of northern Gaza City on Tuesday night. Palestinian medical sources said the man was killed immediately, and another was hit by a gunshot injuring him seriously. He was evacuated to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. [end] 

Israel releases young woman after six years in prison
8/26/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israel released a Palestinian woman from prison after holding her for six years on Wednesday. Sabrin Abu Amarah, 26, originally from the Old City of Nablus, was released from Hasharon prison in northern Israel. Local sources said her family welcomed her when she returned to Nablus through the Beita military checkpoint. There are an estimated 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israel's jails. [end] 

US said to be weighing 'temporary' Palestinian borders formula
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - US President Barack Obama's administration is considering an Israeli proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state with "temporary borders" an Israeli newspaper said on Tuesday. The plan also includes guarantees and a timetable for a final peace agreement that includes permanent borders and addresses other core issues including the fate of Jerusalem. The Haaretz report did not indicate what the "temporary borders" of the state would be. Palestinian officials have not commented on the report. Haaretz reported that Israeli President Shimon Peres presented the plan to Obama's Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, as well as senior Palestinian officials. The Israeli leader has also discussed the proposal with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni. 

Report: US to use Iran sanctions to gain leverage over Israel
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The administration of US President Barack Obama hopes to gain leverage over Israel's policies in the occupied Palestinian territories by levying sanctions against Iran, a British newspaper said on Wednesday. The report in The Guardian newspaper said that the US will place sanctions on Iran's energy sector if talks next month fail to convince Tehran to cease uranium enrichment. This, the report states, will be a key bargaining chip in efforts to get Israel to freeze construction in illegal West Bank settlements. "The message is: Iran is an existential threat to Israel; settlements are not," one official close to the negotiations was quoted as saying. Israel has been demanding that the US prioritize Iran's nuclear program as the most pressing issue in the Middle East, taking precedence over the settlements. 

Israeli scientists use blast to simulate magnitude three earthquake
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli Geophysical Institute detonated 80 tons of explosives in the Negev Desert on Wednesday as part of a study of earthquake effects. European and Mediterranean countries monitored the test, which simulated a magnitude three earthquake, and was performed in a controlled underground explosion. The Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure states that magnitude three earthquakes occur naturally once a week, but residents do not usually feel them. Still, people residing close the test site may have felt the effects of the controlled explosion. Israel performed similar experiments in the southern Negev in 2004 with 35 tons of explosives and in 2005 with 20 tons of explosives. The experiment took place at a military base in the southern Negev, and was financed by the US Defense Department. 

UN envoy welcomes Fayyad plan for de facto state
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said he welcomed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan for a de facto Palestinian state by the year 2011, which was unveiled on Tuesday. "I welcome the announcement of Prime Minister Fayyad today and look forward to studying closely the blueprint he has unveiled," said UN envoy Robert Serry in a statement. "As he [Fayyad] has explained to me, this plan builds on the significant efforts of self-empowerment that the Palestinian Authority has embarked on over the last two years," Serry added. "As the Palestinian Authority continues down this path, it challenges all other players to step up to their responsibilities and move forward quickly and decisively in the coming two years," said the UN official. But Serry also called on Israel to do its part to change the situation on the gound. 

Report: Abbas to meet Sarkozy in Paris next week
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on 4 September, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday. "President Abbas will travel to Paris on September 3 and will meet President Sarkozy the next day," an anonymous Palestinian official told AFP. The visit would be Abbas' second to France since February, amid an international effort led by the US to reinitiate long-stalled peace negotiations with Israel. Sarkozy also flew to the Middle East last January in an attempt to negotiate a ceasefire during Israel's war on the Gaza Strip. [end] 

Hamas military chief heads to Cairo for prisoner swap talks
8/26/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The head of Hamas' military wing, Ahmed Jabari, has left the Gaza Strip en route to Cairo for talks related to a potential prisoner exchange with Israel, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said on Wednesday. The last time Jabari left Gaza for Cairo was more than six months ago. Jabari is the leader of the Al-Qassam Brigades. Earlier, Ma'an confirmed that Germany has been mediating in the potential prisoner swap talks for two weeks now. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said that a prisoner exchange, involving the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza, could be completed as a result of cooperation between the new mediator, Germany, and the old mediator, Egypt. Shalit's captors have been avoiding commenting on the negotiations to the media recently. 

Netanyahu, Mitchell end meeting without settlement deal
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended a meeting with US Special Envoy George Mitchell on Wednesday without an agreement on illegal West Bank settlements that the US wants halted. After their London meeting, Netanyahu and Mitchell issued a brief Joint Statement saying that they "had a very productive meeting today where the full range of issues was discussed. " "They agreed on the importance of restarting meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and working toward a comprehensive peace, and that all sides need to take concrete steps toward peace," the statement continues. "The Prime Minister and the Senator [Mitchell] made good progress today, and an Israeli delegation will meet Senator Mitchell next week in the United States to continue the conversation," the statement concluded. 

Crisis at Hebron University over loans
8/26/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - The Student Senate of Hebron University announced that it was going to suspend registration for the first semester on Tuesday. Mousa Rajoub, head of the Student Senate, explained the council is seeking to exert pressure on the Ministry of Higher Education to provide loans for students in light of the dire economic state of the Palestinian people. Negotiations between Hebron University's administration, and the Dean of Students are ongoing working to find a solution so that registration can continue. Rajoub maintained that the Student Senate would escalate its protests as long as there are no student loan programs available. Students at Bethlehem University are also staging an ongoing strike demanding increased financial aid and an end to what they say are discriminatory admissions policies. 

PSE rises: Al-Quds Index up 1.64 points
8/26/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities exchange in Nablus rose on Wednesday, with the Al-Quds Index closing at 502. 7, an increase of 1. 64 points (0. 33%) Trading Volume for Wednesday reached 196,264 shares for a total value of 358,839. 06 US dollars, over the course of 123 trades. The shares of 16 companies were traded. The shares of 10 companies rose, while those of two others dropped. [end] 

The National

Hariri says Hizbollah will be included in united front against Israel
26 Aug 2009 - The incoming prime minister-designate says that Lebanon needs a unity government which includes a role for Hizbollah.

Hizbollah will be in cabinet' says Hariri 
26 Aug 2009 - The Lebanese prime minister-designate Saad Hariri says Hizbollah will be part of the next cabinet whether Israel likes it or not. 

Netanyahu stands firm on issue of Jerusalem
25 Aug 2009 - The Israeli leader makes it plain that the question of East Jerusalem would not form part of any future peace talks with the Palestinians.

Release of prisoners paves way for Palestinian unity negotiations
24 Aug 2009 - Yet again a breakthrough emerges in efforts to bring the estranged Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, back to unity negotiations.


US and Israel seek settlements plan
26 Aug 2009 - Israeli PM and US envoy say progress being made on resuming Middle East peace talks.

PLO holds poll amid criticism
26 Aug 2009 - Executive council headed by Mahmoud Abbas to choose new leaders at West Bank meeting.

Alternative Information Center

Interview with Dr. Uri Davis, Newly Elected Member of Fatah Revolutionary Council
25 Aug 2009 - Dr. Uri Davis was recently elected to the Fatah Revolutionary Council, during the Fatah Party Conference held earlier this month . I had the chance to talk to him personally this week in East Jerusalem. Over a...

Israel's Offensive Defense: Attacking Human Rights Organizations and Solidarity Groups as Pressure on Israel from the U.S. Administration Continues
24 Aug 2009 - The military offensive on Gaza, the change in the US administration and the formation of an extreme Right government in Jerusalem boosted voices that criticize Israel worldwide.  Following the war in Lebanon, the so called “Ad-Dahia...

BOYCOTT! Stands with Dr. Neve Gordon for BDS and Against Oppression
24 Aug 2009 - BOYCOTT! would like to extend its support and appreciation to Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva for publishing his position in support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in an LA Times Op-Ed ....

Education for Blindness: Memories from a Combat School in Israel 
24 Aug 2009 - Two weeks ago, the Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronot awarded, in a screaming main headline, grades to school principals in Israel. Not for educational achievements, but for the percentages of enlistment into combat units amongst their...

Palestine News Network

Theater working to open first Palestinian drama school produces puppet show aimed at youth
25 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – The Al Harah Theater and the Palestine the Lebanese Puppet Theater (Khayal), in Cooperation with the National Performing Arts Centre, have issued an invitation to a show in the West Bank. I have a Dream with puppets is opening Thursday evening at 9:30 pm. The show, directed by Karim Dakroub, is directed to young people over 14 years of...

Conclusion of the international volunteer camps in Nablus with focus on education and service 
25 Aug 2009 - Nablus / PNN – Community development within Palestinian towns is a prevalent facet of daily life, not exclusively in Nablus. This northern West Bank city has hosted an international volunteer camp with the Palestinian Youth Association and the International Association of Nablus.Because the recent focus was on international understanding, the recent camps are part of a program geared toward, “camps of Palestinian life...

British minister: an opportunity for peace has arisen that may not be repeated if it fails now 
25 Aug 2009 - London / PNN – The British Foreign Ministry in charge of the Middle East file said yesterday that there is a “unique opportunity for peace in the Middle East” that may not be repeated if failed. The expression was that of a cautious optimism. A statement issued from London says, “This opportunity may not be present after months, or a year or two,”...

March in solidarity with political prisoners in Ofer
25 Aug 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – With 11,000 political prisoners held by the Israelis, the Al Quds University and the Popular Committees to Resist the Wall are sponsoring demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians in the Ramallah-area Ofer prison. Activists and foreign supporters are demanding the release of Palestinians from Israeli prisons and an upgrade in their living conditions, which are described as difficult at best.Demonstrators...

Terrified Paintings?! Traditional dance mixes with modern dance and theatre
25 Aug 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – Palestinian events have a common thread; that is they often involve debkeh. The traditional dance is a breakout move at weddings, is performed by children at events throughout the country, and is the stuff of local dance troupes.At Dar Annadwa this week the traditional Palestinian folklore dance is being mixed into a theatrical dance. By combining the old style...

In series of war crimes Israeli forces fire at teenagers in Gaza, 16 year old dead
25 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN - The High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are not fulfilling their obligations, says a prominent Palestinian human rights organization, PCHR. The attacks on the Gaza Strip continue, however the scale may be lower than it was in late December and January, or even last year.Israeli violence is escalating as at least four Palestinians were killed in less...

Brothers killed and another missing as Israeli forces bomb tunnel in southern Gaza Strip's Rafah
25 Aug 2009 - Gaza / PNN - This morning an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel near the Salah Addin Gate in in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Two brothers, 30 yearold Mansour ‘Ali Al Batniji and 20 year old Na’el ‘Ali Al Batniji, were killed. Their 35 year old brother Ibrahim is missing. At least six more Palestinians were injured.The tunnels...


YEMEN: Tough challenges for aid workers in Saada 
SANAA Tuesday, August 25, 2009 (IRIN) - Aid organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to help civilians in the northern Yemeni governorate of Saada after renewed clashes there between the army and the al-Houthi Shia rebels.

ISRAEL-OPT: Travel restrictions in West Bank eased for Ramadan 
TEL AVIV Monday, August 24, 2009 (IRIN) - Israel has eased some of its travel restrictions for Palestinians in the West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) spokesperson’s unit.

ISRAEL-OPT: UN report details grim effects of Israeli blockade on Gaza 
GAZA CITY Sunday, August 23, 2009 (IRIN) - A new UN report describes the devastating humanitarian impact of two years of Israel’s “unprecedented blockade on all border crossings in and out of the Gaza Strip”.

Inter Press Service

MIDEAST: Critical Healthcare Fails to Recover 
RAMALLAH, Aug 26 (IPS) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that unless the siege of Gaza is lifted and a political solution implemented, Gaza's badly damaged health system will go from very bad to worse.

MIDEAST: Non-Story Sets Off Ripples of Trouble 
JERUSALEM, Aug 25 (IPS) - It's not so much the proverbial making-a-mountain-out-of-a-molehill, but Israel finds itself climbing out of a stinky dung heap and onto a slippery diplomatic minefield.

LEBANON: Shattered Camp Revives Under Military Eyes 
NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon, Aug 25 (IPS) - Palestinian refugees at Nahr Al-Bared in North Lebanon are living under tight military siege two years after a war destroyed the refugee camp. It has now become a test case for a new approach in Lebanon's security policy towards Palestinian refugee camps.

MIDEAST: Settlers Push Palestinians to Sleep on the Street 
EAST JERUSALEM, Aug 24 (IPS) - Israel's continued policy of Judaising East Jerusalem in order to establish facts on the ground before the future of that part of the city is decided, has left dozens of Palestinians homeless and sleeping on the streets.

Stop The Wall

Join the annual Palestinian olive harvest!
26 Aug 2009 - The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and its popular committees are coordinating collective efforts to safeguard the annual olive harvest and are calling on volunteers to stand in solidarity with Palestinian communities and join in the harvest, which will begin 15 October 2009. [

Jerusalem in July: Bulldozers strike Silwan and Beit Hanina
26 Aug 2009 - Conditions did not improve for Jerusalem residents in July. Occupation forces continued to destroy Palestinian homes, especially in the hot spots of Beit Hanina and Silwan, while issuing threats promising more of the same in the coming months. Palestinian civil society was also targeted, with police closing down the Nidal Center in Jerusalem. [

PCHR Latest

Israeli Escalates Violence: At Least 4 Palestinians Killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip

PCHR Weekly Report

(13 - 19 Aug.  2008), information on boycott, divestment and sanctions
On 14 August 2009, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats opposite to Rafah beach.  As a result, a 12-year-old Palestinian child, who was at the beach, was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the head.

International Solidarity Movement

Evicted Palestinians camp by home taken by settlers 
8/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Jihan Abdalla | The Washington Post - Fresh dates and chicken soup were served up at dusk on the sidewalk in the well-heeled suburb of Sheik Jarrah this week, as the evicted Palestinian al-Ghawi family spent another night camped outside their former home. Their stone house in Arab east Jerusalem, in a district of consulates and trendy restaurants, is now home to Jewish settlers, who moved in as they were being kicked out on Aug 2. The furniture and belongings of the seven-member family were tossed on the street. Their neighbor offered shelter. But the al-Ghawis refuse to give up and go away. On the third day of Ramadan, when the world’s one billion Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, they gathered with a group of supporters for the traditional evening meal. Eaten exactly at dusk to break a day of fasting, iftar — Arabic for breakfast — is usually a home-cooked meal eaten inside the home. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Blair accuses Israel of wrecking major PA economic project 
26 Aug 2009 - The Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair is accusing Israel of obstructing one of the West Bank's most important economic projects, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlines his economic peace vision abroad. ... 

ANALYSIS / Israeli academics must pay the price to end occupation
26 Aug 2009 - Several days ago Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev published an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times. In that article he explained why, after years of activity in the peace camp here, he has decided to pin his hopes on applying external pressure on Israel - including sanctions, divestment and an economic, cultural and academic boycott. ... 

Virgin tycoon Richard Branson calls for two-state solution
26 Aug 2009 - The press loves him. A media baron with a colorful lifestyle and exuberant joie de vive, Richard Branson today controls an empire of no less than 200 companies, emblemized by the Virgin logo. ... 

Netanyahu offers 9-month settlement freeze
26 Aug 2009 - Netanyahu on Wednesday presented a proposal for resolving the ongoing Israeli-American dispute over construction in the settlements. In a meeting with Mitchell, Netanyahu suggested a temporary freeze, reportedly for nine months, on construction in the West Bank, a government source said. ...

Pop music's leader of the pack, Ellie Greenwich, dies at 68
25 Aug 2009 - Ellie Greenwich, who co-wrote some of pop music's most enduring songs, including Chapel of Love, Be My Baby and Leader of the Pack, died Wednesday, according to her niece. She was 68. ...

The Guardian

Letters: Palestinians let down by the west
26 Aug 2009 - Your special reports on the West Bank (24-26 August) should be essential reading for western diplomats and politicians who failed to take any effective action to end settlements. Besides making a peaceful solution more complex, settlements...

Let the Middle East peace talks begin | Hussein Ibish
26 Aug 2009 - Arab states should embrace Obama's push to restart peace talks despite Israel's foot dragging on freezing settlements President Barack Obama's bold reengagement in Middle East peacemaking is beginning to show signs of progress , but in order...

Israeli and Palestinian officials predict peace talks may resume within weeks
26 Aug 2009 - Meeting between Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US special envoy George Mitchell showed 'good progress' Israeli and Palestinian officials today predicted a resumption of peace talks would take place within weeks after differences appeared to...

Julian Borger outlines how the US president plans to overcome the 'obstacle to peace' of Israeli settlements
26 Aug 2009 - Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, meets George Mitchell , Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, in London today. Julian Borger

Ha'aretz National page

Allegedly drunk driver crashes into Netanyahu's London convoy
26 Aug 2009 - A woman driver, believed by police to be drunk, collided with one of the cars accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in London on Monday. There were no injuries, but the convoy vehicle, which was carrying security personnel, was badly damaged. ...

U.S. Jews: Ted Kennedy's death is a loss for the Jewish people
25 Aug 2009 - Israel and U.S. Jews on Wednesday expressed sorrow over the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy who died at age 77 on Tuesday night following a battle with cancer. ...

Police raid piranha breeding farm at northern home
25 Aug 2009 - Police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of running a piranha breeding farm in his home in the northern town of Kiryat Ata. ...

Relief Web

KRCS funds 6 bakeries to supply bread for 8,000 Palestinian families
26 Aug 2009 - Source: Kuwait News Agency

451 tons of Egyptian aid into Gaza
26 Aug 2009 - Source: Government of Egypt

OPT: USAID West Bank/Gaza mission program achievements - Week of 17 Aug 2009
26 Aug 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

YNet News

State official: Germany plays an important role in Shalit deal 
26 Aug 2009 - On backdrop of reports on near completion of prisoner exchange agreement, which will secure kidnapped soldier's release, senior official says Israel welcomes German involvement in negotiations. Prime Minister Netanyahu to raise issue in his meeting with Chancellor Merkel in Berlin 

Likd MK holds anti-Netanyahu conference
26 Aug 2009 - Members of prime minister's party, settler leaders building united front against Netanyahu and his plan to freeze settlement construction. 'We can't have a government that behaves worse than that of Olmert. We won't let him to break left,' one of event's participants says 

Hamas affiliate: Shalit deal about to be finalized
26 Aug 2009 - Senior reporter affiliated with Palestinian group says recent developments in negotiations for kidnapped soldier's release 'suggest it is on its way to completion.' Conflict remains over whether prisoners will be released by Israel to their homes in West Bank, to Gaza, or abroad 

Netanyahu: Abbas made a first positive move 
26 Aug 2009 - Following meeting with German president in Berlin, prime minister addresses Palestinian leader's willingness to meet with him. 'We must convene and sit down without any preconditions. The main point is the need to recognize the Jewish people's state,' he says 

Barak says committed to bringing Shalit home
26 Aug 2009 - Defense minister says Israel will do anything possible, but will not pay any price to free captive soldier 

Germany to PM: Halt settlement construction 
26 Aug 2009 - Ahead of Netanyahu's visit, German government spokesman says Berlin backs a two-state solution and, pending that, advocates that 'no further settlements be built in the occupied areas' 

Karadzic: US helped Iran arm Muslims
26 Aug 2009 - Ex-Bosnian Serb chief seeking evidence that Washington turned blind eye to weapon shipments from Tehran to Muslim forces fighting in Bosnian war 

Daily Star

Israeli premier cites progress with US on settlements
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

Sarkozy criticizes Iranian leaders over handling of elections, nuclear work
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

Karzai widens lead in Afghan election after bomb kills 43
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

Khatami dismisses as invalid confessions made by moderates on trial in Iran
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

European Union urges immediate halt to Yemen violence
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

Group of former statesmen visit Israeli checkpoint
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

ElBaradei foes leak stories to force his hand on Iran report
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

New Jersey mayor outraged over Gadhafi plan to pitch tent in suburb
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to hold their first meeting in the coming weeks, both sides indicated Wednesday, in what would be an important step toward a formal resumption of peace talks and a key achievement for US President Barack Obama. The announcements came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held four hours of talks with Obama's Middle East envo.

Palestinian Information Center

IOF troops raid Radio Bethlehem 2000 and shut it down
26 Aug 2009 - IOF troops raided on Tuesday evening Radio Bethlehem 2000 in the southern West Bank town of Beit Jala, ordered staff to stop broadcasting and confiscated broadcasting equipment

FHI calls on Italian gov’t to end suffering of Palestinian exiles
26 Aug 2009 - Friends of humanity international called Tuesday on the Italian government to immediately intervene to end the suffering of three Palestinian exiles from the West Bank.

Gov’t aid committee gives $108, 000 to poor Gaza citizens last month
26 Aug 2009 - The aid committee of the secretariat-general of the Palestinian government said Tuesday it dispensed $108, 000 to the needy and poor citizens throughout the Gaza Strip during last July.

OCHA: Israeli siege triggered human dignity crisis in Gaza
26 Aug 2009 - A report issued by UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) revealed that the ongoing Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip triggered a protracted human dignity crisis.

Haneyya: We will not beg anyone to stand beside us
26 Aug 2009 - Premier Ismail Haneyya said that his government would not beg anyone to stand beside it, stressing that the Arab and Muslim countries have moral responsibility towards the Palestinian people.

Ministry of prisoners slams Israel for suspending visits in Hadarim and Shikma
26 Aug 2009 - The ministry of prisoners’ affairs deplored the Israeli prisons authority for barring Palestinian families from visiting their sons in the prisons of Hadarim and Shikma.

IOA to establish special military courts for Palestinian minors
26 Aug 2009 - The Israeli judiciary is currently preparing for the establishment of a special military court for Palestinian children in the West Bank that would be the first of its kind since 1967.

Hamas: The Israeli bombing in Rafah a crime against humanity
26 Aug 2009 - The Hamas Movement condemned Tuesday the Israeli bombing in Rafah which caused civilian casualties as “a crime against humanity".

Health ministry: 400 patients facing death due to shortage in dialysis solution
26 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza Strip has appealed to human rights groups and health institutions to immediately send chemical solutions necessary to operate dialysis machines.

Israeli air raid on tunnels kills three brothers, injures seven citizens
26 Aug 2009 - Three Palestinian brothers were killed and seven other citizens were injured when Israeli warplanes bombed at dawn Tuesday border areas between Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah.

Los Angeles Times

Iranian hard-liners target 2 major reform parties 
26 Aug 2009 - The prosecution in the trial of reform leaders urges the judge to outlaw the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Islamic Revolution Mujahedin Organization. Hard-line supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used Iran's judiciary to target two major moderate political parties Tuesday in their boldest attempt to excise the nation's reform movement from the political scene. 

Israel airstrike on Gaza tunnel kills 3 
26 Aug 2009 - The attack on the smuggling route to Egypt also wounds seven. Israel says the strike is in retaliation for a mortar attack in the south that wounded a soldier. An Israeli airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between the Gaza Strip and Egypt killed three Palestinians inside and wounded seven on Tuesday in the deadliest Israeli attack on the volatile border area in months, a Palestinian Health Ministry official said. 

Tuesday's Highlights 
25 Aug 2009 - P.O.V.: Filmmaker Georgi Lazarevski's new documentary 'This Way Up' explores the social, economic and religious barriers resulting from the security wall being constructed by Israel on the West Bank ( SERIES Hell's Kitchen: The chefs roll dice to determine which ingredients they will use in a dish (8 p.m. Fox). 

New York Times

Iran’s Factional Disputes Grow Increasingly Bitter
26 Aug 2009 - Presidential aides lashed out at two former presidents, an influential cleric said government officials had taken a “deviant path,” and a web site reported that the Tehran prosecutor had been fired. 

Shiite Power Broker Dies, in Blow to Iraqi Party
26 Aug 2009 - Abdul Aziz al-Hakim had longstanding ties with Iran but was also a supporter of the U.S. invasion. 

Palestinian Leader Maps Plan for Separate State
26 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, unveiled a plan to build the apparatus of a Palestinian state within two years, regardless of peace negotiations. 


While Calls on Israel to End Settlement Construction and Expansion Continue, New East Jerusalem Settlement Filed for Approval
8/25/2009 - Alternative Information Center - Introduction - As Israeli Prime Minister prepared to meet with US Special Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, plans for a new East-Jerusalem settlements were filed for approval. The new proposed settlement, Ma’aleh David is to be located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras-al-Amud, in the middle of 14, 000 Palestinians. The plan includes the building of housing units as well as a swimming pool and a mini country club which will be connected by a foot bridge to Ma’aleh Zeitim, an existing Jewish enclave in Ras-al-Amud, together forming the largest Jewish settlement within a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Ma’aleh Zeitim today is the home of 250 settlers, creating continuity with the Jewish cemetery outside the Old City and the Beit Orot Yeshiva on the Mount of Olives. Context - During the 1990’s, Jewish-American millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, purchased14,500 square 

Between Political Statements and Reality on the Ground: Eighteen Months Since the Annapolis Conference 
8/25/2009 - Alternative Information Center - Link to whole report - INTRODUCTION - “The territorial question will be discussed as part of the final peace agreement. In the meantime, we have no intention to build new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements. ” These words were pronounced by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, during his much-anticipated policy speech on 14 June 2009. A naive listener could be satisfied by this statement and think that Netanyahu wants to find a real solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But, as often happens in this conflict, the facts on the ground are radically different—and more important—than all the speeches and rhetoric. According to a recent article published by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, 3,200 housing units were built in settlements between the beginning of 2008 and to June 2009. 

Portrait of a Lady: Encounter with Suad Amiry 
8/26/2009 - Alternative Information Center - Palestinian author and architecht, Suad Amiry, in Ramallah. The books Sharon and My Mother in Law (2003) and No Sex in the City (2007) are the two most famous creations of the complex and creative personality of Palestinian author and architect Suad Amiry. When an Italian journalist offered us the possibility to meet Amiry, born in 1951 in Damascus, we immediately realized that it was an opportunity to meet not only with a refugee, not only with an architect and director of a non governmental organization (NGO), not only with a writer, but with someone who is all these things together, and maybe something more. We confirm our initial feeling as soon as we get into the meeting room of Riwaq, an NGO based in Ramallah, the main aim of which is the protection and development of Palestinian architectural heritage. Suad is the founder of the organization, and together with staff members, is introducing their activities of building rehabilitation to an international group. 

Israeli and Palestinian officials predict peace talks may resume within weeks 
8/26/2009 - The Guardian - Meeting between Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US special envoy George Mitchell showed 'good progress' - Israeli and Palestinian officials today predicted a resumption of peace talks would take place within weeks after differences appeared to narrow over Jewish settlements on the West Bank. A four-hour meeting today in London between the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the US special envoy George Mitchell, which was largely devoted to the issue of settlements, made "good progress" according to a joint statement issued later. " They agreed on the importance of restarting meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and working toward a comprehensive peace, and that all sides need to take concrete steps toward peace," the statement said. An Israeli television report tonight claimed the problem had been solved, but officials said that was premature. 

Barack Obama on brink of deal for Middle East peace talks 
8/25/2009 - The Guardian - Barack Obama is close to brokering an Israeli-Palestinian deal that will allow him to announce a resumption of the long-stalled Middle East peace talks before the end of next month, according to US, Israeli, Palestinian and European officials. Key to bringing Israel on board is a promise by the US to adopt a much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. The US, along with Britain and France, is planning to push the United Nations security council to expand sanctions to include Iran's oil and gas industry, a move that could cripple its economy. In return, the Israeli government will be expected to agree to a partial freeze on the construction of settlements in the Middle East. In the words of one official close to the negotiations: "The message is: Iran is an existential threat to Israel; settlements are not. " 

Letters: Palestinians let down by the west 
8/27/2009 - The Guardian - Your special reports on the West Bank (24-26 August) should be essential reading for western diplomats and politicians who failed to take any effective action to end settlements. Besides making a peaceful solution more complex, settlements have further impoverished ordinary Palestinian families. Farmers have been thrown off their land or had access to their fields restricted. Communities have lost houses and access to water supplies. Oxfam is helping Palestinian farmers work their way out of poverty by gaining Fairtrade status so they can sell their olive oil in UK supermarkets. It should be a simple task, but in June the farmers we work with had around 1,350 olive trees damaged in attacks by settlers. The plight of 1. 5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza, subjected to an Israeli blockade, has fallen off the diplomatic agenda, forcing the population in Gaza to depend on wholly inadequate levels of aid. 

Iran backed in bid to protect nuclear facilities 
8/26/2009 - CBC - Associated Press - Iran, whose nuclear facilities are under threat of possible Israeli military strikes, has enlisted the support of more than 100 nonaligned nations in its push for a ban on such attacks, documents revealed in Vienna Wednesday. The 118-nation Nonaligned Movement backs Tehran in a letter submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency endorsing Iran's plan to submit a resolution on the topic when IAEA nations meet next month. While Iran says the language of any resolution will be kept general, the move is clearly directed against Israel and to a lesser extent the U. S. Both nations — Israel more overtly — have not ruled out an attack as a last resort if the international community fails to persuade Tehran to freeze its nuclear activities. Iran has defied three sets of UN Security Council sanctions aimed at pressuring it to mothball its uranium enrichment. 

Netanyahu assails group that alleged IDF wrongdoing in Gaza 
8/25/2009 - Ha'aretz - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a scathing attack on Tuesday against a leftist human rights organization comprised of Israeli army veterans who have collected testimonies from soldiers who served in the Palestinian territories. The group, Breaking the Silence, caused a stir after it commissioned a report in which unnamed Israel Defense Forces soldiers alleged that Palestinians were used as "human shields" during Operation Cast Lead. The organization receives financial assistance from a number of European Union governments, an issue that has recently become a diplomatic bone of contention in Jerusalem. In a briefing to reporters who are accompanying Netanyahu on his trip to Europe, the prime minister said he expects all European governments to cease aid to groups of this kind. " They are breaking their silence about the only democracy in the Middle East that has an independent 

Brave Ted Kennedy could be craven when he had to be 
8/25/2009 - Mondoweiss - Philip Weiss - From Rob Eshman at the Jewish Journal, who says that Ted Kennedy voted AIPAC’s way 100 percent of the time: "The relationship was mutually beneficial—either a testament to Kennedy’s bedrock values or his astute political instincts. Take the Carter race. In the 1980 presidential race, writes Jeffrey S. Helmreich, “polls indicated that Carter would beat Kennedy in the New York Democratic primary by a margin of 54 to 28 percent. But on March 1, Carter’s UN Ambassador, Donald F. McHenry, voted for a viciously anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement activity in Jerusalem. Three weeks later, Kennedy beat Carter in New York by 59 percent to 41 percent. ” In a statement following Kennedy’s death, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “(Senator) Kennedy has been a friend for 30 years, a great American patriot, a great champion of a better world, a great friend of Israel.


Israel: A Stalemated Action of History 
Gabriel Kolko, CounterPunch 8/25/2009
      In late 1949 I worked on a boat taking Jews from Marseilles to Haifa, Israel. Jews from Arab nations were in the front of the boat, Europeans in the rear. I was regarded by many of the Europeans as some sort of freak because I had a United States passport and so could stay in the land of milk and honey. One man wanted me to marry his daughter – which meant he too could live in the land of milk and honey. My Hebrew became quite respectable but the experience was radicalizing or, I should say, kept me radical, and I have stayed that way.
     Later I learned from someone who ran a displaced persons camp in Germany that the large majority of Jews wanted to go anywhere but Palestine. They were compelled to state Palestine or else risk receiving no aid. I understood very early that there was much amiss in the countless Arab villages and homes I saw destroyed, and that the entire Zionist project – regardless of the often venal nature of the Arab opposition to it – was a dangerous sham.
     The result of the creation of a state called Israel was abysmal. Jews from Poland have nothing in common with Germans and neither has anything to do with those from the Arab world. It is nationality, not religion, that counts most. Jews in Israel, especially the Germans, largely ghettoized themselves by their place of origin during the first generation, when a militarized culture produced the mixed new breed called sabras – an essentially anti-intellectual personality far different from the one the early Zionists, who were mostly socialists who preached the nobility of labor, expected to emerge. The large majority of Israelis are not in the least Jewish in the cultural sense, are scarcely socialist in any sense, and daily life and the way people live is no different in Israel than it is in Chicago or Amsterdam. There is simply no rational reason that justifies the state’s creation. more.. e-mail

The Other Side of Israel 
Susan Nathan, ZNet 8/11/2009
      Munich American Peace Committee (MAPC) / Lecture on May 22, 2009 during Palestine Days 2009 at Gasteig in Munich.
     Ton des Vortrags als mp3, Teil 1, Teil 2, Teil 3 / soundtrack of the lecture as mp3, part 1, part 2, part 3
     I have been asked to talk about how I came to my decision to move to Tamra and the effect of the discriminate policies of the Israeli government on the Palestinian citizens of the state. So I am going to talk a bit about that but also about the general situation in the Middle East, because I think everybody is also concerned about that. 
     I should begin by saying that is is a long time since I have been in Germany. I am 60 years old and born in January 1949. So I am one of the first group of Jewish children to be born after the holocaust. It was a big decision for me to come here to Germany at the time when the rights to my book were being sold. There was a lot of demand from German publishers to buy and in fact the book went for a publishers` auction here in Germany and it went to the highest bidder. I am going to say things that you may find very uncomfortable, but I think it is important to speak honestly, otherwise it is a waste of my time being here.
     As I said, I grew up in the shadow of the holocaust. And it very much was a major part of my life as a child. Every week we would receive the Jewish newspaper in which we would see lists of people looking for relatives and family who had been in concentration camps and ghettos. It was a very harrowing experience. My father, who was a very well-known doctor, was asked by the British government to come to Germany when they discovered the concentration camps and to work here, dealing with the sheer mass of the problem. And as a child I started to internalize what the holocaust meant for me as a Jew, too. I couldn’t understand why is it that so many Germans said they did not know. And in fact, it’s been a major driving force all through my life to not live a life in Israel/Palestineor or either in South Africa where I was also politically very active, where I would live a life where I would say that I did not know. more.. e-mail

Electronic Intifada
Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in Gaza
26 Aug 2009 - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns attacks perpetrated by Israeli forces in the evening of 24 August, and the morning of 25 August 2009. Three Palestinians were killed while a fourth is missing consequent to Israeli gunfire in the northern Gaza Strip and aerial bombardment along the Egyptian border, south of Rafah. 

Bilin's next generation
26 Aug 2009 - Every Friday, Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Bilin march to Israel's apartheid wall, which has stolen more than half their land. But this day was a Wednesday, and the kids' turn to demonstrate. While the Israeli army kidnaps their fathers, their brothers and their cousins, the resistance lives on through the next generation. Jody McIntyre writes from Bilin, occupied West Bank. 

Video: Gaza under siege
26 Aug 2009 - Six months after Gaza was devastated by a 22-day Israeli military offensive, rebuilding has barely begun. This is on top of a near-total blockade that Israel imposed in 2007 that has kept most goods and supplies out of the Strip. The following video, produced by American filmmakers Jordan Flaherty and Lily Keber, features interviews with a range of people in Gaza, from government leaders to the director of the UN agency for Palestine refugees, to farmers and individuals living in devastated neighborhoods. 

Palestine film festival returns to Toronto next month
26 Aug 2009 - The second annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) is coming to theaters in September. The festival will showcase 34 films, many of which are Canadian and North American premieres. TPFF is pleased to be opening and closing the festival with the critically acclaimed feature films Amreeka and Laila's Birthday . 

In Gaza
shot in the chest: Gaza Ramadan day 5
26 Aug 2009 - On the 5th day of Ramadan, I meet a young man who has been shot through the chest. His has great difficulty breathing, let alone speaking, and has a tube running from his bladder; the liquid is red. Mas’oud (20) is a farm-labourer, was working on land in the northwest of Gaza two days ago when, around 3pm, he was shot by Israeli soldiers at the Green Line border. The youth he was working with at the time, Said (16), died right away from his bullets to the chest. The two had been working on a vegetable plot. His grandmother sits in his hospital room, speaking of their large family...

Palestine Chronicle
Israel Turns Up the Heat to Evict Bedouin from Desert Lands
26 Aug 2009 - By Jonathan Cook - Amra The inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Amra have good reason to fear that the harsh tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been imported to their small corner of Israel’s Negev desert. Over the summer, the Tarabin tribe, all of them Israeli citizens, have had the sole access road to their homes sealed off, while the dirt track they must use instead is regularly blocked by temporary checkpoints at which their papers and vehicles are inspected at length.Coils of razor wire encircle much of the village, and children as young as eight have been arrested in a series of night-time raids. “Four-fifths of our youngsters now have files with the police and our drivers are being repeatedly fined for supposed traffic violations,” said Tulab Tarabin, one of Amra’s 400 Bedouin inhabitants. “Every time we are stopped, the police ask us: ‘Why don’t you leave?’” Lawyers and human rights activists say a campaign of pressure is being organized against the Tarabin at the behest of a nearby Jewish community, Omer, which is determined to build a neighborhood for Israeli army officers on the tribe’s land. "The policy in Israel is that when Jews need land, the Bedouin must move – no matter how long they have been living in their homes or whether their communities predate Israel’s creation,” said Morad al Sana, a lawyer with the Adalah legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority. “The Tarabin’s crime is that...

Smooth Sailing for Obama Ahead?
25 Aug 2009 - By George S. Hishmeh The extended honeymoon that Barack Obama had enjoyed on assuming office at the White House last January is now over. The American president is expected to unveil several important decisions next month on various domestic and international issues that will put a label on his presidency that may determine the length of his stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, four or eight years. The extended honeymoon that Barack Obama had enjoyed on assuming office at the White House last January is now over. The American president is expected to unveil several important decisions next month on various domestic and international issues that will put a label on his presidency that may determine the length of his stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, four or eight years. There is no doubt that he will have to tread softly, but decisively, in these coming weeks, be they on such crucial issues as dealing with health-care insurance or foreign policy, particularly the Middle East. The fact, as reported by the Zogby Interactive poll, that President Obama’s “job approval rating has sunk to a record low of just 45 percent” may diminish his wielding power, especially in Congress despite the fact that his Democratic Party controls both houses. More striking, 51 percent of likely voters now say they disapprove of his job performance. No doubt the severe economic downturn and the growing American unpopularity in foreign lands, two issues that he unfortunately inherited from the Bush administration, may tie his hands in...

Boycotting the Claims of Benjamin Pogrund
25 Aug 2009 - By Frank Barat Benjamin Pogrund piece (See Guardian , August 24), arguing that "Boycotts only harden Israeli opinion", is a groundbreaking work of distortion of history, denial of facts, propaganda, disinformation and could have been written by Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime minister of Israel. Benjamin Pogrund should know better. He is wrong on pretty much every single argument he makes. Apartheid entirely applies to the State of Israel policies towards the Palestinians. We are here talking about "The Crime of Apartheid" (as defined by the 2002 Rome statute of the International Criminal Court). "inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." It lists such crimes as murder, enslavement, deprivation of physical liberty, forced relocation, sexual violence, and collective persecution. Anyone who has recently been to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza knows that the above definition clearly describes Israel's policies towards the Palestinians and its "Arab minority" (understand Palestinians currently leaving in Israel, 20% of Israel's total population). There are many examples available, the more recent one being the eviction of 2 Palestinian families from occupied East Jerusalem to make space for Jewish only accommodations. He then goes on and describes this "conflict" as a "national-religious" struggle between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians". Again Mr. Pogrund uses right wing propaganda and the over used...

Abbas Failed To Do the Honorable Thing 
24 Aug 2009 - By Hasan Afif El-Hasan Nations and organizations reward success. They elect and re-elect leaders who deliver and advance the interests of their constituency and they terminate the tenure of the failure, the incompetent and the corrupt. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had to step down when he was investigated for alleged corruption, and for his mishandling of the war against Hizbullah. In February 2001, the Israelis booted Ehud Barak out of office because of his failure to deal with the Palestinians and replaced him with Ariel Sharon by the widest margin in Israeli history. President Jimmy Carter, who later was awarded the Noble Peace Prize, negotiated the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel but he lost the second term election to Ronald Reagan for his failed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. President George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War but he lost the election to Bill Clinton for reneging on a campaign promise not to raise taxes. Tony Blair resigned both his leadership of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister for the low approval of his role in the Iraqi war. Egypt and Israel but he lost the second term election to Ronald Reagan for his failed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. President George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War but he lost the election to Bill Clinton for reneging on a campaign promise not to raise taxes. Tony Blair resigned both his leadership of the Labour Party and as Prime Minister...

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