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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
14 December, 2009


International Middle East Media Center

Ashkenazi: “Hamas Could Violate Calm in Gaza At Any Moment”
IMEMC 15 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 15, 2009 - 04:34, Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, stated that the clam along the border with the Gaza Strip is temporary and that the Hamas movement and other resistance groups could violate the truce at any given movement., His statement came during a ceremony at an Israeli military base near the border with Gaza.

Palestinian man prevented by Jewish municipality from building on his own land
IMEMC 15 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 15, 2009 - 03:23, Aadel Suad, a Palestinian resident of the town of Mitzpe Ramon in southern Israel, has been prevented for twelve years from building on his own land, and continues to live in a temporary shack with his family.

Obama Asks Lebanese Counterpart To Crack On Weapons Bound To Hezbollah
IMEMC 15 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 15, 2009 - 02:53, United States President, Barack Obama, told his Lebanese counterpart, Michel Suleiman, that Lebanon must act to crack down on weapons bound to the Lebanon-based, Hezbollah party, adding that it is in interest of all related countries to stop the smuggling of weapons.

Report: “Excavations Ongoing At The Al Aqsa Mosque Area”
IMEMC 15 Dec 2009 - Tuesday December 15, 2009 - 02:16, The Aqsa foundation for Waqf and Heritage revealed large scale Israeli excavations being executed in the area adjacent to the southern wall of Al-Aqsa mosque, the area is well known as the Umayyad Palaces area.

Soldiers Kidnap Two Children In Northern Gaza
IMEMC 15 Dec 2009 - Monday December 14, 2009 - 10:10, Israeli soldiers invaded the Industrial Area located near the Erez Crossing, west of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip and kidnapped two children. One of them was released after several hours while the second remained in custody.

Egypt Uncovers Tunnel Meant For Smuggling Vehicles Into Gaza
IMEMC 15 Dec 2009 - Monday December 14, 2009 - 04:59, Egyptian security sources reported Sunday that the Egyptian Border Police located a border tunnel meant for smuggling vehicles into the Gaza Strip.

Ma'an News

Protesters to rally outside jail holding Palestinian activist
12/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A demonstration will be held on Monday at noon outside the Jelemeh Prison in Haifa to protest the arrest of Palestinian grassroots activist Wael Al-Faqeeh Abu As-Sabe, according to the International Solidarity Movement. The demonstration will be held where Al-Faqeeh, 45, "renowned throughout the Nablus region for his tireless campaigning and non-violent action against the Israeli occupation," ISM said in statement, is being held. Al-Faqeeh was taken from his home by Israeli forces on 8 December, when 50 Israeli soldiers entered his house in the north of Nablus "aiming their weapons at Al-Faqeeh and his family," the statement added. Protestors said they will plant olive trees outside the prison, imitating Al-Faqeeh's numerous tree-planting actions in Palestinian villages close to settlements. 

Elderly refugee to join Gaza march
12/14/2009 - Bethelehm - Ma'an - Palestinian refugee Yusif Barakat will return to Palestine with 1,000 international delegates of the Gaza Freedom March set for 31 December, the event's organizers said on Monday. Yusif Barakat, 74, was born in Haifa, Palestine under the British Mandate. Barakat's family was compelled to leave their home when Jewish immigrants were settled in Palestine after World War II. In August 1947, as a 12-year-old shepherd boy, he landed at Ellis Island in the US with his family, not speaking a word of English. Four years later, his father died, leaving Barakat to take care of his mother and three sisters. "He has been taking care of the needy ever since," the statement said. Now a retired psychotherapist, Barakat has devoted himself to working with the juvenile justice system, helping the youth develop trust and relationships through his treatment and rehabilitation program. 

Two Gaza crossings open as four remain closed
12/14/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing in the south of Gaza and the Karni crossing in the north, while keeping the Nahal Oz fuel pipeline crossing closed on Monday, a Palestinian border crossing official said. The official, Raed Fattouh, said 84 trucks ofhumanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, in addition to limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel for its struggling power plant. Israel will also allow 130 trucks of wheat and animal feed through the Karni crossing, Fattouh said, adding that the Nahal Oz crossing would remain closed. Gaza is to experience up to 32 hours without electricity per week this winter, as a result of the continued prohibition of sufficient industrial fuel into the area, forcing the power plant to operate below full capacity. 

Qalqiliya village in ’dire economic’ straights
12/14/2009 - Qalqiliya - Ma'an - The northern West Bank village of Azzun Atma, eastern Qalqiliya is reported to have the highest rate of unemployment in the West Bank, according to a report by the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW) in the Qalqiliya district. Azzun Atma has a population of 10,000 with an unemployment rate that exceeds 70%. The branch of the GUPW has hundreds of work applications submitted by unemployed laborers, while more than 180 unemployed workers from the village have opted into the Food for Work program, funded by the UNDP and CHF, in turn under the supervision of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. However, the program was discontinued two years ago in Qalqiliya for unknown reasons. Head of GUPW in Qalqiliya Jamil Inayah said that 180 families used to get the basic food supplies from the FFW program in return for hiring one member of the family, yet after. . . 

Israeli forces storm Nablus village, search home
12/14/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - Israeli forces stormed a house in Beita in southern Nablus in the West Bank early on Monday morning and overturned the property, causing damage, eyewitnesses told Ma'an. Seven Israeli vehicles raided the village at 1:30am and stormed the house of Jihad Hilal, 36, eyewitnesses said, adding that Israeli forces had police dogs with them. Witnesses added that Israeli forces damaged the property under the pretext of performing a search, following which Hilal was ordered to present himself at the Huwwara military outpost and has not been seen since. An Israeli military spokeswoman was unable to comment on the incident. [end] 

Israeli police interrogate Fatah’s Jerusalem chief
12/14/2009 - Jerusalem - Ma'an - Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency on Monday initiated an investigation into Fatah official Hatem Abdul Qader's violation of an order banning him from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Abdul Qader and Arab Chamber of Commerce member Mustafa Abu Zahra said Friday they entered the Muslim holy site despite an order by Israel to stay away for six months. Monday's interrogation came a day after Israeli police raided the former Palestinian Authority official's home. Abdul Qader was not home at the time, and his family was handed a summons ordering him to appear before the intelligence center. Israel banned several officials from the site for six months following violent clashes last month between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police. Dozens of young demonstrators were similarly ordered to stay away from the mosque compound. 

Chief Rabbi on mosque arson: This is how the Holocaust began
12/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday visited the West Bank village of Yasuf, following an arson attack against the local mosque, allegedly started by settlers, according to Israeli media on Monday. Escorted into Yasuf by the Israeli military and Palestinian police, Metzger said "I came here to expression my revulsion at this wretched act of burning a place holy to the Muslim people,""This is how the Holocaust began, the tragedy of the Jewish people of Europe," the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. On Friday, following the attack, the Israeli settlement of Teqoa's Chief Rabbi Menachem Froman condemned his fellow settlers for the allegedly causing the arson. "This is just insanity, blasphemy, an insult to Judaism before Islam," Rabbi Froman told Ma'an over the phone. "What [these] settlers did does not represent the settlers, nor Jews," he added. 

Reports: UK issues arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni
12/15/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - A British court has issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni over her involvement in Israel's assault on Gaza last winter, the Qatari network Al-Jazeera reported on Monday. There were conflicting reports over her whereabouts, including claims she was in London when the supposed warrant was issued, although Livni was reportedly in the Israeli city of Herzliya marking the third day of Hanukkah the night before. The London-based newspaper The Jewish Chronicle first reported that Livni, fearing arrest, cancelled a visit to the UK over the weekend. She was scheduled to speak at the Jewish National Fund's 2010 conference in London and meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the report said. Approached by Ma'an, JNF chairman Samuel Hayek said in a statement Livni was "unable to attend" the conference, and that she sent a pre-recorded message in her stead. 

Palestinian reconciliation efforts at an impasse, Fatah says
12/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Hopes to restart Palestinian reconciliation efforts through signing Egypt's proposal shrank again, as member of Fatah's Central Committee Nabil Sha'ath on Monday alleged that Hamas had refused to sign the reconciliation document. "I contacted the Egyptian officials and reached the conclusion that efforts reached an impasse in light of Hamas' refusal to sign the Egyptian plan. Hamas' top priority is the prisoner swap negotiations, and they will not take any other step before the deal is finalized," Sha'ath toldMa'an during a telephone interview from Cairo. The Fatah official said that the Palestinian leadership is unaware of any details pertaining to the swap deal, but that Egyptian authorities told him the coming few days would be decisive. According to Palestinian political analyst Hani Al-Masri, the reconciliation efforts failed and the issue has been delayed. 

JNF chairman responds to Livni arrest reports
12/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - Responding to reports that Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled an appearance at a London conference over fears she would be arrested upon entering Britain, Jewish National Fund - UK chairman Samuel Hayek issued the following statement: "We regret that Tzipi Livni, the leader of the Israeli Kadima party, was unable to attend JNF UK's annual conference Vision 2010. In her pre-recorded message to the conference, Mrs Livni endorsed JNF UK's activities and ongoing contribution to environmental and humanitarian projects in the southern part of Israel. I am not at liberty to confirm her precise reasons for not attending. In any event it is regrettable that the British Government is unable to conduct free dialogue with Israel's most senior statesmen and politicians". 

PLO mulls extending Abbas term
12/14/2009 - Ramallah - Ma'an - The PLO Central Council is scheduled to hold sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday in Ramallah to recommend unanimously the extension of President Mahmoud Abbas'term in office until elections are held, Fatah sources said Monday. The Fatah's Revolutionary Council recommended that the PLO's Central Council extend Abbas' mandate, and sources expect the PLO's body to extend the term of the Palestinian Legislative Council. "The PLO's Central Council is scheduled to discuss three topics; extending Abbas' office; determining the date for elections; and monitoring the government's performance," sources close to the Central Council said. Member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council Muhammad Taha said in interview with the Ma'an Radio Network that Abbas' decision not to seek a new term was a personal rather than political decision. 

Gazans turn to painkillers to avoid reality
12/14/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - In the besieged Gaza Strip, many have turned to analgesics to avoid a harsh reality in the aftermath of the Israeli military offensive last winter, coupled with factional violence and joblessness. The use of Tramadol, a painkiller with narcotic effects and known commercially as Tramal, has prevailed even among teenagers. Suad, 17, takes the painkillers secretly and without her family's consent. She says she has been a Tramal-addict for over a year. Suad's first dose was given to her by a peer during a school break. "I feel I can't do without Tramal, and I try to save any money I get so I can buy the pills. I fear the pills will suffocate me, and I bear a grudge against myself especially when I try to avoid my mother's questions about my health and the obvious exhaustion and redness in my eyes," Suad said. Muna is a Gazan woman who took her first Tramal dose unwillingly when her husband dissolved the medicine in her tea. 

Mother of three stabbed to death in Israel
12/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - A mother of three from the Palestinian village of Nahaf was found stabbed to death in Karmiel, northern Israel on Monday, according to Israeli media reports. The woman, in her early 30s, was found with multiple stab wounds across her body, and was pronounced dead at the scene by a Magen David Adom emergency crew, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. In the last two weeks, northern Israel has seen an increase in murders caused by stabbing, such as that of taxi driver Yefim Weinstein, 54, from Nazareth. [end] 

Egypt jails Israeli journalist for hash possession
12/14/2009 - Al-Arish - Ma'an - An Egyptian criminal court in the southern Sinai recently sentenced an Israeli journalist to three years in prison for possession of narcotics, Ma'an has learned. The journalist, Sharon Dubekan, 31, was said to have been found in possession of hashish by Egyptian border police as she traveled through Taba for a vacation last September. Ma'an's correspondent reported that Dubekan was interrogated following the border guard's discovery. The same criminal court has ordered jail terms for a number of Israelis in possession of narcotics as they entered Egypt via the southern Taba border into the Sinai peninsula. The Sinai remains a popular tourist destination for many Israelis more than three decades after it was returned to Egypt following the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978. 

Jordanian youths turned back at Allenby crossing
12/14/2009 - Jericho - Ma'an - A Jordanian delegation heading to a session of the Palestinian Youth Parliament was turned back at an Israeli-controlled border crossing into the West Bank when they refused to have their passports stamped on Monday, members of the group said. An Israeli entry stamp can prevent a person from traveling to any of the Arab and Muslim countries that do not recognize Israel. A member of the delegation told Ma'an that they waited at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the West Bank until 6pm hoping the Israeli border guards would allow them to pass without entry stamps. Ultimately they were told to return to Jordan. The group was invited to participate in the Palestinian Youth Parliament session which begins on Tuesday. President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to inaugurate the meeting. 

US transfers $75 million to PA
12/14/2009 - Bethlehem - Ma'an - The US announced the transfer of 75 million dollars in budget support to the Palestinian Authority on Monday. Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, US Consul General Daniel Rubinstein, USAID West Bank/Gaza Mission Director Howard Sumka and Director General for External Relations at the PA Ministry of Finance Mazen Jadallah made the announcement during a ceremony at the Council of Ministers in Ramallah. Rubenstein said the donation was part of US support for Fayyad's plan to build the institutions of a state within two years. "The president and prime minister have our strong support in fulfilling the goals and priorities of this program, which we see as integral to US efforts to help achieve a two-state solution and comprehensive peace in the region," he said, according to a statement. 

PA police: Expired milk seized in Hebron
12/14/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority police reported Monday seizing expired goods intended for sale in Hebron. In a statement, the police information office said quantities of powdered milk were found in a truck south of the city. The statement added that police detained the driver, who was transferred to general prosecution to begin legal procedures. [end] 

Abbas to inaugurate Palestinian youth parliament
12/14/2009 - Nablus - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to inaugurate the Palestinian Youth Parliament in Ramallah on Tuesday, said Isam Dib'I, executive manager of the Al-Mustaqbal (The Future) Association, which supervises the project. Several Palestinian faction leaders and Fatah Central Committee members will attend the inauguration ceremony, in addition to delegations from Jordan, Morocco, and consul generals of Arab countries as well as 13 foreign consuls, representative of the EU, and the official spokesperson of the British government, Dib'I told Ma'an in a telephone interview. The parliament comprises 132 members, similar to the Palestinian Legislative Council. Amongst its members are 32 women from the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip aged between 18-35. The parliament circle runs for two years, and members have been democratically elected in the West Bank and Jerusalem, while 48 were appointed from the Gaza Strip. 

Hamas marks anniversary at a crossroads
12/14/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an - Palestinian political analysts were split on the meaning of Hamas 22nd anniversary on Tuesday. At 22, the group that began as an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood remains as controversial as it is relevant. Hamas' leaders argue that their survival is an accomplishment in itself. Over years of Israeli attacks culminating in last winter's war, and persecution by the Palestinian Authority the movement has managed remain a force in domestic and force in domestic and regional politics. Critics contend however that Hamas' multiple identities - as a grassroots movement, a party engaged in the politics of the Palestinian Authority, an armed militia, and now the government of a quasi-state in Gaza - leave the movement confused and ineffective. Political analyst Ibrahim Ibrash in Gaza said that Hamas relatively new role as the authority in Gaza had distracted. . . 

Police detain 60 Palestinians in Hebron
12/14/2009 - Hebron - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority police arrested 60 wanted Palestinians in the Hebron district on Monday. In a statement from the police information office, police said they completed a campaign against "outlaws" in the area and Hebron city. Police added that they arrested 60 persons wanted for criminal cases, warrants, and complaints. The statement added that they were transferred to the general prosecution after investigations. Police also seized fireworks in one of the cars in the city. Traffic police seized 11 illegal cars, they said. [end] 

Haniyeh hails Hamas ’victory’ on anniversary
12/14/2009 - Gaza - Ma'an/Agencies - Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City's central square on Monday to mark the 22nd anniversary of the of the movement's founding. Hamas leader and de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh hailed the gathering a sign of victory over what he said were Israel's attempts to eliminate the group, including last winter's three-week war. "Those who planned the war and executed it did not expect these crowds to come today waving their flags. . . Hamas did not collapse after the war; the enemy leaders collapsed," he said. He also said Hamas would never give in to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, which includes a ban on construction materials need to rebuild from the war, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis also died. "After four years of blockade, we say the fortresses will never collapse and the castles. . . 

Ha'aretz Defense page

Chief rabbi: Palestinian mosque burning harkens to Kristallnacht
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Metzger visits Yasuf to express his 'revulsion' over attack, pelted by rocks on way out of village. 

Ukrainian shipwreck may have been result of fuel smuggling
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Police suspect the ship was smuggling diesel fuel; five surviving sailors released from Haifa hospital. 

Egypt destroys tunnel used for smuggling cars into Gaza
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Entrance to tunnel found 300 meters from Gaza, days after Egypt announced construction of iron border wall. 

Far-right yeshiva head: My duty is to tell troops to refuse orders
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Har Bracha is one of two yeshivas funded by Defense Min. which encourage refusal of settlement evacuation orders. 

Taiwan probing reports of illicit nuclear sale to Iran
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Taipei last week said it had no knowledge of 100 European-made transducers shipped to Tehran. 

Israeli town on Gaza border blooms amid fragile truce
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Newcomers say high central-Israel costs are causing unlikely real estate boom near the embattled Strip. 

Shin Bet gets new deputy, as race to succeed Diskin heats up
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - New appointment marks three candidates lined up to succeed Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin. 

Barak orders IDF to cut ties with far-right yeshiva
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of Har Bracha yeshiva, urged troops to refuse orders to evacuate settlements. 

WATCH: Dramatic footage of IDF rescue of sailors lost at sea
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Five Ukrainian crewmen were pulled from sea after their cargo ship sank off the coast of Lebanon. 

Hezbollah: We're not responsible for rocket fire into Israel
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - But group's deputy leader denies militant group has ceased to take part in fight against Israel. 

IDF officer convicted of striking Palestinian in 2008 West Bank arrest
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - 1st Lt. (res.) Adam Malul of the Kfir brigade convicted of assault, conduct unbecoming an officer. 

IDF cutting anti-terror activity to support settlement freeze
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Authorities are concerned that Palestinian terrorists could use the opportunity to launch attack. 

Palestinian wounds Israeli woman in West Bank stabbing
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - 20-year-old moderately hurt; settler leader: Government's weakness causing terrorists to strike. 

Qassam hits Israel, despite Hamas moratorium on Gaza rocket fire
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - A second rocket fired by militants explodes in PA territory; no casualties or damage caused. 

Officials fear Palestinian reprisals in wake of mosque attack
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Israeli woman, 22, moderately wounded in stabbing in West Bank; police searching for suspect. 


[] 1.2 million Iraqis have fled to Syria, official says
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Nearly 1.2 million Iraqis have fled their country for safety in neighboring Syria, a high-ranking Syrian government official said. The Iraqis fled following the 2003-U.S. invasion and the ensuing upsurge in violence and absence of law and order. Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad said Iraqi refugees, though a strain on his country's economy, had the...

[] Israel to pump millions more into West Bank settlements
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Israel approved Sunday listing some Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank as zones that entitle the communities to millions of dollars of extra state funding. The cabinet decision was seen as a gesture toward settlers furious about a 10-month moratorium on new building permits in settlements after months of US pressure...

[] Suffocating Suffixes...
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Was reading the latest from the West Bank where Jewish settlers attacked a mosque in the village of Yasuf, torching the mosque's library and spraying death threats with " get ready to pay the price, we will burn you all." Now the article, and that is not the only one nor the first time, calls these culprits...

[] Sign A Petition To Ask For the Implementation Of the Goldstone Report
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - One year since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, raining bombs on 1.5 million Palestinians, killing over 1400 and wounding over 5,000, the Israeli government has tightened its blockade on Gaza, creating a dire humanitarian disaster. Appallingly, the British government abstained on the votes at the UN on the Goldstone Report, which called for an end to...

[] Israel has made settlers of all its citizens
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Would any of the settlers who opposed the Civil Administration inspectors this week be living in the territories had the governments of Israel not established and encouraged them? Would the Gush Katif evacuees have moved to mobile homes in Ariel in the expectation of spacious permanent housing had the government clearly declared that this was forbidden...

[] This is what the Only Democracy in the Middle East Looks Like
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - This Friday, International Human Rights Day was marked for the first time in Israel. In Tel-Aviv, some 5000 people marched in a general human-rights march. It was a quiet event that was covered very favorably and widely by the press. What wasn't being covered by the press? The second March to Sheikh Jarrah, which ended up...

[] Gaza power cuts up to 32 hours per week
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Electricity is to be distributed in Gaza on just four days a week, for eight hours a day, a spokesman for the local power company said on Sunday. "Gaza is suffering a 25% shortage of electricity. It is expected that the shortage will increase to 35% because of winter and low temperatures which lead to an...

[] Wall on Gaza Violates International Law
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - The collusion between Egypt and the U.S. to build a wall separating Egypt from Gaza not only threatens Gazans' health and quality of life, already severely deteriorated by the de facto Israeli blockade, it is a serious violation of international law. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, Egypt is installing an underground metal wall 70-100 feet...

[] Building on extremism While there is an ideological shift in Israeli society towards the right, it is not the only reason why Jewish settlements are quickly being inhabited.
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - One month ago, Shamon Kara, who lives in the Hatikva Quarter in south Tel Aviv, sold his apartment quickly and left. His relatives told neighbours that he has relocated to the settlement of Beit Ebel, one of the Jewish settlements in northeast Ramallah in the middle of the West Bank. Kara, who had previously held moderate...

[] Unity and steadfastness: Over 70,000 rally in Gaza for PFLP 42nd anniversary (see photos)
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Over 70,000 cadres, members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the people of the Gaza Strip, converged on Palestine Stadium for the 42nd anniversary rally of the PFLP on December 12, 2009, spilling into the surrounding streets and carrying Palestinian flags, PFLP banners and posters of the Front's martyrs and...

[] Full text: 'A moment of truth' A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God's divine providence for all...

[] Israeli forces arrest Palestinian mother of 5 prisoners
Uruknet December 13, 2009 - Israeli forces arrested a mother of five prisoners in the West Bank city of Nablus early Sunday, a Palestinian prisoners' rights center said. The soldiers broke into the house of Rab'a Belal and detained the 65-year-old woman after searching her house in the northern West Bank town, Ahrar center said in a statement. Five of Belal's...

Palestine Telegraph

Hamas Commemorates its 22 Anniversary
Gaza, December 14, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Huge crowds gather in Gaza today to commemorate Hamas's 22nd anniversary in a massive show of public support. Gaza is decked out in green, with Hamas flags fluttering from roofs, cars and everywhere in Gaza Strip. Gazans were admonished to attend a mass rally after Muslim midday prayers by Hamas' radio and TV...

Targeting Civilians in Gaza - by Stephen Lendman
US, December 13, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an "independent legal body dedicated to the protection of human rights, the promotion of the rule of law, and the upholding of democratic principles in the Occupied Territories."

Israeli vandals attack West Bank mosque
West Bank, December 11, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli extremists have attacked a mosque in the occupied West Bank, vandalizing the property and desecrating the holy book of Islam, the Qur'an. Suspected hardline Israeli settlers stormed the holy site in the northern West Bank village of Yasuf at night, set fire to the mosque's library and sprayed hate messages on...

The National

Netanyahu moves to appease settlers
The National 14 Dec 2009 - Outposts to be added to national programme that entitles residents to more state funding.

Hamas celebrates 22nd anniversary
The National 14 Dec 2009 - As tens of thousands poured into Gaza City’s streets to mark the 22nd anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the contrast with the West Bank could not have been more stark.

Dark waters
The National 14 Dec 2009 - World Sign of a self-determined Egypt, tool of foreign profiteers, emblem of a populist movement, and reminder of its failure – 150 years after work began on the Suez Canal, Maria Golia tallies the project’s many faces.


Iran to try detained US citizens
AlJazeera 14 Dec 2009 - Hikers to face trial after entering the country "with suspicious aims", Tehran says.

Hamas vows to continue resistance
AlJazeera 14 Dec 2009 - Haniya tells anniversary rally in Gaza City that peace talks have "failed".

Iran warns opposition over 'insult'
AlJazeera 13 Dec 2009 - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows action over "disrespect" to late supreme leader.

Israel approves aid for settlements
AlJazeera 13 Dec 2009 - Israeli cabinet to support its settlers with a multi-million dollar aid package.

Alternative Information Center

A Palestinian Christian Call to End the Occupation 
Alternative Information Center 14 Dec 2009 - A group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations have issued an animated and prayerful call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, issued at a 11 December...

23 Palestinian Youth Learn Empowerment and Creative Resistance through Art
Alternative Information Center 14 Dec 2009 - This past Saturday, 12 December, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) conducted the graduation ceremony for its second series of art empowerment training workshops, conducted weekly throughout the second half of 2009 in the West Bank city...

Palestine News Network

Palestinians fake cancer to flee blockaded Gaza
PNN 14 Dec 2009 - GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A healthy man in blockaded Gaza faked cancer, hoping the deadly disease would be his ticket out of the territory that has become an open-air prison for its 1.4 million residents. His ploy failed, but several thousand others succeeded in fleeing this shabby sliver of land this year using bribes and fake medical reports, a sign of...

Stone thrower-turned-violinist gives Palestinians music, and hope
PNN 14 Dec 2009 - NABLUS, West Bank — If no one had handed Ramzi Aburedwan a violin when he was a stone-throwing teenager in a refugee camp, he might've ended up languishing in an Israeli prison cell. He might've become little more than an obscure fatality lost amid the thousands of young Palestinians killed in the seemingly intractable conflict. However, music teachers from Ramallah to Boston...

Palestinians argue on first contest to choose Miss Palestine 
PNN 14 Dec 2009 - The declaration of a commercial Palestinian company on Saturday to organize the first-ever contest to choose Miss Palestine aroused a large argument among the conservative Palestinians who considered the contest a contradiction with Islamic traditions. A private Ramallah-based commercial company called Trip Fashion announced on Saturday that it intends to organize soon the first-ever contest to choose Miss Palestine under the title...

Egypt starts building steel wall on Gaza Strip border
PNN 14 Dec 2009 - Egypt has begun constructing a huge metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip as it attempts to cut smuggling tunnels, the BBC has learned. When it is finished the wall will be 10-11km (6-7 miles) long and will extend 18 metres below the surface. The Egyptians are being helped by American army engineers, who the BBC understands have designed the...

Jerusalem Post

PLO to vote on extending Abbas's term
Jeruslalem Post 15 Dec 2009 - Survey: Majority of Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza support PA president's decision not to run again.

'Guardian' confirms Livni warrant
Jeruslalem Post 15 Dec 2009 - Kadima leader says she declined UK lecture request due to inability to set up meeting with British PM.

Obama: UN resolution 1701 must be enforced in Lebanon
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - US leader tells Lebanese president he's worried about "extensive arms that are smuggled into Lebanon that potentially serve as a threat to Israel."

P5+1 meeting on Iran postponed
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - China requests delay due to scheduling difficulties, but meeting may take place by videoconference.

Fifth PA battalion to be deployed
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - Forces trained by US in Jordan will help crack down on Hamas infrastructure in the territories.

Claim settlers used acid against police in Hebron unsubstantiated
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - No one has been formally charged and no evidence has been presented to substantiate the allegations.

Iran sanctions are in Obama's hands
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - The proposed gas sanctions bill could peacefully end the standoff, but locked away, it will be useless.

Elbit tests UAV that can reach Iran
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - New high-endurance Hermes 900 can carry out surveillance missions thousands of km from Israel.

'Barak's decision is a blood libel'
Jeruslalem Post 14 Dec 2009 - Rabbi of shunned Har Bracha hesder yeshiva says defense officials continuously drag army into politics.


EGYPT: River pollution hits Nile fishermen
IRIN CAIRO Sunday, December 13, 2009 (IRIN) - “It’s becoming so hard these days. I only managed to get a few fish yesterday,” said Galal Saed, 35, casting his net into the Nile near the village of Hawamdia, 25km south of Cairo.

ISRAEL: HIV-positive migrants lack access to care - NGO 
IRIN TEL AVIV Monday, December 07, 2009 (IRIN) - A prominent local NGO working on HIV-related issues says HIV-positive asylum-seekers and migrants face difficulties in accessing free AIDS services in Israel, including treatment.

In Brief: First swine flu cases confirmed in Gaza
IRIN TEL AVIV Monday, December 07, 2009 (IRIN) - Nearly seven months after the first H1N1 influenza cases were registered in Israel and the West Bank, five cases of the disease were confirmed in the Gaza Strip on 6 December, according to the Palestinian health authority.

Inter Press Service

US: One Step Closer to Unilateral Sanctions Against Iran 
IPS WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (IPS) - Congress has given new momentum to a bill imposing unilateral sanctions on Iran - a move seen by many as an ineffective form of sanctions and potentially antagonistic against valuable U.S. allies on the U.N. Security Council. This comes ahead of the end of the...

LEBANON: Hizbullah Fortifies Frontier Against Israel 
IPS NABATIYEH, Dec 14 (IPS) - In the mountains towering above this southern city, Hizbullah (Party of God) is building a new line of defence on lands where a fierce war was once fought between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Israel.

PCHR Weekly Report

(03- 09 Dec. 2009)
PCHR During the reporting period, one Palestinian civilian was wounded when Israeli forces used force to disperse a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders to protest the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.  

International Solidarity Movement

Help get Abdallah Abu Rahmah out of jail
12/14/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Jewish Voice for Peace, 11 December - Today the people of Bil'in are protesting in solidarity with Abdallah Abu Rahmah. Here's how you can stand in solidarity with them: Please contact President Obama and ask for Abdallah Abu Rahmah's release. On Thursday at 2 AM, the Israeli military surrounded the Ramallah home of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and the Coordinator of Bil'in's Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, and arrested him. Abu Rahmah is among the leaders of the West Bank village of Bil'in's nearly five-year nonviolent struggle of protests, lawsuits and boycotts (1) aiming to save the village's land from Israel's wall and expanding settlements. Abdallah Abu Rahmah joins Mohammed Othman (2) from the village of Jayyous, Adeeb Abu Rahmah (3) from Bil'in and many other Palestinians who are currently jailed by Israel for working for justice. 

No freeze on Palestinian suffering
12/14/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Seth Freedman, The Guardian - Within minutes of our arrival in Tuwani, in the south Hebron hills of the West Bank, an army Jeep rolled into the village and shattered the mid-morning tranquillity. "We're turning this place into a closed military zone," announced the stern-faced commander to anyone within earshot. Brandishing his rifle in one hand and a military document in the other, he proceeded to explain that "I decide who can be here and who can't, and anyone who isn't a resident has to leave immediately". That meant us - me, my friend and our three guides from the Villages Group - as well as the other activists who maintain a permanent presence in Tuwani assisting the locals in their struggle to survive. The timing of the closure was no accident: earlier in the morning NGO workers and locals had taken part in a solidarity. . . 

A Palestinian Christian call to end the occupation
12/14/2009 - International Solidarity Movement - Kairos Palestine, 11 December - A group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations have issued an animated and prayerful call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, issued at a 11 December meeting in Bethlehem, comes at a time when many Palestinians believe they have reached a dead end. It raises questions to the international community, political leaders in the region, and the churches worldwide about their contribution to the Palestinian people's pursuit of freedom. Even in the midst of "our catastrophe" the call is described as a word of faith, hope and love. Referred to as "The Kairos Palestine Document" the call echoes a similar summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height of repression under the apartheid regime. 

Ha'aretz Diplomacy page

Obama presses Lebanon to crack down on arms smuggling to Hezbollah 
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - United States President Barack Obama pressed Lebanon on Monday to crack down on arms smuggling into the country, saying the weapons posed a potential threat to Israel. ...

Peres: Hamas split delaying Shalit deal 
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - President Shimon Peres told Israel Defense Forces soldiers Monday that the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit did not depend solely on Israel, but was being hampered by disagreements between Hamas' wing in the Gaza Strip and its overseas wing. ... 

Akiva Eldar / U.S. tax dollars fund rabbi who excused killing gentile babies
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - The White House condemns the torching of a mosque, yet respectable Americans contribute to a yeshiva whose rabbi said it's okay to kill gentile babies. It is no surprise that the American administration tacitly, if unenthusiastically, accepted the excuse that the map of national priority zones the cabinet approved on Sunday does not violate the decision to freeze construction in the settlements. ... 

Spanish soccer fans chant anti-Semitic slogans at Israeli goalkeeper
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - The Spanish soccer federation is set to haul Osasuna before a disciplinary panel this week, after the referee at the team's game against Real Mallorca over the weekend reported that home fans subjected Mallorca's Israeli goalkeeper, Dudu Aouate, to anti-Semitic abuse. ... 

Israel confirms U.K. arrest warrant against Livni
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Senior officials in Israel confirmed reports on Monday that a British court issued an arrest warrant against opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni for her role in orchestrating Israel's military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip nearly a year ago. ...

The Guardian

Palestinian tunnel tycoons feeding demand for banned goods
The Guardian 14 Dec 2009 - Boom in illicit trade in motorbikes, dismantled in Egypt and smuggled into Gaza, brings deadly consequences Mahmoud is proud of the motorbike he bought two months ago for $700, now parked in the sand at the...

Israeli minister Moshe Ya'alon turned down UK visit over arrest fears
The Guardian 14 Dec 2009 - Vice-prime minister pulled out of fundraising event after being warned he could be held on suspicion of war crimes Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, turned down an invitation to appear...

British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni
The Guardian 14 Dec 2009 - Warrant issued over war crimes accusations was withdrawn when it emerged former minister had cancelled plan to visit A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in...

No freeze on Palestinian suffering | Seth Freedman
The Guardian 14 Dec 2009 - International excitement about the West Bank settlement freeze means little to those facing the sharp end of Israeli military rule Within minutes of our arrival in Tuwani , in the south Hebron hills of the West Bank,...

Letter: Stop the sale of 'West Bank' produce
The Guardian 13 Dec 2009 - Under new labelling rules, customers will be able to distinguish between Israeli settlement products and Palestinian goods from the occupied West Bank ( Report , 11 December). It should also be made clear that those settlements are illegal...

Row over academic's Channel 4 documentary appearance
The Guardian 12 Dec 2009 - British businessman sends threatening emails to Israeli university lecturer who contributed to programme accused of antisemitism A battle involving money and politics, academic freedom and threatening emails has hit an Israeli university after one of its...

Ha'aretz National page

Israel to fund dental care for kids at expense of other treatments
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - The cabinet Monday approved a plan to finance dental care for children by deducting NIS 65 million from the budget for subsidized health insurance. In the vote, conducted by phone, 19 ministers supported the plan. Four were opposed and three did not respond. ... 

Labor rebels punished for voting against government 
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Labor MKs who have recently voted against the government will not be allowed to use their party's quota for speeches and bills, the coalition decided Monday. ... 

Rightist MK angers bereaved parents by urging opposition to Shalit deal
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Some bereaved parents expressed anger at a letter they recently received from MK Uri Ariel (National Union) that asked them to oppose the release of terrorists in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. ...

Comment / Are Likud leaders traitors, or is the right out of touch?
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - As expected, Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of treason by right-wing ideologues, in particular from those among the settlers. This has happened to every prime minister from the right since 1977. It's not always clear whether the accusers only mean treason against right-wing ideology or against the country, but they usually have a hard time distinguishing between the two. ...

Jewish town won't let Arab build home on his own land 
Ha'aretz 14 Dec 2009 - Aadel Suad first came to the planning and construction committee of the Misgav Local Council in 1997. Suad, an educator, was seeking a construction permit to build a home on a plot of land he owns in the community of Mitzpeh Kamon. The reply he got, from a senior official on the committee, was a memorable one. ... 

Relief Web

Severe water shortages for West Bank Palestinians
Relief Web 14 Dec 2009 - Source: Oxfam

OPT: UNRWA launches emergency appeal for 2010 at the League of Arab States in Cairo
Relief Web 14 Dec 2009 - Source: UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

OPT: Al Mezan issues a report on the environmental pollution and sanitation problems in Khan Younis
Relief Web 14 Dec 2009 - Source: Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Palestine: Tailors with a passion for fashion - DFID support helps two brothers breathe new life into their family business
Relief Web 14 Dec 2009 - Source: Department for International Development

Signature du document cadre de partenariat France-Territoires palestiniens (15 décembre 2009)
Relief Web 14 Dec 2009 - Source: Government of France

OPT: Report of an Expert Meeting which Assessed Procedural Criticisms made of the UN Fact- Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (The Goldstone Report)
Relief Web 14 Dec 2009 - Source: Chatham House

YNet News

Obama urges Lebanon to clamp down on arms smuggling 
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - US president tells visiting Lebanese counterpart weapons smuggled into country may threaten Israel. Suleiman complains about 'Israeli threats,' urges Obama to press Israel to withdraw its forces from areas such as Shebaa Farms 

'Settlers uproot trees, police take no notice'
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - Palestinian farmer from Ramallah area claims his crops have been vandalized some 100 times, directs blame at settlers from nearby outpost who escape unpunished. Civil Administration says inquiry underway 

Report: Judge thought Livni was in UK
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - Guardian reports British court issued arrest warrant against Opposition chair because judge was not informed her trip was canceled; officials warn UK will not be part of peace process if Israeli MKs cannot set foot there 

Clinton: New sanctions on Iran needed
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - Secretary of state makes pessimistic remarks as Obama's deadline for Iranians to prove peaceful nuclear intentions nears; says US efforts 'produced very little' 

France returns stolen Louvre relics to Egypt
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - French President Sarkozy hands Hosni Mubarak stolen painted wall fragments from Luxor tomb, dating back 3000 years, ending row which prompted Cairo to break off relations with museum 

IDF chief warns calm in south Israel temporary
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - Year after Operation Cast Lead was launched, Ashkenazi light Hanukkah candles with soldiers near Gaza, says, 'Situation can change at any moment.' Peres addresses exclusion of Har Bracha yeshiva, says, 'Army should be managed undeniably without political intervention' 

Rabbi Melamed laments 'blood libel' against him
YNet News 14 Dec 2009 - Head of Har Bracha yeshiva responds to Barak's decision to cancel his school's accord with IDF over his support for soldier insubordination. 'Senior defense officials are the ones truly endangering army,' he says 

Daily Star

Detained American hikers to be tried in Iran
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Three US citizens detained in Iran and charged with espionage will stand trial, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday, in a case that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called "totally unfounded." The three were held after they strayed into Iran from northern Iraq at the end of July, further complicating relations between Tehran and Washington.

Settlers in occupied West Bank brace for showdown over construction curb
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 From this Jewish settlement in the West Bank, demands are mounting for Israeli soldiers to cross a sacred line and defy orders to enforce a slowdown of Israeli construction on lands claimed by the Palestinians. Eager to preserve the army's role as the country's great unifier, Israeli authorities have jailed defiant soldiers.

World power meeting on Iran canceled on China's request, officials say
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 An upcoming meeting by five world powers on trying to curb Iran's nuclear program has been canceled on China's request, senior officials from three of the countries involved said Monday. One of the officials said China cited scheduling problems in asking for the cancellation, and the five now plan to talk by conference call.

Tehran makes arrests over torn Khomeini photo
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Iran's main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed more anti-government protests as the authorities announced several arrests on Monday over a reported insult to Islamic revolution founder Ayatollah Khomeini. Mousavi's defiant call came a day after Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a stern warning to opposition leaders and accused some of them of battling against the Islamic regime.

Hamas PM vows to 'liberate Palestine' at mass Gaza rally
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya on Monday told tens of thousands of Hamas supporters his group remains committed to the elimination of Israel, on the 22nd anniversary of its founding. "We will never give up on Palestine from the river to the sea," Haniya told the crowd, referring to the pre-1948 borders of the British Palestine Mandate between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

Jordan's king swears in 7th new cabinet
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Jordan's King Abdullah II swore in the seventh government of his reign on Monday, a 29-strong cabinet led by former palace aide Samir Rifai, with two women in his team. "This is neither liberal nor conservative government. This is a Jordanian government," Rifai told AFP in his first statement after taking the oath.

Al-Qaeda deputy blasts Obama as Zionist crusader
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Al-Qaeda's deputy leader s aid US President Barack Obama has deceived Arabs about his efforts to restart Mideast peace talks, and claimed in a message posted Monday that Obama has done nothing for the region so far. Ayman Al-Zawahri also vowed the terror network will not forget militants held in American prisons - including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Al-Qaeda's mastermind of the September 11 bombings.

Baghdad bomber called Syria before detonating
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Bolani told Parliament on Monday that a suicide bomber who attacked the Foreign Ministry in August made a phone call to Syria before detonating his payload, an MP said. "He told us that the security services found the SIM card of the bomber in the attack on the Foreign Ministry, and that the last number that appeared was a number in Syria," Shiite MP Abbas al-Bayati told AFP.

Sleiman urges Obama to halt Israel's violations in Lebanon
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 US President Barack Obama on Monday raised concerns about arms smuggled into Lebanon that could threaten Israel, as he welcomed Lebanese President Michel Sleiman to the Oval Office. Obama told reporters after the talks that Lebanon was a "critical country, in a critical region," and praised Sleiman for managing the swift-moving political., US President Barack Obama on Monday raised concerns about arms smuggled into Lebanon that could threaten Israel, as he welcomed Lebanese President Michel Sleiman to the Oval Office. Obama told reporters after the talks that Lebanon was a "critical country, in a critical region," and praised Sleiman for managing the swift-moving political.

Lebanon subsidized interest loans reach $2.55bn by June 2009
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Figures compiled by the Central Bank show that the cumulative amount of subsidized interest loans to productive sectors in Lebanon reached $2.55 billion at end-June 2009, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group. The industrial sector accounted for $1.52 billion, or 60 percent of the total, followed by tourism., Figures compiled by the Central Bank show that the cumulative amount of subsidized interest loans to productive sectors in Lebanon reached $2.55 billion at end-June 2009, as reported by Lebanon This Week, the economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group. The industrial sector accounted for $1.52 billion, or 60 percent of the total, followed by tourism.

UN, political leaders call for human rights advances in Lebanon
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams called on Monday for the Lebanese Government to sign up to an international treaty banning the use of land mines, as MPs, ambassadors and civil society representatives marked Human Rights Day in Beirut. A seminar at the Lebanese Parliament building, "Together toward a national plan for Human Rights," was held., UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams called on Monday for the Lebanese Government to sign up to an international treaty banning the use of land mines, as MPs, ambassadors and civil society representatives marked Human Rights Day in Beirut. A seminar at the Lebanese Parliament building, "Together toward a national plan for Human Rights," was held.

Federalism, Lebanon's ignored option
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 Taif is 20 this year, and many of the questions posed by the accord have yet to be answered in Lebanon. Political reform and further amendment of the Constitution have been at the heart of the political debate relating to the future of Lebanon since the end of the Civil War in 1990. Among several things, Taif mandates a process of "political deconfessionalization," and.

Lebanon yields no justice to its stateless thousands
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 When Lebanon celebrated its anniversary as an independent nation on November 22, a significant number of the country's inhabitants had good reason to feel left out. While governments the world over are increasing their efforts to tackle the issue of statelessness, the fact that tens of thousands of people living in Lebanon do not have a nationality is still largely ignored., When Lebanon celebrated its anniversary as an independent nation on November 22, a significant number of the country's inhabitants had good reason to feel left out. While governments the world over are increasing their efforts to tackle the issue of statelessness, the fact that tens of thousands of people living in Lebanon do not have a nationality is still largely ignored.

Is Israel a democracy? It's conditional
Daily Star 15 Dec 2009 On December 6, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI, website released a 73-page report on democracy and human rights in Israel, entitled on "Human Rights - On Condition, Democracy - On Condition." The chapters of the report develop the characteristic list of an authoritarian state: "Freedom of Expression - as long as you have nice things to say.

Palestinian Information Center

British judge issues arrest warrant against Livni for war crimes
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - News reports on Monday evening confirmed that a warrant was issued in London for the arrest of Tzipi Livni on charges of war crimes committed against Gaza people..

Zahhar: Hamas’s coming to power protected the Palestinian resistance
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar stated that his Movement’s coming to power protected the Palestinian resistance fighters from the previous Palestinian leadership.

Hebrew radio: Orders to demolish Palestinian homes in Jerusalem not implemented
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - The Hebrew radio on Sunday said that the interior ministry and Jerusalem municipality did not carry out demolition orders against 200 Palestinian homes in eastern Jerusalem.

Resheq: Hamas will launch a national rescue initiative
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - Izzat Al-Resheq said that the political leadership of Hamas highlighted during its meeting with the Iranian president its intention to launch a comprehensive national rescue initiative.

Hindi: There are real differences unsolved without genuine reconciliation
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - Mohamed Al-Hindi, an Islamic Jihad official, stated that there are real differences between the Palestinian rivals that cannot be solved by the elections without genuine Palestinian reconciliation.

Israeli security arrests Palestinian on suspicion of planning attack
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - Israeli security apparatuses have apprehended a Palestinian citizen in Askalan, south of Palestine occupied in 1948, on suspicion he was planning a "terrorist attack".

Abbas's militias round up 150 Hamas supporters, summon 1,000 others
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - Militias loyal to Mahmoud Abbas rounded up 150 Hamas supporters in the West Bank districts in an unprecedented campaign of arrests to foil any possible celebration of Hamas's inception anniversary.

Israeli gov't approves national priority map of WB settlements
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - The Israeli government on Sunday endorsed the national priority map that would be considered as of that date areas of national priority and would receive hefty financial backing.

Yesovitch: Israel committed war crimes in Gaza of unspeakable cruelty
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - British human rights activist Eva Yesovitch said that Israel committed war crimes of unspeakable cruelty during its war on the Gaza Strip.

Muzzaini: New German ideas on swap deal, Israel doesn't know Shalit's location
PIC 15 Dec 2009 - Dr. Osama Al-Muzzaini, one of Hamas's leaders in Gaza Strip, has revealed that the German mediators had presented new ideas on the prisoners' swap deal and proposed dividing the deal.

Los Angeles Times

L.A. Iranian Americans driven to protect young celebrators 
LA Times 14 Dec 2009 - A nonprofit is providing free taxi vouchers in memory of a young member of the close-knit community killed in a drunk driving accident. When 25-year-old Daniel Levian was killed in a 2008 drunk driving accident, news of the sudden loss jolted the city's tight-knit Iranian American community. Word spread at popular Westside eateries and synagogues, and through Persian-language radio. 

Burning of Ayatollah Khomeini's picture sparks uproar in Iran 
LA Times 14 Dec 2009 - Iran's current supreme leader blames the anti-government protest movement, and seminary students and some lawmakers condemn the burning. But opposition protesters say the incident was staged. Political turmoil built Sunday over the burning of an image of Iran's revolutionary founder, which was aired, in a controversial move, on state television. Accusations that the incident was carried out by anti-government demonstrators sparked protests as well as threats against reformist leaders. 

Secret Iranian nuclear paper assessed 
LA Times 14 Dec 2009 - The document appears to show that nuclear scientists are testing a key component for the detonation of a warhead. Western and U.N. nuclear officials are evaluating a secret Iranian technical document that appears to show that the country's nuclear scientists are testing a key component used in the detonation of a nuclear warhead, according to intelligence officials and weapons experts familiar with the document. 

Iran says it accepts West's fuel enrichment proposal 
LA Times 13 Dec 2009 - But Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki spoke of exchanging the material in phases rather than all at once, which could leave Iran in control of enough uranium to make a bomb. After weeks of conflicting responses, Iran abruptly said Saturday that it is ready to exchange uranium for nuclear fuel -- the key demand of a U.N.-sponsored initiative to defuse global fears over its nuclear program. 

New York Times

Relations With Turkey Kindle Hopes in Syria
New York Times 14 Dec 2009 - For Syrians, the new relationship suggests an embrace of a more open society and holds the promise of a revitalized regional economy. 

World Briefing | Middle East: Iran: Arrests on Charges of Destroying Leaders’ Photos
New York Times 14 Dec 2009 - The authorities have arrested several people accused of destroying photos of the Islamic republic’s founder as well as the current supreme leader at student demonstrations, the state media reported Monday. 

World Briefing | Middle East: West Bank: Israeli Rabbi Decries Burning of a Mosque
New York Times 14 Dec 2009 - Israel’s chief rabbi visited the Palestinian village of Yasuf to condemn the burning of a mosque there, saying the attack brought back memories of the Holocaust. 

West Bank Is Tense After Arson at Mosque
New York Times 14 Dec 2009 - The villagers assume the attack was meant as revenge for the Israeli government’s recently declared moratorium on new building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. 

Defiling of Pictures of Khomeini Divides Iran
New York Times 14 Dec 2009 - Iran’s hard-line leadership admonished protesters for damaging pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but the opposition said accusations were fabricated. 

Iran Avows Willingness to Swap Some Uranium
New York Times 13 Dec 2009 - Iran’s foreign minister said his country was willing to exchange most of its uranium for processed nuclear fuel, as the United Nations has proposed, but only according to a timetable Western powers appear to have already rejected. 


Testimony: Soldiers assault elderly farmer while working his land next to the Separation Barrier, December 2009
12/14/2009 - B'tselem - Ahmad Ghanem, 75: I live in Deir al-Ghusun, which is in Tulkarm District. I have six sons and am a farmer. I have an 86-dunam plot of land that is situated southwest of Deir al-Ghusun. When they built the separation fence, about 25 dunams of my plot were destroyed. I was left with 40 dunams of land on the eastern side of the fence, and about 50 dunams of olive groves on the western side. About eight o’clock this morning [2 December]. I left my house to go to my land on the eastern side of the fence. I took my donkey and an olive seedling. I wanted to plant the seedling on the land, on which I had already planted zatar seedlings and olive trees. After I planted the seedling, an army jeep passed by. It came from the direction of the agricultural gate of Deir al-Ghusun, which is about 250 meters south of my land. The jeep travelled from the western side of the fence, and was heading south. 

British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni
12/14/2009 - The Guardian - Warrant issued over war crimes accusations was withdrawn when it emerged former minister had cancelled plan to visit - A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza this year – only to withdraw it when it was discovered that she was not in the UK, it emerged today. Tzipi Livni, a member of the war cabinet during Operation Cast Lead, had been due to address a meeting in London on Sunday but cancelled her attendance in advance. The Guardian has established that Westminster magistrates' court issued the warrant at the request of lawyers acting for some of the Palestinian victims of the fighting but it was later dropped. The warrant marks the first time an Israeli minister or former minister has faced arrest in the UK and is evidence of a growing effort to pursue war crimes allegations under "universal jurisidiction". 

Israeli minister Moshe Ya’alon turned down UK visit over arrest fears
12/14/2009 - The Guardian - Vice-prime minister pulled out of fundraising event after being warned he could be held on suspicion of war crimes - Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, turned down an invitation to appear at a London fundraising event last month after he was warned he might face arrest on suspicion of war crimes. His decision, reported in October, came a week after lawyers for 16 Palestinians failed to persuade a British court to issue an arrest warrant for Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence and deputy prime minister, over Israel's war in Gaza this January. Barak, whose visit included addressing a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference in Brighton, was regarded as having diplomatic immunity. Ya'alon had been invited by the Jewish National Fund. He had cancelled at least one previous planned trip to the UK. 

Chief rabbi: Palestinian mosque burning harkens to Kristallnacht
12/14/2009 - Ha'aretz - Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger on Monday visited the West Bank village of Yasuf, where days earlier a mosque was torched allegedly at the hand of settlers angry over the 10-month construction freeze. " I came here to expression my revulsion at this wretched act of burning a place holy to the Muslim people," Metzger told the residents after he was escorted into the village under the protection of the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian police. "This is how the Holocaust began, the tragedy of the Jewish people of Europe. " On their way out of the village, the rabbi and his escorts were pelted by rocks from protesters. The troops fired two shots in the air and a tear gas grenade. On Sunday, a delegation of Israelis from the West Bank settlement bloc of Gush Etzion brought copies of the Koran to villagers to replace those destroyed in the attack. 

Attack on West Bank mosque draws condemnation from UN envoy
12/14/2009 - United Nations: International Law - 14 December 2009 – The senior United Nations envoy to the Middle East has condemned the burning and desecration of a mosque in the West Bank, describing the attack as part of a worrying wider pattern of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, issued a statement at the weekend in which he said he was appalled by last Friday morning’s attack on the mosque in the village of Yassuf. Media reports say the mosque was set ablaze and vandalized, with hate messages scrawled in Hebrew and holy books burned or singed. “Desecrating a place of worship is deplorable,” Mr. Serry said. “This attack is a part of a broader and ongoing phenomenon of settler violence against Palestinian civilians, property and land. “Far too little is done by the Israeli authorities to enforce the rule of law on violent extremists, leading to a climate of impunity. 

Obama urges Lebanon to clamp down on arms smuggling
12/14/2009 - Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama pressed Lebanon on Monday to crack down on arms smuggling into the country, saying the weapons posed a potential threat to neighboring Israel. WorldThe United States accused Iran last month of illicit arms deliveries to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah guerrilla group, which fought a war with Israel in 2006. The Israeli navy in October seized a ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of Iranian-supplied weapons to Hezbollah, a political movement and also the dominant military force in Lebanon, stronger even than the Lebanese army. Obama said after a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman there had been some progress in enforcing a U. N. Security Council resolution banning such shipments, but more needed to be done. " President Sleiman emphasized his concerns with respect to Israel. " 

Erakat: Israel Entrenching Settlements is Obstacle to Peace
12/14/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - RAMALLAH, December 14, 2009 (WAFA)- Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization Dr. Saeb Erakat said that Israel was further entrenching settlements as the number one obstacle to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Under the Israeli ‘national priority map’ approved by the Israeli Cabinet, Sunday, a number of illegal settlements throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, will receive additional financial assistance from the Israeli government. “The intent of Israel’s so called ‘national priority map’ is clear. This map serves as a blueprint for future settlement expansion. It reveals the extent to which Israel’s ‘settlement moratorium’ is a sham. Rather than make peace its number one priority, Israel continues to prioritize settlements and the relentless colonization of occupied Palestinian land, rendering the two-state solution politically and economically unviable,” Dr Erakat said. 

UNRWA Launches New Refugee Registration Information System
12/14/2009 - WAFA - Palestine News Agency - JERUSALEM, December 14, 2009 (WAFA)- UNRWA has launched, today, its new Refugee Registration Information System (RRIS). The digital centralized system has been developed as part of ongoing reform measures and will improve greatly enhance the quality and efficiency of refugee services delivered by the Agency. In a press release published, Monday, UNRWA said that it has digitally scanned and preserved 17. 56 million historical documents in its stewardship, offering a comprehensive archive of individual refugee and family experiences. These refugee records, many of which date back to pre-1948 Mandate Palestine, are a crucial historical resource and their preservation within the RRIS is a step in the protection of refugee rights. The system, the most complex IT system developed by UNRWA in its 60 years of operation, will track 4. 

Israel ranks as the 4th least peaceful country (surprise surprise)
12/1/2009 - Palestine Think Tank - The Global Peace Index Rankings have been released. Vision of Humanity has published them, and nothing there is surprising. The least peaceful nation is Iraq, followed by Afghanistan, Somalia and in the fourth position: Israel. Not surprising, as on many of the parametres used to measure peace. quite specifically respect for human rights, they fall short again and again. 144 countries were ranked in 2009. You can visit the chart, click on a country to see the detail of its peace indicators and drivers. -- Links: Israel: Global Peace Index 2009 and Global Peace Index, Rankings

White House Hanukkah Party Spawns Anger
12/11/2009 - CBS News - At the White House, as the Obama administration is learning all too well, a party is never a simple affair. (Just ask the Salahi-stricken Secret Service. )The latest kerfuffle, the New York Times reports, involves the Obama administration's first Hanukkah party, to be held Wednesday. One bone of contention has been the guest list: Administration officials told the Times they are inviting 550 people, just 50 less than President Bush invited to his White House Hanukkah parties. But the Israeli press reported that the Obama White House was only inviting 400 people (they may have expanded the guest list since those reports) – and Bush White House officials told reporters they had actually invited twice that number. It was, some suggested, a snub – and one that critics said should not come as a surprise. The rumors appear to have been touched off in part by an opinion piece by Tevi Troy, who was a liaison to Jewish groups in the Bush administration. 

Human Rights Organizations Condemn the Breaking into the Office of PNGO, Call on Gaza Government to Act on its Obligations, Protect Palestinian NGOs
12/13/2009 - Al Mezan Center for Human Rights - Attacks against Gaza based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have continued as the office of Palestinian Non-governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) in Gaza City was broken into and some of its belongings were stolen or sabotaged. The stolen belongings include a small amount of cash. In previous attacks, the offices of the Costal Municipalities Water Utility, the Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, the Independent Commission for Human Rights, and the An-Najd Development Forum were broken into. An office of an international NGO, the Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF), which is located in the same building that hosts PNGO in Gaza City, was also broken into yesterday. The undersigned organizations strongly condemn the continued attacks on civil society organizations and call on the authorities in the Gaza Strip to act in accord with their legal obligations, investigate these crimes,. . . . 

Award Winning Flashpoints Radio Show Under Threat by KPFA Management
12/13/2009 - Centre for Research on Globalization - Middle East - The Flashpoints radio program is being directly threatened with closure by station management. Budget cuts implemented by KPFA management; reduce staff time for Flashpoints by some 75 hours per week. Flashpoints, an award winning national radio program, originates at KPFA in Berkeley, California, and reaches some thirty cities in the US and serves an on-line audience worldwide. Nora Barrows-Friedman wrote on December 9, “KPFA has effectively destroyed Flashpoints this week, beginning with the layoff of our technical producer position. Just hours ago, they called me into a meeting and casually informed me that my hours will be reduced by 50%. I cannot afford to keep this job if I'm on 20 hours a week. ” Ms. Barrows-Friedman is a long time investigative reporter specializing in Israel-Palestine issues and is one of the few reporters in the country who covers this sensitive issue in a straightforward manner. 

Officials: World power meeting on Iran canceled
12/14/2009 - YNetNews - Setback in efforts to present unified front against Tehran's nuclear program as China asks to cancel meeting of five world powers, citing scheduling problems. In Vienna, Defense Minister Barak urges world to agree to tough new sanctions while suggesting that military strikes remain an optionAn upcoming meeting by five world powers on trying to curb Iran's nuclear program has been canceled on China's request, senior officials from three of the countries involved said in ViennaMonday. One of the officials said China cited scheduling problems in asking for the cancellation, and the five now plan to talk by conference call. The official said China seemed to have genuine problems in attending the meeting in Brussels or outside the Copenhagen climate summit and did not appear to be seeking to delay it. Still, the development was a setback in efforts to present a unified front on Iran in the face of continued Iranian defiance on its nuclear program. 


For Palestinians, Every Day Is Kristallnacht 
Paul Craig Roberts, Foreign Policy Journal 12/15/2009
      “Settlers attack West Bank mosque and burn holy Muslim books” was a London Times headline on December 11, 2009.
     These attacks, together with the demolition of Palestinian homes, the uprooting of Palestinians’ olive groves, the innumerable checkpoints that prevent Palestinians from accessing schools, work, and medical care, the Israeli Wall that denies Palestinians access to the land stolen from them, and the isolation and blockade of the Gaza Ghetto, are part of the Israeli government’s policy of genocide for the Palestinians.
     The Israel Lobby has such power over America that even former President Jimmy Carter, a good friend of Israel, is demonized for using the polite term–apartheid–for the genocide that has occurred over the decades during which American “Christian” preachers, together with bought-and-paid-for politicians, justified Israel’s policy of slow genocide for Palestine.
     Israelis who still have a moral conscience–a small part of the population–endeavor to use moral protests against the inhumanity of the Israeli government. Israelis Jeff Halper and Angela Godfrey-Goldstein lead the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (ICAHD), a non-violent, direct-action group established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories.
     Under international law an occupier by military force is forbidden to steal the occupied land. The US, however, has protected Israel’s violation of international law for decades by vetoing UN resolutions. Israel has been able to steal Palestine from the Palestinians, because the US government used its power to prevent Israel from being held accountable under international law. more.. e-mail

No freeze on Palestinian suffering 
Seth Freedman, The Guardian 12/14/2009
      International excitement about the West Bank settlement freeze means little to those facing the sharp end of Israeli military rule.
     Within minutes of our arrival in Tuwani, in the south Hebron hills of the West Bank, an army Jeep rolled into the village and shattered the mid-morning tranquillity. "We’re turning this place into a closed military zone," announced the stern-faced commander to anyone within earshot. Brandishing his rifle in one hand and a military document in the other, he proceeded to explain that "I decide who can be here and who can’t, and anyone who isn’t a resident has to leave immediately".
     That meant us – me, my friend and our three guides from the Villages Group – as well as the other activists who maintain a permanent presence in Tuwani assisting the locals in their struggle to survive. The timing of the closure was no accident: earlier in the morning NGO workers and locals had taken part in a solidarity march to highlight the hardships suffered by the village children who run the gauntlet of the neighbouring settlement every time they walk to and from their school.
     Anything the activists could do the soldiers could do better, it seemed. "The IDF [Israel Defence Forces] don’t like us coming to support the residents of Tuwani," said one volunteer, "so they make it their mission to make everyone’s lives uncomfortable as a result."
     The shutdown of the village and the surrounding farmland was only the latest in a long line of attempts by the Israeli authorities to break the will of the Palestinians living in the area. As we drove out of Tuwani, we were shown the stump of an electricity pylon sawn down by the army after attempts by villagers to connect themselves to the national grid. Elsewhere, dirt mounds and locked gates stopped locals driving to the nearby city of Ya’ta, thus preventing them taking their produce to sell at market, and severely impairing their economic prospects. more.. e-mail

By Order of Mr. God 
Manuel García Viñó, Palestine Think Tank 12/10/2009
      Translated by Manuel Talens. Edited by David Brookbank.
     My baker is a Palestinian. A while ago, every time I went to her bakery and there were no customers, we were never short of topics of conversation. That is how I learned many things about her country that the mass media never report, because quite often she used to communicate by phone with her family or with her neighbors from overseas when they came to Spain.
     When the news is compelling, newspapers report it, of course, although most of the time in a distorted way. At minimum, the distortion consists of treating the Palestinian tragedy as a conflict between more or less equal sides. And they refer to that tragedy, the tragedy of a whole people, the suffering of Palestinians, as the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.” I once published a piece on the topic at Rebelión.
     The media, for instance, have not informed their readers that the looting of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army is a daily matter. Every day, groups of soldiers patrol the streets of cities and towns and burst into homes, breaking TVs and other appliances, furniture, ripping up pictures, throwing clothes on the floor. Their excuse is that they “suspect” that terrorists are being hidden there. And very often they even find them, because, in theory, for Israelis all Palestinians are terrorists. There is no doubt that this behavior is part of a continuous maneuver to wear down all moral resistance, to physically and mentally exhaust the Palestinians so that those who don’t want to be stacked in jails or cemeteries flee and go to live crammed together with others in refugee camps.
     But later it was I who started to bring news and articles about the problem to my friend. She had a computer, but no connection to the Internet. So I printed all the articles published at Rebelión and gave them to her when I went by to get my bread. more.. e-mail

Report: Israeli academic institutions' role in the occupation
Electronic Intifada: 14 Dec 2009 - A new report by the Alternative Information Center aims to inform and empower the debate on an academic boycott by giving information not on the Israeli violence and violations of International law and human rights, but on the part in the Israeli occupation played by the very academic institutions in question, and how vulnerable are they to a possible boycott. 

Bilin activist: "Words are not enough" 
Electronic Intifada: 14 Dec 2009 - I started my life in jail at 17, during the first intifada, a popular uprising amongst ordinary Palestinians. It was not the first time I participated in nonviolent resistance. I have always believed that this is the way to end the occupation. But as the intifada clearly showed, the Israeli military does not understand let alone sympathize with such methods. Iyad Burnat's story as told to The Electronic Intifada contributor Jody McIntyre. 

Hope He Will Fall Asleep
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Dec 2009 - By Catherine Wilson - London As the sun touched the horizon, a rose glow filled the sky over the town of Beet Jala, near Bethlehem. In the home of Palestinian artist, Rana Bishara, the haunting voice of Palestinian vocalist, Sanaa Moussa, delivering the lullaby, Yllah Ynam (‘Hope he will fall asleep’) resonated through the room. Her sonorous voice swept in waves through the space, around a half-created sculpture of a kufiyeh on the kitchen floor, through the double windows and across the sky at dusk. It evoked the tender entreaty to a child, the cry of a lament and the power of human resilience. Rana Bishara was born in Tarshiha, Galilee, where her ancestors have lived and owned land for generations. Her life and art are profoundly influenced by stories of her parents’ resistance of Israel’s invasion in 1948 and her father’s subsequent exile to Lebanon and Syria for two years. Rana’s childhood was shaped by the natural beauty of Galilee, the artistic heritage of jewellery making in her family, inextricable from her sense of identity and belonging, and the violation of that identity through Israel’s attempts to cleanse the region of Palestinian history and culture and establish a Jewish majority. For Bishara, creativity is vital to resistance of the occupation and as important as the time and energy she devotes to supporting families rendered homeless by Israel’s demolition of houses in Jerusalem. She claims that art “challenges the most vicious weapon and inhuman acts. Art is a sensible language...

Boycott Apartheid Israel: Open Letter from US Trade Unionists
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Dec 2009 - By Labor for Palestine (Open Letter from U.S. Trade Unionists to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Boycott Apartheid Israel; December 2009) "Sanctions alone cannot eradicate apartheid; that task is ultimately left to the people of South Africa themselves. But economic pressure and political isolation of the South African government can hasten the day when justice and freedom reign in that troubled land." --Richard L. Trumka, June 23, 1987 "We call on other workers and unions to . . . do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free." -- Congress of South African Trade Unions, February 3, 2009 "We urge all international trade unions to heed the call of Palestinian civil society, including the trade union movement, by endorsing BDS. We further urge all trade unions and trade union federations to sever their links with the Histadrut, a Zionist organization that has always played a key role in perpetuating Israel's occupation, colonization and system of racial discrimination, and that has justified and applauded Israel's war crimes in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009." -- Palestinian Trade Union Movement Unanimously Confirms Support for BDS, November 25, 2009 Dear Brother Trumka: As labor and anti-apartheid activists, we strongly disagree with your October 27 speech denouncing the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The BDS campaign was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society -- including its entire labor movement. Inspired by the international boycott that helped topple apartheid South Africa, it...

Israel's Prussian Heritage; and Destiny?
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Dec 2009 - By Uri Avnery - Israel A short historical quiz: Which state: 1. Arose after a holocaust in which a third of its people were destroyed? 2. Drew from that holocaust the conclusion that only superior military forces could ensure its survival? 3. Accorded the army a central role in its life, making it “an army that had a state, rather than a state that had an army”? 4. Began by buying the land it took, and continued to expand by conquest and annexation? 5. Endeavoured by all possible means to attract new immigrants? 6. Conducted a systematic policy of settlement in the occupied territories? 7. Strove to push out the national minority by creeping ethnic cleansing? For anyone who has not yet found the answer: it’s the state of Prussia. But if some readers were tempted to believe that it all applies to the State of Israel – well, they are right, too. This description fits our state. The similarity between the two states is remarkable. True, the countries are geographically very different, and so are the historical periods, but the points of similarity can hardly be denied. The state that was respected and feared for 350 years as Prussia started with another name: Mark Brandenburg. (Mark: march, border area). This territory in the north-east of Germany was wrested from its Slavic inhabitants and was initially outside the boundaries of the German Reich. To this day, many of its place names (including Berlin neighboruhoods, like Pankow) are clearly Slavic. It...

Another Childhood Nakba Memory
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Dec 2009 - By Khalil Nakhleh – Ramallah I remember it was one Sunday afternoon, sometime around one or two o'clock, when my father barged running into the house shouting "we have to leave, we have to leave". His face was all red; his eyes shined with piercing outrage, uncertainty and incredulity. I remember it was Sunday because my mother was fixing our special Sunday lunch that included meat –the only day in the week where we had a little bit of meat. Sundays were the only days in the week where the butchers would butcher fresh goat meat. I remember my mother had prepared a big kettle of “tabeekh” (stew of beans, tomato sauce and a bit of meat) with rice on the side. My village was mostly Christian with some Druze. We were a farming community relying, primarily, on olives and oil, without much cash. “What do you mean we have to leave? Leave to where and how?” my mother screamed with agony. “I don’t know to where and how”, my father screamed back: “El-Yahood (the Jews) are already at the gate to our compound with armored cars and machine-guns posted on the gate posts, and are ordering us to leave.” My father was helpless and impotent and could do nothing to protect our family from being kicked out by force. He kept going down to the entrance of our family compound and back up, a distance of not more than three hundred meters, trying to get more information, but to...
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