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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
10 September, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Fateh opposes elections date section of the Egyptian document
11 Sep 2009 - Fateh movement stated Thursday that it was surprised by the Egyptian proposal that was handed to all factions on Wednesday mainly the part that states that general elections should be postponed until the first half of next year. 

Settler leaders plan to escalate protest against temporary settlement freeze
11 Sep 2009 - Settler leaders in the occupied Palestinian territories are planning to step-up their protests against the decision of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to temporary freeze settlements activities later this month. 

Israeli settlers destroy Palestinian owned farm lands in northern West Bank
10 Sep 2009 - A group of Israeli settlers set fire and destroyed on Thursday at dawn farm lands that belongs to farmers from Azon Atmah, in northern west Bank.

The Israeli military injuries one civilian and kidnaps eight other from the West Bank
10 Sep 2009 - One Palestinian civilian was injured and eight other kidnapped on Thursday during Israeli military attacks targeting a number of West Bank communities.

Haniyya: "We will rebuild homes, mosques, destroyed during the Israeli offensive"
10 Sep 2009 - Palestinian Prime Minister of the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, stated that his government will start rebuilding the Gaza Strip, its homes and mosques, and that money would not be an obstacle. 

Ten Palestinian wounded by settlers near Hebron
10 Sep 2009 - Palestinian medical sources reported Thursday morning that at least ten Palestinians were wounded after a group of fundamental settlers attacked a several Palestinians shortly after the Israeli army evacuated dozens of settlers from a tent outpost. 

Israeli Court orders state to demolish Palestinian homes
10 Sep 2009 - In response to a petition by an Israeli settlement group, the Israeli High Court ruled Wednesday that the government of Israel must demolish two Palestinian homes in the villages of al-Sawaya and Yatma. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

French army chief: Military strike on Iran not viable
10 Sep 2009 - Frank military assessment on Iran appears to go beyond recent public comments by French officials. 

IDF officer: Soldiers can't beat Palestinian civilians
10 Sep 2009 - GOC Central Command testifies at trial of commander accused of hitting Palestinian during arrest. 

IDF tells soldiers: Shoot at Gaza kidnappers, even near captive
10 Sep 2009 - Nahal commander trains troops to carry out this order, even though it could put seized soldiers at risk. 

Should IDF shoot terrorists holding soldier captive?
9 Sep 2009 - Israel has hardened its attitude toward kidnappings since the 2006 abduction of Gilad Shalit. 

Putin denies secret meeting with Netanyahu
9 Sep 2009 - PM's trip on Monday reportedly kept secret from all but a very select few officials close to his bureau. 

Ma'an News

Hamas prisoners condemn decision to exile Tulkarem imam to Hebron
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - In a message smuggled from Israel's Negev Desert prison camp, the supreme committee of Hamas prisoners condemned an Israeli court decision to exile a Palestinian Imam from the West Bank city of Tulkarem. The committee said that the decision to maroon Sheikh Abdullah Yasin Fuqaha in the hills south of Hebron could set a dangerous precedent if practiced against other detainees. The statement also called the decision "harmful"¯ and called on human rights organizations to oppose such measures. The unprecedented verdict, passed down on 44-year-old Abdullah Fuqaha from the town of Kafr Al-Labad near Tulkarem, will see Fuqaha barred from cities, towns and most villages in the southernmost municipality. Fuqaha is restricted to "Area C,"¯ as defined by the 1993 Oslo Accords, the areas under exclusive Israeli military and civil control. 

Report: Israeli High Court upholds WB ban for Palestinian lawyer
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian lawyer Jamil Kamal Al-Khatib will continue to be barred from entering the West Bank, the Israeli High Court said in a decision, holding up a decree from the head of Israel's central District Coordination Office in the occupied area, Ma'ariv reported Thursday. Al-Khatib is a native of Arara village, now in Israel, and stands accused of "working with Hamas. " ¯ Palestinian citizens of Israel were barred from entering the West Bank without express permission from the start of the second Intifadah in 2000. Over the past two years, restrictions on travel of Palestinian citizens of Israel has relaxed considerably, with most able to travel into the major cities of the area. According to a report in the Israeli Hebrew daily Ma'ariv newspaper, Al-Khatib went to the Supreme Court to contest the claims, saying the accusations stem from his regular work as an attorney. 

Israeli forces seize nine Palestinians during West Bank raids
9/10/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Israeli forces seized nine Palestinians during early morning raids in the West Bank on Thursday, according to Palestinian Authority police and witnesses. Several Israeli military vehicles invaded the village of Madama, south of Nablus. The head of the Madama village council, Hassan Ziadeh, told Ma'an that Israeli troops overran the village at dawn and raided several houses, detaining Hani Abdel Rahim Al-Qut, 22. The Palestinian police reported eight other detentions in the last 12 hours. The police report said Israeli forces entered Ramallah and neighboring Al-Bireh where they raided the homes of Imad Awad Allah, his brother and Fawaz Al-Ajlouni. In the third house, soldiers detained Al-Ajlouni's son, Abdel Hakim Al-Ajlouni, 22. Israeli soldiers also entered Beituniya, just outside of Ramallah, and raided the Al-Ekhlas building, searching the house of Sami Samir Sawalhi, 20, ultimately detaining him. 

Concerns arise over alleged Israeli tunneling toward Al-Aqsa
9/10/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - A Jerusalem-based Palestinian organization alleged on Thursday that Israel has begun digging a new underground tunnel in the direction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Heritage and Waqf claimed that the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the "Elad"¯ settler organization has already dug a 120 meter long, 1. 5 meter wide tunnel from underneath Jerusalem's Palestinian Silwan neighborhood toward the mosque. According to the organization, the tunnel begins underneath the Ein Mosque in Silwan, and has been outfitted with lights, stairways, and iron studs for reinforcement. "Among the risks of digging the tunnel is that it will be linked to a number of tunnels that were dug by Israel 40 years ago under the town of Silwan and other tunnels that were dug in the. . . 

Update: Israeli forces trade gunfire with Gaza fighters
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Patrolling Israeli forces exchanged gunfire with Palestinian fighters in Gaza on Thursday morning, an Israeli military spokesperson confirmed. The incident follows an increasing level of violent activity at Gaza's northern border region, with clashes announced by Palestinian militant groups up to half a dozen times a day for the last three days. Israeli forces have confirmed two of the clashes. The Israeli military spokesperson said that in the latest clashes Israeli forces returned fire after coming under attack while on patrol along the border in the central Gaza Strip. The Hebrew-language news site Walla also reported Israeli soldiers exchanged fire with Palestinians, putting clashes southeast of Gaza City. The report said Israeli forces returned fire after coming under attack, and added that Palestinians fired mortar shells at the Israeli forces. 

US: Israel must stop settlements in both East Jlem, WB
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The United States does not distinguish between illegal Israeli settlements built in the West Bank or those built in Jerusalem, and maintians that no settlements should be built beyond the 1967 border, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly affirmed Wednesday. Responding to a question seeking a US reaction to Israel's announcement that it would go ahead with settlement construction in East Jerusalem, Kelly told reporters "our position is clear. We do not - we believe that Israel has an obligation to cease all settlement activity in East Jerusalem or the West Bank or wherever it may be over the 1967 border. "On Wednesday Israel announced developers were being sought for 486 new apartments in the Pisgat Zeev neighborhood, built on land beyond the Green Line, or 1967 border, which is internationally recognized as occupied territory. 

Arab FMs: No normalization, divestment for all settlement supporters
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Arab states will see no normalization of ties with Israel following the announcement of settlement expansions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Arab Foreign Ministers announced Thursday. The statement was released following the 132nd session of the Arab League Council of Foreign Ministers in Cairo, and urged "countries or organizations that support settlement work to dry-up the financial resources of settlement builders. " ¯ The Arab ministers called on all countries and institutions involved to divest from companies involved in funding settlements, a statement from the ministers said. Secretary General of the Arab league Amr Mousa, added that, "with Israel's continued settlement activity, talk about normalization has been rejected. " ¯Moussa added that "Settlement building is a violation of international laws and until it is stopped or frozen we will. . . 

Israel opens one Gaza crossing
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israel will open the Kerem Shalom crossing into the besieged Gaza Strip while sealing two other key crossings, Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said. Seventy-one to eighty-one trucks of merchandise and humanitarian aid are set to enter the Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing, while Nahal Oz (used to transfer fuel) and the Karni crossing (now used only to ship grain and other aggregates) will remain closed, Fattouh said. The crossings official added that on Friday all three main crossings will be closed as usual. [end] 

Settlers construct new outpost in Hebron area
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli settlers continued constructing at least five new caravans on the south-west side of the illegal settlement on Ma'on in the southern West Bank, members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams said Thursday. According to the group, internationals based in the nearby Palestinian village of At Tuwani first observed building preparatory work in Ma'on earlier in the week, and reported Thursday that new caravans were being built as settlers prepared a second hilltop for expansion. A statement from CPT noted that "over the past three months, internationals have also observed settlers constructing numerous new buildings in the nearby illegal Israeli outposts of Havat Ma'on (Hill 833) and Avigail. " ¯The reports come as tensions rise over the issue of settlements, with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Bayyan reporting an Israeli promise to freeze settlement. . . 

Rafah crossing to open Saturday for pilgrims departing to Mecca
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egypt will allow 360 Palestinian pilgrims to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Border Crossing bound for Mecca on Saturday, according to Palestinian authorities in Gaza. The crossings administration in the de facto Gaza government said that it also received information from Egypt concerning opening the crossing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week for people leaving Gaza. The de facto government also said that it asked Egypt to open the crossing more days to allow Palestinians who have residency in other countries to leave. There are 6,000 people in this situation in Gaza, a government statement said. The statement also said the government hopes Egypt will understand the hardship that Palestinians are living though under an Israeli-imposed siege. Ma'an learned from Egyptian security forces on Tuesday that the crossing will be open next Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Pal Cinema Group: Presence not neutrality, boycott Toronto Film Fest
9/10/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Palestinian artists and intellectuals protested outside the Canadian representative's office in Ramallah Thursday, publicly announcing their decision to boycott the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) over its decision to highlight Tel Aviv. "A boycott is stronger than just a protest,"¯ acting president of the Palestinian cinema group, Yahya Barakat said outside the Canadian building in a move to compel Palestinians and Arab film makers to pull their work from the festival. "We do not want the [TIFF] administration to take the presence ofAraband Palestinian cinema artists at the festival "¦as an excuse for neutralism"¯ Barakat said, referring to an open letterfrom Co-Director of TIFF Cameron Bailey which cites the inclusion of films from Palestine, Egypt and Lebanon in the festival - outside of the TIFF's City to City highlight of Tel Aviv,. . . 

Erekat: No Palestinian state without Gaza
9/10/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Fatah-ruled West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip must be politically reunited in order to establish a Palestinian state, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Thursday. "[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu holds the sword of division in his hands,"¯ Erekat said in an interview with Voice of Palestine radio. He called the current state of factional division something that must be ended in order to found a Palestinian state, a cause he said is backed by international consensus. "There cannot be a Palestinian state without the Gaza Strip,"¯ he said, adding that no one can help the Palestinians more than themselves. Erekat said Egypt's proposal for Hamas-Fatah unity would contribute to the success of upcoming talks between the rival factions. 

Mash’al in Sudan: Gaza weapons smuggling continues
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinians in Gaza are able to buy, smuggle and manufacture weapons in spite of Israel's seiege, Hamas political chief Khalid Mash'al said on Wednesday. Mash'al, addressing the General Conferenceof the youth wing of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, Sudan, Mash'al said, "You did miracles in Sudan and thank God, your brothers in Palestine, despite the siege, closure, harassment, the large conspiracy and fleets of the East and West, which prevent us from bringing weapons, we were able to buy, manufacture and smuggle weapons, thank God. " ¯Mash'al, who lives in exile in Damascus,did not clarify the source of the alleged weapons. Israel continues to impose a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air since Hamas' takeover of the territory in June 2007. Egypt has also kept its only crossing point with Gaza largely closed. 

Report: British, Norwegian citizens held in Egypt over Gaza ties
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A British woman and her two sons were held overnight in Egyptian custody after being stopped by Egyptian border control officers following a two-week family holiday, the Telegraph reported Tuesday. Since their detention Egypt's Daily News and local British paper the Coventry Telegraph both ran the stories, and a Coventry councilor began rallying citizens to "to contact the Egyptian embassy to demand the release of a mum and her two teenage sons," the local paper said. The family was told they could not leave the country via any airport, media sources said. Papers say the Norwegian national, naturalized resident of Britain and restaurant owner Manal Timraz was held in Egyptian custody as a "matter of national security,"¯ and according to the Telegraph, her case is "the third in a series of similar incidents involving individuals stopped at Cairo Airport who have participated in pro-Gaza activity. 

EU transfers 12.8m Euros for PA salaries, pensions
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The European Union transferred 12. 83 million Euros on Thursday to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay salaries and pensions. According to a statement, this was the EU's ninth contribution this year through the PEGASE mechanism. The funding will benefit 78,696 civil servants and pensioners. The payment of social allowances will begin on Saturday 12 September. The banks will open, exceptionally, on that Saturday to allow as many beneficiaries as possible to receive their allowance ahead of the feast of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The donor-backed PA is the largest employer in the West Bank and Gaza, and the EU is its largest single financial supporter. Funds for the payment have been provided by the European Commission, with a contribution from the Government of Italy. 

Erakat: Quartet to meet at UNGA sidelines
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - The Middle East Quartet will meet in New York on the sidelines of the next UN General Assembly meeting, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat announced Wednesday. The UNGA meeting will start 16 September, and the Quartet members will meet at the tail end of the gathering on the 24th of the month, Erekat said during a joint news conference in Ramallah with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. The group, comprising leaders and diplomats from Russia, the UN, the United States and Europe, will discuss prospects for Middle East peace. 

PA backs Gaza private sector damage evaluation; compensation possible
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The Palestinian Authority charged the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce with making a complete assessment of the damages suffered by the private sector in the Gaza Strip as result of the Israeli war on the area, with the hope that compensation will be offered to businesses in the future. Following week long meetings with a 35-member delegation of Gazan businessmen in the West Bank at the request of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the PA promised the PCC would distribute the results of the assessment when complete. The delegation, which left for the Gaza Strip Thursday, was headed by Secretary General of the Coordinating Council for Private Sector Business in Gaza Mahmoud Al-Yaziji. Gazan businessmen and women must apply with the Chamber of Commerce office in Gaza and fill out a detailed application so their business will be included in the assessment. 

Egypt’s proposal for Palestinian unity calls for restructured security
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Egypt's proposal for Palestinian national unity calls for the release of political prisoners, a restructured Palestinian security force, and new elections in early 2010. The plan does not call for a unified government, but rather a multi-faction coordinating committee that will prepare for elections. A member of the Political Bureau of the Palestinian People's Party, Walid Al-Awad, revealed the details of the proposal, which Egypt has handed over to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his office said on Wednesday. Abbas' office said he would respond to the proposal in two days, and Hamas indicated it would consider the document. Hamas and Fatah are due to resume negotiations toward a unified front in October. According to information received from Al-Awad, the following are the key points of the plan: Elections - Elections for the presidency, Palestinian. . . 

Sha’ath named head of International Relations in Fatah
9/10/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The newly-elected Fatah Central Committee named member Nabil Sha'ath as Commissioner for International Relations on Tuesday evening, in addition to other key appointments. Fatah's Representative in Lebanon, Abbas Zaki was charged with relations with Arab countries. Lawmaker Azzam Al-Ahmad was named commissioner of National Relations. Rajoub was also named Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee, which was reconstituted at the party's convention in Bethlehem in August. These appointments were made at a Central Committee meeting in Ramallah in the security compound (Al-Muqata'a). It emerged on Wednesday that Central Committee appointed controversial former Gaza strongman Muhammad Dahlan to be charge of information. Central Committee member Jamal Muheisin told Ma'an that Ahmad (Abu Mahir) Ghneim was appointed Deputy Chair and Secretary of the Fatah movement. 

Palestinian parties say considering new Egyptian proposal
9/10/2009 - Gaza/Ramallah - Ma'an - Fatah, Hamas, the Palestine People's Party, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) each confirmed that they received the Egyptian plan for conciliation and noted party officials are currently considering the contents of the document. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said Thursday that his party would seriously consider Egypt's proposal for Palestinian unity and respond soon. Barhoum said Hamas will insist any agreement with their rival Fatah movement does not compromise the rights of the Palestinian people, and is based on genuine partnership. "Hamas is highly keen on the success of Egyptian efforts,"¯ to reunite Palestinians, the spokesperson said. However, he warned "the position of the Fatah movement is very far from the positions of Hamas. 

Fatah official speaks against portion of Egyptian conciliation plan
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Contrary to an Egyptian conciliation plan that would hold Palestinian elections in the first half of 2010, Fatah leader and member at the Revolutionary Council Ziad Abu Ein said Palestinian elections should take place at "its exact official time. " ¯Abu Ein sent a statement to Ma'an on Thursday addressing the issue of elections, which under Palestinian elections law are set to be held on 25 January 2010, the day the Palestinian Legislative Council's four-year term expires. His statement comes in the context of a newly released Egyptian proposal being considered by Palestinian parties. The official Fatah response to the Egyptian plan, released by the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, was that the leader was considering the proposal and would prepare an official response in two days. 

Hamas lawmaker says Fatah delegation not welcome
9/10/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas lawmaker Ismail Al-Ashqar said members of a planned Fatah delegation to the Strip would not be welcomed until political prisoners in the West Bank are set free, the Palestine Legislative Council member for the Hamas bloc said Thursday. Al-Ashqar's comments came following the announcement last week of a Fatah delegation being dispatched to Gaza that could include such high profile members Palestinian National Council official Salim Za'noun, PLO official Nabil Sha'ath, Fakhri Bseisu, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, and former security chief Jibril Rajoub. "Gaza and its residents welcome the Fatah delegation but before they enter the Strip they must examine carefully what is happening to Hamas affiliates at the hands of [Palestinian Authority PA forces,"¯ Al-Ashqar. He then added, more forcefully, that "before coming to Gaza I am demanding you to release all of political prisoners who are more than one thousand. 

PSE drops: Al-Quds Index down 0.63%
9/10/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Palestine Securities Exchange in Nablus fell on Thursday, as the Al-Quds Index closing at 493. 96, marking a drop of 3. 11 points (0. 63%). Trading Volume for Thursday reached 390,969 shares, a total value of 1,011,045. 33 US dollars, over the course of 229 trades. The shares of 18 companies were traded. The shares prices of seven companies rose, while those of seven others fell. The top five gainers were TRUST by (4. 76%), PRICO by (4. 23%), PIIC by (3. 92%), PEC by (3. 26%), and JCC by (2. 56%). The top five losers were JREI by (4. 08%), NCI by (3. 33%), PCB by (2. 50%), PALTEL by (1. 70%), and AMB by (1. 47%). [end] 

Palestine Telegraph

5 Children kidnapped by Israeli Occupation Forces
Gaza, September 10, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reported that undercover forces of the Israeli army kidnapped on Sunday five Palestinian children in an invasion to Beit Lahia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.  ...

Israeli B'tselem releases a condemning report
Occupying Entity, September 10, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Well over half of nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza war were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, challenging Israel's claim that most of the dead...

The Gaza Strip Continues to Crumble under Electricity Crisis.
Gaza Strip, September 9, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- In mid-2006 after some Palestinians fighters had captured the Israeli soldier Sahlit, Israeli warplanes destroyed the six transformers of Gaza's only power plant. The plant, completed in 2002, was able during that time to produce...

Gaza, updated over the past four years
Gaza, September 9, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Many of the world's non-Arab countries-across Europe and the U.S., even Arabs, have associated the name "Gaza" with wars, weapons, explosions, blood, poverty, anarchy...and recently with the in-fighting and the trails of destruction wrought by Israel's...

Branches of Olive Trees
Gaza City, Sept 9, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - It has been 9 months since the devastating War on the Gaza Strip, which left thousands of people either killed or wounded. Today I was invited to take a Ramadan breakfast in my friend...

The National

Hariri resigns as Lebanon's prime minister-designate
10 Sep 2009 - Hizbollah's rejection of the cabinet Saad Hariri proposed earlier in the week is cited as reason for his departure.

Settler-linked project stopped in east Jerusalem
10 Sep 2009 - In a rare victory for Palestinian residents, a judge has stopped an infrastructure project linked to a settler organisation in occupied east Jerusalem.

Lebanon struggles to form unity government
10 Sep 2009 - Attention now switches to the president as tension increases over a stalemate in agreeing to the composition of a new cabinet.

Israel stops money for Gaza's disabled
9 Sep 2009 - A petition is launched against the Israeli government over its decision to suspend payments to people in Gaza.


Lebanon PM-designate Hariri quits
10 Sep 2009 - Ruling coalition leader steps down after opposition rejects proposed unity cabinet.

Israel criticised over mobile delay
10 Sep 2009 - Palestinian network operator threatens to pull out of deal amid row over frequencies.

Alternative Information Center

B'Tselem: Most Palestinians Killed in Gaza War Were Civilians
9 Sep 2009 - Today (Wed. Sept 9th) Israeli human rights group B'Tselem published its findings on the number of Palestinians and Israelis killed in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. According to B’Tselem’s research, Israeli security forces killed...

Outing Israeli Liberals from Their Political Closet: A Letter to Eytan Fox and Gal Uchovsky 
8 Sep 2009 - To Gal Uchovsky and Eytan Fox, In two weeks your film The Bubble will be screened in the “City to City” tribute to Tel Aviv, which will open the prestigious Toronto Festival (mabruk!). In left-wing circles...

Palestine News Network

Israeli authorities rescind deportation move in case of assaulted Armenian seminarians
10 Sep 2009 - Jerusalem / special from Arthur Hagopian - The Israeli Ministry of Interior has rescinded its decision to deport two Armenian seminarians involved in a fracas with a Jewish youth who had spat on them. The two, who had been held over by the Israeli police, were set free without any prior conditions and allowed to return to the Armenian Patriarchate of St James,...

Human rights organization issues weekly report on Israeli violations in West Bank and Gaza Strip
10 Sep 2009 - PNN - The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has issued its weekly report for the period of 3 through 9 September, noting that six civilians were injured and a child killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The report follows.PCHR - Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Continue...

Israeli settlement expansion in South Hebron Hills continues unabated
10 Sep 2009 - At a time when the international community is calling for a freeze on new building in settlements and the disbanding of settlement outposts, the settler community of the South Hebron Hills is continuing its expansion unabated. Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement on Ma'on, in the South Hebron Hills area, are constructing at least five new caravans on the south-west side of...

Palestinian official: high time for international community to seriously pressure Israelis
9 Sep 2009 - Ramallah / PNN – Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said last night that the coming weeks are crucial for that is still referred to by many as the “peace process.” The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made it clear by both deed and action that he is not going to abide international law, Palestinian diplomacy and the nonviolent resistance movement, or the...

Violations of Palestinian media freedoms continued during August at hands of PA, Hamas and Israelis
8 Sep 2009 - Ramallah / MADA / Mousa Rimawi - Violations of media freedoms in the Palestinian territories have increased last August, on the one hand the Israeli occupation authorities arrested the journalist writer Seri Sammour, prevented the journalist Sabrin Diab from entering the Al-Aqsa yards, confiscated the transmission equipment of Radio Bethlehem 2000 which resulted in the stopping of its broadcast, prevented two Swedish journalists from...

Armenian Patriarchate protests deportation of seminarians
8 Sep 2009 - Jerusalem / Special from Arthur Hagopian - The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem has lodged a strong protest against a decision by the Israeli Ministry of Interior to deport two seminarians involved in a fight with a Jewish youth who had spat on a religious procession they were participating in. Patriarchate spokesperson Father Pakrad Bourjekian noted that this was not the first time such...

Israeli government’s approval of new settlement units a direct challenge to international ...
8 Sep 2009 - Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr Saeb Erakat, says that Israel’s decision to approve over 450 new settlement units for construction in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, is a direct challenge to US and international efforts to restart negotiations. “Israel’s decision to approve the construction of over 450 new settlement units nullifies any affect that a settlement freeze, when and...


OPT: Gaza schoolchildren lack basic equipment
GAZA CITY Wednesday, September 09, 2009 (IRIN) - Some 1,200 students at al-Karmel High School for boys in Gaza City returned to class on 25 August without history and English textbooks, or notebooks and pens - all unavailable on the local market.

ISRAEL-OPT: New report highlights educational poverty in East Jerusalem
TEL AVIV Thursday, September 03, 2009 (IRIN) - Palestinian East Jerusalem lacks public educational facilities and many classrooms are cramped, according to a new report by Ir Amim, an NGO working in East Jerusalem, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

In Brief: East Africa teams up over disaster management
NAIROBI Thursday, September 03, 2009 (IRIN) - At least 1,556 East African Community (EAC) military personnel are participating in a three-week joint field training exercise codenamed Ex–Mlima Kilimanjaro (Mount Kilimanjaro) 2009 in Arusha and Tanga, Tanzania, to share knowledge on the regional challenges in peace support, counter-terrorism and disaster management.

Inter Press Service

ENVIRONMENT: Desert Winds Stir New Hope 
CAIRO, Sep 9 (IPS/IFEJ) - With oil and gas reserves running dry, the most populous country in the Arab world is eyeing wind power as a solution to its looming energy crunch.

MIDEAST: Business Seeks Ways Past Political Impasse 
RAMALLAH, Sep 8 (IPS) - Business between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is growing despite the political impasse over Israel's refusal to cease illegal settlement building in East Jerusalem and the Palestinian West Bank.

MIDEAST: Stolen Room Offers a Split View 
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM, Sep 7 (IPS) - In the early morning sunlight, the smoky window of the plush new apartment reflects back a golden tinge from the Dome of the Rock that stands at the heart of Islam's third holiest shrine.

PCHR Latest

IOF Willfully Kill a Child in Beit Hanoun Town, Northern Gaza

PCHR Weekly Report

(03- 09 Sep. 2009)
During the reporting period, IOF killed a Palestinian child and wounded 6 Palestinian civilian, a resistance activist and an Israeli journalist.

information on boycott, divestment and sanctions
IOF Willfully Kill a Child in Beit Hanoun Town, Northern Gaza 06 September

International Solidarity Movement

Benefit Sunday for former Berkeley tree sitter severely injured in Israel
9/10/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Kristin Bender, The Oakland Tribune, 9 September 2009 - Six months after Tristan Anderson, a former UC Berkeley tree sitter and Bay Area activist, nearly died after being struck in the head with a tear-gas canister fired by Israeli troops, friends are holding a benefit Sunday to raise money for his recovery costs. Anderson, 38, remains at a rehabilitation hospital near Tel Aviv and continues to have setbacks and infections after skull surgery last month, supporters said. The operation came after doctors learned Anderson was suffering from post-traumatic hydrocephalus, a blockage of the ventricles "” open spaces in the brain "” that causes poor circulation of cerebral spinal fluid in the head, supporters said. "His girlfriend, Gabrielle Silverman, and his parents are hopeful and giving Tristan as much encouragement and support as they can, even though by all appearances he is struggling to get better," said friend Karen Pickett. 

Israeli settlement expansion in South Hebron Hills continues unabated
9/10/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove - At a time when the international community is calling for a freeze on new building in settlements and the disbanding of settlement outposts, the settler community of the South Hebron Hills is continuing its expansion unabated. Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement on Ma'on, in the South Hebron Hills area, are constructingat least five new caravans on the south-west side of the settlement. Internationals based in the nearby Palestinian village of At Tuwani first observed building preparatory work in Ma'on a few days ago. Today, as the new caravans were being built, settlers began preparatory work on a nearby hilltop for further settlement expansion. Over the past three months,internationals have also observed settlers constructing numerous new buildings in the nearby illegal Israeli outposts of Havat Ma'on (Hill 833) and Avigail. 

Palestinian driver forced to unload truck despite papers
9/10/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ali Waked, YNet News - The driver of a truck loaded with boulders drove last Friday to the Palestinian town, Ras Tira, to deliver his truck's contents. He was shocked to discover that, despite having all the proper documentation for delivering the goods signed by Israel's Coordination and Liaison Authority, IDF soldiers at the checkpoint asked him to unload the boulders so that the bed of the truck could be checked. The separation fence splits Ras Tira from the main bloc of Palestinian towns in the West Bank, creating an enclave on the side of the fence near Qalqilya. Ras Tira Mayor Hisham Mara'adeh told Ynet that the driver reached the entrance of the town around 6:30 am, but was detained there until 12 pm explaining the situation to the soldiers. The driver explained to the soldiers that he had no problem unloading the boulders from the truck. 

Join the 2009 Olive Harvest Campaign
9/10/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - 9 September 2009 - With rapidly escalating levels of settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to participate in the 2009 Olive Harvest Campaign. The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by the Israeli military and settlers, harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance. The olive harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians' historical, spiritual and economic connection to their land, and a rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it. Palestinian communities are inviting internationals to support and show solidarity with this resistance by working in the olive groves with them. By doing so, activists can reduce the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers or army through non-violent intervention and documentation. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Anshel Pfeffer / 'Missing Jews' campaign ignores changing realities 
10 Sep 2009 - On direct orders from Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, the controversial anti-assimilation advertising campaign by MASA has been pulled from the airwaves. ... 

Yossi Sarid / Lies about Netanyahu's trip harm Israel's credibility 
10 Sep 2009 - "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest," the prophet Isaiah said. But he did not say in private conversation that "for state security one may sometimes not tell the whole truth." ... 

France implores Moscow to cancel sale of missiles to Iran 
10 Sep 2009 - France called on Russia Thursday not to complete the sale of advanced air defense missiles to Iran. ... 

Netanyahu aide likely to pay price for 'secret' trip fiasco 
10 Sep 2009 - At least one person will pay the price for the fiasco of the prime minister's visit to Russia: Maj. Gen. Meir Kalifi, Benjamin Netanyahu's military secretary. It isn't that Kalifi is free of blame in this story, but it seems that the speed with which he was identified as the near sole person responsible for the embarrassment was meant to spare others responsible, including Netanyahu, his political adviser, Uzi Arad, and his media adviser, Nir Hefetz, from any blame. ... 

Poll: Most Israeli Jews have positive view of Germany 
10 Sep 2009 - Seventy years after the outbreak of World War II, it seems most Israelis no longer bear a grudge against modern Germany, and even have a positive view of the country. A poll conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation found that 61 percent of Israeli Jews are satisfied with the way Germans have handled the memory of the Holocaust, 80 percent consider relations between Israel and Germany to be normal, and 81 percent regard today's Germany as "different." ... 

The Guardian

The illusion of checkpoint co-operation | Rachel Shabi
10 Sep 2009 - Many Palestinians view the help given to Israeli troops by US-trained forces not as co-operation but as divisive intervention Apparently, things have never been better. According to one Haaretz commentator , relations between the Israeli government and...

A green day for Iran | Meir Javedanfar
10 Sep 2009 - Will the Iranians demonstrating on Jerusalem Day be pro-Palestine or anti-Ahmadinejad? International Jerusalem Day ( Rooze jahaniye Qods ) is observed in Iran on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan. This year it falls on...

Media war rages over Gaza conflict | Seth Freedman
9 Sep 2009 - B'Tselem's report on Israeli and Palestinian casualties is bound to spark another round of claim and counter-claim Gone are the days when history was written solely by the victors. In today's democratised climate of instantly disseminated...

Venezualan president Hugo Chávez accuses Israel of genocide
9 Sep 2009 - Israelis 'openly exterminated' Palestinians in Gaza offensive, says Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, has accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinians, saying the offensive in Gaza early this year was unprovoked. "The question is...

Ha'aretz National page

Jerusalemites launch public protest against city's transportation system 
10 Sep 2009 - After nine seemingly interminable years of delays, hitches, mishaps and endless public works detours, Jerusalem residents are losing their patience and launching a campaign against the city's grounded public transit system. ... 

Health Min.: If you think you may have swine flu, don't kiss Torah scrolls
10 Sep 2009 - Synagogue goers may have to give up the ritual of kissing Torah scrolls and Holy Ark covers during the High Holy Days, according to Health Ministry directives issued Thursday to prevent the spread of swine flu. ...

Three more women to testify against Katsav in rape trial
9 Sep 2009 - Three further complainants will testify against Moshe Katsav in the former president's trial over rape and sexual assault charges, despite the fact that the statute of limitations on his alleged offenses against them has passed. ...

Relief Web

UN agency calls on Israel to lift book blockade of Gaza schools
10 Sep 2009 - Source: UN News Service

Israel: Gaza White Flag' deaths inquiry a step forward 
10 Sep 2009 - Source: Human Rights Watch

OPT: USAID West Bank/Gaza mission program achievements - Week of 31 Aug 2009
10 Sep 2009 - Source: US Agency for International Development

YNet News

Iran defiant, but Russia against oil sanctions 
10 Sep 2009 - Washington Post quotes Iranian officials as saying proposals submitted to world powers offer cooperation on Afghanistan, fighting terrorism and global system aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons, but not talks on Tehran's own nuclear program. Lavrov: Sanctions not mechanism to force Iran to cooperate 

Gaza teen undergoes sex change operation 
10 Sep 2009 - Fifteen year-old Fatima Abed Rabbo from Jabalya becomes 'Odai' after Spanish specialists perform gender reassignment surgery. 'I feel much more comfortable now, I feel free,' he says 

PM: We will not be taken for fools 
10 Sep 2009 - Likud, Kadima hold traditional Rosh Hashana ceremonies. Netanyahu: Palestinians must recognize Israel, Jerusalem will forever be united. Livni: There's still hope for Israel's leadership, we will make citizens proud to be Israelis 

US says Iranian proposal 'not really responsive' 
10 Sep 2009 - State Department says proposal given to world powers does not allay concerns over Tehran's nuclear program, but Russian FM says it has 'something to work with.' French general military strike on Iran too risky 

Barak to Left: Tone down criticism
10 Sep 2009 - Defense minister's aide meets Peace Now chief, says approval of West Bank housing projects actually meant to advance peace process with Palestinians 

Settlers to protest outside PM's Residence 
10 Sep 2009 - West Bank council heads decide to begin sit-in after Rosh Hashanah in protest of government's plan to freeze settlement construction; call for greater pressure on politicians 

Spanish foreign minister calls off meeting with Lieberman
10 Sep 2009 - Moratinos says called back to Madrid ahead of Chavez visit; also cancels meetings with PA officials in Ramallah 


Most fatalities in Operation Cast Lead did not take part in the hostilities 
8 Sep 2009 - B'Tselem releases comprehensive casualty figures from the three-week operation. The enormous toll on civilians - including the death of 320 minors - requires serious introspection on the part of the military, the government, and Israeli society as a whole

Daily Star

Army busts terror cell plotting attacks on UNIFIL - report 
10 Sep 2009

Arabs urged to back Lebanon Security Council bid 
10 Sep 2009

Hariri gives up bid to form unity cabinet, vows to reveal who blocked his efforts 
10 Sep 2009

Are the Shebaa Farms key to Lebanon's security? 
10 Sep 2009

World powers hold out hopes for Iran talks 
10 Sep 2009

Egypt migrant killings: 'Enough is enough,' says Amnesty International 
10 Sep 2009

Iraq, Syria trade accusations over blast suspects 
10 Sep 2009

Build Palestine, and they will come 
10 Sep 2009

Palestinian Information Center

Ten Palestinian citizens wounded by Israeli settlers in Yatta
10 Sep 2009 - A number of savage Israeli settlers attacked Thursday a number of Palestinian homes located near Susiya settlement, southeast of Yatta town in Al-Khalil, which led to the injury of ten citizens.

Hamas: Egyptian reconciliation proposal under study
10 Sep 2009 - Hamas Movement on Thursday declared that it had received the Egyptian proposal on Palestinian national reconciliation and that the proposal was under study.

Bahar: The PLC will continue working as usual after January 25
10 Sep 2009 - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislative council (PLC), stated that the current council would continue its work in the same vigor and energy after January 25.

Farwana: Ahmed Shukri held in Israeli isolation cell for 21 years
10 Sep 2009 - Ahmed Shukri, a Palestinian prisoner in IOA jails, has entered his 21st year in captivity all served in solitary confinement, Abdul Nasser Farwana, a specialist in prisoners' affairs, said.

Forum to hold Int’l moot on Al-Quds day
10 Sep 2009 - A group of Islamist parties in Pakistan have set up a new platform for supporting the cause of Palestine’s liberation from Israeli occupation.

Haneyya: The government will build all bombed homes and mosques in Gaza
10 Sep 2009 - Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya pledged Wednesday to rebuild all homes and mosques destroyed by Israel during its military aggression on the Gaza Strip.

IOF troops advance in northern Gaza in fresh escalation of attacks
10 Sep 2009 - Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced a few hundred meters in northern Gaza to the east of Beit Hanun city at a late hour on Wednesday evening amidst intermittent firing.

Gov't against siege calls on foreign activists to send more aid convoys
10 Sep 2009 - The government committee against the siege has called on foreign solidarity activists to send aid convoys to the Gaza Strip whether via land or sea route.

Syrian official: Palestinian cause should be treated as the issue of S. Africa
10 Sep 2009 - Dr. Buthayna Shaaban, the political and information advisor to the Syrian president, called for dealing with the Palestinian cause as the world did with the issue of South Africa in the past.

Israeli refuses Turkish FM request to visit Gaza via Erez
10 Sep 2009 - Israel's refusal to allow Turkish foreign minister Ahmed Daoud Oglu to visit the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing threatened a new tension in relations between the two governments.

Los Angeles Times

Lebanon's political crisis deepens as prime minister-designate abruptly quits 
10 Sep 2009 - U.S.-backed Saad Hariri says meddling by Iranian- and Syrian-backed opponents has thwarted his efforts to form a Cabinet. He could be renominated, and some predict Western leaders will urge a deal. Lebanon's U.S.-backed prime minister-designate abruptly quit Thursday, plunging the nation deeper into a political crisis over failed efforts to form a government. 

Iran submits proposals for possible nuclear talks with world powers 
10 Sep 2009 - Tehran offers no indication that discussions on halting uranium enrichment will be part of the package. The West hopes to garner support for more sanctions at a U.N. meeting. Iran on Wednesday handed over a package of proposals for possible talks with world powers about its nuclear program, but it gave no indication that the offer would include discussions on halting its enrichment of uranium as demanded by the United Nations Security Council. 

Election turmoil complicates L.A. exhibit of Iranian artists' work 
10 Sep 2009 - The curator of the show has had trouble communicating with the five male artists, securing basic biographical information about them and, in some cases, even obtaining their artwork. The exhibit of Iranian artists that opens today at Crewest gallery in downtown Los Angeles was in the works long before the disputed June 12 presidential election in Iran. 

New York Times

U.S. Says Iran Could Expedite Nuclear Bomb
10 Sep 2009 - Intelligence reports delivered to the White House say that Iran has created enough nuclear fuel to make a rapid sprint for a nuclear weapon. 

Iranian Opposition Offices Are Raided
8 Sep 2009 - Iranian authorities seized documents on prison abuse from the offices of two opposition leaders in Tehran this week. 

Nuclear Agency Said to Be in ‘Stalemate’ With Iran
7 Sep 2009 - The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said his agency was in a “stalemate” with Iran as it faces a deadline to respond to an offer of nuclear talks or face more sanctions. 


More on Jimmy Carter and one-state
Mondoweiss - 9 Sep 2009 - Landrum Bolling, the filmmaker and educator , sent the following email to John Whitbeck yesterday in the wake of Jimmy Carter’s Washington Post piece suggesting that the two-state solution has lost its meaning. Bolling permitted me to publish it: I just had a good phone conversation with...

Norway divestment & Toronto film fest protest continue to get attention
Mondoweiss - 9 Sep 2009 - Two BDS stories that we’ve been following lately seem to have legs. Amira Hass has an article in today’s Haaretz wondering why Norway stopped with divesting from only Israel’s Elbit systems when there are so many other candidates. Hass: The question is not why Norway divested...

‘J Street’ comes off as hip & the future, in NYT Mag piece
Mondoweiss - 9 Sep 2009 - Two excerpts from a favorable piece about J Street in the forthcoming NYTimes Magazine, by Jim Traub. Excerpt one, the Jewish identity piece. Funny shrewd quote from MJ Rosenberg: Important Jewish organizations are normally reached through a series of locked doors presided over by glassed-in functionaries....

Elliott Abrams, the early years
Mondoweiss - 9 Sep 2009 - Regular visitors to this site are familiar with Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative former Bush administration official, apologist for Greater Israel, and scourge of Jewish intermarriage. But younger readers may not know that he established his public reputation as a liar much earlier, in a different part...

Somewhere over the rainbow, Harvard neocons fly
Mondoweiss - 9 Sep 2009 - The Harvard forum offers four responses, all by intelligent men, two of whom find the demand completely reasonable too: Walter Reich is a former director of the Holocaust memorial , and grim Robert Satloff of WINEP, a leading branch of the Israel lobby, spun off from AIPAC....

B'Tselem: Most Palestinians Killed in Gaza War Were Civilians
Alternative Information Center - 9 Sep 2009 - Today (Wed. Sept 9th) Israeli human rights group B'Tselem published its findings on the number of Palestinians and Israelis killed in Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. According to B’Tselem’s research, Israeli security forces killed 1,387 Palestinians during the course of the three-week operation. Of...

Outing Israeli Liberals from Their Political Closet: A Letter to Eytan Fox and Gal Uchovsky 
Alternative Information Center - 8 Sep 2009 - To Gal Uchovsky and Eytan Fox, In two weeks your film The Bubble will be screened in the “City to City” tribute to Tel Aviv, which will open the prestigious Toronto Festival (mabruk!). In left-wing circles in Toronto and the film world there is an unpleasant...


Israel’s laws of persecution 
Nimer Sultany, The Guardian 9/8/2009
      Two cases brought before Israeli courts last week revealed the attitude of the establishment towards Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. One shows how Palestinian citizens are treated as victims of police brutality, and the second shows how they are regularly victimised because of their opposition to injustice.
     In the first, a policeman who shot and killed an Arab citizen in 2006 was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. The unbearable leniency of the sentence is more evidence of the total disregard for Arab life inside Israel, where ethnicity of the victim is a de facto mitigating circumstance in the case of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Indeed, this was the only case in which any policeman or soldier was indicted since the mass protests of October 2000, in spite of the fact that about 40 citizens were killed during this period.
     The second case involved an indictment against Rawi Sultani, a 23-year-old law student, for "contact with a foreign agent" and "delivering information to the enemy"; two flawed articles in Israel’s laws comparable in their application to use of "national security" laws by authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the world. The young student is a political activist of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), a party that calls for the transformation of Israel from a Jewish state into a state for all its citizens. Rawi is also the son of a well-known leader of the party. He is accused of having contact with another youth, who allegedly turned out to be a Hezbollah member, during a national Arab youth conference in Morocco. Allegedly, Rawi disclosed information regarding the Israeli army’s chief of staff, given their membership in the same gym. Yet the case is based on a tendentious account of one statement of a publicly known fact regarding the chief’s membership in that gym made by the accused.
     The identity of the accused, the identity of his father, the party to which they both belong, the timing of the case and the kind of charges chosen cannot be easily overlooked and give grounds to questioning the political incentives behind the indictment and the message behind it. One would be hard put to explain the extensive surveillance against leaders and activists of the NDA as revealed by this case. more.. e-mail

The pitfalls of Palestinian national consciousness 
Haidar Eid, Ma’an News Agency 9/8/2009
      The sixth congress of the Fatah movement, held in Bethlehem earlier this month, gave us a front row seat to the closing act of an important period of Palestinian nationalism. 
     True, the conference was held on Palestinian soil, but, ironically, under the watchful eye of Israeli soldiers. The failure of the Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fatah) to achieve any of its declared goals was symbolized in its holding the conference under occupation. This reflects not only the demise of Fatah -- the faction that dominated the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for decades -- but the general demise of contemporary Palestinian nationalism.
     A national liberation movement that started with such slogans as "the only way to liberation is through the barrel of the gun," and "liberation from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean," and "the right of return is sacrosanct," has moved into the post-colonial condition without achieving independence. The specter of the Oslo accords was everywhere at the conference, but no one wanted to refer to it. All those ex-fighters-turned-politicians would not have been granted an Israeli permit to enter Israeli-controlled territory had it not been for the Oslo accords.
     The opening speech given by Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas was approved as the political statement of the conference. The speech itself was the manifestation of what Oslo, Taba, the Road Map and the Annapolis summit aimed at; namely, the transformation of the Palestinian cause from one of self-determination and liberation into a charity case to which the slogan "independence" is applied. Critical appraisal of the last 20 years since the convening of the fifth Fatah congress, or even the period since the disastrous Oslo accords were signed in 1993, was never on the agenda. Questioning the logic of Israel’s tolerance of the conference was also a taboo. more.. e-mail

Electronic Intifada
Protesters of Toronto festival's Tel Aviv spotlight saluted
10 Sep 2009 - The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) salutes the filmmakers, artists and cultural workers who drafted and endorsed the Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation protesting the Toronto International Film Festival's City to City Spotlight on Tel Aviv. The impressive list of signatories includes long-time supporters of a just peace and Palestinian rights and newer friends, all of whom we sincerely thank. 

Action alert: Kick Dayton and his mercenaries out of Palestine
10 Sep 2009 - The US Palestinian Community Network is appalled that the government of the United States not only continues its unconditional support for Israel, but has engaged in establishing Palestinian contra forces in the West Bank, aimed at deepening Palestinian internal division and engaging in arbitrary arrests and assassinations of political activists. We demand an immediate end to all such programs and the immediate withdrawal of US Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton and his mercenaries from Palestine! 

No windows, pens in Gaza's classrooms
10 Sep 2009 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Some 1,200 students at al-Karmel High School for boys in Gaza City returned to class on 25 August without history and English textbooks, or notebooks and pens -- all unavailable on the local market. Severe damage to the school, caused during the 23-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip which ended on 18 January, has yet to be repaired. Al-Karmel's principal, Majed Yasin, has had to cover scores of broken windows with plastic sheeting. 

Compromising for Gaza without compromising Palestine
9 Sep 2009 - A call to organize a large march to break the siege of Gaza immediately captured the imagination of many organizers. However, after the initial call, the framework of the march was challenged by highly-respected Palestinian activists. Their criticism, expressed with the utmost respect for the courage and good will of the organizers, challenged the organizers' decision to delay engaging in a wide conversation with Palestinian civil society and activists until after the call was made and the framework formulated. Gabriel Ash, Mich Levy and Sara Kershnar comment for The Electronic Intifada. 

In Gaza
Figs: Gaza Ramadan day 19
9 Sep 2009 - * Shaking figs from a tree . Figs are a fruit I’ve only ever known as a dried and packaged treat that we import from the Middle East. Until I came to Palestine, I’d never seen a fresh fig, never imagined that the chewy fruit almost like candy was once a succulent and juicy fruit, refreshing in the summer season when they flourish. I recall figs from Susiya , in the south Hebron hills, where the Palestinians who’ve lived there for decades or more (some are original inhabitants, others have been displaced by the various Israeli wars and land annexations) struggle to exist amidst Israeli settler and soldier violence and harassment. The...

Palestine Chronicle
A Fresh Approach in Afghanistan: An End to War?
10 Sep 2009 - By Ramzy Baroud Left out of the options under consideration in "Obama's war" is the only one with any chance of success. Despite assurances to the contrary in Washington and a major policy speech in London, one need not quibble with the obvious fact that the situation is deteriorating beyond repair in Afghanistan. Although international media is more concerned with what that means politically for United States President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, little attention is given to the browbeaten and war-weary people of that country. One should know that public support for the war has greatly diminished, when conservative commentators like The Washington Post columnist George Will write: "US forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy. America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, air strikes and small, potent Special Forces units." Okay, so his narrative is still ultimately violent, but the fact remains that the war mood is changing. After all, Will's 1 September article was entitled, "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan." Dan Senor and Peter Wehner responded with a peculiar diatribe in the New York Times, accusing Will of allowing his party allegiance to influence his views on the war. The two authors, senior fellows at major US think tanks, offered a bloody rationale wrapped in deceptive wording. They argued that historically Democrats opposed Republican wars and Republicans have done the same, and that must change. It was implied that pretty much...

An Open letter to Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa
10 Sep 2009 - By Dr. Haidar Eid - Gaza Dear Mr. President, I am writing to express my dismay and disappointment with both your attendance at the national conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies - a racist organization by any standards - as well as the content of your speech at that forum. I am a naturalised South African of Palestinian origin. I spent more than five years in Johannesburg, during which I earned a PhD from the University of Johannesburg and lectured at the-then Vista University in Soweto and Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg. I would like to take issue with the manner in which you express your support for the two-state solution: "It is a solution that fulfils the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two states for two peoples, Israel and an independent, adjoining, and viable state of Palestine" (emphasis mine). Allow me, Mr. President, as a resident of Gaza, to express my shock with the fact that - only 8 months after the Gaza massacre, in which 1500 civilians, including 434 children, were brutally murdered - you still believe that there are two symmetrical sides. You even call it the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict!" Was that your belief in the 1970's and 80's; that there were "two-sides" to the South African "conflict"? Were there two equal parties, namely White and Black, with equal claim to the land and equal historical responsibility for the-then status quo? No doubt, this sounds like a bizarre interpretation of South African...

Burying Ted Kennedy with the Israeli Flag
10 Sep 2009 - By Franklin Lamb - Beirut Being wrapped in an Israeli flag this past week has caused Madonna, our Lady of Miracles, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and AIPAC some flak. First the simple case. Strutting underdressed across the concert stage in Tel Aviv wrapped in an Israel flag on 9/2/09, as her partner, the Brazilian model 'Jesus' shouted 'Viva! Viva!' off stage was probably just the Material Girl doing her material thing. And anyhow, the late Michael Jackson could have been mistaken when he made his snide remark a while back, "She can't sing. She can't dance. I don't understand her success!" On her quick trip north to the Palestinian village of Safad near the Lebanese border to view a Kabbalah shrine, Esther/Madonna may not have been advised that most of Safad's population was ethnically cleansed in 1948 and with their offspring most now live in 12 Refugee Camps in Lebanon and 10 in Syria. Reading deep politics into her flag wearing event may be unwarranted since Esther/Madonna has now apparently offered to don the Palestinian flag or even Hamas' or Hezbollah's' and appear bra-less in a tanga (thong) and see-through Hassan Nasrallah T-shirt. Just to make amends and dampen the flap from her flag wrap. OK, it's a deal, but can I be her photographer? Abe Foxman, President of ADL and AIPAC on the other hand, knew exactly what they were doing four days earlier as both offered to send an Israeli flag to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica...

American Muslims Eight Years After 9/11
10 Sep 2009 - By Abdus Sattar Ghazali 'Change' was President Barak Obama's campaign slogan. The seven-million strong American Muslim community, firmly believing in his "change" slogan, voted overwhelmingly for him in the 2008 presidential elections with the hope that his administration would bring an end to their humiliation and sufferings they faced in the Bush era in the name of "war on terror." American Muslims were both pleased and surprised by President Obama's inclusive words in his inaugural address, on January 20th, when he said America is "a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers." Such words signaled Obama's recognition that Muslims are an important part of the American fabric. In his historic June 4 speech in Cairo, President Obama hinted to the problems facing the American Muslims by saying that the United States "rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat." His Cairo statement coincided with a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder: "The President's pledge for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim community takes root here in the Justice Department where we are committed to using criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans. A top priority of this Justice Department is a return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach in defending religious freedoms and other fundamental rights of all of our fellow citizens in the workplace,...

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