Ethnic cleansing/Settlement/Destruction of Land and Property
In photos: Palestinians examine demolished homes

Ya’alon No need ever to remove any settlements
Israel should not have to remove any settlements in a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon has told The Jerusalem Post, adding that just as Arabs live in Israel, so, too, should Jews be able to live in a future Palestinian entity.

Report: Illegal outposts received state funds
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Residents of Hayovel, an illegal settlement outpost whose homes are due to be razed, received NIS 77,000 per family from the Israeli government when they settled the site, according to documents obtained by the Israeli daily Haaretz.  The status of Hayovel came before the High Court on Wednesday, the newspaper reported. Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked the court to give the state another six months to respond to the question of when it plans to raze 12 illegal homes there and six others in Horsha.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Dozens Suffered Form Gas Inhalation During Anti-wall Protest In Ni’lin
Dozens of residents from Ni’lin village near Ramallah in the northern West Bank took to the streets to protest the construction of the wall on their land.

All Palestinian political parties will join the 5th Bil’in International Conference on Nonviolent Resistance
The Palestinian village of Bil’in will host the next 21-23 April 2010 the conference “Khalas! Enough occupation! We’re winning! 5th Bil’in International Conference on Popular Resistance” All the Secretary Generals of the Palestinian Political Parties will participate in one of the panels of the conference in an unprecedented move since the breakup of the two main Palestinian political forces, Hamas and Fatah, four years ago.  For the second consecutive year a Spanish delegation led by the Solidarity Campaign “With Palestine in the heart” will participate in the Conference representing the Spanish Civil Society and Institutions.

Martin Luther King III: Refusing service important
Son of US legendary civil rights leader visits Israel, inspired to expound his doctrine on solving conflicts in non-violent ways. ‘We had conscientious objectors in the US army as well,’ he tells Ynet.,7340,L-3876881,00.html

Showdown for Human Rights in Berkeley, Rae Abileah
A former IDF soldier is speaking out in opposition to the occupation of Palestine. An 85-year old Holocaust survivor testifies to the peril of waiting to make a decision rather than saving lives now by stopping war machines. A queer Jewish Latino speaks about his own journey from living in a settlement in East Jerusalem to coordinating a national organization opposing the occupation. A Palestinian student shares the story of his own family’s loss and highlights the lost logic in the room. The Israeli Consulate General admits to the existence of an “occupation” and states that Israel wants to end it! An orthodox man calls in a metaphor of candlelight illuminating goodness, each of us a candle. Facts are flung around like snowflakes that melt on impact spilling into the subjective world of painful stories that pull at heartstrings and paint barbed pictures. It all went down in Berkeley, California on Wednesday night, April 14, as the world watched (and tweeted).

UC Berkeley Divestment Debate Shows Importance of Campus Divestment Movement
The UC Berkeley divestment debate was a 12-hour nail biter. At one point, the Associated Students of the University of California Berkeley (ASUC) cast their vote: 12 votes to overturn veto of divestment at UC Berkeley. 7 votes in favor of veto. 1 abstention.

Berkeley’s BDS epic continues; Despatches
The debate at U.C. Berkeley’s student Senate (ASUC) continued throughout last night, on whether to over-ride the veto the Senate president had cast against the recent divestment bill.   The divestment bill, if passed, would mandate that the ASUC divest from companies that actively support Israel’s occupation of the OPTs and the Apartheid Wall— and that it call on the far richer U.C. system as a whole to follow suit.

bill 118a
Palestinian students from the 1948 lands write to the berkley student senate: “The idea that Israeli universities and institutions adhere to the values of academic freedom, objectivity and meritocracy prevails widely in the West. However, we can attest from our experience – and, indeed, prove without a doubt – that this is not the case. We are systematically prevented from forming our autonomous student bodies, and racial discrimination is widely practiced against us when it comes to receiving scholarships and securing housing in the university residential halls – discrimination enacted under the pretext that we have not served in the Israeli army. The restrictions imposed on our freedom of expression are more stifling; our public gatherings are often violently interrupted by the police, called to intervene by the university administration.”

Anti-divestment talking points: Avoid the facts and charge anti-Semitism, Adam Horowitz
The following talking points were distributed on UC Berkeley’s campus in the days leading up to last night’s debate over divestment. Several sources on Berkeley’s campus have confirmed that they had seen them on campus, and that they were adhered to closely by anti-divestment advocates during the debate itself.

UC Berkeley divestment vote–it isn’t over yet
Being a part of the tremendous coalition effort to pass a divestment bill at Berkeley was quite simply an ecstatic experience.  As my colleague Sydney Levy said, “The movement grew by an enormous leap today.”  First, the vote itself: after the UC Berkeley Student Senate originally voted on March 18, by a margin of 16-4, to divest from companies that profit from the occupation, that vote was vetoed by the Senate president. The Senate needed 14 votes to overturn his veto, but early this morning, after an epic 10 plus hour meeting, senators found they had only 13 yes votes with one abstention. So the students tabled a vote to overturn the veto. This means the veto stands but can still be overturned later–there will be much continued lobbying and activism in the coming weeks. (Meanwhile, some weeks ago AIPAC openly threatened to take over the UC government to block the bill.)

ACTION ALERT: Write against issuing Canada-Israel stamp
On April 14th, Canada will be issuing a “Canada-Israel Diplomatic Relations” commemorative stamp to celebrate 60 years of relations. In light of on-going occupation, policies of racial segregation and war-crimes against the Palestinian people, we ask what is there to celebrate?  Please take a minute to send the following message to John Baird (bairdij@…), the Minister responsible for Canada Post Corporation and Rob Merrifield (Merrifield.R@…), the Minister of State (Transport) to express your anger at Canada Post’s joint issue stamp with Israel Post.

Artists on Israeli Apartheid
Artists speak out on Israeli Apartheid: in their own words Photo: Israeli missile strikes building in Beirut, Lebanon. Hundreds of Montreal artists have united in solidarity with Palestine, launching a public declaration this February signed by 500 artists from the city. Artists in Montreal from diverse disciplines, from dancers to poets, musicians to filmmakers, have issued the […]

Violence/Aggression and Provocations
IDF troops kill Palestinian in clashes at Gaza border
Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian in an exchange of fire near the northern Gaza Strip’s border with Israel on Friday, hospital officials and the Israeli military said.  The military said an army force patrolling the border identified a Palestinian gunman planting explosives near the security fence along the border, east of Gaza City.

Activist: 10-year-old boy shot with rubber bullet
Hebron – Ma’an – A 10-year-old boy was shot in the leg with a rubber-coated bullet on Wednesday, activists said Thursday.  The boy, Qusay Ahmad Abu Hashem, was reportedly injured in clashes with Israeli forces near Beit Ummar, north of Hebron.

Army Obstructs Firefighters Causing Further Damage, Losses near Jenin
IMEMC – Friday April 16, 2010 – 01:45, Palestinian sources reported Thursday that after several storehouses for households and sponge products were caught on fire, the Israeli army obstructed Palestinian firefighters and rescue teams from reaching the area an issue that increased the damage and losses.

Israeli forces surround, raid Al-Walaja homes
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Following an anti-wall protest in Al-Walaja on Friday, Israeli border police entered the village and surrounded the home of a detained Palestinian, trapping at least 40 people in the home for two hours.  The home of 40 year old Hatem Al-Araj was host to women and children when it was besieged. Witnesses said troops withdrew after two hours without incident, and said it was unclear what they wanted with those in the building.

Locals say settlers torched cars overnight
Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Israeli settlers torched cars and sprayed graffiti on homes in the occupied West Bank overnight, locals said Friday.  Residents of Jinsafut, a village east of Qalqiliya, said the incident began at about 2am, when locals awoke to shouting.  The alleged assailants were identified by locals as residents of the illegal settlement of Qedumim east of Qalqiliya

Adding torture to injury
GAZA (IPS) – It was bad enough that Ahmad Asfour was severely maimed by an Israeli drone strike outside his house on 9 January 2009. But, his search for advanced treatment landed the journalism student, now 19, in Israeli prison where he remains.

‘Over 7,000’ Palestinians in Israel jails (AFP)
AFP – More than 7,000 Palestinians, including 270 who are under the age of 18, are currently held in Israeli prisons, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

Humanitarian Issues/Human Rights/Restriction of Movement/SiegePupils in east Jerusalem get half funding of those in west
According to opinion written by city’s legal advisor, elementary schools in west Jerusalem receive NIS 408 per child, while pupil in east receives just NIS 214. ‘These gaps raise fear of discrimination,’ he writes. Jerusalem Municipality in response: Advisor using his opinion to promote his political views.,7340,L-3876882,00.html

Pitch black under siege
Dr Moawya Hassanein, head of Emergency Medicine at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, warns that the lives of thousands of patients with kidney failure who require dialysis three times a week are at risk because of power failures. “There is little we can do at hospitals for patients with heart disease, cancer, in the ICU or premature babies,” Hassanein declared. “We have power generators but no one can guarantee that they are enough or will not run out of fuel.”

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 08-14 April 2010

Gaza: “If you really want to empower people…”
In a Red Cross Red Crescent Community Centre in Gaza city, 20 women sit in a circle and share their joys and sorrows. Umm Mahmood is here for the first time. She talks of not being shown respect by her family. Her husband is unemployed, her son is handicapped, and the economic plight, caused by the Israeli closure, is adding an increased burden. By telling her story, Umm Mahmood realizes that the other women face the same challenges, that she is not alone.

Israel’s Arab Helpers
Israel hails level of security cooperation with Abbas’s militias
The Israeli military commandership of the central region expressed its satisfaction of the level of security cooperation between its troops and Mahmoud Abbas’s militias.

Egypt police kill Eritrean migrant along border with Israel
Egyptian police shot dead a 42-year-old Eritrean migrant on Thursday as he tried to cross the border into Israel at dawn, a medical source and a security source said.

Hamas closes Gaza Strip tunnels as Israelis fear kidnapping
Hamas officials closed smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday following Israeli intelligence reports that militants planned to kidnap an Israeli tourist in Egypt and take him to Gaza. Hamas officials say they will not allow Gaza to become a base for terrorist attacks in Egypt.

PA cop sentenced for leaking police secrets to Israel
Jenin – Ma’an – A military court in the West Bank city of Jenin sentenced policeman to seven and a half years of hard labor after he was convicted of leaking classified information to Israel’s military.  The officer, identified only be his initials, SH.R., will also be dismissed from the martial service, the court determined Thursday.

Jordanian propagandist calls on Arabs to honor Rabin
This royal Jordanian columnist calls on Arabs to honor and elevate Rabin, as a smart Middle East policy. I am sure that Arabs everywhere will head his advice.

Media Restrictions/Bias
Israeli propaganda trash in the New York Times
It takes the Israeli government to make one unsubstantiated claim about Arabs and the New York Times will provide free space to air that claim. Here is an example. A whole article to air a claim by Israel–and only by Israel. I mean, if this is a paid ad, I can understand but it is not–as far as we can tell of course. Of course, I hope that Lebanon and anybody in Lebanon get all the missiles and weapons that they can get to defend Lebanon from Israeli aggression. Would you think that the New York Times will ever write a story about confirmed reports about Israeli WMDs????

PA orders 35 broadcasters shut down

Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian minister of telecommunications and information technology Mashhur Abu Daka on Thursday sent letters to more than 35 television and radio stations demanding that they stop broadcasting.  The move follows a dispute between a number of broadcasters protesting a rise in fees.

Freedom and Press According to Israel
These days the public debate in Israel is occupied by discussion about the freedom of press and the role and meaning of information in a democratic state. The debate has been provoked by the news of a 23-year-old Israeli journalist, Anat Kamm, secretly held under house arrest for more than three months. Ms Kamm is accused of having copied and leaked Israeli military documents during her military service – compulsory in Israel for young men and women from the age of 18 – concerning the killing of Palestinian militants in the West Bank. She passed the reports to Haaretz journalist, Uri Blau: based on the information included in the reports, he published an article in Haaretz in November 2008 about two Palestinians members of the Islamic Jihad group killings, which sparked a great stir. The article was approved at the time by the Military Censorship Bureau.

Israel Targets Ha’aretz, JONATHAN COOK
An Arab member of the Israeli parliament is demanding that a newspaper be allowed to publish an investigative report that was suppressed days before Israel attacked Gaza in winter 2008.  The investigation by Uri Blau, who has been in hiding since December to avoid arrest, concerned Israeli preparations for the impending assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.

Political Developments/Diplomacy
Fatah-aligned Sami Al-Ghoul Brigades call for resistance
Gaza – Ma’an – A small militant brigade aligned with the Fatah movement announced its committment to continued resistance in a statement made public on Friday.  The group, known as the Sami Al-Ghoul Brigades, last claimed an attack on Israel one year ago, on Friday 17 April 2009. In a statement released at the time, which was reiterated almost word for word in the Friday statement, said the group was committed to resistance activities and called on all military wings of Palestinian factions to declare a state of high alert and be ready to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem from colonizing settlers.

Israel must do more for peace: Clinton (Reuters)
Reuters – Israel must do more to pursue peace with the Palestinians and to strengthen their institutions or risk empowering militant groups such as Hamas, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

Israel PM must show sincerity on peace: Clinton (AFP)
AFP – The United States called Thursday on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prove his commitment to a Palestinian state, warning that prolonged conflict only strengthened extremists.

Other News
U.S. Congressman lashes out at Obama over Israel remarks
Eric Cantor, a leading Republican official in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Thursday lashed out at U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks about Israel at this week’s nuclear security summit.

Lauder to Obama: Palestinians to blame
In open letter to American president, head of WJC Ron Lauder expresses concern over US-Israel rift, says Palestinians refuse to negotiate; letter calls on Obama to quit public criticism of Jewish state.,7340,L-3876794,00.html

Israeli Public’s Support for Dismantling Most Settlements Has Risen to a Five-Year High
A survey of the Israeli general public and Israeli settlers taken in early March shows three-fifths of the Israeli public (60%) support “dismantling most of the settlements in the territories as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.” This is eleven points higher than the previous reading (49%) taken in December, 2009, and is the highest level recorded since 2005, during the debate over evacuating the Gaza Strip. Just one-third of the Israeli public (33%) opposes dismantling most settlements, including 13 percent very strongly opposed. This is the lowest level of strong opposition to dismantling settlements recorded by the Truman Institute for the 26 surveys in which this question has been asked since 2001. The survey was conducted by the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Israeli Hooliganism:Goldstone pressured into not attending grandson’s bar mitzvah
Arthur Chaskalson, a retired chief justice of South Africa, said it was “disgraceful” to put pressure on a grandfather not to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah.  “If it is correct that this has the blessing of the leadership of the Jewish community in South Africa, it reflects on them rather than Judge Goldstone,” Chaskalson said. “They should hang their heads in shame.”

Police: Suspicions against Olmert grave and well-founded
The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court yesterday lifted its gag order on the identity of the ‘senior official’ suspected of taking bribes in the Holyland case, revealing the suspect to be none other than former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993-2003 and is already standing trial in three unrelated corruption cases.

Audio slideshow
Restoring classic cars in the Gaza Strip

Salman Abu Sitta – Hasbara or Za’bara
To maintain a façade of moral code, you do not kill a friend, you kill an enemy.  You do not rob another man’s house, you recover your long-forgotten property.  These are the principles adopted in all wars and conflicts.  That is why it was always the mission of the aggressor to depict the target of killing, i.e. the enemy, as an evil, bad person or people who deserve to be defeated, and if killed, that would be a natural end for their bad behaviour. Similarly it was the mission of the occupier to claim that he is not robbing someone else but merely recovering back his property which he neglected to do for centuries.

NYT: Obama ‘incensed’ by Netanyahu, Philip Weiss
The Times seems to be dealing with the embarrassment of Ethan Bronner by having Helene Cooper report on shifts in Obama’s policy on Middle East from Washington. This is a really good report from her (and Mark Landler) yesterday, saying flatly that Obama was “incensed” by Netanyahu’s East Jerusalem plans and their announcement when Joe Biden was in J’lem. The piece also highlights the important but obvious Petraeus doctrine, that the Israel/Palestine problem is hurting the U.S. across the Islamic world and costing lives too. Typically, the Times quotes three Israel lobbyists, Martin Indyk, Rob’t Wexler and Ronald Lauder. I wish it would quote some Arabs or Palestinians.

MJ Rosenberg: Times Reports Shift in US Mideast Policy
The New York Times reports today that recent months have seen “a far-reaching shift in how the United States views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how aggressively it might push for a peace agreement.”

Accelerating Fascism in Israel, Stephen Lendman
Occupied Palestinians and Israeli Arabs never had rights in a state affording them solely to Jews. Now even they’re at risk as democratic freedoms fast erode on their way to extinction; to wit, free expression, a right without which all others are endangered. It includes free speech, a free press, freedom of thought, culture,  intellectual inquiry, and the right to challenge government authority peacefully, especially in times of war and cases of injustice, lawlessness, incompetence, and abuses of power.

Israel’s manufactured outrage over a presidential palace
Israel’s hysterical reaction — and the US support of it — to the building of a Palestinian Authority presidential compound on a street named after a Hamas military commander, is hardly surprising. Of note however is the double-standard exhibited by Israel and its patron, the US. The assumption throughout is that Israel’s actions are just, defensive and in pursuit of peace for all. Conversely, Palestinian actions are aggressive and evil, and worthy of worldwide condemnation. Stephen Maher comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Israeli actions are turning Jerusalem into a settlement
Thanks to an attempted settler takeover of the Sheikh Jarrah quarter, that quiet neighborhood of East Jerusalem has turned into a kind of microcosm of the illnesses that are poisoning relations between Jews and Arabs. The worst of these is the refusal to recognize the finality of the situation that was created at the end of the War of Independence. It is possible to understand the settler right, whose existential aim is the continued conquest of the land. But how is it possible that state institutions will lend a hand to an act that destroys the very land under our feet?

Film review: Missed opportunities in “Checkpoint Rock”
Sometime early this decade the Israeli army issued a military order banning Palestinian musicians from using simile and metaphors. This order also prevented them from singing about anything but the occupation. Ok, that’s not actually true. But if your only contact with Palestinian music was through the documentary Checkpoint Rock you could be forgiven for coming to that conclusion. Jimmy Johnson reviews for The Electronic Intifada.

Thursday: 22 Iraqis Killed, 6 Wounded
An old mass grave believed to contain 14 al-Qaeda victims was unearthed near Samarra. Meanwhile, the formation of the new government is slowly plowing ahead as the Iraqiya bloc met with Iranian officials to gain Shi’ite support. Overall, at least 22 Iraqis were killed, including those found in the mass grave, and another six were wounded.

Three killed in shoot-out near Baghdad airport (AFP)
AFP – Iraqi troops on Thursday killed three men in a shoot-out near the main highway to Baghdad airport, while north of the capital police found the corpses of 14 Al-Qaeda kidnap victims, officials said.

Gunmen kill Iraq singer Qassem Abou Amer

Gunmen assassinated Iraqi singer Qassem Abou Amer in front of his house in Al Sheala District on Thursday overnight. Clashes erupted in Al Bayaa region between the police and gunmen. Three gunmen were killed in clashes while their weapons were confiscated, police said.

Iraqi PM says next government has to include Sunnis (Reuters)
Reuters – Iraq’s incumbent Shi’ite Muslim prime minister said the next government to be formed after an inconclusive election in March had to include the Sunni-backed coalition that won the most seats.

The role of Iraq’s Arab neighbours | Ranj Alaaldin
As Iraq moves away from the orbit of Iran’s influence, relations with neighbouring Arab countries becomes more significant.   Iraq continues to be marred politically by its Sunni-Shia divide. In last month’s elections, no single group emerged with a cross-sectarian appeal. This divide also exists externally in the form of a rift between the Sunni Arab world and Shia Iran, which is played out on Iraqi soil. But while the counterproductive Iranian role in Iraqi affairs is often highlighted, the other side of the coin receives less attention.

Lebanese tear down Israeli fence in disputed area (AFP)
AFP – Residents of southern Lebanon on Friday dismantled a barbed wire fence set up by Israeli troops in a disputed border area earlier this week, a military spokesman said.

Jumblatt to make second Syria trip in a month
BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader Walid Jumblatt is set to visit Damascus on Friday, for his second such trip in under a month. Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the latter’s residence in downtown Beirut, Jumblatt didn’t disclose whether he would meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Southerners ready for any conflict with Israel
TYRE: If it weren’t for the resistance’s rockets that hit Israel during the country’s 2006 war against Lebanon, Israeli tanks would have reached the southern borders of Syria. This is the view taxi driver Abbas Atwi shares with his passengers as he heads to the south of the Litani river, an area of UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) operations as stipulated

U.S. and Other World News
Jon Heavey: Kids Shouldn’t Be Collateral Damage in a Combat Zone: They Should be Treated
Last week, front line combat footage from an Apache helicopter was released to the public. After watching the clips, I sat wishing I had been surprised by what I saw. But I wasn’t. Having rolled outside the wire in combat myself, I have to admit that the carnage did not strike me as anything beyond the brutal reality of war. What I was struck by instead is a detail that is largely left out of the video.

Report: Afghans in secret jail ‘made to dance’ to use bathroom, Bagram prisoners ‘moved around in wheelchairs with goggles and headphones on’

The US military is operating a “secret jail” at an Afghan airbase where prisoners are deprived of sleep and “made to dance” by US troops whenever they want to use the toilet, a BBC report states.

Egypt urged to protect peaceful demonstrators
The authorities have been urged to allow peaceful protests after police violently repressed another anti-government demonstration in Cairo this week.  Amnesty International has urged the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to protect demonstrators, after police violently repressed another anti-government demonstration in Cairo on Tuesday, beating and injuring demonstrators with batons and detaining and abusing at least one.

Egypt’s Presidential Elections: Kuwait Casts Its Vote
More than 250,000 Egyptians live and work in the oil-rich country of Kuwait. Yet when just three met at a local café to attend a small meeting of supporters of Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, former IAEA head and possible Egyptian presidential contender—they were arrested.

Is the Arab world ready for a reading revolution?
Abdo Khal’s ‘Arabic Booker’-winning novel is effectively banned in his native Saudi Arabia. But he says a new generation of readers is seeking out his work.  The latest winner of the International prize for Arabic fiction – the “Arabic Booker” – puts Arab countries’ censorship in the spotlight. I met the Saudi novelist Abdo Khal in Abu Dhabi, as he picked up his $60,000 award at a gala dinner in March. All his books are effectively banned in his home country, he told me, as well as in Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan. So I was startled to find the Saudi culture minister, Abdul Aziz Khoja, praising Khal as an “ambassador for creativity“, whose win is a victory for Saudi literature.

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