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Photographer Ryuichi Hirokawa’s best shot

I took this in 2002, at Al-Ram checkpoint on the West Bank. All the checkpoints had been closed by Israeli troops and these women were demonstrating to have them opened, so that food and medical supplies could come through. An hour before, a group of men had been demonstrating, but the soldiers pulled out their batons so the women - who were both Palestinian and Israeli - moved to the front.

Israel Stripping West Bank Quarries

Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din is taking the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the Israeli civil administration and a number of Israeli mining companies to court [for] illegally stripping Palestinian West Bank quarries of raw construction material for the benefit of the Israeli construction industry and the building of illegal Israeli settlements.

Meron Benvenisti: The binationalism vogue

But in any event, discussion about a binational state should not be of interest only to the radical left. For if the two-state option melts away, the burden of coping with a binational reality will fall on all of us.

John Pilger: Obama’s 100 Days – The Mad Men Did Well

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes the power of advertising - from the effects of smoking to politics - as he reaches behind the facade of of the first 100 days President Barack Obama.

Israel warns EU to stop criticizing Netanyahu government

“A public confrontation was created that required Prime Minister Netanyahu, and even opposition head Tzipi Livni, to intervene. We have noted that the large European countries have respected our request and are granting the government time, but it is important that Europe be uniform in this matter... Israel is asking Europe to lower the tone and conduct a discreet dialog... However, if these declarations continue, Europe will not be able to be part of the diplomatic process”

Israeli Arabs mark 61st anniversary of Nakba

Hadash Chairman MK Mohammed Barakeh: “Passing our heritage from one generation to the next is essential for our steadfastness and survival in our homeland. Our survival is not open to interpretation or negotiation, and is our formative feature as a community that narrowly escaped the threat of expulsion and remained in its country.”

Yad Vashem fires employee who compared Holocaust to Nakba

“Yad Vashem talks about the Holocaust survivors’ arrival in Israel and about creating a refuge here for the world’s Jews. I said there were people who lived on this land and mentioned that there are other traumas that provide other nations with motivation,” Shapira said.

Scholars condemn attack on academic freedom at UC-Santa Barbara

Chomsky: “They try to label any criticism as anti-Semitic, but they never respond to the criticism itself, because they can’t... Decades ago, the ADL was an authentic and serious organization that defended civic rights, but in the last 40 years it’s become a Stalinist-style organization dedicated to supporting anything Israel does and to destroying all opposition to Israeli policies.”

Growing Majority of Americans Oppose Israel Building Settlements

A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll finds that three-quarters of Americans think that Israel should not build settlements in the Palestinian territories. This is up 23 points from when this question was last asked in 2002.

Israelis call on musician Leonard Cohen to cancel concert

“It is left for us, citizens of the world, to condemn Israeli atrocities and crimes against humanity. Dissociating ourselves from Israel's brutal policies is the only nonviolent way now to avoid becoming complicit in the killing, the wounding and the maiming, and the robbing of Palestinians... [G]iven your longstanding, vocal commitment to justice, we cannot envision you cooperating with continued Israeli defiance of justice and morality; we cannot envision you playing a part in the Israeli charade of self-righteousness.”

Uri Avnery: Witchhunt against peace seekers

Police offensive against New Profile activists – a violation of the freedom of speech. This assault on the adherents of peace and democracy follows after Lieberman took over the police and state prosecution.

Egypt selling goods seized on way to Gaza

Egyptian authorities invite local merchants to participate in auctions of goods confiscated before being smuggled into Gaza. Palestinians furious as they are paying for merchandise they will never receive... Egyptian business sources reported that most of the products offered in the auctions are food products, led by the rice, biscuits, beans, candy and salt. They are followed by household utensils and electrical appliances, including computer equipment.

Gaza merchants urge Israel to release goods

Palestinian traders have had enough of seeing their merchandise rot in containers at Ashdod Port, call on international community to find urgent solution.

Haaretz Editorial: Unsatisfactory Probes [on IDF ’Self-Investigation’ of Gaza War Crimes]

The fact is, soldiers who took part in the operation, and not only Israeli and foreign observers suspected of self-righteousness or hypocrisy, were revolted by what they saw, heard, and sometimes even did in the Gaza Strip. This revulsion, which the IDF officially rejects and seeks to contain, was recorded in Haaretz... and stirred up a storm. The presentation of the probes’ findings sounded like a belated defensive move, partly because senior people in the army and government are concerned about legal measures against them overseas.

Akiva Eldar: Netanyahu’s Mideast policy threatens EU ties

An internal [Israeli] Foreign Ministry document last week stated that following Operation Cast Lead, diplomatic bodies in a number of European countries have called for a freeze on the upgrade, citing the pressure of domestic public opinion. Four European states have already said that if Israel did not agree to a two-state solution, they would oppose upgrading relations.

Barak: Gaza probe shows IDF among world’s most moral armies

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Wednesday that an internal investigation has determined that no civilians were purposefully harmed by IDF troops during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

Gideon Levy: Word games

Twenty evacuated settlements are worth more than a thousand peace formulas, and 2,000 released prisoners will move the sides forward more than 10,000 words. If only Israel agrees to implement what it has agreed to, from the release of prisoners to a freeze on settlements.

Elia Leibowitz: Naboth of Bil’in

On Friday evening, television news viewers witnessed the ultimate reality show - the murder of a human being on camera. The site of the killing was next to the West Bank village of Bil'in, 80 kilometers south of the ancient city of Jezreel, where a murder was committed under similar circumstances some 2,800 years ago. Bil'in is located 10 kilometers south of the village of Qibya, itself a notorious locale in Israel's history for the 1953 IDF raid in which 69 Palestinian civilians, some of them children, were killed by troops commanded by a young Ariel Sharon.