Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

US soccer coach working to promote Palestinian women athletics

Wafa– Former US soccer player and current coach Sari Rose Tuesday said the media can play an important and essential role in promoting women sports.

She said during a meeting with Palestinian journalists in Ramallah that the media can encourage women sports by properly introducing it to the society at large.

She said newspapers and sports magazines can play a significant role in explaining the hidden reality of women sports through the focus on female players and clubs’ achievements. Read more

Finland to contribute 2 million euros to support PA

Wafa– Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad and Finland Representative, Pia Rantala-Engberg, Tuesday signed a contribution agreement of two million Euros to financially support the Palestinian Authority(PA).

He thanked Finland for its support of the international initiative for education partnering with other countries to help upgrade the Palestinian education system. Read more

Germany pledges to support Palestinian Authority with 42 million euros in 2012

Wafa - The German government Tuesday pledged to support the Palestinian Authority (PA) with approximately 42 million euros in 2012 following annual consultations, according to the Ministry of Planning.

It said Minister of Planning Ali Jarbawi held consultations on Tuesday with the deputy Minister for Economic Cooperation, Gudrun Kopp, and Andreas Michaelis, director-general for Near and Middle Eastern Affairs in the Foreign Office. Read more

Japan to support private sector reconstruction in Gaza‏

Wafa– Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, Tuesday held a Press conference to mark the Japanese contribution to the Palestinian Authority's Private Sector Reconstruction programme in Gaza.

Fayyad met with the European Union Representative, Christian Berger, and Representative of Japan, Naofumi Hashimoto, and discussed the international contribution with the 22 million Euros and its effects on the private sector in the Occupied Territory. Read more

PCHR condemns Israeli actions in Jerusalem

Wafa– The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned in a statement on Monday the settlement activity in East Jerusalem, deeming it a war crime according to the international human rights law.

PCHR condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet meeting in David’s Citadel to plan for future projects to judeaize the city completely.
Read more

Issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israel is top priority for Fatah

Wafa- Azzam al-Ahmed, member of Fatah Central Committee, said Monday that the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israel is among the top priorities of President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.

Al-Ahmed, during a visit to Fawaz Bakhtan, who was recently released after serving 25 years in Israeli prisons, added that any peace agreement must include the release of all Palestinian and Arab prisoners regardless of their political affiliations and residency, including those from Jerusalem and behind the Green Line. Read more

Israeli Foreign Minister made illegal business deals; draft indictment alleges

PNN- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has been accused of secretly running various companies and benefiting from them while holding public office as a minister and Knesset member, reported Haaretz on Tuesday.

A draft indictment obtained by Haaretz says Lieberman allegedly received millions of dollars from various business people, including some who had business interests in Israeli, said the report.

The draft also accuses Lieberman's daughter, his lawyer and an aide of allegedly helping him conduct the illicit business, said the report, possible charges for the four include fraud, breach of trust and money laundering.

Among the companies cited by the report, one is an import company set up by Lieberman in Cyprus in 1997 when he was not holding public office, said the report. After being elected to the Knesset in 1999 payments to the company continued, said the report. Read more

Israeli Legal Center for Freedom releases new animated film "Gaza Reels"

PNN- Following the opening of Rafah Crossing by Egypt last week, the Israeli legal Center for Freedom of movement - Gisha - released on Tuesday an animated film questioning common perceptions about Israel's disengagement from Gaza and the closure of the Strip since four years.

According to Gisham the film, which will be shared online through social media networks, challenges the commonly held belief that Israel no longer exercises control over Gaza and does not bear responsibility for what goes on there – an opinion voiced ever more strongly since the opening of Rafah. Read more

Israeli Association for Civil Rights slams Israel's record in East Jerusalem

IMEMC- A new report by the Israeli Association for Civil Rights claims that tensions are on the rise between Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and Israeli security forces.

The report accuses Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem of detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children as well as failing to uphold the security of Palestinian residents.

The report states that around 1,200 Palestinian children were questioned regards throwing stones in the past 18 months. The children are often taken from their bed at night and roughly questioned by Israeli interrogators in the absence of their parents or lawyers, the report claims.

"The large gap between the number of kids who were questioned and arrested, and the number of charges pressed, reinforces the Arab residents' feeling that most of these arrests and inquiries are meant to instill fear in the minors, collect information from them and stop them from repeating the acts they are suspected of committing," the report read. Read more

Israel says it will prevent "Freedom Flotilla 2" from reaching Gaza

IMEMC- Israel has confirmed it will block the next “Freedom Flotilla” seeking to break the maritime siege of Gaza. The flotilla is due to sail in June.

The Israeli Navy has said it has learnt lessons from last year’s freedom flotilla incident in which 9 civilians were killed when Israeli commandos forcibly boarded the flotilla’s ships. It says it will focus on riot prevention measures for the planned “Freedom Flotilla 2” which sets out in June and use force only as a last resort.

According to JPost members of the Israeli police and prison service who are trained in quelling civilian riots will undertake the mission to stop the aid flotilla along with Navy Flotilla 13 commandos. Read more

Child suffocates in Jenin refugee camp

Ma'an- A 4-year-old boy died Tuesday after he suffocated in a refrigerator in Jenin refugee camp, police said.

The body of Aws Al-Qarini was discovered by his mother and sister inside an old refrigerator, his father told police. Read more

Mayor says Jewish-only housing will continue being built in Jerusalem

Ma'an- Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat on Tuesday said the municipality would continue to build Jewish-only housing in the occupied city.

Barakat told Israel Radio that all construction plans would be completed regardless of "political issues."

Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, later annexing it in a move not recognized by the international community. Read more

Israeli army targets Islamic Jihad in Jenin raids, shuts down charitable society

Ma'an– Israeli forces detained 12 Islamic Jihad supporters overnight Sunday during raids on six villages around Jenin in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said.

The Israeli military said 12 "senior activists" in the movement were detained in a joint operation with the Israel security forces, coordinated with Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank. Read more

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Israeli troops kidnap 10 Islamic Jihad Members, break into homes, offices, charitable society

IMEMC- Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Tuesday at dawn ten members of the Islamic Jihad in the northern West bank city of Jenin, and nearby villages and towns, broke into offices that belong to the movement, the Palestinian People Party, and also shut down a charitable society. Read more

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rights group says Gaza’s drinking water polluted

Wafa- A Gaza rights group said Monday in a fact sheet that quality of drinking water in the Gaza Strip is way below international standards.

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said that 95% of the drinking water is below World Health Organization (WHO) standards, stressing that the Israeli practices contributed to decreasing the availability of drinking water and increased level of contamination of Gaza underground water reserves. Read more

Spain to recognize Palestinian state before next september

Wafa– Fatah Central Committee member, Nabil Shaath, Monday said that the Consular General of Spain in East Jerusalem, Alfonso Portable, stressed his country’s intentions to recognize a Palestinian state before next September.

Shaath stated in a press release, after meeting Portable, that he explained the Palestinian strategy to seek full recognition of a Palestinian state after Israeli Prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the American congress. Read more

UN Official expresses concern over Israeli violations in Occupied Territory

Wafa– High Commissioner for United Nations Navi Pillay Monday expressed in her statement great concern over the deteriorating status of human rights due to the Israeli violations in the Occupied Territory.

Pillay noted in the opening statement of the Human Rights Council 17th Session in Geneva, that Israel has violated the rights of Palestinians. She made reference to May 15th events (The Nakba anniversary); when tens of Palestinians and Arabs were killed and injured. Read more

Israeli army bulldozes agricultural lands in Bethlehem

Wafa– Israeli army Monday bulldozed Palestinian agricultural lands in al-Ma'sara village and Al Khader town, south of Bethlehem to expand streets that leads to Efrat settlement nearby.

The Popular Committee against the Wall and settlement in Bethlehem spokesman, Mohammad Brijeh, said that Palestinian land owners confronted the Israeli forces and managed to shut the bulldozers down, but not before bulldozing ten donums of a vineyard, resulting in the destruction of tens of trees. Read more

Israeli court sentences Palestinian 18 months in jail

Wafa– The Israeli District Court Monday sentenced Mohammad Awdeh from Jerusalem to 18 months in jail under the pretext of assaulting Israeli policemen.

The prosecution alleged that Awdeh stoned Israeli police cars during the opening ceremony of a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter, in the Old City of Jerusalem. Read more

Israel to change Arab neighborhoods’ names in Jerusalem to Hebrew names

Wafa- Israeli Knesset Member Tzipi Hotobli, Monday proposed a bill to rename Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem into Hebrew names and prevent the use of Arab names in documents and official media.

According to the bill, Arab neighborhoods where Jews took over lands and built illegal settlements will be renamed. The Israeli municipality is obliged to change the name of street signs into Hebrew titles. Read more

Israeli soldiers raid towns in Hebron

Wafa– Israeli soldiers Monday raided several towns in Hebron, according to security sources.

In Hebron, Israeli soldiers stormed several Palestinian houses, sitting up checkpoints at some of the town’s entrances.

They raided and searched several Palestinian houses in Wadi Al Qadi, an area south of Hebron.

Soldiers fired several sound and light bombs In Dora, a village southwest of Hebron and in the old city of Hebron. In addition, they searched caves south of Dora. Read more

Israeli army arrests 8 Palestinians in West Bank

Wafa– Israeli army Monday arrested eight Palestinians from different areas in the West Bank, said security sources.

In a related development, Israeli soldiers raided Al-Fandaqumiya and Selat al-daher, villages south of Jenin, according to security sources.

Witnesses said that the soldiers took pictures of the villages’ houses and neighborhoods in a provocative measure against the Palestinian residents. Read more

3000 Israeli settlers infiltrate Nablus, call for military control over site

IMEMC- 200-300 Israeli settlers infiltrated Nablus and called for the Israeli military to re-establish control in the area after they broke free from the Israeli security forces accompanying them. The group were part of some 1,500 Israeli who were visiting nearby Joseph’s Tomb.

50 of the same part barricaded themselves into the religious site and refused to leave. The group stayed into dawn and clashed with Israeli military forces that tried to remove them. One military driver sustained injuries during the clashes.

The PA is to bring legal proceedings due to property damage caused by the settlers during the incident.

The incident happened during a visit by 1,500 Israeli’s to Josephs Tomb on Sunday night under protection from the Israeli military. The Huwwara checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah was closed by the Israeli military to Palestinian drivers and flying road blocks established to allow for the visit. Read more

Palestinian detainee marks 21 years in prison

Ma'an- The Detainees Center in Gaza City marked the 21st year in prison for a local man accused of stabbing an Israeli man in East Jerusalem.

According to the center, 41-year-old Yasser Daoud 41 from Jerusalem, serving a 60-year sentence, has been held in isolation for the past eight months, and has repeatedly reported being questioned and tortured. Read more

Israel allows 240 trucks into Gaza through sole goods crossing

Ma'an- Israeli authorities decided to allow around 240 truckloads of goods enter Gaza on Monday, Palestinian officials said.

Liaison official Raed Fattouh said Israel agreed to open the southernmost Kerem Shalom crossing for the limited delivery. The terminal is the only crossing available for the transfer of goods and aid into the besieged Gaza Strip. Read more

Israeli forces demolish home, barn near Qalqiliya

Ma'an- Israeli forces on Monday demolished a home and a barn in the Bedouin village Arab Abu Farda south of Qalqiliya, locals said.

The home and barn of Abdul Qader Farda were leveled to the ground, village council president Salem Abu Farda told Ma'an.

The local official said officers from Israel's Civil Administration claimed to have notified Qader Farda that his home would be demolished. But he never received any notices, the council president said.

Abu Farda said Israeli authorities were trying to force the local population from the area to expand the nearby Jewish-only Alfe Menashe settlement. Read more

Israeli forces destroy 8 wells in northern West Bank

Ma'an- Israeli forces destroyed eight wells near Jenin on Sunday before they were forced to withdraw by residents, locals said.

Forces arrived with bulldozers and planned to destroy 12 wells in the neighborhood of Kafr Dan, but residents prevented them from completing the demolitions, head of the village agricultural society Mohammad Fahmi told Ma'an. Read more

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian store

Ma'an- Israeli forces on Monday demolished a building supplies shop in the northern West Bank village of Jinsafut east of Qalqiliya.

The store's owner Yousif Abu Sukkar said he was in his shop when an Israeli bulldozers and military jeeps arrived.

Abu Sukkar said forces gave him ten minutes to clear the shop's contents before they began to demolish the building. Read more

2 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli army near Nablus

Ma'an- Two Palestinians were injured Monday in clashes with Israeli forces near Nablus in the northern West Bank, medics said.

Palestinian Authority settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas said Israeli soldiers raided Iraq Burin at midday and imposed a curfew. Read more

Few options for educated youth under occupation

Ma'an-IRIN- The lack of job opportunities for young people in the occupied Palestinian territories has created an unemployment crisis that could further destabilize the Arab region, experts warn.

"The largest generation, which was born in the 1980s, has reached working age... young adults are now perceived as the most problematic age group," notes sociologist and demographer Philippe Fargues, also director of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute in Florence.

"Their growth has outpaced the resources available to them, from employment that provides income and status, to freedom, participation, and agency," added Fargues, who in a recent paper suggested that the "youth bulge" will reshape the Arab world.

Frustrated Arab youth, he argues, have been left with two options: stay in their countries and protest, or leave to seek work and opportunity abroad. The number of people in the 15-29 age range is the largest the Arab world has seen. Read more

Year on from deadly raid, next Gaza flotilla planned

Ma'an-AFP- A year after Israeli marines stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine and drawing worldwide condemnation, Israel finds itself in even deeper diplomatic water.

On May 31 2010, troops staged a pre-dawn raid on six ships in international waters seeking to break Israel's illegal naval blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The attack plunged Israel's already cool relationship with Ankara into crisis. Read more

Jewish settlers torch Palestinian farmland south of Nablus

Ma'an- Villagers south of Nablus reported seeing dozens of settlers Monday evening, and watched as they set fire to plots of agricultural lands near Madama, an official said.

Settlement monitoring official with Fatah, Ghassan Doughlus, told Ma'an that Madama residents believed the settlers were from the nearby illegal residential community of Yitzhar, a known violent settlement. Read more

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jewish settlers drown Palestinians' land with wastewater in Bethlehem

Wafa– Jewish settlers from ‘Beitar Illit’ settlement Sunday drowned Palestinians’ lands with wastewater in Nahhalin, a village southwest of Bethlehem.

Head of Nahhalin village’s council, Osama Shakarna, told WAFA that those in charge of the water purification stations in ‘Beitar Illit’ settlment, west of Beitlaham, pumped waste water to the Almond and grapes lands, west of Nahhalin.

Shakarna pointed out that such practices polluted the underground water and caused serious damage to the crops; Palestinians can’t enter their lands anymore due to the high levels of wastewater in it.

He warned of the dangerous effects of such practices on Palestinians’ health, saying “Summer is knocking the doors, and there is a great fear of spreading diseases and mosquitoes.”

Moreover, Israeli authorities handed over a number of notices to Palestinians living in Ain Fares area, southwest of Nahhalin village, to seize their lands. Read more

Israeli army raids and terrorizes Bilin

Wafa- Israeli army Sunday dawn raided Bil’in, a village west of Ramallah, terrorizing its residents by firing sound and light bombs, according to local sources.

Rateb Abu Rahmeh, media coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and settlements in Bil’in, said that Israeli soldiers terrorized the village by extensively and continuously firing sound bombs for an hour. No arrests or house-searches were reported.

Abu Rahmeh denounced the Israeli measures, such as raiding the village every once and awhile, aiming to prevent people from protesting against the Israeli attempts to steal their lands by participating in the weekly marches every Friday against the Wall. Read more

WAFA monitors racism and incitement in Israeli media

Wafa- Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) monitored incitement and racism against the Palestinians and Arabs published by the Israeli media between May 13 and 19.

'Israel Today’ newspaper published many articles, which held Palestinians responsible for the Nakba and denied their right to the ownership of the land. Dror Edar wrote an article titled “That’s How We Survived the Nakba”; in which he said that “‘the real catastrophe’ is the inability of Arabs living in Israel to achieve their goal; terminate the Jewish existence in Israel.”

He added, “They tried everything; theft, murder and bombing. They allied with the Nazis to terminate Jews in Europe! They even defiled the dead bodies of our soldiers!” Read more

Israel prevents University Palestinian lecturer from traveling to Jordan

IMEMC- On Friday, Israeli soldiers prevented university lecturer, Dr. Farid Abu Dheir, from traveling to Jordan as he was trying to cross the Allenby bridge to be with his son who has surgery scheduled at a Jordanian hospital. Abu Dheir teaches at the Al Najah University in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Abu Dheir managed to obtain all needed documents and permits from the Israeli side, but as he entered the crossing, he was detained and questioned for two hours before he was ordered back home.

He slammed the Israeli violation, adding that it violates the International Law and the freedom of movement.

Abu Dheir further stated that Israel has been preventing him for leaving the country since five years now, and that this issue made him miss several international conferences and prevented, him from seeing family members living abroad. Read more

Israeli pressure leads to Zionist support statement by G8 ministers

IMEMC- After a call from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Canadian Premier Stephen Harper agreed to draft a statement for all G8 ministers to sign that expressed support for Zionist aspirations by removing any reference to the 1967 borders.

The Group of 8, or G8, meeting was held Thursday and Friday in France, and included representatives from France, Britain, Russia, the US, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada. Going into the meeting, all but one (Canada) supported the inclusion of a sentence supporting a return to the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, as a basis for negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

But with Canada's refusal to accept the Final Declaration of the Summit unless that sentence was removed, the other nations succumbed to the pressure and removed the reference to 1967 borders. Instead, the Declaration, entitled “G8 Declaration: Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy”, included criticism of the Palestinian plan to declare statehood in September at the United Nations. Read more

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinians, abduct international peace activist near Hebron

IMEMC- Israeli soldiers detained on Saturday evening five several Palestinians, including women and children, and kidnapped an international peace activist near Safa village, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The residents were working in their farmlands before extremist settlers of the Bait Ayin illegal settlement attacked them and uprooted olive trees and vineyard.

Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene and, instead of removing the settlers, detained more than twenty Palestinians, including women and children, and an international activist, under the pretext that they entered a closed military zone. Read more

Gaza Journalism Forum slams Israeli police for attacking journalists in Jerusalem

IMEMC- The Palestinian Journalists Forum in Gaza issued a statement denouncing the Israeli police for attacking Palestinian journalists reporting on clashes that took place in Ras Al Amoud neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem.

The residents, accompanied by Israeli and international supporters, were protesting the planned construction of another Jewish-only settlement in the neighborhood. Read more

Israeli forces shoot man near Gaza City

Ma'an- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man east of Gaza City early Sunday morning, medics said.

Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said the man was shot in his right leg in the Zaytoun neighborhood. He was taken to the Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Read more

Israeli military investigation accuses temporarily incapacitated youth of crime

Ma'an- Israeli forces operating to protect the Itamar settlement in the northern West Bank failed to "fully implement the defensible means available," despite assessments that "recognized the existing threats," the results of an investigation showed.

...An Israeli intelligence document leaked in mid-April said "The two, residents of the village of Awarta, confessed during the investigation to planning and carrying out the attack and staged a reconstruction," but family members vociferously denied the claim, with one family saying their son was likely tortured.

The teen, 19-year-old Hakim Awwad, according to his family was too ill to have carried out the gruesome attack. His mother Nouf told Ma'an that Hakim was still recovering from a testicular surgery, which prevented him from walking long distances and required him to use the toilet every hour. Read more

Palestinian beaten by Israeli soldiers at checkpoint

Ma'an- Israeli soldiers brutally attacked a Palestinian man at an army checkpoint near Hebron on Saturday evening, medics said.

Israeli soldiers stopped Mahmoud Al-Battat, 19, at around 7 p.m. at a checkpoint near Ad-Dhahiriya in the southern West Bank as he returned from work in Israel, medical officials told Ma'an. Read more

Zionist plan to change the demography of occupied Jerusalem within five years

PIC- The Israeli occupation government has revealed a plan to further Judaize occupied Jerusalem and change demographic realities under the pretext of propping up the economy of the city.

The Prime Minister’s office has announced recently the government’s intention to approve the spending of over 80 million dollars to carry out what it called “a comprehensive economic plan” over the next five years. Read more

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Netanyahu reaffirms investment package to keep Jerusalem as 'undivided capital'

Ma'an-AFP- Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday reaffirmed his intent to keep Jerusalem the country's "undivided capital," in a speech announcing a $100-million investment package for the occupied holy city.

Speaking at a special meeting of his cabinet held inside the Old City walls, Netanyahu repeatedly vowed that he would not divide the city, despite international pressure for Israel and the Palestinians to share Jerusalem. Read more

Israel slams opening of Rafah reopening

Ma'an-AFP- Israeli ministers on Sunday slammed Egypt's decision to reopen its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, warning that terrorist groups would be able to move weapons and people freely through the crossing. Read more

Here comes your non-violent resistance

The Economist- For many years now, we've heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement. If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, we hear, they'd have had their state long ago. Surely no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian movement of national liberation seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination.
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New Palestinian unity govt to be announced 6 June

Ma'an- The composition of the new Palestinian Authority's technocrat government will be announced on 6 June by delegates from formerly rival parties Fatah and Hamas as a major step to the implementation of a unity agreement, an official said Sunday. Read more

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Palestinian demolishes own home instead of paying Israeli municipality to do so

Wafa- A Palestinian living in Jerusalem tore down his house by himself Saturday to avoid paying the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem exorbitant amount if it tore down the house using its crews, according to local sources.

The municipality had issued a demolition order to Mahmoud Aramin for building a house near the Old City wall without a license. He has been paying monthly installments for fines the municipality had already imposed on him.

Israel does not grant building permits to Palestinians to build in East Jerusalem as part of its effort to reduce the number of Palestinians in the occupied city while building thousands of housing units in settlements for Jews only in an around the city. Read more

New Palestinian stamp on International Passports

Wafa- Palestinian artist, Khalid Jrar, launched a new campaign in which he invented a new stamp for the new sovereign state of Palestine and stamped foreigners’ passports with it to spread it all over the world.

Jrar stamped American, British, Danish, German and French passports with the new stamp which was designed and written in both Arabic and English.

He didn’t wait for the declaration of the Palestinian state next September, but started looking for foreigners at Qalandia’s checkpoint to Ramallah’s bus station to stamp their passports.

After greeting them, he would explain his idea and stamp their passports with the new stamp next to other countries.

Jrar created a new page on ‘Facebook’ in which he presented his idea and looked for volunteers and supporters who would love to help him in spreading the new stamp. Read more

NGO declares 'commercial disaster' in Jerusalem's Old City

PIC- The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights has declared a “disaster” in the Old City's commercial and tourism sectors after Israel used hefty taxes and other pressures to shut down 250 shops in the past few years.

JCSER director Ziyad al-Hammouri expected the situation to worsen as the campaign to Judaize the Old City thrives.

“What is taking place is designed to promote the presence of Jewish settlements inside the city walls and the entire area surrounding the Old City, especially in Silwan, Ras al-Amud, and Sheikh Jarrah, which are neighborhoods geographically connected to the Old City. There is also a plan to erect shopping centers and hotels in the area similar to those built near the Gate of Al-Khalil,” Hammouri said.

He added that checkpoints spread across Jerusalem's entrances have become traps for Palestinians and traders, as municipality units and tax collectors and forces responsible for carrying out court orders have seized possessions and arrested their owners.Read more

Protests in Jordan demand closure of Israeli embassy

PIC- Hundreds protested in several areas of Jordan's capital Amman, demanding closure of the Israeli embassy there and nullification the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.

The protests condemned recent statements by Netanyahu this week ruling out the possibility of retracting to 1967 borders or recognizing the Palestinian refugees' right of return if negotiations resumed with the Palestinians. Read more

European campaign slams Ban Ki-moon calls curtailing Gaza aid flotilla

PIC-The European campaign to end the Gaza siege has criticized calls by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to thwart a Gaza aid flotilla, dubbed Freedom Flotilla 2, set to deliver humanitarian aid late this June in defiance of Israel's illegal siege on the Gaza Strip.

It is the fifth straight year that Israel has tightened its blockade on the tiny coastal enclave with a population of 1.5 million.

Ki-moon has deployed official messages to countries overlooking the Mediterranean Sea that have citizens who will take part in the aid mission, calling on them to use their influence to help stop the ships before they set sail to Gaza in order to avoid a potential conflict.

The European campaign, a chief organizer of the flotilla, expressed surprise over the recent calls, given that he heads the UN Security Council which issued two decisions in 2008 and 2009 unambiguously demanding that Israel end the Gaza siege. Read more

Prisoners freeze hunger strike as negotiations begin

PIC- Palestinians held in Israeli prisons have “temporarily” halted a wide-ranging hunger strike designed to aid the prisoners placed in isolation, the Asra prisoner studies center reported Saturday.

The decision came three weeks after the hunger strike began as prisoner leaders and the prison administration have begun talks discussing the demands.

The strike will resume should the talks fail or should the prison administration renege on gestures to solve the pending problems, the prisoners told Asra. Read more

Israeli army declares Iraq Burin, Palestinian village, closed military zone

Palestine Information Center- The Israel occupation forces (IOF) has declared Iraq Burin village south of Nablus city in the West Bank a closed military zone in a bid to block media and activists from entering the village ahead of anti-apartheid wall protests.

The IOF has erected a barrier at the entrance between the villages of Iraq Burin and Tel, as soldiers have begun searching civilians and blocked entry to all but the village's residents, Iraq Burin mayor Abdul-Raheem Qaddous told our correspondent.

Qaddous said the move was a proactive step to curb marches organized every Saturday by locals to protest the confiscation of land and settlement construction as well as repeated attacks by settlers.

Witnesses said the army used military vehicles to blockade the village's main entrances and sent dozens of troops to stop foreign pro-Palestinian activists from nearing the village to show support. They have also restricted the movement and activities of locals themselves. Read more

Israeli police attack nonviolent protesters in Jerusalem, kidnap one

IMEMC- The Israeli Police attacked on Friday afternoon Israeli leftist protesters and Palestinian activists as they held a nonviolent protest in front of “Har Hazeiteem” illegal Israeli settlement in Ras Al Amoud neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, and kidnapped one Palestinian protester. Read more

Israeli settlers to march in occupied Palestinian neighborhood

IMEMC- Extremist Israeli settlers intend to hold a provocative procession starting from Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem to mark 44 years since Israel occupied the city.

Israeli paper, Yedioth Aharonoth, reported that the protest is planned for next Wednesday, as it marks the 44th anniversary of occupying Jerusalem, according to the Hebrew calendar.

The extremist settlers intend to march through the Bab Al Amoud and the Hebron Gate, in order to hold their procession in the heart of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem, filled with illegal Jewish-only settlements. Read more

Report: 200 Israeli companies have ties with Iranian energy sector

Haaretz- But Israel wants to make money, as in selling weapons to Iran during its war with Iraq, Israel knows how to close its eyes.

The Ofer family started its shipping business in Haifa during the British Mandate era. With perseverance, resolve and business acumen the small agency grew into an economic empire. One of its scions, David, preferred to stay in public service and later became a police commander. His two brothers, Sammy and Yuli, bought merchant ships and tankers, expanded their fleet and spread their business over seas and continents.

Over the years the Ofer Brothers, reinforced by the family's next generation, became an influential force in the Israeli economy. In the Ofer family's business, the sale of a tanker for $8 million is a drop in the ocean, and the family chalks up the Americans' objections to a misunderstanding. But its alleged sale of a ship to Iran evokes bewilderment and embarrassment. Read more

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IMEMC- A report published by Israeli Haaretz indicated that there are 200 Israeli companies that have indirect investment with the Iranian Energy Sector that feeds the Iranian Nuclear Program, and that the Israeli government knows about the investments.

Haaretz’ reporter, Yossi Melman, issued a special investigative report indicating that the Israeli trade ties include investments in the Iranian Nuclear Energy sector, the main income source for Iran, and funnels funds used by Tehran allegedly to develop its weaponry and to maintain its nuclear program. Read more

Palestinian Women's Organization for Political Prisoners May 2011 newsletter

WOFPP- There are, at present, 36 women political prisoners in the Israeli jails: 17 in Hasharon Prison (Tel Mond), 18 in Damoon Prison (Carmel Mountain), 1 in Neve Tirza Prison (Ramle).

Hasharon Prison (Tel Mond)

The Palestinians' Prisoners Day

The women political prisoners took part in the activities of the Prisoners Day: They went on a hunger strike on this day and expressed solidarity with Mansour Akram, a political prisoner who has been held in prison for over 31 years.

Family visits

Samha Hijaz, 39 years old, a mother of six, from elMazr'a elSharqiya, Ramallah district, was arrested on 8 February 2011. The Israeli authorities prohibit all the adult members of her family from visiting in prison..

Nilly Safadi, 34 years old, from Nablus, was arrested on 11 November 2009 and is supposed to be released at the beginning of June 2011. Even now, a short time before her release, the prison authorities still refuse her request to meet her husband who is also a political prisoner. Read more

British PM leaves Jewish National Fund

Ma'an- The Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom on Friday welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to step down as patron of Jewish National Fund.

"This is a welcome development, and reflects the fact that it is now impossible for any serious party leader to lend their public support to racism," said campaign director Sarah Colborne.

"The Jewish National Fund plays a critical role in facilitating the continued dispossession and suffering of Palestinians," the Palestine Solidarity Campaign statement added. Read more

Palestinian threatened and detained over collision with settler's car

Ma'an- A Palestinian man said Israeli police detained and threatened him on Wednesday, several days after he was involved in a car accident with a settler.

Sharif Azmi Al-Shyoukhi, 21, said police tried to force him to take full responsibility for the accident, which happened Sunday. Read more

3 peace activists arrested in West Bank

Ma'an- Israel's army arrested three peace activists at a protest near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, onlookers said. The army did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Read more

Israeli soldiers 'deliver summonses in northern West Bank'

Ma'an- Israeli soldiers on Saturday delivered summons to three Palestinians during a raid on a village in the northern West Bank, local officials and the army said.

Forces entered Madama village, near Nablus, and ordered Hesham Ziada, Mujahed Qut, and Yasar Nassar to appear before intelligence services, village councilor Hasen Ziada said.

Soldiers broke into several homes during the raid, Ziada added. Read more

Palestinian unity leader says Israel inciting against unity

Ma'an- ...During an address to the US Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed President Mahmoud Abbas to "tear up" the recently-signed Palestinian unity deal.

Al-Wadieh said Israel was trying to thwart the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah and to enforce national division so it could continue to build settlements on Palestinian land. Read more

Jewish settlers torch Palestinian olive grove

Ma'an- Israeli settlers set fire to an olive grove belonging to a Palestinian family near Hebron on Friday, an international monitoring group reported.

The fire damaged 16 trees belonging to the Abu Haikel family in Tel Rumeida, Christian Peacemaker Teams said, adding that some of the trees affected were over 1,000 years old. Read more

UN official: US could stop Palestine membership bid

Ma'an- Palestine cannot join the United Nations if the US vetoes its application, General Assembly President Joseph Deiss said Friday.

The 15-member Security Council must recommend Palestine for UN membership before the General Assembly can vote on the application, Deiss said.

Israel and Washington strongly oppose Palestinians' bid for UN membership, and the US is widely expected to use its Security Council veto to stop the move. Read more

Egypt reopens Rafah border with Gaza

Ma'an- Egypt reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza permanently on Saturday morning, easing Israel's four-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian officials said the terminal would operate daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. except Fridays and public holidays, giving Gazans a gateway to the world as Rafah is the only crossing which does not pass through Israel. Read more

Friday, May 27, 2011

Study values Israeli settlements at $18.8 billion

IMEMC-JNET- A new study by formerly Israeli state funded Macro Center for Political Economics has valued Israeli settler homes at $18.8 billion in the West Bank, according to JNet.

The report was released on the back of US President Barrack Obama’s speech in which he called for an Israeli return to 1967 borders.

Israeli PM Arial Sharon compensated settlers whom, under his 2005 disengagement plan from Gaza, were withdrawn from their settlements and their housing dismantled as part of the Israeli withdrawal. Read more

PCHR Weekly Report: 1 killed, 3 wounded, 26 abducted by Israeli forces this week

PCHR-IMEMC- In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 19– 25 May 2011, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights found that a Palestinian civilian was killed by Israeli forces near the border in the central Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian civilian was wounded in the east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian boys sustained severe burns as a smoke bomb, left by Israeli forces in Hebron, exploded.

Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian farmers in border areas in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces fired at Palestinian farmers in two separate incidents, but no casualties were reported. Read more

Israeli leftists call on Europe to recognize Palestine come september

IMEMC- About twenty Israeli writers and intellectuals have signed a petition calling on the EU recognise a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders.

Members of the Israeli left have signed a petition, organised by the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, calling on the EU to recognise an independent state of Palestine based on 1967 borders in the UN in September.

Notable signatories of the letter are said to include Nobel Laureate Professor Aniel Kahneman, former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg and former Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Liel. Read more

Press Release: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on lifting the siege of Gaza

PCHR- PCHR Welcomes the Egyptian Authorities’ Decision to Open All Land and Air Passages for Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) welcomes the decision of the Egyptian authorities to open all land and air passages for Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip. This decision reflects the spirit of revolution and change in Egypt, shows Egypt’s major role in supporting the Palestinian people, and illustrates the respectable efforts made by the Egyptian leadership to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation.

On Thursday 26 May 2011, the Egyptian al-Ahram Daily reported that beginning Saturday, 28 May 2011, Egyptian authorities will increase the hours of operation at Rafah International Crossing Point from 09:00 to 17:00 daily, excluding Fridays and official holidays. They also announced that they would apply the procedures regulating the entry of Palestinians to Egypt that were in effect prior to 2007. Under these procedures the following categories are exempted from applying for entry visas:

·All Palestinian women.

·Male Palestinian aged below 18 and above 40.

·Patients who have medical transfers.

·Children who accompany their parents, who are already exempted from applying for visas.

·Palestinian families passing via Egyptian territory to travel to and from the Gaza Strip, provided that they have their Palestinian passports, identity cards, and visas to enter a country of destination.

While it reiterates welcoming these facilitations, PCHR emphasizes the following:

1.The newly declared policy is related to the movement of persons only and do not include commercial transactions. These procedures will not to ease the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population or change the economic situation caused by the strict closure imposed on the Gaza Strip.

2.The Gaza Strip is still an occupied territory controlled by Israeli occupation forces.

3.The State of Israel, as an occupying power according to international law, is responsible for the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

4.The newly declared Egyptian policy, which we highly appreciate, is not an alternative to the core issue, which is lifting the Israeli closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, opening crossings for commercial transactions and allowing the freedom of movement of persons, including the movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, through the outlets that are controlled by the Israeli occupation forces.

5.The new Egyptian policy does not exempt the international community of their responsibilities to exert pressure on Israel to lift the closure and comply with international law.

Jewish settlers severely beat elderly Palestinian shepherd in Nablus

Wafa- Ghassan Douglas, in charge of settlements file at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank, said Thursday that settlers severely beat an elderly Palestinian Shepherd, 67, in Madama, a village south of Nablus.

Douglas said that Hamad al-Kett was beaten by 12 settlers from the settlement of Yizhar. He was transferred to a hospital in the city of Nablus where they described his condition as critical. Read more

Israeli forces storm Palestinian children center in Jerusalem

Wafa- Israeli forces Thursday stormed Madaa Silwan creative center (Madaa) in Wadi Hilwah, a neighborhood in Silwan, near Al-Aqsa Mosque, while the children were there, according to witnesses.

Witnesses told WAFA that the Israeli soldiers terrorized the children while they were looking for the head of the Center, Jawad Ssyam.

They interrogated Ssyam’s wife who was at the center, and handed her a summon for her husband to be interrogated in the interrogation center in Jerusalem. They also raided Ssyam’s house looking for him, witnesses added. Read more

Malaysian aid ship refuses to send Gaza aid via Israel

Ma'an-AFP- Activists on a Malaysian aid ship that had been bound for Gaza refused to hand their cargo to Egypt on Thursday, saying they feared it would end up in Israel.

They had tried to land in Gaza last week but changed course when the Israeli navy fired warning shots.

Matthias Chang, who is heading the mission for the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, told AFP the group was not consulted when the Malaysian and Egyptian governments worked out a deal to end the impasse.

Chang said Egypt had insisted the cargo be discharged and transported via Kaern Shalom, at the Israeli border in Gaza.

"We are not assured that this cargo would in fact be delivered to Gaza, as in the past... most of the humanitarian aid was laid to waste in Israel," he added. Read more

Non-aligned states urge release of Palestinian prisoners

Ma'an-AFP- The 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement on Friday demanded Israel release a "substantial number" of Palestinian political prisoners as a "positive step" toward peace.

At the end of a ministerial meeting in Indonesia, the movement reiterated its support for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, a position it shares with the United States but which is rejected by Israel. Read more

3 Palestinians hurt after Israeli navy shells fishing boat

Ma’an- Israel's navy fired on fishing boats late Thursday, injuring three Palestinians, medics said.

The fishermen were transferred to Ash-Shifa hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, medical official Adham Abu Silmiya said. Read more

Thursday, May 26, 2011

77 Palestinians arrested recently in Nablus

Wafa- The Palestinian prisoner’s club in Nablus (PPC) said Thursday that 77 Palestinians from several areas of Nablus, a city north of the West Bank, were arrested in the past few months by the Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli soldiers are continuously storming Nablus city; Raiding villages and refugee camps on daily bases, arresting Palestinians for interrogation, in addition to sabotaging their houses during raids, according to Ra'ed Amer, head of the Prisoner's club in Nablus.

Israeli soldiers vandalized houses and furniture of Palestinians, mixed food items together in a vengeance way and confiscated cellular phones and computers, said the detainees’ families. Read more

Israeli military asks Palestinian detainee to pay for own surgery

PNN- The Palestinian detainees and ex-detainees society announced on Thursday that the Israeli military prison administration has asked Ahmed Assofor to pay the expenses of a surgery he needs.

Assofor was arrested on Nov. 24, 2009 as he was leaving the Gaza Strip to get medical treatment in Jerusalem. He was injured during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip that happened from December 2008 to January 2009. Read more

Israeli troops kidnap 7 Palestinians in Ramallah

IMEMC- Israeli soldiers kidnapped on Thursday at dawn seven Palestinians in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Israeli Army Radio reported on Thursday morning that the army invaded several villages and towns in the Ramallah district, and kidnapped what was described as “wanted” Palestinians.

The latest invasion and arrests are part of daily violations carried out by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian in the occupied territories. Read more

US to fund 4 more Iron Dome Defense Systems for Israel

IMEMC- US President Barrack Obama’s administration is to fund the purchase of four more anti rocket systems for the Israeli military. The US will help fund the short range anti rocket “Iron Dome” missile defence system as part of the $200 million Obama military aid initiative to Israel. Read more

Israeli Vice-PM against opening Gaza crossing

IMEMC-Jerusalem Post- Israeli Vice-Premier Silvan Shalom has spoken out against the easing of the blockade on Gaza through relaxed restrictions at the Egypt-Gaza crossing at Rafah, according to the Jerusalem Post.

...Shalom also called for international monitoring of the crossing, however, Heeratz reports, the European Border Assistance Mission has not as yet received an invitation to return to Rafah from either the Israelis or the PA.

The EU had agreed, in 2005, to monitor the crossing. The mission has been waiting in the Israeli city of Ashkelon since suspending its work in 2007 when Hamas gained control of the West Bank. Read more

Israeli soldiers demolish 3 water wells in Hebron

Wafa- Israeli Soldiers Thursday demolished three water wells near the Separation Wall, in Idhna, a town west of Hebron, according to Idhna municipality.
The wells were used for agricultural and domestic needs due to water shortage in town. Read more

Israel arrests 8 Palestinians, searches homes and school

Wafa- Israeli forces Thursday raided several villages in Hebron area, arrested five and set up several checkpoints at village entrances, said security sources.

Sources told WAFA that soldiers arrested two Palestinians from Idna, one from Surif, and another from Beit Awwa, all in the Hebron area.

Soldiers also arrested a 15-year- old Palestinian boy from Al-Samu’, a village south of Hebron, holding him as hostage until his brother, who apparently is wanted by the army, turns himself in. However, both brothers were released within several hours of their arrest. Read more

Israeli navy fires at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza

Wafa- The Israeli navy Thursday opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza, according to local sources. No injuries were reported.

Since imposing the blockade on Gaza in 2006, Israel does not allow Palestinian fishermen to go deep into the sea off Gaza. Read more

Former Israeli secret service chief supports Palestinian UN bid

Ma’an- Former Mossad Director Meir Dagan came out against Israel's prime minister on Tuesday, in a speech saying he was against blocking a Palestinian move to bring the issue of statehood to the UN. Read more

Eager anticipation for Rafah border opening

Ma'an- The siege on the Gaza Strip, maintained by Israel and Egypt for the past four years, will soon be significantly relaxed for would-be travelers, a decision that has Palestinians on both sides of the border waiting anxiously.

From students to tunnel smugglers, opening Gaza will transform lives drastically impacted by years of isolation. On Wednesday, Egypt announced that the crossing would open regularly for some travelers, six days a week, starting on Saturday. Read more

Disabled Palestinian man shaken after Israeli military assault

Ma’an- "Ashraf was as usual near the shop. I heard a gunshot outside and then my son was shouting and trying to open the door. More than ten soldiers were behind him," his mother told Ma'an on Wednesday.

The day before, 23-year-old Ashraf Muhammad Suleiman Mousa, who lives with a developmental disability and has the cognitive ability of a four-year-old, was assaulted by Israeli forces apparently searching for stone thrower on Tuesday evening, witnesses said. Read more

Inauguration ceremony for Jewish-only settlement in East Jerusalem

Ma'an-AFP- The speaker of Israel's parliament and two ministers attended the dedication on Wednesday of new Jewish settler homes in East Jerusalem in what an Israeli NGO called "a dangerous provocation."

Among the first of the VIPs to arrive at the site in the city's annexed eastern sector were speaker Reuven Rivlin, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan and Education Minister Gideon Saar, all of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. Read more

"Israel Is Not Alone" member turns aggressive on journalist

Alison Weir - Press TV- We had just completed a CNI press briefing at the National Press Club, when the next group scheduled to use the room, "Israel Is Not Alone," began to enter. One of their members saw our signs and began a discussion with a member of the CNI group. The conversation was heated but within appropriate bounds. Another "Israel Is Not Alone" member, however, then approached the CNI man in a somewhat threatening posture and loudly began to berate him.

At that point Lt. Col Karen Kwiatkowski, who had spoken on our panel, thought she recognized the man and he was asked his name. At first he only gave his first name, Jerry, but eventually also gave his last name: Boykin.

Lt. Gen Boykin (three stars) is known for making offensive statements about Islam and supporting Israel.

For some reason, I actually thought I might be able to convince him to rethink his positions. I told him I had been born at West Point and tried to tell him about Palestine. I was holding a booklet from our press conference, and asked him fervently to read it. He didn't say anything.

As I was trying to describe the facts, another man came up and began haranguing me. He was almost shaking with fury. He yelled that Muslims tear the fingernails off Christians and similar things. I tried to answer him, but he shouted over everything I tried to say. I got my phone out and tried to video what he was yelling at me. I then tried to resume my conversation with Boykin and tell him about my first trip to Palestine, but the man continued shouting at me, drowning out my words, so I again tried to video what he was yelling at me. He suddenly violently hit my hand and phone, knocking the phone across the room.

I was stunned. A bit shaken, I asked someone to get security, which they did. Some of the "Israel Is Not Alone" group, probably realizing that their member had just crossed a serious line and was guilty of battery, brought me the pieces of my phone (fortunately, and surprisingly, it still works). The man (I haven't yet learned his name) proffered an unconvincing apology.

Some people have suggested that I file charges. It turns out that a Press TV crew apparently filmed the whole incident and led off with part of it on their broadcast about our conference. You can see the video and news report here.

I'm undecided about filing charges. I know that if the situation were reversed, they would do so.

I don't know what's behind this angry, disturbed man. Was he angry because he was spreading such venemous lies? Or is it that the people behind "Israel Is Not Alone" are exploiting a vulnerable man and intentionally creating or fueling his rage? Read more

Press Statement: The Spirit of Rachel Corrie International aid ship to Gaza

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission hereby objects to the use of an Israeli land port to deliver its humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

The team is thankful to the Malaysian Government for their negotiations with the Egyptian Government in securing the docking of MV Finch into the El-Arish Port since May 16th.

We have been informed that the Egyptian Government has imposed on the Malaysian Government as a condition precedent for the cargo to be discharged, that the same be transported via Karem Shalom, at the Israeli border in Gaza.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Israeli authorities to inaugurate new settlements in Jerusalem

Wafa- Israeli sources announced the inauguration of 'Har Hazeetim' settlement on Wednesday in Silwan, a town south of Jerusalem with the participation of Israeli ministers, parliament members and heads of political parties.

In addition the Israeli authority will inaugurate working in new settlement units in Silwan.

It is expected that the Palestinians will hold mass demonstrations against these settlements, the Israeli authority’s threats of completely demolishing Al-Bostan neighborhood and preventing Jerusalemites from building in East Jerusalem. Read more

Israeli Intelligence, backed by military, threatens villagers in At-Tuwani

Wafa- Israeli intelligence escorted by about soldiers entered At-Tuwani village in the south Hebron hills on Monday raiding a local leader's house, demanding that villagers stop their nonviolent resistance and threatening violent retaliation if the Palestinians persist asserting their rights to the land.

A press release by an international peace groups aid the soldiers first invaded the house of one of the community's nonviolent resistance leaders, searched rooms and the surroundings at gunpoint. Read more

Palestinian Bedouin Refugee Representative speaks at UN Forum

Wafa- Representative of the Bedouin Community in the West Bank, Mohammed al Korshan, spoke on Tuesday at the 10th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

This came in an appeal to the international community for recognition and protection as a displaced indigenous group living as refugees under occupation.

Amongst his key messages al Korshan voiced his deep concern for the parallel collapse of his people's traditional livelihood and the distinctive tribal custom intrinsically linked to it, under the increasing pressure of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. He outlined the effects that the continuous threat of forced displacement have on his peoples' ability to exercise their basic human rights and also their rights as a tribal minority. Read more

Palestinian producer price index down in April

Wafa- The overall Producer Price1 Index (PPI) in the Palestinian Territory with its base month (January 2011=100) reached 97.90 in April, which indicates a decrease by 3.23% compared with March, Wednesday said the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

Producer Price Index for exported products reached 100.17 in April, which indicates an increase by 0.45% compared with March.

Producer Price Index for local consumed products reached 97.68 in April, which indicates a decrease by 3.59% compared with March.

Agriculture goods decreased by 8.24%, fishing by 3.30 %, mining and quarrying by 2.74% and manufacturing group by 0.31%. Read more

Palestinian Committee in Israel denounces Netanyahu’s speech

Wafa- The High Follow-up Committee for Arab citizens in Israel denounced on Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lies in his speech to the US Congress Tuesday.

The committee said in a statement that “ Netanyahu is exploiting the circumstances that the Arab nations are going through in order to market Israel’s false democracy lie .”

It said that the Arab nations suffer from Israel’s racist discrimination and hardships of its fascist institute, which is based on ethnic cleansing policy. In addition to the seizures, arrests and oppression imposed on Palestinians. Read more

Egypt to lift restrictions on Gaza border

Ma'an-Mena News Agency- Egypt will open the Rafah border crossing on a daily basis starting this weekend in a bid to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip, the official MENA news agency reported Wednesday.

Egyptian authorities will now open the border from "9:00 am to 5:00 pm on a daily basis, except for Fridays and public holidays" starting Saturday, May 28, MENA said. Read more

Jerusalem court to look into Silwan home demolitions

Ma’an– Israel's central court in Jerusalem was scheduled to look into home demolitions in Al-Bustan neighborhood in East Jerusalem’s Silwan area Tuesday.

A court hearing for the case was scheduled earlier and was postponed until Tuesday.

Member of the local committee to defend Silwan and Al-Bustan neighborhood Abdul-Karim Abu Sneinan told Ma’an that the postponement was an attempt to put pressure on the residents of Al-Bustan neighborhood. Read more

Israeli protesters block cash truck from Gaza

Ma'an- An armored truck carrying cash to Gaza returned to Israel without delivering its payload after activists sat in the road and prevented the truck from proceeding Tuesday, Israeli media reported.

Activists demanding the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit positioned themselves on the only road leading to the Gaza Strip crossing, surrounded the truck and chanted slogans, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported. Read more

Israel permits limited building materials to cross into Gaza

Ma’an- Israeli authorities opened Gaza's sole remaining commercial crossing terminal on Wednesday, for the limited import of building materials designated to international development projects.

Palestinian liaison official, Raed Fattouh, said Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip was opened for 270-280 truckloads of aid to commercial, agricultural and transport sectors.

Ten truckloads of cement were marked for a German development agency project in Sheikh I’jilin, and 19 truckloads of cement and metal, and 60 truckloads of gravel, would be delivered to US development agency projects, Fattouh said.

A limited amount of cooking gas will also be pumped through Kerem Shalom Wednesday, the official added. Read more

Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians overnight

Ma'an- Israeli forces detained 12 Palestinians from the West Bank overnight, to be "transferred for security questioning," according to a military statement.

Palestinian sources, however, said four were detained in raids on Nablus, while four were taken from homes in Jericho and five from the southern West Bank regions of Hebron and Bethlehem. Read more

Protester who disrupted Netanyahu in Congress attacked, hospitalized, arrested

Electronic Intifada- Rae Abileah a CODEPINK activist who disrupted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in the United States Congress this morning was physically attacked, hospitalized and then arrested from hospital according to reports.

According to CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin:

Rae Abileah is in the hospital, after having been assaulted and tackled to the ground by members of the audience in the House Gallery during Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Abileah, who is with the group CODEPINK: Women for Peace, interrupted Netanyahu with a banner that said “Occupying Land Is Indefensible” and shouting, “No more occupation, stop Israel war crimes, equal rights for Palestinians, occupation is indefensible.” She rose up to speak out just after the Prime Minister talked about the youth around the world rising up for more democracy. As this 28-year-old Jewish American woman spoke out for the human rights of Palestinians, other members of the audience—wearing badges from the conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee—brutally attacked her. The police then dragged her out of the Gallery and took her to the George Washington University Hospital, where she is being treating for neck and shoulder injuries. Read more

Report: EU to rally against Israeli stance on peace

Ma'an- "Netanyahu's rejection of peace based on the 1967 borders is self-important and arrogant," Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told the German daily Der Spiegel in a Tuesday interview. Read more

Arab League to meet in support of Palestinian unity

Ma'an- Permanent representatives to the Arab League will join its outgoing chief Amr Mussa for a meeting next week, where delegates will evaluate progress and implementation on the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. Read more

Abbas says Netanyahu moved far from peace

Wafa- President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of moving very far from the peace process.

Abbas, speaking at the opening of a meeting for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to respond to US President Barack Obama’s speeche last week, said that Netanyahu, speaking at a joint session of the US Congress on Tuesday, “has shown us, in addition to the many mistakes and distortions, that he moved very far from the peace process.” Read more

Israeli authorities plan to seize 2000 dunums of Salfit land

Wafa News Agency– The Israeli authorities plan to seize more than 2000 dunums of land in the Salfit area, north of the West Bank, to expand two settlements in that area, Tuesday said head of Bani Hassan local council, Abdul Karim Rayyan.

He said that the Israeli military arm in the West Bank, the so-called civil administration, announced the plans to seize the land to expand the settlements of Kiryat Netafim and Revava.

Rayyan said more than 40 families from the village have documents proving ownership of the land in question and that these families are planning to object to the land expropriation plan through Israeli courts. Read more

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spirit of Rachel Corrie Aid Ship forced to dock at El Arish

PNN-A week after the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, a vessel carrying aid to the Gaza strip was fired upon by the Israeli Navy, the Perdana Global Peace Organization, sponsoring the humanitarian initiative, posted a press release today saying that it was unable to get out of the Egyptian waters after having reported engine problems.

The press release said,

“The ship’s aqua pilot sailing system has broken down and our ship is spinning, going in circles, and turning round and round. We are therefore unable to get out of the Egyptian territorial waters.” Read more

Israel's new F-35 fighter jet may be delayed

PNN-The future of the Israel’s air power technology is in question. The F-35 jet, which has stealth capabilities and is said to be the future of air power and which was slated to take the place of an entire generation of old fighter jets, has become too costly for the Americans.

However, the U.S. has already been slated to buy 2,443 of these jets from Lockheed- Martin for their own Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. They have also purchased the jets for other countries, including Israel. Israel has already ordered 20 of these jet fighters. Read more

EU Council Conclusions on Middle East Peace Process

PNN– On Monday May 23, the Council of the European Union signed on its “Council conclusions on Middle East Peace Process.”

The Conclusions are as follows:

1. The fundamental changes across the Arab world have made the need for progress on the Middle East Peace Process all the more urgent. Recent events have indeed shown the necessity of heeding the legitimate aspirations of peoples in the region, including those of Palestinians for statehood, and of Israelis for security.

2. The EU is deeply concerned about the continuing stalemate in the Peace Process and calls for the urgent resumption of direct negotiations leading to a comprehensive solution on all tracks. Our goal remains a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two States. Recalling the Berlin Declaration, the EU reiterates its readiness to recognize a Palestinian State when appropriate.

3. The EU believes that negotiations are the best way forward, if there is to be a lasting resolution to the conflict. The parties and the international community must contribute to the resumption of substantive talks as a matter of urgency, leading to a framework agreement by September 2011, as agreed by the parties and endorsed by the Quartet. In this regard the EU welcomes the recent consultations between the parties and the Quartet envoys. Read more

'US lawmakers forced to support Israel'

Press TV- Former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney says every candidate for Congress has to sign a pledge to vote for supporting the military superiority of Israel.

“Every candidate for Congress at that time had a pledge. They were given a pledge to sign ... that had Jerusalem as the capital city,” McKinney said in an interview with Press TV on Sunday.

“You make a commitment that you would vote to support the military superiority of Israel that the economic assistant that Israel wants that you would vote to provide that,” she added.

McKinney said that if a candidate does not sign the pledge or perform accordingly, “then you do not get money to run your campaign.”

The former Congresswoman said that after she made the pledge issue public “the tactic changed.”

“But this is what is done for 535 members of the United States Congress, 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives have to now write a paragraph which basically says the same thing.” Read more

Internationals call for solidarity with "Naksa" day marches

IMEMC- The International Solidarity Committee, the international activist organization for Palestine, has called for solidarity marches around the world with upcoming “Naksa” events in the Middle East.

The group, which maintains a large international activist presence in the West Bank, has called on global demonstrations to Israeli embassies around the world on June 5th, “Naksa Day”, to show solidarity with refugee’s seeking a return to their homes.

Naksa, meaning “setback”, marks the forced exodus of 300,000 Palestinians during the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and the Arab states. While it is normally marked on Nakba Day (May 15th), this year the group for the “Third Palestinian Intifada” has called on Palestinian refugees to mark the day by repeating actions taken during this year’s Nakba Day when they marched to the Israeli border in Lebanon, Syria, and in the Gaza Strip. Read more

Jewish donors pressure Obama

Press TV- Jewish donors and fund-raisers have reportedly warned the re-election campaign of US President Barack Obama over his “tough policies” towards Israel.

The donors said the US president has pushed Israeli leaders too hard to stop the construction of settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories, The Wall Street Journal said.

They said Obama is putting more pressure on the Israelis than the Palestinians to enter negotiations, expressing their disappointment over Obama not having visited Israel yet.

The US-sponsored direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority cancelled after Tel Aviv refused to extend its partial 10-month freeze on settlement activities.

One top Democratic fund-raiser, Miami developer Michael Adler, urged Obama campaign manager Jim Messina to be "extremely proactive" in countering the perception in the Jewish community that Obama is too critical of Israel. Read more

Israeli forces detain 70-year-old Palestinian woman

Ma'an- Israeli forces detained a 70-year-old woman from her home near Ramallah overnight Sunday, a detainees' center reported.

Soldiers detained Hajjeh Aicha Yousef after searching her home, the center said. Read more

Israeli naval forces continue intimidation of Malaysian aid ship to Gaza

Ma'an-AFP- A Malaysian aid ship attempting to land in Gaza after being warned off by Israeli naval forces last week has been forced to abort its mission after engine trouble, activists said.

Matthias Chang, who is heading the mission for the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, told AFP on Monday that the MV Finch was now stuck six nautical miles from Egypt's Al-Arish port. Read more

Palestinian unity arose from ruins of peace talks

Ma'an-AFP- A Palestinian unity deal, slammed by Barack Obama as an "enormous obstacle to peace," emerged after Hamas and Fatah agreed on the shared goal of a state on the 1967 lines and the failure of talks with Israel.

"The recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace," the US president told delegates at the US-Israel lobby group AIPAC in Washington on Sunday, demanding the Islamist movement recognize Israel, reject violence and respect all existing agreements with Israel. Read more

Monday, May 23, 2011

Obama to Israel: Take whatever you want

Al Jazeera- In his latest speech, Obama's thinly veiled rhetoric proves he will do anything to satisfy his pro-Israel voter base.

"We've increased foreign military financing to record levels."

In 2008, Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, pandered to pro-Israeli voters and Israel by promising in a speech addressed to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that Jerusalem would forever remain "the undivided capital of Israel".

Three years later, Obama is on another pre-campaign trail in order to improve his chances for re-election in 2012. As part of this campaign, he has made a new round of half-hearted attempts to revive the stalled "peace process" completely under Israel's terms.

In his latest speech addressed to AIPAC, Obama promised Israel everything short of allegiance by reaffirming America's commitment to Israel's political and security goals. His speech denied the right of Palestinians to declare a nation and he even vowed to block any peaceful Palestinian efforts to claim their legal rights at international organisations.

Obama's lip service to Palestinian "self-determination" is nothing more than vacuous rhetoric - as he clearly implied that Israeli interests, especially its security, remain the top priority for American foreign policy in the region. Read more

'UN deaf to Palestinians' plight'

Press TV- Israeli troops have killed more than 20 people during Nakba Day demonstrations across the Middle East.

Nakba Day, or the day of the catastrophe, marks the occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel 63 years ago.

In order to give a legal insight into the status of Palestinian refugees, Press TV interviews Francis Boyle who is a Professor of International Law in Illinois. What follows is a transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Lebanon has this week called for action from the UN regarding the Palestinians shot at its border on Nakba Day. How should the UN be responding to these Israeli attacks on unarmed demonstrators?

Boyle: This clearly violates Israel's obligations under the international law on civil and political rights, the basic human right to life itself as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You simply cannot shoot dead unarmed protesters at a border in someone else's sovereign territory. Whether the UN will do anything about it, I cannot say I am terribly optimistic. Israel has been shooting dead Palestinians like dogs in the streets for decades and the United Nations has so far refused to do anything about it that I am aware of.

Press TV: What are the legal statuses of Palestinians trying to return home? I mean if you are from a Lebanese refugee camp and you go to a place that Israel considers its borders, are you Palestinian or are you Lebanese? I mean what is your right under international law? Read more

Curfews, discrimination and apartheid in Hebron

PNN- Some of the streets in Hebron on Sunday saw Palestinians put under a four hour curfew from 15.00 until 19.00 in order to facilitate a Jewish tour of the old city for the Jewish settler population living in the area.

The group of settlers gathered in Shuhadah Street at checkpoint 56, which is a checkpoint normally used on a daily basis by Palestinians entering to the market, and as the main access point from which they can go to the shopping streets, the transport places, including taxi ranks and bus stations and many other areas in the old city which are frequented by the Palestinian inhabitants. Read more

One Palestinian worker dies in Gaza; Israeli troops arrest nine civilians from the West Bank

PNN- A Palestinian worker was reported dead on Monday when a tunnel he works in at the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed. Doctors said that Mohamed al-Najar, 32 years old, sustained critical wounds when the tunnel collapsed while he was inside. Al-Najar died later in hospital. Another worker is still in critical condition, doctors added.

Since the Israeli siege on Gaza, which started in 2007, the tunnels have become the only source of much needed medical and food supplies to the 1.6 million Palestinians living there. According to Palestinian sources, 380 people were killed in tunnel accidents over the last four years.

Elsewhere, on Monday, Israeli troops invaded a number of West Bank communities and arrested nine civilians, Palestinian sources reported. Read more

Israel under criticism from British leaders and politicians

IMEMC- Israel has come under increasing criticism from British leaders and Parliamentarians both for its illegal settlement activity and its treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military courts.

Reacting to the declaration of intent to build a further 1,500 Jewish only housing units in occupied East Jerusalem by the Israeli planning body, British Prime Minister David Cameroon has expressed his “deepest disappointment”.

“Settlement activity is a recognised obstacle to this path. It is illegal under international law and should stop," Cameron said in a statement. The announcement came on the same day as US Presidents Speech on the region which called on the Israeli government to halt the expansion of illegal settlement activity in Palestinian land. Read more

Israeli incursion into Nablus holy site planned for tomorrow

PNN- Few hours separate us from the visit of Jewish settlers and right-wing Israeli parliamentarians to Joseph's Tomb, located east of Nablus city in northern West Bank.

The visit was announced after the Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak gave the okay to right-wing Israeli MPs to visit the tomb during the day under the protection of the Israeli army. Read more

Israeli court sentences Palestinian teen to 6 months

Ma'an- Israel's military judges on Monday issued a six-month jail sentence to a teenager from Bil'in village near Ramallah.

Amjad Ayed Abu Rahma, 15, was sentenced at Ofer military court near Ramallah, local activists said.

He was detained in January for participating in Bil'in's weekly non-violent protests against the separation wall. Read more

Israeli forces install fence around Qalqiliya village

Ma'an- Israeli forces began to install a barbed-wire fence on Monday around a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, saying it was meant to prevent stone throwing.

Residents of Izbat At-Tabib, located east of Qalqiliya, awoke to the sounds of construction, and were told that lands made inaccessible by the construction were being confiscated for the construction of a buffer area between the village and the settler road that passes to its north. Read more

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Americans organize conference countering Israeli Lobby meeting in DC

Press TV- People from all over the United States have participated in a 'Move Over AIPAC' summit in a bid to counter the influence of the Israel lobby on US policies.

The summit kicked off this weekend with the aim to thwart the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's influence on Capitol Hill, a Press TV correspondent reported on Saturday.

During the summit, Stephen Walt, who co-authored the highly acclaimed and controversial book, “Israel Lobby,” made speeches on how the American people suffer from detrimental impacts of the Israeli policies.

“Everyone in Congress and anybody running for president knows you are playing with fire if you question support for Israel,” Walt said. Read more

Palestinian youth killed by Israeli army fire in central Gaza

IMEMC- Palestinian medical sources reported Saturday at night that a Palestinian youth was killed by Israel army fire, east of Al Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. Read more

Eight Palestinians, including four children, wounded in Hebron

IMEMC- Palestinian medical sources reported, Saturday evening, that eight Palestinians, including four children, were treated by the effects of teargas inhalation during clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. Read more

Israeli settlers dump sewage in Palestinian town

IMEMC- Sewage and wastewater from the Israeli settlement of Ariel, the largest settlement in the West Bank, has polluted the Palestinian village of Bruqin, which sits adjacent to the settlement. Read more