Interfaith Peace Initiative





















Current News About Israel and Palestine

During this time of rapidly changing events in the Middle East, readers are urged to visit the following websites for breaking news:
You are also urged to contact Jewish Voice for Peace ( and the American Task Force on Palestine ( to receive their regular news updates from the region.



Top officials urge dialogue with Hamas
By Bryan Bender and Farah Stockman
Globe Staff / March 14, 2009
“WASHINGTON - Nine former senior US officials and one current adviser are urging the Obama administration to talk with leaders of Hamas to determine whether the militant group can be persuaded to disarm and join a peaceful Palestinian government, a major departure from current US policy.The bipartisan group, which includes economic recovery adviser Paul A. Volcker and former national security advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, made the recommendation in a letter handed to Obama days before he took office, according to Scowcroft.
The group is preparing to meet this weekend to decide when to release a report outlining a proposed US agenda for talks aimed at bringing all Palestinian factions into the Mid east peace process....”

Barak: We Could Have Stopped Rockets by Accepting Hamas Ceasefire
by Richard Silverstein
Mar 9th, 2009
Every so often in Israeli politics there are brief flashes of clarity when the clouds of obfuscation clear, allowing you to see what you knew all along was true. Sol Salbe brings word of a news report from Israel’s Galey Tzahal (Army Radio) about a fractious Israel cabinet meeting at which Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak went at each other hammer and tong about the current Palestinian rocket attacks. …
What Barak and Olmert appear to agree on (though coming at it from different vantage points and for opposite political purposes) is that Hamas presented terms for a ceasefire that could have averted Operation Cast Lead.  Barak appears to have either proposed accepting the terms or at least limiting the Operation’s duration once Israel decided to reject them….”

Sheikh and Archbishop condemn East Jerusalem home evictions
Maan News
March 15, 2009
Jerusalem – Ma’an – There is an Israeli plan to evacuate and demolish at least 1,700 homes owned by Palestinians in Jerusalem in 2009, warned head of the Islamic movement in Israel Sheikh Raed Salah on Sunday.
Sheikh Salah revealed information at a media conference in Jerusalem on Sunday that demolition orders or re-zoning plans would make homeless more than 17,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem. He described the situation as the most dangerous since Israel’s annexation of the area in 1967.
Also at the conference was Archbishop Attalla Hanna, who assured that Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem are united in the face of Israeli threats trying to defend the city’s heritage in the Arab nation...”

Court temporarily halts demolition of East Jerusalem school
Maan News
March 14, 2009

 “Jerusalem – Ma’an – A Jerusalem court issued an injunction on Friday to temporarily halt the demolition of the Al-Huda school in East Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said….
The Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality issued a demolition order for the school on Thursday on the grounds that a wing had been added to the building 15 years ago without the proper permits.

Israelis 'firing live rounds' at West Bank protesters
Peter Beaumont
The Observer, Sunday 15 March 2009 00.01 GMT
“Israeli armed forces and border police used the cover of the war against Hamas in Gaza to reintroduce the firing of .22 rifle bullets - as well as the extensive use of a new model of tear-gas canister - against unarmed demonstrators in the Occupied West Bank protesting at the building of Israel's "separation wall".
The tactics were highlighted on Friday, when a US protester, Tristan Anderson, 38, was hit in the head by one of the new extended-range gas canisters in the village of Ni'ilin, suffering an open wound in his skull and substantial brain damage....”
American protester shot by Israeli soldiers still in critical condition after surgery
Maan News
March 14, 2009
“Bethlehem – Ma’an – An American demonstrator shot in the head by the Israeli military Friday remains in life-threatening condition after undergoing surgery overnight. “His skull is fractured. Fragments of bone went into his brain,” ….
Palestinians and their international supporters hold demonstrations at noon every Friday in Ni’lin and other villages against the Israeli wall, which, if completed, will snake 723 kilometers through the interior of the West Bank. Israel says the barrier is for its security, but Palestinians see it as one of many means to confiscate their land and further fragment their territory. …”

For third week, Qalqiliya's villagers confront Israeli bulldozers
Maan News
March 15, 2009

“Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Dozens of Palestinians and international peace activists confronted Israeli bulldozers working in the towns of Ras Teera and Wad Ar-Rasha, southeast of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya.
Local sources said that “the residents of those towns confronted the bulldozers that began to uproot the olive trees there….”

British consul general in Jerusalem "concerned" over Israeli decision to demolish 88 homes
Maan News
March 15, 2009

“Jerusalem – Ma’an – British Consul General in Jerusalem Richard Makepeace expressed his concern over the Israeli decision to demolish 88 Palestinian-owned homes in Silwan, East Jerusalem in a statement released on Thursday.
Makepeace’s statement was directed to the residents of Silwan, to whom he reiterated that the demolition of homes in an occupied area is in contradiction to the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as the Road Map, which Israel signed….”

Rafah remains closed to human traffic; stranded Gazans appeal to PA
March 9, 2009 Time: 16:45

Gaza – Ma’an – Stranded on the borders between Egypt and Gaza, hundreds of Gazans are waiting to pass into Egypt for treatment, or back into Gaza to be with their families.
Those trapped have expressed strong resentment of the administrative chaos they have been trying to negotiate in the process of getting (or not getting) visas to cross the land border. They are calling on Egypt to open the crossing as soon as possible, and officials have responded saying only that it will be open soon.
The de facto Ministry of the Interior in Gaza responded to the calls by announcing they had registered more than 3,000 foreign residency holders and 600 patients waiting to cross into Egypt. They demanded that the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s ambassador to Egypt increase his efforts in having the crossing opened.

Situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, officials say
March 9, 2009 Time: 16:19

Bethlehem – Ma’an – The situation in Gaza is “ready to blow out” if the Israeli siege on the area continues, local analysts said Sunday.
The siege crippled Gaza before the war, the war destroyed whatever was left of both human and material reserves, and a continued siege is putting Gaza on the edge of a precipice Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from Gaza Faisal Abu Shahla said during a television interview at Ma’an.
“The situation is very dangerous” Abu Shaahla said angrily, adding “the goods are running out of the markets…and anything smuggled in is ten times its ordinary price.”

Gaza crossings allow fraction of waiting aid, fuel into Strip
March 9, 2009 Time: 09:56

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli authorities opened all three commercial crossing points of the Gaza Strip Monday, allowing only a fraction of the waiting food products, humanitarian aid and fuel purchased for Gaza residents into the area.
According to Raed Fattuh, chair of the Gazan committee for entry of goods, Israel partially opened the Kerem Shalom crossing to let in 110 truckloads 38 of which are humanitarian aid for UN and other agencies. Only 62 trucks are destined for the Gazan private sector, including frozen meats, flour, sugar, rice, beans, cooking oil, disposable diapers, toilet paper and blankets.
An unknown number of trucks carrying agricultural products including fruits and fertilized eggs, are also expected to transfer their goods into Gaza Monday.

France urges Israel to open Gaza Strip crossings
March 9, 2009 Time: 19:27

Bethlehem – Ma’an – France is demanding that Israel open its crossings with the Gaza Strip, according to a statement sent to Ma’an from the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday.
“Gaza’s reconstruction and the poor humanitarian and economic situation will not improve but through opening the crossings permanently,” the statement said.
The Foreign Ministry also warned that reconstruction “will not be carried out” without a significant change in Israel’s handling of the issue of crossings at its borders with Gaza.

Poll: Hamas more popular after Gaza offensive
By Reuters
March 9, 2009

Hamas's popularity among Palestinians has risen sharply since Israel's three-week offensive against the Islamist group in Gaza last month, an opinion poll released on Monday showed.
If an election were held today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Mahmoud Abbas, the Western-backed Palestinian president and leader of Fatah, who advocates a peace deal with Israel.

Israeli West Bank mines 'illegal'
BBC News
March 9, 2009

An Israeli human rights group has filed a petition at the High Court demanding an immediate halt to Israeli mining operations in the West Bank.
The group, Yesh Din, accuses Israel of breaking international law by exploiting the occupied territory's resources for its own gain.....
It says its High Court petition addresses "the illegal practice of brutal economic exploitation of a conquered territory to serve the exclusive economic needs of the occupying power".

UK aid convoy crosses into Gaza
BBC News
March 9, 2009

Part of a 99-vehicle convoy bringing medicine, food, clothing and toys from the UK has reached Gaza after a 24-day journey through Europe and Africa.
Organised by the Viva Palestina group and backed by UK MP George Galloway, the convoy entered Gaza from Egypt.
It was held for a day because the Egyptian authorities objected to its carrying some non-medical goods.
Gaza is under a tight blockade by the Israeli military, which Egypt helps to enforce at the Rafah border crossing.

Gaza homes destruction 'wanton'
BBC News
March 9, 2009

Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in "wanton destruction" of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza.
Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes……
Israeli troops had to leave their vehicles to plant the mines, indicating that they faced no danger and that there was no military or operational justification, she said.
Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that gathers and circulates the testimonies of Israeli soldiers, has also told the BBC News website that its findings from the Gaza war suggested many demolitions had been carried out when there was no immediate threat.

Olmert: No peace without Jerusalem as Palestinian capital
March 7, 2009 Time: 09:48

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – No peace is possible unless Israel allows Palestinians to establish their capital in Jerusalem, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Friday.
"There will be no peace if a significant part of Jerusalem is not the capital of the Palestinian state," Olmert said during a public appearance in northern Israel.


U.S. turns up heat on Israel over settlements
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
March 8, 2009

Israel is under increased pressure from the United States over settlement construction. In the past month, since Barack Obama was sworn in as U.S. president, Israel has received four official complaints from members of the new administration regarding various issues linked to West Bank settlements.
A senior government official in Jerusalem told Haaretz that the complaints represent a gradual increase in American pressure vis-a-vis settlement activity. "This is going to be one of the main issues that the Obama administration will be dealing with in the coming weeks and months," the official said. "It is not going to be easy to argue with them."

U.S. Army document describes Israel as 'a nuclear power'
By Amir Oren
March 8, 2009

In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, the U.S. military is terming Israel "a nuclear power" on a par with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which have declared their nuclear weapon status, and ahead of "nuclear threshold powers" Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the "emerging" Iran.
The reference to Israel as a nuclear power is contained in a document published late last year by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), the Norfolk, Virginia-based headquarters in charge of preparing American forces for their military missions worldwide, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. JFCOM's chief, U.S. Marine Corps Four-Star General James Mattis, also heads NATO's Allied Command Transformation.

Abbas says determined to form power-sharing government with Hamas
By Akiva Eldar and Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz Correspondents, and The Associated Press
March 8, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he is determined to form a power-sharing government with his Hamas rivals, despite their deep differences.
Abbas comments come a day after Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad submitted his resignation. The move is meant to ease the formation of a new caretaker government to oversee new elections.

General closure of West Bank to begin ahead of Purim
Jerusalem Post
Mar 8, 2009 19:23

A general closure of the West Bank will begin as of midnight Sunday following an order given by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The closure is expected to be lifted at the end of Purim at midnight, Wednesday.

Qalqiliya: Citizens block bulldozers constructing separation wall; Israeli soldiers fire tear gas
Maan News
March 8, 2009

Qalqiliya – Ma’an – Clashes erupted between Palestinian citizens and Israeli forces in the northern West Bank village of Wadi Ar-Rasha south of Qalqiliya on Sunday as the Palestinians attempted to stop bulldozers changing the route of the separation wall in the area, eyewitnesses said.
According to Rafiq Mara’ba from the Popular Committee Against the Wall, dozens of Palestinian citizens from villages of Ras Tira, Wadi Ar-Rasha and Dhab’a along with foreign and Israeli solidarity activists stood in the way of Israeli bulldozers. As a result, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at them. No casualties have been reported.

Israel orders more mass house demolitions, this time in Hebron
Maan News
March 6, 2003

Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli authorities notified the residents of the village of Al-Baqa’a that their homes were slated for demolition because they were built without permits.
The town is sandwiched between two swaths of Hebron’s largest settlement Kiriya Arba, whose settlers were responsible for the death of a Hebron man during the riots following the Israeli evacuation of a settler-occupied home on 4 December. Kiriya Arba settlers are also responsible for the daily harassment and vandalism of Palestinian property.
The residents received warning of the demolition orders on Wednesday and appealed to human rights organizations to intervene on their behalf. The eight homes and four agricultural buildings slated for destruction will render more than 40 homeless.


Israel to demolish 55 homes in Jerusalem-area refugee camp
Date: 03 / 03 / 2009

Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli authorities plan to demolish 55 homes in a refugee camp near Jerusalem, according to a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
The Fatah-affiliated PLC member, Jihad Abu Zneid, told Ma’an on Tuesday that Israel informed 55 Palestinian families at the Jerusalem-area Shu’fat Refugee Camp that their homes were slated for demolition, citing that their homes were built without permits.
Abu Zneid issued the statement from her office in Jerusalem, warning of what she called an Israeli policy of “genocide” against Palestinians in and around the city, aimed at displacing the indigenous residents of Jerusalem.

Two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in northern Gaza
Date: 04 / 03 / 2009 Time: 20:09

Gaza – Ma'an – "An Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinians and injured five others in Jabaliya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening....The Israeli military has confirmed the strike."

Clinton: Israel's demolition of East Jerusalem homes harms peace efforts
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press
March 4, 2009

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday blasted Israel's plans to demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem as a violation of its international obligations and "unhelpful" to Middle East peace efforts.
"Clearly this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the 'road map'," Clinton said, referring to the long-stalled peace plan...."

Israel "Plans Settlement Growth
BBC News
March 2, 2009

The Israeli government has plans to build at least 73,000 new homes for Jews in the occupied West Bank, the anti-settlement group Peace Now says. If the plans are implemented in full it would double the number of settlers in the West Bank outside east Jerusalem, according to the Peace Now website.

Israel Plans to Double Size of Settlements in Palestinian Territory
By SANA ABDALLAH (Middle East Times, with agency dispatches)
March 2, 2009

AMMAN -- One day before Hillary Clinton begins her maiden visit to Israel and the West Bank as the U.S. secretary of state, an Israeli peace group announced more settlement expansion plans on Palestinian territories, posing an even tougher challenge to the new American administration's peace endeavors.
In a report released on Monday, Peace Now said the Israeli authorities have plans for 73,302 new housing units in Jewish settlements, which would double the number of settlers in the occupied territory and blow the chances for a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Housing Min. slams 'baseless' report of 73,000 new settlement homes
By Haaretz Service
March 4, 2009

Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim on Wednesday called a report released earlier this week over a government plan to build more than 73,300 new housing units in the West Bank "delusional and baseless."


Israel planning mass expansion of West Bank settlement bloc
By Akiva Eldar
February 27, 2009

"Despite the state's formal commitment not to expand West Bank settlements, a government agency has been promoting plans over the past two years to construct thousands of housing units east of the Green Line, Haaretz has learned.
The plans, which have not yet been approved by the government, were drawn up by the Civil Administration, the government agency responsible for nonmilitary matters in the West Bank. Details of the plans appear in the minutes of the agency's environmental subcommittee, which were obtained by the B'Tselem organization under the Freedom of Information Act....

Ma'aleh Adumim has included planned construction in the E-1 corridor in its sewage treatment plans. That corridor, which links Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem, is eventually slated to hold some 3,500 apartments.
Nearby Kfar Adumim's sewage treatment plan predicts that the settlement will double its population "in the coming years," to 5,600 inhabitants. And in Eshkolot, the Civil Administration instructed the settlement to draw up a sewage plan adequate for a population five times its current one. ..."

Clinton warns Israel over delays in Gaza aid
By Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents
Haaretz, February 25, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has relayed messages to Israel in the past week expressing anger at obstacles Israel is placing to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. A leading political source in Jerusalem noted that senior Clinton aides have made it clear that the matter will be central to Clinton's planned visit to Israel next Tuesday.

Ahead of Clinton's visit, special U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is expected to issue a sharply worded protest on the same matter when he arrives here Thursday.

"Israel is not making enough effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza," senior U.S. officials told Israeli counterparts last week, and reiterated Washington's view by saying that "the U.S. expects Israel to meet its commitments on this matter."

War crimes charges grow, J'lem silent
Jerusalem Post,

As various individuals and organizations file petitions abroad against Israel for alleged war crimes, including at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, there is growing criticism in Jerusalem that Israel is taking too laid-back an approach to the matter, and not going on the offensive.....
The best example of this, the official said, was Jerusalem's silence when the Palestinian Authority urged the ICC to investigate Israel's alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip...
Some 210 groups, including the PA, have urged the ICC to deal with the matter and the ICC's prosecutor has said a "preliminary analysis" is underway.

Olmert sacks Gaza negotiator for interview slamming PM
By Barak Ravid, Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff and Jack Khoury
February 25, 2009

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday suspended Amos Gilad as Israel's chief negotiator for a Gaza Strip truce - a move that some officials fear will not only hinder prospects of obtaining an agreement, but also damage Israel's relationship with Egypt and scuttle efforts to conclude a deal for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit....
Olmert's decision to suspend Gilad stemmed from an article in Maariv last week in which Gilad, who heads the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau, lashed out viciously at the prime minister's conduct in both the truce talks and the Shalit deal. Inter alia, he said that Olmert's decision to make Shalit's release a precondition for a cease-fire was an insult to Egypt, and therefore undermined national security...."

Hamas: Fatah used Google Earth to pinpoint Gaza targets for IAF
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
February 23, 2009

"Hamas on Monday accused the rival Fatah movement of running a spy ring that used Google Earth to pinpoint targets for the Israel Air Force during Israel's offensive in Gaza last month, AFP reported.
"With the help of the Google Earth program, those groups prepared maps to localize mosques, institutions, tunnels or workshops," the French news agency quoted Hamas official Abu Abdallah as saying.
The Islamist militant group has released an audio tape that it claims documents 10 Fatah security officials the coastal strip confessing to collaborating with Israel in exchange for money...."

Olmert aide, Shin Bet chief to replace ousted Gaza truce mediator
By Barak Ravid, Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff and Jack Khoury
February 24, 2009

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday suspended Amos Gilad as Israel's chief negotiator for a Gaza Strip truce - a move that some officials fear will not only hinder prospects of obtaining an agreement, but also damage Israel's relationship with Egypt and scuttle efforts to conclude a deal for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
The Egyptian-brokered talks will now be conducted by a triumvirate, Olmert said, consisting of his diplomatic advisor Shalom Turgeman, Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin and Ofer Dekel, who has been handling the talks on Shalit.
Olmert's decision to suspend Gilad stemmed from an article in Maariv last week in which Gilad, who heads the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau, lashed out viciously at the prime minister's conduct in both the truce talks and the Shalit deal. Inter alia, he said that Olmert's decision to make Shalit's release a precondition for a cease-fire was an insult to Egypt, and therefore undermined national security....."

'Hamas Won't Give In To Blackmail'
Mel Frykberg interviews Hamas Foreign Minister AHMED YOUSEF
Inter Press Service

RAMALLAH, Feb 23 (IPS) - At the eleventh hour, just as a permanent ceasefire painfully mediated by the Egyptians after weeks of intensive shuttle diplomacy was about to take effect, Israel suddenly changed its preconditions for a settlement with Hamas.
This has left the Palestinians, especially Gazans, the Egyptians, the Hamas leadership and even some Israeli analysts wondering just what will happen next. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza remains unresolved and the current tentative ceasefire looks increasingly fragile as intermittent violence continues.


Sources: Netanyahu to offer Livni 'full partnership' in gov't
By Mazal Mualem
Haaretz, February 22, 2009

"Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, who is forming Israel's next government, is expected to offer his Kadima counterpart Tzipi Livni "full partnership" in a future cabinet, according to sources involved with the negotiations. The sources said Likud is also offering that Kadima join it in drafting the framework for the government's policies...."

In Gaza, US lawmakers push for progress
Jerusalem Post
Feb 19, 2009

Three US lawmakers, including Sen. John Kerry, visited the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the first trip there by US congressmen in eight years and an indication, according to Rep. Brian Baird, of a change in the US approach to Gaza. Baird (D-Wash) toured Gaza in the morning together with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), Congress's first Muslim member. They were followed in the afternoon by Kerry (D-Mass), who heads the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

France to Israel: Don't connect Shalit deal with Gaza crossings
Maan News
February 20, 2009

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told an Israeli newspaper on Friday that France opposes Israel’s position on linking the case of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit with a broader ceasefire agreement in Gaza.
Israel maintains that a Palestinian faction holding the captured soldier return him to Israel in exchange for opening Gaza’s crossings with Israel for humanitarian aid and private enterprise. Hamas has rejected the proposal, calling the two issues “totally separate” more than once.
But the French foreign minister said France supports an Egyptian proposal for the ceasefire, which insists the crossings be opened in exchange for peace, while Shalit be released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
“The two should not be conditioned on the other,” Kouchner reportedly told Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Friday, also confirming that France has been negotiating with Hamas indirectly via Syria, Qatar and Norway.

Israeli forces withdraw from Jayyus after day-long incursion
Maan News
February 18, 2009

Editor's note: We spoke with friends in Jayyous on Friday morning (2/19), and Israeli soldiers are still in the village firing tear gas and shooting their guns. Homes of our friends' families have been destroyed. The people of Jayyous are well known to the Interfaith Peace Initiative. They are being attacked for opposing the confiscation of their land and water. This is a clear violation of the most basic human rights and readers are asked to contact their Members of Congress to oppose it.

Qalqilia – Ma'an – Israeli forces withdrew from the West Bank village of Qalqiliya on Wednesday evening after a 15 hour military operation in which some 65 Palestinians were rounded up and held in a school and dozens of houses raided.
Israeli troops occupied Palestinians’ houses and conducted house to house raids in what they said was a search for weapons. Seventeen people were taken from the village by the Israeli military.
Witnesses said that Israeli forces had destroyed the interior of resents houses. The town’s school, where locals were taken for interrogation, was also damaged. Sources reported that the science laboratory and computer room were vandalized.
“The Israelis’ actions aim to make us leave our land,” said Jayyous’ mayor Muhammad Taher Jaber, speaking to Ma’an. Jaber’s own house was raided during the incursion.
“The school was severely damaged. The front gate had been smashed open and all the doors taken off their hinges. There were mass interrogations there,” said Ulrika Lundquist, a Swedish volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement, speaking from Jayyus.
“Israel is clearly attempting to crush through force any form of popular resistance to the illegal Apartheid Wall,” said Lundquist, referring to the weekly demonstrations the villagers stage against Israel’s separation barrier, which it is building on village land...."


ONGOING: Jayyus blockaded, youth herded into local school, 65 taken to unknown location
February18, 2009

Bethlehem – Ma’an – In a third consecutive day of mass arrests Israeli forces stormed the northern West Bank town of Jayyus near Qalqiliya early morning Wednesday and seized 65 Palestinian youth in an ongoing military operation.
As of press time Israeli soldiers had declared the town a “Closed Military Area” and prevented local and international journalist from entering. Civilians are being kept under a town curfew and are unable to leave their homes for school or work.

Israel says no cease-fire until soldier comes home
AOL News
February 18, 2009

"JERUSALEM -Top Israeli Cabinet ministers Wednesday set a series of tough conditions for accepting a proposed cease-fire with Hamas, saying there would be no deal until the Islamic militant group releases a captured Israeli soldier....."

Israel: Gaza borders won't open before Shalit freed
By Haaretz Service
February 18, 2009

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's security cabinet decided on Wednesday that Israel would not open its border crossings with the Gaza Strip until Hamas agrees to release abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, a minister told reporters after the hours-long meeting.
The forum agreed after meeting for more than four hours that "it would be inconceivable" for Israel to accept an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire calling for reopening border crossings to more than limited humanitarian aid without Shalit's release, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit told Israel Radio...."

Israeli soldiers sweep West Bank, arresting dozens of Palestinians
Maan News
February 16, 2009

"Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli soldiers carried out wide sweeps of arrests overnight Monday, taking 37 Palestinians from across the West Bank.
Israeli sources called all of the men “wanted” and transferred them to interrogation centers...."

IDF bombs seven Gaza tunnels, Hamas post; Qassam hits Negev
By Haaretz Service
February 18, 2009

"Israel Air Force warplanes early Wednesday bombed a Hamas post in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis and struck seven smuggling tunnels on the coastal territory's border with Egypt.
Hours after the attacks, Palestinian militants fired a Qassam rocket at the western Negev. The rocket exploded in a field in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, causing no casualties or damages....."


Egypt sources: Hamas agrees to link Shalit deal to opening of Gaza border
By Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff, Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondents
February 8, 2009

"Hamas has acceded over the past few days to the Israeli demand to link the opening of the border crossings to the release of kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, Egyptian sources told Haaretz on Sunday.
This allows progress toward a cease-fire, by creating a connection between the opening of all crossings by Israel, completion of a prisoner swap and Shalit's release.
Egyptian sources told Haaretz cautiously that they were "very optimistic" about making progress toward a deal in the near future...."

Minister Eitan: Shalit deal may be sealed by end of Olmert term
By Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff, Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondents
February 9, 2009

"...Eitan said that although Israeli elections to be held Tuesday would mark the start of a new government, "our experience shows that it will take about six weeks before a new coalition is formed."
Meanwhile, the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday that Israel has agreed to free jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti as part of a deal to secure Shalit's release. ..."

Palestinian PM: No Israeli leader has 'reasonable solution' to conflict
By Haaretz Staff and News Agencies
February 8, 2009

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad downplayed hopes for a sea-change in the fortunes of the stagnant peace process Saturday, despite the imminent advent of a new Israeli prime minister.
"I do not know of a single Israeli politician from any party who I would expect to offer a reasonable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Fayyad told reporters at his Ramallah offices.
"All of them want a partial solution, or they aim to improve the face and the conditions of the occupation while the settlements continue," he added.

Hamas, UN resolve dispute after Islamist group stole food, supplies
By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press
February 7, 2009

Hamas said Saturday that it and the United Nations had resolved their differences over aid to Gaza which the UN said had been stolen by Hamas.
Ahmed Kurd, Hamas' minister of social affairs, claimed that the UN trucks involved were not marked and Hamas officials believed the goods were sent by Egyptian charities, meant to be given straight to Hamas.
UN and Hamas officials met in Gaza late Friday, after Hamas police seized the 10 trucks containing UN aid shipments, including rice and flour. In response, the UN suspended aid shipments to Gaza.

Israeli warships injure fisherman off southern Gaza coast
Ma'an News
Feb 6, 2009

This article was originally published by the Ma'an News Agency .
A Palestinian fisherman was injured as Israeli naval boats opened fire on the man's craft Palestinian medical sources said on Friday. The man was in the Al-Mawasi area off the coast of southern Gaza, and was transferred first to the Rafah Hospital, then on to Khan Younis for treatment.
Israeli ships are deployed off Gaza shores and have shot at civilian areas on land and at sea for months before, during and following the 22-day Israeli assault on Gaza.

No Arms found on Gaza-bound Lebanese Ship
31 NGOs destroyed leaving 600,000 tons of rubble in Gaza

( A Thursday-afternoon search of a Lebanese ship that was intercepted trying to break the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza revealed no arms or weapons. The search was carried out in the port of Ashdod, where the ship was diverted.
The search produced 150 bottles of water and a few dozen pounds of food and medical supplies. Israeli military sources said the aid would be delivered by land by the various agencies supplying assistance. The 18-member crew and journalists who accompanied them were turned over to security services for questioning.

14,000 homes, 68 government buildings,31 NGOs destroyed leaving 600,000 tons of rubble in Gaza
Maan News
February 6, 2009

"Bethlehem – Ma’an – At least 600,000 tons of rubble will need to be cleared before Gaza can be reconstructed, estimated UNDP in a report released Wednesday.
The document estimated that 14,000 homes, totaling 2.6 percent of all homes were completely destroyed and 20 percent have sustained light to heavy damage from the fighting.
Also hit were 68 government buildings and 31 NGO complexes or buildings were completely or partially destroyed....."


Israel seizes aid ship off Gaza
By Amir Cohen
Thu Feb 5, 2009 10:59am EST

ASHDOD, Israel (Reuters) - The Israeli navy boarded a freighter trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday and escorted it into the port of Ashdod, Israeli officials said.
It was the first apparent attempt by a foreign ship carrying aid to reach the Palestinian enclave since Israel ended its 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip two weeks ago.
No weapons were found aboard the Tali, a cargo vessel flying the flag of the West African state of Togo, Israel radio said. It said those aboard would be returned by land to Lebanon, where the ship sailed from.
Israeli military sources said those aboard included a veteran Palestinian rights campaigner, Syrian-born Archbishop Hilarion Capucci of the Melkite Church of the Eastern Rite.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed that "the navy boarded the vessel, stopped it" and ordered it to Ashdod.
Doha-based Al-Jazeera television quoted a correspondent aboard the vessel as saying the Israeli navy had fired shots then boarded the Tali and beaten passengers and crew...."


Barak okays new West Bank settlement in return for evacuation of illegal outpost
By Akiva Eldar
January 4, 2009

"Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to approve the establishment of a new settlement in the Binyamin region in return for settlers' agreement to evacuate the illegal outpost of Migron. The Migron settlers will move into the new 250-house settlement after leaving the illegal one they built on private Palestinian land. Today there are 45 families living in Migron, with only two living in permanent housing and the rest in trailers.
The first stage of construction of the new West Bank community will incorporate 50 houses until permission is received for further construction. In order to build the settlement, a detailed construction plan incorporating 1,400 housing units will have to be approved.
The new site is a kilometer away from the built-up section of the Adam settlement, located east of the separation fence. The establishment of the new community violates the conditions of the Road Map, as well as Ariel Sharon's commitments to President George W. Bush in 2003...."

Hamas police 'seize aid for Gaza'

"Hamas policemen have seized thousands of blankets and food parcels that were meant to be distributed to Palestinian civilians in Gaza, UN officials say.
A UN spokesman said policemen raided a UN warehouse on Tuesday after officials refused to hand over the aid to a Hamas-controlled ministry. The UN said it was the first time its aid had been confiscated by Hamas. It condemned the action and demanded the goods be immediately returned. Hamas denied its men had taken any aid.
UN spokesman Christopher Gunness said Hamas police took 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels...." 

Rocket fired from Gaza Strip strikes Ashkelon
Gulf News
February 03, 2009

"Occupied Jerusalem: A long-range Grad rocket from Gaza landed in the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Tuesday, police said. It's the first such rocket to be fired at the city since a cease-fire was reached between Israel and Hamas militants two weeks ago that ended Israel's bruising three-week-long offensive in Gaza. The attack came as a Hamas delegation discussed terms for a long-term truce with Israel through Egyptian mediators.
No one was injured in the rocket attack on Ashkelon, a city of 122,000. Israel launched its offensive to halt the near-daily rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel towns and communities. Limited rocket and mortar fire has resumed from Gaza since the truce was reached. The continued attacks have prompted tough warnings from Israeli leaders of a renewed offensive....."

Israel: Hamas 'playing with fire' by launching rockets into Negev
By Yanir Yagana, Haaretz Correspondent
February 3, 2009

"Israel warned on Tuesday that Hamas was "playing with fire" shortly after Gaza militants fired a Grad rocket into the coastal city of Ashkelon.
"Hamas is playing with fire, and if there is going to be an escalation now, Hamas has no one to blame but itself," said Mark Regev, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman...."

Rafah residents: IDF has warned of impending south Gaza attack
By Yanir Yagana, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press
February 3, 2009

"Residents of the southern Gaza town of Rafah said on Tuesday that they received telephone messages from the Israel Defense Forces warning them to leave their homes ahead of an impending air strike....".

Aid ship heads to Gaza in defiance of Israeli blockade
Gulf News
February 03, 2009

"Beirut: A cargo ship carrying activists and supplies has set sail from Lebanon en route to Gaza on Tuesday, an organiser said. The Togo-flagged ship Tali is carrying about 60 tons of medicine, food, toys, books and stationery, as well as eight activists and journalists.
The ship set sail from Tripoli in northern Lebanon. It will stop in Larnaca, Cyprus, before continuing to Gaza.
Organisers said they hope to arrive in Gaza by midweek despite an Israeli blockade of the territory."

Israel bombs Gaza tunnels in series of air raids
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Sun Feb 1, 2009

GAZA (Reuters) - Israel launched a series of air strikes in the Gaza Strip Sunday, targeting a Hamas security complex and tunnels used to smuggle weapons after vowing a "disproportionate" response to cross-border fire. The aircraft carried out half a dozen strikes after three Israelis were injured by a mortar salvo, including two soldiers and the first Israeli civilian hurt since a January 18 truce ended Israel's 22-day offensive in the coastal enclave. There were no reported casualties in the air attacks. Five of the strikes targeted tunnels along Gaza's border with Egypt, used to smuggle weapons into the coastal enclave, in a zone known as the Philadelphi corridor. A further Israeli attack was on a security headquarters in a village in central Gaza that residents said had been vacated after Israel telephoned warnings to Palestinians to leave buildings that housed any weapons.
....About a dozen rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza Sunday, the Israeli military said. A wing of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to Abbas's Fatah faction, said it fired some of the rockets, but not all were claimed...."

Gaza desperately short of food after Israel destroys farmland
by Peter Beaumont in Gaza
The Guardian
February 1, 2009

Officials warn of 'destruction of all means of life' after the three-week conflict leaves agriculture in the region in ruins
"Gaza's 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion According to the World Food Programme, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege.
Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's country director, said: "We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north - where the farming was most intensive - may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster. It is not just farmland, but poultry as well.
"When we have given a food ration in Gaza, it was never a full ration but to complement the diet. Now it is going to be almost impossible for Gaza to produce the food it needs for the next six to eight months, assuming that the agriculture can be rehabilitated. We will give people a full ration."
The FAO estimates that 13,000 families who depend directly on herding, farming and fishing have suffered significant damage. "Before the blockade and the attack," said Ahmad Sourani, director of the Agricultural Development Association of Gaza, which runs programmes with charities such as Britain's Christian Aid, "Gaza produced half of its own food. Now that has declined by 25%. In addition, a quarter of the population depends on agriculture for income. What we have seen in large areas of farmland is the destruction of all means of life....."


Secret Israeli database reveals full extent of illegal settlement
By Uri Blau
Tags: West Bank, Settlements
January 31, 2009

Just four years ago, the defense establishment decided to carry out a seemingly elementary task: establish a comprehensive database on the settlements....One of the main reasons for this effort was the need to have credible and accessible information at the ready to contend with legal actions brought by Palestinian residents, human rights organizations and leftist movements challenging the legality of construction in the settlements and the use of private lands to establish or expand them. The painstakingly amassed data was labeled political dynamite.....

The official database, the most comprehensive one of its kind ever compiled in Israel about the territories, was recently obtained by Haaretz. Here, for the first time, information the state has been hiding for years is revealed. An analysis of the data reveals that, in the vast majority of the settlements - about 75 percent - construction, sometimes on a large scale, has been carried out without the appropriate permits or contrary to the permits that were issued. The database also shows that, in more than 30 settlements, extensive construction of buildings and infrastructure (roads, schools, synagogues, yeshivas and even police stations) has been carried out on private lands belonging to Palestinian West Bank residents. [emphasis added]


Israel plans more pinpoint strikes against Hamas in Gaza
By Haaretz Staff
January 30, 2009

"Decision-makers in Jerusalem said Israel would continue to launch pinpoint strikes against Hamas and other Palestinian militant organizations in the Gaza Strip, Haaretz has learned.
Israeli aircraft on Thursday wounded 10 Palestinians in the attempted killing of a Hamas operative in southern Gaza. Palestinian militants launched two Qassam rockets and one mortar round into Israel, resulting in no casualties or damage..."

U.S. envoy to UN calls on Israel to investigate Gaza war crimes claims
By Reuters in Haaretz
January 30, 2001

"Israel must investigate allegations that its army violated international law during its three-week war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, the new U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday. "We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate and we also call upon all members of the international community to refrain from politicizing these important issues," Ambassador Susan Rice said in her debut speech before the UN Security Council.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said there would also be a UN investigation of the deadly attacks on United Nations sites in the Gaza Strip.
Rice made it clear that the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama had a very different view of the role of the United Nations from George W. Bush's government, whose officials were often suspicious of the world body and occasionally spoke of it with disdain....."

Hamas: We will accept long-term truce if Gaza borders opened
By The Associated Press, Haaretz
January 29, 2009

"Senior Hamas officials are indicating a willingness to negotiate a deal for a long-term truce with Israel as long as the borders of Gaza are opened to the rest of the world.
"We want to be part of the international community," Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told The Associated Press this week at the Gaza-Egypt border, where he was coordinating Arab aid shipments. "I think Hamas has no interest now to increase the number of crises in Gaza or to challenge the world." .......
Israel's position is based on the fact that Hamas refuses to recognize its right to exist. However, the three Hamas leaders interviewed said they would accept statehood in just the West Bank and Gaza and would give up their resistance against Israel if that were achieved.
"We accept a state in the '67 borders," said Hamad. "We are not talking about the destruction of Israel." "

For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel
By Raphael Ahren, Haaretz
January 29, 2009

In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts, the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America. Israeli professors are not sure yet how big of an impact the one-week-old movement will have, but started discussing the significance of and possible counteractions against the campaign.
"As educators of conscience, we have been unable to stand by and watch in silence Israel's indiscriminate assault on the Gaza Strip and its educational institutions," the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel stated in its inaugural press release last Thursday. 

Following UN Demands, Israel Suddenly Reopens Gaza Crossings
Maan News
January 28, 2009

"Gaza – Ma’an – Israel reopened commercial crossings into the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, without conditions, the Palestinian Authority told Ma’an.
The top United Nations humanitarian official on Tuesday called on Israel to immediately open crossings into Gaza to full access for massive relief aid and reconstruction supplies following its devastating three-week offensive against Hamas militants. “Israel has a particular responsibility as the occupying power in this context, because of its control of Gaza’s borders with Israel, to respect the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes told the Security Council...."

Israeli warplanes strike Rafah border area
Maan News
January 28, 2009

"Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli aircraft pummeled the southern Gaza Strip early on Wednesday morning, destroying parts of Rafah, witnesses said. Two strikes were reported by residents, who fled the scene by the hundreds. Ma’an’s correspondent in Gaza said three separate strikes damaged buildings around Rafah. No injuries were immediately reported.
Israel said the pre-dawn strikes targeted "Hamas smuggling tunnels" in the southern Gaza Strip, but that the attack was retaliatory. "This was in response to the attack against an IDF [Israel Defense Forces] force in the area of Kissufim,” an Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement to Ma'an. That attack killed an Israeli soldier, who died after an explosive device detonated near the Kissufim kibbutz on the Israel-Gaza border on Tuesday morning. Three other soldiers were injured, one seriously, in the blast that targeted a military convoy.
Hamas was not involved in that incident, according to the movement and the Israeli military. But Israel insisted that maintaining the ceasefire in Gaza is up to Hamas...."

Israel bombs Gaza tunnels
By Jumana Al Tamimi Associate Editor
Gulf News
January 28, 2009

Dubai: US President Barack Obama's new Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel on Wednesday amid fresh fighting between Israel and Hamas throwing into turmoil the fragile 10-day-old ceasefire.
Israeli warplanes bombed tunnels linking Gaza and Egypt, which Israel says are used to smuggle weapons. The attack came in response to the killing of an Israeli soldier in which three others were also wounded. A Palestinian man was killed by Israeli fire shortly afterwards and a Hamas fighter and two other Palestinians wounded in an air strike, also in southern Gaza. 

First Qassam since end of Gaza op hits Negev
By Amos Harel, Anshel Pfeffer and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and Agencies
January 28, 2009

"Earlier Wednesday, the Palestinians claimed that they had fired a Qassam rocket at Israel in response to an Israel Air Force bombing of tunnels in the Philadelphi corridor near Gaza's border with Egypt. Israeli military officials said that no rocket landing site had been located following the Palestinian announcement.
The IAF airstrike followed a bomb blast Tuesday along the Israel-Gaza border, in which an Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed and three others were wounded. Rafah residents began to flee their homes in panic as the Israeli aircraft struck three times, Hamas officials said. There was no initial word of any casualties.


Saudi warns US over Middle East
BBC News
Friday, Jan. 23, 2009

"A senior member of Saudi Arabia's ruling family has warned the US that it needs to change attitudes over the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the US, said a failure to alter policies could threaten links. The prince said ex-President George W Bush had left a "sickening legacy" in the Middle East. He accused the US of contributing to the killing of Gazans...."

Hamas, Fatah hold reconciliation talks in Egypt
Current talks come a week after Abbas urged feuding Palestinian factions to form unity government to prepare for elections
January 26, 2009

"Palestinian officials from the Islamist Hamas group and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party held talks in Cairo on Monday to pave the way for possible reconciliation after Israel's offensive in Gaza, Palestinian officials said.
The officials said Jamal Abu Hashem of Hamas and Azzam al-Ahmed of Fatah held the talks, the first in 10 months, on the sidelines of meetings between Palestinian groups and Egyptian intelligence officials....",7340,L-3662116,00.html

EU commissioner visits Gaza, confirms Israel violated international law; calls for long-term ceasefire
January 26, 2009

"Gaza – Ma’an – European Union’s Commissioner Louis Michel visited Gaza City on Monday, where he called for maintaining the ceasefire, opening border crossings and lifting the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Standing in front of the missiled UN storehouses, bombed by Israel during the three week onslaught, Michel expressed his astonishment at the damage caused by the Israeli offensive.
Israel violated international and human rights, he said, and affirmed that civilians were directly targeted during the attacks. He expressed shock at the evidence that 50% of victims were civilians including women and children.
“The most painful thing for me was the sizable of destruction in infra-structures, economic facilities and factories which used to provide work opportunities for the Palestinians. [The destruction of these] was an unjustifiable violation of international law,” he stated.
At the same time, Michel condemned all military action against civilians, including Israeli civilians, referring to the home-made projectiles the Palestinian factions launch from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli towns...."

Ongoing operation: Israeli forces storm Husan near Bethlehem; arrest 30
Date: 26 / 01 / 2009

"Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces stormed the southern West Bank village of Husan and imposed curfew early morning on Monday. Eyewitnesses said hundreds of soldiers in military vehicles and bulldozers entered the village, south of Bethlehem, and began house-to-house inspections assaulting citizens indiscriminately. Bulldozers dug up the main roads linking the village with neighboring areas
Initial reports say 30 people have been arrested, and the operation was ongoing at press time...."


IAF bombs Gaza target after 8 mortar shells fired at Israel
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

"The Israel Air Force on Tuesday evening bombed a target in the Gaza Strip used earlier in the day Palestinian militants to fire eight mortar shells at Israel.
Militants on Tuesday also opened fire at Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Gaza in two separate incidents, in the first violation of a shaky cease-fire in the coastal strip that ended Israel's 3-week offensive against Hamas...."

Israel accused of war crimes over phosphorus use
Ian Black, Middle East editor
The Guardian
Tuesday 20 January 2009

As Palestinians yesterday counted the human cost of the conflict, Israel was again accused of war crimes for using white phosphorus munitions.
"Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated residential neighbourhoods is inherently indiscriminate," said Donatella Rovera, a researcher with Amnesty International. "Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime."
The UN and Human Rights Watch have made similar claims about the use of white phosphorus in the three-week conflict. Amnesty sent a British weapons expert, Chris Cobb-Smith, into Gaza following the ceasefire at the weekend. He found widespread evidence of the use of the incendiary material.
"We saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli army," he said in a statement yesterday...."

Day three of ceasefire: Two children killed by Israeli ordinance, farmer shot dead
January 20, 2009

Gaza – Ma’an – Two Palestinian children were killed by explosives left behind by Israeli forces in Gaza and a farmer was shot dead by Israeli gunfire, hospital officials reported.
The director of Emergency and Ambulance Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, Muawiya Hassanain, told Ma’an that the farmer came under Israeli fire east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. His corpse taken to Kamal Udwan hospital.
Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian medical sources announced that a young boy and his sister were killed when they were playing with an unexploded bomb left behind by Israeli troops in the Ash-Sha’f area of eastern Gaza city. They were identified as 10-year-old Abdullah Hassanain, and 11-year-old Shurouq Hassanain....."


Medics unearth dozens of bodies in ravaged Gaza Strip
Maan news
January 18, 2009

“Gaza – Ma’an – A Gazan farmer is dead and his son injured by Israeli fire less than ten hours after Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza Strip Sunday morning, medical sources confirmed….Israeli fire also hit a mother and her daughter in their home in the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun, both were injured.
Since the ceasefire went into effect at 2am Sunday morning, one is dead and several injured. Medical crews continue to dig bodies out of Gaza rubble.
Israeli reconnaissance planes buzzed overhead throughout the night Sunday, and explosions were heard in several parts of the Strip. Israeli shells fell on a group of Rafah residents in the south, and phosphorus bombs landed in the At-Tuffah neighborhood of eastern Gaza City. Gazans also reported that an Israeli helicopter shot at a group in line near a Bank of Palestine ATM in Jabaliya...”


Israeli groups call for IDF 'war crimes' probe
Rebecca Anna Stoi
Jan. 14, 2009

A forum of Israeli human rights organizations on Wednesday called on the country's political and military leadership to launch a domestic probe into "suspected war crimes" committed during Operation Cast Lead.
In a letter warning of "a clear and present danger to the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of civilians," nine Israeli nongovernmental organizations addressed IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, listing five steps that they said should be taken immediately to mitigate a humanitarian disaster.
The missive blasted what it termed the "wanton use of lethal force" and warned that "after the end of the hostilities, the time will come for the investigation of this matter, and accountability will be demanded of those responsible for the violations....."

Gaza: 'A clear and present danger to civilians'
Call for urgent humanitarian action in open letter from Israeli NGO's and experts
January 14, 2009

"....The level of harm to the civilian population is unprecedented. According to the testimony of residents of the Gaza Strip and media reports, military forces are making wanton use of lethal force which has to date caused the deaths of hundreds of uninvolved civilians and destroyed infrastructure and property on an enormous scale. In addition, Israel is also hitting civilian objects, having defined them as "legitimate military targets" solely by virtue of their being "symbols of government."
Caught in the middle are 1.5 million civilians in extreme humanitarian distress, whose needs are not being adequately met by the limited measures taken by the army. ....residents have nowhere to flee....The health system has collapsed....Areas that were subject to intensive attacks are completely isolated.....Many of the residents do not have access to electricity or running water, and in many populated areas sewage water is running in the streets...."

Olmert ignoring calls from Barak, Livni for immediate Gaza truce
By Aluf Benn, Amos Harel, Anshel Pfeffer and Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz Daily News
January 14, 2009

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is promoting a week-long "humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip. In contrast, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes the military operation still has not achieved its goals.
Olmert is delaying a meeting with senior ministers in an effort to allow the military operations in Gaza to continue.
Livni insists Israel must end the operation without an agreement, enjoying its refreshed deterrence against Hamas. She also believes the mission cannot obtain any more major gains.

Israel defense officials back immediate Gaza cease-fire
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Haaretz Daily News
January 14, 2009

"Senior defense establishment officials believe that Israel should strive to reach an immediate cease-fire with Hamas, and not expand its offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group in Gaza.
During meetings of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff and of the heads of the state's other security branches, officials have said that Israel achieved several days ago all that it possibly could in Gaza.

The officials expressed reservations about launching the third phase of Operation Cast Lead, preferring for it to remain a threat at this stage. ..."

"We could hear their bodies burning" Testimonies raise fears over chemical weapons
Maan News
Jan 14, 2009

"Everything was on fire; houses, sheds, trees.
Bombs, too, were everywhere, and with them came the white clouds. White phosphorous, the doctors are now saying, but that's disputed in Israel.....
Dr Yousef Abu Ar-Reesh, the medical director at Nasser Medical Center, said more than 90 patients were brought in for burn treatments Sunday night. "Most of them were skin burns, lacerations and deep wounds. A lot of them came in choking, unable to breathe," he explains.
He explained that as far as he can tell the Israeli army is using two kinds of bombs,"The first causes severe skin burns and leads to death, as with 41-year-old Hanan Al-Najjar here, and others." "The second kind leads to suffocation, congestion, the inability to breathe....
"What is certain" he said, "is that the Israeli government is using a new kind of bomb and explosives that Palestinian medics have never even heard of."...

Gaza reminiscent of Sabra and Shatila - doctors
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OSLO: Israel's offensive in Gaza can be compared to the massacre of Palestinian refugees by Israeli-backed Lebanese militiamen in 1982, two Norwegian medics said Monday as they returned to Norway after working 10 days at a Gaza hospital. "Gaza in 2009 is becoming a new bloody chapter in Palestinian and Middle Eastern history that is, unfortunately, comparable to Sabra and Shatila," Mads Gilbert told reporters at Oslo's Gardermoen airport, referring to the three-day massacre at two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut 27 years ago.
Gilbert, 61, and his colleague Erik Fosse, 58, were sent into Gaza to work at the Shifa Hospital by the pro-Palestinian aid organization NORWAC on December 31. They said they had both worked in Lebanon in 1982 when Israeli-allied militiamen massacred between 800 and 2,000 Palestinians at the camps as Israeli troops stationed nearby facilitated the bloodshed.
"We hoped we would never see anything like it again," Gilbert said.
The high number of civilian casualties and the huge amount of suffering in Gaza was, however, similar to what he had seen back then, he said.
"Every third person killed and every second person injured is a child under 18 or a woman," he said. - AFP, with The Daily Star


Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections
By The Associated Press
January 12, 2009

"The Central Elections Committee on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month's parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country's Supreme Court.
The ruling, made by the body that oversees the elections, reflected the heightened tensions between Israel's Jewish majority and Arab minority caused by Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Arabs have held a series of demonstrations against the offensive...."

IDF reservist refuses to fight in Gaza over civilian deaths
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
January 12,2009

"An Israel Defense Forces reserves soldier, taking part in Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip which entered its 17th day on Monday, has refused to enter the Hamas-ruled territory along with his unit in protest of the killing of Palestinian civilians.
On Monday it emerged that the soldier has been jailed for 14 days in a military facility. He was the first soldier to be tried for refusing orders since the beginning of the operation...."

Fighting rages in Gaza
Gulf News Report
Published: January 11, 2009, 23:41

Dubai: Troops pushed deeper into Gaza in a day of fierce fighting on Sunday as Israel brushed off continuing global protests but indicated an end was in sight to its war on the Palestinian enclave since most of its strategic objectives were close to being fulfilled.
Civilians again fell victim to Israel's brutal offensive that has left more than 900 people in the Gaza Strip dead in the 16-day-old war, including 275 children. Two women and four children were killed in a strike on a house in Beit Lahiya, medics and witnesses said, while 12 bodies were pulled from the rubble in Tal Al Hawa.
In Tel Aviv, Israel's Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told public radio: "The decision of the [UN] Security Council doesn't give us much leeway. Thus it would seem that we are close to ending the ground operation and ending the operation altogether."
Earlier Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the Jewish state was nearing the goals it had set for its operation and Hamas had been dealt "an unprecedented blow", but said fighting would continue for now.
Hamas, however, vowed to keep fighting and on Sunday 19 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. In the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, shots were fired from Syria at Israeli army engineers but no one was hurt."


Mazuz: Israel bracing for slew of lawsuits over Gaza op
Attorney general says legal system preparing for wave of international lawsuits over Israeli offensive in Gaza; adds Judge Advocate General involved in every operational decision
by Aviad Glickman
YNet News
January 11, 2009

"We are preparing for a wave of international lawsuits over the operation in Gaza," said Attorney General Menachem Mazuz Sunday. "That in itself is nothing new. I can only assume that following the events, we will have more intensive and focused work ahead of us."
Speaking at a Jerusalem Center for Ethics conference, Mazuz stressed that the Judge Advocate General was involved in the authorization process of every strike in Operation Cast Lead, but that the final decision was still at the hands of the IDF.,7340,L-3654464,00.html

UN levels war crimes warning at Israel
Killing of 30 people in Gaza when army shelled house full of evacuees 'has all hallmarks of war crime', says high commissioner for human rights
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem and Jo Adetunji
Friday 9 January 2009 11.38 GMT

"The Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza, the UN's most senior human rights official said tonight, as Israeli troops pressed on with their increasingly deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution demanding a ceasefire.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, singled out the killing this week of up to 30 Palestinians in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, when Israel shelled a house where its troops had told about 110 civilians to take shelter.
Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes". She called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of humanitarian law...."


UN suspends Gazan aid operation
"The UN's main aid agency has suspended its operations in Gaza because its staff have been hit by Israeli attacks.
BBC News
January 9, 2009

The suspension would continue "until the Israeli authorities can guarantee our safety and security", the UN said.
Meanwhile, the US, UK and France have dropped opposition to a UN resolution urging an immediate ceasefire, and Arab nations are studying a draft. It comes on day 13 of an offensive by Israel aimed at stopping Palestinian militants firing rockets from Gaza.
The US, UK and France had wanted a weaker statement from the 15-nation UN Security Council, the BBC's Laura Trevelyan in New York says. But Arab foreign ministers said anything less than a binding resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire would be an inadequate response to the crisis, our correspondent says.
If the Arab nations' response to the draft resolution is positive, a vote could happen later.
The draft calls for an immediate ceasefire, action to stop the smuggling of arms by Hamas across the Egypt-Gaza border and the opening of border crossings into Gaza so aid can be delivered....."

Red Cross: Israel breaking int'l law, letting children starve in Gaza
By Reuters
January 8, 2009

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to the Gaza Strip and demanded it grant safe access for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to return to evacuate more wounded.
Relief workers said they found four starving children sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses in a house in a part of Gaza City bombed by Israeli forces, the Red Cross said on Thursday.
"This is a shocking incident," said Pierre Wettach, ICRC chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestinian Red Crescent to assist the wounded," Wettach said.
The agency said it believed Israel had breached international humanitarian law in the incident.


Foreign reporters dub Israel 'military dictatorship'
by Daniel Edelson
YNet News
January 8, 2008

Members of foreign press who received court's green light to enter Gaza refused entry by IDF due to security reasons
One week after the High Court of Justice approved an appeal by representatives of the foreign press granting them entrance into Gaza, journalists were still waiting for the IDF to permit them to enter the Strip Thursday.
"I don't believe we'll get in anymore," ABC's Simon McGregor Wood told Ynet. He said they had been waiting at the Erez crossing since Sunday, when they had been called for by the IDF. "But then suddenly they said there were problems with security and only diplomats could get through," he said.
Wood said the journalists were waiting at the border and straining to get a glimpse of the fighting. He said the IDF was "unprofessional" and perhaps trying to hide something. "These are the characteristics of a military dictatorship," he said.
When Israel prevents journalists from reporting it is aligning itself with countries such as Burma and Zimbabwe, Wood added.
According to Charles Enderlin, who represents the France2 network, Israel wants the world to receive one-sided reports. He compared the Gaza to Sarajevo, where he claimed Russia prohibited journalists from covering the battles.

60 civilians found dead after Israeli shelling attack
Tim Butcher
The Telegraph
Jan 8, 2009


Mohammed Shaheen, a volunteer with Palestinian Red Crescent, was in the first convoy of ambulances to reach the site of the blast in Zeitoun since it was first occupied then shelled by the Israeli army.
His testimony confirmed accounts, first reported in The Telegraph, from survivors of the extended al Samouni clan who said they feared between 60 and 70 family members had been killed. "Inside the Samouni house I saw about ten bodies and outside another sixty," Mr. Shaheen said.
Concerns had been growing that Zeitoun had witnessed massive civilian casualties after surviving members of the Samouni clan reached Gaza City three days ago.
They said that after the Israeli army first took the town on Saturday night soldiers had ordered about 100 members of the clan to gather in a single house owned by Wael Samouni around dawn on Sunday. At 6:35 a.m. on Monday the house was repeatedly shelled with appalling loss of civilian life.

Iran bans students from suicide bombings in Israel
Published: January 08, 2009

Tehran: Iran's top leader has banned hardline Iranian volunteers from leaving the country to carry out suicide bombings against Israel.

Iran's state television is quoting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying that Iran can't allow volunteers to cross its border and take military action against Israel. But he says Iran won't spare any efforts to assist Hamas in other ways.

Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel
Gulf News
January 08, 2009

Occupied Jerusalem: Lebanon has strongly condemned the rocket attacks into Israel, saying it is committed to peace and stability. At least three rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon on Thursday, prompting Israel to retaliate with mortar fire, officials said. In a statement Thursday, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said the attack from south Lebanon was designed to undermine stability....

Vatican cardinal calls Gaza "big concentration camp"
Wed Jan 7, 2009 8:38pm GMT

"ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's point man for justice and peace issues on Wednesday issued the Vatican's toughest criticism of Israel since the latest Mideast crisis began, calling Gaza a "big concentration camp."
Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, made his comments in an interview in the Italian online newspaper Il
"Defenceless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp," Martino, whose informal title is Vatican "justice minister," was quoted as saying...."

Israeli shells kill 42 at clearly marked UN school: Gaza medics
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Tue Jan 6, 2009

"GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli shelling killed more than 40 Palestinians on Tuesday at a U.N. school where civilians had taken shelter, medical officials said, in carnage likely to boost international pressure on Israel to halt a Gaza offensive.

The Israeli army accused Hamas of using civilians as "human shields" and said its troops had fired mortars at the premises after gunmen mortared their positions from inside al-Fakhora school in Jabalya refugee camp. Citing intelligence reports, it named two men it said were Islamist gunmen killed in the attack. A spokesman said the army did not know how many others died.

People cut down by shrapnel lay in pools of blood in the street. Witnesses said two shells exploded outside the school, killing at least 42 civilians and wounding dozens among people who had taken refuge there and residents of nearby buildings.

Within hours, Egypt, backed by France and other European powers, proposed an immediate ceasefire and talks that could address Israel's demands that Hamas be starved of rockets and other weapons smuggled over the Egyptian border..... As bitter combat on the ground went into a fourth day after a week-long aerial bombardment, the bloodshed took Palestinian deaths in 11 days of violence to over 600....."

PA seeking war crimes trials over Israeli actions in Gaza
January 6,  2009

Maan News
"Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority has begun the process legal action against Israeli leaders it says are responsible for war crimes in the Gaza Strip, the top Palestinian diplomat in London said.
Palestinian delegate to the United Kingdom, Professor Manuel Hassassian, said that “in the absence of any tangible action from the international community, the Palestinian leadership today started the process of pursuing those Israelis responsible for these heinous crimes through the international courts."..."

UN: Israel had school's GPS coordinates before deadly strikes
January 6, 2009

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Three members of the same Palestinian family were killed whilst taking shelter in a United Nations school designated as a temporary refuge from the violence on Monday night, the UN told Ma'an.
But well before the current fighting, the UN says it had given Israeli authorities the GPS coordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency school, which was struck by an Israeli missile on Monday.

Water, sewage system "collapsing" in Gaza, says official
Jan 5, 2009

"The United Nations has warned that power networks were down in large parts of the Gaza Strip on 4 January, with hospitals relying on generators. Without power for pumps, 70 percent of Gazans are estimated to be without tap water.
Israel has been blocking fuel supplies, and stocks are dwindling, the latest (January 4) report by the UN's humanitarian coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories said.
The Israeli Gisha organization, an NGO, said seven of the 12 electricity lines in the enclave (the 12 lines normally supply about 70 percent of Gaza's electricity) were down, and warned that the lack of power was causing sewage to flood into populated areas and farmland. There continued to be a risk of sustained flooding.
"The water and sewage system in Gaza is collapsing, cutting people off from the water supply and causing sewage to flood the streets," said Maher al-Najjar, deputy director of Gaza's water utility (CMWU). He also said 48 of Gaza's 130 wells were not working at all due to lack of electricity and damage to pipes...."

Egypt condemns Israeli ground offensive in Gaza
Gulf News
January 04, 2009

Cairo: Egypt condemned Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and called for an end to the Jewish state's "savage aggression" against the Palestinian territory.
In a statement from the Egyptian presidency seen on Sunday, Egypt said it "places the onus on Israel for the innocent civilians martyred and wounded...."

Jan 2, 2009

Over 410 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza, and more than 2,000 Palestinians have been injured. As Israel's attacks on the besieged and isolated Gaza Strip continue, the IMEU presents a day by day, extensive collection of background information and resources on this unfolding crisis.


Israeli troops briefly enter Strip near Gaza City, kill one
Ma'an News, Jan 1, 2009

This article was originally published by the Ma'an News Agency and is republished with permission.
One was killed and several government buildings destroyed in as Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip and warplanes continued bombing "Hamas assets."
East of Gaza City Israeli gunfire killed an Al-Qassam Brigades activist. The Hamas-wing reported that Israeli troops entered the Strip briefly in the early hours of Thursday morning. The Brigades exchanged fire with the troops, who seemed to retreat after the exchange


Eleven children among 21 killed on sixth day of Israeli air assault
January 1, 2009


Gaza - Ma'an - New Year's Day marked the sixth consecutive day of Israel's air and artillary strikes on the Gaza Strip. The day's violence left at least 21 Palestinians dead, including 11 children and nine women.
Medical sources in Gaza said the death toll increased to 418 and the number of injured to about 2,100 by the end of Thursday, roughly 250 of them injured critically.
A targeted strike on a packed apartment building, the home of a prominent Hamas leader, left the leader dead along with 13 of his family members who were living in the same four-story home. The building was demolished after being struck by two Israeli missiles on Thursday afternoon.
Israeli warplanes continued to attack homes and headquarters of the Palestinian government. Aircraft destroyed the house of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan, killing him and his family

Armed groups continue attacks against Israeli targets
January 1, 2009


Gaza - Ma'an - Dozens of projectiles landed on Israeli soil before midnight on Thursday, Israeli sources said.
The launches were the response of Palestinian fighters to the sixth straight day of Israeli shelling and air assaults on the Gaza Strip that hit about 50 sites on Thursday.

Gaza offensive continues; 345 killed and over 1650 wounded
by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

 Monday December 29, 2008


 Palestinian medical sources in Gaza reported on Monday afternoon that four Palestinians, including a leader of the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, were killed in an Israeli Air Strike in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Death toll ii Gaza is 345, while more than 1650 have been wounded.......
Palestinian armed groups continued their retaliation and fired several homemade shells at Sderot and settlements in the Western Negev. The resistance also fired shells at the Nahal OZ military base; three soldiers were wounded. Two Israelis were killed in the Western Negev and the Ashkelon, seven others were wounded, one seriously. In total 14 Israelis were reportedly wounded, five seriously.

IAF strike followed months of planning
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz, December 28, 2008


"Long-term planning, meticulous intelligence-gathering, secret discussions, visual deception tactics and disinformation preceded operation "Cast Lead" which the Israel Air Force launched yesterday in Gaza to take out Hamas targets in the Strip.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas...."

Israeli Attacks in Gaza Strip Continue for Second Day
by Ethan Bronner
Taghreed El-Khodary
The New York Times
December 28, 2008


"GAZA — Israeli airstrikes against Hamas facilities in Gaza continued for a second day on Sunday and the death toll rose to more than 280 as Israel retaliated for rocket fire from the area with its most severe campaign against Palestinian militants in decades.
The Palestinian groups again launched barrages of rockets and mortars into Israel on Sunday, extending their reach further than ever before, and the Israeli government approved the emergency call up of thousands of army reservists in preparation for a possible ground operation." 


Gaza Humanitarian Plight 'disastrous,' U.N. official says
December 28, 2008


"(CNN) -- Israeli airstrikes pounding Gaza are deepening the humanitarian crisis in an area that was already in deep distress, according to a United Nations aid official.
"The situation is absolutely disastrous," U.N. official Christopher Gunness told CNN on Sunday, as a second day of aerial attacks brought the death toll in Gaza close to 300. Hundreds more people have been injured........"


Report: Amid Gaza op, IAF sets off sonic booms over Lebanon
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent
Israel News, Hamas, Gaza
December 28, 2008


The official Lebanese news agency said Sunday that Israel Air Force warplanes flew over south Lebanon and set off somic booms.
It said that there had also been intensive activity by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles flying at intermediate altitudes over the south.


Agreement in Hamas: Cease-fire to end Friday
By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
Haaretz, December 16, 2008


After expressing contradictory positions on Sunday, Hamas' leadership on Monday adopted a united stance: The cease-fire with Israel, which expires this Friday, will not be extended.

On Sunday, the Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, Khaled Meshal, had said precisely that, but Gaza-based leaders of the movement insisted that no decision had yet been reached.

Monday, however, Hamas' spokesman in the Gaza Strip, Ayman Taha, said the movement had concluded that there was no point in extending the truce "as long as Israel isn't abiding by its terms" - though he added that talks on continuing the cease-fire were still taking place...."

Abbas: Israel must free all 11,000 Palestinian prisoners
By Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service
December 15, 2008


"Israel on Monday released 227 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), which marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage.

Of the prisoners, 209 were transferred from Ofer Prison, near Jerusalem, to the Beituniya checkpoint in the West Bank. The remaining 18 prisoners were to be transferred from Shikma Prison in the Negev, to the Erez checkpoint on the Israel-Gaza border....."

Court restricts West Bank separation fence in ruling hailed as precedent
By The Associated Press
December 15, 2008

"The West Bank separation barrier cannot run in wide loops around Israeli settlements to allow for their expansion, the country's Supreme Court ruled Monday, in what a lawyer for Palestinian villagers hailed as a precedent-setting victory.

The barrier, widely seen as the basis for Israel's future border, is two-thirds complete. Critics say that in many areas, the barrier route was not determined by security needs, but by Israel's desire to incorporate as many settlements as possible on the Israeli side and to allow for their expansion...."


Settler population growing three times faster than rest of Israel, study says
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent
December 15, 2008

"The population growth among West Bank settlers was three times higher than that of the rest of Israel during the past 12 years, according to a report by the Ariel College Center of Samaria.
The statistical annual report shows that the Jewish population in the West Bank more than doubled during that time, with a growth of 107 percent. The report also shows that the settler population has surged from 130,000 in 2005 to 270,000 by the end of 2007.
Meanwhile, the entire population of Israel grew by 29 percent over the same period.
This population trend has continued over the past three years, with the West Bank settler population growing by 5 percent annually, compared to a 1.7 percentage growth in the entire country....."

Barak: Shalit is one of the reasons to refrain from launching Gaza offensive
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
December 13, 2008

"Defense Minister Ehud Barak criticized remarks made by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni earlier this week, who said that it was not possible to bring home every soldier, saying that it was Israel's responsibility to make every effort to bring home captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was abducted by Gaza militants in June 2006 and marked 900 days in captivity earlier this week. Hamas, the rulers of the Gaza Strip and one of the groups who orchestrated the kidnapping, has demanded the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit's release.

Speaking at an event in Holon on Saturday, the defense minister said that Shalit was one of the reasons Israel must refrain from launching a large scale military offensive in the Gaza Strip, adding that "when it becomes imperative, Israel will operate in the Strip."....."

Gaza students leave on activists' ship
Associated Press
Published: 12.13.08, 14:12 / Israel News

International activists say they have helped 11 Gaza university students leave the blockaded territory by boat in defiance of Israel.
Ramzi Kysia of the Free Gaza movement said Saturday that the students sailed on the vessel Dignity and reached Cyprus on Friday. He says the students are enrolled at universities in Europe and Canada.
Israelnd Egypt largely sealed Gaza after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized the coastal territory last year. Some university students have been allowed to cross through Israeli and Egyptian crossings. Activists say round 700 students accepted at foreign universities are still stuck in Gaza.,7340,L-3637769,00.html


Israeli Arabs should live in Palestinian state: Livni
Agence France Presse
December 12, 2008

"JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a frontrunner in the race to become premier, said on Thursday that Arab Israelis should move to a Palestinian state when it is eventually created.
"My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two distinct national entities," she told a group of secondary school students in Tel Aviv in remarks broadcast by army radio. "And among other things I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Arab Israelis, and tell them: 'your national aspirations lie elsewhere.'"
The remarks drew an angry rebuttal from Arab Israeli MP Ahmed Tibi and from the Palestinian Authority of president Mahmud Abbas. "She must decide whether she means to leave a million Arabs without political rights or a national identity, or whether she really intends to transfer a million Arab citizens to the Palestinian state that will be established," he said...."

Rights group to Mazuz: Probe IDF targeted killings in West Bank

By Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz Correspondent

December 10, 2008

"The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel is demanding the attorney general order a criminal investigation to determine whether any crimes were committed in the planning and execution of past targeted assassinations........

Two weeks ago, Haaretz Magazine published an investigation by Uri Blau that revealed the Israel Defense Forces approved assassinations in the West Bank even when detention appeared to be a viable alternative. In addition, the most senior IDF echelons gave advance approval to assassinations that would kill innocent Palestinian bystanders...."


EU, Israel to strengthen ties despite objections

Maan News
December 9, 2008

"Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel and the European Union (EU) voted to upgrade relations on Monday, despite opposition to the agreement by human rights advocates and Arab states. The motion to improve relations was approved by a unanimous vote of all 27 EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Monday. Israel's new prime minister will greet the body at its headquarters in April, its Foreign Ministry announced." .....


Fourth international aid boat arrives in Gaza Strip

Ma'an News

Dec 9, 2008

"International and Palestinian human rights advocates sailed to the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade on Tuesday, in the fourth such voyage since August.

The ship named "Dignity" carried one ton of medical supplies and high-protein baby formula, in addition to a delegation of 11 international academics, human rights workers and journalists, the Free Gaza movement, the trip's organizer, said.

Among them are two Jewish academics from the London School of Economics and a British surgeon planning to volunteer in Gaza...."


also see article by Mairead Maguire  (Nobel Peace Laureate) Journey to Gaza



UN to Israel: Free Palestinian prisoners, lift Gaza blockade

December 9, 2008

"UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday called on Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported. After two days of discussions, the council, which consists of 47 member states, passed a list of 99 'recommendations' of gestures for Israel to make to ease Palestinian suffering, including freeing all prisoners....."


Jewish settlers set fire to Palestinian home

Monday, December 8th, 2008

HEBRON (Reuters) - Jewish settlers torched a rooftop enclosure of a Palestinian man's home in the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, a Palestinian police spokesman said.

The United Nations as well as Palestinian and Israeli officials have condemned violence by settlers since tensions rose on Thursday in the occupied territory after Israel's eviction of settler families from a disputed Hebron building.

Nidal Awawi told Reuters a room he had built on his roof was blackened and destroyed by a fire set off before dawn. There were no casualties, he said. A spokesman for Palestinian police, Ramadan Awad, blamed the arson on Jewish settlers. He said settlers were spotted fleeing the scene as flames engulfed the building.



Civil rights group claim Israeli occupation is "reminiscent of apartheid"

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem

Sunday, 7 December 2008

"Israel's leading civil rights organisation yesterday broke a taboo by describing Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank as being “reminiscent of apartheid” in South Africa.

Alleging an intensification of human rights abuses against Palestinians, the respected Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) made the comparison in an annual report that described the existence of separate legal, planning and transportation systems for Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank....."


Olmert condemns settler 'pogrom'

"Outgoing Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has compared the violence used by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in Hebron to bygone anti-Semitism in Europe.

He told Cabinet he was ashamed by recent scenes in the West Bank city, which he said amounted to a pogrom. The settlers shot and wounded three Palestinians and set fire to property after Israeli security forces evicted a Jewish group from a disputed building.

Correspondents say Mr Olmert's use of "pogrom" has particular resonance. It is usually associated with the anti-Semitic violence Jewish people experienced in Europe and Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries.

"As a Jew, I was ashamed at the scenes of Jews opening fire at innocent Arabs in Hebron. There is no other definition than the term 'pogrom' to describe what I have seen," he told Cabinet members, according to public radio. "We are the sons of a nation who know what is meant by a pogrom, and I am using the word only after deep reflection." ......"



Israeli Settler Pogrom Against Palestinians; CFR/Brookings Report Suggests Linking U.S. Aid to Settlement Freeze

by Daniel Levy
December 4, 2008

"A week of Israeli settler outrages against Palestinians and against Israel's own security forces reached a crescendo over the last 24 hours with settlers opening fire on Palestinian civilians and unleashing violent disturbances across the West Bank. Israel's Justice Minister, Daniel Friedman, has just called the events a "shocking pogrom", journalists have described how their presence saved Palestinian residents of a home near Kiryat Arba from a lynching, and IDF sources described how the right wing activists "want to spark a religious war that would inflame the entire region." The belated IDF action in upholding a court order to evict settlers from a home that they illegally occupied in Hebron, led by Defense Minister Barak, was at least effective, although the same cannot be said of the limp-wristed measures taken in the face of settler rampages against Palestinians, and of the general approach to settler lawlessness.

While the Israeli press is full of graphic descriptions of the settler outrages, there has been remarkably little coverage in the American mainstream media..... Settler extremism has become a strategic issue with implications for American policy, American private funding of settlements, and how to manage the security dynamic in the West Bank.

The litany of settler actions over this week makes for particularly bleak reading on a Friday night. On the walls of home and in mosques in the West Bank villages of Yatma, Sanjil, Turmus Ayya, and Isawiyya, graffiti has been scrawled reading "Mohammed the pig" and "Death to the Arabs", elsewhere cemeteries have been desecrated, Palestinian homes set on fire, olive trees uprooted, tires punctured, and yesterday two Palestinians were shot and seriously wounded by settler fire. Israeli security forces overseeing the evacuation of the Hebron house and sometimes trying to bring order were stoned and assaulted by settlers, along with the customary hurling of choice abuse, notably the word "Nazi". According to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronot newspaper, Ethiopian IDF soldiers "enjoyed" their own variation on the abuse theme, being told "niggers don't expel Jews"..... "



Unilever to sell stake in plant based in West Bank settlement

Toni O'Loughlin in Jerusalem

The Guardian
Monday December 1 2008


"The food and soap manufacturing multinational Unilever has announced that it will divest from an Israeli factory in a Jewish settlement illegally built on land confiscated from Palestinians. Unilever, which makes household staples such as Sunsilk shampoo, Surf washing powder and Vaseline, said it would sell its 51% stake in the Beigel & Beigel factory in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

The UK and Dutch-owned multinational has followed Harrods department store - which cleared its shelves of Beigel & Beigel products, such as pretzels, in August - and a campaign by Britain to crack down on Israeli settlement businesses that are allegedly dodging EU import taxes......"



Israel turns back Libyan ship bound for Gaza with aid

By Reuters
December 1, 2008

"The Israel Navy on Monday turned away a Libyan ship heading to Gaza with 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid, ending the most high-profile effort yet to break a blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

The Al Marwa was approaching the Gaza coast when it was stopped by an Israel Navy vessel. The navy vessel ordered the Libyan ship via radio contact to turn back, said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, adding that no force was used....."


Rightists riot in Hebron during night

Dozens of Palestinian vehicles vandalized, Border Guard jeep also damaged.

by Efrat Weiss, YNet News
Nov. 30, 2008

"Already something of a routine, dozens of so-called 'Hilltop Youths' rioted in Hebron on Saturday night, vandalized Palestinian property and damaged a Border Guard patrol car. Under the cover of darkness some 50 extreme-right activists arrived at Erez Alley in Hebron. The youths pelted Palestinian homes with rocks, and damaged at least 40 cars. One youth was detained at the scene, and then taken for questioning at the Hebron police station......",2506,L-3630686,00.html



Cabinet approves releasing 250 Palestinian prisoners in gesture to Abbas

By Reuters

Nov. 30, 2008

"The cabinet on Sunday approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture toward Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The prisoners will be released to the West Bank, where Abbas's government holds sway, before next week's Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, officials said of the decision.

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had promised to free the prisoners during a meeting earlier this month with Abbas, who launched peace talks with Israel a year ago after Gaza's violent takeover by Hamas....."



Qassam strikes residential area in central Sderot

By Yanir Yagna, Haaretz Correspondent in southern Israel

November 30, 2008

"A Qassam rocket fired by militants in the Gaza Strip struck a square in the center of the southern town of Sderot on Sunday. No injuries or damage were reported in the attack.

Over the weekend, eight Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously, when a barrage of mortar shells fired from Gaza hit an army base near the kibbutz Nahal Oz...."



EU Development Minister calls blockade collective punishment

Maan News
Nov. 29, 2008

"Bethlehem – Ma’an – European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel expressed his “increasing concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza,” in a Saturday press release.

"I am extremely concerned by the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the continued closure of the Gaza crossings,” Michel stated. His statement stressed the point that since 4 November only the Karem Shalom crossing has been open, and even then only for a total of four days. Michel noted that only a limited amount of food and supplies were allowed into Gaza on 17, 24, 26 and 27 November.

Though he stressed his earlier condemnation of Palestinian projectile attacks, he said called the continued closure of Gaza crossings “a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, which is a violation of International Humanitarian Law...."



Experts: Failure to integrate Arabs costing Israel billions


"Session dedicated to economic inequality in Israel finds economy losing billions each year because Arab sector is not fully integrated into work market. Experts call on government to initiate strategy to battle this situation"

"Israel's failure to integrate its Arab population into its economy is costing the country billions, experts claimed during a session dedicated to the subject of economic equality on Tuesday as part of the Sderot-Israel Conference.

The session, presented by the Abraham Fund Initiatives, focused on the importance of integrating Arab citizens into the Israeli market and hosted various economic, academic, policy, and non-profit professionals. The session is part of a greater campaign launched by the fund to generate awareness regarding the problematic situation, together with a publication dealing with the “Economic Benefits of Arab Jewish Equality and Integration.”

"The Israeli market will lose NIS 40 billion ($10.2 billion) this year, which is six percent of the GNP, as a result of the failure to integrate Israeli Arabs into the market.” Aiman Seif, director of the Economic Development Department of the non-Jewish Sector (Prime Minister’s Office), said in his address....",7340,L-3628836,00.html 



Israel opens Gaza border to let in humanitarian aid

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

November 24, 2008

"Israel partially its border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Monday to allow the transfer of humanitarian aid, following a reduction in rocket attacks from the strip over the past few days. The border crossings have been all but completely shut for 19 days amid a

deteriorating five-month-old truce, with only one convoy of 33 trucks with essential humanitarian supplies entering the strip one week ago.

The move came a day after Hamas was quoted by the Palestinian news agency Ma'an as saying militants groups had reached a deal with Israel to resume the cease-fire if the crossings were opened."


INTERVIEW-Gaza on brink of humanitarian disaster - UN

By Suleiman al-Khalidi, Reuters
Fri Nov 21, 2008

"AMMAN, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Gaza faces a humanitarian "catastrophe" if Israel continues to prevent aid reaching the territory by blocking crossing points, the head of the main U.N. aid agency for the Palestinians said on Friday.

Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said the human toll of this month's sealing of Gaza's goods crossings was the gravest since the early days of a Palestinian uprising eight years ago. "It's been closed for so much longer than ever before... and we have nothing in our warehouses... It will be a catastrophe if this persists, a disaster," said AbuZayd, whose agency is the largest aid body providing services to Palestinian refugees.

Israel closed the crossings after Palestinian militants responded with daily rocket salvoes to an Israeli army incursion on Nov. 4 into the Hamas-run territory, where a five-month-old, Egyptian-brokered ceasefire had largely been holding...."


PA forces arrest over 250 Hamas men

By YAAKOV KATZ , The Jerusalem Post
November 20, 2008

"Less than a month after deploying in Hebron, a US-trained battalion of Palestinian policemen has arrested over 250 terror suspects affiliated with Hamas, defense officials revealed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

In addition to the terror suspects, the battalion has also arrested over 140 Palestinians defined as "criminal suspects" and wanted for a wide range of criminal activity.

The Palestinian policemen underwent US-directed military training in Jordan prior to deployment in Hebron in late October, which was approved by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni following a request from the Palestinian Authority to allow the contingent into the city as part of an effort to crack down on Hamas terror infrastructure in the West Bank....."



UN Rights Chief Urges Israel to End Illegal Blockade

November 19, 2008

Ma'an News Agency

Bethlehem – Ma’an – "The United Nations’ highest-ranking human rights officer urged Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

"By function of this blockade, 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children have been forcibly deprived of their most basic human rights for months," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement.

Pillay said the blockade is illegal under international human rights and humanitarian law, and 'must end now.'......"


Israeli incursion into south Gaza

BBC News
November 18, 2008

"The Israeli military has launched an incursion into the Gaza Strip and clashed with Palestinian gunmen there. Witnesses say the Israeli troops were accompanied by bulldozers which have been destroying agricultural land east of the town of Rafah, in southern Gaza. There was no immediate reports of any injuries or deaths.

Meanwhile, Israeli defence officials say they have re-imposed a total closure of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip. A convoy of 33 trucks of humanitarian aid was allowed in on Monday, but United Nations officials say the supplies will run out within days.

Israel says it has tightened its blockade of Gaza in response to recent rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, which have caused minor damage but no casualties.....At least 16 Palestinian militants have been killed in skirmishes with Israeli forces along the border in the past two weeks.......[Editor's note: these deaths took place inside the Gaza Strip.] a separate incident, the Israeli navy detained a number of Palestinian fishermen and foreign peace activists who had been accompanying them in boats off the coast of Gaza. The International Solidarity Movement said 14 fishermen and three activists were detained. The Israeli military said the boats had deviated from the defined fishing zone, which the ISM denied."



Six Palestinians wounded in an Israeli invasion to Bethlehem

 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC (International Middle East Media Center) & Agencies
Tuesday November 18, 2008 20:45

"Palestinian medical sources in Bethlehem reported on Tuesday at night that six Palestinians were mildly wounded by Israeli military fire during an evening Israeli military invasion to the city.

Israeli soldiers, supported by at least twenty armored military vehicles and jeeps, invaded Bethlehem from several directions while under-cover forces of the Israeli military invaded Al Saff Street in the center of the city. Soldiers then surrounded for four hours the house of Khalid Al Doury, and forced the residents out before violently searching the property causing damage.

Dozens of Palestinian youth hurled stones at the invading forces while the army fired live rounds, rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs. Six residents were mildly wounded and received the needed medical treatment. The army and the under-cover forces withdrew from the city later on without abducting any resident, local sources reported."



Fifteen Palestinian fishermen still being held by Israeli authorities, three internationals fighting deportation with at least one engaging in a hunger-strike

November 18th, 2008
Posted in Press Releases, Gaza Region

18th November - "British politicians, MP Clare Short and Baronness Jenny Tonge, both issue statements regarding the arrests made by Israeli forces today

The fifteen Palestinian fishermen abducted from Palestinian waters this morning (10am 18th November) are still being held by Israeli authorities in Ashdod, while their boats have been confiscated. Legal proceedings were initiated today that petition for their immediate release.

The three international Human Rights Observers who were arrested while accompanying the fishermen have been taken to Ben Gurion detention facility as Israeli authorities starting deportation proceedings. Andrew Muncie, a British citizen who was one of the three internationals arrested has made it clear that he will non-violently resist any attempt to deport him and that he is engaging a hunger-strike until all fifteen of the Palestinian fishermen are released....."



In Night of Mass Arrests, Israeli forces detain at least 30 in West Bank

Ma'an News

November 18, 2008

Hebron – Ma’an – "Israeli forces launched a wide-scale arrest campaign against Palestinian youth in the West Bank before sunrise on Tuesday. More than 30 individuals were taken, mostly from the Al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron in the southern West Bank, and mostly men under thirty.

Dozens of Israeli military vehicles carried out the biggest invasion of the Al-Fawwar camp in six months. Several houses were inspected and ransacked, and families were forced at gunpoint to leave their homes to the street."



Palestinian fighters say they fired six projectiles from Gaza

Ma'an News
November 18, 2008

Gaza - Ma'an – 'Palestinian fighters claimed to have fired six homemade projectiles at Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday evening. The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the An-Nasser Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for launching two projectiles at the Israeli border town of Sderot.

Separately the Al-Quds Brigades the military wing of Islamic Jihad claimed to have launched four projectiles at the town of Nahal Oz on Tuesday. The Al-Quds Brigades said the attack was “in response to Israeli crimes.”'



[British Foreign Minister] Miliband to criticize Israel on settlements

Associated Press
November 16, 2008

JERUSALEM (AP) - "British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is expressing strong opposition to Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and officials are speaking of an economic offensive to try to force them to be taken down.....

Miliband is pressing European partners for tighter control of imports to the European Union from the Jewish settlements, some of which are admitted at European ports as the produce of Israel and therefore enjoy tariff benefits under an Israel-EU treaty, the officials said.....

European diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity as a fresh economic offensive on the West Bank settlements has not been officially approved, said Miliband has been trying to muster support in Brussels for tougher implementation of existing customs regulations in the hope that settlements, a core issue in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, could be placed under a siege that could help hasten their dismantlement...."



UN Shuts Gaza Food Distribution Centers

November 16, 2008

SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip - 'Gazans seeking food aid walked away empty-handed from locked United Nations distribution centers yesterday after a strict Israeli border closure depleted UN food reserves there.

Israel sealed Gaza's borders nearly two weeks ago as part of a new round of fighting with Gaza's Hamas rulers. Hamas rocket fire on Israeli border towns and Israeli air strikes on Gaza militants have eroded a truce that had largely held for five months.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to open the crossings to humanitarian aid and condemned the rocket fire on Israel. Measures that increase the suffering of Gaza's civilians "are unacceptable and should cease immediately," he said in a statement.

Two Palestinians were killed in disputed circumstances in northern Gaza.

Palestinian Health Ministry official Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, citing reports from local medics, said the two were killed by an Israeli air strike. However, the military said Israeli forces were not involved and in the past, militants have sometimes been killed by Gaza rockets that fell short or exploded early.

In the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City, hundreds of people walked away empty-handed from a UN food distribution center yesterday. A note taped to the center's blue gate said handouts were put off until Dec. 13 "because of a lack of food to distribute."' 



Gaza: Basic Food Supplies May Run Out Within Days

November 16, 2008

Gaza – Ma’an – "The Gaza Strip will run out of basic supplies of food in the next few days if Israel or Egypt does not ease a strict eleven-day blockade of the territory, a senior Palestinian official warned on Sunday.

De facto Minister of National Economy Ziyad Thatha said, “There is a food and humanitarian crisis [in] the Gaza Strip where crossings have been closed for the eleventh day.

Israel invaded the Gaza Strip on 4 November, breaking a five-month –old ceasefire agreement and sparking renewed cross-border violence. Israel also sealed its borders with Gaza, blocking deliveries of basic good such as food and fuel.

The United Nation's relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, was forced to suspend its food program on Friday after its trucks were turned away at the border. UNRWA is responsible for feeding 750,000 Gazans."



Israeli lightly hurt as Qassam hits yard of Sderot home

By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid and Yanir Yagna
Haaretz Correspondents and News Agencies
November 16, 2008

"A Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip struck a residential yard in the southern town of Sderot on Sunday, leaving one person with light shrapnel wounds. Several other people were treated for shock.

This was the third rocket to hit the Negev on Sunday, as violence between Israel and the coastal territory continued for a second week. Some 17 rockets and mortar shells hit southern Israel over the weekend, including four advanced Grad-type missiles...."



Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Shepherds, Kill Donkey, Injure Internationals

15 November, 2008

Bethlehem – Ma’an –

'Settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds, killing one donkey and injuring two international activists who were accompanying the locals as their flocks grazed near the illegal Israeli settlement outpost Havot Ma'on in the southern West Bank on Saturday morning.

According to a report released by the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), who live in Hebron and At-Tuwani to monitor the tense situation and report on Human Rights abuses, a group of masked settlers came running at the shepherds and threw rocks at them.

CPT workers said settlers grabbed hold of two donkeys, seriously wounding one, and slitting the throat of another. As they tried to put a stop to the scene, settlers attacked the international workers with stones causing minor injuries.

The group said they called Israeli police four times before any response to the incident was taken."


Barak approved settlement expansion despite Road Map

By Uri Blau, Haaretz Correspondent
November 14, 2008

 "Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved dozens of construction projects in the West Bank in recent months, contradicting Israel's commitments to the Road Map, Haaretz has learned. Barak also approved the marketing of hundreds of housing units in settlements..."


Concern over Israel settlement exports

"British customs officials are "strongly concerned" that Israeli-produced goods made in settlements on the occupied West Bank may be circumventing import taxes en-route to British high streets, the BBC's Tim Franks learns.

The British Government believes that Israeli settlements on occupied territory are illegal. So does every other government in the world, except for Israel. For that reason goods produced on settlements in the West Bank are not supposed to benefit from a free trade agreement between the EU and Israel. They are supposed to be subject to import duty. But the BBC has discovered that HM Revenue and Customs is strongly concerned that the system is being abused and that these goods may be coming into Britain for free."


Israel infuriated by U.K. plan to label West Bank produce

Anshel Pfeffer

Barak Ravid


November 14, 2008

"Relations between Israel and Britain remained strained on Thursday over Downing Street's intention to label products manufactured in West Bank settlements, a week before the expected arrival of British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband, to the Middle East."



Switzerland: Israel breaking int'l law by razing Palestinian homes

By The Associated Press

"Switzerland accused Israel on Thursday of wantonly destroying Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and near Ramallah in violation of the Geneva Conventions' rules on military occupation. The Swiss Foreign Ministry demanded that Israel immediately halt the demolitions, which Israel has said are aimed at removing illegally constructed shacks.

An Israeli Embassy spokeswoman in the Swiss capital of Bern said the decision to remove the structures was not an arbitrary decision, but was sanctioned by law. "This demolition of houses was done under a court order," embassy spokeswoman Shlomit Sufa said Thursday.

Switzerland - as the guardian of the Geneva Conventions - can call meetings of the treaty's signatories if it finds problems with its implementation, but does not have any special powers to enforce the document. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said the demolitions violated the 1949 Geneva Conventions, regarded as the cornerstone of international law on the obligations of warring and occupying powers.

The Fourth Convention states that occupying powers must respect the property of civilian populations under their control....."



U.S. study urges Obama to press Israel over nuclear program

By Yossi Melman
Haaretz Correspondent

"The Middle East is in danger of accumulating large stocks of nuclear material over the next decade that could be used to produce over 1,700 nuclear bombs, a U.S. research center has projected in a newly released report.

The Institute for Science and International Security, headed by David Albright, one the world's top experts on nuclear weapons and the prevention of nuclear proliferation, recently released its report urging president-elect Barack Obama to take a number of measures to avoid such an outcome, including convincing Israel to halt production of its nuclear weapons.... "



ElBaradei: Israel's nuclear arms blocking Mideast peace

By DPA in Ha'aretz

"International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Mohammed ElBaradei said the nuclear arsenal should go as part of a settlement with the Palestinians.

"This is not really sustainable that you have Israel sitting with nuclear weapons capability there while everyone else is part of the non-proliferation regime," ElBaradei told The Sydney Morning Herald...."



Israeli forces destroy two houses in West Bank village

November 12, 2008

Ramallah - Ma'an - "Israeli forces demolished two houses in the West Bank village of Shaqba, west of the city of Ramallah, on Wednesday afternoon, citing a lack of building permits. A total of 18 people lived in the two homes.

The houses belonged to the family of Bassem Hassan Subhi Ibrahim. Israeli authorities delivered demolition orders for another five houses. Hard-to-obtain building permits are often used as a pretext to demolish Palestinian homes throughout the occupied territories.

In 2006 three houses were destroyed in the same village." 



Gaza shut to fuel and journalists
By Aleem Maqbool
BBC News, Erez Crossing

November 10, 2008

Over the last six days, Israel has all but closed its crossings with the Gaza Strip. No fuel (paid for by foreign donors) has been allowed into Gaza for its power station, no food has been allowed in for the United Nations' aid distribution centres on which most Gazans rely.

No journalists are being allowed into Gaza to cover the story.


Jerusalem Diary: Monday 27 October

By Tim Franks

BBC News, Jerusalem

"Ramiz Barham's day job is Second Lieutenant in the Palestinian police force.

Last week, though, it was he who was threatened with arrest, by the Israeli army.

It had happened while the 24-year-old Ramiz was taking time off to help his family with the olive harvest.

He had been stopped by Israeli soldiers, as he advanced, holding a stick in each hand, on a group of settlers.

Ramiz said he was tipped over the edge when he had heard the settlers yelling that the Prophet Muhammad was a pig.Ahmad, 5, picks olives, northern West Bank

The incident happened, just after Ramiz and his family had begun harvesting olives from their grove close to the Palestinian village of Kedum, and the Jewish settlement of Qedumim, in the West Bank. .."



Free Gaza II will sail from Cyprus Tuesday, expects safe passage

Date: 27 / 10 / 2008 Time: 12:40

Bethlehem – Ma’an – "The Free Gaza movement sent a formal notice to Israel on Sunday informing them of the group’s second humanitarian mission into the Gaza Strip. The boat will depart from Cyprus on 28 October, weather permitting, and arrive approximately 30 hours later.

The group made history with its 22-23 August journey which saw two small ships land in the Gaza City port; it was the first time in 41 years that international vessels had docked in the area.

There was initial concern that the Israeli navy, which patrols Gaza waters despite Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the area in 2005, would prevent the first ships from reaching their destination...."

Israeli rightist wounds IDF soldier protecting Palestinian farmers

By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent


A right-wing activist on Wednesday lightly wounded an Israel Defense Forces soldier protecting Palestinian olive harvesters near the West Bank settlement of Otniel.

The incident occurred as twelve masked rightists, armed with clubs, scuffled with IDF soldiers deployed to guard the Palestinians. The rightists subsequently fled the scene, after which police embarked on a search for them.

The current olive harvest has been marked with other violent incidents. On Saturday, witnesses and Reuters crew said that Israeli settlers clashed with Palestinians and others helping them pick olives in the West Bank town of Hebron. 


Israeli forces seize three journalists who attempted to film settler attacks

21 / 10 / 2008

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized three Palestinian journalists who were attempting to document settler attacks on Palestinian farmers in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank on Tuesday.

Three employees of Watan TV arrived in the village early on Tuesday, and were followed by settlers as they set out for the olive fields. When they began filming the abuse of Palestinian farmers by Israeli settlers, Israeli troops seized them

Watan TV identified the arrested men as assistant Ibrahim Bidwan, photographer Ibrahim Hammad and Mohammad Mudeinah. They are being held in an unknown location.

Israeli settlers have been attacking Palestinian farmers daily since the beginning of the olive harvest this season. On Monday over 100 settlers assaulted farmers in Kafr Qaddum.


Longest-held female Palestinian prisoner due to be released next Sunday

22 / 10 / 2008

Qalqilia – Ma’an – The longest-serving female Palestinian prisoner, Suna Ar-Ra’i, will be released by Israel on Sunday after serving 12 years in her second term in prison.

Ar-Ra’i is from the West Bank city of Qalqilia. Her brother, Ibrahim Ar-Ra’i, was a leader in the Palestinian resistance who was killed by the Israeli intelligence services on 13 April 1988. He was killed during an interrogation session in which he refused to admit to the accusations of his captors.

Suna Ar-Ra’i joined Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation at the age of 16. She was a co-founder of Palestinian women’s committees. She joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). On the ninth anniversary of the killing of her brother, she carried out a military operation against Israeli soldiers and security guards at the Allenby Bridge border crossing, and was arrested after the shooting. She was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.


Group: Israel refused permits for 50% of kids needing urgent heart operation
09 / 10 / 2008

Bethlehem – Ma’an – "A team of doctors and nurses arrived from the United Kingdom to start a week of open-heart surgeries on children in the West Bank and Gaza, a Palestinian non-governmental organization announced on Thursday.

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) initiated the program several years ago, aimed at kids in Palestine and Lebanon needing specialized surgery. This year, pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. B. Sethia led the team from Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Other experts included a perfusionist and an intensive care unit doctor.

"I am so happy to finally have my baby treated," said Ibtisam Salam, the mother of 13-month-old Doaa from the Gaza...

...the impact of the occupation and siege continues to affect the ability of some children to gain access to the Makassed hospital in Jerusalem. Israel denied permits to six of the 12 children needing life-saving cardiac surgery, the organization said."


Israeli doctors barred from Gaza Strip
08 / 10 / 2008

Gaza – Ma’an – "Israel barred a team of its own doctors from entering the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday, blocking a mission that sought to provide medicine and treatment to the Strip’s residents.

Most of the nine doctors are Palestinian citizens of Israel. The planned visit to Gaza was organized by the Tel Aviv-based group Physicians for Human Rights. Israeli authorities had approved the team for entry a few days ago.

Udah Kawari, a spokesperson of the European Hospital in Gaza asserted that the Israeli military has kept the physicians at the Erez crossing since 10am today...."


Israeli soldiers take over house overlooking Hebron settlement
08 / 10 / 2008

Hebron – Ma’an – "Israeli soldiers in Hebron took over a house overlooking the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron last week, the home’s owners said Wednesday.

The house, owned by Al-Hajj Suleiman Ar-Ragaby, is located on the Jawhar Mount hill in Hebron. A family member told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers arrived at the home one day before the start of Eid Al-Fitr, remaining there for over a week and preventing the three families living in it from moving about their homes.

Hamid Ar-Ragaby said that soldiers took over the father’s three-story house and abused relatives inside.

”Israeli soldiers detained my younger brother for no reason and attacked him. As a result, he was taken to a hospital for treatment when bruises covered his entire body,” Ar-Ragaby said.

He added that Israeli forces routinely seize their house each Saturday, and that it had been going on for quite some time" .


Blair’s sister in law to leave Gaza via Rafah after being denied entry to Israel
Ma'an News Agency
21 / 09 / 2008

Bethlehem – Ma’an –"Tony Blair’s sister in law Lauren Booth who was stranded in Gaza for four weeks after she landed with the Free Gaza crew on 23 August, was granted an exit permit and will leave through Rafah crossing this weekend, Palestinian sources said.
Booth confirmed that Israel would not allow her to leave the Gaza Strip through the Eretz crossing at the northern end of the area. Israeli authorities said this was because she did not enter the Gaza Strip officially. Egyptian authorities refused to allow Booth to leave the Gaza strip via the Rafah crossing on two separate occasions.
Booth was among 44 peace activists who sailed from Cyprus..."


Israel confiscates vast areas of Palestinian lands in Jordan Valley
Ma'an News Agency
21 / 09 / 2008

Tubas – Ma’an – "Israeli soldiers confiscated 140 dunnums (0.14 square kilometers) of land in the northern West Bank village of Bardala in the northern Jordan Valley near the Bisan checkpoint.
The land owners appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to support them and insist on cancelling the confiscation.
“This confiscation aims at changing borders before final status negotiations begin,” said the governor of Tubas Dr. Sami Musallam.” Israel is attempting to..."


We won't allow settler pogroms against non-Jews, says Olmert

By Haaretz Service


"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared before the cabinet on Sunday that Israel's government will not allow settlers to carry out "pogroms against non-Jews."

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting one day after West Bank settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar went on a rampage in the nearby Palestinian village of Assira al-Kabaliya in retaliation for the stabbing of a 9-year-old boy, Olmert said "there will not be pogroms against non-Jews in the state of Israel."

The settler rampage in Assira al-Kabaliya left at least eight Palestinians hurt. The boy, stabbed in the back and the hand, sustained minor wounds.


"The phenomenon of [settlers] taking the law into their own hands and lashing out with violence and brutality is unforgivable, and will be dealt with by the law enforcement authorities," Olmert said."...


Israel 'annexes' West Bank areas

West Bank barrier in Abu Dis near Jerusalem
B'Tselem says the annexations more than doubled the size of settlements

Israel has annexed thousands of hectares of West Bank land beside the barrier it is building, according to an Israeli rights group.

"B'Tselem says the land has been taken with the justification that it is needed to protect Israeli settlements.

The group says some settlements have seized up to two and a half times more land than they have been designated by fencing it off or through intimidation.

Under international law the settlements in the West Bank are illegal."...




Rights group: Israel forcing Palestinians in West Bank back to Gaza

By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press

Tags: B'tselem, residence permits

"Two Israeli human rights groups said in a joint report Wednesday that a new Israeli policy is deepening the separation between the West Bank and Gaza and tearing Palestinian families apart, in violation of international law.

The policy, in effect since November 2007, is turning some Palestinians into illegal residents in their own homes, said the report by the groups B'Tselem and Hamoked. In one high-profile case, a Gaza man has been barred from joining his wife who has West Bank residency and gave birth to quadruplets last month.

Israeli officials say..."



The wrong message to Israel

Britain seems reluctant to take a firm stand against the illegal colonisation activities by Jewish settlers

Abe Hayeem,

Tuesday September 09 2008 10:30 BST

"When Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, visited Ramallah in mid-July, he told the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas: "We want to see a freeze on settlements. Settlement expansion has made peace harder to achieve. It erodes trust, it heightens Palestinian suffering, it makes the compromises Israel needs to make for peace more difficult."

In that case, the decision by the British government to rent space for our new embassy in Tel Aviv from the Africa-Israel Investments company chaired by businessman Lev Leviev sends precisely the wrong message.

Leviev, a Russian-Israeli real estate and diamond billionaire who recently became a UK resident, is also a major settlement builder. Danya Cebus, a subsidiary of Leviev's Africa-Israel group, has built homes in three West Bank settlements - Mattityahu East, Har Homa, and Ma'ale Adumim.

Additionally, Leviev is a major donor to the Land Redemption Fund (LRF), which is affiliated..."


New siege-breaking boat to sail on 22 September
Date: 04 / 09 / 2008  Time:  17:20

Gaza – Ma’an – International human rights advocates plan to stage another siege-breaking voyage to the Gaza Strip on 22 September after two boats challenged an Israeli military blockade in August.

Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Al-Khudari, head of the Popular Campaign Against the Aiege, announced on Thursday that the activists will set sail from Cyprus, and that the new boat will have on board members of the European Parliament and doctors.

State admits outpost built on private Arab land
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
Tags: West Bank, Peace Now 

"North of the settlement of Beit El, at the outpost of Jabel Artis, two new homes were recently built, and eight Israeli families moved in. The homes are barely a kilometer from the headquarters of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, and were built on land that according to the registry is private Palestinian land. This apparently did not prevent the Civil Administration from issuing an order for military use of the plot and that made it easier for the settlers to drive the land's owners off of it. Now, the Civil Administration admits that issuing the order was wrong, and that it was issued for the wrong plot. This admission makes little difference to the owners of the property, now that the construction is completed.

Mahbuba Yassin Abdullah, a resident of the nearby village of Dura al-Qara, is the owner of plot 39 of the village properties on which Jabel Artis sits. She told Haaretz that her father had bought the property many years ago..."

Sderot children feel truce relief
By Heather Sharp
BBC News, Sderot


Tal Rubin, 7, on her way to school in Sderot
Tal says some of the children cry as they take cover from rockets

Tal, 7, likes maths, Hebrew and playing hide-and-seek.

She clutches a pink backpack as she clambers into the car for her first day back at school after the summer.

She says she is excited to be going back to school, and says she is not afraid of the qassam rockets.

The crudely made, unguided projectiles fire by Palestinian militants in Gaza have defined normality for much of her life in her hometown Sderot, in southern Israel.

"This is the first year since she was born that she's felt relaxed on 1 September," says her mother, Roha Rubin.

Since June, a truce between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel has brought the number of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza down from more than 50 on some of the worst days, to one every few days.

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing

Egyptian troops guard the Rafah border crossing (10 August 2008)
Egypt last temporarily re-opened the Rafah border crossing on 1 July

Egypt has opened its border crossing with the Gaza Strip at Rafah for two days, allowing hundreds of Palestinians to cross into and out of the territory.

"Palestinian officials said the move was a goodwill gesture before the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Only those requiring medical treatment, along with holders of foreign residency permits, will be permitted to leave.

The Rafah crossing has been closed for most of the period since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Israel has also sealed its border crossings.."


Summer camp sows seeds of peace


Thursday, 28 August 2008 11:56 UK
By Yolande Knell

Going to summer camp is a rite of passage for many young people in the United States.

It offers a chance to have fun outdoors while making new friends away from home.

The international camp set in woods by a glittering lake in Otisfield, Maine follows the same tradition but it also has a lofty ambition: to sow the seeds of peace in the Middle East.

Every year the youth organisation, Seeds of Peace, brings 340 teenagers to this remote site. Most are from Israel, the Palestinian territories and other parts of the Arab world.

"Seeds of Peace is the best experience that ever happened to me," says Nadia Tibi, 15, from Israel. "I've met people I never thought I would meet."



U.S. says settlements are 'problem' as Israel-PA talks shift to Washington
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
July 30, 2008

"The United States called Israeli settlement building "a problem" on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began fresh talks in her uphill push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal this year.

The State Department voiced displeasure at Israel's latest plans to build new Jewish settlements after Rice met Barak for wide-ranging discussions that also covered Iran and its suspected pursuit of nuclear arms.

Rice later sat down with Ahmed Qurei, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, ahead of three-way talks with him and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who leads the Israeli negotiating team, on Wednesday afternoon."



Ten-year-old boy killed by Israeli forces during clashes in Ni'lin
Ma'an News
July 29, 2008

"Ramallah – Ma'an – Ten-year-old Ahmad Husam Yousef Musa was killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday evening during clashes in the village of Ni'lin, west of Ramallah. Eyewitnesses reported that the child was shot in the head and died immediately. His body was transferred to Ramallah hospital.

The former mayor of Ni'lin, Muhammad Srour, told Ma'an that while the Israeli bulldozers were finishing their daily work on the separation wall in the village, Israeli troops fired live ammunition directly at demonstrators who had gathered at the wall construction site.

Ni'lin residents have staged daily protests and marches against the separation wall, which is being built on the village's land. Some 77 demonstrations, sit-ins, and protests against the wall have been held in the village so far. The Israeli military frequently responds by shooting tear gas, sound bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition towards demonstrators and bystanders.

The Israeli wall will confiscate some 2,500 dunams of land belonging to the village, whose residents depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. A dunam is 1,000 square metres or approximately a quarter of an acre."



Cash-strapped Palestinian Government Seek World Bank's Help


July 29, 2008

"Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has appealed to the World Bank to help him secure emergency financing to bridge a shortfall in donor funds and pay public workers, Palestinian and European sources said Tuesday.

Fayyad is seeking a so-called comfort letter from the international lending agency to obtain short-term private bank funding, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

His unusual appeal underscores the extent of the Palestinian Authority's budget crisis despite billions of dollars in aid pledged last year as part of a US-backed peace drive.

The Palestinian Authority's workers are supposed to get paid later this week and any delay would be embarrassing for Fayyad's Western-backed government, formed a year ago in the occupied West Bank after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip.",7340,L-3574691,00.html


Israel "chokes" Jordan Valley
By Omar Karmi

In The National (United Arab Emirates)

July 29, 2008

"Jasser Said Daragmeh is an obstacle. The ramshackle hut that houses the 34-year-old farmer, his wife and six children on land his family has been cultivating for generations, lies in the middle of a cluster of small Jewish settlements on surrounding hilltops in the northern Jordan Valley.

As he prepares to fight a demolition order issued by the Israeli army, Mr Daragmeh can only shake his head at the news that one of those nearby settlements, Maskiyot, not a kilometre up the road, is about to be granted permission to build housing for another 20 families, who had left settlements in the Gaza Strip.

“They are choking us,” said Mr Daragmeh. “Every year my land is getting smaller. I used to play in the hills as a boy, but my children are not allowed to go near them now.”

Last week, an Israeli ministerial committee approved plans for the construction of 20 new houses in Maskiyot, sparking an argument between the Israeli government and Palestinians..."

UK MPs call for talks with Hamas
Thursday, 24 July 2008 16:12 UK

Donkey cart with UN food aid
The UN feeds 650,000 people in the Gaza Strip every day

A UK parliamentary committee has called for dialogue with Hamas, as a UN report says poverty has reached an unprecedented high in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza's economy has been hit hard by an Israeli embargo tightened when the militant group took control last year.

Major world powers refuse to speak to Hamas unless it recognises Israel.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, said 52% of Gaza households were living in poverty, and unemployment there had topped 45%.

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The House of Commons International Development Committee said in a report on Gaza that the current truce between Hamas and Israel, agreed on 19 June, "offers the international community an opportunity to begin a dialogue with Hamas".

The aim of the talks should be to move the group towards accepting principles laid down by the international community and to repairing the rift between it and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, it said.



MKs okay new West Bank homes, despite vow to freeze settlements

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

July 24, 2008

"A key panel of lawmakers on Thursday approved 20 new housing units at Maskiot in the West Bank, Israel Radio reported, despite a 2007 pledge to the United States to halt construction at the site. Jerusalem agreed to hold off on plans to build 180 new homes in the settlement, as part of a general freeze on Israeli construction in the West Bank.

But the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has now given approval for the construction of the housing units and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is slated to grant authorization soon."



Jerusalem Shooting Officer Dies

In Bbc News (United Kingdom)

July 23, 2008

"An Israeli policeman has died 12 days after being shot in an apparent militant attack in Jerusalem. David Shriki was hit in the head when an unidentified gunman opened fire as he was on patrol in the Old City, in mainly Arab East Jerusalem. Israeli police said they were treating it as a "terrorist" attack. Another officer was wounded by the gunfire and is recovering....."



Abbas: I'll Pull Out West Bank Forces

In The Associated Press

July 23, 2008

"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told supporters on Tuesday that he will withdraw his forces from West Bank cities unless Israel halts its army operations there.

Parallel to negotiations with Israel, Abbas has been trying to exert more control in the West Bank and to rein in terrorists. At the same time, the international community is training Abbas's forces, with hopes they will one day take over from Israel.

In recent months, Abbas has deployed forces in two of the unruliest towns, Nablus and Jenin, and residents once harassed by vigilante gunmen say they feel more secure.

However, the IDF argues that the Palestinian forces often co-opt former gunmen, instead of jailing them. Despite the presence of the Palestinian forces, IDF troops have continued operating in Palestinian cities, prompting complaints by Abbas that this is undermining him....."



Abbas Serious About Withdrawing Forces from Nablus - Erekat

In Kuwait News Agency (kuna) (Kuwait)

July 23, 2008

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is serious about withdrawing Palestinian forces from Nablus if Israel does not stop executing incursions into the city, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the Palestinians would not allow the continuation of incursions into Palestinian cities, especially Nablus, adding that that was to the disdain of the Palestinian authority.

Israel Army forces have executed incursions into Nablus many times over the past two weeks. On Monday, it arrested 26 people, including Member of the Legislative Council Mona Mansour. Israeli forces broke into and damaged mosques, schools, shops, charity and humanitarian organizations, and a large number of homes...."



'To Hell with the Ceasfire' If Israel Doesn't Let Up, Hamas Says

By Mel Frykberg

In Middle East Times (Pan Arab)

July 23, 2008

I"n an unusual display of frustration, moderate Hamas official Ahmed Yousef, the adviser on foreign affairs to de-facto Gaza prime minister and Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, has told the Middle East Times that Hamas' patience with Israel is wearing thin. "I don't know what game the Israelis are playing but quite frankly if the siege isn't lifted and Gaza's borders remain closed, the ceasefire can go to hell, Yousef said by phone.

Although Israel has opened Gaza's borders intermittently, following the announcement of the ceasefire and allowed a trickle of goods through, the territory remains virtually sealed. This has exacerbated the chronic humanitarian conditions on the ground due to shortages of fuel, food, medicines and construction material.

Furthermore, vital spare parts for machinery needed to keep the strip's infrastructure working, such as water and waste management plants, are not able to be replaced or repaired.

Israel said it had re-closed the crossings following a number of missile attacks from Gaza in violation of the painstakingly negotiated ceasefire that involved a lot of patience on behalf of Egypt, which acted as an arbitrator between the Jewish state and the Islamic resistance movement.

The Qassam rocket attacks were themselves in response to Israeli violations which included a number of shootings at Gazan farmers and other Palestinian civilians, according to the United Nations, whom Israel claimed got too close to the border fence. These shootings resulted in the serious injury of several civilians and the death of a militant..."



Haredim attack, wound two Arabs in J'lem neighborhood

By JPOST.COM STAFF, Jerusalem Post

Jul 22, 2008

"Several hours after the terror attack in Jerusalem, ultra-orthodox Jews attempted to lynch two Palestinians, Army Radio reported. The incident occurred in the Makor Baruch neighborhood, known for its unlikely mix of religious study institutions and orthodox residents, and stores selling construction materials and power tools, carpentries, and other such outlets which draw many Arab shoppers and employees.

According to eye witnesses, two battered and bleeding Palestinians barged into the yard of a family sitting Shiva [the Jewish week of mourning], followed by a raging mob. The family in the house protected the Palestinians and repelled the mob, which was comprised of furious yeshiva students. A member of the family said yeshiva students yelled at him from the balcony of the yeshiva, overlooking the house, calling to "kill Jews who protect Arabs."

The two east Jerusalem residents were taken to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for treatment..."



U.S. official preparing scathing report on Israel's West Bank policies

By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff

Haaretz, July 22, 2008

"The United States security coordinator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, retired general James Jones, is preparing an extremely critical report of Israel's policies in the territories and its attitude toward the Palestinian Authority's security services.....

According to both Israeli and American sources, the envoy's conclusions about Israel are scathing. Israelis who met with Jones on his most recent visit here a few weeks ago, including Israel Defense Forces officers, said their impression was that the report would be "very harsh, and make Israel look very bad."

Jones is apparently critical of Israel on two key issues. One is its fairly broad definition of its security interests in the West Bank under any final-status agreement. The other is its attitude toward the PA security services."


Officials irked by increasing U.S. complaints about Palestinian issues

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz
July 22, 2008

"Senior officials in the U.S. State Department, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly complained to Israel recently over relatively minor Palestinian issues that it would have ignored until a few months ago, Israeli officials say.

Complaints about settlement construction or army operations that kill Palestinian civilians have always been the norm. But Israeli officials are worried by the State Department's new tendency to intervene in a much broader range of issues."



Bulldozer driver goes on rampage in Jerusalem, apparent copycat of recent deadly attack

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

"A Palestinian bulldozer driver went on a rampage in downtown Jerusalem on Tuesday, wounding at least 16 people, just weeks after a similar attack in the capital left three dead.

One of the wounded was in serious condition and the rest sustained light wounds. They were taken to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. The driver of the tractor struck a bus and at least five cars before being shot dead by security forces, Jerusalem police said......

On July 2, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem plowed a bulldozer down Jaffa Road, Jerusalem's main thoroughfare, killing three people. He was not known to be affiliated with any Palestinian militant group."


British Leader Presses Israel To Halt Settlements

By Mohammed Daraghmeh

In The Associated Press

July 21, 2008

BETHLEHEM, West Bank - "British Prime Minister Gordon Brown demanded yesterday that Israel cease settlement construction and promised more money to jump-start the battered Palestinian economy.

In his first trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories as Britain's leader, Brown repeatedly stressed that economics are key to Mideast peace, and said Israel should ease travel restrictions in the West Bank that have hindered commerce.

But his strongest comments were reserved for the settlements: "I think the whole European Union is very clear on this matter: We want to see a freeze on settlements."

"Settlement expansion has made peace harder to achieve. It erodes trust, it heightens Palestinian suffering, it makes the compromises Israel needs to make for peace more difficult," Brown said at a news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem."



Israel Army Arrests 30 Palestinians In Nablus

In Kuwait News Agency (kuna) (Kuwait)

July 21, 2008

RAMALLAH, July 21 (KUNA) -- The Israeli Army arrested, Sunday, around twenty Palestinians in Nablus City and its refugee camps. Security sources in the city said Hamas movement MP Mona Mansour was arrested after her house was besieged in Balatah Camp, east Nablus. A number of businessmen, owners of currency exchange shops, and workers at commercial establishments were also arrested, along with 8 university students who were arrested after their dorms at Al Najah University were raided. This is the second week of Israeli military operations in Nablus, and the forces closed a number of commercial shops and charitable organizations claiming they are associated with Hamas.



Report: Israel Willing To Free Marwan Barghouti For Shalit

By Amoss Harel

In Haaretz (Israel)

July 21, 2008

"A Gulf newspaper reported Monday that Israel is willing to include jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti in a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners to be freed in exchange for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was seized in a cross-border raid in June 2006 and has been held in captivity in the Gaza Strip ever since. Unlike the soldiers who were snatched several weeks later by Hezbollah, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, several signs of life from Shalit have been released. Barghouti is serving five life sentences in Israel for his role in a series of deadly terrorist attacks during the second intifada."



Lawmakers pass three no-confidence votes against gov't

By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz

July 21, 2008

MKs on Monday passed three votes of no-confidence in the government, dealing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with apparently the first such parliamentary defeat suffered since he was elected premier in 2006. The votes were only, however, of symbolic significance since their initiators did not achieve the majority of 61 lawmakers needed in order to dissolve the Knesset.....

Likud whip Gideon Saar said after the three votes Monday: "Tonight's series of humiliating defeats proves that the faltering government has reached the end of its road." Saar added: "The government that had lost the public's confidence long ago has also lost the confidence of the Knesset."



Fayyad to US: stop Israeli incursions into West Bank

Maan News
Jul 12, 2008

"Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Friday evening that he sent a letter to the US security coordinator in the region William Frerz complaining about Israeli incursions in the West Bank, specifically in Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Fayyad explained in an interview with the Associated Press that Israeli activity impeded his government's efforts to keep law and order. He added that he was fed up with Israel's claims about easing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, since it is clearly not true.

The number of Israeli military operations in the West Bank, said Fayyad, rose by 50% during the first half of July compared to the same period in June."



'This is like apartheid': ANC veterans visit West Bank

By Donald Macintyre in Hebron

Friday, 11 July 2008

"Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle said last night that the restrictions endured by Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories was in some respects worse than that imposed on the black majority under white rule in South Africa.

Members of a 23-strong human-rights team of prominent South Africans cited the impact of the Israeli military's separation barrier, checkpoints, the permit system for Palestinian travel, and the extent to which Palestinians are barred from using roads in the West Bank."



Israel Approves New Homes In East Jerusalem Settlement

In Agence France Presse (AFP) (France)

July 9, 2008

"An Israeli commission has approved the building of 920 new homes in occupied east Jerusalem, the municipality said on Wednesday, in a new blow to shaky peace talks with the Palestinians. "The district commission has approved for construction 920 housing units in Har Homa," a statement said, referring to a neighbourhood in east Jerusalem, known in Arabic as Jabel Abu Ghneim, that has more than 10,000 residents.

The Har Homa project is part of a plan to build some 40,000 new homes over the next decade in neighbourhoods in both east and west Jerusalem, that the housing minister approved in June, a ministry official told AFP. Until now specific aspects of this project were unknown.

Israel occupied and annexed the eastern half of the city after the 1967 war in a move not recognised by the international community or the Palestinians, who wish to make the Holy City the capital of their future state. A total of 245,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem alongside more than 200,000 Jewish settlers.

Israel pledged to halt all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank when peace talks were revived at a conference in the United States last year...."



Qassam hits Negev, sixth since start of Gaza truce

By Reuters
June 3, 2008

"Militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket the western Negev on Thursday, putting further strain on a fragile ceasefire deal in the Hamas-controlled territory.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said the rocket hit an open field near the Gaza border town of Sderot and caused no casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire, the sixth such attack since an Egyptian-brokered truce took effect on June 19.

Israel will close its border crossings with Gaza on Friday in response to the attack, an Israeli official said."



Israel Uses Legal Maneuver and Excessive Force to Destroy Home Near East Jerusalem

Maan News
July 3, 2008

Jerusalem – Ma'an - "Israeli soldiers demolished the home of Kameel As-Sa'u in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina north of East Jerusalem Thursday morning.

Clashes erupted between the Israeli special police forces in charge of demolishing the home and a large number of Biet Hanina residents. In an attempt to stay the demolition, dozens of individuals parked their cars around the home, while others formed a human barrier between the As-Sa'u home and the bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem. The structure was home to seven members of the As-Sa'u family."



Solana Calls on Israel to Halt Settlement Activities

In Kuwait News Agency (kuna) (Kuwait)

July 3, 2008

"European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned Wednesday that it will be extremely difficult to have negotiations on the final-status of Palestine if Israel does not stop its settlements in occupied Palestinian lands.

"Realities on the ground have to change. I want to say it very clearly that settlements have to stop. We cannot enter in a process which is part of the way to determine by the end of the year 2008 if there is no clear commitment on the settlements," Solana told a conference on Palestine in the European Parliament.

"I think it will be impossible, very difficult to have negotiations on final status while the final status is changing prior to the negotiations," he said...." 



Israeli Settlers Fire Two Rockets on Palestinian Village in West Bank

In Kuwait News Agency (kuna) (Kuwait)

July 2, 2008

"Israeli settlers fired two rockets toward Boreen village near Nablus city north of the West Bank, Palestinian security sources said on Tuesday.

The source said two settlers from Baraka settlement near the village fired the two rockets targeting Palestinians, but caused no injuries.

The rockets dubbed (Sharon-1, Sharon-2) fell in a deserted area causing fire only, the sources said.

Couple of days ago, settlers fired a rocket without causing injuries, and Israeli military said an investigation into the incident was opened, noting that the rocket was locally made inside the Israeli settlement.

In response, a spokesman for the Palestinian authority blamed the rocket attacks on Israeli authority and military...."



Infrastructure Minister talks of 2 new nuclear plants

Ben-Eliezer sees additional nuclear plants as a last resort.

Lior Baron, Globes Online
July 2, 2008

" "I hope that the things we're doing to promote solar and wind energy will be enough so that we won't have to begin using nuclear power," said Minister of National Infrastructures Benjamin Ben-Eliezer at the Negev Conference yesterday.

Ben-Eliezer added, "In future, the world will primarily rely on renewable energy and nuclear energy. We already have two nuclear power stations in planning in the Negev, but this is the last resort, and I won't say any more." ..."



Bulldozer Rampage Kills 3 in Jerusalem


Posted: 2008-07-02 09:27:24

"JERUSALEM (July 2) -- A Palestinian man plowed an enormous construction vehicle into cars, buses and pedestrians on a busy street Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding at least 45 before he was shot dead by security officers.

The violence, the first major attack in Jerusalem since March, wreaked havoc in the heart of downtown. Hundreds of people fled in panic through the streets as medics treated the wounded.

Three Palestinian militant groups took responsibility for the attack, but the claims could not be independently verified and Israeli police referred to the attacker as a "terrorist" acting on his own...."



Report: Iran willing to suspend nuclear program for at least six weeks

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent

Haaretz, July 2, 2008

"Unofficial reports from Iran, supported by several Iranian legislators, suggest that Tehran is willing to suspend its nuclear program for at least six weeks as a goodwill gesture to the West.

According to the reports, released on various Iranian Web sites, Tehran would suspend the installation of new centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility in the first stage of the suspension, after which it would be willing to halt the enrichment of uranium for an undetermined amount of time.

The steps would be taken in exchange for the launching of new talks with the five representatives of the United Nations Security Council and Germany........."



Israel parliament adopts law on 'enemy' travel

Agence France Presse
July 2, 2008

JERUSALEM (AFP) — "The Israeli parliament passed a law on Monday banning any citizen who has visited an "enemy" country in the previous seven years from standing for election to the legislature, triggering the anger of Israeli Arab MPs.

Fifty-two members of the 120-seat parliament approved the law at a third and last reading while 24 MPs voted against it, parliamentary sources said.

The legislation states that anyone who has visited "an enemy country" over the past seven years cannot stand for parliament.

It is aimed particularly at MPs from Arab-led parties, some of whom have travelled to Lebanon and Syria, neighbouring countries officially at war with Israel."



W Bank in 'grave' water crisis

BBC News
June 1, 2008

"Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says the West Bank is facing grave water shortages largely because Israel's "discriminatory" policies.

The group criticises the distribution of joint water resources and limits placed by Israel on the Palestinian Authority's ability to drill new wells.

"It will have serious repercussions on the economy and health," B'Tselem said.

West Bank per capita water use is about 66 litres a day - just two-thirds of the recommended international minimum.

The accumulated effects of a series of dry years would make matters worse in the months to come, the group added.

Per capita water consumption by Israeli settlers in the West Bank is 3.5 times that of Palestinians, B'Tselem says....."

"The shortage will have serious repercussions on the economy and the health of tens of thousands of Palestinians."




Israeli troops shoot Palestinian woman in southern Gaza

Maan News
July 1, 2008

 "Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli forces shot a Palestinian woman in the foot on Tuesday morning while she was tending her sheep south of the city Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Medical sources at the European Hospital in the city of Rafah, also in the southern Gaza Strip, said that 36-year-old 'Aisha Abu 'Ataya was hit by a gunshot in her right foot. They said Israeli soldiers fired at Abu Ataya from a jeep near the town of Al-Fukhari.

The Israeli military has not yet commented on the shooting, which is an apparent violation of the ceasefire in place in the Gaza Strip."


Israeli forces kill Palestinian teenager in the northern West Bank

Maan News

Maan News, June 29, 2008

"Residents of the northern West Bank town of Tubas buried 18-year-old Muhammad Nasser Sa’id Daraghmah on Sunday afternoon. Daraghmah was shot dead by Israeli troops 2am on Sunday morning.....

Israeli forces have now killed four Palestinians in the West Bank within a week. On Friday night, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar, north of the city of Hebron. Last Tuesday, Israeli troops gunned down a Palestinian fighter and an unarmed student in the city of Nablus."



Israel opens Gaza crossing point

BBC News
June 29, 2008

"Israel has reopened a key commercial crossing point to the Gaza Strip - one of two it closed last week - because of a lull in cross-border attacks.

The Sufa and Karni crossings were closed on Wednesday after Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel. About 70 truckloads of goods would be allowed to enter Gaza on Sunday via the Sufa crossing, Israel's military said."



Israeli doctors complicit in torture - rights group

Source: Reuters

26 Jun 2008 14:29:53 GMT

{"JERUSALEM, June 26 (Reuters) - Israel's Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) group accused Israeli doctors on Thursday of ignoring what it described as the torture of Palestinian detainees during interrogations.....

Last year, two groups, B'Tselem and HaMoked, said they had found Israeli security interrogators routinely mistreat and sometimes physically torture Palestinian detainees.....

The rights group said doctors working for the Shin Bet risked losing their jobs if they reported torture and urged the Health Ministry to protect them. (Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)"



Threat to demolish more Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, legal battle underway

June 27, 2008

"ImageJerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh - As Israeli settlements continue to expand across occupied East Jerusalem, a legal battle is underway to prevent the destruction of 450 Palestinian homes in the district of Khallat Al ‘Ein.

In preparation for the confiscation of Palestinian land, the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem Municipality has sought to argue that the residents of Khallat Al ‘Ein possess no permanent license for the housing....."



Israel Prodding U.S. To Attack Iran

White House Weighs Striking Iran's Nuclear Complex, Which Could Trigger 3rd War In Region

Israel has made it clear it intends to end Iran's nuclear program with or without U.S. support ? and before President Bush leaves office.

CBS News
June 24, 2008

"(CBS) Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen leaves Tuesday night on an overseas trip that will take him to Israel, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. The trip has been scheduled for some time but U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex.

CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn't want to wait for a new administration.

"The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize," Oren said. "Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policies of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran."

Israel's message is simple: If you don't, we will. Israel held a dress rehearsal for a strike earlier this month, but military analysts say Israel can not do it alone....."



Israeli army abuses Palestinian prisoners: group

Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:03am EDT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - "An Israeli anti-torture watchdog said in a report on Sunday Israeli soldiers routinely abuse bound Palestinian detainees and it accused the military of "absolute indifference" towards such mistreatment.

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) said its findings were based on 90 detailed accounts from Palestinians as well as from soldiers who witnessed the abuse and were concerned over the army's failure to stop it.

Soldiers, the report said, were frequently violent towards Palestinian detainees, including minors, in many cases after they had been handcuffed and no longer posed a threat."



UNICEF cuts ties to Israeli billionaire Leviev

By Daniel Trotta, Reuters
June 20, 2008

"NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.N. children's fund UNICEF has severed ties with an Israeli billionaire and financial backer due to his suspected involvement in building settlements in the occupied West Bank, UNICEF said on Friday.

Lev Leviev, a real estate and diamond mogul who is one of the richest men in Israel, has supported UNICEF with direct contributions and indirectly by sponsoring at least one UNICEF fund-raiser.

He is chairman of Africa Israel Investments, a conglomerate whose units include Danya Cebus, which the Arab rights advocacy group Adalah-NY charges has carried out settlement construction, considered illegal by the United Nations.

UNICEF decided to review its relationship with Leviev after a campaign by Adalah-NY and found "at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting" that Leviev companies were building settlements in occupied territory, a UNICEF official said."



Israel paying heavy economic price for occupying Palestinian territories

by Sam Bahour
June 14, 2008

Israeli occupation caused doubling of poor families in country, negatively affected tourism industry.

"JERUSALEM - The occupation of the Palestinian territories is exacting a high price from Israel, a local think-tank said.

"The prolonged conflict with the Palestinians is a millstone around Israel's neck," Adva, a social justice NGO, said in a 4 June report, The cost of the occupation . Israel's poor carry much of the burden as inequality within the country grows. The percentage of families considered poor has doubled since the 1970s, the report said, noting this was due to the conflict and partially the result of immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union being unable to integrate in Israeli society.

Government spending cuts in recent years have targeted social services. "[From] 2001 through 2005, child allowances were cut by 45 percent, unemployment compensation by 47 percent, and income maintenance by 25 percent," causing increased suffering for the poorest. .....More generally, the increases in the military budget amounted to 36 billion shekels (US$10.7 billion) between 1989 and 2008, Adva estimated, which is "more than the total spending for elementary, secondary and tertiary education in Israel in 2008". ..."



Putsch being carried out among reporting staff at Haaretz
by Ed Corrigan, May 31, 2008

"A new German owner has purchased Haaretz and a "Putsch is being carried out among reporting staff," in the most important and liberal Zionist paper in Israel. According to inside sources, the new owner has carried out a rough, sittingroom survey that revealed that "the occupation doesn’t sell newspapers" and they are therefore concentrating on the business world (ie. The Marker). Twilight Zone, Gideon Levy’s regular Friday column, has been scrapped, Amira Hass has been degraded to freelance on half salary, Meron Rapaport has been fired and Akiva Eldar has lost at least one half page a week."



Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinians in West Bank

By Atef Saad

Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:23am EDT

"NABLUS, West Bank, June 24 (Reuters) - Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including an Islamic Jihad commander, in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday in the first fatal raid since a ceasefire took hold in the Gaza Strip last week.

Islamic Jihad threatened to launch attacks inside Israel to avenge the death of Tarek Juma Abu Ghali, whom the militant group described as one of its most senior commanders in the northern West Bank.

A second Palestinian, affiliated with the Islamist militant group Hamas, was also killed in the overnight raid, Palestinian security sources said.

The killings, which were confirmed by the Israeli army, could test the fragile ceasefire that took effect last Thursday between Israel and militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"Calm in Gaza does not mean that we will sit in our seats waiting to be slaughtered one by one," Islamic Jihad said in a statement. "This crime will not pass without punishment and the coming days will be a witness to that."......."



End of truce? 3 Kassams hit w. Negev

Herb Keinon and Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST

Jun. 24, 2008

"The sixth day of the Gaza truce saw the first violations when three Kassam rockets slammed into Israel in response to the IDF killing of top Islamic Jihad operative Tarek Abu Ghally in Nablus on Tuesday. There was no immediate military response from the IDF.

The rockets struck in the western Negev without causing any casualties or damage. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

"We cannot keep our hands tied when this is happening to our brothers in the West Bank," the group said in a statement.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the rocket attack "came as result of Israeli provocation this morning." He added, however, that Hamas was "committed to the security calm." ....."



Bad year for wine-making monks as Israeli wall keeps workers from vineyard

By Kurt Bayer in News

Sunday, 8th June 2008

"FOR 120 years, generations of Christian monks have peacefully cultivated the land surrounding the Cremisan monastery in the hills above Bethlehem – hewing terraces out of the rocky slopes to create Palestine's only vineyard. The monks have combined traditional Italian methods of wine-making with organic viticulture fitting the harsh conditions of the Holy Land, to create distinctive red and white wines and provide vital income for the families of those who labour in the vineyards. But this idyllic monastery will soon be swallowed up by Israel when the next phase of the controversial Israeli West Bank barrier is completed over the next three months.....

Bulldozers have already ripped out hundreds of pine trees surrounding the vineyards and, according to a spokesman for the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, which monitors Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, foundations have already been dug and the infrastructure is in place so that the wall can be completed within "two to three months".

Amer Kardosh, general manager of the vineyard, stressed: "We do not want to be in Israel. We are Palestinians, but we have no choice. The wall will separate us from Palestine and our people." .."



Israeli minister threatens Iran

June 6, 2008

"A top Israeli official has said that if Iran continues with its alleged nuclear arms programme, Israel will attack it. Speaking to Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said sanctions on Iran were ineffective. Mr Mofaz is one of three deputy prime ministers and the transport minister. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Iran's nuclear programme must be stopped by what he termed all possible means...." 



Erekat: No progress in Monday's ta

By Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff

lks, key issues still contested

"Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has said that marked differences still remain over key issues in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, despite reports of progress at a high-level meeting Monday.

"I cannot say that there was significant progress during the meeting. The issues are still contested," Erekat said, speaking after after Monday's peace talks between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "


Smells of Gaza

by Nicki Bennett and the Oxfam Gaza team
June 3, 2008

".....“Now that the fuel is being rationed it is far too expensive for most people who live here. So they’re driving on cooking oil instead.” .... It’s not good for the environment — but for many people, it’s the only choice these days.”

One logical consequence of the fuel cuts is smell number two: sweaty horses and donkeys. With the number of cars on the road having dwindled dramatically, horse- or donkey-drawn carts have taken their place. The streets are virtually crawling with them, particularly near one of the UN warehouses where food distribution — 80% of people here are dependent on food aid — is going on today. With each cart that passes comes a whiff of musty animal sweat.

The third smell I recognize instantly: raw sewage. ....“Every day, I have to pump 50 or 60 million liters of raw sewage into the Mediterranean Sea. We would like to treat it of course, but the wastewater-treatment plant we have can’t cope with that much at the best of times. And like everything else it depends on fuel. Last month — throughout the whole month of April — I did not receive a single liter of fuel from the authorities because of this conflict. So what choice do I have?”

“We’re planning to build a new plant, the money from the World Bank is already there — but because of the Israeli blockade against Gaza, construction has stalled. It’s the same for all of the development projects — nothing can go ahead without parts and materials, and we’ve been waiting for almost a year for most of our parts to come in.” ..."



Hizbollah Releases Israeli Soldiers' Remains in Return for Prisoner

By Reuters

In The Jordan Times (Jordan)

June 2, 2008

"Hizbollah said on Sunday it had released the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in a 2006 war with Israel, which handed over a Lebanese man who had completed a jail term on charges of spying for the group. The exchange increased speculation of progress in indirect talks over a broader prisoner swap. Lebanese political sources said last Monday that the talks had made major progress."



Britain Considers Israeli Settlements Illegal

In Kuwait News Agency (kuna) (Kuwait)

June 2, 2008

"Britain said Monday it considers that Israeli settlement building anywhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal under international law. In a brief statement, the Foreign Office in London said "This includes settlements in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank". "The Roadmap was clear that Israel should freeze all settlement activity, including the so-called natural growth of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001", the statement pointed out. "This has been the UKs consistent position and it will continue to raise this with the Israeli government", it added.

The Foreign Office was commenting in the context of reports of plans for further Israeli settlement building in the West Bank, around Jerusalem....."



Gaza residents say IDF soldiers looted their homes

Ali Waked YNet News
May 5, 2008

Palestinians recount 'nightmarish' searches by troops during counterterrorism ops. 'The mental scars will remain for a long time. We have never experienced such brutality,' resident says

Gaza residents say they were subjected to inhuman treatment at the hands of IDF soldiers conducting searches in their homes as part of the army's recent efforts to combat Palestinian terror.,2506,L-3539931,00.html



Israel to build hundreds of new houses in east Jerusalem

Agence France Presse
June 1, 2008

"JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel will build 884 more houses in east Jerusalem, the housing ministry said on Sunday, in a move that enraged the Palestinians who have demanded the area as the capital of their promised state. "We will invite tenders for the construction of 121 housing units in Har Homa and 763 others in Pisgat Zeev," ministry spokesman Eran Sidis told AFP, referring to two neighbourhoods in Arab east Jerusalem.

Israel occupied and annexed the eastern half of the city after the 1967 war in a move not recognised by the international community or the Palestinians, who have demanded it as their capital in recently revived peace talks...."



Israel to build over 800 new homes in East Jerusalem areas

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies

Haaretz Daily News
June 1, 2008

"Israel announced plans on Sunday to build more than 800 hundred new homes in eastern parts of the Jerusalem municipality, despite U.S. and Palestinian calls to halt settlement expansion. The announcement was issued two days before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert embarks on a three-day visit to Washington.

The 2003 peace road map, reaffirmed by Israeli and Palestinian leaders at a conference hosted by U.S. President George W. Bush in November, requires a halt to all settlement activity on occupied land where Palestinians seek statehood...."



Report: Livni hunted Palestinian terrorists for Mossad in Europe

By Haaretz Service, June 1, 2008

"Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni served as a Paris agent for the Mossad overseas intelligence agency in the 1980s during a series of missions it ran to kill Palestinian terrorists across Europe, according to the Sunday Times. The report cites Livni's former colleagues as saying the Kadima frontrunner was on active duty in 1983, when senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Mamoun Meraish was shot dead by two Mossad agents in Athens......"


Barak and Olmert delay cabinet vote on Gaza Strip cease-fire

By Haaretz Service
June 1, 2008

"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday canceled a political-security cabinet meeting slated for Sunday, in which a vote was to be held on whether or not to agree to a cease-fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Olmert and Barak decided that due to the "vagueness" of Hamas' position in regard to the ceasefire, a cabinet vote on whether to accept it would be premature. The cabinet meeting will be postponed until the following Sunday...."



U.S. consulate working to get exit visas for Gaza students

By The Associated Press and News Agencie
June 1, 2008

"The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem is working to get seven Gaza students out of the blockaded territory to pursue their Fulbright scholarship studies, the human rights group Gisha said Sunday.

Gisha gave the Associated Press a copy of a message sent to all seven students by the consulate on Sunday. It said U.S. officials are trying to get exit permits for them, bring them to east Jerusalem and get them visas for the U.S. Then they could continue their studies.

"We are working very closely with the Government of Israel in order to secure its cooperation in this matter," the message read. Consulate officials had no immediate comment.

Gisha director Sari Bashi welcomed the pledge of the consulate to help. "Gisha calls on Israel to allow all students with scholarships trapped in Gaza to leave and study abroad," she said. On Thursday the students were informed that their scholarships would be canceled because the students couldn't get out of Gaza....."



Fulbright scholarships canceled for 8 Gaza students

By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer

May 30, 2008

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hadeel Abu Kawik was supposed to spend next year in the United States on the prestigious Fulbright scholarship program, but now it appears she will remain trapped in the Gaza Strip by an Israeli blockade. Word that the U.S. State Department was canceling her scholarship came after Abu Kawik, 23 and a computer engineering student, went through a lengthy process for the scholarship that included interviews, exams and an English test.

"I was building my hope on this scholarship," she said Friday.

Seven other Gaza students also lost their grants. The decision was made because they would not be able to get exit visas from Israel, according to State Department spokesman Tom Casey...." 



Barak: There will probably be elections this year

By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Daily News
May 30, 2008

"General elections will be held by the end of the year, Labor leader and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at a party meeting at Labor headquarters in Tel Aviv yesterday. "We are in favor of stability and are ready to help form a new government in the current Knesset, but I believe we are heading for elections by the end of the year," Barak said.

On Wednesday, Barak urged Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down and appoint a replacement, due to the suspicions of corruption surrounding him. However, Olmert publicly rejected the request...."



Hamas: Israel uninterested in truce

Ali Waked, YNet News
May 30, 2008

"Hamas would not be surprised to see Israel exploiting its domestic political crisis in order to evade Egyptian mediation efforts on a Gaza Strip truce, a senior Hamas figure told Ynet Friday. The group is still waiting for Egypt's response regarding clarifications it asked for, the source said.

"It's clear to us that Israel is not really interested in a lull, but rather, only wants to buy time," the source said. "Israel will attempt to divert attention away from the embarrassing affairs involving its leaders through escalation in the Gaza Strip. We are preparing for all scenarios, yet at this time we can say that the chances of lull efforts succeeding are slim because of Israel's evasive games....",2506,L-3549948,00.html



'I kicked the Arab, I stepped on his head'
By Uri Blau, Haaretz Daily News
May 29, 2008

".....Dozens of boys arrived at the meeting place in the Pisgat Ze'ev shopping mall. They streamed in from all parts of the capital, some on foot, some by bus and some driven in by parents. Equipped with knives, sticks and clubs, they all had one purpose: to do harm to Arabs for being Arabs.

At the entrance, the gang encountered two boys from the Shuafat refugee camp, who had come to shop for clothes and didn't know the mall had closed early for Holocaust Day. The day's end saw the two battered, bleeding and stabbed, and at Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem....."


U.K. academic union mulls boycott of Israeli academia

By Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies , By Assaf Uni
May 29, 2008

"Members of the University and College Union in England (UCU) passed a motion at their annual conference yesterday to consider severing ties with Israeli universities.

Tom Hickey, who teaches philosophy at the University of Brighton, says the motion highlighting the "humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel" is just shy of a full boycott, The Telegraph said."



UN: 94% of W. Bank construction denied

Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST
May. 27, 2008

"In the past seven years, Israel has denied 94 percent of Palestinian requests for building permits in West Bank areas under its full control, a UN agency said in a report Tuesday. During the same period, Israel demolished more than 1,600 Palestinian-owned structures in those areas, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The report also stated that more than 3,000 Israeli demolition orders are pending against Palestinian-owned structures in those areas. Ten small communities are at risk of being almost entirely displaced by demolitions, the agency claimed...."



Orthodox Jewish youths burn New Testaments in Or Yehuda

By The Associated Press, May 20, 2008

"Orthodox Jews set fire to hundreds of copies of the New Testament in the latest act of violence against Christian missionaries in the Holy Land.

Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon said missionaries recently entered a neighborhood in the predominantly religious town of 34,000 in central Israel, distributing hundreds of New Testaments and missionary material.

After receiving complaints, Aharon said, he got into a loudspeaker car last Thursday and drove through the neighborhood, urging people to turn over the material to Jewish religious students who went door to door to collect it. "The books were dumped into a pile and set afire in a lot near a synagogue," he said......

Israeli authorities and Orthodox Jews frown on missionary activity aimed at Jews, though in most cases it is not illegal. Still, the concept of a Jew burning books is abhorrent to many in Israel because of the association with Nazis torching piles of Jewish books during the Holocaust of World War II.

Earlier this year, the teenage son of a prominent Christian missionary was seriously wounded when a package bomb delivered to the family's West Bank home went off in his hands. Last year, arsonists burst into a Jerusalem church used by Messianic Jews and set the building on fire, raising suspicions that Jewish extremists were behind the attack. No one claimed responsibility, but the same church was burned down 25 years ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists."



Bush Wraps Up Mideast Trip With A Thud, Analysts Say

By Charles Levinson

In Usa Today

May 19, 2008

"President Bush wrapped up his five-day Mideast tour Sunday with little visible progress on either of the main issues he highlighted: rising oil prices and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Instead, Bush was subjected to a wave of criticism as he delivered a lecture to the Arab world on the benefits of democracy.

"This trip was an exclamation point on the fact that the mystique about American power is no longer there," said Steve Clemons, an analyst at the New America Foundation, a think tank in Washington. On the final leg of his trip, Bush came to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheik, where Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak greeted him with a half-dozen soldiers and none of the pomp given Bush on other state visits. Instead, Egypt's state-controlled newspapers slammed the American president in stinging front-page editorials...."



Abbas: I'll quit if deal not made in 6 months

By Haaretz Staff and Agencies, Haaretz Daily Newspaper
May 19 2008

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned yesterday that he would resign from his position if a peace settlement is not reached with Israel within six months....Earlier yesterday, Abbas said that the address given by U.S. President George W. Bush to the Knesset last week had angered the Palestinians...."



New outpost in South Mount Hebron

Efrat Weiss, YNet News
May 19, 2008

"A new outpost has been built in the past few weeks on a hill near the community of Neguhot in South Mount Hebron, Ynet has learned, despite the recent cooperation between the settlers and the Defense Ministry in removing illegal caravans into communities. The outpost, which consists of a permanent structure where people are believed to be living, is located at the end of a vineyard.

There are three hills in the Neguhot area. The community itself is located on one of the hills, the Mitzpe Lachish outpost was built on a second hill, and the new building has now been located on the third one. Mitzpe Lachish and Neguhot were included in Attorney Talia Sasson's report on unauthorized outposts.....

The Peace Now movement said in a statement, "The settlers aren't wasting any time and continue to change reality. Every day which goes by distances Israel and the Palestinians from the possibility of implementing the two-state vision and makes reality impossible. "Instead of talking with the settlers' leadership, the defense minister must enforce the law and immediately evacuate the new outpost along with the dozens of additional outposts built in the territories illegally.",2506,L-3545065,00.html



Arabs slam Bush's warm rhetoric towards Israel

Ynet News

"Palestinians bristle at terminology used by US president in support of Israel, say religious analogies hailing Israelis as 'chosen people' prove Washington bias. Meanwhile Bush's Knesset address causes furor among Democrats back home who view denunciation of appeasement as jibe against Obama ",7340,L-3089,00.html



Army Ready For Gaza Assault After Rocket Attack: Israel

In Agence France Presse (AFP) (France)

May 15, 2008

"Israel warned on Thursday that its forces were prepared to launch a major military operation in the Gaza Strip after a rocket attack that wounded at least 14 people while US President George W. Bush was in Israel. ‘The Israeli army has never been this ready to launch a large-scale operation in Gaza,’ said Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a member of Israel's security cabinet. ‘It may be that we have no choice but to destroy all the nests of terror. Apparently we'll have no choice,’ he told public radio....."



Israeli artillery strike kills two in Gaza City

Maan News
May 15, 2008

"Two Palestinian activists, affiliated to Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades, were killed on Wednesday at midnight and three others were injured when Israeli military tanks targeted a group of fighters in the Shuja'iyya neighborhood of Gaza City.

Palestinian medical sources named those killed as Ahmad Al-Malahi and Muhammad Harara, both in their thirties. The wounded activists were evacuated to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and medics described their condition as serious. The dead bodies were also taken to the same hospital.

Israeli artillery fired another shell at an open agricultural area near the American school in the northern Gaza Strip. No casualties have been reported."



Report: PM promised to build 600 homes in W. Bank settlements

By The Associated Press
May 14, 2008

 "Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has promised to build about 600 housing units in contentious West Bank settlements, a political ally of the prime minister said Wednesday, adding new tensions to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The announcement came shortly before U.S. President George W. Bush arrived in Israel to take part in the Jewish state's 60th anniversary celebrations - and to try to nudge forward Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations....."


Plan to put synagogue in heart of East Jerusalem likely to be approved

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz
May 14, 2008

"The Jerusalem municipality has begun the process of approving a plan for a new housing complex, including a synagogue, in the heart of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan south of the Old City. The plan, submitted by the right-wing Elad association, includes 10 apartments, kindergarten classrooms, a library and underground parking for 100 cars. Documents show the land the complex is to be built on belongs to the Israel Lands Administration (ILA); however, the ILA said it was unaware of the plan.

The municipal spokesman said Elad had leased the land, and therefore the plan does not require ILA approval. A municipal document dated January 21, 2008 notes that all necessary recommendations had been received in the planning file.

The area slated for the new project is located 200 meters from the Old City walls, in an area considered one of the most sensitive in the present negotiations with the Palestinians over the final-status agreement....."



Poll: Abbas' popularity has slipped dramatically since January

By The Associated Press, Haaretz Newspaper

May 14, 2008

"The approval rating of the Palestinian government in the West Bank has dropped 13 percentage points since January and President Mahmoud Abbas would have trouble winning if elections were held now, according to a poll published Wednesday.

The poll was conducted at a time of growing Palestinian frustration over

stalled peace talks with Israel and a stagnant economy. Negotiations on the so-called core issues - the borders of a Palestinian state, a division of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees - resumed earlier this year.

Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, are being hurt by the lack of progress, according to pollster Nader Said. "This goes to illustrate that

Palestinians will always come back to the core issues," he said. "Not to make progress on these issues will harm the stakeholders trying to achieve a solution." .......

The poll indicated that Marwan Barghouti, an imprisoned militant leader, is by far the most popular Palestinian politician....."



40 families leaving Gaza border community after member killed

By Fadi Eyadat, Mijal Grinberg and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz
May 14, 2008

"Some 40 families from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza Strip, have decided to leave the area.

"We decided to leave the kibbutz until things quiet down, and unfortunately, it will be with white flags," Dudi Doron, a member of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, said Tuesday. "Neither I nor my children will be Israel's hostages. We will come back when there is a solution to life," Doron said. Last night, like every night since Friday, when kibbutz member Jimmy Kedoshim was killed by mortar fire while standing in his garden, a number of kibbutz members met to discuss plans to leave en masse....."



Gaza officials: IDF kills two militants, two civilians in Strip

By News Agencies, Haaretz
May 14, 2008

"The Israel Defense Forces killed two Hamas militants and two Palestinian civilians on Wednesday in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, medical workers said...."


We are almost dead. We have no money, nothing'

Rory McCarthy in Beit Hanoun, The Guardian
May 14, 2008

"In the third part of our series on Gaza, Rory McCarthy talks to Ahmad Abu Me'tiq, who lost his wife and four of his children in an Israeli air strike......

Their deaths add to the growing and striking toll of children killed in the conflict in Gaza. This year alone at least 44 Palestinian children have been killed, according to a count at the end of April by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. The UN has put the figure at 53 children dead and 177 children injured so far this year.

Despite talks about a ceasefire the death toll on both sides continues to rise. At least 312 Palestinians, more than half civilians, have been killed this year, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. On the Israeli side six soldiers and six civilians have died, the latest Shuli Katz, 70, who was killed on Monday by a rocket fired by Gazan militants into Yesha, a village in southern Israel....." 



Palestinian mortar kills Israeli in western Negev

By Mijal Grinberg and Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondents

"An Israeli civilian was killed Friday by a mortar fired by Palestinians in Gaza which landed in the western Negev town of Kfar Aza. A Magen David Adom rescue crew which was summoned to the scene pronounced the man dead following unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him. One person was moderately hurt and two were lightly injured by shrapnel while three others were treated for shock.

The radio of Gaza's ruling Hamas movement said the group was responsible for the mortar fire. "Hamas is clearly in control of the Gaza Strip and responsible for all hostile fire into Israel. We hold it accountable for today's attack and the murder of our civilians," said David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing, said militants had targeted a military position."



Woman killed as Qassam directly hits Negev home

By Avi Issacharoff, Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondents


"A 70-year-old woman was killed Monday in a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip, the rescue service said. The rocket hit a house in Moshav Yesha, 15 kilometers (9 miles) east of Gaza, farther away than the usual targets of rockets fired by Gaza militants. No one else was hurt, the rescue service said.

The attack came as the Egyptian chief of intelligence wrapped up talks with Israel about a truce with Hamas to end rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals.

Earlier Monday, two Qassam rockets hit Ashkelon. One of the rockets struck an area crowded with many schools and kindergartens at 7 A.M., only minutes before children normally flood the area......"



IDF kills three Palestinians, injures 20 others in fighting in the Gaza Strip

By Haaretz Correspondents and Agencies
By Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay

May 11, 2008

"Tree Palestinians were killed and more than 20 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Palestinian gunmen clashed in Abassan, along the Gaza-Israel border, and Israeli aircraft carried out at least four missile strikes.

One missile struck Palestinians who were using abandoned houses as cover, killing a gunman from Islamic Jihad and wounding 14 people, Palestinian sources said. Palestinians identified the dead man as Mahmoud Abu Muslam, 21.

An earlier strike wounded six members of Hamas, and three of them were in critical condition, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry. Palestinian witnesses said a total of 25 tanks and armored bulldozers entered Abassan, an area east of Khan Yunis, setting off battles with local militants.

Several hours after the Israeli forces withdrew from Abassan, medics also found the body of a Palestinian woman in her home. According to the Palestinian Human Rights Center, the woman was killed when the IDF blew up her front door. The woman, Wafa al-Durma, 33, was mother to seven children...."



PCHR Weekly Report: 9 Palestinians killed, 35 wounded in Israeli attacks

by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

Friday May 09, 2008

"Acording to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)'s Weekly Report, during the week of 30 April- 07 May 2008, 9 Palestinians, including a woman, were killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. 3 of the victims were extra-judicially executed by Israeli forces. 35 Palestinians, including 6 children and a woman, were injured by Israeli forces.

Israeli forces conducted 43 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and five into the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces confiscated the contents of a sewing workshop of the Islamic Charity in Hebron and ordered its closure for 3 years. Israeli forces issued notices to six Palestinian civilians in Beit ‘Awa village, south of Hebron, that their houses will be demolished.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 43 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces abducted 100 Palestinian civilians, including 15 children. The number of Palestinian civilians abducted by Israeli forces in the West Bank since the beginning of 2008 stands at 1,151...."



60 years on, refugees visit lost Jerusalem homes

By Wafa Amr
Sun May 11, 2008

JERUSALEM, May 11 (Reuters) - "Eighty-year-old Beatrice Habesch sobbed when she caught sight of her father's house in Jerusalem on Sunday and remembered how it was taken over by Jews in 1948.

"This is our house! This is my house!" she shouted as fellow Palestinians held her back from running towards the building.

Some 300 Palestinians marked 60 years since Israel's founding in May 1948 with a protest walk through affluent Jewish parts of west Jerusalem that were once home to many Arabs. They wore black T-shirts with "This is my House" printed on the back.

The Palestinians said their families had owned houses in Talbiyeh, German Colony and other districts until Israelis drove them away or they fled in the Arab-Jewish fighting that accompanied the creation of the state of Israel ....."



Holy See asks Israel to help protect Christians in Mideast

By The Associated Press
May 11, 2008

"VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI urged Israel on Monday to help the

dwindling Christian community in the Middle East by assuring them of a secure future in the region.

He has also asked that Israel resolve long-standing problems with the Holy See over church land and taxes and to ease visa restrictions for Catholic clergy.

Benedict raised the issues when he received Israel's new ambassador to the Holy See.

The problem of travel restrictions on Arab Christian clergy has been an irritant in relations. Israel has rescinded some travel privileges, citing security concerns."



Israel on alert as sectarian clashes rage across Lebanon for sixth day

By Yoav Stern and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondents and Haaretz Service
May 11, 2008

 "Israel's defense establishment has raised its intelligence alert in case Hezbollah decides to exploit its hold on Lebanon to wage an armed conflict south of the Litani River, Army Radio reported on Monday.

Nevertheless, Israeli security officials are downplaying concerns of an imminent direct conflict with the Lebanon-based militant group, the radio said. Hezbollah guerillas seized west Beirut over the weekend and sectarian clashes have raged across Lebanon between the group and pro-government fighters for six consecutive days.

On Sunday, former IDF chief of staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak said Hezbollah's persistent attempts to take over Lebanon could eventually benefit Israel in its struggle against the militant group. "If an armed conflict erupts it will be simpler to strike Lebanon when Hezbollah is the legitimate ruler," Shahak told the Army Radio......

Meanwhile Sunday, a Lebanese security official reported that Israel Air Force warplanes violated Lebanon's airspace and flew over the southern part of the country. "More than four Israeli jets flew over areas near the port city of Tyre," the official said. IAF jets regularly overfly Lebanon in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The United Nations has called on Israel to stop doing so. The organization says the overflights undermine the credibility of UN peacekeepers stationed in southern Lebanon to observe a fragile ceasefire in the area."



UN asks Israel to probe raid which killed Gaza teacher last week

By Reuters

"A United Nations agency called on Israel on Sunday to investigate the death of a Palestinian teacher employed by the agency who was killed in her home during an Israeli raid last week in the Gaza Strip. "We're calling on the Israelis for an impartial investigation," said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), for which Wafa al-Daghma worked as a teacher at an elementary school for refugee children. "We want to see accountability."

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said they were looking into the matter. Dozens of civilians have been killed in Gaza this year in air and ground attacks that Israel says are directed against militants who fire rockets into its territory....

Gunness said inquiries by UNRWA suggested Daghma was killed when troops blasted open the door of her home in order to take the building as an observation post. Daghma's 13-year-old daughter Samira told reporters last week that her mother had ordered her and a sister and brother aged under 5, into another room. The children then heard an explosion, she said. Soldiers then entered the house. Only some hours later, when the soldiers left, were the children able to leave the room where they had been held and neighbours and relatives were able to retrieve Daghma's body.

Human rights groups have called on Israel to mount independent investigations into several civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip recently. Among these was the killing of a mother and four of her children on April 28 and the killing of a Reuters television cameraman and several other civilians on April 16......"



Israel falsifies lifting of movement restrictions

B'tselem (The Israeli Human Rights Organization)

April 28, 2008

“Despite its claims of removing physical obstructions to “ease” movement, Israel continues to impose sweeping restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank

The government recently announced that at the end of March 2008, the army began removing 61 physical obstructions – dirt piles, boulders, and blocks – it had placed inside the West Bank. The obstructions were purportedly removed following Israel’s commitment, made in March to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to reduce restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank. However, B'Tselem’s investigation and investigations by other human rights organizations indicate that the government’s declaration was no more than sleight of hand.....”



Tank shell that sprays deadly darts killed cameraman in Gaza, say doctors

By Donald Macintyre in central Gaza, The Independent
Friday, 18 April 2008

 "..... two teenage boys from the Nusseirat refugee camp displayed half a dozen of the dull, black, inch-long darts which they said they had found among the cactus growing along the verge opposite where Mr Shana had parked his unarmoured SUV to film a tank on Wednesday afternoon.

According to doctors who examined the body of the 23 -year-old Palestinian Reuters cameraman at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, it was controversial darts like those, flechettes, fired from an Israeli tank shell that explodes in the air, that caused his death. X-rays displayed to Reuters showed several of the flechettes embedded in the dead man's chest and legs, and more were found in his flak jacket, clearly emblazoned, like his vehicle, with "TV" and "Press" signs.

The military would only say that all its weapons "are legal under international law". Israel's Supreme Court rejected a 2003 petition arguing that the use of flechettes as an anti-personnel weapon contravened a 1980 UN convention, but the Israeli human rights group Btselem said last night that flechettes violated international law and demanded a criminal investigation.....



Palestinians: One killed, three hurt in IAF strike on Gaza

By The Associated Press
April 30, 2008

"An Israel Air Force aircraft attacked a metal workshop in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing a militant and wounding three other people, Palestinian officials said.

The attack came as Palestinian militant groups agreed in principle to a cease-fire with Israel. Shortly before the air strike, Hamas' prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, had said the "ball is in the Israeli court" to keep to the terms of the truce.  The IDF confirmed the air strike in Rafah, a town located next to the Egyptian border."


Islamic Jihad: Cease-fire agreement conditioned on lifting of Gaza siege

By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid, and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents and Agencies

April 30, 2008

"The Islamic Jihad is willing to accept an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire in the Gaza Strip only if Israel agrees to end its siege on the coastal territory and reopen border crossings, the organization's deputy secretary-general said Wednesday.

All the Palestinian militant factions, in Egypt for talks on a cease-fire with Israel, agreed on Wednesday to the proposal put forth by Cairo, Egyptian sources told Al-Jazeera and the Egyptian state news agency MENA.

During surprise talks in Amman, Abdullah tells PM peace deal must be reached by year's end

By Reuters April 30, 2008

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held talks in Jordan on Wednesday with Jordanian King Abdullah II on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A palace statement said during the closed-door talks, Abdullah urged Olmert to work on improving the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."



As Qassams pound Negev, Sderot residents urge boycott of Independence Day

By Mijal Greenberg, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

April 30, 2008

"As the Qassam rocket barrage on Israel continued on Wednesday, a group of residents of the rocket-stricken town of Sderot called for a boycott of the Independence Day celebrations, scheduled for next week.

At least ten rockets and three mortar shells were fired on Wednesday at the western Negev from the Northern Gaza Strip.

There were no injuries reported in any of the incidents, but a woman and child were treated for shock when a rocket struck the Ashkelon regional council.

.... None of these rocket attacks caused casualties or property damage."



Israeli-Palestinian paper criticizes 10 W. Bank roadblocks

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz
April 30, 2008

"Ten roadblocks that Israel set up in the West Bank have little security value and are needlessly disrupting trade in the Palestinian territories, according to a joint Israeli-Palestinian report recently submitted to security authorities.

The report, the first of its kind, was drawn up by a team that included U.S. experts, Palestinian officials and two Israel Defense Forces reserves officers serving in Civil Administration in the West Bank.

The team's recommendations, urging Israel to remove the roadblocks, were written under the auspices of the Peres Center for Peace, The Palestine Center for National Strategic Studies and the Danish government."



UN facing increased delays at Israeli checkpoints

Apr 30, 2008

"Increased Israeli restrictions on the checkpoints around East Jerusalem have caused more delays and more lost man hours for UN staff in March 2008 than in all of 2007, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported.

In the Humanitarian Monitor for March, released on 24 April, OCHA said "operations were significantly affected" and almost daily UN vehicles were delayed and even turned back by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints south of Jerusalem."



Israel told to tackle West Bank plight

By Donald Macintyre, The Independent

30 April 2008

"Israel is coming under concerted international pressure to give swift agreement to specific measures to improve Palestinian life in the West Bank which senior diplomats believe could eventually make or break negotiations between the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas."



Israel to Close Orphanage in Hebron, Endangering 300 Children

Middle East Children's Alliance

April 29, 2008

"The Israeli military is about to close down schools and orphanages run by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) in the West Bank city of Hebron. More than 240 boys and girls, aged 5-18 live at the orphanages, while thousands of other children, many of whom have lost at least one parent, receive schooling, food and clothing from the charity. The Israeli military has already seized $157,000 worth of goods - including rice, oil, sugar, clothing and first aid kits - from the ICS warehouse.

Israeli soldiers entered the Rahma Bakery, owned by the society, on April 14, destroyed the oven, and confiscated more than $43,000 of equipment, including all the display cases, refrigerators, fixtures, and most of the inventory. Upstairs, the soldiers destroyed heating ducts. This bakery provided bread for the orphanages.

The charity has appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice. The Israeli army claims that ICS is supporting the Hamas movement, which started in 1987. The society, founded in 1962, argues that ICS is a Palestinian charitable organization, with no political agenda, which is monitored regularly by the Palestinian Authority.....

If the Israeli army shuts down the ICS and its projects in the city of Hebron, nearly 300 orphans will have no place other than the street to sleep."



Deepening crisis

Khaled Amayreh, Al-Ahram Weekly
Apr 28, 2008

"As 1.5 million Gazans are crying out to the world to pressure Israel to lift its scandalously callous blockade of the coastal territory, another 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank are struggling to cope with an unprecedented economic crisis that is further impoverishing and exhausting them.

The crisis, the harshest in recent memory, stems from a host of local and global factors, including soaring food and energy prices, sagging currency value, rampant joblessness and draconian Israeli restrictions on the movement of people, goods and services."

This article was originally published by Al-Ahram Weekly and is republished with permission by IMEU.



Four children among victims of Israeli strikes on Gaza

Agence France Presse
April 28, 2008

"BEIT HANUN, Gaza Strip (AFP) — Four children, aged one to five, and their mother were among seven people killed by Israeli forces in Gaza Monday as Palestinian factions headed to Egypt for talks on a possible truce.

The four siblings -- aged one, three, four and five -- were killed when a missile hit their home in the town of Beit Hanun, and their mother died later of her wounds, doctors at the Kamal Radwan hospital said...."



Jimmy Carter Was Right to Meet with Hamas

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
April 21, 2008

What separates Carter from the neocons is his genuine desire to negotiate a Middle East peace settlement, and that means talking to everyone.

Former President Jimmy Carter, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for what the prize committee described as his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts," is touring the Middle East, as a private citizen, in a bid to revive interest in a moribund peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. He's doing so at a time when their decades-long conflict is growing in intensity and distrust on both sides is running high.

As a result, Carter is once again under fire from conservatives. Last week, Republican Rep. Sue Myrick (NC) went so far as to call for the former president's passport to be revoked on Fox News.

Carter's crime was to sit-down with leaders of Hamas last week to explore the possibility of waging peace in the Middle East. For many Israel-hawks, it wasn't a first offense; Carter is guilty of viewing the Palestinians as human beings and for condemning human rights abuses on both sides of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. "Any side that kills innocent people is guilty of terrorism," he told an audience at Cairo's American University after his sit-down with members of Hamas.



Carter Meets With Hamas Chief In Exile, Defying Israel and U.S.

By Griff Witte

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"JERUSALEM, April 18 -- Former president Jimmy Carter followed through on a planned meeting with the exiled leader of Hamas on Friday, despite U.S. and Israeli protests that the session would give legitimacy to a group they consider a terrorist organization.

Khaled Meshal, who is accused of masterminding kidnappings and suicide bombings, met with Carter, a Nobel Peace laureate, in Damascus, Syria, where Meshal has lived for nearly a decade. The meeting was one of the most notable exchanges to date between Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, and a prominent Western political figure.

Israel and the United States have consistently opposed any direct contact with Hamas, an armed Islamist movement that has vowed to destroy the Jewish state. But a spokesman for Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said Friday that Yishai had asked Carter to arrange for him to meet with Hamas to discuss a possible prisoner exchange. Yishai, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, has said he believes it is his religious duty to try to win the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped nearly two years ago and has been held in Gaza since.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said Yishai was speaking for himself. "It is not the position of the prime minister," Regev said. "The government is against any dialogue with Hamas."..."



Carter Calls Gaza Blockade a Crime and Atrocity

By Jonathan Wright

Published on Friday, April 18, 2008 by Reuters

"CAIRO - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called the blockade of Gaza a crime and an atrocity on Thursday and said U.S. attempts to undermine the Islamist movement Hamas had been counterproductive.

Speaking at the American University in Cairo after talks with Hamas leaders from Gaza, Carter said Palestinians in Gaza were being “starved to death”, receiving fewer calories a day than people in the poorest parts of Africa.

“It’s an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. it’s a crime… I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on,” Carter said.

Israel has been blockading Gaza most of the time since Hamas took control of the impoverished coastal strip in June last year, allowing only basic supplies to enter.

Israel has not accepted Hamas proposals for a truce including an end to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and to Israeli attacks on Hamas personnel in Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli officials say a truce would enable Hamas to rearm.

Carter said Israel and its ally the United States were trying to make the quality of life in Gaza markedly worse than in the West Bank, where the rival Fatah group is in control."




Hamas leader says Gaza revolt like Warsaw uprising


(Writing by David Alexander, Editing by Howard Goller)

"Israel's fight with the Palestinians has reduced Gaza to the world's largest open-air prison and residents have no choice but to revolt, just as the Jews in Warsaw fought the Nazis in World War Two, a Hamas leader wrote in a U.S. newspaper article on Thursday.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a founder of the Islamist militant group, wrote the opinion piece for The Washington Post before meeting former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, in Cairo on Thursday.

"Resistance remains our only option," Zahar wrote. "Sixty-five years ago, the courageous Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose in defense of their people. We Gazans, living in the world's largest open-air prison, can do no less."

Israel and the United States brand Hamas a terrorist group. Carter counters that the exclusion of Hamas from peace negotiations is counterproductive and says he wants to hear the group's vision. .."



No Peace Without Hamas

By Mahmoud al-Zahar
Washington Post

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"GAZA -- President Jimmy Carter's sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East while underscoring the fact that American policy has reached its dead end. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acts as if a few alterations here and there would make the hideous straitjacket of apartheid fit better. While Rice persuades Israeli occupation forces to cut a few dozen meaningless roadblocks from among the more than 500 West Bank control points, these forces simultaneously choke off fuel supplies to Gaza; blockade its 1.5 million people; approve illegal housing projects on West Bank land; and attack Gaza City with F-16s, killing men, women and children. Sadly, this is "business as usual" for the Palestinians.

Last week's attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot should not surprise critics in the West. Palestinians are fighting a total war waged on us by a nation that mobilizes against our people with every means at its disposal -- from its high-tech military to its economic stranglehold, from its falsified history to its judiciary that "legalizes" the infrastructure of apartheid. Resistance remains our only option. Sixty-five years ago, the courageous Jews of the Warsaw ghetto rose in defense of their people. We Gazans, living in the world's largest open-air prison, can do no less."



20 Palestinians killed in IDF operations in Gaza

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies

Haaretz Daily Newspaper
April 17, 2008

"Twenty Palestinians were killed Wednesday, including a Reuters cameraman, in Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip, making Wednesday one of the bloodiest days in recent times in Gaza. Most of the clashes came in the afternoon in the center of the Strip, not far from the place where three Israeli soldiers were killed in a Hamas ambush earlier in the day."



Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel

By Haaretz Service and Reuters

Haaretz Daily Newspaper
April 17, 2008

"The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."



Three Israeli soldiers killed in ambush near Gaza border

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Haaretz Daily Newspaper
April 17, 2008

"Three Israel Defense Forces soldiers from the elite Givati Brigade were killed on Wednesday in an exchange of heavy gunfire with Palestinian militants next to the Gaza Strip security fence.

A preliminary IDF investigation suggests that an operational error occurred during the soldiers' raid, a senior officer in the Southern Command told Haaretz.

The officer said that the army was investigating why reinforcements were not sent to back up the Givati troops and whether the soldiers were sent on the correct path.


The IDF said that the clashes occurred near Kibbutz Be'eri, in the western Negev, as troops entered the Strip to arrest a band of suspicious figures".



Area C strikes fear into the heart of Palestinians as homes are destroyed

Israelis defend rules that reject 94% of non-Jewish building applications

by Rory McCarthy
The Guardian
April 15, 2008

"....Research by the Israeli group Peace Now found that 94% of Palestinian permit applications for Area C building were refused between 2000 and September 2007. Only 91 permits were granted to Palestinians, but 18,472 housing units were built in Jewish settlements. As a result of demolition orders 1,663 Palestinian buildings were demolished, against only 199 in the settlements. "The denial of permits for Palestinians on such a large scale raises the fear that there is a specific policy by the authorities to encourage a 'silent transfer' of the Palestinian population from area C," Peace Now said.

This year there has been a marked increase in demolitions. There were 138 demolitions between January and March, most in area C, compared with 29 in the last three months of 2007, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This year 400 Palestinians have been displaced as a result. At a time of a renewed peace process to create an independent Palestinian state, the reality in the West Bank is that Jewish settlements are growing and demolitions of Palestinian homes are on the increase..."




Jewish Liberals to Launch A Counterpoint to AIPAC

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Some of the country's most prominent Jewish liberals are forming a political action committee and lobbying group aimed at dislodging what they consider the excessive hold of neoconservatives and evangelical Christians on U.S. policy toward Israel.

The group is planning to channel political contributions to favored candidates in perhaps a half-dozen campaigns this fall, the first time an organization focused on Israel has tried to play such a direct role in the political process, according to its organizers." 


Jimmy Carter: Israel must talk to everyone

By Akiva Eldar


"Former United States president Jimmy Carter, who arrived in Israel Sunday, rejects the criticism he's been subjected to over his planned meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal. According to Carter, peace cannot be achieved without talking to all the relevant people, and he will use the meeting to promote efforts to release Gilad Shalit and to uncover the fate of soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Carter told Haaretz Sunday in an exclusive interview that he intends to check Meshal's willingness to accept the Arab League peace initiative. Carter says that acceptance of this plan by Hamas would be a very positive step.

Carter said ignoring a large segment of the Palestinian people would make it impossible to achieve peace.

Carter also said no one from the U.S. State Department had tried to dissuade him from holding the meetings, and that they were aware of his schedule."



Palestinian sources: Israel offered Hamas terms for Gaza truce

By Haaretz Service


"Israel has offered Hamas terms for a temporary cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, the London-based Al-Hayat daily quoted Palestinian sources as saying on Monday.

The sources said that through Egyptian mediation, Israel has proposed a limited cease-fire that would be effective in the Strip alone and would not include the West Bank.

According to the report, the offer has also been extended to the Islamic Jihad militant group. The terms of the truce would include greater Israeli flexibility on border crossings for six months in exchange for a halt in rocket fire, said the report.

The sources said that Hamas is likely to accept the proposal. Islamic Jihad and associates of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were opposed to the offer, said the sources, because it does not include the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has refused to commit to an Egyptian initiative for an unofficial cease-fire in the Gaza Strip."



Rice criticizes Carter over planned meeting with Meshal

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies


"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized former President Jimmy Carter on Friday for his reported plans to meet Hamas' political leader Khaled Meshal during a visit to Syria.

Carter has not confirmed the plans to meet Meshal but the Palestinian militant group has said the former Democratic president sent an envoy to Damascus, where the Hamas leader resides, requesting a meeting with the militant group's officials.

"I find it hard to understand what is going to be gained by having discussions with Hamas about peace when Hamas is, in fact, the impediment to peace," Rice said at a press event with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Rice was responding to a question about Carter's plans but did not mention him by name."



IDF kills 5 Palestinian militants in two West Bank incidents

"Israel Defense Forces troops killed five Palestinian militants in the West Bank on Wednesday, Palestinian medical and security officials said, hours after the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers demanded a halt to all Israeli "aggression" as a condition for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas." 



Qureia to Livni: PA 'shocked' at Israeli plan to expand settlements
By Haaretz Staff

"In a letter to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday, Ahmed Qureia, who heads the Palestinian team in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, expressed "shock and dismay" at Israel's planned expansion of West Bank settlements.

Qureia wrote that the construction in the settlements is a violation of the road map and of international law, which is being carried out despite numerous meetings between the two sides aiming to reach a final status agreement by the end of 2008.

Qureia's letter to Livni comes after Israel announced that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had authorized construction of 750 housing units in a Givat Ze'ev neighborhood, beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, as well as reports of plans to build more housing in East Jerusalem areas....."



Defense Min.: Fighting in southern Israel, Gaza may soon resume

By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies
March 12, 2008

"The fighting in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip could soon resume, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday after a short lull in rocket attacks from the Hamas controlled territory against Israel, as well as Israel Defense Forces raids in the area......

Earlier Wednesday, Hamas publicly set its terms for a cease fire with Israel, calling for an end to IDF raids in Palestinian territories and a reopening of Gaza border crossings.....

A deal being formulated between Israel, Egypt and Hamas involves deploying Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' troops at the crossings with the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources told Haaretz Tuesday." 



U.S. "road map" assessment seen critical of Israel

By Adam Entous
 Mar 11, 2008

 "JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United States is not satisfied with the pace at which Israel is moving to implement a long-stalled peace "road map," U.S. and Western officials said ahead of a key meeting to assess compliance with the plan.

Officials said Washington also believed the Palestinians needed to do far more to meet their obligations to boost security and rein in militants in the West Bank, though U.S. officials have privately complained to Israel that its frequent raids were undermining those efforts.

U.S. and Western officials said Washington was particularly critical of Israel's decision to push ahead with Jewish settlement expansion on occupied land, a move they see as damaging to U.S.-backed peace talks with the Palestinians..."

Israel has also so far failed to uproot outposts built without government authorization;_ylt=Ag997sAlKV9lzrJ5S.99bCkUvioA



New Report Finds Gaza Humanitarian Situation is Worst in 40 years

By Jim Teeple


06 March 2008

"A new report by a consortium of British aid agencies says the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is the worst in forty years. VOA's Jim Teeple reports the report blames Israel for the crisis, but Israeli officials say Hamas militants are to blame.

Eight British aid organizations say the humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the worst point in 40 years and that it will likely get worse unless Israel eases its blockade of the territory.

According to the report, more than one million people or 80 percent of Gaza's population is now dependent on food aid and that Gaza's power, water and sewage systems have collapsed...."



UN Chief urges Israel to halt plans to build in W. Bank settlements
By The Associated Press
March 10, 2008

"United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Israel to halt plans to build hundreds of new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Ban's spokeswoman said.

"The secretary-general calls on the government of Israel to halt settlement expansion and reiterates that the fulfillment of road map [peace plan] obligations by both parties is an important measure underpinning the political process between them," Ban's spokeswoman, Michel Montas, said in a statement.

"Any settlement expansion is contrary to Israel's obligations under the road map and to international law," Montas said.

The Bush administration said Monday that Israel's plan for expanded Jewish housing in East Jerusalem does not help the progress of U.S.-backed peace talks.....

On Sunday, the Housing Ministry said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had approved the renewed construction an estimated 750 new homes in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze'ev near Jerusalem."




Israel defies freeze on illegal settlements
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
The Independent
Monday, 10 March 2008

'Israel approved plans yesterday to build 330 new homes in a suburban West Bank settlement north of Jerusalem. The move was denounced by the Palestinian Authority as "a slap in the face of the peace process" and called on the Quartet of the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia to "act to get Israel to revoke the decision".

Saeb Erakat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator, said: "This is a provocative action by Israel that demonstrates its intention of further strengthening illegal occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territory."'



Gaza toll from lack of medical care reaches 107
Mar 10, 2008

"Medical sources in Gaza on Sunday night reported that another Palestinian patient joined those who have died waiting for medical treatment, barred from leaving the Strip to receive treatment by the Israeli authorities.

The death of Fatima al-Maqadima, an elderly woman from al Buriej refugee camp, raised the death toll to 107. She had been suffering from cancer and had been prevented from leaving the Strip to receive necessary medical treatment.

A long list of critically sick Gazans are threatened with death, as they are can receive no medical treatments, there is no available medicine and a tight Israeli closure. The border crossings of the Gaza Strip were closed several months ago, and they are remain closed.

According to medical sources, among the 107 deceased Palestinians were children, who are also barred from leaving the Strip to receive medical treatment."



Israel demolishes two Palestinian homes in Bethlehem
Maan News
Mar 8, 2008

"Israeli military forces invaded the West Bank city of Bethlehem overnight, demolishing two houses, seizing a Palestinian man and injuring another.

The forces withdrew on Friday morning."


Abbas demands peace after surge of Mideast killing
By Ali Sawafta
Sat Mar 8, 2008

RAMALLAH, West Bank, March 8 (Reuters) - 'Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Saturday for talks with Israel despite a surge of violence and said that a just peace was his people's goal.

"We condemn all the attacks, we demand peace and we are determined to make peace, and there is no other path but the path of peace based on international justice," Abbas told a rally at his headquarters.

A Palestinian gunman killed eight Jewish seminary students on Thursday, the bloodiest attack in Israel in two years. Hamas, which had vowed to avenge the more than 125 Palestinians killed in a recent Gaza offensive by Israel, claimed responsibility.'



Carter, Annan to Head Peace Mission
Associated Press
March 7, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — "The council of world leaders launched by former President Nelson Mandela is sending a three-person team to help ease tensions in the troubled Middle East, the organization known as The Elders said Friday.

Former President Jimmy Carter, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and former Irish president Mary Robinson will visit Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia from April 13-21."



Gazans discuss human chain protest
25 February 2008

"Three Palestinians discuss their involvement in the "human chain" demonstration against the Israeli blockade of Gaza and how the siege is affecting them.

W Bank building 'bias' condemned
Thursday, 21 February 2008

"Israel passed fewer than 6% of building requests by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2000-07, an Israeli anti-settlement group says.

Peace Now says 91 permits were granted from 1,624 requests, in contrast to the 18,472 homes built for Jewish settlers.

The group says the data show "clear discrimination" against Palestinians in West Bank areas under Israeli control. ...
An Israeli military official said the data was misleading because, he said, Palestinians rarely submitted building permit requests.
Peace Now said there were 4,993 cases of illegal Palestinian construction identified by the army and 2,900 cases of illegal settler construction."



Israel detains dozens of Gazans
18 February 2008

"The Israeli military says it has taken about 80 Palestinians to Israel for questioning following a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

Three Palestinian militants and a civilian were killed in the incursion on Sunday morning. An Israeli soldier was seriously wounded."


UN shocked by 'grim' life in Gaza
Friday, 15 February 2008

"The UN's top humanitarian affairs official has said he was shocked by the "grim and miserable" situation he witnessed on a visit to the Gaza Strip."


Israel plans new settlement homes
12 February 2008

"Israeli housing minister Zeev Boim says tenders will soon be issued for construction of more than 1,000 new homes for Jews in East Jerusalem.

Israel annexed the area in 1967 and has continued settlement activity despite a recent freeze on settlements on other occupied territory in the West Bank.

The international community regards such building as illegal. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital." 


FM: No Palestinian state possible until rockets stop
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies
February 10, 2008

"Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday there was "no hope" for a Palestinian state that included the Gaza Strip as long as militants kept up rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled territory." l



Palestinians: IAF kills Hamas man

February 10, 2008

The night after a Kassam rocket attack wounded two young brothers, the IAF hit back with a series of air strikes across the Gaza Strip overnight Saturday. Palestinians reported that a Hamas operative was killed in one of the attacks.... 11 people were reported wounded. 



IAF kills Hamas man; 2 brothers hurt in Sderot Qassam strike
By Mijal Grinberg, Yuval Azoulay and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents and Reuters

February 10, 2008

"The Israel Air Force killed a Hamas militant in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, hours after two brothers, aged 8 and 19, were seriously wounded when a Qassam rocket struck the backyard of a house in the southern town of Sderot.

The IAF carried out four strikes in the Gaza Strip overnight, wounding three militants and killing Mohammed Matir, a commander in Hamas' military wing. The IAF targeted, among other sites, an arms storage facility in a refugee camp in Rafah. Defense officials said that the Israel Defense Forces were planning to step up its Gaza operations as well as targeted killings of specific militants in response to the ongoing Qassam rocket fire."



Israel Erects More Roadblocks in West Bank

Mohammed Mar’i & Hisham Abu Taha, Arab News

RAMALLAH/GAZA CITY — A day after International Quartet’s representative to the Middle East, Tony Blair, called on Israel to “remove all military checkpoints in order to establish a real peace,” Israeli forces increased the number of roadblocks in the northern West Bank, further restricting Palestinians’ freedom of movement....Around 2,000 children will be prevented from reaching their schools in East Jerusalem in addition to employees.



Israel launches deadly Gaza raids
February 7, 2008
Israeli forces have killed at least five armed members of the Palestinian movement Hamas, as well as another gunman and a teacher, in raids in Gaza.

"Witnesses said Israeli troops backed by tanks and aircraft launched an incursion near Jabaliya sparking clashes with gunmen. The teacher, 38, was killed when a surface-to-surface missile hit a school in Beit Hanoun in a separate raid. There are no reports of Israeli casualties in the engagements."



Two Sderot houses hit in fresh Qassam barrage
By Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff and Mijal Grinberg
Haaretz Correspondents, and The Associated Press

 "Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a fresh barrage of Qassam rockets at the western Negev town of Sderot on Friday evening, two of which hit houses in the town and left three people suffering from shock....

Late Thursday, Israel cut back around one percent of the power it supplies to Gaza, Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said. Israel will continue gradually scaling back electricity until the territory's Hamas rulers end the rocket fire, he said Friday.

"It's their choice. They need to choose if they want to keep investing in rockets and in attacking Israel or if they want electricity from Israel," Dror said.  Hamas said Friday it would not be deterred by Israel's cutback of the power supply to the Gaza Strip, as militants continued to bombard southern Israel with Qassam rocket fire...."



Palestinian PM says he sees no peace accord with Israel in 2008
By Reuters and Haaretz Service

"Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday a lasting peace accord with Israel was unlikely in 2008 despite renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve the long-running conflict.

In an interview with Reuters in the Texas capital, Austin, where he is on a private visit, he highlighted the lack of progress on the issue of Israeli settlements and military incursions into the West Bank as among the chief obstacles in the "road map" to peace and Palestinian statehood." 



Israel Must Stop Changing Facts On The Ground - Fm
In The Jordan Times (Jordan)
February 7, 2008

"Jordan on Wednesday warned against Israeli measures “to alter facts on the ground” in the occupied Palestinian lands in a way that affects final status talks.

During a meeting with US Undersecretary for Middle East Affairs David Walsh, Foreign Minister Salah Bashir called on Israel to stop its settlement activities, stressing the need to ease the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian people through softening the restrictions on their movement."



Mideast Envoy Blair Says Pa Starting To Abide By 'road Map'
In Reuters
February 7, 2008

"The Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair said Thursday that Palestinian security forces had significantly improved and were starting to carry out their part in the long-stalled "road map" peace plan.

The former British prime minister, now the envoy for the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators which include the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations, urged Israel to respond by easing travel and trade restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the West Bank."


Three killed in bombing of Israeli shopping mall in Dimona
February 4, 2008

"Jerusalem – Ma'an – At least three people have been killed and 16 injured after a Palestinian man blew himself up in a shopping mall in the city of Dimona in southern Israel.

Two bombers and an Israeli woman were killed in the attack. The second bomber was shot dead by Israeli security guards, Ha'aretz reported....." 



Popular Resistance Committees leader Abu As-Sa'id killed in Israeli attack
February 4, 2008

"Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli military forces assassinated the number one leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, 'Amir Qarmoot Abu As-Sa'id, in the Gaza Strip on Monday morning. An Israeli warplane fired a missile at Abu As-Sa'id's car in the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources said that three other people have been injured in the attack."



W. Bank rabbi, Palestinian reporter present PM, Hamas draft truce
By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz Correspondent

February 4, 2008

"Israelis and Palestinians involved in interfaith contacts recently drafted a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. The document, whose implementation includes the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, was submitted to the cabinet and to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Rabbi Menachem Froman of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa has for years been involved in interfaith dialogue toward Israeli-Palestinians peace. For several months he has been working closely with Khaled Amayreh, a Hebron-area journalist who is close to Hamas.

'Our proposal was presented to the highest political echelon in the Hamas government in Gaza and gained 100-percent approval,' Amayreh told Haaretz Sunday, while refusing to name the government officials. Froman said the document was presented to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has yet to respond to it...."



Report: JNF parks to mark demolished Palestinian villages
By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent

Feb 3, 2008

"An organization campaigning for the commemoration of Arab villages destroyed in the 1948 War of Independence said that the Jewish National Fund has agreed to place signs in parks on which former villages once stood.


During the War of Independence in 1948, about 500 Palestinian villages were demolished. Some of their residents fled, fearing the approaching Jewish forces, and others were actively expelled. Most of the villages have been replaced with new settlements, parks and nature reserves......"



Israel Cuts Off Electricity in Gaza; Thousands Plunged Into Darkness
February 1, 2008

"Gaza – Ma'an – Israel cut off part of the electricity supply to Gaza City on Friday evening, plunging thousands of people into darkness, according to Jamal Al-Dardasawi, the head of public relations and information at the electricity company in Gaza.

Israel cut off the vital electricity supply line, known as the 'Baghdad line', claiming there are problems with that particular line.

Al-Dardasawi pointed out that the Israeli electricity supply company have ben intermittently cutting off electricity since last Tuesday morning, leaving thousands of Gaza City residents battling bitter cold weather, without any means of heating....."



Gaza diary 1: Rana Elhindi
In the first instalment of her diary for the BBC News website, Rana Elhindi, a Save the Children worker in Gaza, describes the impact of Israel's blockade on daily life and the aid effort in the territory.
22 January 2008

"Right now our office has gone into emergency mode - we cannot get supplies into Gaza for our regular projects.

I've been receiving phone calls around the clock from Save the Children colleagues in Jerusalem and London. We have had to reduce our office working hours because the fuel is not available to run the emergency generator. This all makes it very difficult for us to help the children who need it most..."
diary 2:
diary 3:
diairy 4:



Israeli Gaza City raid kills 18
BBC News
January 16, 2008

"At least 18 Palestinians, including at least 13 militants, have died in an Israeli raid in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, reports say. Medical sources and witnesses said the deaths came after Israeli tanks pushed into eastern suburbs of Gaza City. A farm worker in southern Israel was also killed by sniper fire from Gaza.

It is one of the deadliest days of violence in Gaza in months. Israel launches frequent raids which it says are aimed at preventing rocket fire. The dead militants included a son of Mahmoud Zahar, senior leader of the militant Islamist Hamas group in Gaza, the group said. Reports say 48 people were also injured....."



25 Qassams fired at Israel after deadly IDF Gaza raid
By Amos Harel, Yuval Azoulai and Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz Correspondents, and Haaretz Service

January 16, 2008

 "Parts of southern Israel were subjected to a barrage of 25 Qassam rockets and dozens of mortars Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said, in the wake of IDF raids in Gaza that killed 19 Palestinians. Of the dead, 15 were confirmed as armed militants.

Three militant Palestinian factions, including a group allied to Hamas, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. Hamas claimed responsibility for 17 of the mortars.

In the months leading up to Tuesday's raids in Gaza, the Islamic militant group hadn't taken the lead on the assaults, but had allowed other militant factions to attack southern Israel with impunity.

Four residents of Sderot were lightly wounded..."



PA threatens to suspend negotiations after 'massacre'
By Khaled Abu Toameh for The Jerusalem Post
January 16, 2008

"The Palestinian Authority threatened on Tuesday to suspend negotiations with Israel in response to an IDF operation in the Gaza Strip that left 19 Palestinians - most of them Hamas gunmen - dead.

The PA also called for deploying international forces in the Gaza Strip "to defend Palestinian civilians against recurring Israeli acts of aggression." The call was issued by the PA government in Ramallah and the ruling Fatah faction.

PA officials strongly condemned the IDF raid, dubbing it a "massacre." The officials expressed outrage at its timing, coming five days after US President George W. Bush's visit to Ramallah and his meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

"The attack looks as if it was the outcome of Bush's talks with President Abbas," said a senior PA official. "Israel is strengthening Hamas and undermining the credibility of the Palestinian Authority....."


Diplomat: U.S. firmly opposes all W. Bank, E. J'lem construction
By Barak Ravid and Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondents

January 16, 2008

"The United States clarified to Israel during U.S. President George Bush's visit this week that it disapproves of all building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank - including in the large settlement blocs, a senior Western diplomat said Tuesday.....Meanwhile, construction has begun on another 60 housing units in the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh Hazeitim, in East Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud section...... "



Hamas vows revenge after 18 killed
By YAAKOV KATZ AND HERB KEINON for the Jerusalem Post
January 15, 2008

"Security forces were bracing Tuesday night for a major escalation on the Gaza front out of concern that the deaths of 19 Palestinians, including the son of a top Hamas official, would spur the terror group to fire Kassam rockets into Israel."



Settlers burn Palestinian home while army uproots trees in Hebron

Jan 15, 2008

"A group of radical armed Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian house and set fire to it while the Israeli army kidnapped the owners of the house on Tuesday midday in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

Palestinian sources reported that a group of settlers from Beit Hadasa located in the central part of Hebron attacked the nearby Palestinian home and set fire to it. When the owners of the house along with their neighbors tried to put out the fire Israeli troops attacked them, beat them up and forced them away from the house leaving it to burn.

Witnesses added that soldiers kidnapped the owners of the house, Shadi and Nabeil Sader, and took them to an unknown location....."


Israel plans to resume its settler-only road which will surround Jerusalem
International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC)

Tuesday January 15, 2008

"Khalil Tafakji, an expert in maps and settlements, revealed that the Israeli Authorities revived a project which aims at establishing a settler-only road around Jerusalem, and will lead to the annexation of 1250 Dunams of Palestinian lands, in addition to demolishing dozens of Palestinian homes near Jerusalem..."


Israeli military kidnaps at least 12 Palestinians from Nablus
by Ameen Abu Wardeh - IMEMC News
 Tuesday January 15, 2008

 "Israeli forces invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus through Beit Iba checkpoint in the early hours of Tuesday morning and imposed a curfew on Sura town, near Nablus. Local sources reported that several military vehicles invaded the city center and several streets in the area and carried out an abductions campaign. The operation ended with the abduction of three Palestinians...

In Sura town the military imposed a curfew through loudspeakers and carried out a widespread abduction campaign kidnapping nine Palestinians....Earlier on Monday, the Israeli army attacked the villages of Awarta and Houwara located in city of Nablus and kidnapped three civilians there...."


Construction begins on new housing units in E. J'lem neighborhood
By Nadav Shragai
Haaretz Correspondent

January 15, 2008

"Construction has begun on another 60 housing units in the Jewish neighborhood of Maaleh Hazeitim, in East Jerusalem's Ras al-Amud section.

Fifty-one Jewish families already live in the small neighborhood, built on land purchased 15 years ago by the American millionaire Irwin Moskowitz, patron of the Ateret Cohanim organization.

The neighborhood's initial construction provoked an international storm in September 1997, and the United States pressured Israel not to go ahead with the plan. The pressure was rebuffed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and backed by Jerusalem's mayor at the time, Ehud Olmert..."



Haaretz probe: Shin Bet count of Gaza civilian deaths is too low
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

January 15, 2008

"Israeli security forces killed 810 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and 2007, Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin reported Sunday.... However, an examination by Haaretz reveals that the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces stands at 816 during those two years, and that of them, 360 were civilians who were not affiliated with any armed organizations. Data from B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, show that 152 of the casualties were under age 18, and 48 were under the age of 14....."



Barak and settlers reach deal on outpost evacuations, sources say
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

January 14, 2008

"Defense Minister Ehud Barak has reached an agreement with leaders of the settlement movement for the peaceful evacuation of 18 outposts in the West Bank, sources close to the minister told Haaretz. The sources warned that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's "rash" intention to forcefully uproot an outpost near Ramallah may jeopardize the deal.... "



Three Palestinians killed in Israeli air strike on Gaza
Agence France Prese

January 14, 2008

GAZA CITY (AFP) — "Three Palestinian militants, including the local head of an armed group, were killed in an Israeli air strike on a refugee camp of Gaza City late Sunday, medics and security sources said...."



Mid-East talks on 'core issues'

BBC News
January 14, 2008

"Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have begun talks in Jerusalem on what are seen as the most intractable issues in the peace process.

These include the status of Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state, Jewish settlements in the West Bank, refugees, security and water resources.

The talks are being led by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei."



Israeli fuel cuts force Gaza blackouts
Associated Press Writer
 Sun Jan 6, 3:02 PM ET

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - With winter deepening, Gazans will be forced to live without lights and electric heaters for eight hours a day because Israel has cut fuel supplies to the territory's only electric plant in half, Gaza's top energy official warned Sunday.

Israel said the purpose of the cutback was to nudge Palestinians to call on militants to stop their daily rocket attacks on southern Israel. But Gazans charged they have become the target of unfair punishment, and 10 human rights groups took that argument to the Israeli Supreme Court...."



Har Homa neighborhood slated for 'absentee' Palestinian land
By Meron Rapoport
 Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper
January 6, 2008

"The Housing Ministry is pushing forward with the construction of more than 1,000 residential units in East Jerusalem's Har Homa neighborhood on land held by "absentee" Palestinians from the Bethlehem area. The move is in violation of both an instruction from the attorney general to stop applying the absentee law in East Jerusalem and explicit promises to the U.S. not to apply that law in the capital's eastern quarters.... The new neighborhood is planned for east of the already-constructed Har Homa, in close proximity to Beit Sahur and Bethlehem. If built, it would isolate Bethlehem completely from the Palestinian neighborhoods south of Jerusalem.....The land is farmland owned by about 600 Beit Sahur families who worked the plots until the construction of the separation fence in the area."


(Editor's note: Beit Sahur is a Palestinian town adjacent to Bethlehem.)



Five IDF soldiers wounded, five Palestinians killed in Gaza fighting
By Yuval Azoulay and Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz Correspondents and News Agencies

"Five Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded Sunday, one of them moderately, and five Palestinians killed in series of incidents in the Gaza Strip. The fighting, which ended when the IDF withdrew at nightfall, also wounded at least 34 Palestinians, including four women, seven children and 15 gunmen.

....The army said the operation was routine, adding that such raids are carried out on a near daily basis in order to distance militants from the security fence with southern Israel.

Prior to Sunday's operation, roughly 30 Palestinians had been killed in IDF operations in the Gaza Strip since last week, all but two of them militants. The two civilians, both women, were killed when an IDF tank fired on a house from which militants had directed heavy fire at the IDF soldiers...."



PA does not want demilitarized Palestine
Jerusalem Post
January 4, 2008

"The prospects for a breakthrough in the peace process in the near future have dwindled following reports that Israel will demand that the future Palestinian state be demilitarized, Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said Thursday. The officials also strongly condemned Israel's security measures in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, saying the latest escalation posed an imminent threat to the PA's efforts to consolidate its power in these areas....

Nabil Shaath, a former minister and a top adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel's recent actions and statements jeopardized the future of the peace process. "It's impossible for us to negotiate on the basis of land for peace while Israel is taking our lands and continuing to build more settlements," he said. "Israel is doing everything to sabotage the understandings reached at the Annapolis peace conference."


Major Israeli incursion into Nablus 48 hours after Barak visit
Maan Newspapers
January 3, 2008

Nablus – Ma'an – "Israeli forces stormed Rafedia Hospital and besieged other hospitals in Nablus on Thursday morning in a major incursion into the northern West Bank city, just 24 hours after Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and his Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, had visited the volatile city.

Ma'an's correspondent said that more than 70 Israeli military vehicles entered Nablus from all directions, declaring the old city of Nablus a closed military zone preventing citizens' and medical staff from entering the area. ....The number of Palestinians injured later rose to 24. ...Ma'an's reporter added that the invading Israeli troops attacked Palestinian medics and ambulances with live ammunition and rubber bullets...."



Nine dead, more than forty injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip
GAZA - Ma'an News
January 3, 2008

"Israeli helicopters launched three missiles at a site belonging to Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades killing 25-year-old Atallah Qishta, a Fatah' member detained by Hamas, and injuring four others, one seriously. This brings the death toll since Thursday morning to nine. The number of those injured also rose to 46..."



Israeli Forces Raid Village Near Tulkarem, Injuring One
Ma'an News
January 3, 2008

"Tulkarem – Ma'an – A young Palestinian was shot and injured by Israeli soldiers in the village of Far'un, south of Tulkarem, as he walked near the separation wall west of the village, Ma'an's reporter said.

Our reporter quoted Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses as saying that the Israeli soldiers raided the village and shot at 18-year-old Mu'ath Ata wounding him in his leg. The Israeli troops then detained the injured man at the Jbara military checkpoint south of Tulkarem refusing to turn him over to the Palestinian ambulance services.

In another incident, Israeli forces raided the area of Ar-Ras north of Shuwaika neighborhood in Tulkarem...."



Jerusalem seeks Bush okay for IDF free hand in West Bank
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
January 3, 2008

"....Israel would like the U.S. to agree to a number of limitations on the future Palestinian state's sovereignty. Israel wants Palestine to be completely demilitarized, and for Israel to be able to fly over Palestinian air space. Border crossings would be monitored by Israel in such a way that the symbols of Palestinian sovereignty would not be compromised, but Israel would know who was coming and going.

Israel would also demand Palestinian agreement that in the case of an emergency Israel could deploy in essential areas of the West Bank to thwart a threat of invasion from the East. Israel is to propose the deployment of an international force in the West Bank and along the Philadelphi Route in Rafah, and would ask that a permanent Israel Defense Forces presence remain for an extended period in the Jordan Valley..... Israel would also demand Palestinian agreement that in the case of an emergency Israel could deploy in essential areas of the West Bank to thwart a threat of invasion from the East...."



Bush: Settlement expansion 'impediment' to peace
By Reuters

January 3, 2008

"U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday called Israeli settlement expansion an "impediment" to the success of revived peace efforts and urged the Jerusalem to follow through on its pledge to dismantle unauthorized settler outposts....."



Eight Gazans killed by IDF fire; Katyusha hits north Ashkelon

By Yuval Azoulay, Avi Issacharoff, and Mijal Grinberg
Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and News Agencies
January 3, 2008

"A Katyusha rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning struck an open field in northern Ashkelon, the furthest distance a rocket has struck yet - traveling some 16.5 kilometers.

Also Thursday, at least eight Palestinians were killed by Israel Defense Forces fire in several separate incidents in the Gaza Strip, including at least four militants....."



Gaza sewage, water disaster looms

By MEL FRYKBERG (Middle East Times)

Published: January 02, 2008

"More than 1.4 million Gaza Palestinians are facing an impending health disaster from decaying sewage and water systems that lack vital spare parts, fuel, and maintenance work, due to an Israeli economic siege on the Gaza Strip.....

""We are a one-generator-failure away from disaster," Michael Bailey, an Oxfam spokesman, told the Middle East Times. The situation is verging on critical. There are 35 sewage pumping stations operational in Gaza. If one of the pumps breaks there is no way to replace it, because of a lack of spare parts," said Bailey, whose organization works with Gaza's Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities. "This would mean sewage backing into homes and onto the streets and the resulting health problems associated with it."

In March an earth embankment around a sewage reservoir in the northern Gaza Strip collapsed spewing a river of waste and mud that killed at least five people....The World Bank and UNICEF have reported that despite repeated requests Israel has forbidden the importation by any means -- sea, air, or by land across the Egyptian border -- of consignments of pumps, metal pipes, air and oil filters, and other goods that need to be obtained from outside Gaza; while allowing only a few basics to be trucked through the Erez crossing with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip...."



An Israeli Hurdle for Haj Pilgrims

In Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

December 31, 2007

"Some 2,000 Palestinians who performed their Haj duties at Makkah are now stranded on two boats off the Egyptian coast. The reason for this is a dispute that has arisen with the Israeli authorities, who demand the right to security control checks of all pilgrims, something the Palestinians are reluctant to do, fearing reprisals from the Israeli security forces.

In checking for security clearance, Israel also investigates whether any of the personnel are related to Palestinians already in Israeli jails, of known person wanted by Israel. If it is proven to Israel's satisfaction that a pilgrim has some connection with a captive or wanted person, then from past experience, it is likely the pilgrim will be arrested and incarcerated without trial - something that happens to Palestinians all to often...."



Shin Bet denying vital treatment for ill Gazans
By Haaretz Staff and Channel 10 10 daily feature for December 31, 2007

"According to Physicians for Human Rights, the defense establishment is preventing critically ill Gazans from entering Israel for medical treatment. Since Israel labeled the Gaza Strip a hostile entity in September, there has been a steep decline in the number of permits issued to the ill. Of 551 requests for urgent medical treatment submitted, only 32 were approved. 314 requests were never answered."



Israeli troops kill two Palestinians in Gaza

Agence France Presse
 December 30, 2007

GAZA CITY (AFP) — Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians, one a civilian woman the other a militant, in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the army and Palestinian medical sources said.

In the first incident soldiers opened fire on two Palestinian militants attempting to place explosives near the Gaza border fence on Sunday, killing one and wounding the other, the army said....

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers opened fire later Sunday on a group of Palestinians awaiting returning Hajj pilgrims in the Gaza Strip, killing a 30-year-old woman, Palestinian medical sources said.



Israel Rejects Easing of West Bank Curbs

By Tobias Buck

In The Financial Times (United Kingdom)

December 30, 2007

"Israel said on Sunday it would not ease restrictions on movement and access for Palestinians in the West Bank unless the Palestinian leadership moved more forcefully against armed groups threatening violence against Israelis.

The announcement by Ehud Olmert, prime minister, followed the killing of two Israeli citizens near the West Bank town of Hebron on Friday. The victims – off-duty soldiers in their early twenties – were shot by Palestinian militants while hiking in the hills of their home town Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement on occupied Palestinian land near Hebron...."



2 soldiers slain on W. Bank hike; kill 1 attacker

By Haaretz Correspondent and AP
By Nadav Shragai

December 30, 2007

"The funeral procession for Ahikam Amihai and David Rubin, the two soldiers who were shot to death by terrorists while hiking near Hebron, set out yesterday from Kiryat Arba, where the men lived, to the cemetery on Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl. ...

Rubin and Ahikam Amihai, both in their 20s, were hiking with a woman from Kiryat Arba when four Palestinian terrorists opened fire on them from a Jeep.

Rubin and Amihai, who were soldiers on leave from the Israel Defense Forces, managed to return fire, killing one....."



Meanwhile, in the West Bank*

Gideon Levy, Haaretz
Dec 25, 2007

"Don't let the quiet fool you: It is imaginary. While all eyes are on Gaza, the impression has been created, under the aegis of a media turning a blind eye, that the West Bank is quiet... Well, that is not the case. The lives of the Palestinians in the West Bank are also intolerable, blood is being shed there too. For the Israel Defense Forces it is business as usual, with a frighteningly quick finger on the trigger.... Every week, innocent people are killed in the West Bank, and nobody talks about them.....

The story of the recent killings in the West Bank is not on our agenda, because so far the Palestinians there have not responded with attacks in retaliation for these deaths. But it is not certain that this quiet will continue..... (Levy follows with a long list of Palestinians recently killed by Israelis.)

Firas Kaskas went for a nature hike near Ramallah, accompanied by his brother and his brother-in-law. When they noticed a herd of gazelles running down to the wadi, they stood to watch. The soldiers who suddenly appeared shot him from afar, without warning. The IDF Spokesman claimed that the soldiers thought that he was placing an explosive device in the heart of the nature reserve...."


* Editor's note: Gideon Levy is an opinion writer, and his articles normally appear under "Opinion" on this site. This excerpt has been placed under "News" to show the connection between the killing of a young Palestinian on a nature hike near Ramallah by Israeli soldiers, and the killing of two young soldiers by Palestinian youth near an Israeli settlement a short time later. The soldiers were honored as heroes. The Palestinians were quickly labeled as terrorists. We reject all violence, but Americans rarely hear of incidents that precede Palestinian attacks on Israelis. We highly recommend the full article.'Meanwhile,%20in%20the%20West%20Bank'&dyn_server=




Civil Administration chief: Hundreds of units approved in disputed areas

By Barak Ravid
Haaretz Daily Newspapers
December 12, 2007




Construction proceeding last week in the disputed region of Har Homa, Jerusalem, as seen from the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (AP)






"There are hundreds, even thousands, of planned housing units in the West Bank that have building permits and do not need any further government approval before their construction can begin, Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, the head of the Civil Administration, told the interministerial committee on illegal outposts Tuesday.

Their construction "could cause similar embarrassment to that created by the publication of the tender for building in Har Homa," he added...... "



Sderot mayor quits amid Kassam fire

Jerusalem Post
December 12, 2007

"Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal didn't wake up Wednesday determined to leave the job he has held for the last eight years. But when pressed in a live interview with Israel Radio midday for his response to the barrage of Gazan rockets that hit his city that morning, wounding three people, the tall, lanky mayor had a surprising response. "I am notifying people now that I am resigning. I am not continuing with my job," he said. Maybe, he added, this would push the government to act....."



Six dead as Israeli forces withdraw from southern Gaza; 14 Projectiles land in Sderot

12 / 12 / 2007
Maa News Agency

Bethlehem – Ma'an – "The Israeli military announced the end of its invasion of the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning. The incursion left 6 Palestinian activists dead and several others wounded.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak described the operation as ‘achieving significant gains’ against Palestinian groups launching of homemade projectiles at Israeli towns bordering Gaza Strip.

Barak's claims were refuted just this morning as a barrage of homemade projectiles was launched towards Sderot in western Negev by Palestinian factions.

Israeli medical sources announced that several residents in Sderot went into shock as more than 14 homemade projectiles landed in the town this morning.

Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for 12 of the projectiles"




Settlers march to build new outpost beneath Beitar flag
By Yair Ettinger
Haaretz Correspondent
December 10, 2007

 "A large yellow and black flag of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club waved Sunday over a circle of dancing right-wing activists in the E-1 area between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim, where they want to establish an outpost called Mevaseret Adumim.

The flag flew next to Israeli flags and orange ones symbolizing opposition to withdrawal from the territories, as the Beitar supporters joined hundreds of right-wing supporters who responded to a call by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful organization to establish nine outposts throughout the West Bank...."


In letter to Rice, Hamas calls for dialogue with West
December 10, 2007

"Gaza – Ma'an – Hamas signaled its desire to be included in Western-backed peace negotiations in an open letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday.

America's efforts to isolate the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, on the other hand, will undermine any attempt at peace, wrote Ahmad Yousef, a senior aide to depose Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh....

Yousef reiterated Hamas' readiness for negotiations with the United States and Europe aiming to seriously address the issues discussed at the international conference in Annapolis last month...."




Civil rights group: Israel has reached new heights of racism
By Yuval Yoaz and Jack Khoury
Haaretz Correspondents


"Racism against Israel's Arab citizens has dramatically increased in the past year, including a 26 percent rise in anti-Arab incidents, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel's annual report. Author Sami Michael, the association's president, said upon the release of the report that racism was so rife it was damaging civil liberty in Israel.

"Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of


xpression and privacy," Michael said. The publication coincides with Human Rights Week, which begins Sunday.....The number of Jews expressing feelings of hatred toward Arabs has doubled, the report stated.

According to the June 2007 Democracy Index of the Israel Democracy Institute, for example, only half the public believes that Jews and Arabs must have full equal rights.

Among Jewish respondents, 55 percent support the idea that the state should encourage Arab emigration from Israel and 78 percent oppose the inclusion of Arab political parties in the government. According to a Haifa University study, 74 percent of Jewish youths in Israel think that Arabs are "unclean." ...."



Israel Plans New Homes in East Jerusalem

By Mark Lavie

In The Associated Press

December 5, 2007

"Israel announced plans Tuesday to build more than 300 new homes in a disputed east Jerusalem neighborhood, drawing quick Palestinian condemnation that the move will undermine newly revived peace talks.

The new housing would expand Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood in an area Palestinians claim as capital of a future state. Palestinian officials appealed to the U.S. to block the project, but Israel says a pledge to halt settlement activity does not apply anywhere in the holy city. The plan focuses attention on one of the most difficult issues facing Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in peace talks that are supposed to resume this month _ the future of Jerusalem...."




IAF airstrike kills 3 Hamas members in the Gaza Strip

By Yuval Azoulay

"The Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas military force position near Dir El Balah in the central Gaza Strip early yesterday morning, killing three Hamas members. The Israel Defense Forces said yesterday the attack was in response to the volley of mortar shells fired Sunday at Kibbutz Nahal Oz and a nearby army base....."



Undercover IDF unit accidentally kills PA policeman in Bethlehem

By Yuval Azoulay and Avi Issacharoff

Haaretz Correspondents


"An undercover Border Police unit accidentally killed a Palestinian police officer during an arrest raid in Bethlehem Wednesday.

Mohammed Salah, 36, was killed after Border Police officers refused to stop at a Palestinian security forces roadblock near Al-Hadar, south of Bethlehem.

The Palestinians began following the Israeli officers' vehicle, when the Border Police officers opened fire.

Salah was taken to the hospital in Beit Jalla, where he died of his injuries."




Sick Gazans Stuck In Queue Of Death

By Nidal Al-mughrabi

In Reuters

December 5, 2007

"Born last week with a heart defect, Salem al-Masri needs life-saving surgery. But like hundreds in the Gaza Strip, he and his parents have no permit from Israel to exit the enclave to a suitably equipped hospital.Palestinians suffering serious illnesses have long traveled from Gaza to nearby Israeli hospitals for treatments unavailable at facilities in the territory, which is home to 1.5 million people and was occupied by Israel for 38 years until 2005. However Israel has tightened border restrictions since Hamas Islamists seized control of the coastal enclave in June. It also prevents access to Gaza by sea or air and has ensured a border crossing into Egypt is mostly shut -- so hundreds like baby Salem cannot get the care that could save lives..."




Israeli Forces Kill 6 in Gaza
Published: December 2, 2007

"JERUSALEM, Dec. 1 — Five members of the Hamas armed wing were killed Saturday by an Israeli rocket strike in southern Gaza, near the village of Abassan. An additional eight gunmen were wounded, one critically, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, when helicopter gunship attacks followed the airstrikes.

Some of the wounded were affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group in Gaza.

Later on Saturday, a sixth Palestinian was killed and three more were wounded along Gaza’s northern border after a firefight with Israeli troops.

On Friday, the Supreme Court in Israel ruled that the government could continue scaling back diesel and gasoline shipments to Hamas-run Gaza, but ordered the postponement of gradual electricity cuts that were to begin Sunday. The delay was to allow the government to respond further to a legal challenge from a coalition of human rights groups. "



Hamas threatens to 'strike deep' after six militants killed in Gaza
By Yuval Azoulay
Haaretz Service and News Agencies

"A spokesman for the military wing of Hamas promised Saturday to strike deep inside Israel in response to the killing of six militants in a
predawn Israel Air Force air strike in southern Gaza Strip. Speaking at the funerals of the Hamas fighters in Khan Yunis, Ezz al-Deen



l-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obaida said: "The enemy must be ready for black funerals. Al-Qassam Brigades will turn everything on the head of the Zionists ... and attack them unexpectedly."

Early Saturday, an IAF strike killed five Hamas members, prompting threats by Gaza militants to fire longer-range rockets at Israeli border towns.
Eight people were wounded, including one critically, in the strike near Khan Younis, close to the border with Israel, according to Moaiya Hassanain of Gaza's Health Ministry...."



Abbas reiterates refusal to recognize Jewish state
By The Associated Press
December 1, 2007

"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his refusal on Saturday to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, Israel Radio reported.

'Historically, there are two states - Israel and Palestinian. Israel has Jews and other people, and this we are ready to recognize, but nothing else,' the radio quoted Abbas as saying shortly after he landed in Saudi Arabia after brief stops in Egypt and Jordan....."


Un Official Says Israel's Siege Of Gaza Breeds Extremism And Human Suffering

By Donald Macintyre

In The Independent (United Kingdom)

November 23, 2007

'A senior United Nations official has issued an unprecedented appeal to British MPs to use their influence to try to alleviate the impact of "indiscriminate" and "illegal" Israeli sanctions in Gaza which display "profound inhumanity" and are "serving the agenda of extremists".

In one of the strongest attacks on recent Israeli strategy issued by a senior international official, John Ging, Gaza's director of operations for the refugee agency UNRWA, said that "crushing sanctions" imposed since the Israeli cabinet declared the Strip a "hostile entity" in September had contributed to "truly appalling living conditions."'



Demolition Decimating Palestinian Village

By Ramsey Ben-achour

In Inter Press Service (IPS)

November 21, 2007

"Al Walajeh village was once a quiet but busy place. Just four kilometers from Bethlehem and 8.5 km from Jerusalem, its rolling hills filled with fruit trees, natural forests, and blooming vegetation made it a prime farming location. Easy access to large and consistent markets led its inhabitants to relative economic prosperity. Life was good.

Today, however, Al Walajeh village is a different place altogether. .."



Two killed and four injured in Israeli air strike on Al-Aqsa Brigades in Beit Hanoun
Ma'an News Agency
November 16. 2007

Gaza – Ma'an – Two activists affiliated to Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades were killed and four others injured, one seriously when Israeli fighter jets targeted their group in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday....

The Al-Aqsa Brigades said in a statement that they had launched 10 homemade projectiles at Sderot in the Western Negev as part of the military operation they've dubbed "Autumn in Gaza" and also to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the announcement of Palestinian Independence Day.


Erekat: Palestinians will not accept Israel as 'Jewish state'
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz
Correspondent and Haaretz Service

"Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, rejected on Monday the government's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Erekat said that "no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity."
Also Monday, dozens of prominent Palestinian residents of Jerusalem published an appeal to the Abbas, asking him not to make concessions to Israel over the holy city in the upcoming talks....

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the starting point for all negotiations with the Palestinians will be the "recognition of Israel as a state for the Jewish people...." "



Israelis Press Plan to Block the Division of Jerusalem
November 15, 2007

"JERUSALEM, Nov. 14 — The Israeli Parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill intended to hinder any division of Jerusalem in a future deal with the Palestinians. The vote came as Israel’s rightist and religious parties started positioning themselves before an American-sponsored peace gathering expected to take place in Annapolis, Md., this month...."



Palestinian billionaire launches movement to rival Fatah, Hamas
Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper
November 15, 2007

"Hundreds of Palestinian business people and professionals, led by an influential billionaire, launched a new political movement Thursday, reflecting growing disillusionment with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

Fatah dominated Palestinian politics for decades, but failed to reform or clean up its corrupt image, even after a painful loss to Hamas in parliament elections nearly two years ago.

Billionaire businessman Munib al-Masri, 73, inaugurated his Palestine Forum with meetings in Ramallah and Gaza, linked by video conference. Supporters said he would convert the new group into a political party and field candidates in the next Palestinian election. No date for an election has been set."



Israel to freeze settlement construction ahead of summit
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
November 14, 2007

"Israel will announce a freeze on settlement construction prior to the Annapolis conference, and will also declare its willingness to dismantle illegal West Bank settlement outposts, government sources said Tuesday.....In recent weeks, the United States has been demanding that Israel make significant gestures on settlements and outposts prior to the conference, to compensate for its refusal to discuss the "core issues" of a final-status agreement until after the conference ends....
Olmert would like the large settlement blocs - Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and the settlements around Jerusalem - to be exempted from this freeze, as Israel wants to keep these blocs under any future agreement.....As for the outposts, Israel has repeatedly promised to evacuate them, but has never done so...."


Palestinian village to be destroyed for sixth time
IMEMC, Nov 13, 2007

"The village of Ka'abna, in the Jordan Valley, was on Monday issued with its sixth demolition order in the past five years by Israeli authorities.
Ka'abna is home to eighty people, who have been displaced numerous times by Israeli authorities since being expelled from their original homes eighteen years ago.
Now, the Israeli military has declared the land a "closed military zone," and is ordering the refugees to move once again.
30 homes and animal enclosures will be destroyed if the demolition takes place, and the lives and education of 50 children will be severely disrupted yet again.
The villagers of Ka'abna were displaced from their land 18 years ago by one of the many illegal Israeli settlements that now occupy the Jordan Valley...."


Religious Leaders Join in Support of Mideast Peace
| Wed. Nov 07, 2007
The Jewish Daily Forward

"Washington - The highest ranking Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders from the Holy Land made a groundbreaking statement of support this week for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process....


The communiqué, presented Wednesday in a joint press conference in Washington, said that “Palestinians yearn for the end to occupation and what they see as their inalienable rights. Israelis long for the day when they can live in personal and national security. Together we must find ways of reaching these goals.”


The summit appears to represent the first time that Israel’s chief rabbis have spoken of ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank......"



Israel Flouts Pledge To Curb Settlements
By Richard Bourdreaux
In The Los Angeles Times
November 8, 2007

"Israel is enlarging 88 of its 122 West Bank settlements despite an agreement to halt the spread of Jewish communities in Palestinian territory, the watchdog group Peace Now said Wednesday.

A report by the group, which documented the construction of new homes with aerial photography and on-site visits, heated up the debate here over a key issue for the U.S.-sponsored peace summit planned by year's end.

Israel wants to keep large blocks of settlements in a final peace accord, but the Palestinians demand the entire West Bank for a future state. Under a 2003 U.S.-backed plan known as the "road map," Israel agreed to stop the expansion of settlements as a first step toward negotiations on final borders.

During a visit this week to prepare for the summit, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won renewed pledges from Israel and the Palestinians to abide by the long-ignored road map. But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while acknowledging that both sides had failed to live up to the plan, did not say when Israel would move to stop settlement expansion."


Palestinians demand timeline for peace accord
By Mohammed Assadi
Tuesday, October 30, 2007; 10:14 AM

"RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinians will not pursue peace talks with Israel without an agreed timeline for reaching a deal on statehood, chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurie said on Tuesday.

'The Israeli prime minister had announced that he will not accept a timeline, and we say we won't accept negotiations without a timeline. We do not want to go to open negotiations,' Qurie told reporters...."



Israel's Decision to Cut Power in Gaza is Illegal, says UN
By Donald Macintyre
In The Independent (United Kingdom)
October 30, 2007

"The UN's top official in Gaza will tell British ministers today that Israel's cuts in fuel and power to the Palestinians violate international law, while the isolation of Hamas has strengthened extremism and started to drive non-affiliated moderates who can leave Gaza to do so.

'We keep saying people in Gaza are at rock bottom but they keep digging into the rock,' Karen Koning- Abu Zayd, head of the UN refugee agency UNRWA, said of Israel's decision to start power cuts and reduce fuel supplies to Gaza in response to continued Qassam rocket attacks. Israel began cutting supplies on Sunday. The Supreme Court has given the state five days to answer a petition by human rights groups against the move, which follows the cabinet's declaration of Gaza as a 'hostile entity' last month."



Mazuz Prohibits Punitive Power Cuts in Gaza Strip
By Shlomo Shamir
In Haaretz (Israel)
October 30, 2007

"Attorney General Menachem Mazuz yesterday prohibited the state from cutting off electricity to parts of the Gaza Strip, as the defense minister has threatened to do. After holding a debate in his office yesterday, Mazuz ordered the defense establishment to reexamine the issue.

The decision followed a petition submitted by 10 human rights organizations, asking the High Court of Justice not to allow punitive measures against the Gaza Strip's population. The petitioners argued that the decision to cut off vital power supplies was illegal and was likely to harm the innocent civilian population in the embattled coastal strip.  The court instructed the state to answer the petition by Friday, but refrained from banning the power cut.

At the end of the debate, Mazuz ruled that Israel had a right to sever economic and commercial ties with Gaza, which Israel declared a "hostile territory" last month, ....."he rock,' Karen Koning- Abu Zayd, head of the UN refugee agency UNRWA, said of Israel's decision to start power cuts and reduce fuel supplies to Gaza in response to continued Qassam rocket attacks. Israel began cutting supplies on Sunday. The Supreme Court has given the state five days to answer a petition by human rights groups against the move, which follows the cabinet's declaration of Gaza as a 'hostile entity' last month......"



POLITICS: Desmond Tutu Likens Israeli Actions to Apartheid
By Adrianne Appel
In Inter Press Service (IPS) , Interview
October 28, 2007

"BOSTON, Oct 28 (IPS) - South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu compared conditions in Palestine to those of South Africa under apartheid, and called on Israelis to try and change them, while speaking in Boston Saturday at historic Old South Church.

'We hope the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel will end,' Tutu said.

'There is a cry of anguish from the depth of my heart, to my spiritual relatives. Please, please hear the call, the noble call of our scripture,' Tutu said of Israelis.

'Don't be found fighting against this god, your god, our god, who hears the cry of the oppressed,' Tutu said.

Tutu spoke with political activist and lecturer Noam Chomsky and others to a largely religious audience about 'The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel,' a conference sponsored by Friends of Sabeel North America, a Christian Palestinian group......."


In act of joint reflection, Israeli and PA diplomats visit Auschwitz
By The Associated Press
October 21, 2007

"The top Israeli and Palestinian diplomats stationed in Poland visited the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp complex together Sunday in a rare joint act of reflection on the Holocaust.

Israeli Ambassador David Peleg said he spent 2 hours with his Palestinian counterpart, Khaled Ghazal, visiting the gas chambers, crematoria and barracks at the former Nazi camps in southern Poland.

Ghazal, who initiated the visit, said he saw it as way to express his sympathy with the suffering of the Jewish people during World War II, and said he hoped such acts of remembrance can help build better ties between his people and Israelis...."


IAF strike injures at least four Hamas gunmen in north Gaza
By Avi Issacharoff
Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies

"GAZA - An Israel Air Force strike injured at least four Hamas gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, medical workers said....An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman confirmed an attack but gave no other details.

AF aircraft on Saturday killed two Islamic Jihad terrorists in a missile strike on a fishing boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the IDF said...."


Gaza hospital forced to cut surgeries due to anesthetic shortage
The Associated Press
October 21, 2007

Shifa Hospital had been using emergency reserves of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, for the past two weeks, and placed an order for fresh supplies, but stocks ran out Sunday morning, hospital spokesman Walid Mahalawi said..."


Increase in Hebron settlement violence
Oct 20, 2007

"On 19 March 2007, a new settlement was established, in the heart of the a-Ras Palestinian neighborhood. In the months that have passed since then, despite the decision of the Defense Minister at the time to evacuate the settlement, the settlement has grown. Recently, the settlement was connected to the electricity grid, and construction and renovation work is taking place at the site.

Since the settlement has been established, the harm to the Palestinian residents has increased and they have suffered further infringement of their human rights. Palestinians suffer both from the settlers and from Israeli security forces who have been assigned protect the settlement."


Top minister calls for more settlement activities in Jerusalem
International Middle East Media Center
Oct 19, 2007

"Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, called on the government on Thursday to intensify its settlement activities in occupied East Jerusalem, and stated that Israel must build more settlements regardless of American objections"


Israel refuses to open talks with Lebanon over Shaba Farms
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel has refused a recommendation by a United Nations ambassador to begin negotiations with Lebanon over the disputed Shaba Farms area. According to the envoy, Geir Pedersen, the United Nations is becoming increasingly convinced that Shaba Farms belongs to Lebanon.


Rights group: Steep rise in violence against Hebron Palestinians
By Nadav Shragai
Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
October 19, 2007

"Violent attacks and against Palestinian residents of Hebron, carried out by both settlers and security forces, have risen sharply over recent months, according to a report published by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem"



Amnesty slams Lebanon for discrimination on Palestinians

"The Lebanese government must take concrete steps to end all discrimination against Palestinian refugees and to protect their human rights, Amnesty International said in a report launched in Beirut on Wednesday. Unlike refugees in Syria and Jordan, who have been largely integrated into society, Palestinians in Lebanon live under severe restrictions on work, travel and education." 


New Coalition To Fight Any Jerusalem Division
by James D. Besser
Washington Correspondent
October 18, 2007

"What organizers claim is an unprecedented coalition of Jewish and Evangelical Christian groups is taking shape to fight any Israeli compromises on the status of Jerusalem at next month’s Annapolis peace summit."


Top IDF officer censured over use of 'human shields' in Nablus
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
October 18, 2007

"Israel Defense Forces Brigadier-General Yair Golan was censured on Thursday for allowing soldiers to use Palestinian civilians as "human shields" during military operations in the West Bank."


Palestinians pessimistic on peace talks
By Sharmila Devi in Jerusalem
The Financial Times
October 17 2007

"As a series of high-profile international visitors, including Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair, traipse through the Holy Land, Palestinians are looking on with a mixture of indifference and despair..... 
Mustafa Barghouthi, a former Palestinian information minister, said in the time between George W. Bush, US president, announcing the peace meeting on July 16 and last Monday, the Israeli military had killed 104 Palestinians, in-cluding 12 children. Yesterday an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian were killed in the Gaza Strip."


IDF orders seizure of Arab land near East Jerusalem
By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent
October 9, 2007

"The Israel Defense Forces recently issued an order expropriating over 1,100 dunams of land from four Arab villages located between East Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. The land is slated to be used for a new Palestinian road that would connect East Jerusalem with Jericho. That in turn would "free up" the E-1 area between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim - through which the current Jerusalem-Jericho road runs - for a long-planned Jewish development consisting of 3,500 apartments and an industrial park.....


The Palestinians and the international community, including the United States, have long objected to the E-1 plan on the grounds that it would cut the West Bank in two and sever East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank..."



One Palestinian Village Struggles Against Israel's Ever-Expanding "Settlements"
By Mohammed Khatib AlterNet
September 26, 2007

"On September 4, after nearly three years of nonviolent protests by our village of Bil'in, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israel's wall here must be moved further west, returning 500 acres of our farmland. In Bil'in we celebrated, along with our Israeli and international supporters. But Israel's Supreme Court demonstrated both the power of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation, and its limits. On September 5 the court rejected our petition to stop the construction of another Israeli settlement, Mattiyahu East, on our land even further to the west. Israel, with US support, appears determined to retain major West Bank settlement blocs, including one west of Bil'in, that carve the West Bank into bantustans...."

11 Palestinians killed in IDF strikes on Gaza: Hamas vows revenge

By Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay
Haaretz Correspondents, and Haaretz Service

"The militant group Hamas vowed on Thursday to avenge the killing of 11 Palestinians in three separate Israel Defense Forces strikes in the Gaza Strip late Wednesday and early Thursday morning. Hamas, which seized control of Gaza from rival forces loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in June, said Israel would 'pay heavily' for the attack.....Meanwhile, eleven Qassams were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, including two that hit the rocket-weary town of Sderot. One of the rockets hit a house in a western Negev community, Israel Radio reported, causing damage but no injuries. The IDF said there were no injuries of damage in the other attacks...."


Settlers plan to set up 5 new West Bank outposts during Sukkot

By Nadav Shragai
Haaretz Daily News
September 26, 2007

"Right-wing activists are planning to set up five new settlement nuclei throughout the West Bank this Sunday, during the interim days of Sukkot.  The operation, details of which were announced Tuesday, will include taking possession of the land at the following locations: Givat Ha'eitam near Efrat, Hill 1013 near Halhoul in the Hebron region, Nofei Hashmonaim near Hashmonaim, "Harhivi" outpost near Elon Moreh, and "Shvut Ami" outpost in Samaria...."


Saudi FM: Israel should halt settlement building before talks

Haaretz Daily News
September 26, 2007

"Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said on Wednesday Israel should freeze construction in West Bank settlements and on the separation fence in order to attract Arab states to a planned peace conference.  But speaking to a group of journalists, Prince Saud al-Faisal stopped short of saying the Arabs would not attend the U.S.-organized conference, expected to be held in the Washington area in November, unless Israel took such measures....."


Israel Denies Re-entry Visas to Holy Land Arab Christian Clergy

Sept. 23, 2007

"The Israeli Government has rescinded its policy of granting re-entry visas to Arab Christian ministers, priests, nuns and other religious workers who wish to travel in and out of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, according to information provided to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) by Christian clergy in Jerusalem.  Until now, re-entry visas were normally granted in Israel by the Israeli Government to Arab Christian religious workers in the Holy Land, and clergy traveled relatively freely to and from points overseas, including the United States.  However, HCEF has been informed that Arab Christian church workers will henceforth have to apply for re-entry visas at Israeli consulates abroad each time they travel outside the areas of Israeli control. 

Since visa applications submitted to Israeli missions abroad are normally not acted upon for months after they are filed, this new Israeli policy means that religious personnel will no longer be able to move freely between their parishes in the occupied territories and any points out side of those areas.  Christian church workers normally travel frequently between their parishes and their churches’ offices in Jerusalem. Some also must travel often to countries outside the region, including the United States."



UN finds 40 new W. Bank roadblocks in two months

By Avi Issacharoff for Haaretz Daily Newspaper

September 21, 2007

"Despite repeated promises to reduce the number of roadblocks in the West Bank, Israel has in fact added dozens of new ones, according to the United Nations…..the number of roadblocks has now reached 572, an increase of 52% compared to 376 in August 2005, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).  In the past two months alone, Israel put up 40 new roadblocks, OCHA said….consisting of concrete cubes, earthen embankments and other barricades blocking roads and exits from villages and towns….The UN figures do not include checkpoints set up along the Green Line."



Israel rejects Gaza cease-fire offer

"Israel has rejected an offer by Hamas to renew a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported Friday. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office reportedly contacted a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem through a third party before the cabinet decided on Wednesday to declare Gaza a "hostile territory." After the cabinet decision, the source responded to Hamas's proposal, saying Israel would not hold talks with the group at this time. On Thursday, Haniyeh met with representatives of the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza and asked them to abide by any cease-fire agreement Hamas would strike with Israel. The groups expressed willingness to assent, but wanted to wait for Israel's response. Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin said Friday that if Israel has in fact rejected Hamas's proposed cease-fire, it is an irresponsible decision both for the residents of the western Negev and for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit."


The War on Gaza’s Children
by Saree Makdisi
Los Angeles Times
22 September 2007

"Israel's sanctions are leaving a generation of Palestinian children poorly educated and hungry."


"....An increasing number of Palestinian families in Gaza are unable to offer their children more than one meager meal a day, often little more than rice and boiled lentils. Fresh fruit and vegetables are beyond the reach of many
families. Meat and chicken are impossibly expensive. Gaza faces the rich waters of the Mediterranean, but fish is unavailable in its markets because the Israeli navy has curtailed the movements of Gaza’s fishermen.",0,2067602.story?coll=la-news-comment


MIDEAST: Palestinians Poorer Than Ever
By David Cronin

"Poverty in the Palestinian territories has reached "unprecedented levels" because they have been held under an "economic siege" for almost seven years, a United Nations body has found. 
During 2006 the number of Palestinians living in 'deep poverty' almost doubled to more than 1 million. Some 46 percent of public sector employees do not have enough food to meet their basic needs, with 53 percent of households in the Gaza reporting that their incomes declined in the last year by more than half. This data is contained in a report, released Aug. 30, by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)......"


Number of poor Israeli children on the rise
Agence France Presse
September 4, 2007

"JERUSALEM --  The number of Israeli children living below the poverty line increased slightly in 2006, while the number of poor people, overall, remained steady at nearly 25 percent of the population, a government report said Tuesday. Some 35.8 percent of Israeli children were regarded as poor in 2006, compared with 35.2 percent the previous year, said the report by the National Insurance Institute, which oversees social security issues in Israel...."


Court orders state to alter West Bank separation fence route at Bil'in
By Yuval Yoaz, Haaretz Correspondent, and news agencies
September 4, 2007

"The High Court of Justice Tuesday ordered the state to redraw, partially dismantle and rebuild the route of a 1.7 kilometer section of the West Bank separation fence, which was built on land belonging to Bil'in, a Palestinian village which has become a focus of opposition to the barrier...."


Reform Jewish leader tells U.S. Muslims that Islam is being demonized
By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent and Reuters
September 4, 2007

"The president of the Union for Reform Judaism accused American media, politicians and religious groups on Friday of demonizing Islam.  Addressing the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, Rabbi Eric Yoffie said Muslims have been turned into 'satanic figures.'   'There exists in this country among all Americans, whether Jews, Christians, or non-believers, a huge and profound ignorance about Islam ... there is no shortage of voices prepared to tell us that fanaticism and intolerance are fundamental to Islamic religion, and that violence and even suicide bombing have deep Koranic roots,' he said...."



Blair to urge easing of West Bank restrictions during Mideast visit
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, and news agencies
September 4, 2007

"Beginning his first working visit on Tuesday, the Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair was expected to press for easing hardships and improving living conditions in the West Bank ahead of a meeting of Mideast mediators...."


Israeli forces storm Qalqilia
Date: 29 / 08 / 2007


Qalqilia - Ma'an - Thirty Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces stormed the city of Qalqilia in the northern West Bank on Wednesday morning.
Medical sources have confirmed that 18-year-old Ibrahim Hassan Mohammad was shot in the head and is in a critical condition.....

Israeli forces later withdrew from Qalqilia after the incursion lasting 15 hours. They left behind five houses in differing states of demolition and over 30 injuries, one of which considered "serious".


Undercover Israeli forces invade Bethlehem
Date: 29 / 08 / 2007  Time:  19:35


Bethlehem – Ma'an – A Palestinian citizen was injured and two others were abducted after Israeli military forces invaded the Wadi Ma'ali neighbourhood in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Wednesday evening.
Ma'an's reporter stated that over 15 Israeli military vehicles entered the area, besieging shops and an internet café. They also fired gunshots towards Palestinian citizens, injuring Muhammad Ku'ali 17 with a rubber-coated steel bullet to the head


Three Palestinian children killed in IDF strike in northern Gaza

By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents and Haaretz Service
August 30, 2007

Three Palestinian children were killed on Wednesday afternoon in a blast in the northern Gaza Strip, when an Israel Defense Forces tank fired on a Qassam rocket launcher.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry said 10-year-old Mahmoud Ghazal and his 12-year-old cousin Yehiya Ghazal were killed immediately. Their 10-year-old cousin Sara Ghazal was critically injured, and died later from her wounds.
The IDF said it fired on the Qassam launcher after it detected unidentified figures next to it.....


Olmert evades Abbas' demands in meeting of two leaders
Date: 28 / 08 / 2007  Time:  13:37

"Bethlehem – Ma'an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met on Tuesday in Jerusalem, in order to discuss plans for US President Bush's international peace conference this autumn.

Abbas has said that the conference will be pointless unless it addresses the core Palestinian issues of statehood, the borders, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.  Abbas said to Voice of Palestine radio, "If there is a clear framework including final status issues, we will welcome this and go to the conference."  The timing and agenda of the planned international summit have not yet been set.

Abbas rejected Olmert's recent proposals for a territorial exchange of Palestinian populated areas of Israel, for Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank......"



Israeli forces arrest three peaceful demonstrators in Bil'in
Date: 24 / 08 / 2007  Time:  17:58

"Ramallah – Ma'an – Several Palestinians were injured and three foreign journalists were seized by Israeli forces during a weekly non-violent protest against the land-confiscation wall in Bil'in on Friday.

Dozens gather each week to show solidarity with the people of Bil'in who are losing vast areas of land for the construction of the illegal wall....."



Palestinian fighters launch projectiles into Israel
Ma'an News Agency, August 27, 2007

"Gaza – Ma'an – The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, claimed responsibility on Sunday evening for launching a homemade projectile at the Israeli Western Negev town of Sderot.  The brigades also conducted a joint operation with the Al Quds Brigades of Islamic Jihad and launched a second projectile at Sderot on Sunday evening..."


EU Parliament to host panel meeting on Palestinians' rights
By The Associated Press

A United Nations panel meeting on the rights of Palestinians will take place at the premises of the European Parliament later this week, despite protests by Israel and some European Union parliamentarians, who claim the group organizing it has an anti-Israeli record, officials said Monday."



Delays at checkpoints challenged
by Roee Nahmias, YNet News, August 27, 2007

"Medical organizations file petition with High Court of Justice following report showing 73% of ambulances delayed at entrance to east Jerusalem in 2007

A petition was filed with the High Court of Justice Sunday, requesting the state be ordered to implement the procedure of “treating a West Bank resident who arrives at a checkpoint in emergency medical condition”, and allow the transfer of the sick and injured in need of urgent medical care to medical centers in east Jerusalem. ",2506,L-3442131,00.html

Peace Now: Gov't investing excessively in West Bank roads
By Haaretz Service, August 26, 2007

"Activist organization Peace Now on Sunday published a report maintaining that Israel's government is disproportionately investing money in West Bank roads, while neglecting those across Israel. Amidst a wave of lethal traffic accidents over the past week, Peace Now released a statement saying that 'many crashes are caused by poor road conditions, lack of safety precautions and low maintenance, while in the West Bank the investment in the quality of roads continues.' "

Israeli forces demolish thousands of forest trees owned by Cremisan Monastery
Maan News Agency, August 15, 2007

"Bethlehem – Ma'an – The Israeli forces on Wednesday began to raze hundreds of forest trees belonging to the Cremisan monastery near Beit Jala, in the southern occupied Palestinian West Bank....The area to be destroyed includes around 2,150 forest trees, some of which are over 200 years old.  The trees are being razed in order to erect the illegal separation wall, which is located near the border of Jerusalem."

ILA leasing Arab-owned land in Jerusalem to [settler group] Ateret Cohanim
Haaretz, August 20, 2007
By Meron Rapoport, Haaretz Correspondent

"The Israel Lands Administration (ILA) is working together with the [settler group] Ateret Cohanim association to wrest from Palestinian landowners control of 30 dunams (7.5 acres) of land in East Jerusalem and to transfer it to the association without a tender......
Ateret Cohanim promotes settlement of Jews in and around the Old City, and at times takes over Palestinian assets in East Jerusalem so as to "Judaize" that area. "


Settlers cut Palestinian water supply to fill swimming pool
by Ronny Shaked, YNet News, August 19, 2007

"Residents of the settlement of Elon Moreh in the West Bank have cut a pipe carrying drinking water to a nearby Palestinian village, and are using it to fill a small swimming pool located at a picnic site, which was itself built on land owned by the village.
The pipe, which carries water to the village of Dir al-Khatab, was rerouted in order to fill the pool. The pipe channels fresh drinking water into the pool and drains dirty water back into the village's water system.
"They not only use water that doesn't belong to them, but they also pollute the drinking water of some of the village residents," said Yoel Marshak, head of the Kibbutz Movement's Special Assignments Branch. "The little kids pee in the water, which flows straight to the taps of the Palestinian school."  ",2506,L-3439192,00.htm

Isolated Gaza a jail for its people
By Matthew Price
BBC, Gaza

The drive south through the Gaza Strip takes about 45 minutes, along dirty impoverished streets and children collecting water in plastic bottles from a standpipe in the road. At the border crossing into Egypt, the man in charge showed us round an empty departure hall. The metal detectors and X-ray machines were switched off. The passport control computers gathered dust. It is not just goods that are being kept in - so are the people.


Boycott movement targets Israel
by George Bisharat, San Francisco Chronicle
 Aug 15, 2007

"When does a citizen-led boycott of a state become morally justified?
That question is raised by an expanding academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel. The movement joins churches, unions, professional societies and other groups based in the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa."

Jewish Voice for Peace News Roundup
August 12, 2007

An excellent summary of the week's events from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

A Segregated Road in an Already Divided Land
 Published: August 11, 2007

JERUSALEM, Aug. 10 — "Israel is constructing a road through the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, that will allow both Israelis and Palestinians to travel along it — separately.  There are two pairs of lanes, one for each tribe, separated by a tall wall of concrete patterned to look like Jerusalem stones, an effort at beautification indicating that the road is meant to be permanent. The Israeli side has various exits; the Palestinian side has few......"

Israeli Forces Seize 20 Palestinians in the West Bank at Dawn
August 13, 2007
Bethlehem – Ma'an News Agency

The Israeli forces launched a widespread apprehension campaign in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, seizing twenty Palestinians.

Number of checkpoints in Bethlehem increasing, says governor
August 12, 2007

Bethlehem – Ma'an News Agency – "Governor of Bethlehem, Salah Al Ta'mari, said on Sunday that the Israeli government has increased the number of military checkpoints in the Bethlehem area of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.  Ta'mari said that the Israeli military procedures are destroying the daily lives of residents of the governorate.
The soldiers humiliate Palestinians forced to cross the checkpoints and detain them for hours without justification, said Ta'mari. 
Ta'mari said that reports in the press about a reduction in the number of West Bank checkpoints are false.  The allegedly 'temporary' checkpoints in the governorate separate Bethlehem from the surrounding villages and the southern West Bank city of Hebron, says Ta'mari.  Ta'mari notes that the checkpoints are erected along with Israeli incursions into Bethlehem and at the same time land is confiscated and the construction of the separation Wall continues....."


 Gaza bank freezes Hamas accounts

A Palestinian bank has frozen the accounts of Hamas' security force after mistakenly paying the wages of 3,000 of the group's members, officials say. The Gaza branch of the Palestine Islamic Bank says it acted at the request of the Palestinian Authority. A spokesman for Hamas Islamist group described the move as illegal.

Israel: Villagers face evacuation orders, movement restrictions
Date: 08 Aug 2007
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

AL-HADIDIYA, 8 August 2007 (IRIN) - Palestinian residents of al-Hadidiya village in Jordan Valley (in the West Bank), live without electricity or running water and most importantly, they say, face demolition and evacuation orders.

Gaza Strip holds its breath
By Ken Ellingwood, Times Staff Writer
June 22, 2007

"Hamas forces dominate the Palestinian territory, and residents await signs of what the future may hold....Many in Gaza fear their isolation is about to get worse. Residents have long described the coastal enclave as a big prison. Now its borders with Israel and Egypt are sealed. ",0,5959591,full.story?coll=la-home-center

Israeli army conducts extensive campaigns across West Bank
Maan News, Jun 22, 2007

The Israeli forces have withdrawn from the northern West Bank city of Nablus after a military operation that lasted several hours and resulted in the arrest of four Palestinians and the injury of one of them.

The Israeli army carried out a wide arrest campaign on Friday at dawn in which many Palestinians from Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank were arrested. The Israeli army claimed that the men, mostly believed to be affiliated to Fatah, were 'wanted'.

Probe: W. Bank settlers uproot 300 Palestinian olive trees
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent  22/06/2007

A Civil Administration inquiry has found that residents of the West Bank settlement outpost of Adei Ad uprooted 300 olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers about a week ago and replanted about half of them in the outpost, according to a source in the Civil Administration.

Gaza closure an economic and humanitarian disaster
Maan News, Jun 22, 2007

Israel is conducting punitive measures against the Gaza Strip, the most prominent of which is the cancellation of the commercial code of the Gaza Strip and the closure of the crossings through which food stuffs and other basic raw materials usually pass.

Abbas mulls early Palestinian elections
By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writer Thu Jun 21, 11:02 PM ET

RAMALLAH, West Bank - In his bitter wrangling with Hamas over legitimacy, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is considering calling presidential and legislative elections to strengthen his position, a top aide said Thursday.  However, elections could only be held in the West Bank while Gaza remains under Hamas rule, further deepening the split between the two territories.

U.S.-led move to back Abbas gov't blocked in Security Council
By Shlomo Shamir
Haaretz Correspondent

"... a Security Council bid to support Abbas and isolate Hamas has been thwarted by the objections of Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar.  The objections blocked a U.S. initiative for a Security Council declaration of confidence in the emergency government Wednesday. ....  UN sources in New York said that these countries' governments object to the anti-Hamas policy and to American and European efforts to isolate the group as a terror organization. They said that Russia and South Africa have questioned the legitimacy of the Palestinian emergency government and argued that a Palestinian unity government is not only still possible, but would be preferable to the emergency government headed by Fayad, which has authority in the West Bank only.

Jewish leaders skeptical about funding for Abbas

"It took little time for the Bush administration to announce concrete steps to support the new Palestinian Authority government. But some Israel supporters are questioning the wisdom of those steps."

New UN map charts West Bank reality
By Sharmila Devi and Harvey Morris in Jerusalem

Published: June 4 2007 16:51 | Last updated: June 4 2007 16:51

"A new map of the West Bank (see below), 40 years after its conquest by Israel in the Six Day War, gives the most definitive picture so far of a territory in which 2.5m Palestinians are confined to dozens of enclaves separated by Israeli roads, settlements, fences and military zones....The impact of Israeli civilian and military infrastructure is to render 40 per cent of the territory, which is roughly the size of the US state of Delaware or the English county of Norfolk, off-limits to Palestinians."  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!,dwp_uuid=fc3334c0-2f7a-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8.html


Amnesty says Israel should tear down wall

04 Jun 2007 16:13:30 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - The barrier Israel is building in the occupied West Bank has caused deaths and suffering among Palestinians and should be torn down, the Amnesty International rights group said in a report on Monday.


Aid Money Disbursed to Palestinians
The Associated Press
Sunday, June 3, 2007; 12:09 PM

"RAMALLAH, West Bank -- A new account set up to bypass an international boycott of Hamas has begun disbursing vital foreign aid to the Palestinians, with tens of millions of dollars expected to be used to partially pay civil servant salaries this week, the finance minister said Sunday.....While Arab countries and Norway have already paid a total of $184 million into the new fund, the two biggest donors to the Palestinians _ the U.S. and European Union _ have not committed to it, he said."


Jordan's King Warns Cheney on Mideast
By Jamal Halaby
From The Associated Press
published by The Washington Post
Monday, May 14, 2007; 7:01 AM

AMMAN, Jordan -- Jordan's king warned visiting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney Monday that time was running out to use an Arab peace plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a royal palace statement.

King Abdullah II, a moderate Arab leader and a key U.S. ally, also called for a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear standoff with the West, the statement said....."

EU boycotts 'provocative' Israeli anniversary party
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem, 
Published in The Independent on May 14, 2007

"Ambassadors from European Union states are to boycott celebrations of the 40th anniversary of Israel's conquest of Arab East Jerusalem this week - in the opening shot of what promises to be a challenging summer for Israeli diplomacy. The United States ambassador, Richard Jones, is also expected to join the Europeans in snubbing the celebrations .

What Israelis commemorate as the 'reunification' of their historic Jewish capital is seen by most of the international community, not to mention the Palestinians, as a unilateral attempt to pre-empt a key issue in any peaceful solution. One-third of the city's 725,000 residents are Palestinians, who have opted to reject offers of Israeli citizenship. Along with most other countries, the Europeans keep their embassies in Tel Aviv....." 


Gaza factions 'agree new truce'
BBC News, Monday, May 14, 2007

“Hamas and Fatah made a deal after two days of bitter street violence, government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said……. Eight people have died since Sunday and 30 others have been hurt in the worst outbreak of violence in several months….”


Report: Palestinians were forced out of 1,000 Hebron homes
Haaretz Daily 
May 14, 2007
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

“A report by two major Israeli civil rights organizations that was issued Sunday indicates that Palestinians abandoned more than 1,000 homes and at least 1,829 businesses in the center of Hebron due to pressure by the Israel Defense Forces, the police and Jewish settlers. Many of those referred to fled during the second intifada, beginning in September 2000.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Civil Rights in the Occupied Territories, claim that a ‘policy of separation on a national basis’ is being imposed in Hebron…..”


Palestine:  A capital question
May 10th 2007 | JERUSALEM
The Economist print edition

“More Palestinians are losing their right to live in Jerusalem than ever before.  ON May 15th, “Nakba [Catastrophe] Day”, Palestinians mourn the loss of most of their homeland to the newborn state of Israel. In a grim irony for them, this year's “Jerusalem Day”, the date in the lunar Jewish calendar when Israel celebrates its “reunification” of the city after capturing the West Bank in the 1967 war, falls the day after.

The 245,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem itself will feel the irony extra sharply. Last year 1,363 of them, many from generations-old Jerusalem families, lost their right to live in the city—up more than six-fold on the year before, and the highest annual total ever…..”


What cease-fire?
By Amira Hass

Talking about making and breaking a cease-fire spares the Palestinians from having to admit the failure of their Qassam missile publicity stunts. Proposals to widen the cease-fire to the West Bank sidestep any need for an inter-Palestinian debate on the destructive uselessness of a suicide-based "armed struggle."

"Cease-fire" is yet another hollow term, showing that the Palestinian representatives - elected or not, Hamas or Fatah or Palestine Liberation Organization-Tunis, from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the last spokesman of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' "Brigades" - keep falling into the traps set for them by the politics of Israeli occupation.


Hamas calls for new attacks after IDF soldiers kill nine in 24 hours
April 22, 2007
By Zvika Gottlieb, Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents, and News Agencies

"The Islamic militant group Hamas called Sunday for new attacks on Israel after nine Palestinians were killed by Israel Defense Forces troops in a surge of fighting over the weekend....."

IOF Escalate Attacks in the OPT:  8 Palestinians, Including a Child, Killed in 24 Hours
April 22, 2007

"In the past 24 hours, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated attacks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). They have killed 8 Palestinians, including a child. Four of the victims were extra-judicially executed. PCHR strongly condemns this latest escalation and the reactivation of the policy of extra-judicial executions, which increases tension in the region and threatens the life of Palestinian civilians...."

White House announces potential sale of military equipment to Israel
 21, 2007
By Reuters

"The Bush administration announced on Friday what would be the first officially disclosed sale of United States military equipment to Israel since the end of the Second Lebanon War this past summer.  In a notice to Congress, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Israel had requested as many as 3,500 MK-84 "general purpose" bombs, spares and repair parts plus U.S. government technical assistance in a deal worth up to $65 million if all options are exercised.

General Dynamics Corp. would be the prime contractor.. Such congressional notices are required by law for sales that meet certain thresholds, and Congress can block a proposed sale."

Palestinians plan events to mark Nakba
Maan News, Apr 20, 2007

"Preparations are underway for the commemoration of the 59th anniversary of the Palestinian 'Nakba' ('Catastrophe') in May.  2007 marks the 40th anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and 59 years since Israel's establishment and the consequent Palestinian 'catastrophe' in which thousands of Palestinians were forced into exile. Palestinians today are still struggling, particularly against the ongoing construction of the separation wall....."

Israel Marks Independence Day with $1.7 Billion Budget Surplus
by Scott Shiloh

"( From January 1 to the end of April, the government took in NIS 7.7 billion ($1.7 billion) more than it spent. The unusual budgetary surplus was, ironically, partly the result of the government operating without a budget for 2006.....Another reason for the rosy fiscal picture was a larger than expected increase in tax revenues for the January to April period. Tax collection was up by 17% in nominal terms over the same period last year...."

Hamas rejects Israel's decision to withhold Palestinian tax revenues
March 25, 2007

"A senior Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) leader on Saturday rejected Israeli government's decision not to release Palestinian tax revenues for fear of being used to fund Hamas.  'Since the first day when Hamas won parliamentary elections more than a year ago, Israel has tried to blackmail the Palestinian people by withholding their money,' said Khalil Abu Leila, chief of Hamas' foreign relations.

The Israeli government has reportedly decided not to transfer 600 million U.S. dollars of tax revenues to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for fear that the money will be used to bolster Hamas Islamists rather than moderate President Mahmoud Abbas....."

Israel: 'No thanks' to Musharraf offer

"Israel has rejected the surprise offer by Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  An official in the Prime Minister's Office described the offer as "a little ridiculous," noting that there are no diplomatic relations between Islamabad and Jerusalem.....

In an interview with the pan-Arab Al-Arabya television station, based in Dubai, Musharraf said he would be willing to visit Israel to help bring peace to the Middle East...."

Soros attacks US pro-Israel lobby
Ed Pilkington in New York
Wednesday April 18, 2007
The Guardian

"The financier and philanthropist George Soros has entered the debate about US policy on Israel, accusing the Bush administration of adopting a hopeless strategy towards the Palestinians partly because of the influence wielded in Washington by a pro-Israel lobby.  In an article in the New York Review of Books, he accuses the Washington-based American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) of being "remarkably successful" in suppressing criticism of US-Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.....Mr Soros, who is Jewish, argues Aipac has exceeded its mission ...",,2059575,00.html

Oxfam survey: Financial boycott pushes Palestinians into poverty and essential services to meltdown
Oxfam Press Release – 13 April 2007

A survey commissioned by international development agency Oxfam International and released today, highlights how the suspension of Western aid and Israel’s refusal to transfer money owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) has led to grave humanitarian consequences for Palestinians.

By Rory McCarthy
Guardian (UK)
February 23, 2007

"Jerusalem - A UN human rights investigator has likened Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to apartheid South Africa and says there should be "serious consideration" over bringing the occupation to the international court of justice. The report by John Dugard, a South African law professor who is the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, represents some of the most forceful criticism yet of Israel's 40-year occupation.",,2019547,00.html

For the full report see:
http://www.ohchr. org/english/ bodies/hrcouncil /docs/4session/ A.HRC.4.17. pdf

State report claims Israel tortures Palestinian detainees

From JTA, The Global News Service of the Jewish People

WASHINGTON (JTA) – "Credible. Reputable. Serious.  The adjectives tell the story in the U.S. State Department’s human rights report on Israel and its allegation that the Jewish state has been torturing Palestinian detainees."

Israel accused of using Palestinian children as human shields
Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

"The Israeli army is investigating whether its troops used two Palestinian children as human shields during a house search operation in the West Bank following claims by the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem. The use of human shields to deter gunmen from opening fire on soldiers was banned by Israel's supreme court and forbidden by the army. However the practice, in which soldiers force Palestinians to approach, enter and search buildings where they believe gunmen may be hiding, remains common.",,2030222,00.html

International aid agency: 80 percent of Gazans now rely on food aid
Ha'aretz Newspaper 04/03/2007 - By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent

"Eighty percent of Gazans receive food aid from the World Food Program or from UNRWA, WFP spokesperson Kirstie Campbell says, 'and without it they are liable to starve.' "

Abbas accuses EU of discriminating against PA, being pro-Israel
By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

"Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accused the European Union on Sunday of discriminating against the Palestinians, and of fostering an unjust, pro-Israel approach. He went on to complain to the EU of 'a series of provocative and illegal Israeli actions'...... Israel's intention to build a new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, and the construction of a new Jerusalem District police headquarters beyond the Green line...."

Irish bishops: Israel has turned Gaza Strip into a 'large prison'
By The Associated Press

A group of Irish Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday called into question Ireland's commercial ties with Israel, saying Israel has made the Gaza Strip "little more than a large prison" for Palestinians
"Where there is evidence of systematic abuse of human rights on a large scale, as in the Occupied Territories, there are questions that must be asked concerning the appropriateness of maintaining close business, cultural and commercial links with Israel," said auxiliary Bishop of Dublin Raymond Field....Ha'aretz

U.S. synagogue holds event promoting sale of West Bank homes
By The Associated Press

TEANECK, New Jersey (AP) - As protesters chanted and waved signs outside, roughly 250 American Jews were able to get information on buying homes in the West Bank during a Sunday event promoted as a way to help Jewish settlers.

The sales pitch, organized by the Amana Settlement Movement, took place in Teaneck, New Jersey at an Orthodox synagogue, Congregation B'nai Yeshurun.

The event drew rebukes from an Israeli group, as well as pro-Palestinian organizations, who say such efforts undermine international peace efforts.
The opposition groups believe the gathering represented the first time West Bank homes have been offered for sale in the United States.
They also questioned if the sale of what they claim is illegally-occupied lands violates anti-discrimination laws, but a New Jersey official has said U.S. state and federal authorities have no jurisdiction on overseas property.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky said people were interested in the houses as an investment and as a possible home for themselves, as well as to make a public statement that "there are Jews in the world who believe, want to send a message that, the land belongs to us, to the Jewish people, and we make that statement without any shame, any hesitation."
Aliza Herbst, a representative from Amana, said the company was turning to North American Jews to buy homes so it can rent them out to young Israeli families who want to move into the West Bank, but can't afford to build.....
"Every settler who is added to the West Bank makes the realization of President Bush's vision of a two-state solution more difficult," Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, the sister organization of Israel's largest peace group, Peace Now, said last week.

Aaron Levitt, a member of Jews Against the Occupation, said the sale was deliberately inflaming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.....

[Israeli] Planning council approves illegal West Bank building plan
10:05 25/02/2007
By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

The Supreme Planning Council for Judea and Samaria recently legalized the largest-ever illegal construction project in the West Bank. Part of the project is situated on private land, which belongs to Palestinian residents of the village of Bil'in.

The project calls for the construction of 42 buildings containing approximately 1,500 apartments. The buildings, already in various stages of construction, are in the neighborhood of Matityahu East, which is located in the large ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modi'in Illit.

Peace Now and Bil'in residents filed a petition against the construction a week ago at the High Court of Justice.

About a year ago, following another petition by Peace Now and Bil'in residents, the High Court ordered a halt on the construction and occupation of the buildings.

Following an appeal to the State Prosecutor's Office, the National Fraud Squad opened an investigation into those involved in the affair. The neighborhood is being built by Green Park and Green Mount, companies registered in Canada, along with two other companies: Ein Ami and Hefziba....

The laundering of the buildings' construction allows members of the planning council, who were aware of the illegalities and did nothing to stop them, to avoid criminal charges and suits for damages.....

"The takeover of the lands was carried out by a conspiracy involving private developers and Israeli authorities. Thus, criminal companies that stole private Palestinian lands won the protection of the fence - which was intended as a means of security and became a tool for annexation - as well as backing from the planning authorities, whose approval laundered the offenses," Sfard wrote in the petition. Justice Salim Joubran ordered the state to respond to the petition by March 6.....

Half of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza malnourished
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem -
Published: 22 February 2007

Around 46 per cent of Gaza and West Bank households are "food insecure" or in danger of becoming so, according to a UN report on the impact of conflict and the global boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.
The unpublished draft report, the first of its kind since the boycott was imposed when the Hamas government took office last March, says bluntly that the problem "is primarily a function of restricted economic access to food resulting from ongoing political conditions".
The report, jointly produced by the UN's World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, paints a bleak picture of the impact on food consumption and expenditure throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. It says that the situation is "more grim" in Gaza where four out of five families have reduced their spending - including on food - in the first quarter of last year alone....."

Peace hopes fade after US and Israel agree to shun new Palestinian coalition
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Monday February 19, 2007
The Guardian

Israel and the US have agreed to refuse recognition to a new Palestinian coalition government ahead of talks in Jerusalem today, the Israeli prime minister said yesterday, reducing the already slim prospects of progress in the peace process.

Ehud Olmert, who is due to meet Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, at a meeting chaired by the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, in a Jerusalem hotel this morning, said that he and the US had agreed to shun the new Palestinian unity government.

When the talks were first announced a month ago they were hailed as the biggest effort in six years to restart peace negotiations, and came alongside new meetings of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators: the US, the UN, the EU and Russia. One UN diplomat at the time described the effort as a "launching pad for the new peace process", and Ms Rice spoke of "trying to accelerate progress on the road map".

But there is now little expectation that the talks will produce any new deals. Mr Olmert, who spoke by phone to George Bush on Friday, said that the US and Israel had agreed that the new Palestinian government, to be formed following a rare agreement between rival factions earlier this month, would not be recognised because it still failed to meet the Quartet's conditions: that it recognise Israel, renounce violence and accept previous peace agreements. "A Palestinian government that won't accept the Quartet conditions won't receive recognition and cooperation," Mr Olmert said yesterday. "The American and Israeli positions are totally identical on this issue.",,2016269,00.html


PM's lines in sand for summit: J'lem, refugees, '67 lines
By Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are embroiled in a bitter dispute over what topics should be on the agenda of next week's trilateral summit. The summit, involving Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem on Monday.
Despite the dispute, Rice is insisting on holding the meeting to demonstrate progress in Israeli-Palestinian relations. According to government sources, however, Olmert is refusing to discuss three major elements of any final-status agreement - Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem and an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines - because he believes that raising any of these issues would doom the talks to failure.
"There is no doubt that Abu Mazen [Abbas] will have to make compromises on these issues, given Israel's positions, and it is not clear that he can get them past the Palestinian street," one source said. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also believes .... the talks should focus on establishing a Palestinian state within temporary borders, as proposed in the second stage of the road map peace plan.

Olmert and Livni also insist that any discussions be purely theoretical, with implementation conditioned on fulfillment of the road map's first stage: dismantling Palestinian terror organizations.


Deep tension over Jerusalem holy site
By Matthew Price
BBC News, Jerusalem
Our correspondent reports from East Jerusalem on the growing tension between Palestinians and Israelis over controversial renovation work at the Temple Mount site.

On a cold and grey Tuesday morning, I watched as a yellow digger started up its engine, pumped out a plume of black smoke, and got to work.

Two metres away another digger, this one red, started up its engine. It began to clatter up a steep ramp, it lowered its shovel, and started to chip away at the paving stones.


Bereaved activist renews peace call
By Martin Patience
BBC News, Anata, West Bank

A Palestinian peace activist whose 10-year-old daughter was killed during a clash between Israeli police and stone-throwing Palestinians says his daughters death will not stop him from working with Israelis to promote peace.

Bassam Aramin, Palestinian peace activist, outside his home
Aramin, a former militant, founded an Israeli-Palestinian peace group

Bassam Aramin, 38, is a co-founder of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian organisation of former Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers who are now working for reconciliation.




Israel ponders barrier extension
31 January 2007 – BBC News

The barrier is a massive structure consisting of walls and fences. Israeli officials say they are considering proposals to alter part of the route of the controversial barrier Israel is building in the West Bank. The Haaretz newspaper said the new plans would push the barrier deeper into the occupied West Bank to encompass two isolated settlements.

The move would hem in almost 20,000 Palestinian villagers in two enclaves.

Israel says the barrier is needed for security.  Opponents call it an illegal move to grab territory.

Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had already approved the new route, but this was denied by his office.  "The prime minister asked to look into the matter and announced that at the end of the necessary examinations the matter will be discussed by the cabinet," a statement said.   The two settlements, Nili and Naaleh, home to about 1,500 Jewish settlers, had requested the alteration of the barrier route, Haaretz said.

Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move undermined "everything we're doing to revive the peace process".  The Palestinians want the whole West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, as part of a future independent state.

Settlements are illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.



[Israeli] Cabinet asked to approve eastward move of section of barrier

By Meron Rapoport, Ha’aretz, Jan. 31, 2007

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has approved the moving of the separation barrier at least five kilometers eastward from the Green Line in the area of Modi'in Ilit, in order to take in the settlements of Nili and Na'aleh, according to security sources and a brief submitted by the state to the High Court of Justice.

The new route will create two Palestinian enclaves containing about 20,000 people. Nili and Na'aleh together have some 1,500 residents.

Olmert approved the change in response to pressure from residents of the two settlements, both of which would have been left outside the barrier, according to the route approved by the cabinet last April. The new route will lengthen the fence by about 12 kilometers, which will cost an estimated NIS 120 million.

If the cabinet approves Olmert's decision, it will be the first time part of the fence has been moved eastward after receiving cabinet approval. Hitherto, all such changes have moved the fence westward, toward the Green Line, the pre-1967 border that separates Israel and the West Bank.


PA: Decision to move W. Bank fence undermines peace effort
By Meron Rapoport, Haaretz Correspondent, and the Associated Press
Haaretz, Jan. 31, 2007 

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday condemned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to approve moving the separation barrier near Modi'in Ilit away from the Green Line in order to take in two settlements, as was first revealed by security sources and a brief submitted by the state to the High Court of Justice.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator with Israel, said the Israeli move "undermines everything we're doing to revive the peace process."  "The wall is the continuation of unilateralism and dictation, and destroys the prospects of any real negotiations," he added


Three people killed in suicide bombing at Eilat bakery
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Staff and Agencies

Jan. 29, 2007
IDF: Bomber entered Israel through Egypt

An Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed at least three people Monday morning, when he blew himself up in a bakery in the southern resort city of Eilat.

Authorities said that another person was wounded, but not seriously, in the attack at a shopping center in a residential neighborhood. This was the first ever suicide bombing in the city.

"This was a suicide bombing and the bomber is one of the dead. He apparently entered with a bag or an explosives belt and blew himself up inside the shop," Eilat police told Army Radio...... (more)

24 killed in weekend of factional clashes in Gaza
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Agencies
January 28, 2007

Six Palestinians were killed Saturday - including a 6-year-old boy - in clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, bringing the number of fatalities since fighting began Thursday to 24.

Some fifty people were kidnapped throughout the weekend and fifty others wounded....


IDF source admits: 44 'removed' barriers didn't exist
Mon., January 22, 2007
By Avi Issacharoff

The Israel Defense Forces admitted yesterday that the 44 dirt obstacles it said had been removed from around West Bank villages did not actually exist.

Last Tuesday, the IDF announced that it had removed 44 dirt obstacles that blocked access roads to West Bank villages, to fulfill promises made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting a month ago. Olmert had pledged measures to ease the lives of Palestinian civilians.

However, a military source admitted yesterday that these obstacles "had either been removed before the political level decided on the alleviations or had been bypassed by Palestinians earlier, and a decision had been made not to rebuild them."

This statement confirms a claim made recently by United Nations organizations operating in the territories: that most of these barriers were not removed, because they had not existed for months.

In response, the IDF Spokesman's Office said: "The IDF recently removed 44 barriers in an effort to ease the movement of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. These actions are being carried out in line with assessments of the situation."

The IDF has erected close to 400 such dirt obstacles in recent years.

Solana says shocked at Israeli settlement growth
Sunday January 21, 05:10 PM
By Suleiman al-Khalidi

AMMAN - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged Israel on Sunday to freeze settlements on occupied West Bank territory and stop constructing a security barrier, saying they could obstruct lasting Arab-Israeli peace.
Solana said he was struck during a tour on Saturday of Arab towns on Jerusalem's eastern slopes that lie within West Bank land by the growth of settlements and a barrier cutting into land that Palestinians want for a state.*
"I had the opportunity to make a tour along the eastern part of Jerusalem and go to Abu Dis and its surroundings. You get really very shocked every time you go and you see the situation worse, the wall is more extended and settlements are more extended," Solana told reporters in Amman.
Under the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan of 2003, Israel was supposed to halt settlement building in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israel war. Palestinians were also required to dismantle militant groups, a step they have yet to take.
Some 260,000 settlers live in the West Bank, home to 2.5 million Palestinians.**

*IPI editor's note: This is not just land that Palestinians "want" for their state; it is land that already belongs to Palestinians and has been taken by Israel. Israel cannot claim to be "giving" land to the Palestinians for an eventual state. They will simply be returning stolen property when they withdraw from the West Bank.
**IPI editor's note: There are actually more than 400,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, including about 180,000 in and around Arab East Jerusalem, which was part of the West Bank territory seized by Israel in 1967.

Israel's 'invisible hand' in Gaza

By Alan Johnston
BBC News, Gaza
Woman and children walk through ally in Khan Younis in southern Gaza
Some Israeli controls in Gaza have lifted, others are stronger than ever, the report says
Wednesday, 17 January 2007, 12:05 GMT

Although Israel withdrew from Gaza more than a year ago, its control over the lives of Palestinians there is in some ways even tighter than before, a new report by an Israeli human rights organisation says.
In the days after Israeli troops and settlers pulled out of the territory, the then Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon addressed the United Nations. He declared "the end of Israeli control over and responsibility for the Gaza Strip"
But a study by Gisha challenges that claim. The organisation says it aims to "protect the fundamental rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories by imposing human rights law as a limitation on the behaviour of Israel's military"......



Abbas rejects Palestinian state with "temporary" borders at Rice meeting


President Abbas and the US Secretary of State held a joint press conference after the meeting in Ramallah. President Abbas told the press conference, “In order to give the political process the chance it deserves and to restore any credibility, all Israeli settlement activity must immediately cease, as must the Wall, land annexation, the siege and closures imposed on our land and our people in all its forms, our prisoners must be released from its jails, and the Israelis must stop the policy of incursions and arrests, the most recent of which was a sweep of Ramallah in which Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, injured dozens more, and inflicted heavy losses in property damage.” ......



 On the day Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Construction and Housing Ministry issued a tender Monday morning for the construction of 44 residential units in Ma'ale Adumim. Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer even said that "this is a spit in the face of the American government."......


Four dead, 20 wounded as Israeli army rolls into Ramallah
Thu Jan 4, 10:52 AM ET

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - At least four Palestinians have been killed in a major Israel army operation in the West Bank city of Ramallah that wounded around 20 other people, medics said. Yussef Abdel Khader, 23, Khalil al-Badawi, 20, Ala al-Himran who was in his 20s and a fourth person whose identity was not given died from gunshot wounds at a Ramallah hospital, the sources said Thursday. 

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that forces had conducted an arrest operation and detained "four wanted Palestinians." She declined to provide other details.  The incursion came as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was headed to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks on restarting the Middle East peace process with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

More than a dozen jeeps and several bulldozers, backed up by two helicopters, rolled into Ramallah's central Manara Square just before 1400 GMT. Explosions and crackling rounds of automatic gunfire rocked the city center, adorned with Christmas decorations.  In an hour-long operation, jeeps drove to and from Manara Square, as bulldozers shunted aside cars in surrounding streets and clouds of thick white, green and red smoke rose above the streets.

Naveh under fire over IDF Ramallah raid

Diplomatic sources on Friday morning criticized OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Ya'ir Naveh following Thursday's IDF raid in Ramallah, which left six Palestinians dead and some 30 others wounded as soldiers pursued a wanted Palestinian terrorist.
According to reports, Naveh did not inform Defense Minister Amir Peretz of the raid before it was carried out.

  • 6 Palestinians die in IDF Ramallah raid
    Labor MK Danny Yatom told Army Radio that such an operation should not have been done while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm E-Sheikh.
    Infrastructure Minister and former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed similar sentiments on Israel Radio Friday morning.
    "I don't think this operation should have been carried out on the day of a visit by the Israeli Prime Minister to a country in which we have a supreme strategic interest," Ben-Eliezer said. "Our relations with Egypt are more important to us than anything else."

    Mubarak criticized the raid during the meeting with Olmert on Thursday, saying that it was hindering peace efforts. Olmert apologized for the deaths of civilians, but emphasized that the aim of the operation in Ramallah had been to catch a terrorist involved in activity against Israel.

    Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the raid Thursday, saying it "proved that the Israeli calls for peace and security are fake."

    Meanwhile, additional clashes between the IDF and Palestinian gunmen were reported before dawn Friday when Israeli soldiers entered into Nablus as part of sustained efforts to crush the terror infrastructure in the northern West Bank.....

  • The latest in the near nightly incursions into the Nablus sparked gun battles with local Palestinian gunmen, and the army reported that two bombs and three hand grenades were thrown at the soldiers. No IDF or Palestinian casualties were reported.

    IDF troops arrested two Palestinian fugitives overnight in the West Bank, the army said.


    Congress extends Israel loan guarantees

    The US government may double the quantities of arms and military equipment that it holds for Israel for emergencies, to $800 million.
    Just before recessing on Friday, the US House of Representatives and Senate approved the Department of State Authorities Act of 2006, which includes an aid package for Israel. The new aid package comes on top of the annual US aid package for Israel, as well as special packages, such as for the Arrow anti-ballistic missile program.
    The Act will now be sent to President George W. Bush for signing. The bill extends the US loan guarantees for Israel by three years, to 2011. This was the second extension sought by Israel; the guarantees were earlier extended until the end of 2008.
    Israel has used $4.6 billion of the $9 billion in the US loan guarantees. In August, the US administration agreed to Israel’s request to extend the program, and Congress has now given its approval.
    The Act also doubles a program to transfer to Israel obsolete or surplus stocks in the War Reserve Stockpile located in Israel, to $800 million and reauthorizes the administration to send to Israel items from these stores.

    Panel blasts inclusion of pre-1967 borders in school maps

    By Or Kashti, Haaretz Correspondent

    The Knesset Education and Culture Committee decided on Monday to summon Education Minister Yuli Tamir to answer questions about her decision to include Israel's pre-1967 border in textbook maps.  During the session, Kadima party and right-wing MKs lashed out at Tamir for her decision made two weeks ago to include the so-called Green Line border which excludes the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights from Israel.
    National Religious Party Chairman, MK Zevulun Orlev, presented the committee with the 1967 Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee decision to remove the Green line -as well as the pre-1948 British Mandate border- from all but historical maps.


    "Tamir's decision is blatantly political," Orlev said. "It has no educational, instructive or scientific basis. As far back as 1967 the government decided that the Green Line had ceased to exist."
    MKs Orlev and Ze'ev Alkin (Kadima) drafted a statement calling on the education minister to freeze her decision until a further discussion on the subject be held, but the committee chairman MK Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) decided to allow Tamir to respond before a vote was held on the announcement.  "It is not fair or proper to make a political decision without hearing from the minister who is accused of just such a decision," Melchior said.
    Senior education ministry official, Professor Anat Zohar, said during the discussion that the green line has current relevance.
    "When one is talking about the 'right of return' you need to know where the green line passes," Zohar said. "Students must be familiar with the term and must be put in the study guidelines when the subject committees deem it should."
    The official in the education ministry's geography department, Dalia Fenig, said the subject's committee decided to "raise different issues like the Green Line, the Land of Israel or the settlement blocs- so that students can make informed decisions."
    After the session MK Elkin said "I thought I'd get better explanations about the decison but after hearing the education ministry representatives I left the session even more confused. It's a shame the education minister, who appeared in all the possible media channels to explain her intentions, did not find it appropriate to show at the committee and defend her decision."

    Ceasefire agreement reached between Fatah and Hamas

    Dec. 18, 2006
    Gaza - Ma'an – The Palestinian factional higher committee which includes all national and Islamic factions in the Gaza Strip have announced that a ceasefire agreement was reached between the two main factions of Fatah and Hamas.  In a press conference in the city of Gaza, the committee confirmed that both factions should be committed to the ceasefire. If there is any violation by either of the two factions, they urge Palestinians to demonstrate on the streets to protest against both factions.  Palestinian sources informed Ma'an that the agreement came through the mediation of the Islamic Jihad movement, along with the DFLP and PFLP.
    The agreement includes 8 points:
    1 – The immediate application of ceasefire.
    2 - Withdrawal of armed men from the streets, and an end to all appearances of tension, and the return of security members to       their centers.
    3 – To stop "dirty" media campaigns and incitement
    4 – To stop marches and demonstrations, leading to unrest
    5 - To release all abducted and kidnapped members of each faction, held over recent incidents
    6 – Calling on the joint office of the two factions to convene together, with the participation and attendance of the PFLP, the DFLP, and Islamic Jihad
    7 – An immediate meeting for the [pan-factional] follow up committee to confirm this agreement
    8 - The formation of an independent committee to investigate incidents, starting from the Rafah crossing incident.

    A Palestinian boy next to the rubble of his destroyed home after an Israeli incursion in the Gaza Strip. (Hatem Omar, Maan Images)


    Hopes for peace as Gaza ceasefire comes into effect
    Conal Urquhart, The Guardian, Nov 26, 2006
    Palestinian militants have agreed to stop firing rockets into Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and a halt to targeted killings, it emerged last night.Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, telephoned Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, and told him that all Palestinian factions had agreed to a ceasefire from 6am this morning.  Olmert replied that if there was no rocket fire from Gaza, Israeli forces could stop their operations and begin to withdraw from Gaza. The ceasefire could bring an end to a spate of violence which has seen the death of more than 100 Palestinians in Israeli operations and two Israeli civilians killed by Palestinian rockets within the past month.

    Man dies of wounds sustained in Qassam strike on Sderot
    By Haaretz Service and agencies, 11/23/06
    An Israeli man died on Tuesday after sustaining critical wounds in a Qassam strike on Sderot earlier in the day.Yaakov Yaakobov, 43, was wounded when a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip came crashing through the roof and down to the lower story of the poultry packing plant in which he worked. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, was visiting in Sderot at the time of the attack.....A spokesman from the ruling Hamas' military wing told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that Palestinians would fire rockets at Sderot so long as Israeli attacks on Gaza continue.

    Israeli army shells another residential area in Gaza, 11 injured
    Gaza - Ma'an - Eleven Palestinians were injured when Israeli shells targeted a residential area in Izbat....

    "Children are not safe even in United Nations classrooms"; two children shot inside UNRWA school Saturday
    Ma'an - On Saturday 18 November 2006, two schoolchildren were shot and wounded inside UNRWA's Beit Lahia Elementary School in the northern Gaza Strip, the UN agency responsible for Palestine refugees reported....

    Al Mezan Center for Human Rights to EU: Israel is committing gross violations of international law in the Gaza Strip
    Ma'an - The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip delivered a letter to distinguished representatives of the European Union on Thursday 16 November calling for urgent intervention to bring a halt to Israel's continued violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in the Gaza Strip.

    IDF admits targeting civilian areas in Lebanon with cluster bombs
    By Nir Hasson and Meron Rapoport, Haaretz Correspondents

    Israeli Map Says West Bank Posts Sit on Arab Land

    Published: November 21, 2006

    40% of settlements built on Arab land, study finds
    By Yair Sheleg, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service

    Soon, Gaza will look like Darfur
    Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Nov 19, 2006
    The settlements must be returned to Gaza....They could serve as the last human shield for...
    from Haaretz

    Qalqilia man forced to watch his home be demolished
    Sunday, 19 November 2006
    Before transferring Qalqilia resident Riad Hutri to an unknown location, Israeli soldiers forced the man to watch his home being demolished piece by piece. Eyewitness Mohammad Salameh said that Israeli soldiers told Hutri that if did not watch in silence he would be shot. Hutri's father Ramadan said that not only Riad's home was demolished, but those of his other sons as well. The economic loss was estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Riad Hutri's two story home became a pile of dust after Israeli forces brought in bulldozers, his father said Sunday. Several residents and family members shouted for Israeli soldiers to stop the demolitions in the northwestern West Bank city to no avail. After Hutri's house was destroyed Israeli forces completed the arrest and took him to an unknown location.

    Gaza residences pounded overnight, yet again, by Israeli air force
    Gaza - Ma'an – For the third consecutive day, Israeli war planes have continued to launch missiles at family homes, resistance activists, public places, and training facilities related to the ministry of interior's Executive Force in the Gaza Strip.
    Ma'an's correspondent reported that Israeli war planes bombed a location known to be used by the executive forces, north of Gaza early yesterday morning, with a number of missiles, although no civilians were injured.
    Furthermore, helicopters bombed the house of Ala' 'E'kelan, an official in the executive force, in Ash-Shati' refugee camp, west of Gaza, with one missile, destroying the entire building. Israeli forces had telephoned him, warning to evacuate.
    Minutes afterwards, jet planes bombed the library of Al-Islah Mosque in the Al-Shuja'iyah neighbourhood, east of Gaza, and destroying the 2nd floor.
    In addition, the "Sawt Al-Shabab" ["Voice of the Youth"] radio station in Gaza received a second threat by phone call to evacuate the building, as it was due to be attacked by the Israeli military.
    As has become usual, the Israeli warplanes bombed the houses of citizens in the early hours after midnight, following 'phone calls informing them of the intended bombing, giving entire families just a few minutes to evacuate their homes.

    For West Bank, It’s a Highway to Frustration

    Qassam attacks kill one, wound two in Sderot;
    IDF: No magic bullet
    Haaretz, 11/17/06,
    Qassam rockets kept raining down on the southern town of Sderot Thursday morning a day after a woman was killed and two other civilians were seriously wounded.   Two rockets landed in the town at 7.30 A.M., Channel 10 television reported. There was no immediate report of casualties or damage.
    The woman killed Wednesday was Faina (Fatima) Slutzker, 57, a Sderot resident. The wounded included one of Defense Minister Amir Peretz's guards, Maor Peretz, and a 17-year-old boy.
    Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the attack and promised to continue firing rockets at Israel......


    Does Israel practice apartheid?
    IMEU, Nov 10, 2006

    800-year-old Um An-Nasr mosque in Beit Hanoun destroyed by the Israeli forces
    Gaza - Ma'an - The An-Nasr mosque in Beit Hanoun, which was completely destroyed by the Israeli shelling during the invasion of Beit Hanoun, is a historic mosque that was built 800 years ago.
    The imam of the mosque, Sheikh Shihda Abu Zreiq, told Ma'an on Friday that the occupation has ruined "the house of God", which was built in the year 637 according to the Islamic calendar, following the 'Um An-Nasr' battle between the armies of Sultan Mahmoud Qutob and the Crusaders' armies in the area between Gaza City and Asqalan (today's Ashkelon). The Muslim armies triumphed in the battle.
    The imam said that the Israeli occupation army did not intend to kill Palestinian fighters in particular. They also killed children, women and old people. The sheikh called on the Arab and Islamic world to learn the lessons of these incidents.

    Israeli shelling kills 18 in Gaza

    Beit Hanoun residents pick their way past a puddle of blood-stained water
    Water stained with blood filled the street where the shells landed
    At least 18 Palestinians have been killed and 40 wounded by Israeli tank fire in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, Palestinian sources have said. Palestinian officials said a barrage of tank shells hit civilian homes, and women and children were among the dead.



    UNRWA Commissioner "shocked" at situation in Gaza
    Gaza - Ma'an - The general commissioner of UNRWA, Karen Abu Zaid, has expressed her shock over the rising numbers of Palestinian refugees, especially children and women, killed in Beit Hanoun.  Earlier on Wednesday morning, Israeli tanks shelled civilian houses in the city of Beit Hanoun, killing 19 and injuring 160. The Al-Athamneh family has lost 17 of its members including 4 women, 5 children and 2 infants.
    The UN official declared "What happened today is evidence, for those who seek evidence, of the necessity to bring to an end this inhuman and unjustified cycle of violence."

    UN confirms IDF used phosphorus, but not uranium, in Lebanon
    By The Associated Press
    BEIRUT - A UN team carrying out an environmental assessment of Lebanon after this summer's Israel-Hezbollah war confirmed that the Israeli military used artillery containing white phosphorous, but found no evidence of depleted uranium, a UN official said yesterday.

    Israeli settlers steal olive crop
    Qalqilia - Ma'an - The Israeli settlers from Ginot Shomron have, on Wednesday, stolen the olive crops belonging to a Palestinian family from the West Bank town of Jinsafut, eastern Qalqilia, in the north of the West Bank.
    Eyewitnesses have reported that 60% of the produce of more than 1200 olive trees was taken by armed settlers. One of the owners spoke in bitterness over being unable to access to his land over the last five years, as Israeli settlers prevent anybody from going into those fields. People attempting to enter have been attacked by those settlers and expelled. He added that his land usually produces 7 tons of olives annually.


    Israeli troops open fire on women outside mosque
    Friday November 3, 2006
    Guardian Unlimited

    The scene near a mosque in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun after Israeli troops opened fire on a group of Palestinian women, killing one of them and injuring 10 others
    The scene near a mosque in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun after Israeli troops opened fire on a group of Palestinian women, killing one of them and injuring 10 others. The mosque had been the scene of an Israeli siege after a group of men, presumed to be armed, took refuge there. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters
    Two Palestinian women were killed and another 10 were reported wounded when Israeli forces today opened fire on a group preparing to act as a human shield for militants in a Gaza mosque. Dozens of women were gathering outside the mosque in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip this morning after an appeal on a local radio station. More than 30 gunmen had taken refuge in the building after the Israeli army began its largest Gaza offensive in months in an attempt to stop militants launching rocket attacks on nearby Jewish settlements over the border. Television pictures showed at least 50 women making their way along a pavement when shots could be heard ringing out. They started to flee in terror and at least two women were left lying on the ground.,,1938667,00.html

    27 Palestinians killed in IDF Gaza raids over weekend
    By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and News Agencies
    A 12-year-old girl was killed Saturday evening by Israel Defense Forces sniper fire in the town of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip.  The girl, Isra Nasser, died of wounds to the head. The IDF said the sniper's target had been an armed militant, and expressed regret at the mistake.
    Earlier, an IDF non-commissioned officer was seriously wounded in clashes with militants the town. Initial investigations indicate that special forces operating against rocket launch sites passed over an explosives charge, and the officer was wounded in the ensuing gunfire exchange. His family has been notified
    Five Hamas militants and two civilians were killed Saturday in a series of incidents in the Strip, bringing to 42 the Palestinian death toll there since the start of an IDF operation Wednesday

    Doctor: 'At least 39 Palestinians, including children, killed and 150 injured since Wednesday'
    IMEMC, Nov 4, 2006
    Dr. Muawiya Hassanen, head of the Emergency Unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that at least 39 Palestinians were killed and at least 150 were injured, 23 seriously, since Israel started its military offensive dubbed "Autumn Clouds", on Wednesday.
    Dr. Hassanen added that the army invading Beit Hanoun is not allowing the ambulances and medics to transfer the casualties to hospitals or any other medical facilities.

    Call for immediate action to provide protection for medical crews attempting to operate in Gaza
    Gaza - Ma'an - The administration of the ambulance and emergency in the Ministry of Health called on legal societies and the international humanitarian relief effort to take immediate action to provide protection for the medical and ambulance crews....

    Israeli army abducts Palestinian minister of housing Friday
    Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli forces kidnapped Dr. Abder-Rahman Zeidan, the Palestinian minister of public works and housing, from his house in Ramallah at dawn on Friday....

    Israeli army invades Bethlehem, uses 'human shield' to enter building, 80-year old woman in serious condition
    .........The Palestinian man, possibly a family member of Saher Hassan, is being forced to enter the building ahead of the Israeli soldiers and carry in their military equipment....

    Peace groups to use Rabin memorial to highlight plight of Gaza Palestinians
    By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent, Itim and Haaretz Service
    Palestinian nonviolent resistance hits Israeli fence as farmers try to reach olive groves
    Thursday, 02 November 2006
    Palestinian farmers continued the nonviolent resistance to occupation Thursday by attempting to reach their olive groves for harvest Thursday.

    The challenge of the olive harvest


    (Jenin) Ali Samoudi
    Thursday, 02 November 2006
    Northern West Bank Palestinians are resisting occupation by insisting on harvesting their olives. Israeli forces closed Al Hamra Checkpoint in the Jordan Valley in order to prevent farmers from reaching land adjacent to the barrier. Some of the tens of farmers had traveled for four hours before reaching this checkpoint, just meters from the lands they sought.

    Olmert boasts of killing 300 Palestinian fighters in Gaza;
    in reality: 137 children, 29 women, 12 old men
    Bethlehem - Ma'an - The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has boasted before the Knesset foreign and security committee that his army has now killed over 300 Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip over the last three months.

    United Nations delegation witnesses Israeli devastation of Palestinian olive harvest
    Tuesday, 31 October 2006
    ...The Governor explained how the Israeli-built Wall is causing a great deal of difficulty for farmers as it has swallowed vast areas of agricultural land planted with vegetables and olives....

    Israeli barrier and settlement to leave West Bank village with nowhere to go
    Land confiscation and pollution threaten future of ancient farming community
    Rory McCarthy in Wadi Fukin
    Monday October 30, 2006
    The Guardian

    Child detainees facing unbearable conditions in Israeli prison
    Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies - Sunday, 29 October 2006
    Palestinian child detainees held by Israel are facing harsh and unbearable conditions. They are subjected to living conditions that lack the basic rights guaranteed by the International Law and the law regarding the rights of children....


    Palestinian students the latest victims of the Israeli arrest campaign
    Palestine News Network, Oct 28, 2006
    The ongoing arrest campaign being carried out by Israeli forces is striking all segments of the Palestinian population. No one has immunity. The latest development in this campaign is the arrest of Palestinian students returning to their universities in neighboring Arab countries after spending the holidays with their families in the West Bank.

    Avoiding a degrading checkpoint proves fatal
    Palestine News Network, Oct 22, 2006

    Army continues to deny Gaza patients access to treatment
    IMEMC, Oct 20, 2006

    Muslim worshippers attacked by Israeli police in Jerusalem
    IMEMC, Oct 20, 2006

    Palestinian children are the victims of this political stalemate, Palestinian bishop warns

    Israeli group calls power plant attack a 'war crime'
    By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
    The Independent - 28 September 2006


    Thousands of Palestinians have been internally displaced due to the Wall
    Ma'an News Agency

    Sephardic chief rabbi criticizes pope's remarks

    By Yair Ettinger and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and Agencies

    The Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel on Sunday sent a letter criticizing the pope for his remarks on Islam to a leading Sunni Islamic legal scholar in Qatar.
    In the letter, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar wrote to Sheikh Yusef Kardawi, "our way is to honor every religion and every nation according to their paths, as it is written in the book of prophets: 'because every nation will go in the name of its lord.'"
    "Even when there is a struggle between nations" Amar added, "it cannot be turned into a war of religions."



    The letter, written in Arabic, was delivered to Kardawi by a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Abdullah Naimar Darwish. Amar sent the letter first to Rabbi Menachem Froman, chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, who is known as a champion of inter-religious reconciliation.
    In his introduction to the letter, Froman added to Amar's remarks, saying "every Jew who learns the writings of the great sages - who, at the head of them all stands Maimonides - knows that our great thinkers wrote in the Arabic language, lived in Islamic states and participated with the great Muslim thinkers in the effort to explain the words of God, according to the paths of the sages and amidst the difficult bloody battles that we have had since the beginning of Zionism with the Muslims.

    "We know... that the war between the Jews and the Muslims is the work of the cursed devil. We know that Islam is named after peace," wrote Froman.

    Bishop Alexus; Hamas, Islamic Jihad and DFLP all condemn both Pope's remarks, and attacks on churches
    Date: 17 / 09 / 2006  Time:  13:57

    Gaza - Ma'an - Bishop Alexus, patriarch of the Arab Orthodox community in Gaza, has reminded all Palestinians that the Pope is not the head of his denomination, and represents only the Roman Catholic church.
    The Bishop, during a press conference held on Sunday in the Orthodox Church in Gaza, expressed his rejection of the Pope's words, explaining that Muslims and Christians have lived for 1300 years in Palestine in brotherhood and peace.

    Regarding the attack on the church by unknown vandals, Bishop Alexus said, "We live together as one family."
    The spokesman for the Hamas movement, Sami Abu Zuhri, explained that "the Palestinian people are united, and that Christians, as part of the Palestinian people, can not be subjected to any form of these attacks".
    He described the Pope's statements as "ugly", but also denounced the attacks which have taken place against churches in the West Bank and Gaza, stressing that "Hamas and the government will work to protect the churches, just as they protect the mosques".
    In the same regard, a leader of Islamic Jihad, Khadir Habib, declared that "the Palestinian people will not be divided by enemies and are keen on unity and the preservation of brotherhood".
    Habib said "We expect the Pope to call for peace, and we will not accept anything less than an apology".

    Saleh Zeidan, one of the leaders of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, denounced the Pope's statements, and also denounced the attack on churches considering it "an abuse of the Palestinian people."

    PM Haniyeh: "Christians are Palestinian citizens, we must protect them"

    Date: 17 / 09 / 2006  Time:  15:02 
    Maan News Agency

    Gaza - Ma'an - Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh confirmed that "the breakthrough in the formation of the national unity government comes through the appreciation of the positions and interests of the Palestinian people, not through the American administration's desire that we will not gain a state or sovereignty".

    Haniyeh said, during a press conference in Gaza on Sunday, that "some of the personalities do not like the formation of the national unity government." He stated that he agreed with President Abbas, before his leaving to continue consultations for the formation of the government.

    Regarding attacks on churches, Haniyeh rejected such acts, saying "Christians are Palestinian citizens and we must protect and preserve them".

    US not satisfied with natl unity govt,  delays aid again
     Maan News, Sep 16, 2006 
     This article was originally published by Maan News and is republished with permission 
     Palestinian sources reported that the Saudi diplomat Bandar bin Sultan, has contacted senior Palestinian officials and informed them that the United States is not satisfied with the agreement made between President Abbas and Hamas on the formation of the national unity government. 
     The source added that in light of this position, financial support from Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, to the PA will be delayed, contrary to what many Palestinians had expected, following the formation of the national unity government. 
     Dr. Saeb Erekat said on Saturday that, following a meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and the American Consul General in Jerusalem, Jacob Walles, President Abbas will meet American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the 18th September, and will meet with President George W. Bush on the 20th of this month.


    Ma'aleh Adumim
    Tenders issued for hundreds of homes in W. Bank settlements
    By Nadav Shragai, Yoav Stern and Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondents
    In the largest wave of new settlement construction activity approved by the Olmert government since it came into office, the Housing Ministry issued tenders Monday morning for the construction of 690 new housing units in the territories

    The Silent Expulsion /
     Palestinian businessmen wonder why Israel wants them out of the territories 

    By Amira Hass
    In the middle of the conversation in the spacious CEO's office at the Palestinian National Beverage Company in Ramallah 10 days ago, Zahi Khouri's mobile phone danced on the table. It was M., from the Palestinian Standards Institute, calling for a worried consultation: He had to go to Jordan, but what should he do if they did not let him back into the country?

     'Last permit' stamped in three languages
    By Amira Hass
    Last Tuesday, August 29, the American-Palestinian business community got a clear message that hope for their "immunity" from the new Israeli policy was false. Sam Bahour, a founder of the first shopping mall in Ramallah and an economic consultant to international development organizations, went to the Civil Administration in Beit El to get his visa extended. For 14 years he has lived on a tourist visa in Ramallah where his family has resided for generations

    Palestinian despair as donors meet

    By Alan Johnston
    BBC News, West Bank
    UN agency says Gaza facing food crisis

    By The Associated Press

    The UN's World Food Program warned Monday that Gaza was facing a rapidly escalating crisis as a result of Israel's two-month-old offensive there.


    IDF troops kill eight Palestinians in fighting in Gaza City

    By Nir Hasson and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents and News Agencies

    Israel Defense Forces troops killed Wednesday eight Palestinians, including a 14-year-old, in Gaza City. Two of those killed were identified as Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades militants.

    IDF kills six Palestinians, including three militants

    By Reuters

    Israel Defense Forces troops killed six Palestinians and wounded more than a dozen in attacks on militants in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian medics and witnesses said.

    IDF kills three Palestinians, wounds three children in Gaza

    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent , Haaretz Service and News Agencies

    Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed three Palestinians - at least one of them a militant - and wounded three others, all of them children, in two separate incidents in Gaza City on Tuesday, Palestinian hospital officials said.

    IDF troops in Jenin kill 64-year-old man holding a flashlight

    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies

    Israel Defense Forces troops killed a 64-year-old man in Jenin on Sunday, it was released for publication Monday.
    Palestinian sources said Monday that Sabri Khalil worked as a night watchman at a local school. After he shined his flashlight on a passing car, soldiers patrolling the city shot him in the chest, killing him.
    The IDF confirmed that soldiers shot a Palestinian standing on a rooftop, saying he had apparently been holding a weapon at the time. An army spokesman said that in retrospect, it appears that the man was holding a flashlight.

      Witnesses: IDF strikes in Gaza kill 4 Palestinian militants, 1 civilian
    Four Palestinian militants were killed early Monday in an Israel Air Force strike on central Gaza, Palestinian doctors said.Later on Monday, Israel Defense Forces troops shot dead a civilian in the southern Gaza Strip, medics reported.

     Four Palestinians killed in Sunday strikes
    IAF air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday killed three Palestinians and wounded two television cameramen, while a fourth Palestinian was killed and a 6-year-old boy critically wounded by Israeli sniper fire, Palestinian officials and residents said.


    Hezbollah rules out unconditional release of abducted soldiers

    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

    A Hezbollah cabinet minister said Wednesday that there will be no unconditional release of two captured Israel Defense Forces soldiers, and that the group will only free them as part of a prisoner exchange.



    Don't forget Gaza

    On the back of Israel's military defeat in Lebanon, Palestinians fear that their blood will be used to bolster public confidence in Olmert's government, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank

    Bereaved parents join ranks with reservists to protest handling of war

    By Nir Hasson

    The parents of soldiers who fell in Lebanon during the past month of fighting last night met with reserve soldiers from the Alexandroni Brigade and agreed to work together on protests aimed at bringing down the government. ...

    IDF court charges Palestinian parliament speaker with membership in outlawed organization

    By The Associated Press

    The Palestinian parliament speaker was led in shackles into an Israel Defense Forces court Tuesday and charged with membership in an outlawed organization - becoming the most senior of three dozen top Hamas officials rounded up by Israel to be indicted so far.

    Children of Gaza: If we are equal to other children of the world, we must enjoy peace and security
    Ma'an News Agency

    FAQ on Palestinian prisoners

    IMEU, Aug 22, 2006

    Israel delays entry of fruit worth NIS 8 million into the Gaza Strip
    Ma'an News Agency

    Eighty-year old man arrested in Nablus on son's behalf
    Ma'an News Agency

    Leftover Israeli cluster bombs in Lebanon kill civilians
    Maan News Agency

    UN: Emergency aid for Gaza's Palestinians held up in Israel due to Lebanon conflict
    Ma'an News Agency

    Israeli military abducts three women from refugee camp; nine since beginning of August
    Date: 20 / 08 / 2006  Time:  15:36
    Ramallah - Ma'an - Israeli forces have entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Al Jalazun in northern Ramallah and abducted three women. In the Ad Dawayma neighbourhood, the Israeli military arrested Zakiyya Abdil-Hamid, 35, whose sister was also abducted two months ago. In the Old Mosque neighbourhood, Falasteen Khamis Sabbah 22 was arrested for the second time.

    The three women were forcefully taken to an unknown location, while their families appealed to all parties to reveal the place were their daughters are detained.

    The Israeli military have abducted nine Palestinian women since the beginning of August.

    IDF arrests Palestinian deputy prime minister
    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and AP, Aug 19, 2006

    Israel considers preventing prison visits
    IMEMC, Aug 18, 2006

     Israel to expropriate 275 acres near Hebron
    IMEMC, Aug 18, 2006

    US 'knew of Israeli bombing plan'
    Israel and the United States were in close contact about Israel's war on Hezbollah long before it began, a US investigative journalist has claimed.

    Beirut bombarded hours before start of ceasefire

    · Bombs aimed at Hizbullah leadership in suburb
    · Northern Israel hit by barrage of 250 rockets

    Brian Whitaker, Clancy Chassay in Beirut and agencies
    Monday August 14, 2006
    The Guardian

    Hours before a UN-brokered truce was due to take effect, Israeli forces pressed on with their offensive yesterday, battling with Hizbullah guerrillas in southern Lebanon and launching an unprecedented air strike against the capital, Beirut. Hizbullah, meanwhile, fired more than 250 rockets, inflicting its worst barrage on northern Israel since the fighting began a month ago. In all, more than 4,000 rockets have been fired by Hizbullah in the conflict, according to Israel radio. Israeli air raids killed at least 24 people in Lebanon, while Hizbullah's rockets killed a 70-year-old man and wounded at least 18 others. Some rockets hit the centre of the port city of Haifa. At least 20 bombs hit a Beirut suburb in the space of two minutes yesterday afternoon, almost immediately after the Israeli cabinet had endorsed the UN's truce plan.


    Army: Incident will not jeopardize cease-fire
    Peretz: Israel, UNIFIL officials coordinating land handover
    By Amos Harel and Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondents

    Israeli troops killed six Hezbollah fighters Monday in
    southern Lebanon, in four separate skirmishes that illustrated the fragility of an hours-old cease-fire.

    Despite the incidents, the UN-imposed truce ushered in a calm that the


    border region had not witnessed for more than a month, with the first
    tentative signs that people on both sides could begin rebuilding their homes and lives.


    U.S. assures Israel it will not be forced to withdraw from Shaba

    An agreement reached between Israel and the United States on the disputed Shaba Farms area, located on Israel's border with Lebanon, enabled a breakthrough in reaching a cease-fire resolution at the United Nations on Friday.

    In letters exchanged between U.S. and Israeli leaders, U.S. officials assured Israel that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan would be authorized to determine whether the area belongs to Lebanon or Syria, but that the future status of the territory would only be determined in negotiations between Israel and Farms' rightful owners.

    A senior government source said that Israel would not be obligated to withdraw from Shaba Farms, even if Annan's investigation determines that they belong to Lebanon.

    By Lucy Williamson
    BBC (UK)
    August 4, 2006


    Lebanon urges UN to demand Israeli pullout in truce resolution
    By Aluf Benn and Shlomo Shamir,

    Thousands of Israelis protest military offensives
    Malaysia Sun
    Sunday 30th July, 2006 
    Thousands of Israelis have held demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Um al-Fahem, to protest the Israeli army's offensives in Lebanon and Gaza.

    Seven killed in Gaza air strikes

    Lebanon death toll 'reaches 900'

    Jordanian king 'enraged by war'

    By Dale Gavlak
    BBC News, Amman

    By Lucy Williamson
    BBC (UK)
    August 3, 2006


    Some Israeli Attacks Amount to War Crimes

    (Beirut, August 3, 2006) – Israeli forces have systematically failed
    to distinguish between combatants and civilians in their military
    campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, Human Rights Watch said in
    report released today. The pattern of attacks in more than 20 cases
    investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates
    that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be
    blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks
    constitute war crimes.


    Israeli forces pull back from Ash Shuja'iyya leaving 30 dead
    Date: 28 / 07 / 2006  Time:  19:29
    *C(J1 'D.7 *5:J1 'D.7
    Gaza-Ma'an- The Israeli army withdrew from Ash Shuja'iyya, in the Gaza Strip, on Friday morning after a 48 hour incursion which left behind 30 dead and 128 injured.

    The neighborhood witnessed offensives of all types including artillery, air raids and targeting of civilians. These offensives caused great destruction in the infra-structure in addition to the death and injury tolls.

    Dr Mu'awiyah Hasanen the manager of the ambulance and emergency service reported that the Israeli forces left behind 30 deaths, the majority of them civilians including five women and children. He described the 128 injuries as 17 crucial, 9 lost parts of their bodies, 24 requiring serious surgeries and 37 were children.

    Israel confiscating 215 dunams of Palestinian land for Wall
    Palestine News Network, Jul 28, 2006
    Official sources in the Palestinian Office of the Public Land Defense Committee announced Thursday that the Israeli government will confiscate another 215 dunams of land for the Wall. This time the site is between northwestern Hebron and southwestern Bethlehem.....
    UN 'shock' at Lebanon bomb deaths
    Friday, June 28, 2006
    UN workers and medical staff remove the body of a peacekeeper killed in the Israeli strike
    Israel has apologised over the death of the UN peacekeepers
    The UN Security Council has expressed "shock and distress" at the deaths of four of its peacekeepers in an Israeli bombing raid in Lebanon this week.

    It follows nearly two days of talks in which the US resisted China's calls for sterner condemnation of Israel.

    About 600 Lebanese civilians had died since the conflict began more than two weeks ago, the health minister said.

    Some 51 Israelis - 18 of them civilians - have been killed by the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah......

    Five Iranian-made missiles hit Afula


    After a number of Katyusha barrages hit northern Israel over the course of the morning, five Iranian-made Fajr-5 missiles landed near Afula shortly after 3:30 p.m. Friday. This was the first time missiles of this type have been fired at Israel by Hizbullah. .....

    No one was wounded in the attack, and the Home Front Command instructed residents of the city to remain indoors. The attack caused a fire, and a helicopter was scrambled to help firefighters contain the blaze.


    History repeats with a vengeance

    BBC correspondent Jim Muir, who has been reporting the current conflict from the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, has covered the upheavals in Lebanon since the original crisis erupted there in 1975.
    Washington risks a wider conflict
    BBC Correspondent Jim Muir, who has been reporting on the current conflict from the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre, has covered the upheavals in Lebanon since the original crisis erupted there in 1975.

    In the second of a two-part series on how this conflict compares with previous ones, he examines Washington's changing role.

    Legislation Introduced in Congress to Call for Immediate Cease-fire (See Congressional action)


    U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis
    The New York Times
    July 22, 2006


    Gaza doctors: "We will run out of medical supplies soon"
    IMEMC, Jul 20, 2006

    Israeli forces arrest 150, kill 3 in military operation in Nablus
    Palestine News Network, Jul 19, 2006
    This article was originally published by the Palestine News Network and is republished with permission.

    In a major military operation in Nablus this morning, Israeli forces attacked the Palestinian Security Headquarters and arrested over 150 national security officials. Three members of Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed resistance wing of the Fateh party, were killed in the operation.(continued)


    Israeli air raids kill 64, foreigners flee Lebanon
    19 Jul 2006 23:12:18 GMT
    By Dominic Evans
    Source: Reuters
    BEIRUT, July 19 (Reuters) - Israeli air strikes on Lebanon killed 63 civilians and a Hizbollah fighter on Wednesday, the deadliest toll of the eight-day-old war, as thousands of villagers fled north and more foreigners were evacuated.
    Hizbollah rockets killed two children in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth, medics said. More Hizbollah rockets fell on the city of Haifa and one hit an empty seafront restaurant.(continued)


    Katyusha rockets rain down on towns across northern Israel
    w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

    Hezbollah renewed rocket fire Thursday morning, as 20 Katyusha rockets landed in Tiberas, Carmiel, Safed, Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona, the western Galilee and the Upper Galilee. Warning sirens were heard in Haifa as well as in the Galilee. No injuries were reported in any of the rocket strikes.

    Hezbollah fired more than 100 Katyusha rockets at Israel on Wednesday, killing two brothers from Nazareth, aged 9 and 3, and sending 135 people to the hospital in Nazareth alone. The deaths bring the number of Israelis killed by Hezbollah rockets since the fighting began to 15.

    Another 12 people sustained light wounds in the attack, and were evacuated to the Italian Hospital in the town. (continued)

    Hamas, Egypt resume talks over release of Corporal Gilad Shalit
    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent

    Hamas recently resumed both diplomatic and military contacts with the Egyptian team working in Gaza to effect the release of kidnapped soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit.

    Palestinian sources said that over the past several days, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has tried to convince the Hamas leadership that it is important to prevent the creation of a link between Shalit's abduction and Hezbollah in the mind of the international community.

    He therefore tried to persuade Hamas officials that they must present a different position than that of Hezbollah with regard to negotiations with Israel over a prisoner exchange.(continued)


    Hizbollah rockets hit Nazareth

    JERUSALEM: Rockets fired from Lebanon exploded in the Israeli town of Afula and Upper Nazareth early this morning as Hizbollah killed eight people in the Israeli city of Haifa in its deadliest rocket attack on the Jewish state.

     Eight killed as Hizbollah rocket barrage hits Haifa
    Atul Aneja
    DUBAI: Israel has accused Syria of strengthening the arsenal of rockets used by the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah, during a sustained attack which killed eight persons in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.


    Israel Unleashes More Military Power in Lebanon
    Beirut's Airport Pounded, Naval Blockade Imposed Over Kidnapping of Soldiers
    Family of nine killed as they slept
    Conal Urquhart in Gaza City
    Thursday July 13, 2006
    The Guardian

    Five childlren kliled, seven injured in Israeli airstrike on playground
    IMEMC, Jul 13, 2006  


    Barghouti warns of humanitarian disaster in Gaza, considers dissolution of PA
    Maan News, Jul 13, 2006 
    IAF planes bomb PA foreign ministry building in Gaza City
    By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies

    Woman killed when Katyusha rocket hits house in Nahariya;
     Hezbollah: We'll strike Haifa if IAF attacks Beirut

    IDF infantry, tanks begin incursion into central Gaza
    Muhammad Deif wounded in IAF strike
    UN: Gazans struggling to survive
    By Martin Patience

    BBC News website, Jerusalem
    Red Cross: Hundreds stranded for weeks at Egypt-Gaza border
      By Reuters
    Israel bars Palestinian Americans for first time since 1967
      By Amira Hass,  Correspondent

    51 killed as Israel presses on with Gaza assault
    July 10, 2006
    Jordan Times

    Gaza attack to continue despite EU protests
    By William Wallis in Jerusalem
    Published: July 10 2006
    Financial Times

    Haniyeh calls for talks on Gaza crisis; Israel: First release Shalit

    By Amos Harel, Yuval Azoulay, Avi Issacharoff, Aluf Benn and Mijal Grinberg,
    Haaretz Correspondents and Agencies
    P M Haniyeh calls

    Two Qassam rockets hit southern Ashkelon
    IDF takes control of swath of former settlements in northern Gaza
      By Yuval Azoulay and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents, and News Agencies

    Israel knows Shalit is alive, but not where he is being held
      By Amos Harel, Yuval Azoulay, Avi Issacharoff, Aluf Benn and Mijal Grinberg,
    Haaretz Correspondents
    Israel Knows

    Camp swelters with little power or water,,1811307,00.html

    Chris McGreal in Nuseirat refugee camp
    Monday July 3, 2006
    The Guardian


    Families flee as Israel’s siege of Gaza continues

    PDF Print E-mail
    Mohammed Omer, RAFAH REFUGEE CAMP - Saturday, 01 July 2006, 14:16
    AF strike leaves 700,000 people without electricity and many without water in Gaza Strip
    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent ,and News Agencies


    By Joel Greenberg
    Chicago Tribune
    June 24, 2006,1,671413.story

    By Joshua Mitnick
    Christian Science Monitor
    June 26, 2006

    U.S. Senate passes bill to block aid to Hamas government
    Sat., June 24, 2006
     By Ron Bousso Agence France Presse (France) June 22, 2006

     By Donald McIntyre Independent (UK) June 23, 2006

    By Rafi Dajani
    Daily Star, Commentary (Lebanon)
    June 23, 2006


    w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
    Last update - 18:42 17/06/2006

    Masked perpetrators harass Palestinians, steal donkey

    By Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz Correspondent
    Three masked individuals crept into a Palestinian village near the southern Hebron Hills on Saturday morning, threw stones at residents and stole a donkey, residents of the village of Um Tuba said. 
    Police arrived at the scene and requested that the owner of the stolen donkey file a complaint at the Kiryat Arba police station. 
    Over the past few months, settlers from Moan have repeatedly harassed Um Tuba children on their way to and from school. The children are forced to pass on Maon property to get to school in the village of Al-Tawani, south of the settlement. 
    Israel Defense Forces soldiers or police have had to provide escorts to protect the children from the settlers.
    About a month ago, dozens of settlers ambushed a military vehicle escorting the children. They threw stones and bottles, and one settler set his dog on the children. 
    Four of the children and two soldiers were wounded in the attack. 

    The war on children
    John Pilger
    Monday 19th June 2006

    Dr Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist who heads a children's community health project, told me, "The statistic I personally find unbearable is that 99.4 per cent of the children we studied suffer trauma . . . 99.2 per cent had their homes bombarded; 97.5 per cent were exposed to tear gas; 96.6 per cent witnessed shooting; a third saw family members or neighbours injured or killed." 
    Full article: 

    OCHA May 2006 Humanitarian Monitor

    Palestinians, Israel and the Quartet: Pulling Back from the Brink

    The Israeli-Palestinian situation is heading towards catastrophic breakdown, and all players must urgently revise their policies. Palestinians are inching towards civil war, Israelis and Palestinians are perilously close to resuming all-out hostilities, and the international community is depriving the Palestinian Authority of vital assistance. Missing from strategies to dislodge Hamas is a realistic assessment of their longer-term consequences. Starved of resources, Hamas may well fail, but it would not go quietly, and the resulting chaos and violence would make it hard to chalk up its failure as anybody’s success. Required is a more nuanced international approach with the following objectives: avoiding inter-Palestinian violence and the Palestinian Authority’s collapse; encouraging Hamas to adopt more pragmatic policies, not merely threatening; achieving a sustained ceasefire; and preventing steps jeopardising a two-state solution.

    Read this important report at:

    Editorial Christian Science Monitor June 13, 2006

    By Dean Yates Reuters June 13, 2006


     By Hilton Obenzinger Counterpunch June 13, 2006


    Boston Globe
    June 13, 2006


     By Richard Beeston Times (UK) June 13, 2006,,251-2222489,00.html


     Agence France Presse (France) June 13, 2006


    Israeli airstrike kills 10 Palestinians, including 8 civilians


     By Steven Erlanger New York Times June 12, 2006

     By Ilene R. Prusher Christian Science Monitor June 12, 2006

    By Mohamad Bazzi
    May 28, 2006,0,4870479.story?coll=ny-worldnews-toputility

    Middle East Peace Reports
    Americans For Peace Now
    June 12, 2006 Issue

     By Harvey Morris Financial Times (UK) June 11, 2006

     Editorial Daily Star (Lebanon) June 12, 2006

    By Danny Rubinstein
    Haaretz, Opinion (Israel)
    June 12, 2006

    By Akiva Eldar
    Haaretz, Opinion (Israel)
    June 12, 2006


    U.S. House votes to tighten PA sanctions

    By Shmuel Rosner
    Ha'aretz Correspondent and Agencies
    Ha'aretz -- Wednesday - May 24, 2006

    From New York Times
    This Palestinian crisis can end

    James J. Zogby
    The Jordan Times -- Tuesday - May 16, 2006

    The humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian lands has reached unimaginable proportions, with the economy strangled by closure, salaries unpaid and a medical emergency situation killing both the chronically ill and those requiring immediate treatment.(more)

    From the American Task Force on Palestine*:
    *The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) is a non-partisan organization dedicated to bringing about lasting peace and stability in the Middle East by establishing the state of Palestine alongside Israel. About ATFP


    By Ori Nir, Forward, May 12, 2006 Issue


    By Steven Erlanger, New York Times, May 11, 2006


    By Geoff Porter, New York Times, Opinion, May 11, 2006


    Editorial, Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2006


    Associated Press, May 11, 2006


    Editorial, Baltimore Sun, May 11, 2006,0,202683.story?coll=bal-opinion-headlines


    Editorial, Financial Times (UK), May 11, 2006


    By Alan Johnston, BBC (UK), May 11, 2006


    By George S. Hishmeh, Gulf News, Opinion (UAE), May 11, 2006


    Editorial, Daily Star (Lebanon), May 11, 2006


    By Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz, Opinion (Israel), May 11, 2006


    By Uri Savir, Jerusalem Post, Opinion (Israel), May 11, 2006


    Washington, D.C., May 11 -- The American Task Force on Palestine

    (ATFP) held a briefing today in Washington, D.C. featuring three senior Palestinian leaders currently visiting the United States: Yasser Abed Rabbo, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee and former More


    Washington, D.C., May 10 -- The American Task Force on Palestine

    (ATFP) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a half-day conference today entitled 'Politics and Diplomacy: Next Steps in Arab-Israeli Peacemaking.' The conference featured two panels More


    By Chris McGreal, Guardian (UK), May 10, 2006,,1771404,00.html


    By Uzi Benziman, Haaretz, Opinion (Israel), May 10, 2006


    By Roger Hardy BBC (UK) May 10, 2006


    By Mohammed El Samhouri, Jordan Times, Opinion (Jordan), May 10, 2006


    By Ali Daraghmeh and Josef Federman, Associated Press, May 10, 1006;


    By Maggie Farley and Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2006,1,3465741,print.story?coll=la-headlines-world


    Washington Post, May 9, 2006


    By Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 9, 2006


     By Anwar Majid Eshki Daily Star, Commentary (Lebanon) May 9, 2006


    By Laurie Copans, Associated Press, May 9, 2006


    By Sue Pleming,Reuters, May 9, 200


    By H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe, Opinion, May 9, 2006


    Lead Editorial, Guardian (UK), May 9, 2006,,1770728,00.html


     By Shlomo Shamir and Jack Khoury Haaretz (Israel) May 9, 2006


    By Ali Waked, Yedioth/Ynet News (Israel), May 9, 2006,7340,L-3248935,00.html


    By Linda Heard, Arab News, Opinion (Saudi Arabia), May 9, 2006


    Middle East Peace Reports, Americans For Peace Now

    May 9, 2006 Issue


    By Ghassan Khatib, BitterLemons (Israel/Palestine), May 8, 2006 Issue


     Agence France Presse (France) May 8, 2006


    By Steven Erlanger, New York Times

    May 8, 2006


    By Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch

    May 8, 2006


    By David Gow and Chris McGreal, Guardian (UK)

    May 8, 2006,,1769742,00.html


    By Anna Mahjar-Barducci, Daily Star, Commentary (Lebanon)

    May 8, 2006


    By Yonatan Touval, Haaretz, Opinion (Israel)

    May 8, 2006


    By Gershon Baskin, Jerusalem Post, Opinion (Israel)

    May 8, 2006


    By Jane Flanagan, Telegraph (UK)

    May 7, 2006


    By Fareed Taamallah, Los Angeles Times, Opinion

    May 6, 2006,1,6060731.story


    By Ori Nir, Forward, May 5, 2006 Issue


    By Erica Silverman, Al Ahram Weekly (Egypt)

    May 5, 2006 Issue

    By Graham Usher
    Al Ahram Weekly (Egypt)
    May 5, 2006 Issue

    In a five-day dash, Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party initialled coalition agreements with the Pensioners' Party, the Labour Party and the orthodox Shas movement, granting him a 67-seat majority in the 120- member Knesset. Barring recantations, the government will be presented to Israel's president, Moshe Katsav, on  More

    By Daoud Kuttab
    Jordan Times, Opinion (Jordan)
    May 5, 2006

    For 39 years of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, Palestinians have been able to survive through a variety of mechanisms. Being under occupation, Palestinians were able to discover ways to beat the system.
    Before the Palestinian Authority was established, non-governmental organisations created a state-like infrastructure More

    By Bradley Burston
    Haaretz (Israel)
    May 5, 2006

    We love the smell of victory in the morning. It smells like ... a lie. It smells like the lies we tell ourselves to ward off the terrible fear  More

    New York Times
    May 5, 2006

    Jerusalem — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert won formal parliamentary approval for his coalition government on Thursday, and he told Parliament he was prepared to set Israel's boundaries during its four-year term. More

    By Shmuel Rosner
    Haaretz (Israel)
    May 5, 2006

    San Antonio, Texas - In the courtyard of Pastor John Hagee's church, there is a wall of hewn stones on which is inscribed the well-known verse from Psalms: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee" (122:6). On a warm cloudy day in the short spring that precedes the Texan summer of  More

    By Scott Wilson
    Washington Post
    May 5, 2006

    Jerusalem -- Ehud Olmert was sworn in as Israel's prime minister Thursday at the head of a governing coalition he warned would face "major challenges" as he worked to fulfill his campaign pledge to evacuate isolated West Bank settlements and draw the Jewish state's final border. More

    By Marc Perelman
    May 5, 2006

    Efraim Halevy is no dove.

    The bluntly speaking former Mossad chief, a key adviser to former prime minister Ariel Sharon who supported harsh retaliation against Palestinian terror, is a supporter of the Iraq War who issues dark warnings about the dramatic increase in Europe's Muslim population. So, there were more than a few puzzled looks  More

    By MJ Rosenberg
    Israel Policy Forum
    May 5, 2006 Issue

    Imagine if there was a small but significant minority of Americans whose loyalty was not to the United States but to the land that constitutes the United States. In one way it is not that hard to picture. Think of Wyoming, Vermont, and California and those other states that just knock your eyes out with their natural beauty. Nobody who visits More

    May 5, 2006

    Jerusalem - Newly installed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has set his sights on a visit to Washington to win US support for his plan to redraw Israel's borders and leave parts of the West Bank.  More

    By Chris McGreal
    Guardian (UK)
    May 5, 2006

    Jerusalem - The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, installed his new government yesterday with praise for the settler movement and a pledge to make the main Jewish colonies in the West Bank permanently part of Israel by redrawing the country's borders. More

    By Adam Entous
    May 4, 2006

    Jerusalem - A British proposal to set up a trust fund to help pay overdue salaries directly to employees of the Palestinian Authority has highlighted transatlantic differences over dealing with the Hamas-led government .More

    By Josef Federman and Ali Darghmeh
    Associated Press
    April 27, 2006

    Nablus, West Bank - Buying on credit. Selling gold dowries. Giving up tobacco and other small pleasures.
    With their salaries weeks overdue and savings depleted, Palestinian families are finding creative ways to survive the Hamas-led government's More

    By Ori Nir
    April 28, 2006 Issue

    Washington — Moshe Yaalon, the recently retired chief of staff of the Israeli military, is a kibbutznik from a Labor movement background. But in sharp contrast to the retired military men entering the next Knesset, Yaalon is the rare, and arguably most important, retired Israeli general to  More
    By Robert Fisk
    April 27, 2006

    Stephen Walt towers over me as we walk in the Harvard sunshine past Eliot Street, a big man who needs to be big right now (he's one of two authors of an academic paper on the influence of America's Jewish lobby) but whose fame, or notoriety, depending on your point of view, is More
    By Miral Fahmy
    April 26, 2006

    Dubai - Wealthy Gulf Arab states will not let Hamas ministers go home empty-handed, wary that Shi'ite Iran might gain influence by filling the funding vacuum faced by the new Islamist Palestinian government, analysts said.
    Yet the Gulf states More
    Independent (UK)
    April 28, 2006

    Jerusalem - Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister-designate, has pieced together the skeleton of a coalition that will assure him a majority for evacuating dozens of outlying West Bank settlements, but looks as if it will deny him the stability he hoped for
    By Martin Patience
    BBC (UK)
    April 28, 2006

    Jerusalem - The year 1948 resonates with Israelis as the year their nation was born in blood during a war for independence against all odds.

    For Palestinians, 1948 means something very different - the defeat of the Arab armies, the failure of Palestinians to establish their own state and the beginning of exile, when 750,000 Palestinians became
    By Graham Usher
    Al Ahram Weekly (Egypt)
    April 28, 2006

    Jerusalem - According to several grapevines here, interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will present Israel's 17th government sometime next week -- well within the 28 days allowed for forming a government under the elections law. The cause of this speed is the ease with which
    By George S. Hishmeh
    Jordan Times, Opinion (Jordan)
    April 28, 2006

    It is the tradition here that any new government be given a grace period of 100 days before judgement is voiced about its direction and effectiveness. But this has not been the case with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority
    By Yoel Marcus
    Haaretz, Opinion (Israel)
    April 28, 2006

    Every once in a while, some great brain gets up and denounces our "dependence" on the United States. One of them was Menachem Begin, who summoned then U.S. ambassador Sam Lewis and snapped:
    By Akiva Eldar
    Haaretz (Israel)
    April 28, 2006

    Given the actions of the outgoing defense minister, Lieutenant General (res.) Shaul Mofaz, citizen Amir Peretz is stepping into very small shoes. Mofaz sowed evil and is bequeathing ruins to the next government, and not only to the new defense minister. He is leaving

    Economist (UK)
    April 12, 2006

    Think of Jerusalem as a holy place, and at least two images spring to mind. One is the towering slab of yellow-white, pockmarked stone, at the foot of which Hebrew prayers are softly uttered. The other is the dazzling golden dome that commands the sky-line. These images are different views of the same structure:  More


    From other news sources:

    Palestinians losing link to U.S. care

    Sanctions against Hamas threaten to harm program for kids, entire medical system

    Matthew Kalman, Chronicle Foreign Service

    Sunday, May 7, 2006

    Jerusalem -- Four-year-old Sundras Badran sat still while Dr. Mahmoud Nashashibi, a Palestinian pediatric cardiologist, checked her heart on an echocardiogram at the El- Mokassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. Sundras, a Palestinian girl from the West Bank village of Anata, was attending a clinic funded by the Palestine Children's Relief Fund, an Ohio-based charity Moree

    Jimmy Carter: Punishing the innocent is a crime 

    Jimmy Carter, International Herald Tribune

    SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2006

    ATLANTA Hamas and the Palestinians 

    Innocent Palestinian people are being treated like animals, with the presumption that they are guilty of some crime. Because they voted for candidates who are members of Hamas, the United States government has become the driving force behind an apparently effective More

    alk Is Cheap: “Dialogue” vs. Divestment In the Struggle for Justice in Palestine

    by: James M. Wall
    March 2006

    THE GENERAL Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is the governing body of a Protestant denomination of 2.4 million members, 11,100 congregations and 14,000 ordained and active ministers. At its last meeting in the summer of 2004, already on record opposing the occupation policies of the Israeli government and  More


    WCC protests Israeli settlers' violence against Christian volunteers in Hebron

    Expressing "alarm and concern" the World Council of Churches (WCC) has presented a formal protest to the Israeli ambassador in Switzerland over two recent incidents involving violence by Israeli settlers against Christian volunteers participating in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).


    Articles, Editorials, and Commentary by IPI Members:
    Previous Articles About Israel and Palestine:
    Commentary: Peace can only be the fruit of justice Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Ismail Haniyeh outlines the basis for comprehensive peace Al-Ahram Weekly 13 - 19 April 2006 Issue No. 790

      As the Palestinian people continue their long and painful journey for freedom and independence, we look to the future with hope and optimism. Indeed, it is this hope, this strong faith in the justice of our cause, that kept us going all these years and made us withstand the suffering and brutality meted out to us by an evil and dehumanising Israeli military occupation. More

    Hamas Being Forced To Collapse By Sam Bahour 15/4/2006 

    As many predicted, including myself (see The Third Intifada), the newly elected Palestinian government led by Hamas has already started to show an impressive level of pragmatism, however, Israel and the U.S. seem to not be interested.  As a matter of fact the U.S., in specific, is leading a global campaign to isolate the Palestinian government in such a haphazard way, that they are also causing a troubling level of despair among the average Palestinian citizen as well.  More


    The Palestinian Christian persecuted, betrayed By Abe Ata 24th of March 2006

    The Palestinian Christian is an endangered species.  More

    Missed Opportunities Excerpts from M.J. Rosen, Israel Policy Forum, Washington DC, February 17, 2006 Issue # 262

    The first thing to know about the Hamas win is that it was it was eminently predictable (and was widely predicted, including in this space) and perhaps even inevitable, inevitable in the sense that the actions of Fatah, the Americans, and the Israelis made it so. More 

    Hamas Being Forced To Collapse Does this serve U.S. and Israeli interests? By Sam Bahour
    As many predicted, including myself (see The Third Intifada), the newly elected Palestinian government led by Hamas has already started to show an impressive level of pragmatism, however, Israel and the U.S. seem to not be interested. As a matter of fact the U.S., in specific, is leading a global campaign to isolate the Palestinian government in such a haphazard way, that they are also causing a troubling level of despair among the average Palestinian citizen as well.  More

    In Ze'evi's footsteps Amira Hass, Haaretz, 15 February 2006

    Someone who apparently had an especially sarcastic sense of humor decided to officially name the Jordan Valley Road, Route 90, the "Gandhi Road." The reference is not to More

    Garbage Dumped on Jayyous Farmland Feb. 10, 2006

    Susanne’s note:  In 2004, I was hosted for three days by a wonderful Muslim family in the agricultural village of Jayyous.  The first sight that greeted me was an enormous trash dump made by Israeli settlers near the entrance to the village.  I was kept awake at night by its acrid smell.  Not far away, I walked with farmers through orchards and fields eating delicious fruit from their trees.  More

    Israel Lands Authority plows 2,500 dunams of Bedouin lands By Nir Hasson, Haaretz Correspondent, February 9, 2006

    Clashes erupted between Bedouins and police officers on Wednesday, when Israel Lands Authority (ILA) inspectors and Agriculture Ministry officials plowed 2,500 dunams of lands between More

    The hypocrisy of tolerance By Meron Benvenisti, February 9, 2006

    The initiators of the white elephant called the Museum of Tolerancedeclared that they do not deal with Holocaust-related issues and will not deal with issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More

    Israel plans to build 'museum of tolerance' on Muslim graves By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem, 09 February 2006

    Skeletons are being removed from the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem to make way for a $150m (£86m) "museum of tolerance" being built for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre Withdrawal is a prelude to annexation. More

    Palestinian Elections: Victory for Democracy Dr. Bernard Sabella Jerusalem January 27, 2006

    I ran as a Fatah candidate in the January 25th Palestinian parliamentary elections and I won the trust of my people for one of the two Christian seats from Jerusalem. My campaign was not a sophisticated one as I attempted throughout to reach people in Jerusalem; its villages, refugee camps, towns and other communal localities on a person More

    US hypocrisy is not new but Condi Rice has taken it beyond chutzpah Avi Shlaim Wednesday June 22, 2005 Guardian Unlimited ©

    Condoleezza Rice hailed the understanding between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the need to destroy the homes of the 8,000 Jewish settlers in Gaza as a historic step on the road to peace. More

    Israel to dump 10,000 tons of garbage a month in the West Bank By David Ratner, Haaretz, 4/4/05

    Israel has decided to transfer garbage beyond the Green Line and dump it in the West Bank for the first time since 1967. The project was launched despite international treaties prohibiting an occupying state from making use of occupied territory unless it benefits the local population. More

    Know When To Say "No": A Call For Divestment From The Israeli Occupation Shamai Leibowitz, The Electronic Intifada, 24 March 2005 

    The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has led to an explosion of "people power" in the streets of Beirut, in which hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens have called for an end to Syria's occupation of their land. These calls have been celebrated and echoed More

    Youth Respond as Occupation Targets Remaining Jayyus Lands on Other Side of the Wall Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, February 5th, 2006

    Over fifty trucks a day filled with trash from settlements are being brought in and dumped on the lands of Jayyus village, in three different places. The accumulation and scattering of this trash is suffocating olive trees and surrounding fields. More

    Why an Economic Boycott of Israel is Justified Human Rights Violations, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN, January 18, 2006

    (EDITORS' NOTE: In early January Kristin Halvorsen, current Norwegian Finance Minister and leader of the Left Socialist Party (a member of the current three-party governmental coalition), expressed her personal andparty support for a Norwegian boycott of Israeli goods and services. More

    Middle East Peace Reports TRASH HEAP OF HISTORY April 11, 2005 - Vol. 6, Issue 36

    Ha'aretz reported that Israel has decided to transfer garbage beyond the Green Line and dump it in the West Bank for the first time since 1967. The project was launched despite international treaties prohibiting an occupying state from making use of occupied territory unless it benefits the local population. More

    Israel bans new West Bank wells From Jessica McCallin in Jerusalem 27 October 2002 (The Sunday Herald, Scotland)

    Israeli infrastructure minister Effi Eitam last week banned Palestinians from drilling for water in the West Bank and put a freeze on the issue of permits for future drillings. The decision will have a severe effect on Palestinian agriculture, which relies mainly on water drilled from More

    Hamas Wins Palestinian Elections: Questions you need answered © Copyright by

    The stunning victory by Hamas in the Palestinian election has raised many questions. Jewish Voice for Peace offers some answers to help our members and supporters make sense of these momentous developments. More