Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land theft / Settlements
Israeli high court upholds eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem homes
The Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition by two Palestinian families challenging their eviction from their houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Sunday.
The Hanoun and Al-Ghawi families had appealed a decision by the Israeli Central Court which also denied their right to remain in their homes. The families’ lawyer, Husni Abu Hussein presented Ottoman-era documents proving the family’s ownership of the land. The court rejected the Palestinians’ claims, siding with Israeli settlers who also claim the land.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36902

Beit Liqya commemorates Land Day by planting trees near martyrs' graves
On the 31st of March, at 10:30am, villagers in Beit Liqya marked Land Day by planting trees near the graves of two villagers killed by Israeli forces during demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall in 2005.  Beit Liqya is located in the Ramallah district of the central West Bank.  Around 200 villagers, supported by Israeli and international solidarity activists, moved towards the Apartheid Wall, which is built on village land. Around 50 boys from the local youth committee beat drums and marched in procession to the graves of two boys killed by Israeli forces.  Jamal Jaber, 15 years old, and Uday Mofeed, 14 years old, were shot with live ammunition during nonviolent demonstrations against the construction of the Apartheid Wall in 2005.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5822

Land Day demonstration in Halhul, Hebron district
At midday on the 4th of April, around forty Palestinians from Halhul and the surrounding villages set off to cultivate land near the illegal settlement of Karmi Zur.  Halhul is a village in the Hebron district of the southern West Bank.  Demonstrators were also joined by Israeli and international solidarity activists. The protestors headed up the road to the fields around that village that have restricted access to Palestinian farmers.  The Israeli military restricts these lands due to their proximity to the illegal Israeli settlement of Karme Zur.  These fields are also dangerous for Palestinian farmers to cultivate because of attacks and harrassment from settlers.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5863

Settlers, Palestinians clash in Hebron over easing of restrictions
Violence breaks out during settler demonstration against opening of Kiryat Arba-Cave of the Patriarchs road to Palestinian traffic. Nadia Matar blames Thursday's murder of settler teen on removal of checkpoints, opening of roads, says 'we won't let it happen here too'
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3697127,00.html

Swallowing up Jerusalem
In its rabid efforts to consolidate its control of traditionally Arab East Jerusalem, Israel moved forcefully mid-March to suppress Palestinian cultural activities marking the declaration of the city as the capital of Arab culture for the year 2009 ... Israeli efforts to obliterate Jerusalem’s Arab-Islamic-Christian identity began immediately after 1967. For example, only four days after the seizure of the city, Israeli army bulldozers wantonly demolished the Maghariba and Sharaf neighbourhoods, leveling them to the ground. The Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighbourhoods were expelled rather unceremoniously at gunpoint. All in all, 135 houses, two mosques and two religious schools or Zawiyas were destroyed and completely obliterated.
http://www.ptimes.org/main/

Siege / aftermath / aid / humanitarian situation

Hamas: Arabs to send aid ships to Gaza
GAZA, April 5 (Xinhua) -- A fleet of Arab ships plans to sail into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in a bid to break a 22-month-old Israeli blockade on the territory, a Hamas spokesman said on Sunday. According to Zourob, a lobby of 35 Lebanese and Palestinian organizations is preparing to send ships to the Gaza Strip by the end of May. "Arab and international campaigners will be onboard."
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/05/content_11135076.htm

Anti-siege fleet scheduled to arrive in Gaza in May
Activists are planning a “Freedom Fleet” to break the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip in early may. The flotilla is part of an “uprising” that is being prepared by the official anti-siege committee in the Gaza Strip, said spokesperson Adel Zu’rub. Zu’rub explained in a statement that the committee encompasses more than 35 subcommittees in Palestine and Lebanon ... Zu’rub highlighted that Israeli authorities detained a ship heading from Tripoli and confiscated its contents in February. The people on board the ship and the load were detained and released later, yet the ship remains impounded.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36889

Skills vow for Gaza doctors
DOCTORS from war-torn Gaza could be brought to Bahrain for specialist training, it has emerged. The Health Ministry has entered discussions on the possibility of bringing health professionals to Manama for intensive care unit training, said Gaza Union of Health Workers Executive Director Dr Yusuf Mousa. "We are re-arranging the staffing capacities in our hospitals," he told the GDN. "I have spoken to ministry officials about bringing doctors and nurses from Gaza to Salmaniya Medical Complex for training, especially the ICU. "We are also looking to transfer Bahraini experts to Gaza to train some of the staff there."
http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=247421

1346 children lost one or both parents during Israel's war on Gaza
The Islamic Relief Organization in the Gaza Strip reported that 1346 Palestinian children lost one parent or both during the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.Mohammad Abu Darraz, head of the Child Center at the organization, reported that in most cases orphaned children lost their fathers. Darraz stated that there are 5200 orphans in the Gaza Strip, and added that the organization received so far 500 forms asking for sponsorships for orphaned children, but the organization only managed to approve 200.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59779

Al Jazeera video: Israeli bombs still threaten Gaza's civilians
More than two months after Israel's 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip, unexploded bombs continue to threaten Palestinian civilians. Explosives that failed to detonate during the bombardment still lie in heavily populated areas of Gaza. Since the war ended, seven people have been killed by bombs suddenly exploding, six of them children, as Sherine Tadros reports from the war-torn territory.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgZ8F3ulgnk

Warmth and support
By Eva Bartlett. I met Ramadan and Sabrine Shamali at a Sheyjayee market a couple of days ago. They were going to buy new blankets, mattresses, and other essentials, including clothing, to replace what was lost when their house was attacked by the invading Israeli army during Israel’s war on Gaza.  They were using money sent from those outside of Gaza in solidarity with Palestinians.
http://ingaza.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/warmth-and-support/

Tales to tell: The lentils did OK today

(with photos) By Sharon Lock. Today [Mar 31] we accompanied farmers in the Latamat area on the outskirts of Khoza’a. The last time we were out farming in Khoza’a the shooting was the closest I’d experienced, and from the video footage it looked like the Israelis were aiming to shoot my colleague J in the leg. Since later that same day Wafa was shot in the kneecap, and not too long before that farmer Mohammed was shot in the foot while we were with him, the ISM group had been taking stock of our role. We decided that Gaza ISM had to hold meetings with any farmers that wanted our accompaniment and be absolutely sure they understood that our presence protects them only mildly if in fact it protects them at all.
http://talestotell.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/march-31-the-lentils-did-ok-today/

Photo gallery: Sameh Habeeb, "Victim's victims"
http://dadabase.ca/victim_habee_00.php

Attacks / arrests / incursions / closures

Israeli forces impose collective punishment on Saffa village following attack on settler youth
(with photos) At around 1:30pm, dozens of soldiers entered the village, declaring a 24-hour curfew and preventing residents from leaving their homes. Israeli authorities have said that the military operation was in response to the attack on the settler children, which occurred in the settlement of Bet Ayn, located adjacent to Saffa. However, the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits acts of collective punishment against civilian populations ... On the following day of 3 April, a large military presence still remained in Saffa, and most roads in the area continue to be closed. At around 9am, villagers removed an army earth mound between Beit Omar and Saffa. The army returned to build the roadblock again, only to clear the road a few hours later and build a new roadblock on another street.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5848

IOF troops isolate Palestinian village from the outside world

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces on Sunday continued to isolate the Palestinian village of Safa for the fourth consecutive day from the outside world and persisted in large-scale search operations in all village homes, locals reported. The sources said that the IOF soldiers block travel of inhabitants outside the village after installing several roadblocks at its entrances in a futile attempt to capture a Palestinian worker suspected of attacking two Israeli settlers north of Al-Khalil near Safa.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/


Soldiers assault Palestinian ambulance en route to Hebron
According to Abdul-Halim Ja’afira, director of Emergency and Ambulance Services in Hebron, Israeli soldiers assaulted ambulance driver Iyad Mudiyya and medic Ali Tmeizi Sunday morning. Ja’afira explained that the ambulance was heading to Jerusalem after medics received a call from Israeli ambulance service Magen David to evacuate a Palestinian worker who fell in a factory in Jerusalem. Ja’abira added that the ambulance failed to deliver the worker because Israeli soldiers impeded the mission.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36888

Israeli military patrols storm Tulkarem 'to buy a hookah'
Israeli soldiers stormed the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem in three vehicles on Sunday, firing gunshots and tear gas before they besieged a café and forced everybody inside to lie on the ground. Palestinian youth who were inside Za’im Café had assumed the mission was, as usual, aimed at detaining someone. However, they were surprised when the soldiers examined hookahs and one asked for the owner. Still lying on the floor, the owner, Thaer Al-Jaroun, answered. The soldier asked him how much he should pay for the hookah, then he took the hookah he selected and paid 230 Israeli shekels as the owner of the café requested. After the soldiers left, youth pelted them with stones and confrontations erupted
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36894

Palestinians retaliate
'Teenage Bedouin gunwoman sought to avenge Gaza op'
The 16-year-old Bedouin girl killed during a foiled weekend shooting attack at a Border Police base in the Negev had apparently sought to avenge Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip, the Israel Police said late Saturday ... The police findings contradicted the claims of Al-Nabari's family, who argued that the girl had been shot for no reason. Ali al-Nabari, the attacker's cousin, said following the incident that "it couldn't be. The police is lying and exaggerating. Maybe she was there to make a complaint and got mixed-up."
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076510.html

'Gaza screams echo in my ears'
Court remands parents, uncle of teenage terrorist who fired on Border Guard officers in Shoket Junction, to custody; police enter excerpts of girl's diary, expressing her wish to 'die for Palestine', say it's 'unlikely a 16-year-old girl took it upon herself to become shahida' -- The police asked the court to remand all three on suspicion of conspiracy to committing a crime and breaching national security. The court remanded the girl's father, Ibrahim, and uncle, Awad, for four days, and her mother, Najah for 24 hours; afterwards she will be remanded to house arrest at her brother's home.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3697570,00.html

Talks / diplomacy
Gaza official: backchannel Shalit talks ongoing
Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Dhadha said in a statement that a deal involving the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had almost been sealed, but that Israel had scuttled two separate tracks of mediation. “After a final agreement was brokered by the Egyptians, the Israelis retreated because it meant a defeat to them by Palestinian resistance,” said Dhadha.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36896

Egypt: Abbas should head transitional government
Director of Egyptian Intelligence Umar Sulaiman has suggested that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas head the Palestinian national consensus government as a compromise between Fatah and Hamas, said a Palestinian official on Sunday.  The official told United Press International that Sulaiman suggested the new government include ministers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and operate for a transitional period until after legislative and presidential elections scheduled for January 2010.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36892

US envoy: Arab peace initiative will be part of Obama policy
The 2002 initiative offers to normalize relations between the entire Arab region and Israel, in exchange for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories including East Jerusalem, the establishment of a Palestinian State and a "just settlement" for Palestinian refugees. The envoy, George Mitchell, said the U.S. intends to "incorporate" the initiative into its Middle East policy ... Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood insisted the U.S. would push for the establishment of a Palestinian state
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076396.html

EU calls on Netanyahu to back two-state solution
The EU Presidency and the president of the European Parliament have both called on the new Israeli government to resume peace talks with the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36881

Netanyahu to develop diplomatic policy within weeks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his government would produce policies on “peace and security,” including presumably the Palestinians, in the coming weeks. The charter of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party expressly prohibits Israel from giving up any land it has occupied. His foreign minister is Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of an extreme-right fringe party and a resident of an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36900

Abbas pressured to reinstate ambassador to Russia
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is coming under pressure to reinstate the Palestinian ambassador to Russia, Afif Safieh, who he fired in March. The Coalition of Jerusalem Organizations and the Coalition of Christian organizations in Palestine issued a joint call on Saturday urging the president to reinstate Safieh ... A Christian and a long-serving diplomat for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Safieh has also served as ambassador to the United Sates, the Netherlands, and the Vatican.  Abbas is scheduled to visit Russia later this week for talks with its president, Dimitri Medvedev.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36899

War crimes
Photo gallery: Disproportionate, indiscriminate
http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/04/disproportionate-indiscriminate.html

Medical sources tell what has really happened in Gaza
3 simultaneous press conferences in Brussels, Paris and Jerusalem on 6th April -- Palestinian and Israeli organisations will present the conclusions of an international independent medical fact-finding mission commissioned by the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR)
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article899

UN judge pick for Gaza shocks, awes
Gaza City, April 4, 2009 - (Pal Telegraph) - Following global concern about Israel's conduct in Gaza, the UN decision to appoint a Jewish judge to head the war crimes probe raises eyebrows -- Richard Goldstone, a South African Jewish judge, was appointed by President of the UN Human Rights Council Martin Uhomoibhi on Friday to play the leading role in an internationally-urged probe into Israeli war crimes during the three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip. Following the appointment, Goldstone said he was 'shocked, as a Jew' to be invited to head the mission. The fact-finding mission is set to start an inquiry as Israel has previously snubbed human rights investigations, arguing that the Human Rights Council is biased. The appointment is believed to be an attempt to appease Israeli opposition to the investigation. The decision has also raised fears of Palestinian refusal to cooperate on the issue.
http://www.paltelegraph.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=462:un-judge-pick-for-gaza-shocks-awes&
catid=58:gaza-strip&Itemid=182


Shooting and crying - nothing new since 1948 ... or is it?

With amazement the world public has noticed in recent weeks that war crimes had apparently been committed in Gaza. (1) Even Israeli soldiers and military staff now report about their own cruelties against the Palestinian population, cruelties that we do not even know from movies ... Did anything change in Israeli politics? Are those really completely new phenomena, suddenly coming up in the discourse, out of thin air? Or do we only witness the consequences of a continuing strategy that had begun more than sixty years ago? There are good arguments for the latter alternative, especially when you look at the facts. Let us, for example, revisit the year 1948 … Deir Yassin and the Human Rights
http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/04/04/shooting-and-crying-nothing-new-since-1948-or-is-it/

Solidarity / boycotts / sanctions
Video: Congresswoman Barbara Lee speaking about Tristan Anderson in the House of Representatives
Congresswoman Barbara Lee makes a statement regarding the American citizen, Tristan Anderson, who was shot in the head with a tear-gas projectile on 13 March 2009 by Israeli forces.
http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/5746

Jews sans frontieres: Relabelling rumbled
From the Cyprus Mail: "Commerce Minister Antonis Paschalides is looking into a humiliating blunder by a leading EU supermarket chain after it sold tons of Israeli fruit as ”Produce of Cyprus”, he said yesterday. German-owned Aldi were left red-faced when they admitted to the Cyprus Mail that they had effectively misled thousands of Irish consumers by falsely labeling Israeli grapefruit as Cypriot produce ... Some Irish consumers even said they would boycott Cyprus produce until they knew it was genuinely Cypriot. The prospect could be damaging for Cypriot citrus growers.
http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2009/04/relabelling-rumbled.html

Khamenei hails Venezuela's 'courageous' cuts in Israeli ties
TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran's supreme leader Ali Khemenei hailed on Saturday as a "courageous" step the Venezuelan government's decision to cut ties with Tehran's archfoe Israel over the Gaza war. Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador in January to protest the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip that left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead ...On Friday, Tehran and Caracas inaugurated a bank to finance their joint economic, industrial and mining projects projects. The Iran-Venezuela Joint Bank, based in Tehran, has an initial capital base of 200 million dollars, with each nation providing half the funds.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090404/wl_mideast_afp/iranvenezueladiplomacykhamenei

Collaborators
Arab child's sickbed is part of the battleground
WADI FUQEEN, West Bank (AP) -- Asil Manasra, a 6-year-old Palestinian girl, was in her eighth month of intensive treatment at an Israeli hospital for complications arising from a long bout of tuberculosis when she was abruptly forced to stop the visits. A week after she was discharged, she died. It's impossible to know how much longer Asil might have lived, but her family is convinced she is the first victim of a Palestinian [PA] decision that has cut hundreds of people off from proper medical care and has led Israeli hospitals to turn away those in need.
http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/lifestyles/health_med_fit/article/I-ISRA0318_20090402-232241/247922/

European campaign asks PA to spare Gaza patients the political wrangling
BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- The European campaign to lift the siege on Gaza has expressed surprise at the news report that the PA in Ramallah was blocking travel of Gaza patients abroad for life-saving medical treatment. Mohammed Hanun, the representative of the campaign in Italy, said in a press statement on Saturday that the World Health Organization had confirmed that the travel of those patients was hinged on Ramallah's approval as both Egypt and Israel refuses to allow those patients access without prior approval of Ramallah.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Media bias
Why does the [New York] Times only let Arabs criticize Israel?
Wonderful, yes, that today the Times ran George Bisharat's op-ed piece saying Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. But Bisharat is a Palestinian-American. And do you notice the pattern? Jeff Blankfort does: "I have noticed that, almost without exception, the only critics of Israeli policy that are given op-ed space, not only in the NY Times, but elsewhere in the mainstream media, are either Palestinians such as Rashid Khalidi, Saree Makdisi, or George Bisharat, or in the most extreme example, Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi, being given space to promote a one-state solution (an assignment that, quite clearly, was intended to permanently marginalize the idea). It has long been the same with the Times letter section, in which criticism of Israel seems also to be reserved for writers with non-Western names. I know of several people, besides myself, Jewish and non-Jewish, who have attempted, without success, to get letters published in the paper but to no avail and have since given up. The thinking behind the Times' decision as to who does or doesn't get their words in print is to not so subtly portray the Israel-Palestine conflict as being "them vs. us," the "us" being those who identify with Israel thanks to the cleverly oversold and mistaken notion that "we" and the Israelis have "shared values."
http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/04/why-does-the-times-only-let-arabs-criticize-israel-.html

Mid-East article was not biased, Press Council finds
The Press Council has dismissed a complaint by Rabih Alkadamani about an opinion article in The Australian on November 26, 2008, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was an account by Janet Albrechtsen of her experiences and views following an Israel-sponsored visit to the region. Albrechtsen spoke of Hamas rocket attacks, and briefly about "intractable hurdles to peace" before focusing on what she called "a generation of Palestinian children being raised on a full diet of hate education" -- partially funded by Western money -- that negates the prospects of future peace. Mr Alkadamani said he had provided to The Australian an opinion article repudiating Albrechtsen's views, but this was not published. The Australian said it had published a "lively" selection of letters about Albrechtsen's column in the days following its publication. Mr Alkadamani expressed concern that the person who rejected his article, Rebecca Weisser, the opinion editor, had herself been on a sponsored trip to Israel, which resulted in a pro-Israeli feature article in The Australian on November 29.
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25293264-7582,00.html?from=public_rss

'We all know that Israeli soldiers don't kill on purpose': The contribution of the media discource to unawareness
The recent Gaza war, like the war that came before it, began with inflammatory, militant and jingoistic media coverage [in Israel]. Then, as now, troubling details about the conduct of the IDF were revealed only later. How the media discourse clouds public perceptions... Keshev finds that alongside the impassioned coverage of the first few days of the fighting the major media outlets in Israel played down information that was known at the time about arbitrary conduct and severe harm to innocent civilians, minimizing the significance of these reports and placing them only in the margins of the coverage.
http://www.keshev.org.il/siteEn/FullNews.asp?NewsID=134&CategoryID=9

Prisoners
Israel isolates Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners in Nafha prison
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The lawyer of the Palestinian prisoner club said that the Israeli Nafha prison administration started recently to isolate the prisoners of Hamas and Islamic Jihad from other prisoners as a prelude to taking punitive measures against them including depriving them of their financial allocations.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Two Hamas leaders start hunger strike in Israeli jails
NABLUS, (PIC)-- Dr. Nasseruddin Al-Shaer and Ra'fat Nassif, two of the Hamas political leaders in the West Bank, have gone on hunger strike in protest over their incarceration conditions, the international Tadamun institution for human rights reported. Shaer, a former deputy premier in the tenth PA national unity government, told the Tadamun lawyer Fares Abu Hassan in a press release on Sunday that the Israeli prisons authority was holding them in a cell that lacks the minimum life requirements ever since their arrival to the Megiddo prison more than a week ago.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Sheikh Salah: The file of prisoners is one of Palestinian cause's priorities
During a news conference held in east Jerusalem, Sheik Ra'ed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands, underlined that there are 20 veteran prisoners from the 1948 occupied lands who were arrested before the Oslo accords, 16 of them spent more than 20 years especially prisoner Sami Younis who had been in jail since 1983. He pointed out that the Israeli occupation authority discriminates between the Arab and Israeli prisoners, where it released all Israeli criminals who killed Arabs after a few years of their imprisonment.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Other news

First women to graduate from Palestinian [PA] military academy
The first batch of women set to graduate from the Palestinian military academy marched with their male colleagues on Saturday, in a rare display of women and men training alongside each other in the Middle East ...  The two-year-old academy currently has 16 women among 148 men in its class set to graduate in June. They will then be incorporated into the Palestinian police, intelligence services and preventive security forces.  On Saturday, women clad in olive-green uniforms, some with their heads covered, marched together with the men. Farah Salman was one of them and said she dreamed of being a police commander.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076315.html

Hamas denies establishment of military academy in Gaza
GAZA, April 3 (Xinhua) -- A senior Islamic Hamas official denied on Friday the earlier Israeli reports saying that the movement has inaugurated in Gaza a military academy to train militants on fighting Israel. Ismail Radwan said in a press statement that the Israeli report" is false and inaccurate. It is just a poor attempt to justify the occupation's defeat during the war on the Gaza Strip."
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/03/content_11126632.htm

Israeli security sources: Fatah has resumed terrorist activities
Defense officials said over the weekend they are concerned about the increased involvement of Fatah-affiliated militants in attacks against Jews in the West Bank over the past two months. Fatah members stopped attacks against Israel around two years ago, but the involvement of Fatah members in the recent deadly attack in Bat Ayin and the murder of two policemen in the Jordan Valley is being investigated.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076398.html

Israeli police: FM Lieberman to face charges
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will likely face charges of money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, police reportedly told Israeli media on Saturday.  Lieberman has been questioned by police twice since taking office earlier last week. Lieberman is expected to testify once more before the police probe concludes. His case will then be transferred to the Israeli State Prosecutor's Office.
http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=36890

Economic blues hovering over Israel
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied E. Jerusalem. The main challenge facing the new right-wing government in Israel is not going to be the moribund peace process with the Palestinians, but rather the depressive crisis now haunting the Israeli economy.  Some economists label the current crisis as the “harshest in Israel’s history.”
 
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/

Israel's Cairo embassy at 30: lonely but hopeful
Israelis see the embassy as a crucial foothold in a Middle East largely hostile or, at best, indifferent to them. Yet many Egyptians resent being the first to have engaged a Jewish state whose presence Arabs often consider anathema, and any sympathies are sapped by the plight of the Palestinians ... By signing the 1979 Camp David accord with Israel, Egypt won back the occupied Sinai -- over which it launched a war six years prior -- and secured vital U.S. aid grants. There is scant sense of any broader rapprochement.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L2950636.htm

Op-ed / analysis
/ testimony

Reham Alhelsi / Jerusalem: the heart, soul and home of Palestine
In 1929 Ben-Gurion said: “Jerusalem is not the same thing to the Arabs as it is to the Jews”. While he meant to say that Palestinians were not part of Jerusalem and are not attached to it as the Jews are, I would say, he almost got it right: Jerusalem is not the same thing to the Palestinians as it is to the Zionists. To us, Jerusalem is a home and an integral part of each of us, to the Zionists it is but another construction site, for he who loves a city would not destroy it as the Zionists are doing right now with Jerusalem.
http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/04/04/reham-alhelsi-jerusalem-the-heart-soul-and-home-of-palestine/

Stuart Littlewood / Student Merna foils Israeli bid to wreck family's education hopes
Bethlehem University has been closed a dozen times by Israeli storm-troopers and shelled by their tanks, but it remains one of those magical places in the Holy Land where you always feels good ‘vibes’. Meeting the students is a continual source of inspiration, as so many apply themselves to their studies with cheerful determination in spite of difficult family circumstances and almost insurmountable obstacles put in their way by the Occupation. So I enjoy the newsletters the Brothers regularly send me. Their latest includes the heart-rending story of a young girl, Merna, an honors student in her final year majoring in English. For most people studying for a degree is tough enough, but this youngster also has to battle against armed intruders who invade her home and have systematically destroyed her family life.
http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/04/student-merna-foils-israeli-bid-to-wreck-family%E2%80%99s-education-hopes/

Gideon Levy / Was Israel's reported strike in Sudan an exercise in propaganda?
Shhhhh, Israel has done it again. On the eve of the end of prime minister Ehud Olmert's term, in what appeared like a suspicious coincidence, we heard the report from distant America about another covert, impressive Israeli operation. This time it was carried out by planes or unmanned aerial vehicles. Israel had struck again.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076410.html

Uri Avnery / Who's the boss?
Concessions, [Lieberman] said, do not bring peace, but quite the reverse. The world respected and admired Israel when it won the Six-day war. Two fallacies in one sentence. Returning occupied territory is not a “concession”. When a thief is compelled to return stolen property, or when a squatter vacates an apartment that does not belong to him, that is not a “concession”. And the admiration for Israel in 1967 came from a world that saw us as a little, valiant country that had stood up to mighty armies out to destroy us. But today’s Israel looks like a brutal Goliath, while the occupied Palestinians are now viewed as a David with his slingshot, fighting for his life.
http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1238914988


Open letter to the editor of the Jerusalem Post: When is someone who attacks you a 'terrorist' and when is he just a 'man'?

Yesterday we noted a murderous incident, Palestinian against settler, in the occupied West Bank. Well there's a back story worthy of Dickens. From the JPost: "Yair Gamliel, the seven-year-old boy whose skull was fractured by an ax-wielding terrorist in the settlement of Bat Ayin on Thursday, is the son of Ofer Gamliel, one of three men convicted in 2003 and sent to prison for 15 years for a failed bomb plot against a Arab girls school in east Jerusalem..."
http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/04/yair-gamliel-the-seven-year-old-boy-whose-skull-was-fractured-by-an-ax-wielding-terrorist-in-the-settlement-of-bat-ayin-on-t.html

An unhelpful discourse on Israel: Jeff Halper to Australian Jewry
The uproar in the organized Jewish community over the prospect of my speaking in Australia is truly startling to an Israeli like me. Granted, I am very critical of Israel's policies of Occupation and doubt whether a two-state solution is still possible given the extent of Israel's settlements, but this hardly warrants the kind of demonization I received in the pages of The AJN. Opinions similar to mine are readily available in the mainstream Israeli media. Indeed, I myself write frequently for the Israeli press and appear regularly on Israeli TV and radio. Why, then, the hysteria? Why was I banned from Temple Emmanuel in Sydney, a self-proclaimed progressive synagogue? Why did I, an Israeli, have to address the Jewish community from a church? Why was I invited to speak in every university in eastern Australia yet, at Monash University, I was forced to hold a secret meeting with Jewish faculty in a darkened room far from the halls of intellectual discourse?
http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=32819

Iraq
Iraq pledges to protect its Palestinian residents
BAGHDAD — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas won assurances Sunday that Iraqi leaders will protect Palestinians living in Iraq — including thousands stranded in desert refugee camps — during his first visit to the country since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. The visit marked a major step in improving ties between the Shiite-led government of Iraq and the Palestinian leadership, which had warm relations with the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein ... About 11,000 Palestinians still live in Iraq, mostly in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Baladiyat. Hundreds of Palestinians, overwhelmingly Sunni, were slaughtered during the sectarian violence of a few years ago in Iraq.
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/international/middle_east/view.bg?articleid=1163614&srvc=rss

Saturday: 1 US Marine, 2 Iraqis killed; 10 Iraqis wounded
Excerpt: At least two Iraqis were killed and eight more were wounded in the latest violence; however, no reports came out of Mosul where attacks occur on a daily basis. One U.S. Marine was killed in a non-combat incident.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2009/04/04/iraq-2/

Black funeral banners belie Iraq's declining death toll
At a time when the Iraqi government and U.S. military speak of lower death tolls, black banners drape the mosque walls and traffic circles of Baghdad, telling a different story of a world beyond statistics, where killings still ripple through society.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-iraq-banner5-2009apr05,0,7972452.story?track=rss

Other news

Navy lawyer who faulted Guantánamo is reassigned
SAN JUAN, P.R. (AP) — A Navy lawyer who clashed with superiors over defense tactics for detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been removed from the case of a Canadian accused of killing an American soldier in Afghanistan, an official said on Saturday. In his two years on the case, Commander Kuebler campaigned for Mr. Khadr’s return to Canada to short-circuit a military tribunal system that he described as unfair. Like all Guantánamo prosecutions, the case is suspended pending a review of policies by the Obama administration.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/us/politics/05gitmo.html

Britain's Guantánamo
By Andy Worthington. On Monday March 30, in a committee room in the House of Commons, Diane Abbott MP chaired a meeting entitled, "Britain’s Guantánamo? The use of secret evidence and evidence based on torture in the UK courts," to discuss the stories of some of the men held as "terror suspects" on the basis of secret evidence, and to work out how to persuade the government to change its policies. A detailed report of the meeting is available here, and the profiles of five prisoners are available by following this link), but I thought it was also worth addressing a question posed by the meeting’s title, and to ask if it is fair to compare the bitter fruits of Britain’s anti-terror legislation with the iconic symbol of the Bush administration’s "War on Terror."
http://original.antiwar.com/worthington/2009/04/03/britains-guantanamo/

Arad visa dilemma will test Obama's resolve in confronting Netanyahu
WASHINGTON: The first official test of wills between the administration of US President Barack Obama and the new Likud-led government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could well be waged over the issuance, or restoration, of a simple entry visa. For the past two years, Dr. Uzi Arad, the former director of intelligence for Israel's Mossad, has been denied entry into the United States based on a 2004 meeting he held with a Pentagon official who has since been sentenced to 12 years in prison for passing classified information to Israel. Under a long-standing section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (NA), foreign individuals suspected of engaging in espionage or sabotage against the US cannot be granted a visa to come here.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=100644
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

 
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