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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
24 October, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Israel pulls textbook over reference to 'ethnic cleansing' of the Palestinians
24 Oct 2009 - The Ministry of Education in Israel has decided to pull a history textbook because it include a passage that talks about the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 for the creation of the state of Israel, describing it as 'Ethnic Cleansing.' 

Israeli settlers, lost on Palestinian land, helped home by Palestinian Authority
24 Oct 2009 - Two Israeli settlers who wandered into the village of Halhul, near Hebron, were escorted home by Palestinian security guards on Thursday. Due to the fact that the only time that Israeli settlers enter Halhul and other nearby villages is to attack Palestinians, there was some concern among villagers that the two men were there to commit acts of violence. 

Fateh Welcomes Abbas’ Call For Elections
24 Oct 2009 - The Fateh movement welcomed the statements of President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the movement, in which he called for holding general and presidential elections in Palestine on January, 24, 2010. 

Bahar: “elections Without Unity Will Not Be Accepted”
23 Oct 2009 - Dr. Ahmad Bahar, deputy head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), stated Thursday that any elections without reconciliation and unity will not be accepted by the Palestinian people as such elections would lead to further divisions. 

Abbas Decides On Elections Date
23 Oct 2009 - Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, issued on Friday a presidential decree stating that January 24 2010 is the official date for general elections; both presidential and legislative. 

Israeli Settlers Sing And Dance In Front Of Palestinian House They Occupied In East Jerusalem
23 Oct 2009 - Dozens of fundamentalist Jewish settlers held prayers on Friday in front of a Palestinian home they occupied by court order in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in East Jerusalem. After praying, the settlers held a dance and party. 

Ma'an News

Medics: Settlers injured two Palestinians
10/24/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Two young Palestinian men were injured in clashes between Palestinians and a number of Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Bracha, south of Nablus, on Saturday afternoon. Medical sources at the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma'an that the two young men, Anas Kadous and Issa Ka'dan, were injured by stones thrown by the settlers. The two were transferred to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Ma'an's photographers were also on the scene, and documented both incidents. Israeli media reported that three settlers were later detained for questioning over allegations they were rioting and throwing stones, while other news reports said Palestinians took part in the stone-throwing, as well. The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli police arrested dozens of people, including settlers and Palestinians,. . . 

Hamas, PRC won’t recognize pre-unity elections
10/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - The presidential decree calling for elections on 24 January is an "illegal and unconstitutional move and a blow all conciliation efforts," the Hamas block of the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) announced Saturday. The announcement came following the Friday announcement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as per electoral law, giving three months notice before the holding of elections. The decree must be approved by the PLC before it is carried out. The move was immediately slammed by Hamas officials, then later by the Hamas bloc of the PLC, who said they would not recognize the elections, in part because of the blow they dealt to Palestinian unity talks in Egypt. The bloc said it held Abbas responsible for the consequences of the move, which it described "uncalculated and irrational". 

Prisoners lobby unsuccessfully for training
10/24/2009 - Jenin - Ma'an - The men and women and minors in the Jenin District Detention Center have been requesting chances to improve themselves, via classes and skills training, for years with no response from the any Palestinian ministry, inmates told Ma'an. Journalists were permitted access to the Jenin facility for the first time last week, under a program with the Amin Media Network and funded by the EU. During the visit prisoners of all ages, men and women regardless of their crimes said they had sent an appeal to the Ministry of Labour to provide training courses so finding jobs would be easier when they were released. The facility's director Muhammad Sammour explained that the prison administration provides sewing workshop for women out of its own money, but was unable to provide other services because of lack of funds. 

Israeli court rules against segregation on one WB road
10/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Supreme Court of Israel ruled against a military order prohibiting Palestinians from traveling on a West Bank road in the city of Hebron in a Thursday ruling, Jurist magazine reported. The road, Route 443, is one of several currently being disputed, and runs from Hebron into Israel through the West Bank. For the duration of its path through the West Bank, Palestinians were prohibited from using it. The initial protest from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) lead to an interim decision allowing segregation until May 2010. On Thursday, the court held that impeding the rights of several thousand Palestinians barred from the road was not justified by the benefits it gave to less than 200 Israelis who live near it. ACRI laywer Limor Yehuda was not hopeful, however, that the case would set a precedent. " Its important to analyze this ruling in its broader context. . . " 

Israeli PM’s office: Netanyahu didn’t call for Gaza inquiry
10/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli Prime Minister's Office insisted in a statement on Saturday that Benjamin Netanyahu did not call for an inquiry into his country's assault on Gaza last winter. In an interview with The Washington Post published earlier the same day, he was quoted as saying Israel may conduct an internal inquiry into its military's conduct. "We're looking into that not because of the Goldstone report but because of our own internal needs. " A few hours later, his office sent out a statement clarifying that "the prime minister did not intend to say that there is a need for an independent commission of inquiry. "The Israeli government has repeatedly rejected calls, including from its US and European allies, that it take seriously recommendations brought forth by South African jurist Richard Goldstone's fact-finding mission, which found evidence Israel's army committed war crimes during the assault in Gaza. 

UN envoy: Window for peace may close with elections
10/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Palestinians must go to the polls sooner or later, and Israel must not waste time for talks with current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry told Reuters on Friday. "I am pessimistic that another such opportunity would come anytime soon," Serry commented to Reuters over the phone, "The window is closing down. . . we should not believe time is on our side. "Serry criticized both sides for lacking the political will, adding "Frankly I don't see urgency on the Israeli side. I would like to see more commitment," Reuters reported. "If Israel has a sense of urgency and finality it will live up to its commitments," Serry continued. The UN official advocated starting talks where they left off in 2008 in the interest of preventing increased and ramped up settlement construction in the West Bank. 

Aqsa preacher: Implement UN resolutions
10/24/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - I'kremah Sabri, the Al-Aqsa Mosque's orator, on Saturday urged the international community to implement all UN resolutions were issued since 1948 concerning the Palestinian cause. His statements came on the anniversary of the UN Charter's ratification, when the world reasserts its commitment to preserving peace, providing security and helping those in need. "Security and peace cannot be achieved in the region so long as settlement, expulsions of Palestinians, and violations of their rights continues," Sabri said, noting that successive Israeli government had failed to fulfill previously signed agreements. [end] 

Local Fatah leaders praise elections decision
10/24/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - "The decision to hold elections is right and good, it is the only way out for Palestinians from the current crisis that Hamas has led us into," the Fatah movement of Qalqiliya announced Saturday following a presidential decree calling for elections on 24 January was made. Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas faced harsh criticism from Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees, after he initiated the elections sequence via presidential decree in Ramallah on Friday. Hamas criticized Abbas' move calling it a death blow to unity and a move with American and Israeli hands behind it. A Hamas delegation was set to go to Cairo to discuss the latest Egyptian unity document following long delays. Mediators has set 15 October as a deadline for Hams and Fatah to deliver yes or no answers to the proposed unity deal. 

Hamas lawmaker: Abbas decree unconstitutional
10/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinian elections cannot be held without a national agreement in pace, Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Bahar announced Saturday. "Abbas has no constitutional right to issue the elections decree, because his legitimate term as President ended on 9 January 2009," Bahar said, announcing that the Palestinian President should be "brought to account on charges of acting like the President of the Palestinian Authority. " Speaking from Gaza City at a news conference, Bahar said Abbas could not approve the call for elections without the agreement of the PLC, according to Palestinian law. Moreover, he explained, elections law holds that if Hamas approves the elections, they are recognizing the PLO and by extension the Oslo Accords, which Hamas has been against. Bahar accused Abbas of trying to appoint himself as a ruler, of forcing elections to distance himself from the sides who want negotiations. 

Struggle Front welcomes elections decree
10/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front welcomed the call to go for elections on 24 January, but not as a move meant to put pressure on Hamas, spokesperson Awni Abu Ghoush on Saturday. The party was the second, behind the ruling Fatah movement, to welcome the decision of Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to issue the presidential decree, initiatiing the elections sequence with a date of 24 January for Palestinians to go to the polls. Abu Ghoush suggest the government for a special committee including legal experts to ensure implimentation of the decree goes smoothly and according to the law in the three-monthlead up to the elections. The spokesman said PLO factions should unite and avoid contests or criticisms against the Palestinian Authority "as has happened in the past," he said, but rather have all parties rally around the event. 

Abbas says elections decree irrevocable
10/24/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - Facing criticism from the Hamas movement and others, President Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Saturday that elections would be held as scheduled. "The decision is irrevocable," he said, speaking in Ramallah at the opening session of the PLO's central committee. Abbas issued a presidential decree late Thursday night, setting the date for the next round of Palestinian legislative and presidential elections for 24 January 2010. Hamas wants the date moved back six months. "This decision came after conciliation efforts failed and Hamas foot-dragging," he explained, slamming the Islamic movement for rejecting "Egypt's proposal to end the division constitutionally. "But the president vowed to nevertheless continue reconciliation efforts. Abbas also said he hoped to restart peace talks with Israel, and confirmed reports that "bilateral American contacts are ongoing,. . . 

’How can Abbas call elections and continue unity talks?’
10/24/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - PFLP politbureau member Maher At-Taher, criticized President Mahmud Abbas' choice to call elections and simultaneously cling to reconciliation talks with Hamas. At-Taher made the comments Saturday, following the Friday night announcement by Abbas that elections would be held on 24 January, and a Saturday speech wherein Abbas announced that negotiations with Hamas had lead to a dead end. While the PFLP official offered no preference from his party as to whether or not talks should continue, he also made no condemnation of Abbas' late Friday night issue of a presidential decree that initiated the elections sequence set to culminate in a late-January vote. At-Taher refuted claims by Hamas that the decree was illegal, calling it "constitutional," but worrying it was being used to solve a problem it could not. 

Hamas official: Relations with Egypt strong
10/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas leader Ismail Al-Ashkar described the Islamic movement's relations with Egypt as "strong and good" in a telephone interview with Ma'an on Saturday. "There are no indications of tension between Hamas and Egypt, although there are some who seek create it," Al-Ashkar said, without elaborating. Cairo has sought to pressure Hamas into signing a reconciliation agreement with its Fatah rivals, and there were reports on Friday that Egypt had banned officials from visiting until the two Palestinian factions strike a deal. A Hamas-affiliated Palestinian recently died in Egyptian custody, and Cairo has also been complicit in Israel's blockade of Gaza, going so far as to seize humanitarian goods bound for the besieged coastal strip's civilian population. But Al-Ashkar insisted that relations were unchanged, and noted that Hamas has not formally rejected the deal proposed by Egypt to end two years of inter-Palestinian disunity. 

PLC member: Despite elections call, deal possible
10/24/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Yaser Wadieyah, representing independent Palestinian lawmakers in the Legislative Council, insisted on Saturday that a possible reconciliation real was still possible despite Friday's elections decree. "Consultations are being carried out on all levels by independent figures in the West Bank and Gaza so as not to deepen the division," he told Ma'an in a telephone interview. Wadieyah also said President Mahmoud Abbas' decree was legal. "Issuing a decree to hold elections is legal and comes within the constitution's mandate. . . In the event of reconciliation issuing another decree is not complicated either. "The official called on Hamas to agree to the deal that Fatah signed last week, and on both sides to stop media incitement. 

Ha'aretz Defense page

'Netanyahu didn't mean he backed Israel probe of Gaza war'
24 Oct 2009 - PM's bureau issues statement to clarify comments Netanyahu made in interview with Washington Post. 

Ministers to discuss bill to give IDF vets more benefits
24 Oct 2009 - Benefits would include money towards education and a discount on mortgage of first apartment. 

IDF threatens to dismiss 'disgraceful' pro-settler troops
24 Oct 2009 - Group of Kfir Brigade soldiers waved anti-disengagement placards during graduation march in Jerusalem. 

Palestinian leaders urge Gaza militants to kidnap more IDF troops
24 Oct 2009 - Hamas says release of two Syrian Druze prisoners from Israeli prison last week was part of Shalit film deal. 

U.S.: IDF defense drill helping craft Europe missile shield
24 Oct 2009 - U.S. and Israel launched joint drill as world powers try to persuade Iran to curb uranium enrichment. 

'Hamas holding intensive negotiations over Shalit'
24 Oct 2009 - Senior Hamas official quoted by Israel Radio as saying negotiators studying remaining issues. 

IDF planes strike Gaza in response to Qassam attack
24 Oct 2009 - No reports of casualties in bombings at arms depot and smuggling tunnels. 

Egypt airline: Hijacker tries to divert Cairo-bound plane to Jerusalem
24 Oct 2009 - Security officials say Sudanese man used knife from in-flight meal to threaten crew members. 

Clinton: Iran must quickly implement uranium deal
24 Oct 2009 - Iran negotiators voice support for deal under which Iran's uranium will be processed abroad. 

International rights group: Hamas must probe attacks on Israeli civilians
24 Oct 2009 - Israel considers pressing war crimes charges against Hamas in international court. 

Eyeing Iran, Israel tests missile defenses with U.S.
24 Oct 2009 - The two-week biennial drill will include a simulation of an Iranian missile attack on Israel. 


[] Israel's Fraudulent Casus Belli
October 24, 2009 - Are UN Sanctions in order here? Israel uses the "peace process" as a casus belli to continue the war on Palestine, and nobody notices??? In the run up to the Goldstone draft Resolution and immediately afterward, Israel took the following position; "Israel has threatened to pull out of Middle East peace talks if Britain and other...

[] Cyber Resistance
October 24, 2009 - If technology has transformed warfare into a spectacle of shock and awe, its contribution to the cause of dissent has been no less remarkable. It has enabled solidarities across borders and facilitated networks and forums dedicated to impartial communication of ground realities beyond the sanitized projection of mainstream news. True, technological advances have not brought an...

[] Self-defence stories from Gaza
October 24, 2009 - According to Amnesty International, some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the 22-day Israeli offensive between 27 December 2008 and 17 January 2009, which agrees broadly with Palestinian figures. More than 900 of these were civilians, including 300 children and 115 women. Two-year old Amal Abed Rabbo, one of the 300 children casualties, died in an Israeli...

[] "Racist" BNP leader's public humiliation masks an ugly truth
October 24, 2009 - ...Griffin's highly publicized vilification and "flogging" masks an ugly truth - that supporters of the racist regime in Israel are allowed to flourish within our three main political parties, and the appalling blitzkrieg on Gaza still has not persuaded the leaders to shut down their respective Friends of Israel groups. It is nine months since the "...

[] Ni'lin demonstrates against the Apartheid Wall
October 24, 2009 - More than 200 demonstrators attended the weekly demonstration against the Apartheid Wall in Ni'lin today. This week the demonstration was calling for Palestinian unity and the protestors demanded a stop to all factional rivalry and unite against the occupation. 'The Palestinian people are one, the Palestinian people all live under occupation and we can only over...

[] Video: Women Under Occupation
October 24, 2009 - The Israeli occupation affects the daily lives of Palestinians, especially for women. The deterioration of the economic, social and health conditions in Palestine is directly linked with violence inside the home. The militarization of space and restrictions imposed upon women is causing a growing crisis in violence against women. Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, university Professor and author...

[] Israel wants Berlin to finance two new warships
October 24, 2009 - Israel is hoping to order two modern German-made warships without paying for them, daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Friday. Sources within the German government told the paper that Israel wants the Berlin to finance the MEKO corvettes, a sum that would reportedly reach hundreds of millions of euros. The paper reported that the government has...

[] PFLP: How can Abbas call elections and continue unity talks?
October 24, 2009 - ...At-Taher refuted claims by Hamas that the decree was illegal, calling it "constitutional," but worrying it was being used to solve a problem it could not. "The fact is that there is an authority in Gaza and another authority in Ramallah, there's a deep division in the Palestinian arena and there can't be elections without the...

[] Obama Administration Takes from American Farmers, Gives to IsraelPolicy change slips under the radar
October 24, 2009 - At a time of financial crisis in the United States in which thousands of Americans have lost their jobs and homes, an Israeli news service reports that President Obama has just signed a presidential memo eliminating a tariff on Israel that protected American dairy farmers and that raised money for the American economy. In addition, according...

[] Anti-Goldstone Campaign Creates Fake NGOs, Human Rights Website
October 24, 2009 - Just after the Goldstone Report was released the Israeli foreign ministry began an online ad campaign offering the "facts" about Operation Cast Lead. Clearly, someone feels this campaign was too straightforward and perhaps ineffective. Now a new online ad campaign has been created by a hazy group of right-wing pro-Israel sources. The ad, discovered by reader...

[] Dozens of protesters treated for gas inhalation in Bil'in anti-wall march
October 24, 2009 -- Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday when Israeli troops attacked the weekly peaceful protest against the apartheid wall in the village of Bil'in, west of Ramallah. As is the case every Friday, multinational supporters joined the Palestinian villagers after midday prayers and headed towards the...

[] VIDEO: Voices form Gaza welcome the Gaza Freedom March
October 24, 2009 - Palestinians voice their gratitude and support for the Gaza Freedom March.

Palestine Telegraph

Israel army attacks peace activists injuring 6
West Bank, October 24, 2009,(Pal Telegraph) - More than 200 demonstrators attended the weekly demonstration against the Apartheid Wall in Ni'lin today.

President Abbas calls for general elections
Egypt, October 24, 2009,(Pal Telegraph) - Acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmud Abbas announces presidential and legislative elections will be held on Jan. 24 in both the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

European aid convoy "Miles of Smiles" stalled in Mediterranean awaiting Egyptian permission to dock
Egypt, October 24, 2009,(Pal Telegraph) - The 58 vessel "Miles of Smiles" convoy is stuck outside Egypt's Port Said, unable to move forward.

Israel urges Ban to stop Goldstone report
Palestine, October 24, 2009,(Pal Telegraph)  - The Israeli foreign minister has urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon against sending the Goldstone report on Israel's war crimes in the Gaza Strip to the Security Council or the General Assembly.

Rafah Tunnels Provide Lifeline for Gaza
Gaza, October 21, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - Dusty sacks filled with cans of Coca Cola were being loaded onto trucks by young boys, headed for supermarkets in Gaza City. Thousands of motorcycles were lined up on display in a nearby stadium, ranging...

The National

New lobby group on Israel offers an alternative to hawks
24 Oct 2009 - A left-leaning lobbying group that seeks to overhaul US policy towards Israel kicks off its inaugural conference.

Palestinian elections may pose risk to unity
24 Oct 2009 - Analysis Mahmoud Abbas's decision to call for presidential and parliamentary polls to open in January is a clear attempt to pressure Hamas to sign a reconciliation deal.

Two passenger trains collide in Egypt
24 Oct 2009 - A passenger train collides with the back of a second one ahead of it on the tracks just outside of Cairo.

Iran deal criticised inside Tehran
24 Oct 2009 - Top Iranian figures criticise a UN-brokered deal to produce nuclear fuel for Tehran from its own partly enriched uranium.

Abbas insists on January election
24 Oct 2009 - The Palestinian president hopes that reconciliation with his Hamas rivals could still be achieved before a January election.

Trapped by war and politics
24 Oct 2009 - Kirkuk, which is referred to as Kurdistan's Jerusalem, sits on about 0.7 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves. But an explosive combination of corruption and the threat of sectarian violence has deterred much needed foreign investment.

Iran delays decision on nuclear proposal
23 Oct 2009 - A draft plan would require Tehran to send 70 per cent of its enrichment to Russia.

Israeli soldiers to be disciplined for pro-settler demonstration
23 Oct 2009 - Several Israeli soldiers from an elite unit will be disciplined for staging a pro-settler demonstration during a military swearing-in ceremony at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall.


UN nuclear team arrives in Iran
24 Oct 2009 - Inspectors to visit Qom plant as pressure mounts on Iran to accept UN-drafted deal.

Deadly train crash in Egypt
24 Oct 2009 - At least 15 people killed when two trains collide southwest of Cairo.

Abbas sets Palestinian poll date
23 Oct 2009 - Fatah leader's call for elections across Palestinian territories angers Hamas.

Alternative Information Center

Live Feed: United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation, and Racism: Economic Perspectives and Advocacy Strategies Seminar 
24 Oct 2009 - LIVE FEED : United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation, and Racism: Economic Perspectives and Advocacy Strategies Seminar Presented by the Alternative Information Center (AIC) and Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI). Watch the live...

High Court Accepts Petition on Segregated West Bank Road 
23 Oct 2009 - On 22 October, Israel’s High Court of Justice accepted a petition submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), against a military order prohibiting Palestinians’ movement on a central thoroughfare. The petition was submitted...

Palestine News Network

Four years of demonstrating against the Wall in southern Bethlehem
24 Oct 2009 - Bethlehem / PNN – During the demonstration marking four years of popular resistance in southern Bethlehem, the march zigzagged through the village of Al Ma’sara. The territory of the southern Bethlehem villages is being steadily confiscated for the Wall and the expansion of the Efrat Settlement and the roads that go along with an increasing settler population. Six villages are being cut off...

Carmel Agrexco campaigners on trial in London: letter from activists seeking support
23 Oct 2009 - We are two women who are on trial on the 26th October for taking part in a protest which intended to blockade Carmel Agrexco in the run up to Valentines Day 2009. This was part of a week of action called to protest their activities during this busy time for their produce, and ours was as an all women affinity group.We have...

Bil’in demonstration: in our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians
23 Oct 2009 - Bil’in / Iyad Burnat - Some 200 people gathered for Friday’s demonstration in Bil’in Village, among them Israelis who have refused to join the occupying army. In conjunction with a week of actions against Israeli occupation taking place in the UK, a group of British activists made statements of solidarity with a group of anti-war protestors awaiting trial for taking action against the...

President Abbas issues decree for presidential and legislative elections on 24 January
23 Oct 2009 - Ramallah / PNN - Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree Friday night calling on the Palestinian people of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to participate in general elections. For both the Presidency and the Legislative Council, Abbas called for free and fair elections on Sunday, 24 January, 2009.The Hamas government has said it will not accept elections during a period...

Settlers pray at Ghaoui family home, warnings of Sheikh Jarrah becoming Israeli neighborhood
23 Oct 2009 - Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh for PNN – Dozens of Israeli settlers chanted outside the Ghaoui home, holding their Friday evening prayers. The settlers began singing and dancing in front of the home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah while under the gaurd of Israeli soldiers and police.Sheikh Jarrah is under threat as are many East Jerusalem neighborhoods as it is...

Hamas government’s deputy chair: we want free and fair elections away from Quartet conditions
23 Oct 2009 - Gaza / PNN - Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the First Deputy Chairman of the elected Legislative Council, said today that free and fair elections are in order, not the conditional democracy of the Quartet. Bahar is among those elected to the PLC in 2006, an election that although free and fair, was not accepted by the United States or the Israelis. Sanctions were imposed...

Protesters burn coffin at Wall: demonstration in honor of Awarta man killed on Thursday
23 Oct 2009 - Na’lin / Salah Khawaja – In western Ramallah’s Na’lin Village the popular resistance held its weekly demonstration today in protest of the Wall and settlements, and the land confiscation and violence that accompanies them. Four demonstrators were injured, including a Norwegian photographer and another person who sustained a face injury.Hundreds of people participated in Friday prayers on the land near the Wall. During...

Jerusalem Post

US geologist: Limestone bedrock persuaded King David to choose Jerusalem as his capital
24 Oct 2009 - Karst limestone tunnel that fed Gihon spring enabled David's soldiers to infiltrate city, Michael Bramnik says.

PM: Goldstone not a factor in Gaza probe
24 Oct 2009 - Netanyahu says refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state is an "incitement to genocide" by Hamas.

Arab states meet to reinvigorate Israel boycott
24 Oct 2009 - Arab League Assistant Secretary General for Palestine Affairs Mohammed Subaih: Boycott is necessary "to confront Israel's aggression and crimes."

Obama calls Sarkozy, Medvedev to confirm commitment on Iran
24 Oct 2009 - US president thanks French, Russian counterparts for help on UN-backed plan to ship Teheran's uranium abroad; IAEA inspectors head to Qom plant.

Abbas: Palestinian elections on January 24
24 Oct 2009 - PA head calls on Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem to vote; Hamas condemns move.

Shalom: Iran may use deal to build bomb
24 Oct 2009 - Vice premier tells UN chief Israel believes Teheran will "never abandon dream" to obtain nuclear arms.

Police brace for renewed J'lem violence
24 Oct 2009 - Muslims issue calls "come and defend the mount," Jews to commemorate Rambam visit 843 years ago.

Labor minister, voters express increasing dissatisfaction with party
24 Oct 2009 - According to a recent poll, Labor under Barak would sink to seven mandates if Knesset elections were held now.

'Israel has always discriminated against its Arabs'
24 Oct 2009 - The "structural" bias "hurts the efforts for peace and harms Israel's image in the eyes of the world," Labor rebel MK Ofir Paz-Pines tells conference.

Inter Press Service

POLITICS: NIE Reveals Qom Facility Followed 2007 Bush Threats 
WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (IPS) - The Barack Obama administration claims that construction of a second Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Qom began before Tehran's decision to withdraw from a previous agreement to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in advance of such construction. But the November 2007 U.S. intelligence...

POLITICS-US: Pro-Israel Group's Money Trail Veers Hard Right 
WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (IPS) - StandWithUs - an "organization that ensures that Israel's side of the story is told" - has become increasingly aggressive in challenging the "pro-Israel" credentials of moderate Jewish-American groups, going so far as to suggest that receiving money from Arab donors and supporters of Human Rights...

Stop The Wall
24 Oct 2009 - More than 150 people attended the weekly demo against the Apartheid Wall. Protestors held signs with the names of the five Nil’in prisoners, and others called for the freedom of the 11,000 other Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Youth marched with their hands tied, imitating the means soldiers use when they arrest Palestinians. Soldiers constantly tried to capture protestors, and jeep mounted launchers showered the area with gas. Soldiers also targeted medical teams, firing tear gas directly at them. [

Ni’lin demands Palestinian unity
24 Oct 2009 - Six people were injured, including one young man who was shot in the jaw with a rubber coated steel bullet, when more than 200 demonstrators attended the weekly demonstration against the Apartheid Wall in Ni’lin yesterday. This week the demonstration was calling for Palestinian unity, and the protestors demanded a stop to all factional rivalry and unification against the occupation. ‘The Palestinian people are one, the Palestinian people all live under occupation and we can only overcome if we stand strong as one! [

PCHR Latest

PCHR Welcomes Hamas Decision to Investigate Allegations of War Crimes, Comply With Goldstone Report

PCHR Weekly Report

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International Solidarity Movement

Ni’lin demonstrates against the Apartheid Wall
10/24/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Ni'lin Youth Center, 23 October 2009 - More than 200 demonstrators attended the weekly demonstration against the Apartheid Wall in Ni'lin today. This week the demonstration was calling for Palestinian unity and the protestors demanded a stop to all factional rivalry and unite against the occupation. "˜The Palestinian people are one, the Palestinian people all live under occupation and we can only over come if we stand strong as one!'. This week there was a large number of international solidarity activists, who are currently in Palestine for olive harvest. There was a delegation from the Norwegian foundation BLETZ and around 20 to 30 other internationals from different countries, all carrying signs advocating for the Palestinian and calling to end the occupation. The demonstrators carried a coffin that had statements written on it calling for unity, such as: "˜Palestinian brothers, Unite!', "˜Stop the bloodshed amongst us'. 

California residents disrupt Olmert
10/25/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Indy Bay, 22 October 2009 - Twenty-two activists were arrested at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech to the World Affairs Council tonight between 6:30 and 7:30pm at the Westin St. Francis Hotel (Union Square). Inside the auditorium, activists began disrupting the event by placing Olmert under citizens arrest. Every couple of minutes, more activists disrupted his speech, barely allowing him to speak, by reading the names of the children killed in Gaza last winter, reading from the recently published Goldstone Report, and displaying banners that read "Lift the Siege on Gaza" and "War Crimes are Not Free Expression!" Activists were removed from the auditorium chanting "War Criminal!" and taken to the Tenderloin Police Station where they are being held for citation. Ten additional people participated in the action but were not arrested. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Lebanese to Israel: Hands off our hummus!
24 Oct 2009 - Lebanese chefs prepared a massive plate of hummus weighing over two tons Saturday that broke a world record organizers said was previously held by Israel - in a bid to claim proprietorship over the popular Middle Eastern dip. ...

Palestinian elections / Abbas on the offensive 
24 Oct 2009 - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stood before the Palestine Liberation Organization Central Committee to explain his decision Friday to declare January 24 as the date for parliamentary and presidential elections. He said this was no political trick, but few people present believed him. ... 

Netanyahu won't rule out Cast Lead inquiry; Barak strongly objects 
24 Oct 2009 - The cabinet debate has intensified over whether Israel will set up a commission of inquiry on the Goldstone report's allegations of war crimes committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead. ... 

Obama calls Medvedev, Sarkozy to consult on Iran
24 Oct 2009 - U.S. President Barack Obama called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday to consult on Iran's nuclear program, the White House said. ...

Hamas condemns 'unlawful' Abbas election call
24 Oct 2009 - The political leader of Hamas condemned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday for calling elections in January, regardless of whether a Palestinian reconciliation deal is reached beforehand. ...

The Guardian

Israel's National Library adds a final twist to Franz Kafka's Trial
24 Oct 2009 - German museum asked to hand back author's disputed manuscript to correct 'historical error' Israel's National Library is calling on a German museum to hand over the original manuscript of Franz Kafka's novel The Trial to correct...

Palestinians plan to boost housing by investing in City hedge funds
24 Oct 2009 - West Bank building projects will benefit if sovereign wealth fund expands its international investments Palestinian house builders on the West Bank could benefit from an influx of cash if plans by the $900m (552m) Palestine sovereign...

In praise of Amira Hass
23 Oct 2009 - Only Amira Hass could have received the International Women's Media Foundation lifetime achievement award by saying her life as a journalist had been a failure. By her standards maybe, but then she sets them high. If...

Israel and Palestine by Avi Shlaim | Book review
23 Oct 2009 - Avi Shlaim's essays address the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, says Ian Black Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations by Avi Shlaim 392pp, Verso, 16.99 It is hard to think of another issue on which feelings...

Pro-Israel with a twist: J Street lobby group works to loosen big beasts' grip on Congress
23 Oct 2009 - Boost for J Street as Obama adviser attends conference, but Israeli ambassador will be staying away Members of Congress signed up by the score when they were invited to this weekend's "pro-Israel" conference. But then the...

What BNP leader says and what the facts show
23 Oct 2009 - On fascism "I am not a Nazi and never have been." Griffin was convicted in 1998 of inciting racial hatred for articles that denied the Holocaust and praised the Waffen-SS. On immigration "The indigenous people of...

Iran: Nuclear fission
22 Oct 2009 - If Tehran tries to renegotiate the draft nuclear deal agreed in Vienna on Wednesday , it could all fall apart. But before we list the pitfalls that lie ahead, it is worth contrasting where we are today...

More on the J Street dinner | Michael Tomasky
22 Oct 2009 - I did a video recently about New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand pulling out of a big fundraising event for J Street, the Jewish lobbying outfit that's trying to be the liberal answer to...

Israel is in denial over Turkish rage | Simon Tisdall
22 Oct 2009 - Turkey was shocked by Goldstone's report on the Gaza conflict, but Israel is seeking other explanations for deteriorating ties The apparent inability of Israeli leaders to see their actions as others see them that is to...

The rewards of talking to Iran | Abbas Barzegar
22 Oct 2009 - The Iran nuclear talks may be progressing slowly, but they confirm that the best way to deal with Islamists is engagement Despite the diplomatic grandstanding over Iran's nuclear programme, the latest round of the P5+1 talks...

Ha'aretz National page

A week after murder, one family business reopens 
24 Oct 2009 - Yesterday, seven days after the brutal murder of the Oshrenko family in Rishon Letzion, only one of the family's four businesses was open. ... 

High cancer risk from TA-area pollution 
24 Oct 2009 - Industrial contamination of groundwater in the Dan region puts residents of Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Givatayim and other cities at an increased risk of cancer, a recent Water Authority survey shows. ... 

Man dies after falling down well in Netanya
24 Oct 2009 - A 35-year-old man died Saturday morning after falling into a 20-meter deep abandoned well in Netanya, with his female companion. ...

Jewish Agency officials to replace 53 goats stolen from kids' home
24 Oct 2009 - Jewish Agency officials and their colleagues from other federations will replace a herd of 53 goats that was stolen on Thursday from the Ben Yakir Youth Village, Near Hadera. ...

Dozens of leftists, settlers arrested in fresh West Bank unrest
24 Oct 2009 - The Israel Police arrested dozens of people, including settlers, left-wing activists and Palestinians, during three separate incidents across the West Bank over the weekend. ...

Relief Web

OPT: Week in review - Reconciliation agreement off the table, again
24 Oct 2009 - Source: MIFTAH

Q+A-Abbas calls Palestinian elections, unity efforts fail 
24 Oct 2009 - Source: Reuters - AlertNet

OPT: Ban Ki-moon discusses Gaza, humanitarian and other issues with senior Israeli officials
24 Oct 2009 - Source: UN Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Third Committee hears presentations from six UN Human Rights Experts, as debate on promotion, protection of human rights continues
23 Oct 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

OPT: Opening doors of opportunity - The Government of Germany and UNDP inaugurate a school for the blind in Beit Jala
23 Oct 2009 - Source: Government of Germany, UN Development Programme

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967 (A/64/328)
23 Oct 2009 - Source: UN General Assembly

YNet News

US, Russia reaffirm support for Iran deal
24 Oct 2009 - Obama thanks Medvedev, leaders want deal's implementation to begin as soon as possible 

US Congress says Goldstone Report biased 
24 Oct 2009 - House to vote on Republican-Democrat motion urging President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton to negate UN's report on Gaza war, rule it a mirror of body's one-sided position against Israel 

Settlers detained after clash with Palestinians
24 Oct 2009 - Mutual stone-throwing reported as settlers, Palestinians clash in West Bank 

PM's Office: Bibi didn't call for inquiry commission
24 Oct 2009 - Following Washington Post interview, Netanyahu's office issues clarification: Bibi did not back independent inquiry into Gaza war to look into Goldstone Report charges 

Iran MPs criticize UN-drafted nuclear fuel deal 
24 Oct 2009 - Leading lawmaker says deal should prompt cancellation of sanctions against Tehran 

'Mr. Gaza' contest held in Strip
24 Oct 2009 - In rare event since Hamas takeover, 20 bodybuilders compete for honorary title 

Palestinian Information Center

Resheq: Abbas’s electoral edict another stab in the back of the national cause
24 Oct 2009 - Ezzat Al-Resheq condemned Mahmoud Abbas’s edict to hold elections next January as a new stab in the back of the Palestinian cause and a step towards more division in the Palestinian arena.

Hamdan: Abbas's speech full of lies
24 Oct 2009 - Osama Hamdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon, has charged that the speech of Mahmoud Abbas, whose term in office as PA chief expired last January, was full of lies and deception.

Hamas: We did not make any conditions for the Palestinian reconciliation
24 Oct 2009 - Hamas stated that it did not lay down any conditions for the national reconciliation, but it wants to discuss the Egyptian paper that would be signed to ensure that the agreement would be enforceable.

Khudari hails Falk for his appeal for ending Israeli siege on Gaza
24 Oct 2009 - MP Jamal Al-Khudari welcomed the appeal made by Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian lands, on ending the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Abu Halabia: IOA plans establishment of nightclubs near the Aqsa
24 Oct 2009 - MP Dr. Ahmed Abu Halabia has warned that the IOA was planning to establish nightclubs near to the holy Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

Dozens of protesters treated for gas inhalation in Bil’in anti-wall march
24 Oct 2009 - Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday when Israeli troops attacked the weekly protest against the apartheid wall in Bil’in.

Ministry of prisoners holds IOA responsible for life of detainee
24 Oct 2009 - The Palestinian ministry of prisoners has held the IOA fully responsible for the life of Raja'a Al-Ghoul, the human rights activist, after deterioration of her health in IOA jail.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad reject any unilateral step beyond the national consensus
24 Oct 2009 - The Movements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have stressed their adherence to the Palestinian national reconciliation and their rejection of any unilateral steps taken beyond the national consensus.

Abu Shaar warns of storming the Aqsa
24 Oct 2009 - Dr. Taleb Abu Shaar, the minister of Awkaf and religious affairs in Gaza, has asked the Arab and Islamic countries to defend and protect the holy Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli court extends solitary confinement of Salama for the 13th year running
24 Oct 2009 - An Israeli court has extended the detention in isolation of Palestinian prisoner Hassan Salama for the 13th year running, media sources reported.

Los Angeles Times

Egypt's Brotherhood is knocking 
24 Oct 2009 - Despite crackdowns, the popular Islamic opposition group aims to have a say on President Hosni Mubarak's succession. He doesn't seem a radical or a troublemaker, but to the Egyptian government, Abdel Fattah Rizk, a surgeon with a graying mustache and hands pink from scrubbing, is a man to be watched. 

Trains collide in Egypt, killing 14 
24 Oct 2009 - A police official says two passenger trains have collided on the outskirts of Cairo, killing at least 14 people. 

Israel military to punish soldiers for pro-settler protest 
24 Oct 2009 - The group of Israeli soldiers who staged a pro-settler demonstration at their swearing-in ceremony this week might face dismissal from the army, a military statement says. Embarrassed by what it called "a disgraceful disciplinary aberration," the Israeli military announced Friday that it would punish soldiers who staged a pro-settler demonstration during their swearing-in ceremony at Jerusalem's Western Wall. 

Iran delays response to nuclear enrichment proposal 
24 Oct 2009 - The United States signs off on the negotiated plan to send Iran's uranium abroad to be turned into fuel for medical research, but Tehran misses the deadline to agree to the deal. Iran said Friday that it would respond next week to a proposal to ship the bulk of its enriched uranium abroad to be turned into fuel for a medical research reactor. The delay plunged into doubt a deal aimed at easing the standoff over Iran's nuclear program. 

Egypt camel trade runs into the sand 
23 Oct 2009 - Squeezed by higher costs and cash-poor butchers, middlemen at an Egyptian market wonder if they'll ever get over this hump. The sun is high and it's a slow day for selling and there's not much for a camel trader to do except scatter hay and greens and listen to the big beasts munch. Sounds like shoes walking through gravel. 


Live Feed: United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation, and Racism: Economic Perspectives and Advocacy Strategies Seminar 
Alternative Information Center - 24 Oct 2009 - LIVE FEED : United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation, and Racism: Economic Perspectives and Advocacy Strategies Seminar Presented by the Alternative Information Center (AIC) and Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI). Watch the live feed here: . The seminar is taking place on 24-25...

High Court Accepts Petition on Segregated West Bank Road 
Alternative Information Center - 23 Oct 2009 - On 22 October, Israel’s High Court of Justice accepted a petition submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), against a military order prohibiting Palestinians’ movement on a central thoroughfare. The petition was submitted on behalf of the residents of 22 villages in the...

Is equality a ‘nightmare’ for liberal Zionists?
Mondoweiss - 24 Oct 2009 - Ali Abunimah responds to Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Jeremy Ben-Ami : Here, Jeremy Ben-Ami describes a one-state solution as a "nightmare": JG: But they’re by no means Zionists. Helena Cobban, who is going to be speaking on this blogger panel, is close to a one-stater, as far...

Israel—casting out its own children
Mondoweiss - 24 Oct 2009 - South Tel Aviv, home to foreign workers and African refugees, is in turmoil again after Interior Minister Eli Yishai recently indicated that children of illegal residents will be deported by the end of the school year. They won’t be going alone—their parents will be deported, too—but...

Moyers plays devil’s advocate with Goldstone
Mondoweiss - 24 Oct 2009 - As an admirer of Bill Moyers, I was disheartened by the debacle of his playing cowardly "Devil’s Advocate," interviewing Judge Richard Goldstone and pushing the Israeli government’s lies. Goldstone personified integrity compared to Moyers. Moyers treated Hamas as the aggressor and Israel as the victim acting...

Lesson for Democrats: substitute ‘Israel’ for ‘insurance industry’
Mondoweiss - 24 Oct 2009 - From an email sent out by Barack Obama’s group today, Organizing for America, on the health-care debate : Reports just leaked from a closed-door meeting where insurance industry lobbyists frantically warned Republican members of Congress that it was not in their interest to "ever vote for this...

Hey Jews, let’s stop using our exceptionalist narrative for political cover!
Mondoweiss - 24 Oct 2009 - (Thanks to a sharp commenter at Marty Peretz’s blog ) I read this post at the Economist, by an anonymous Jewish writer , destroying Robert Bernstein’s op-ed in the Times attacking Human Rights Watch. Sounds like Tony Karon to me. Is it you, Tony? The second red flag...


Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism 
M. Shahid Alam, P U L S E 10/22/2009
      Why is an economist writing a book on the geopolitics of Zionism? This is easily explained. I could have written a book about the economics of Zionism, the Israeli economy, or the economy of the West Bank and Gaza, but how would any of that have helped me to understand the cold logic and the deep passions that have driven Zionism?
     Zionism is a historic movement that emerges from the guts of Europe’s turbulent history. It is propelled by the dialectical interactions between two intertwined streams of Western civilization, the Jewish and Christian. And, as it has unfolded, Zionism has brought both these Western streams into a dangerous collision with the Islamicate. It would not be easy squeezing this tragic history into an economic model or a set of econometric estimations.
     In my capacity as an ‘economist’ too, Zionism, at its core – as an exclusionary settler colonialism – was scarcely a strange beast. I began grappling with colonialism as a graduate student. In one of the three essays that I wrote for my PhD dissertation, I used the tools of economics to explain why the free trade that the British imposed on India in the nineteenth century had led to its pauperization. A decade later, after I had secured ‘citizenship’ in the department of economics at Northeastern University, I returned to this subject again. In several articles, leading to a book, Poverty from the Wealth of Nations, I examined the theory, history, and evidence on the connections between colonialism and backwardness in the global economy that emerged during the nineteenth century.
     Zionism has always piqued my interest because of the cleverness that it brought to the defense of its aims. I had my first encounter with a Zionist in 1974 when I was a student at University of Bloomington, Indiana. When my interlocutor discovered my opposition to Zionism, the conversation quickly took an eerie turn. In anger, assuming that I was an Arab, he placed the blame for the Holocaust on the Arabs. If the Arabs had not resisted the entry of Jews into Palestine, there would have been no Jews in Europe for the Nazis to exterminate; they would all be in Palestine. This was my first taste of the self-righteous rhetoric of Zionism. more.. e-mail

Israel is not a Jewish state 
Nasser Lahham, Ma’an News Agency 10/24/2009
      "Therefore, the key to peace is the explicit recognition by the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state," Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his country on 12 July.
     Since that day ministers and officials have repeated the line so many times it has garnered much support from within and from outside Israel. Even from before Netanyahu made his speech, however, Palestinians knew they would not accept the proposal.
     The request is so impossible, Palestinians and Arabs see it as an obstacle to reaching any deal solution while it stands on the table.
     • Israel is not an ethnically or even religiously state. More than 1.5 million Arab Palestinians hold Israeli citizenship, and Druze, Christian and Baha’i minorities also make up a considerable population in modern Israel.
     • Israel was established as a place where Jews could gather from across the globe and be safe from injustice and assault. Today, however, Jewish people living as far off as America, Germany, Syria, Iran, Morocco, France and Brazil are not lacking in security, and are safe from the injustices like those perpetrated by the state of Israel. Israel is not creating a safe place for Jews, so it should not be declared a Jewish state.
     • The identity of the State of Israel is colonial, not religious.... more.. e-mail

Electronic Intifada
Audio: Interviews with Olmert protesters in San Francisco
Electronic Intifada: 23 Oct 2009 - Last night, 22 activists were arrested at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech to the World Affairs Council at the Westin St. Francis Hotel at Union Square in downtown San Francisco. More than 250 individuals were protesting outside the hotel and Nora Barrows-Friedman, senior producer of Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio, was on the scene, interviewing those who had gathered to voice their outrage at Olmert's presence. 

Why I disrupted Olmert
Electronic Intifada: 23 Oct 2009 - If former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had merely been a diplomat or an academic offering a controversial viewpoint, then interrupting his 15 October speech at University of Chicago's Mandel Hall would certainly have been an attempt to stifle debate. But confronting a political leader suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity cannot be viewed the same way. Ali Abunimah comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

VIDEO: Citizens arrest, disruption of Olmert in San Francisco
Electronic Intifada: 23 Oct 2009 - Twenty-two activists were arrested at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's speech to the World Affairs Council on 22 October between 6:30 and 7:30pm at the Westin St. Francis Hotel at Union Square in San Francisco. Inside the auditorium, activists began disrupting the event by placing Olmert under citizens arrest. 

Israeli Jews take on settlers
Electronic Intifada: 23 Oct 2009 - AWARTA, occupied West Bank (IPS) - Away from the media spotlight that focuses on the widening chasm between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Israeli humanists is quietly working to break down barriers with their Palestinian neighbors. Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Israel's Rabbis for Human Rights, has been used as a human shield, arrested, and beaten up several times by Israeli security forces while defending Palestinians. 

In Gaza
dignified beyond losses
18 Oct 2009 - *Mahmoud Musleh: “I’ve had three main things destroyed by Israeli forces: a tile factory on Sikka street (northern Beit Hanoun), another tile factory on Salah el Din street (Beit Hanoun), and the water well on my land. My olive trees have been bulldozed many times by Israeli forces. I’m 70 years old and now I have nothing, like when I was 16.” *Mohammed Zaneen [eastern Beit Hanoun]: “I had 11 dunams of olive trees, bulldozed by the Israeli army. I used to earn well over US$11,000 from the olives. Now my oldest trees are just 4 years old and produce only a meagre amount. We also have bees. When there...

Palestine Chronicle
Robert Bernstein: Human Shield for Criticism of Israel
24 Oct 2009 - By Max Kantar Earlier this week the New York Times published an op-ed article, Rights Watchdog, ‘Lost in the Mideast’ written by Robert L. Bernstein, the founding chairman emeritus of Human Rights Watch. The editorial amounts to one regurgitation of Israeli propaganda after another in an effort to delegitimize mainstream criticism of Israeli policies in the international human rights community. The timing of Bernstein's article is instructive; its publication in the New York Times comes on the heels of the release of the Goldstone Report as the intellectual apologists for Israeli crimes in the U.S. go into ultra-hysteria mode to save the already eroding image of their favorite client state. Bernstein decries HRW for its supposed anti-Israel bias and unleashes a tirade of familiar accusations routinely invoked by ‘supporters of Israel’ to deflect criticism of the Jewish state. To make the case that HRW--and presumably the international human rights community in general—has ‘lost critical perspective’ on Israel-Palestine, Bernstein cites six major points: 1) There is no "moral equivalency" between the "democratic and non-democratic worlds" 2) HRW spends more time criticizing Israel than it spends criticizing individual neighboring states 3) Hamas and Hezbollah use civilians as human shields and do not fight fairly 4) The government of Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah and seeks to destroy the state of Israel and exterminate all Jews 5) Weapons are making their way into Gaza and Lebanon and might be used to strike Israel 6) Israel only commits wrongs in self-defense while Hamas and...

Deal or No Deal in Palestine
23 Oct 2009 - By James Gundun Washington D.C. The Middle East has a new game to play. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, plagued by internal and external pressure, issued a peace call for the ages during his opening address at Israel’s Presidential Conference, titled ‘Facing Tomorrow.’ Netanyahu voiced a sound suggestion to rekindle the peace process. ‘I ask of you," he appealed, channeling Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, "something I have not even asked of myself. We must discuss peace as soon as possible, and I am ready to do so. But these cannot be closed talks. We must say these things to the world, to our people and to the Palestinian people.’ Months of back-channel talks rushing into the open would breathe fresh air into a stale conflict. Back-room deals have their place and time, but conflict between Israel and Palestine is a unique situation that would benefit from increased public discourse. The obvious downside is an invitation to criticism, a risk multiplied by false positions. Motive becomes an immediate question with Netanyahu rushing so suddenly towards peace. Is he sincere or responding to international opposition created by the Goldstone report? His cause is instrumental in determining whether he’s ready to negotiate and compromise, if Palestinians will accept him, and if he can strike a deal. Netanyahu applied a softer touch in contrast to his confrontational, sometimes braggadocios language, affirming his commitment to negotiations along with support for Palestinians, who could stand to hear more grace from him. Going for the cheese, he...

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