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Here are the headlines from Mondoweiss for 07/05/2011:

Mustafa Barghouti: ‘Israel is trying to blackmail the world, and outsource the siege of Gaza’
Jul 04, 2011 11:14 pm | annie

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian Member of Parliament who went on the second international boat to Gaza in October 2008, was visiting Athens for a meeting of the Socialist International and took time off to visit the U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, and talk with the passengers. His comments were reported to us by Medea Benjamin of Code Pink.

What you are doing in this flotilla is precisely what Martin Luther King struggled for, what Gandhi struggled for—it is a struggle for justice, freedom and equality. Nonviolent resistance is powerful. I want to let you know that we had a wonderful victory recently in Bi’lin, where after 6 years of non-violent resistance, we managed to push back the wall. You are doing the same thing here in the waters of Greece--you are pushing back the siege, you are pushing back an apartheid regime.

I was with the Greek Prime Minister Papandreou today at the meeting of the Socialist International and had a chance to talk to him about the flotilla. Unfortunately, the Greek government announced it will not allow boats to sail to Gaza. Israel is trying to blackmail the world. They are trying to outsource the siege of Gaza.

I was loudly applauded at the meeting of the Socialist International when I said that this flotilla was a nonviolent act for the freedom of the Palestinians and it was time for the world to stand with the Palestinians. I said if you really support the Arab spring, you should support the flotilla.

One day we will all celebrate the victory of the Palestinians and this chapter of the flotilla will be written with the ink of dignity. I will tell people in Palestine about what you are doing, but rest assured that they are all watching you.

I have been banned from going to Gaza since 2007. This was my punishment for pushing a Palestinian unity process. So I had to go into Gaza through Egypt, which I did recently. Instead of a 1 ½ hour trip, it took 1 ½ days. But I got in and had a chance to visit some of the 25,000 houses and schools demolished by the Israelis, buildings that are still in need of repair. It is terrible what the Israelis did—and continue to do—to the Palestinians in Gaza.

I hope the ships will finally reach Gaza. But whether or not they do, you, as Americans—by pressuring the Israeli government—have helped to get construction materials into Gaza, helped the people get healthcare. And you have helped change the image of the people of the United States. The fact that this is an American ship means a lot to us. And the presence of many Jewish people in this group has a big impression, and makes me very happy and optimistic about the future.

Popular non-violent resistance is the only way. It is so powerful, and that’s precisely why the Israelis are so afraid of this movement. Israel’s heavy-handed efforts to stop the flotilla are not a reflection of strength but of weakness and fear. Look at what’s happening in campuses around the United States with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement--BDS. No wonder the Israeli government is fearful!

Whether or not your boats sail, you have already made a huge difference. And please know that the Palestinian people await you with open arms no matter how you enter—by sea, by land, by air, or simply by your hearts.


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Medea Benjamin: We will sail to Gaza
Jul 04, 2011 10:50 pm | Ira Glunts

Medea Benjamin vowed that activists will sail to Gaza in an editorial posted at 4 PM (PST) July 4 on the Oakland Tribune website.

You know, despite everything, I still believe that some activists may confront the Israeli navy as planned.  There may be some legal remedies and diplomatic gambits that are available.  In addition,  a long confrontation with the activists would not help the Greek government politically, since most Greeks are sympathetic to the Palestinians.

According to the US flotilla activists, there still are two flotilla boats at sea whose location is undisclosed.  Furthermore, there is the possibility of acquiring a new boat, leaving surreptitiously, then announcing the voyage at sea.  Even if that boat only had a handful of activists, the symbolism of just getting near the Gaza shore would be awesome.  And so would be the resulting press.

Maybe this is insanely optimistic.  But here in the US we are a nation of naive and gullible optimists.  After all, we believed in the "Audacity of Hope."

Benjamin's pledge:

Although the Israelis know our boats will not carry arms and that we are committed to nonviolence, they have nonetheless vowed to stop us with a dizzying array of force -- water cannons, commandos, border police, snipers and attack dogs.

At least two ships have been sabotaged so far, probably by Israeli agents, and Greek officials are not letting us out -- presumably due to significant American and Israeli pressure.

All this bullying, however, only strengthens our resolve. We may be fewer boats, we may have fewer passengers, we may be threatened with violence, but we will sail.

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For July 4, passengers on U.S. Boat to Gaza call for new U.S. declaration of independence – from Israel
Jul 04, 2011 02:56 pm | Henry Norr

Athens, Greece - 235 years after the American colonies declared independence from Britain, the passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza call for a new American Declaration of Independence, this time from Israel.

The passengers issued their call from the decks of the U.S.-flagged boat, The Audacity of Hope, which is currently confined to a Greek military pier near Athens, while its captain sits in jail.

Like the Founders in Philadelphia, the passengers in Athens recognize that "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them to another, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Just as the Founders cited "a long train of abuses and usurpations" committed by the British, The Audacity of Hope passengers detailed the Israeli abuses motivating their call for U.S. independence:

* For generations Israel has engaged in a systematic campaign to dispossess Palestinians of their lands and drive them from their ancestral homes.

* Since 1967 Israel has occupied East Jerusalem the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights in open defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and the Geneva Conventions. Residents of these occupied territories have been subjected to numerous forms of mistreatment, including military attacks, arbitrary arrests, home demolitions, and the confiscation of vast areas for the construction of illegal Jewish-only settlements and roads.

* Since the mid-1990s Israel has imposed an ever-tightening regime of economic strangulation on the Gaza Strip. Since 2006 in particular the 1.5 million people of Gaza have been kept in isolation and under siege, with severely limited access to medical care, clean water, and construction materials needed to rebuild after Israeli military attacks. They have been prevented from fishing in their coastal waters, growing crops on much of their farmland, or exporting almost anything.

* Israel has used its powerful influence inside the U.S. to secure Washington's backing for these illegal and counterproductive policies. In addition to more than $3 billion per year of U.S. taxpayer dollars in military aid, Israel has gained uncritical American diplomatic support, including repeated use of the American veto in the Security Council to stymy any U.N. effort to enforce international law and to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.

* In recent years Israel has reacted with brutal violence against international as well as Palestinian and Israeli activists who have dared to step in where the U.S. and the U.N. have feared to tread. On May 31, 2010, Israel's vicious assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters caused the deaths of nine unarmed human-rights volunteers, including the 19-year-old American citizen Furkan Dogan.

* This year Israel, in collusion with the U.S., has deployed a variety of economic, diplomatic, and other pressure tactics to undermine the sovereignty of Greece, Turkey, and other nations and force them to obstruct the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II in defiance of their own maritime regulations and procedures. In addition, Israel has carried out a campaign of unbridled distortion and defamation against the organizers and participants in this year's flotilla. When that failed, Israel's agents resorted to life-threatening sabotage operations against at least two of the flotilla's ships.

"In light of this long - but still very partial - list of abuses and usurpations committed by Israel, it's past time for the U.S. to end its 'special relationship' with Israel and declare its independence from that country," said a letter that the passengers will deliver to the U.S. Embassy in Greece on July 4. "Just as the original American Declaration of Independence inspired popular struggles for independence and democracy all over the world, we humbly call on other countries that have been subjected to Israeli pressure and manipulation, particularly Greece and Turkey, to join us in our campaign to rid our country of this scourge."

Henry Norr, a passenger on the US Boat to Gaza called The Audacity of Hope, is a former technology writer.

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Greek consulate, governor confirm ‘powerful’ pressure on Greece led to flotilla ban
Jul 04, 2011 02:55 pm | Alex Kane

For the past few days, speculation has run rampant that the Greek government, presiding over a country in dire economic straits, was heavily pressured into issuing an order that banned the “Freedom Flotilla” ships from sailing out towards Gaza. And while the extent and details of that pressure remain unknown, two official sources from the Greek government have now confirmed that heavy pressure was put on Greece.

Greece, for its part, has claimed that the ban on flotilla ships leaving their ports was issued because of “the need to protect national interests” and the “immediate dangers to human life posed by the attempt to break the blockade.”

The first confirmation came via a Jewish Voice for Peace tweet, which announced that someone from New York’s Greek consulate told a caller that the U.S. government “ordered” Greece not to let the U.S. Boat to Gaza sail out of a Greek port. According to the caller, the U.S. State Department had nothing to say when asked about the Greek consulate’s comment.

The second confirmation came today, when a reporter from the Guardian interviewed the provincial governor of the Ionian islands, which includes Corfu, a Greek island from where a flotilla ship is waiting to set sail for Gaza. Jack Shenker reports:

The flotilla activists have always claimed they had local political support for their mission, and from what [Spiros] Spirou, [the provincial governor], told me it appears that they’re right. In open defiance of his political bosses in Athens, Spirou told the Guardian and al-Jazeera that he “admires and supports the activists’ struggle” and would make no attempt to stop their boat from making a break for international waters if it chose to do so.

But the local coastguard don’t come under Spirou’s control, and the decision from the central Greek government to stop any flotilla vessels from leaving port appears increasingly irreversible. “Greece loves peace, but at this moment it can’t confront more powerful economic forces,” said the governor. He confirmed that official attempts to tie the flotilla up in bureaucracy and paperwork were merely a pretext for preventing it from sailing at all.

“The ban has come from the ministries in Athens and I have no responsibility for it at all – I’ve tried to get in contact with them and get an explanation but I have not been able to get through,” he insisted. “Right now Greece is in crisis and decisions have been taken at an international level.”

Right now, Greece would be extremely vulnerable to any type of economic pressure, and would welcome all the help it gets–even from Israel, a country that Greece has had historically chilly relations with.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly “implor[ed]” Greek’s leader to “issue an order preventing ships from disembarking from Greece toward the Gaza Strip,” as Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid reported on July 1. Netanyahu has curried enormous favor with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou for “imploring” the European Union (EU) to bail out Greece, and, most likely, any Greek passivity surrounding the second “Freedom Flotilla” was thrown to the wind due to Israel’s help with the EU bailout. And since the Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara last year, economic, political and military links between Israel and Greece–the traditional rival of Turkey–have strengthened.

Huwaida Arraf, the chair of the Free Gaza Movement, further confirmed the enormous pressure on Greece in an interview yesterday with Al Jazeera‘s Inside Story. She said:

Some inside sources have been telling us. We have a lot of parliamentarians, European parliamentarians, that are part of our initiative, and they have been engaging in discussions with their Greek counterparts. We have been told that an enormous amount of pressure has come to bear on Greece, not only from the Israelis, but by Israel’s undying supporter the United States, and also by other European Union states that have also been shamefully silent and have done nothing to force Israel to lift its shameful blockade on Gaza or to end Israel’s illegal policies.

While there was some talk before today of other boats sailing out of Greece, the Greek government has repressed any hope of that.  The Greek Coast Guard has now taken over the Canadian boat to Gaza after they attempted to sail for international waters. “Coast guard used water cannons then borded the #tahrir with m16′s and took the wheel room from the driver at gun point,” tweeted Jesse Rosenfeld, a journalist aboard the Tahrir, the name of the Canadian boat. 

The American boat has not fared any better.  Their captain remains jailed in reportedly "shocking" conditions, while U.S. activists who have been protesting have been detained on two occasions.

It appears, as American-Israeli journalist Joseph Dana tweeted, that “It is over. The #flotilla2 has been stopped by the Greek government.”

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan, blogs on Israel/Palestine at, where this post originally appeared. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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Face-to-face with an Israeli warship
Jul 04, 2011 02:50 pm | Al-Samarrai

Charcoal smoke snaked above the horizon about one mile into the distance as we saw an Israeli warship steaming towards a cluster of six hasaka - or fishing- boats. We edged ever-closer to the hasaka boats, stopping only to radio in to our base office, updating them on the confrontation that was unfolding ahead.

With a radio in my palm, my mouth slipped into autopilot and as I described everything I saw, my body relaxed. All I could absorb was the sound of the ocean softly slapping our boat. It seems as though every day there is a new paradox in Gaza, and today I had to get my head around the simultaneous gunfire and water-lapping happening on either side of me.

Four times a week, the Civil Peace Service (CPS) Gaza leaves the port of Gaza to join local fishermen as they spend their mornings trawling the 3 nautical miles searching for fish. The Civil Peace Service exists to monitor and document human rights violations. That day – July 3- one fishing boat was shot at, with two young fishermen aboard. They were only two miles away from the shore.

“Look! Look how they shot at us! Do you see the hole?” Sabir Baker said pointing to the damage that had been caused moments earlier, while I had been busy contemplating the blueness of the ocean.

We sped towards the six hasaka boats that were still being shadowed- in both senses of the word- by the warship. I had been taking part in this project for a while; I was used to seeing Israeli warships strut along the horizon, sometimes encircling us, sometimes heading straight for us before speeding away again immediately. It was like boat-flirting, but without the romance.

And I was also used to trying to negotiate consciousness to sleep at 2am while I could hear the gunboats firing out at sea, knowing that in some situations there’s nothing I can do.

But seeing an Israeli warship up close for the first time was...almost voyeuristic. I never expected to come face-to-face (well, it was more like face-to-gun, let’s be honest) with the perpetrators of attacks on fishermen who are simply making a living.

How do you describe a warship? It looks like the horizon of a city, with poles, spires and other gun-shaped limbs poking out from all directions. Even from a distance you can tell that the warships are enormous. They can change direction faster than Usain Bolt and sprint quicker still.

I honestly thought that out human rights monitoring boat would be intercepted and confiscated that day. CPS Gaza breaks no laws, but still I fear that our arrest is inevitable. As we drew closer, and with every metre that we covered I began to prepare myself for what lay ahead. Then, without warning, the warship abandoned the six hasakas and sped off out to sea. I muttered something to myself that I oughtn’t to repeat here.

The gunboat then circled around the fishing boats and spent the next hour encircling us and the fishing boats. We accompanied the fishing boats to just under three miles while they set their nets out to bring in their catch. All this time, the warship zig-zagged up and down the Gaza coast, closer to shore than us, at about two miles.

I dipped my feet over the edge of the boat, tempted by the cool water to jump in. Just as I began to relax, we heard what I can only describe as cannons being fired. I didn’t know cannons were still used outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean film sets. Maybe I’m wrong about the cannons. But whatever was fired landed about a kilometre away from the warship and caused a ring of waves that splashed metres high. Thankfully the heavy artillery- whatever it was- wasn’t directed at a fishing boat and was more a symbolic attempt to express prowess rather than a direct attack. This time at least.

Fishermen in Gaza come under almost daily fire from Israeli gunboats; these attacks often occur within the 3-mile fishing limit. Under the Oslo Accords, Gazan fishermen were granted 20 miles in which to fish, has since been reduced to 6 and now three miles.

We stayed monitoring the fishermen for about four hours. When the hasaka fishing boats began to navigate back to shore, every single one slowed down beside us to thank us for being out there. They waved, gave us thumbs up, even offered us part of their catch. I’ve never seen so many smiles.

Although it warmed the, er, cockles of my heart to witness that our presence helped the fishermen to earn their livings in peace, it was maddening to realise that when there is nobody to monitor human rights, warships are free to fire at fishermen, without being held to account for their actions. 

Al-Samarrai is a member of the Civil Peace Service Gaza crew. She writes in a personal capacity and tweets at @WelshInGaza

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The real preachers of hate: Britain arrests respected Palestinian leader
Jul 04, 2011 02:45 pm | Jonathan Cook

He is an Islamic “preacher of hate” whose views reflect “virulent anti-Semitism” and who has funded Hamas terror operations, according to much of the British media.

The furore last week over Sheikh Raed Salah, described by the Daily Mail newspaper as a “vile militant extremist”, goaded the British government into ordering his late-night arrest, pending a fast-track deportation. The raid on his hotel, from which he was taken handcuffed to a police cell, came shortly before he was due to address a meeting in the British parliament attended by several MPs.

The outcry in Britain against Sheikh Salah has shocked Israel’s 1.3-million Palestinian citizens. For them, he is a spiritual leader and head of a respected party, the Islamic Movement. He is also admired by the wider Palestinian public. The secular Fatah movement, including Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, were among those condemning his arrest.

Many Palestinians, like millions of Muslims in the Middle East, revere Sheikh Salah for his campaign to protect Muslim and Christian holy places from Israel’s neglectful, and more often abusive, policies. They struggle to recognise the British media’s characterisation of him as an Osama Bin Laden-like figure.

Most in Israel’s Jewish majority would not have been aware of Sheikh Salah’s supposed reputation as a Jew hater either, despite their hyper-vigilance for anything resembling anti-Semitism. True, he is generally loathed by Israeli Jews, but chiefly because they regard his brand of Islamic dogma as incompatible with the state ideology of Jewish supremacism. They fear him as the leader of a local Islam that refuses to be tamed. Those Israelis who conclude that this qualifies him as an anti-Semite do so only because they class all pious Muslims in the same category.

Israeli officials detest Sheikh Salah as well, but again not for any alleged racism. His long-running campaign to prevent what he regards as an attempted Israeli takeover of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound – part of a wider “Judaisation” programme in the occupied areas of the city – has made him a thorn in their side.

In other words, Israeli Jews view Sheikh Salah as an inveterate trouble-maker and provocateur, while the country’s Palestinian minority accuse Israel of persecuting him for his political and religious beliefs.

The British media and government, meanwhile, have stumbled cluelessly into this domestic Israeli feud and, in the name of Enlightenment values, revealed their own deep prejudices. The humiliation of Sheikh Salah at the hands of the British legal system – supposedly in the interests of promoting “decency and respect” – will serve only to remind Muslims of the hypocrisy so often evident in Western policy.

The double standards are especially glaring given the British government’s recent pledge to Israel to change its universal jurisdiction laws. That move will ensure Israel’s growing constituency of suspected war criminals avoid any future threat of prosecution in the UK, receiving a far warmer welcome than Sheikh Salah.

Perhaps not surprisingly, opposition in the UK to the sheikh’s presence stems from a campaign of character assassination led by pro-Israel groups.

They have accused him of a “blood libel” against Jews, based on information from dubious sources. When these claims were aired in Israel several years ago, Sheikh Salah was investigated and charged. However, the prosecution was dropped a short time later for lack of credible evidence.

The other allegation – that he funded Hamas terror operations – relies on claims orginally made by the Israeli government in 2003 during one of his many arrests. Although the state had reportedly accumulated 200,000 recordings of Islamic Movement phone calls, they never located in the conversations the smoking gun they expected to find.

Instead Sheikh Salah languished in jail for two years while his trial dragged on, the charges repeatedly reduced because promised evidence could not be produced. Eventually he agreed to a plea bargain in return for his release. He was convicted of funding Islamic charities for widows and orphans – loosely declared “support for terror” under Israel’s punitive crackdown on all Islamic networks, including welfare groups, in the occupied territories.

Israel’s legal system, despite its reputation for presuming that Palestinian citizens are habitual security offenders, has found Sheikh Salah guilty neither of anti-Semitism nor of directly helping terrorists.

So why is Britain being even “more Israeli rather than the Israelis”, as two Arab members of the Israeli parliament caustically observed?

One reason is that Britain appears to be increasingly vulnerable to the influence of the pro-Israel lobby. Unfounded claims against Sheikh Salah were first made by the Jewish media in Britain, which has become an uncritical cheerleader for Israel, and by the Board of Deputies, Britain’s representative body for Jews.

Another reason is that the pro-Israel lobby finds it all too easy to exploit Islamophobic tropes that have come to dominate the public discourse in many Western countries, including Britain. Fears of a clash of civilisations and of Muslim immigration mean every Islamic scholar and authority is automatically assumed to be another “mad mullah”.

This approach threatens the very values it claims to be protecting. It silences those who are best placed to critique Western policies – the victims of them; and it refuses to allow the West’s most cherished assumptions to be questioned, rightfully fearing that in some cases they will be exposed as nothing more than bigotry.

It is worth highlighting a point British commentators overlooked in their coverage of Sheikh Salah. He was coming to the parliament, the cradle of British democracy, to talk not about jihad or infidels but about “building peace and justice in Jerusalem”.

His message is one Western publics desperately need to hear but one that Israel and its supporters keenly want silenced. Thanks to the British media and government, for a while longer Britons will be shielded from a real discussion.

Jonathan Cook won this year’s Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

A version of this article originally appeared in The National, published in Abu Dhabi.

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Gaza unemployment rate is 45%
Jul 04, 2011 01:56 pm | Kate

and other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid

In South Hebron Hills, Palestinians always fear the next demolition / Dolev Rahat
Rabbis for Human Rights 3 July -- ...Bir El Id is a typical example of the problems of the Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills. It is located in Area C, and therefore the responsibility for planning and developing infrastructure lies with the Civil Administration, which is also authorized to issue building permits and to demolish structures that were built without a permit. As with most of the villages in Masaafat Yatta (the rural area surrounding the town of Yatta) in Bir El Id, the master plan in force dates back to the British mandate. This plan, named RJ5, designates the land as agricultural land. That means that the permitted building density falls far short of the residents’ needs. As a result, the residents are forced to build tents, houses and facilities without a permit, which means that the tents, facilities, toilets, water cisterns and roads are constantly exposed to the threat of demolition.
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Israel municipality to erect thirty settler houses in E. Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 July -- Israeli sources say the Jerusalem municipality is planning on erecting some thirty settler houses in the East Jerusalem district of Ras al-Amud. The municipality has given locals sixty days to file petitions against the construction decision before it would discuss and finally approve the decision, said the Israeli leftist group Peace Now. The group said the construction would take place on Ras al-Amud’s main road some 50 meters from the local police station. If approved, settlers would be enabled to broaden their existence largely in the Palestinian neighborhood, Peace Now warned, adding that the structures would be ensued by an increase in security and infrastructure and would therefore change the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Jerusalem municipality has earmarked 5 millions dollars to construct nine roads between planned settlements in East Jerusalem.
Elsewhere, Israeli occupation forces continue to bulldoze land amid plans to expand four settlements in areas in Salfit province in northern West Bank
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Gov't to transcribe al-Quds to Yerushalayim?
Ynet 3 July -- Government to discuss transportation minister's proposes to replace Arabic, English signpost captions according to Hebrew version. Katz: Jerusalem has always been Yerushalayim -- The plan is not controversy-free: While signposts for Arab communities whose transcription is identical in Hebrew will remain as is; Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is planning on changing the transcription in many mixed communities, whose names in Arabic, and sometimes in English, differs from their Hebrew name -- to fit the Hebrew version ... the Arabic caption " أُورشَلِم القـُدْس" (al-Quds) [actually "al-Urushalim al-Quds" on the sign, not the Arabic version] will be changed to sound like "YERUSHALAYIM" using Arabic letters. The same goes for other cities and sites.
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Jerusalemites wounded in clashes with settlers, policemen
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 2 July -- A number of citizens in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied Jerusalem were treated for injuries and breathing problems after clashes with Israeli occupation police and Jewish settlers on Friday evening, locals reported. They said that among those injured were two children, adding that the Israeli policemen sprayed gas directly into the faces of citizens. One of the injured women said that the clashes started after the end of the weekly march by the inhabitants protesting Jewish settlement activity in their neighborhood. She said that one of her relatives was taken to hospital after a settler hit her in the head.
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Violent incitement against internationals in Sheikh Jarrah
ISM 2 July -- Two international activists were assaulted by 4 Israeli police officers in an unprovoked attack in Sheikh Jarrah this morning. The two Danish activists were part of a group of five internationals staying at a home which has been partially occupied by settlers. Police arrived for no reported reasons at approximately 8:30am and approached one of the activists who was sitting and reading at the gate of the home. Police demanded that he showed them his passport. He and the other Danish activist presented their passports which were then snatched by the police officers . The officers then proceeded to push the activists to the ground and punch and kick them while on the floor.
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Jewish settler runs down Palestinian woman in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 3 July -- A Jewish settler ran down a Palestinian woman with his vehicle near Hawara southeast of Nablus city in northern West Bank, locals have reported. The woman sustained injuries and fractures and was left in a difficult health condition, the sources said. The woman, in her forties, was hit on the main road in Hawara. The driver tried to flee, but villagers there managed to apprehend him. She was transported to Rafidia surgical hospital where she is being treated for injuries affecting all parts of her body.
Three local youths also in Asira village south of the city suffered the effects of breathing tear gas fired at them by Israeli occupation soldiers after local youths emerged to confront settler crimes.
Settlers injured Mohammed Ziad from Madama village south of Nablus causing wounds to his head Sunday evening after burning local farmlands in the village and in nearby villages.
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3 Palestinians detained after confronting settlers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 July -- Israeli police reportedly detained three Palestinian men on Saturday in the Ar-Ras neighborhood of Hebron in the southern West Bank after they tried to confront a group of settlers who had assaulted them. The detainees were said to be 19-year-old Abed Husni Matariyya, 32-year-old Rami Abdul-Hayy Matariyya, and 34-year-old Muhammad Abdul-Hayy Matariyya, eyewitness Jamal Matariyya told Ma‘an.
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Jewish settlers burn Palestinian olive trees
QALQILIA (PIC) 2 July -- Jewish settlers set tens of Palestinian olives trees on fire in Kafr Qaddoum village, near Qalqilia, on Friday as Israeli occupation forces (IOF) wounded six citizens in the same village while quelling a protest march. The blaze destroyed tens of olive trees before the Palestinian fire brigades managed to extinguish it, local sources reported. [briefly reported at end of another article by Ma‘an on Friday]
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WATCH: The settler-zombie roaming West Bank roads / Ami Kaufman
972mag 3 July -- +972 Magazine has received rare footage of the so-called 'settler-zombie' known to roam West Bank roads in pursuit of Palestinians, peace activists or other creatures who convey certain amounts of godlessness. The 'settler-zombie', until today considered an urban legend of sorts, is comparable to 'Big Foot', 'Golem' or the Loch Ness monster 'Nessie'. Eye witnesses in recent years have told of a large man who screeches so high that Mariah Carey has been known to shudder. According to most accounts, the 'settler-zombie' also tires out quite quickly, most probably due to a bad diet and lack of exercise.The creature in the footage below, harassing a left winger at Susiya junction in the West Bank, seems to fit the description.
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Qalqiliya boy critically injured after kidnapping
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 3 July -- A boy from the West Bank city of Qalqiliya was critically injured after being struck by a car which fled after kidnapping a resident of the center of the city. Onlookers told Ma‘an that persons who were riding the car kidnapped Ali Abu Khadejah, 40, from the center of the city and while they were escaping the scene, their car hit Khaled Daoud Abed Al-Karim, 14 years old. The kidnappers escaped in an Israeli-plated car while the boy was transferred in critical condition to hospital in Nablus. Medics said the boy sustained serious wounds to the head. The car that hit the boy fled, and police have installed checkpoints at the entrances of the city in an attempt to seize the perpetrators. They have also opened an investigation in the incident.
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Report: Israeli forces killed 26 Palestinians in June
WEST BANK (PIC) 3 July -- A report by the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights revealed that Israeli forces killed 26 Palestinians at home and abroad in June 2011. The report shows that Israeli occupation forces escalated attacks on Palestinians after Naksa Day events in early June, marking the anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It details that two men were killed in the Gaza Strip and one in the West Bank that month by injuries sustained some years back. Celebrating the 44th Naksa Day, 23 Palestinian and Syrian protesters were killed and many more were injured while protesting the Israeli occupation on the border of the occupied Golan Heights, the report says.
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Standing where Bil‘in fence once stood, change begins to sink in / Libby Lenkinski
972mag 3 July -- Last Friday was the first weekly demonstration since the Israeli authorities moved the separation barrier in Bil’in. It’s hard to believe but that fence, which for years was the physical symbol of the occupation, is no longer standing where it used to ... When we arrived at the existing wall that remains (just over half a kilometer west of where the fence) used to be, while people danced and built, Ashraf Abu Rahmah, brother of the late Bassem Abu Rahmah and Jawaher Abu Rahmah took his flag and walked toward the new wall. He stood there for a few minutes alone in the quiet, looking at the wall and at the Israeli settlement Modi’in Illit behind it, and then raised his arms, still holding the flag. He had lost two siblings in the struggle against the fence, and now the fence was gone.
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Kafr Qaddoum peacefully demonstrates after 6-year wait
ISM 3 July -- The popular committee, or local council, of Kafr Qaddoum  requested the attendance of ISM volunteers at their first demonstration in the village after more than six years of protracted legal arguments before the notoriously one-sided Israeli High Court. The attempts to gain justice through legal recourse were motivated by a unilateral Israeli decision in 2003 to block the main arterial road linking Kafr Qaddoum with Nablus.
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Palestinian workers at Salit Quarries make history
Solidarity Mag 30 June -- Israeli employers, Palestinian workers and an Arab-Jewish union: Workers at Salit Quarries demand basic, fair employment terms, but the quarry management says their claims are childish. The first organized labor dispute in the West Bank is coming to a head -- is this ideological adventurism or a revolutionary precedent? ... The troubles in Salit Quarries have been going on for a long time ... The quarry is surrounded by the shanty neighborhoods of the Jahalin Bedouins. The workers say that the Bedouins and the quarry came to an understanding: they would allow the quarry to be established and in return they would be offered jobs. The heavy dust caused by the quarry would not have been acceptable to most towns in Israel, but the quarry was considered part of the Jahalin industrial zone. The quarry was to have funded schools and infrastructure using revenues from taxation, but in reality the taxes were channeled back to Israel, just like most raw materials extracted in the West Bank. The Bedouins made do with earning an income.
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Palestinian workers' strike at Salit Quarries enters 15th day - update
30 June -- The strike of Palestinian workers at Salit Quarries has completely frozen the firm's economic activity. Trucks from outside contractors which arrived in the first days of the strike to load up with sand and gravel no longer come. Traffic which on a regular working day constitutes some 100 trucks has stopped. Damage to the quarry so far is estimated at about NIS 2 million.
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Hundreds to challenge Israeli restrictions on traveling to Occupied Territories / Noam Sheizaf
972mag 3 July -- A coalition of organizations has made public [French, PDF] its intention to have hundreds of international activists land at Ben-Gurion airport this Friday, July 8th, and openly declare their intention to visit the West Bank. Until now, visitors coming in solidarity with the Palestinians had to conceal their destination when questioned at the airport, or risk immediate deportation. A couple of years ago, American scholar Noam Chomsky was denied entry to Israel at the Jordanian border, after declaring his intention to give a lecture at Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University. The closure over the West Bank works in the opposite direction as well: Many don’t know it, but Israel controls all air and land entries to the West Bank, not only to Gaza. Palestinians wishing to travel abroad must apply for special permission from the Israel authorities. Those wishing to travel to the United States must first obtain a permit to visit the American Consulate in East Jerusalem and obtain their visa ... UPDATE: Mondoweiss has posted an article from one of the participants in the planned protest at Ben Gurion airport

Hundreds of Internationals and hundreds of Palestinians gear up for July 8-16 activities
IMEMC 3 July -- Civil Society organizations finalizing preparations for welcoming hundreds of International activists coming to the Palestinian territories in a campaign defined by the organizers as "Welcome to Palestine". The organizing groups, which mount up to 40 organizations, groups and popular committees and political factions issued a press release on Saturday. The organizers are concerned that Israeli authorities will not allow estimated 600 - 1000 people to come through Ben Gurion airport on July 8. Israeli media sources reported that the Israeli government is preparing for the July campaign ... The planned July activities are part of series of events organized by Palestinian organizations in coordination with International peace groups held in December of 2010 as part of the efforts of the Palestine Justice Network, an advocacy group created following the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008/2009 ... According to the press release, the activities will be held in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jordan Valley, Naqab (Negev) and Jerusalem, in addition to some other parts of the West Bank.
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IOF troops arrest four Palestinians from Tobas
TOBAS (PIC) 3 July -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested four Palestinians at Al-Hamra roadblock near the city of Tobas [or Tubas] at an early hour on Sunday, Palestinian sources said. They added that the IOF troops checked the young men’s IDs then claimed that the four were wanted for interrogation. Meanwhile, an IOF force stormed a Palestinian home in Doha west of Bethlehem and handed him an order to meet an intelligence officer in Etzion, south of the city.
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IOF arrests farmers, workers, serves demolition notices
Nazareth (PIC) 2 July -- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested three Palestinian farmers in Al-Khalil, dozens of workers in Haifa, and served demolition notices north of Sakhnin city on Saturday. Sources in Beit Ummar village, north of Al-Khalil city, told the PIC reporter that the IOF soldiers with the help of Jewish settlers assaulted and detained three farmers, including two brothers, while tending to their land south of the village.
Meanwhile, Israeli police rounded up dozens of Palestinian workers from the West Bank in Haifa, witnesses told the PIC, adding that many of them were beaten in the process. The sources said that at least 25 workers, mostly from Jenin, were captured today in construction workshops.
In another development, Israeli authorities served demolition notices to three inhabitants of Fakhikhira village, to the north of Sakhnin city, claiming they were built on land owned by the land of Israel department. The citizens said that they own the land since the Ottoman era and they have papers to prove it,
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Tamimi adamant on hunger strike despite isolation threat
NAZARETH (PIC) 3 July -- The director of Hasharon jail has threatened Palestinian prisoner Ahlam Al-Tamimi with solitary confinement if she did not break her hunger strike which she started last Wednesday.  Human rights sources said that the problem started last Wednesday when Tamimi went to meet her lawyer and the policewomen searched her and found a list of names of Palestinian female prisoners in her possession. A thing not punishable by the law.
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Two young men arrested at Hamra checkpoint
Jordan Valley Solidarity 2 July -- Today, JVS volunteers witnessed the arrest of two young men by the occupation army at Hamra checkpoint. At 2.15 pm two Palestinians, on their early twenties, from Nablus were kept handcuffed in their undershirts on the floor, at Hamra checkpoint, for several hours. They were then sent to an interrogation center. At 8 pm they were still under arrest. Hamra checkpoint is one of the five checkpoints that close the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank. It is located on the way to Tubas, at the entrance of Frush Beddajan village, in the central Jordan Valley. It is known as one of the worse checkpoints in the West Bank. Last January two young Palestinians were killed  as they were crossing this checkpoint.
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Palestinians in Israeli jails start hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 July -- Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails will go on hunger strike Sunday to protest the prison administration's crackdown, the Palestinian prisoners' society said. The society said prisoners were at risk since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the prison service to toughen conditions for Palestinian detainees ... PA Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Friday that Israeli authorities had formally informed all prisoners of new policies, which include preventing prisoners from continuing their university education in prison.  Qaraqe said the prison-wide strike would last three days. The strike was called following raids in Ashkelon prison on Thursday. The Nahshon and Metzada units of the Israeli Prison Service beat detainees and sabotaged their possessions, a statement by Qaraqe said. They were also forced to strip naked and were made to wait in the prison courtyard for six hours, the minister added.
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Israel decides to deport Palestinian prisoner after extending detention
RAMALLAH (PIC) 3 July -- Israel has decided to deport Palestinian prisoner Hammad Muslim Abu Amra to Lebanon thirty months after his prison sentence had ended.  The International Committee of the Red Cross has informed Abu Amra, 48, of Israel’s decision to deport him to live with his family in the Nahar al-Barid refugee camp in Lebanon, the Popular Movement for the Support of Prisoners and Palestinian Rights reported.  Abu Amra was being held prisoner at the Nafha prison after his six-year prison sentence came to an end in February 2009, as Israel considered him a non-Palestinian Arab prisoner and dealt with him using the “Unlawful Combatant law”, the PMSPPR said.  The law allows for holding the prisoner indefinitely without an indictment.
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Society condemns transfer of sick detainee
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 July -- A Palestinian prisoners society on Thursday condemned the transfer of a sick detainee on hunger strike to Ashkelon prison, where the group said he would not have access to medical care. Yousef Skaki has been on hunger strike since June 12. He had a heart attack in 2010, suffers from kidney disease and recently had an operation on his retina, the Hebron-based society said. He was previously held in Israel's Beer Sheva prison. Skaki's daughter visited the prison but Israeli guards refused to allow her to see her father, the group said, adding that she died on April 22. The society said Skaki was beaten in Ashkelon prison by Nahshon and Metzada units of the Israeli Prison Service despite his critical condition.
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Eldest detainee in administrative detention freed
JENIN (Ma‘an) 3 July -- Israeli authorities have released a prisoner from the West Bank city of Nablus who is the eldest [longest-serving?] of prisoners placed under administrative detention without charge, a researcher said. Ahmad Al-Betawi of the international solidarity organization said Ahmad Doulah, undersecretary of the ministry of interior and former manger of the directorate of education in Nablus, after three years in custody. Doulah was detained without charge three and a half years earlier in December 2007.
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Police detain teen sitting exam for twin brother

QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 3 July -- Police on Sunday detained a teenager who tried to sit a high school exam on behalf of his identical twin brother in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya.  The teenager, who was not identified, tried to take the exam for his brother who was detained by Israeli forces on Thursday ... Police said the teen was using a mobile phone to cheat in the Tawjihi, the final high school exams. [his brother was faced with not graduating from high school by missing this crucial exam while imprisoned]
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Hamas: Israel's escalation will only solidify our prisoner exchange conditions
GAZA (PIC) 2 July -- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri has said Israel’s recent escalation against the Palestinian prisoners will only increase his movement’s firmness on the conditions it set on a prisoner exchange deal.
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PA security forces shut down Hizb-ut-Tahrir rallies
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 July -- Pacifist Islamist group Hizb Ut-Tahrir on Saturday said Palestinian Authority security forces shut down mass rallies across the West Bank. Hizb Ut-Tahrir organized rallies in six cities to mark the 90th anniversary of the fall of the last caliphate. The party, which promotes the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East, accused the PA of turning Ramallah into a military post. In a statement, the group said over 100 affiliates were detained at checkpoints installed on the outskirts of several cities ... In the northern West Bank, local sources told Ma‘an that PA forces arrested more than 30 Hizb Ut-Tahrir supporters in Nablus, and dozens in Tulkarem.
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'Gaza worse off than ever'
PressTV 30 June -- Palestinian and UN officials say the quality of life in the impoverished Gaza Strip has even further deteriorated since the Israeli regime claimed it was 'easing' its blockade of the coastal sliver. Milina Shahin, who is with the Public Information Office at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, says unemployment has climbed to 45.6 percent while the number of Palestinians earning just $1.6 per day has tripled over the past year, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that still very little gets through the blockade.
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Abu Zuhri: Egypt promised improvement in Rafah crossing
GAZA (PIC) 3 July -- Hamas spokesman Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri has revealed that Egyptian officials promised to improve conditions at the Rafah border crossing within two months. He said during a meeting with directors of security apparatuses in Rafah, "We are aware of the crisis at the Rafah border terminal, but we realize that pressures are being exercised on Egypt."
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South Africa sends aid to Gaza
Ynet 30 June -- A South-African aid agency announced Thursday that it has launch a Gaza-bound aid convoy carrying various goods to the Strip.  The fleet of trucks will cross Africa in what organizers described as a "solidarity journey."
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Israel allows 200 trucks into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 July -- Israeli authorities decided to open the Kerem Shalom crossing and allow limited goods into the Gaza Strip on Sunday. [after closing it Fri-Sat for the Israeli weekend]
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On eve of US Independence Day, US passengers on flotilla start open-ended fast at US Embassy in Athens
3 July -- Demand that U.S. government pressure Greece to free their boat and captain, and allow boat to sail to Gaza -- Members of the U.S. Boat to Gaza have begun an open-ended fast calling on the U.S. government to defend our right to sail out of Greece. The fast has begun in front of the U.S. Embassy at 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue in Athens. Fasters delivered an urgent letter to the Embassy and plan to sleep overnight outside the Embassy gates.
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US captain of Gaza ship held in 'shocking conditions'
ATHENS (AFP) 3 July -- The captain of a US vessel intercepted after it tried to defy a ban and sail for Gaza from Greece was being held in "shocking conditions" Sunday and has not received consular assistance, a lawyer said. Captain John Klusmer was arrested when the US boat Audacity of Hope -- the flagship in a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists -- attempted to leave Greek waters on Friday after Athens banned all Gaza-bound ships from setting sail. Klusmer was charged with two felonies and ordered to appear in court Tuesday ... New York lawyer Richard Levy -- a passenger on the boat who has visited Klusmer in jail in a port town near Athens -- told enraged US activists that "he had no bed or toilet in his cell, and is receiving no food or water".
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Greece offers to transport flotilla's aid to Gaza
Haaretz 3 July -- The Greek government approached Israel and the flotilla organizers Sunday, with an offer to send the flotilla’s humanitarian aid to Gaza with Greek diplomats, under UN supervision. The offer is intended to serve as a compromise in order to end the flotilla affair. The flotilla organizers have not yet responded to the offer. Senior officials in Israel’s Foreign Ministry evaluate that Israel will respond to the request and allow the Greek government to deliver the aid.
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Gaza flotilla to set sail Monday despite numerous setbacks / Amira Hass
Haaretz 3 July 11:47 -- The organizers of the Gaza-bound flotilla said Sunday that all operational ships will set sail on Monday, despite the numerous delays the flotilla activists had encountered in the past week. The decision to depart on Monday was made following several days of deliberations on the subject, and the exact number of ships due to sail is still unknown. In contrast to recent reports, most of the Gaza flotilla activists are still participating.
Moreover, activists in several countries of origin of the ships participating in the flotilla such as Canada and Belgium held protests in support of the Gaza flotilla and against the Greek government, which had issued an order to bar the ships from leaving Greek ports. link to

200 additional activists may join Freedom Flotilla
IMEMC 3 July -- A Jordanian union leader told Agence France Presse that a boat has been purchased for $800,000 in Greece to carry construction materials, medical supplies, and 200 additional passengers to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla ... The boat is sponsored by a new organization called 'Noor', which means 'Light' in Arabic, made up of participants from around the Arab world who collectively donated over a million dollars to ensure the Flotilla's success ... Wael Saqqa, a representative for 'Noor', said that 35 Jordanian activists would be part of the newest addition to the Flotilla, along with representatives from other Arab countries.
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Israel fears aid convoys to Gaza by air
NAZARETH (PIC) 3 July -- Israel has expressed fear of new movements by pro-Palestinians to challenge the Gaza siege by air. Israeli media sources say talks are being held to cope with possible attempts by pro-Palestinians to land and protest at the Israeli Ben Gurion airport or land directly in the Gaza Strip. The source said that Israeli authorities have received information indicating the new trend. A political source has told Israeli Radio that protest organizers are planning on carrying out such a plan 7 June[?].
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Endless delays and fading hope while waiting to sail to Gaza / Amira Hass
Haaretz 3 July 02:19 -- Activists scramble to meet Greek authorities' criteria to set sail toward Gaza despite meticulous planning ...Since the morning, [steering committee member David] Heap told them, the authorities started making new demands. First, they were told to replace the boat's radio. One of the French Canadians rushed off and got one. Then it was: You don't have beds on the boats. "Yes we do," the Tahririan sailors said, pointing at some padded benches. The minimum demand is 10, they were told, and you've only got seven, and even these are too narrow. "We can find the legal minimum of bed width if we look." Then, another demand: a water heater on the boat.
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Children rally for flotilla in Gaza port
ISM 2 July -- Dozens of children from the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative’s summer camp, “Vittorio Arrigoni – Stay Human,” rallied in the port of Gaza today to support Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human, and demand free passage and international protection for it. They were joined by Palestinian and international supporters, including the International Solidarity Movement – Gaza Strip. After gathering on the pier, they took to the sea in boats, decorated with the flags of countries participating in the Flotilla, for a spirited rally in the harbor.
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Israel rejects allegations it sabotaged Gaza flotilla ships
AP/Haaretz 2 July -- FM spokesman calls charges of sabotage 'ridiculous'; Turkish police investigation finds that damage to Irish ship was most likely not caused intentionally.
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Barak satisfied with flotilla delays
Ynet 3 July --  Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday expressed satisfaction with efforts to stop the Gaza-bound flotilla. "We are witnessing a positive development concerning the flotilla," he said. "The governments of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey are working to curtail this thing. It's a result of extensive work by the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office. It's obvious to all that Gaza is ultimately open to all civilian goods and it is also obvious that the flotilla is a provocation which elements such as Hamas are exploiting," Barak said.
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Lieberman: Gaza flotilla activists blaming Israel for their own failure
Haaretz 3 July -- Foreign minister says Israel was behind the Greek ban on departure of ships, claims Greek government understands Israel's needs -- “The activists are trying to blame someone for their failure – no doubt they have watched too many James Bond films,” Lieberman told Army Radio in an interview. “There is an attempt to evade responsibility for their propaganda, as well as a lack of support from countries around the world.”
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Leftist Greek MPs accuse government of caving to Israeli pressure / Amira Hass
Haaretz 2 July -- Eight ships in the Gaza-bound flotilla were barred from leaving the Greek ports where they are anchored in the wake of an order issued on Friday by the Greek government. Flotilla participants and members of the leftist opposition in Greece have accused the Socialist government of caving in to Israeli pressure - a claim rejected by Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis. The Greek government is preventing the departure of the vessels in order to avoid a "humanitarian disaster" which will result from a violent confrontation with the Israeli navy, Lambrinidis told Veronique De Keyser, a Belgian member of the European Parliament.
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Embassy of Greece, Washington DC -- Announcement on the Flotilla 1 July
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Racism / Discrimination / Incitement

Hundreds rally in Jerusalem after arrest of Shas spiritual leader's son
Haaretz 3 July -- Demonstrators gather outside Rabbi Yaakov Yosef's home, after police arrest him for questioning over incitement to racism and violence ... Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, was arrested in his car after concluding his morning prayer at Simon's Tomb in Jerusalem, and was questioned for less than an hour about his endorsement of the controversial book "Torat Hamelech," which justifies the killing of non-Jews, before being released.
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Professors back university that cut anthem
Ynet 30 June -- Israeli law professors on Wednesday supported their colleagues at Haifa University's Law faculty, who refrained from playing the national anthem during the department's graduation ceremony, in order not to insult Arab students. Since the affair went public, the department staff members say they have been subjected to an "ugly mud slinging campaign that involves personal attacks against the faculty heads."
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Detention of Sheikh Salah in the UK, banning of Ahmed Nofal

British authorities block lawyers' visits to Sheikh Salah
LONDON (PIC) 3 July -- British authorities on Friday banned lawyers’ visits to Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic movement in 1948 occupied Palestine, until 11th July, said the law firm handling Salah’s case. A press release issued by the Irvine Thanvi Natas solicitors (ITN) on Saturday said: On Friday 1st July Mr. Raed Salah was transferred from an Immigration Detention Centre to a formal prison. No good reason for this transfer has been given. The transfer to prison will significantly interfere with the preparation of Mr Salah's appeal against the Deportation Order. The deadline for Mr Salah to Appeal is the 6th July 2011. The prison have informed Mr. Salah's lawyer that his legal team will not be able to visit him until the 11th July, 5 days after the deadline is due to pass ... Sheikh Salah was first allowed into the country, he delivered a number of lectures, then he was arrested by immigration police, but was taken to a police station were suspected terrorists are usually held, then taken to an immigration detention centre and lastly moved to a formal prison making some commentators say that Sheikh Salah has become the UK’s first Palestinian political prisoner.
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UK bans Nofal entry
AMMAN (PIC) 1 July -- Airport authorities in Queen Alia airport in the Jordanian capital Amman have banned Thursday prominent Muslim preacher Dr.Ahmad Nofal from boarding the airplane to London, saying the ban was requested by the British Embassy in Jordan that issued him the visa. According to the authorities, the ban was based on the same reasons that led to the arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Muslim Movement in the 1948-occupied Palestine, for his support to the Palestinian issue ... Birawi also accused the Zionist lobby in Britain of being behind the move to ban Nofal and Salah from lecturing in the UK, saying that the Zionist lobby started to feel the danger of delegitimizing the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and of unveiling its criminal nature against the Palestinian people. Nofal was the target of a smear campaign by pro-Israel media outlets accusing him of hatred to Jews and Judaism in order to prevent him from participating in the Palestine Day festival organized yearly by the Forum although he did so many times in the past years.
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Organizers: Palestine Day to continue despite Salah arrest
LONDON (PIC) 2 July -- The arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah and the entry ban on Ahmed Nofal will not affect Palestine Day events to be held in the UK this week, organizers have reported. Events will take place in the headquarters of the Palestinian Forum in Britain (London) on Saturday and in Manchester on Sunday, the Palestinian Forum in Britain said. "Attempts by the Zionist lobby to thwart the annual gathering of Britain’s Palestinians will fail, and the media campaign against the PBF’s guests has induced more popular attraction to the PFB and its guests," said PFB public relations official Zahir Beirawi. He added that the turnout was expected to double this year because of the media campaign targeting Salah and Nofal.
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Political / Diplomatic / International news

Netanyahu dubs land swap 'a joke'
IMEMC 3 July -- An Israeli official close to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Netanyahu fully opposes any Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 border, and believes that the proposal of land-swap is a "joke." ... On Sunday at night, the official said that the Prime Minister does not only oppose talks on Israel's withdrawal to the 1967 borders, but also opposes the whole proposal and any proposal that includes settlement evacuations, borders and other core issues.  He further stated that, during his talks with Netanyahu, the latter told him that talks on land-swap are "just a joke," and that "Israel has no lands to give to the Palestinians under this formula" as Netanyahu opposes the whole idea in general.
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Obama assumes the offensive in Jewish vote race
Ynet 3 July -- Following heavy criticism from Jewish community over US president's stance on Mideast, his advisers initiate new image campaign ahead of 2012 elections -- United States President Barack Obama plans to take a more assertive stance against his critics with his approach towards Israel, the Washington Post reported this weekend. The US administration has assembled a special team composed of senior Jewish figures and advisers who will tackle criticism against Obama in the media ... Meanwhile, a recent US poll suggests that many Americans who consider themselves Israel supporters believe Obama's policy in the region is a balanced one
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Middle East Quartet: Additional Gaza flotillas should be discouraged
Haaretz/Reuters 2 July -- Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators says it is concerned, however, with 'unsustainable conditions' in Gaza; calls for an end to 'deplorable' detention of Gilad Shalit ... The Quartet's statement said it recognizes that Israel "has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded" and it was committed to working with Israel, Egypt and the international community to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza.
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Abbas: US should not have veto power over Middle East Quartet decisions
dpa/Reuters 2 July -- The United States should not have the power to veto decisions by its partners in the Quartet for Middle East peace, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday in a radio interview. The Quartet, which also includes the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, is expected to meet in Washington on July 11 to discuss ways to revive the deadlocked Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. ... Abbas said that he was still in favor of negotiations but that he was also determined to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September, despite U.S. objections.
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PNN poll: Majority of Palestinians support leadership bid to recognise Palestinian state at UN
Bethlehem (PNN) 2 July -- According to the poll 57.92% of PNN viewers answered that they support the decision, while 26.24% said that the bid will not benefit the Palestinian cause and will not change facts on the ground even if the UN recognises the Palestinian state. Moreover 6.38% said that the new state bid is not correct. Meanwhile 9.46% of PNN visitors agreed that the UN state bid was unrealistic and would not accomplish anything. The poll was conducted over the period of 3 weeks; PNN used a very high standard of accuracy in which viewers could vote [not] more than once by recognising the computers of individual participants in the poll.
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Palestinian Authority faces cash shortage
AJE 3 July -- The Palestinian Authority can only pay employees half their salaries this month because of a shortfall in foreign aid which it needs for its financial survival, the prime minister said on Sunday. Salam Fayyad appealed to donors to meet their financial pledges. His administration relies on budget support to pay salaries to 150,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and monthly allowances to another 75,000 people. Fayyad, addressing a news conference at his office in Ramallah, identified a shortfall in funding from states in the region, an apparent reference to Arab countries, but would not say which governments he was talking about ... So far in 2011, the PA had received $331 million of $970 million pledged by international donors. 
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Israel, Turkey to soften UN flotilla report?
Ynet 2 July -- Amid attempts to launch next Gaza flotilla, officials in Jerusalem, Ankara try to iron out differences, soften conclusions of Palmer committee on previous sail
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Turkey working for Shalit's release
Ynet 3 July -- Israeli-Turkish businessman recently handed Erdogan letter from Noam Shalit asking him to convince Hamas to accept German mediator's swap deal proposal. Turkish PM pledged to handle matter personally as way to rebuild Israel ties
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Fatah becomes member of Socialist International
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 July -- Palestinian political party Fatah was granted full membership to the Socialist International on Friday, according to the movement's international relations commission in Ramallah. The accreditation was granted during the organization’s recent summit in Athens, Greece. The Fatah delegation to the summit was headed by Nabil Shaath, the commissioner for international relations.
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Nasrallah: Hariri probe is Israeli plot
Ynet/AP 2 July -- Hezbollah's leader said Saturday that the four men indicted in the killing of a former Lebanese prime minister are "honorable" members of his Shiite militant group, and he denounced the six-year investigation as a plot by Israel.
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Other news

Palestinian soccer team advances to next World Cup round
Haaretz/AP 3 July -- The first World Cup game ever to be played at home in the Palestinian territories took place Sunday, as the Palestinian national team secured its place in the next round after a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan, the BBC reported. For years, Palestinian soccer was disorganized, underfunded and hindered so much by Israeli travel restrictions that games were often forfeited because players couldn't arrive for the kickoff. "When teams come play on our land, it's a way of recognizing the Palestinian state," said player Murad Ismael, 26, to the Associated Press last month. "That benefits the Palestinian cause, not just Palestinian sports."
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Fires destroy 200 olive trees in West Bank cities
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 July -- Civil defense crews from several districts in the West Bank were able to control and suppress fires that broke out in the West Bank Thursday morning. Fires destroyed over 200 olive trees and damaged wheat fields in the villages of Al-Yamoun and Al-Arafa in Jenin, Irtah in Tulkarem, the villages of Bidya and Burin south of Nablus, and Al-Thahriya in Hebron.  It is thought the fires began as a result of negligence by farmers.
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Ancient priesthood predicting future
NABLUS (AFP) 3 July -- In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, a small and ancient Samaritan community is managing to make ends meet by dabbling in the age-old practice of fortune-telling. University Avenue, in the hill-ringed city of Nablus, is lined with white banners with the names of Samaritan priests, renowned among their Palestinian neighbors for astrology and divination.
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Jewish-Druze celebration planned
Ynet 1 July -- Unique religious event to be held next week in Galilee town for first time in decades ... It will be held in the Druze town of Sajur in the Galilee region, in honor of the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha, who was considered a righteous man both among the Druze and the Jews. Rabbi Shmuel Sheetrit of Ashdod explained why a joint event of this kind has not been held before: "Due to ignorance, we thought the Druze were hostile to us."
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Analysis / Opinion

Israeli right-wingers, you're in control, so stop whining / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 3 July -- The right-wing assumption that the left controls Israel's major political institutions could not be further from the truth.
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The US may be heading toward talks with Hamas / Zvi Bar'el
Haaretz 3 July -- How would Israel respond if a "senior American official" were to declare that the United States was prepared to speak with Hamas leadership? Don't be alarmed just yet. The United States still maintains its policy of not speaking with Hamas, yet last week America did lift its ban on speaking with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. From this point on, there's no need for meetings in a dark alley.
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The Jewish Ayatollahs / Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom 2 July -- THE ARCHBISHOP of New York announces that any Catholic who rents out an apartment to a Jew commits a mortal sin and runs the risk of excommunication. A protestant priest in Berlin decrees that a Christian who employs a Jew will be banished from his parish. Impossible? Indeed. Except in Israel -- in reverse, of course.The rabbi of Safed, a government employee, has decreed that it is strictly forbidden to let apartments to Arabs -- including the Arab students at the local medical school. Twenty other town rabbis -- whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers, mostly secular, including Arab citizens - have publicly supported this edict ... THIS WEEK, Israel was in uproar. The turmoil was caused by the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior. The affair goes back to a book released more than a year ago by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira ... What really set off a storm was a passage in the book that says that it is permitted to kill children, when it is clear that once they grow up, they can be “harmful”.
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