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Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
www.vtjp.org/
For those interested in keeping up with events in Palestine/Israel, there is no better digest than VTJP.

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28 April 2008

News

Mother, four children amongst victims of Israeli Gaza strike
Report, Al Mezan, Electronic Intifada 4/28/2008
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed four children and their mother when they shelled their home in Ezbet Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip today. Another man was killed in the attack which occurred during an IOF incursion in different parts of the town of Beit Hanoun. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights’ monitoring finds that the IOF stepped up their aggression on Gaza. In April 2008 alone, the IOF killed 66 Palestinians, 20 of whom were children and one was a woman. One hundred and thirty-nine others were injured, including 18 children. IOF launched 29 incursions into the Gaza Strip during the same period. According to Al Mezan Center’s field investigations, at approximately 8:15am on 28 April 2008, IOF scouting drones fired two rockets that landed in front of the house of Ahmed Eid Abu Me’teq, which is located near Abdullah Azzam mosque in Ezbet Beit Hanoun. As a result, four children and their mother were killed, and their sister was wounded. One man was also killed.

Food distribution halted, cooking gas running out in Gaza
Tom Spender/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 4/28/2008
A WFP spokeswoman told IRIN that some 80 percent of the enclave’s population was living in poverty and most of them required food aid - JERUSALEM/GAZA, 28 April 2008 (IRIN) - The UN has stopped distributing food in the Gaza Strip as its main agencies have run out of fuel for vehicles. To make matters worse, many bakeries in the enclave were closed on 28 April as they had run out of gas. The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) confirmed they had not delivered food aid since 26 April, with the latter saying it had also stopped refuse collection. The head of UNRWA in Gaza, John Ging, told IRIN efforts were being made to get fuel to the UN, but said "a solution for the UN’s needs is not a solution for all of Gaza. "Several aid agencies, including Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF), have also halted some work due to the lack of fuel.

Fuel Crisis in Gaza: MSF is forced to scale back its medical activities
Palestine News Network 4/28/2008
This comes from Médecins Sans Frontières: "Doctors without Borders" in English. Not only is the UNRWA stopping its food aid to the destitute population of the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli ban on fuel imports, so is MSF decreasing its medical services. The Israeli government issued a statement late last week claiming, "There is no fuel crisis in Gaza. "- Paris-Jerusalem / Duncan Mclean -- MSF denounces the effects of the embargo on humanitarian medical aid. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) medical activities in the Gaza Strip are being seriously hindered by lack of fuel. Diesel and gasoline have been unavailable on the market for the past week. MSF teams have had to limit their visits to the most severely ill patients, who make up only one fifth of the patient population of MSF post-surgical care programs.

Gaza gas distributors reject reduced fuel shipment
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Fuel distributors in the Gaza Strip have refused once again to accept a severely inadequate fuel shipment from Israel, despite warnings of an imminent humanitarian crisis. The Deputy chair of the Gaza gas stations federation, Mahmoud Al-Khizindar, affirmed on Monday morning that the federation refused to receive the reduced fuel transfer from Nahal Oz terminal. "There are three benzene tankers and 14 diesel tankers at Nahal Oz terminal, and the federation refused to take that quantity because the Israelis did not fulfill their pledges to ship the needed fuel," Al-Khizindar explained. Al-Khizindar added that no cooking gas has been allowed through the crossing since 9 April. He said that Gaza’s 1. 5 million inhabitants use 350 tons of cooking gas every day. On Monday one million liters of industrial fuel was shipped in order to keep Gaza’s sole power plant online.

New Israeli settlement to block route from East Jerusalem to West Bank
Palestine News Network 4/28/2008
Jerusalem / PNN -- The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that buildings now belonging to the Israeli police in East Jerusalem will soon be given to Jewish settlers. This is another move on the part of the Israelis to entirely overtake Jerusalem and convert the West Bank into a series of cantons, Palestinian officials report. President Abbas, the people, and other officials are clear to point out that the Israeli settlement policy is a major blocking point in the ’peace process. ’ These buildings in the Ras Al Amud neighborhood were used as the Israeli police headquarters in the West Bank which will soon be transferred to the hill between Jerusalem and the settlement of "Ma’aleh Adumim," a distance of about 10 kilometers east of the holy city. Agence France Presse reported that the buildings will be handed to the Assembly of the Salvation of Jerusalem, which now requested. . . -- See also: Police move to new HQ east of Jerusalem, Ha''aretz, 4/28/2008 and Settlers to move into E. J''lem police HQ, Ha''aretz, 4/28/2008

Beit Hanoun families flee Israeli onslaught
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Dozens of Palestinian families from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun left their apartments in tower number one at the An-Nada neighborhood to tower number 25 trying to find shelter from Israeli shelling. The coordinator of the local committee for countering Israeli attacks, Sabir Za’aneen said he saw dozens of women and children leaving their apartments and screaming as they headed towards tower number 25. He explained that they were seeking shelter after shrapnel of Israeli shells and gunshots broke the windows of their apartments. He also claimed that the Israeli soldiers deliberately fired at water tanks on the rooftops of the buildings as well as electricity cables. Seven people, including a mother and her four young children, were killed by Israeli fire in Beit Hanoun earlier on Monday.

Lebanese army: 12 Israeli jets flew over Beirut
Associated Press, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Tensions in the north? Lebanon says ’enemy’ airplanes violated its airspace Monday, flew over Lebanese cities; Meanwhile, Israel complains that UNIFIL forces fail to report illegal Hizbullah activities - The Lebanese army reported that Israeli Air Force jets flew over Beirut on Monday. The army said in a statement that 12 "enemy" Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace before noon Monday by flying missions over Beirut and elsewhere in the country. The IDF said it will not discuss its operational activities. The Lebanese statement added that four jets flew over the Mediterranean off the coastal city of Byblos in the north and headed toward the eastern province of Hermel, while eight other jets flew over the southern town of Rmeish, then headed north to Beirut, the Chouf Mountains, southeast of the capital, and Hermel before flying back to the "occupied territories.

Barak: Hamas responsible for civilian deaths in Gaza
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Defense minister says that by operating from within civilian areas, Hamas effectively contributes to high number of civilian casualties in Gaza - While Palestinian organizations blamed Israel Monday for the killing of five Gaza family members, Defense Minister Ehud Barak maintained that it was Hamas that is responsible for their deaths. An IDF shell hit a house in the town of Beit Hanoun Monday morning, killing five members of the Abu Meatak family. A 15-year-old boy was also killed in the strike while making his way to school. Nine people were reportedly injured, three of them sustaining serious to critical wounds. "We hold Hamas responsible for anything that goes on inside Gaza and for all the strikes," Barak said during a tour of an Israel Military Industries facility in central Israel.

IDF: Gaza blast was caused by militants’ explosives
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
The Israel Defense Forces said Monday that a blast that killed six Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza earlier in the day was not caused by an IDF tank shell, as the Palestinians had earlier reported, but was rather a result of militants’ explosives. The IDF investigated the incident, which left a Beit Hanoun mother and her four children dead along with a 17-year-old passerby, and concluded that the deadly explosion occurred when the Israel Air Force, targeting two Palestinian gunmen, fired a missile and hit the gunmen’s bags, which were full of ammunition. The missile caused the ammunition cache to explode with force, setting off a chain reaction of additional explosions. Palestinian medics identified the dead children as sisters Rudina and Hana Abu Meatik, ages 6 and 3; and their brothers, Saleh, 4 and Mousab, 15 months.

An Israeli air strike on Gaza wounds four fighters
Rami Almeghari, International Middle East Media Center News 4/28/2008
An Israeli air strike wounded on Monday four Palestinian resistance fighters of the Popular Resistance Committees, while driving along the Salah Eldin main road in northern Gaza Strip. Dr. Mo’awiya Abu Hasanin, chief of emergency and ambulance service in Gaza said that four people were admitted to the Kamal Edwan hospital in northern Gaza Strip. The latest air strike came hours after the Israeli army tanks had killed earlier a mother and her four children in the Om Alnasser village in northern Gaza Strip. The military escalation on the ground comes as representatives of Palestinian resistance factions headed for Caior today for talks over possible ceasefire with Israel. Last Friday, the Israeli government dismissed the ceasefire offer, branding it a maneuver by the ruling Hamas part in Gaza to ’rearm and reorganize’.

Colonel to investigate Beit Hanoun strike
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Army orders inquiry into Gaza strike: Mother, four children killed in Gaza Strip Monday morning died after explosive device carried by terrorists blew up following air strike, IDF said earlier; meanwhile, another Palestinian killed in northern Gaza Monday evening - Army orders inquiry into Gaza strike:The IDF appointed a colonel to investigate Monday’s strike that left five civilians dead in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. The colonel is expected to present his conclusions within 48 hours. The army’s initial investigation into the incident concluded that two Palestinian terrorists were attacked and hit from the air, causing the bomb they were carrying to explode and destroying the Abu Meatak family home. The house was hit while the family was at the breakfast table. However, the decision to investigate the incident thoroughly by appointing the colonel was made due to the issue’s sensitivity.

Israeli forces kill 6 more Palestinians in northern Gaza Strip
Palestine News Network 4/28/2008
Gaza / PNN -- Six Palestinians are dead and seven injured in the latest Israeli attack on the northern Gaza Strip, which have become a daily occurrence in addition to the siege. Hamas says this proves that Israel is not serious about reaching a calm. The party’s ousted Prime Minister Ismail Haniya issued a condemnation, as did President Abbas. The leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s armed resistance wing says that Israel has not intention of ceasing its attacks, while Saraya Al Quds of Islamic Jihad is among those mourning the loss of one of its members. A group of armed resistance members were targeted, as was a home in Beit Hanoun. Palestinian medical source confirmed on Monday that six Palestinians were killed, their bodies burned after being shelled by Israeli forces in eastern Beit Hanoun.

Israel kills four children, mother in Gaza
Sakher Abu El Oun, Daily Star 4/29/2008
Agence France Presse - BEIT HANUN, Gaza Strip: Four children, the oldest just five years old, 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. "I left the house just moments before to look for one of my children. I heard the sound of the explosion," said their 70-year-old father Ahmad Abu Maateq. "They had been eating breakfast and my wife had been holding our youngest child in her hands," he added as he looked down at the blood, flesh and spilled milk splashed across the wreckage. His wife and six children were in the courtyard in their pyjamas when the missile slammed into the house, he said.

Six family houses searched in night time incursion to Kufr Qadum village
International Womens’ Peace Service 4/28/2008
Date of incident: 27. 04. 2008 - Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqilya District - Witness/es: family members, municipality - Description of Incident: Shortly after midnight on Sunday the 27. 04. 2008 the Israeli army entered Kufr Qadum village with at least 25 vehicles. Soldiers entered and unsuccessfully searched six family houses for weapons. A young man was detained for about two to three hours before being released. IWPS volunteers interviewed one of the effected families, who gave the following account of the event: Soldiers with painted faces came to the house of the family after midnight. Initially they ordered the family of eleven, including nine children aged between 2 ½ and 16, to leave the house during the search. The father successfully refused, arguing the small children were afraid and cold. The army then forced the family to stay in one room instead, while proceeding to search the rest of the house.

Report: 3 hurt in IDF airstrike in Gaza
Ali Waked, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Palestinian sources report that IDF airstrike in northern Gaza wounds three Palestinians, one of them critically. Five Palestinians, including five members of the same family, killed by IDF shell in Beit Hanoun earlier Monday - Three Palestinians were wounded in an IDF airstrike in northern Gaza Monday afternoon, sources in Gaza reported. In addition to aerial operations, the IDF continued to operate on the ground in the Strip throughout Monday. A soldier was lightly wounded in his hand earlier during a clash with Palestinian gunmen and several missiles were launched at IDF tanks. Four Palestinian children, all members of one family, were killed earlier Monday in Israel Defense Forces strike in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources reported. According to the report, an IDF shell hit a house in the town of Beit Hanoun, killing four members of the Abu Meatak family.

Israeli forces raid Ramallah
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli forces invaded the central West Bank cities of Ramallah, Al-Bireh, Beitunia and the nearby Al-Jalazun refugee camp on Monday morning. Palestinian security sources stated that several Israeli military vehicles stormed the southern neighborhoods of Al-Bireh and patrolled the city’s streets. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers ransacked several homes in Ramallah. The same sources explained that Israeli military vehicles roamed several neighborhoods in Beitunia and Al-Jalazun camp. No casualties or arrests have been reported. [end]

Four Palestinian fighters wounded by Israeli air bombardment in Beit Hanoun
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – An Israeli airstrike in the town of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, left four Palestinian fighters wounded on Monday afternoon, medical sources said. The four fighters were affiliated with the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. Mu’awiya Hassanain, the director of ambulance and emergency services, in the Palestinian Health Ministry told Ma’an that all the injured were evacuated to Kamal Udwan Hospital. Israeli tanks and warplanes invaded Beit Hanoun early on Monday morning, killing seven Palestinians, including a mother and her four young children. Tanks are still operating in the town at the time of writing.

Palestinian military groups confronting ongoing Israeli incursions in the Gaza Strip
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades said on Monday that their fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an Israeli military personnel carrier in a citrus grove in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. A statement released by the Al-Quds Brigades said the operation came in retaliation for Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. Separately, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades, said that their fighters blocked an Israeli incursion attempt near the area of Al-Hawooz in the northern Gaza Strip. The group claimed that they injured Israeli soldiers during an exchange of fire.

Palestinian fighters unleash barrage of projectiles and mortars at Israeli targets
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
responsibility on Monday afternoon for launching five homemade projectiles and three mortar shells at the Israeli towns of Sderot and Netiv Ha’asara and at Israeli forces invading Beit Hanoun. Separately, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s (PFLP) military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, said their fighters fired four homemade projectiles at Sderot. They also said they shot and injured an Israeli soldier. Moreover, the PFLP’s and Fatah’s military wings said their fighters fired mortar shells at Israeli military vehicles in the northern Gaza Strip. For their part, Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing five mortar shells at Israeli military vehicles in the northern Gaza Strip.

Gaza militants pound Negev with Qassams and mortar shells
Mijal Grinberg, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday launched at least nine Qassam rockets and nine mortar shells at the Western Negev, just after an Israel Defense Forces strike on a house in the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun killed at least six Palestinians. Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam brigades, said it fired three rockets at the Negev town of Sderot in response to the Beit Hanoun killings. Islamic Jihad and two other Palestinian factions said they launched several rockets before and after the home in Beit Hanoun was hit. One of the rockets exploded near a housing complex in Sderot. There were no injuries in the incident, but the building was damaged. Another rocket exploded in an open field near Kibbutz Gavim, sparking a fire. Of the nine mortar shells launched on Monday, the exploding sites of eight were located.

Fatah’s military wing claims responsibility for projectile
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A military group affiliated to the armed wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility on Sunday evening for launching a homemade projectile at the Israeli community of Yad Mordechai, north of the Gaza Strip. They said in a statement that the shelling came in retaliation for Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. [end]

South under fire: More rockets fired from Gaza
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/28/2008
At least three rockets land near Sderot Monday night; overall, nearly 20 rockets fired at south throughout day - Rocket attacks continue:At least three rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in open areas near Sderot Monday night, and later a rocket landed near Nahal Oz. No injuries or damages were reported in the latest barrage. Overall, at least 19 rockets were fired at Israel’s south throughout the day. Monday afternoon, Palestinian terrorists fired at least seven rockets and one mortar shell at southern Israel, with two landing in open areas near Sderot. Another rocket landed in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. Two more rockets landed in Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, and one more landed in Palestinian territory. No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks. Terrorists have been firing Qassam rockets and mortar shells at Gaza-region communities. . .

Right-wing Israeli settlers will move in to Palestinian town of Ras al-Amud
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/28/2008
In the next few days, a new Israeli settlement will be established in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, east of Jerusalem, according to the former Israeli police commissioner Moshe Karadi. Israeli sources reported Monday that the new Israeli settlement will be constructed on land that is supposed to be part of future negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. As is the case with most of the 300 settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the construction is in direct violation of Israeli promises made during negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, in which Israeli officials promised to halt the construction of new settlements on stolen Palestinian land. But despite Israeli promises to the contrary, settlement construction has contininued unabated through all ’negotiation’ processes, until nearly 500,000 Israelis. . .

Israeli forces close checkpoint near Ramallah after Palestinians fire on Israeli bus
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Sunday closed the Atara checkpoint north of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday evening, ensnaring hundreds of cars in a traffic jam. Israeli soldiers stopped all traffic for more than two hours, Palestinians waiting at the roadblock said. School busses were reported to be among the vehicles waiting. Israeli sources said the closure of the checkpoint came after an Israeli bus came under fire in the area. No casualties were been reported in that incident. Fatah’s military wing claimed responsibility for the shooting saying it was in retaliation for Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people. Atara checkpoint lies at the northern entrance of the village of Bir Zeit, on one of the main routes between Ramallah and the city of Nablus. Israel maintains more than 500 checkpoints and other roadblocks in the occupied West Bank.

Army kills seven Palestinians, including four toddlers and their mother in northern Gaza
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/28/2008
An Israeli shell tore through a Palestinian home in the northern Gaza Strip village of Izbit Abed-Rabo, near Beit Hanoun, early Monday morning, killing four siblings under the age of six and their mother. The army also killed one fighter, member of armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, and a 17-year old youth. Dr. Mo’awiya Abu Hasanin, chief of emergency and ambulance department at Gaza’s health ministry, confirmed that the four children and their mother were from the Moatiq family. The slain children were identified as Ahmed Abu Moatiq, 1 year old, Hanna, 3, Saleh, 4, Rodaina, 6. Also, resident Ayoub Atallah, 17, was killed and his friend Moatassim Sualem was seriously injured. Medical sources reported that Ibrahim al-Jahjouah, member of the Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, was killed as well - the shelling was apparently an extrajudicial assassination targeting him.

Israeli forces destroy family at breakfast
Palestine News Network 4/28/2008
Gaza / One Democratic State Group - While the Abu Mu’attaq family in the northern town of Beit Hanoun was having breakfast, Israeli tanks shelled their house. The mother, Khadra Abu Mu’attaq, and herchildren, 8 year old Ahmed, three year old Hana, four year old Salih, six year old Rudayna, in addition to 17 year old Ayyoub Atalla, who was on his way to school, died on the spot. This latest war crime comes at a time when the Gaza Strip is witnessing its worst period since it was occupied in 1967. The heinous siege imposed on it has so far led to the killing of 140 terminally ill patients that were denied permits by the Israeli forces to be treated in West Bank hospitals. The severe shortages in fuel, electricity, medicine, water, food, amongst other things, have transformed the Strip into a waste land.

Israeli tanks kill seven Palestinians, including mother and four young children, in Beit Hanoun
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Seven Palestinians were killed, including a mother and her four young children, and at least seven others were injured when Israeli tanks shelled a house in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning, witnesses and medics said. Palestinian medics identified the mother, Khadra Abu Mu’attaq, and her children Ahmad Abu Mu’attaq, three-year-old Hana Abu Mu’attaq, four-year-old Salih Abu Mu’attaq, and six-year-old Rudayna Abu Mu’attaq, medics reported. The family was inside the house, eating breakfast at the time of the shelling. A student, 17-year-old Ayyub Atallah, was killed on his way to school. His friend Mu’tasim Sweilim was injured. The sixth Palestinian killed was a member of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, named Ibrahim Al-Hjuj.

Israeli fire ’kills four children in Gaza’
Reuters, The Independent 4/28/2008
Israeli fire hit a house in the Gaza Strip today while a family was eating breakfast, killing six Palestinians, including four children and their mother, residents and medical officials said. The deaths in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun cast another shadow on Egyptian efforts to forge a ceasefire between Israel and militant groups and end violence threatening US-brokered Palestinian statehood talks. "This aggression does not serve efforts being exerted to achieve calm, and it obstructs the peace process," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, referring to Israel’s military activities, said in a statement carried by WAFA news agency. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, without giving details of the raid in Beit Hanoun, said Hamas Islamists controlling the Gaza Strip bore overall responsibility for casualties among non-combatants because gunmen "operated among civilians".

Five killed in Israeli attack on Gaza Strip
Haroon Siddique, The Guardian 4/28/2008
Four Palestinian children and their mother were killed in an Israeli attack on the northern Gaza Strip today, officials said. The attack happened in Beit Hanoun, near the Israeli border. The town is often used by Palestinian militants as a base from which to fire rockets into southern Israel. Palestinian doctors said the dead children were Rudina and Hana Abu Meatik, sisters aged six and three, and their brothers, four-year-old Saleh and 15-month-old Mousab. Their mother, Miyasar, was in her late 30s. Her two older children were critically wounded in the strike, officials said. The Israeli army said it had used tanks and aircraft to target a group of gunmen who had approached the border. alestinian militants have carried out a series of attacks in the area over recent weeks. The Islamic Jihad militant group said one of its gunmen was killed near the family’s home. In a separate strike, a tank shell apparently veered off target and struck the building.

Israeli forces unseal West Bank; detain three Palestinians
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces reopened the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Monday morning after a week of total closure for the Jewish Passover holiday. The Gaza Strip, which has been sealed by the Israeli military since last June, will remain closed. The Passover closure mainly effected Palestinians in the West Bank, who were not allowed to enter Jerusalem or Israel, even with a permit. Separately, Israeli forces seized two Palestinians near the city of Ramallah, in the central West Bank, and one from Bethlehem, in the south, during overnight raids. [end]

Palestinian court sentences accused collaborator to death
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
Palestinian judges ordered the execution of a man for collaborating with Israel in Hebron on Monday. Judges say the man provided information that helped Israeli forces kill four Palestinian militants. On Monday, they ordered he be executed by a firing squad. The order still has to be signed by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinians look harshly toward brethren who provide Israel with information about Palestinian militants. Suspected collaborators are often killed vigilante-style. Last June, Palestinian militantskilled a man they suspected of collaborating with Israel, as he lay on the X-ray table at a hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus. In November last year, authorities in Jerusalem arrested four residents of the Jabel Mukaber section of East Jerusalem for allegedly conspiring to kill a man they suspected of cooperating with the Israeli security services.

Palestinian court sentences security officer to death for collaboration with Israeli occupation
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – A Palestinian military court in the West Bank city of Hebron sentenced a Palestinian security officerto death by firing squad after he was found guilty of treason and collaboration with the Israeli occupation, court officials said on Monday. "The suspect has been found guilty of treason within a network of collaborators led by his uncle that operated in the town of Yatta. He used to transfer information to his father. He confessed to transferring information that led to the killing of four wanted Palestinian activists, the destruction of a house and apprehension of several wanted operatives," says head of the military court Ahmad Abu Dayyah. He added that after review article 131 of the Palestinian military law of 1979, the court decided unanimously that the suspect should be executed. Judges Ahmad Abu Dayyah, Ra’id Fannun, and Fadi Hijazi presided in the trial.

Three Palestinian escape Occupied West Bank jail
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/29/2008
JERICHO: Three Palestinians, including two members of an armed group mostly confined to the Gaza Strip, escaped from an Occupied West Bank prison overnight, Palestinian security officials said on Monday. Two of the men, Nidal Awdi Malash and Mohammed Yusef Sobh, were members of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), according to a security official who asked to remain anonymous. The third man, Hani Ezzat Halawa, was being held on criminal charges, the official added. Jericho police chief Qaid Khaled Abu Kamel confirmed the three had escaped but refused to provide details about their identities. "People escape from prisons all over the world. We are investigating," he said. - [end]

Hamas calls on all resistance factions to retaliate strongly to Israel’s crimes
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement called Monday on all Palestinian resistance factions spearheaded by the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, to retaliate strongly to Israel’s crimes especially to the Beit Hanoun massacre committed in the morning and to be fully prepared to protect the Palestinian people. "We inform all parties that we have done everything we can in order to achieve calm in the Palestinian arena, but in the light of the occupation’s positions and its ongoing aggression and siege, the Movement declares that our people are not to blame for anything they do to stop the aggression and break the siege," Hamas underlined in a press conference. Hamas said that the Beit Hanoun massacre against children and women is evidence of the Nazism of the Israeli occupation and its persistence in committing war crimes, adding that this massacre also represents a practical response to the truce issue.

Seized weapons cache linked to Hamas, Palestinian intelligence claims
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian intelligence services seized a stockpile of weapons and explosives in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Monday. Intelligence officials said the armaments belonged to a Hamas cell. The intelligence services showed the seized equipment to journalists at their headquarters in Bethlehem. On display were 250 and 300 millimeter machineguns, Kalashnikovs, M1 rifles, old English rifles, land mines, dumdum bullets, chemicals for manufacturing explosives, silencers and military uniforms and helmets. Bethlehem intelligence director Abu Dawood refused to answer questions about the weapons, saying only that the case is pending investigation. He refused togive names anyone who may have been arrested in connection with the seizure.

VIDEO - Fighting Jihad in cyberspace
YNetNews 4/28/2008
Israeli company Terrogence specializes in monitoring Middle Eastern and terror-related internet sites. ’We infiltrate those forums and websites using false identities in order to obtain the data that we need,’ one staff member explains (04. 28. 08)Author: Infolive [end]

Four wheels and an electronic brain: Meet IDF’s newest soldier
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
Israel’s newest soldier can see at night, never nods off on sentry duty and can carry 300 kilograms (660 pounds) without complaining. The Guardium, an unmanned ground vehicle commissioned by the Israel Defense Forces is essentially a robotic soldier, among the first in the world to be operational. It can replace human soldiers in dangerous roles, cutting casualty rates. Like the pilot-less drones that have become a mainstay of air forces in Israel, the U. S. and elsewhere, the four-wheeled Guardium is operated from a command room that can be far from the front line. It can be mounted with cameras, night-vision equipment and sensors, as well as more lethal tools like machine guns. Following pre-programmed routes, it can navigate alone through cities - the vehicle knows how to deal with intersections, traffic and road markings.

Two days after terror attack, factories reopen in Nitzanei Shalom
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 4/28/2008
Two days after two Israeli security guards were shot dead in a shooting attack at the Nitzanei Shalom industrial zone, near the West Bank city of Tul Karm, the workers returned to their factory jobs Sunday. Management said that 85 percent of the factory workers were present. 500 of the 700 workers at the industrial zone are Palestinians from Tul Karm. Security officials suspect a militant from the Islamic Jihad organization infiltrated the industrial zone and opened fire at close range. The bodies of the two middle-aged men were discovered Friday morning. An investigation into the shooting by Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces and the factories themselves is still ongoing. The two guards were apparently screening Palestinians workers coming in when the gunman approached them, opened fire and then escaped, the military said.

Checkpoint 17, near Nablus, is opened, but still with restrictions
International Solidarity Movement 4/28/2008
Nablus Region - Photos - On Monday 28th April, the Israeli checkpoint Assira ‘Ash Shamaliya, known as checkpoint 17, was opened for the first time in four years. The checkpoint, which separates the city of Nablus from the northern village of Asira ‘ash Shamaliya and other neighbouring villages, was the first of the promised fifty checkpoints to be removed around the West Bank. Local residents and press gathered around the closed road gate, eagerly awaiting its opening. Cars queued up to be amongst the first to pass through. At 2:30pm two Israeli soldiers unceremoniously opened the locked gate, as jubilant Palestinians pushed against it, cheering as they did so. Drivers sounded their horns and the waiting people marched through clapping, reclaiming their road. "People are happy the checkpoint is removed from here," noted one local journalist, as cars streamed between the already disused checkpoint booths.

Haaretz: Settlers to move into East Jerusalem police HQ
International Solidarity Movement 4/28/2008
Jerusalem Region - Based on an agreement signed with former police commissioner Moshe Karadi, right-wing settlers will take up residence in a group of buildings in Jerusalem’s predominantly Arab neighborhood Ras al-Amud in the next few days. The building had hitherto served as the Samaria and Judea District Police headquarters. The buildings are slated to become the nucleus of a new Jewish neighborhood in the so-called Holy Basin area, the fate of which is supposed to be decided in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Police officials said yesterday that work began before Pesach on vacating the place, and that in the coming days they will finish moving the offices to a new facility built in controversial Area E1, which connects Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim. Concurrently, right-wing settler groups filed a request with the Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee a. . . -- See also: Police move to new HQ east of Jerusalem, Ha''aretz, 4/28/2008 and Settlers to move into E. J''lem police HQ, Ha''aretz, 4/28/2008

Palestinian father: They wiped out my family
Ali Waked and Reuters, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Gaza father mourns wife, four children killed Monday morning after IDF targeted gunmen - Grieving father: "They wiped out my family," said Ahmed Abu Meatak, putting his hands on his head in despair and weeping as the bodies of his wife and four children were prepared for burial. Earlier Monday, Palestinian sources said the family was killed by an IDF shell that hit their house in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. However, the IDF later said that an army investigation into the matter showed that the deaths were caused by a blast that resulted from an explosive device found on the bodies of two Palestinian gunmen killed in an IDF air raid. "I left home for a few minutes to look for one of my children," the 70-year old father told the BBC. "I heard a blast and when I returned home I found my wife and children dead.

Rabbi: Revoke citizenship of non-Jews
Kobi Nahshoni, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Prominent Religous-Zionist Rabbi Zalman Melamed suggests conferring Israeli citizenship on all Jews worldwide while stripping rights of ’gentiles striving to undermine the country’ - "There must be legislation allowing Jewish people everywhere in the world to become Israeli citizens, even if they do not live here," asserted Rabbi Zalman Melamed on Sunday at a conference debating Torah-derived teachings as they pertain to minority issues in Israel. Melamed is regarded as an influential authority in the Religious Zionism movement and currently serves as Beit El’s chief rabbi. Doing so, said Melamed, would strengthen the idea of Israel as the nation of all Jews while simultaneously shoring up the country’s Jewish demographic in future elections. However, he agreed, Jews who do not reside in Israel should not receive monetary benefits so. . .

Ahrar center appeals for ending administrative detainee’s suffering
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- The Ahrar center for prisoners’ studies appealed to all international human rights organizations to urgently intervene to end the suffering of Mahmoud Al-Musalima, 48, the second oldest serving administrative detainee in Israeli jails. The Ahrar center explained that Musalima, who is held in the Negev desert prison, is suffering from hypertension and severe stomachache.  Fuad Al-Khafash, the director of the center, stated that the Israeli military courts extended Musalima’s administrative detention 14 times under many pretexts, most notably that he poses danger to security in the region. Khafash pointed out that that the detainee, who was previously detained for 10 years in Israeli jails, had been deprived from meeting his five children for 15 years, where most of them became university students.

Border Police officer convicted of killing Hebron teen jailed for 6 years
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
The Jerusalem District Court on Monday sentenced a Border Police officer, convicted of killing a Palestinian teen six years ago, to six and a half years in prison. The officer, Yanai Lalza, was also convicted of robbery, destroying evidence and obstructing justice. Lalza and three other border policemen were posted in Hebron in 2002. One day the four abducted several Hebron residents, among them 17-year-old Amran Abu Hamadiya, and took them for a ride in their jeep. They abused the Arabs and beat them with truncheons and rifles. They hurled Abu Hamadiya out of the moving vehicle, causing his death. Lalza was convicted in November 2006, as part of a plea bargain. He confessed, among other things, that he and one of the officers, Shahar Botbeka, had beaten Hamadiya, then opened the jeep’s back doors before Lalza pushed Hamadiya out of the vehicle.

Movement restrictions limiting benefits of aid - World Bank
Shabtai Gold/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 4/28/2008
Cheese being brought into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom Crossing. The blockade on Gaza has crippled industry and business in the enclave - JERUSALEM, 28 April 2008 (IRIN) - The World Bank has said that the Palestinian economy will not improve over the next year due to the Israeli restrictions on movement in the West Bank and the blockade on the Gaza Strip, despite efforts by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and international donors to boost the local economy. This predicament will exacerbate the humanitarian situation in the enclave, analysts said. In a report released on 27 April and set to be delivered on 2 May in London to the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee, a major donors’ group, the Bank predicted 3 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the upcoming year "that, taking into account population growth, leaves per capita income static if not lower than the previous year".

Despite threats: Palestinians groups still want lull
Ali Waked, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Palestinian organizations vow to avenge killing of family in Gaza Monday, yet nonetheless prepare to attend Cairo talks in effort to secure truce with Israel; Hamas: We’re not begging for lull - Despite the threats issued throughout the day by all Palestinian groups in the wake of the IDF strike in Gaza that left a family dead, it appears Palestinian organizations are still interested in securing a lull agreement with Israel. The Palestinians have vowed to exact a heavy price from Israel in the wake of the Beit Hanoun strike that killed a mother and her four children, yet representatives of Palestinian groups continue to prepare for truce talks scheduled to get underway in Cairo Tuesday. Delegations representing most Palestinian organizations are already in Egypt and are engaging in initial discussions with the Egyptians regarding the proposed lull.

Rival Palestinian leaders condemn ’massacre’ in Beit Hanoun
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called "Israeli aggression" in the town of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Israeli tank fire killed seven Palestinians including a mother and her four young children in Beit Hanoun on Monday morning. "This assault does not serve the efforts to reach a ceasefire, and it impedes the peace process," Abbas said. He reaffirmed his support for a ceasefire in order to save the Palestinian people from more killing. In the same regard, the de facto Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip, Isma’il Haniyeh, condemned the Israeli attack, calling it a massacre. He said, "This reflects the real face of the Israeli occupiers and their frequent attempts to frustrate any regional or international efforts to end the embargo imposed on the Gaza Strip and to halt hostilities.

Hamas: No room for calm in light of continued Zionist crimes
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Monday said that there was no room for calm at present in the light of the continued IOF crimes against the Palestinian people the latest being the "horrifying bloodbath" in Beit Hanun, northern Gaza. Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman, in a statement to PIC commenting on the IOF massacre said that the carnage is a fresh crime in the endless Zionist record of crimes against the Palestinian people. He charged that the massacre basically aimed at foiling the Egyptian efforts to secure calm between Palestinian resistance factions and the Israeli occupation authority. The spokesman said that his Movement was greatly concerned with such massacres that are taking place amidst Arab silence, adding that Egypt should interfere to stop occupation crimes. Taha highlighted that the "Zionist enemy is not interested in calm because it is preparing for launching a large-scale aggression on the Gaza Strip".

Abbas and Haniya condemn the Israeli killing of civilians on Monday
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/28/2008
Both Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas-linked Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya in Gaza, condemned on Monday the latest Israeli military escalation in northern Gaza, in which a mother and her four children were killed. President Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted by media outlets as saying " such an attack does not serve underway efforts for calm and does stand as an obstacle towards peace". Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza , Ismail Haniya echoed the same reaction, branding the Israeli army attack on Monday as ’ a massacre’ that reflects the real face of the Israeli occupation and its repeated attempts to foil underway regional and international moves towards ending the hostilities". In a statement, faxed to press, the prime minister went onto saying " we have followed up very closely the Monday morning massacre of civilians,. . .

Haneyya: Beit Hanun massacre targets sabotaging efforts to end siege
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, on Monday charged that the IOF crime in Beit Hanun reflected the true image of "this criminal occupier and its constant attempts to sabotage any regional or international efforts to end the (IOF) siege and aggression". Haneyya affirmed in a press release commenting on the IOF massacre, which killed seven Palestinians including a mother and her four little ones, that such pogrom would never sway the Palestinian people away from insistence on liberation and full rights. He charged that the IOF butchery reflected the extent of moral degradation of the Israeli occupation, which does not care about the murder of innocent Palestinian civilians. For his part, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that the IOF troops resort to murdering civilians every time they fail in confronting Palestinian resistance fighters.

Islamic Jihad: IOF massacre aims to push Palestinians into accepting dictates
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Islamic Jihad Movement on Monday said that the "savage massacre" in Beit Hanun that killed an entire family fell in line with the Zionist policy of forcing the Palestinian people to surrender and to accept occupation’s dictates. Khaled Al-Batesh, one of the Jihad leaders in Gaza, told PIC that the Israeli occupation authority’s repeated crimes point to its refusal of calm. All should bear their responsibilities vis-à-vis such massacres especially the Arab countries and the UN Security Council that has been silent for years over the constant IOF bloodbaths in lines of the Palestinian people, he elaborated. "The Zionist enemy wants to embarrass Egypt and to foil its efforts (to bring about calm in Gaza)", he opined. Batesh said that Cairo should intervene to stop those massacres and to protect the Palestinian people.

Fuel delivery to Gaza thwarted by protests
United Nations Radio, ReliefWeb 4/25/2008
Listen to the News - The UN humanitarian agency serving Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, says it was unable to receive 100,000 litres of diesel fuel that Israel was ready to deliver to Gaza last night. UNRWA had to suspend its food aid delivery to more than 650,000 Palestinians because of the lack of fuel for its trucks. UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, John Ging, told UN Radio today that yesterday’s delivery was thwarted by protests on the Palestinian side of the Nahal Oz crossing. "Desperate people protesting at the fuel terminal prevented the importation of fuel for our operations. They were farmers and fishermen, who themselves, are in desperate need for fuel and they felt that they should get it as a first priority, not the UN, but this is perfectly understandable. " Mr. Ging said no shipment is expected today because Friday is a holiday and the crossing is closed.

Palestinian militant groups head to Cairo for Gaza truce talks
Reuters, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
EL-ARISH, Egypt - Leaders from three Palestinian militant groups headed to Cairo on Monday for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials on a possible Gaza Strip truce with Israel, Egyptian security sources said. They said senior members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) crossed from Gaza into Egypt via the normally sealed Rafah border crossing. The leaders then headed to Cairo via three buses in a security convoy, the sources said. Hamas proposed a six-month truce between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, with an option to extend it to include the West Bank. It would also include an end to the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-run coastal strip.

Delegates of Palestinian factions leave Monday for Cairo to discuss truce
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Several Palestinian factions announced they would send Monday delegates to Cairo at the invitation of the Egyptian leadership to discuss the issue of calm, while the Hamas Movement accused the Israeli government of obstructing the Egyptian proposal which calls for reaching a truce agreement for six months in the Gaza Strip first. The popular resistance committees and the democratic and popular fronts for the liberation of Palestine announced that their delegations would leave for Cairo later on Monday to discuss many issues including the calm with Israel. Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman, stated that his Movement rejects any conditions laid by the Israeli occupation regarding the calm such as the cessation of rocket manufacture. Taha underlined that his Movement did not request the calm, but Egypt raised this issue, pointing that the Movement found it an important chance. . .

Hamas slams Abbas for returning to his rejection of national dialog
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
DOHA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement stated that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s call on the Movement to implement the Sana’a declaration is a return to his rejection of the national dialog, considering this an attempt to comply with the Zio-American veto against the inter-Palestinian dialog. In a statement to the Quds Press, Mohamed Nazzal, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, said that Abbas’s reported acceptance of the Yemeni initiative for implementation means that he evades dialog and disavows the Sana’a declaration signed by his delegate Azzam Al-Ahmed which clearly states that the initiative is a framework for dialog. Nazzal underlined that Abbas’s rejection of conducting national dialog is in compliance with the Zio-American dictates which threaten to stop negotiations and their support for Abbas if he opened dialog with Hamas.

VIDEO - IDF lifts siege imposed on Nablus
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 4/28/2008
(Video) After more than a year, roadblock near Asira a-Shamaliya opens; move expected to ease passage of Palestinians. IDF fears rise in activity in most terror-oriented city in West Bank - VIDEO - Siege imposed on Nablus removed. The IDF was expected Monday afternoon to open the roadblocks near the village of Asira a-Shamaliya, east of the West Bank city of Nablus, to Palestinian movement, thus removing the siege imposed on the city considered as the main producer of terror in the West Bank. The opening of the roadblock - after more than a year - is an additional step within the framework of easing of restrictions imposed on the Palestinian population in the West Bank, decided upon by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Video: Infolive. tv The opening of "Roadblock 804" is considered the most significant step to date within the framework ofthe Israeli gestures to the Palestinians.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference expresses grave concern over the escalating catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip
The Organization of the Islamic Conference - OIC, ReliefWeb 4/28/2008
The Organization of the Islamic Conference expresses grave concern over the escalating catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip resulting from the latest reports of the Israeli government’s action to halt fuel supplies to the impoverished territory, which has forced the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to stop delivering humanitarian aid. These actions on the part of the Israelis are totally unacceptable as they infringe on the rights of the innocent Palestinian civilian population and are bound to lead to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. The international community should exert pressure on Israel to accept its responsibility in applying international law.

PLC chairmanship describes Congress decision as racist, oppressive
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the PLC acting speaker, on Monday described the US Congress’ decision considering Palestine as a national homeland for Jews as "racist and oppressive". He said in a press release that the US daily proves its blind bias in favor of the "Zionist entity" without any ethical considerations. "We, in the PLC, condemn this oppressive decision and consider it as one of the aggressive decisions and measures taken by the American administration against the Arab and Islamic peoples especially the Palestinian people," he elaborated. Bahar urged the UN secretary general to adopt a "courageous" position regarding this unfair decision, and called on Arab, Islamic and world parliaments to reject this decision and to pressure their governments to protest against it. For his part, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, underscored that the American resolution,. . .

Gulf Council: Israeli practices shameful and dehumanizing
Palestine News Network 4/28/2008
Riyadh / PNN - Secretary General of the Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdulrahman Al Attiyah, says that Israel is responsible for the disastrous consequences suffered by the Palestinian people and the Gaza Strip as a result of the unjust embargo. He pointed out that the siege has led to the suspension of services and United Nations Agency for Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Al Attiyah wrote in a statement published last night, Sunday, in Kuwait, that the international community must should its responsibilities and put an end to the unjust policy of collective punishment. He referred to "the shameful and dehumanizing practices of Israel. " He warned of the consequences of Israel’s continuation of this arbitrary approach which poses a threat to security, peace and stability and undermined the peace desired which has become elusive.

Mofaz to Rice: Hizbullah controls south Lebanon
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Minister Mofaz paints grim picture in meeting with secretary of state, warns against Golan withdrawal - WASHINGTON - Israeli officials are extremely concerned about Hizbullah’s growing strength in south Lebanon, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz told United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday. Mofaz, who heads the Israeli team for strategic talks with the US, met Rice ahead of the strategic dialogue to be held later with the participation of 15 senior Israeli and American officials. Hizbullah controls southern Lebanon and enjoys a "complete hold" over the area, Mofaz said, and added that the group doubled the number of long-range rockets it possesses. The minister said that while in the past the group secretly transported weapons, these days it is done much more openly, thereby allowing Hizbullah to equip itself rapidly.

Israel agrees to lift key West Bank roadblock upon request from Blair
Reuters, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
Israel on Monday agreed to remove a strategic roadblock near the West Bank city of Nablus, after Middle East envoy Tony Blair presented a list of travel and trade restrictions he wants removed to bolster peace talks with the Palestinians. After Blair’s talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday, Israel said it would take down one checkpoint between the city of Nablus and dozens of smaller towns and villages in the northern West Bank. Palestinian residents described the checkpoint as a major bottleneck for travelers and traders. An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said the decision was made after a security assessment but added that the barrier could be replaced in the future if Israel determines that Palestinian militants are using the route.

Carter: Israel rejected Hamas truce offer
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Ex-US president blames Israel for denying Gazans food, water; says Hamas won elections ’fair and square’ - WASHINGTON - Blaming Israel, again: Former US President Jimmy Carter says that following his meetings with Hamas leaders the group offered a truce in Gaza but Israel rejected the offer. During an interview with NBC, Carter also blamed Israel for denying the citizens of Gaza basic supplies such as water and food. "I think it was productive, because all the things that we asked Hamas to do, they basically agreed to do," Carter said, referring to his recent trip. "One was to have a total ceasefire just in Gaza alone, where before they had said it must be Gaza and the West Bank as well. So they preferred to have a ceasefire, and announced it publicly after we left. Israel unfortunately rejected the ceasefire from

Carter insists Hamas meeting yielded results
Middle East Online 4/28/2008
WASHINGTON - Former US president Jimmy Carter insisted Monday his recent meetings with leaders of the radical Islamic group Hamas had yielded specific results, hitting back at criticism from Palestinian and Israeli officials. "Through more official consultations with these outlawed leaders, it may yet be possible to revive and expedite the stalemated peace talks between Israel and its neighbors," Carter wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times. Earlier this month, Carter held two meetings in Damascus with exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, angering both Israel and the United States, who consider the movement a terror group despite its victory in 2006 Palestinian elections. Since then, both Palestinian and Israeli officials have tried to downplay the importance of the meetings. But Carter wrote he had received assurances that Hamas would accept any agreement negotiated. . .

Bush ’under no illusions’ of peace breakthrough
Reuters, YNetNews 4/29/2008
According to a White House statement, US President George W. Bush will visit Israel in honor of its 60th anniversary as part of his May 13-18 trip to the Middle East, during which he will also visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt. He has pledged to bolster Israeli-Palestinian peace talks during his trip, but the White House said on Monday he is "under no illusions" of a quick breakthrough. It will be Bush’s second visit to Israel and neighboring Arab states since hosting the Annapolis Peace Summit in Maryland in November, where Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to try to reach a peace deal before he leaves office in January 2009. However, since then Bush has become increasingly skeptical as to his success in the quest for Middle East peace after so many of his predecessors failed. White House Spokeswoman Dana Perino insisted that Olmert, Abbas, and Bush remain committed to the peace effort but acknowledged that "more needs to be done. "

Qassam Brigades holds Israel responsible for failure of calm efforts
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Abu Obeida, the spokesman for the Qassam Brigades the armed wing of Hamas, held the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the consequences of failure of truce efforts due to its ongoing aggressive practices against the Palestinian people, the latest of which was the massacre of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Strip. Abu Obeida underlined that ball now is in the court of the Israeli occupation after the Palestinian resistance factions tabled its vision for calm, adding the Palestinian resistance will continue to repel the repeated Israeli attempts to infiltrate into Gaza. The spokesman also underscored that the Palestinian resistance did not accept the calm in the first place out of weakness, but they agreed to it after carrying out a series of painful attack against the occupation. In another development, Palestinian medical sources told the PIC reporter that a new. . .

Blair to return to Commons to speak on Middle East
Press Association, The Guardian 4/28/2008
Tony Blair last November. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesTony Blair will return to Westminster next week to speak in parliament for the first time since he quit as prime minister last June, it was revealed today. The former PM is to give evidence to the House of Commons international development select committee on May 8 in his position as the international community’s envoy for the Middle East. Anyone hoping that Blair will comment on his successor Gordon Brown’s performance as prime minister is highly likely to be disappointed. Blair has been invited to give evidence to the committee’s inquiry into the humanitarian and development situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and can be expected to stick rigorously to the subject in hand.

Park commemorates Australian military charge in 1917 in s. Israel
ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jerusalem Post 4/28/2008
Australian and Israeli heads of state on Monday dedicated a park that celebrates the contributions of Australia’s military to events that led to creation of the State of Israel. Major General Michael Jeffery is the first Australian governor-general to visit Israel. He and President Shimon Peres opened the Park of the Australian Soldier in the southern city of Beersheba to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary. "The distance between Australia and Israel is far geographically, but morally we are very close," Peres said. He and Jeffery unveiled a sculpture commemorating the Australian Light Horse Brigade’s famous World War I charge against Turkish forces in Beersheba. [end]

Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has boosted Gaza campaign with a donation of US$ 50,000
The Organization of the Islamic Conference - OIC, ReliefWeb 4/26/2008
In response to the OIC Secretary General’s Campaign towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip as a result of the continued Israeli blockade of the civilian population of Gaza, the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has boosted the campaign with a donation of US$ 50,000. The General Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference expresses its appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan for this timely gesture of solidarity, which will go a long way to mitigate the effects of the policy of the Israeli blockade of the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza, and looks forward to similar action by the Islamic Ummah,

PA introduces new boycott
Reuters, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Dignitaries who attend Israel’s Independence Day festivities to be shunned by Palestinians - Presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries who attend Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations next month will be shunned by Palestinian leaders if they visit the West Bank. Palestinian officials said the decision by Palestinian resident Mahmoud Abbas and his government in the West Bank to temporarily boycott world leaders who visit the West Bank during Israeli festivities amounted to a symbolic protest. It was not clear if any did plan to go there. "Whoever participates in such (Israeli) events will be persona non grata," said one Palestinian official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We will be marking the Nakba. They (visiting leaders) have to be a bit more sensitive about the feelings of the Palestinian people," said a second Palestinian official.

Obama’s pastor: Israel has right to exist
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 4/29/2008
Reverend Jeremiah Wright says Israelis, Palestinians need to talk to each other - WASHINGTON- Controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who has been making headlines due to his ties with presidential candidate Barack Obama, spoke out on Monday as part of an attempt to clear his name, following the criticism roused by some of his statements. During his talk, Wright denied comparing Israel’s policies to apartheid, saying that former US President Jimmy Carter had made the connection, not him"My position on Israel is that Israel has a right to exist; that Israelis have a right to exist, as I said, reconciled one to another," he said during his address. "Palestinians and Israelis need to sit down and talk to each other and work out a solution where their children can grow in a world together and not be talking about killing each other; that is not God’s will," he said.

Haniyeh ready to complete de facto cabinet
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Isma’il Haniyeh, the de facto Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip, is poised fill out his cabinet by appointing new ministers to the positions left vacant after Hamas’ takeover of Gaza and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ firing of the unity government last June, sources close to Haniyeh’s government said on Monday. The new cabinet, the sources said, will include 10 Hamas-affiliated ministers in addition to the prime minister, and will be submitted to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) for approval before its inauguration. Haniyeh presided over the cabinet’s weekly session on Sunday, which included a discussion of the outcome of talks between Hamas and Egyptian officials in Cario aimed at achieving a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian military groups in Gaza. The cabinet applauded Egypt’s efforts at ending Israel’s crippling siege of the Gaza Strip and at implementing a ceasefire.

Arab MK: Israel’s acts reminiscent of Nazis
Ali Waked, YNetNews 4/28/2008
Knesset Member Sarsur slams Israel over killing of Gaza family; UN chief condemns deaths - Israel’s acts in the Gaza Strip are reminiscent of the Nazis, United Arab List-Ta’al Chairman Ibrahim Sarsur said Monday, as Arab-Israeli politicians rushed to condemn Israel over the killing of a Gaza family earlier in the day. "Israel’s killing of innocent people is reminiscent of some very dark times, including that of the Nazis," Knesset Member Sarsur told Ynet, and added that IDF operations in Gaza will eventually ruin the prospects for any possible advancement in the peace process. "While international forces from Egypt cooperate with Hamas and other Palestinian organizations that are doing their best to achieve calm and spare blood, Israel operates in a way that shows that it does not want calm in the region," he said.

Three prisoners escape from PA prison in Jericho
Ma’an News Agency 4/28/2008
Jericho – Ma’an – Three prisoners escaped from a Palestinian Authority prison in the West Bank city of Jericho on Monday, Palestinian security sources said. The sources identified the escapees as Hani Halawa from the city of Nablus, who was detained on criminal charges, Nida Malash from Bethlehem, imprisoned on political charges, and Mahmoud Mustafa from Jenin, also a political prisoner. A commander in the Palestinian national security forces in Jericho told Ma’an’s reporter that the security services are combing the area searching for the escapees. [end]

Lieberman lashes out at police, prosecution ’blackmail’
Mazal Mualem and Jonathan Lis , and Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 4/28/2008
Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman Monday lashed out at the police investigations conducted against him, saying that "the police and prosecutors are holding a hunting expedition against me,’ and accusing them of "blackmail. " In a news conference, he also attacked investigative journalists Amnon Avramovichand Mordechai Gilat, calling them "the champion of the corrupt and his deputy. "He said they had carried out a "media witchhunt" against him. Police suspect Lieberman of having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes while serving as a cabinet minister from 2001 to 2004. The bribes, which police believe were paid by businessmen Martin Schlaff and Michael Chernoy, were allegedly transferred via companies owned by either Lieberman or his daughter, Michal Lieberman-Galon.

Knesset suspends Benizri over conviction on charges involving moral turpitude
Tomer Zarchin, Yair Ettinger and Zvi Zrahiya, Ha’aretz 4/28/2008
Shas MKShlomo Benizri’s was suspended from the Knesset Monday following his conviction Sunday on corruption charges that involve moral turpitude. He will be replaced in the Knesset by the next in line on Shas’list. Benizri’s attorney, Moshe Itzhak Osditcher, had requested that the Knesset reverse the finding of moral turpitude, arguing that the court’s finding is not unequivocal. Jerusalem District Court Judge Jacob Zaban Sunday sentenced Benizri to 18 months in prison, 8 months suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 80,000, and further determined that his acts involved moral turpitude. Benizri’s political and spiritual patron, Rabbi Reuven Elbaz, was handed a suspended sentence of eight months in prison and a fine of NIS 120,000. The state prosecutor will apparently appeal the 18-month sentence handed down to Shas MK Shlomo Benizri for corruption, a senior justice official said Sunday.

OPT: Macroeconomic and fiscal framework for the West Bank and Gaza - First review of progress
International Monetary Fund - IMF, ReliefWeb 5/2/2008
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The Palestinian Authority (PA) is implementing prudent fiscal policies and reforms, in the context of an ambitious budget for 2008. A strict government employment policy has been followed and utility subsidies are being reduced. The Public Financial Management System (PFMS) has also been strengthened, which will help control nonwage spending. The 2008 budget builds on this progress, and targets a reduction of the recurrent deficit from 27 percent of GDP in 2007 to 22 percent of GDP in 2008, in particular through: (i) a freeze on wage rates and on new employment (except for health and education); (ii) enforcement of measures to increase utility payments by households and municipalities; and (iii) improvement in cash management and spending commitment controls to help prioritize and raise the quality of spending, and minimize arrears accumulation.

Bakeries pressured as price of flour rises
Ilanit Hayut, Globes Online 4/28/2008
Osem warns that pasta and soup nuts could be affected. Israel’s food suppliers are warily watching rising global commodities prices. On Friday, Sugat CEO David Franklin said that the price of rice would rise by 50% after the Passover holiday. Other suppliers are already readying price hikes and uncertainty pervades the entire market. Angel Bakeries VP baked goods Yigal Hayat is worried as he looks to the future. "When it rains, everyone gets wet. If the price of wheat rises worldwide along with other commodities, the price of cakes will go up too. Flour has doubled, and dairy products and margarine rose 5% just recently. All commodities are rising. In the past six months, we’ve absorbed the price hikes, but I don’t think that we’ll be able to do so for much longer. We are reevaluating the situation, and so are our competitors," he said.

MTS requests TA light rail funding delay
Lior Baron, Globes Online 4/28/2008
The Africa-Israel-led consortium found that the credit crisis has held up foreign banks’ approvals. Sources inform ’’Globes’’ that theAfrica-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL ; Pink Sheets:AFIVY. PK )-led Metro Transportation Solutions (MTS) Consortium, the Tel Aviv Light Railway franchisee, recently asked the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport to postpone by a few months the closing date for the raising of finance the project, originally set for May 2008. The cost of the Tel Aviv Light Railway, which is estimated at $10-12 billion, is the largest ever for an infrastructure project in the Israeli economy. MTS, which is headed by Yochanan Orr, has already selected Bank Leumi(TASE: LUMI) as the lead financing bank for the project, providing NIS 3 billion, with the balance financed by foreign banks by way of a long-term loan.

Rabbi warns of near collapse of the Buraq Wall
Palestinian Information Center 4/28/2008
OCCUPIEd JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Shmuel Rabinovich, the so-called rabbi of the Western Wall, has warned of the fall of big rocks over heads of Jewish worshippers near the Buraq Wall, which is 18 meters high. Hebrew daily Ma’ariv quoted the rabbi as saying that small rocks at the upper part of the Wall and buildings in the Jewish suburb in occupied Jerusalem were small unlike the big ones in the lower part of those buildings. He said that those small rocks could collapse anytime. The paper quoted archeological experts as saying that cement used in maintaining the wall quickly eroded, due to weather conditions, more than the material used in ancient times. However, the Israel Antiquities Authority said that there was no imminent danger of collapse in those walls and in the Jewish suburb because the rainy season was over and the Authority was doing its routine maintenance at present to prevent any possible collapse in the coming winter.

Value of Israelis’ physical assets up sharply
Zeev Klein, Globes Online 4/28/2008
Physical property owned by households and private companies is worth over NIS 1. 48 trillion. The aggregate value of physical property - homes, cars, and land - of households and private companies exceeded NIS 1. 48 trillion at the end of 2007, an all-time high, after increasing by 9. 3%, or NIS 127 billion during the year. The figures were collated from a number of sources, including the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bureau of Statistics, the Bank of Israel, and commercial banks. The figures do not include property owned by the government, the Bank of Israel, commercial banks, and other financial institutions. The value of physical property per capita was NIS 212,000, and the value of physical property per capita in the top decile was NIS 848,000. The aggregate value of homes totaled NIS 801 billion at the end of 2007, 4.

Amos-3 satellite finally launched
Globes correspondent, Globes Online 4/28/2008
After Thursday’s embarrassing postponement, Spacecom did not broadcast the launch live. The Amos-3 satellite is finally off the ground. Four days after the launch was postponed, a launcher with Amos-3 on top lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this morning, Galei Tzahal (Israel Army Radio) reports. By around 15:000 this afternoon (Israel time) the satellite will be in position 36,000 kilometers above the earth. For the next eighteen years, Amos-3 will provide telecommunications services. It is not intended for military use. The launch was due to take place on Thursday, but was delayed because of a technical hitch, causing great embarrassment to President Shimon Peres, who had arranged a reception to mark the occasion. Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd. (TASE: SCC), which developed the satellite in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.

Syria likens US nuclear claims to stories of Saddam’s ’WMDs’
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/29/2008
DAMASCUS: Syria said Monday US accusations it had been building a nuclear reactor until its destruction in an Israeli attack last September were as bogus as American claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction in 2003. The ruling Baath Party’s mouthpiece daily compared the photographs of the bombed site shown to US congressmen last week to the images Washington presented to the UN Security Council as alleged evidence of Iraq’s nonconventional arsenal in the run-up to the US-led invasion. "When you look at these pictures. . . a single image comes to mind - that of US Secretary of State Colin Powell accusing Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction and presenting as proof a dossier of photographs," Al-Baath said. "Of course Mr. Powell later acknowledged that he had been fooled by the US intelligence services and by conservatives within the administration.

US and Iraqi forces kill dozens in Baghdad clashes
Ammar Karim, Daily Star 4/29/2008
Agence France Presse - BAGHDAD: Fierce clashes between Shiite militiamen and US and Iraqi forces in east Baghdad killed at least 38 people, the American military said on Monday, amid new political efforts to end the bloodletting. Sunday’s heaviest fighting in weeks came on a day when militiamen blasted Baghdad’s so-called Green Zone with rockets and mortars, taking advantage of a blinding dust storm that grounded US attack helicopters. The biggest clash in the day-long battles came at dusk on Sunday when "a large group of criminals engaging with small-arms fire" attacked a security force checkpoint, a US military statement said. "US soldiers used 120 mm fire from M1A12 Abrams tanks and small-arms fire to kill. . . 22 criminals, forcing remaining enemy forces present to retreat," the military said.


Articles


Bombs, bullets & our daily bread
Alex Renton, The Observer, Palestine Monitor 4/28/2008
      Lunch is whistling: the noise comes from Fathiya’s old pressure cooker, which has shuddered scarily on a little gas hob for nearly two hours. I go out into the narrow alley between the concrete shacks of the refugee camp. Here most of the al-Absi family are standing round their home-made oven. From this ancient-looking monument of clay and straw Fathiya is bringing out perfect round flatbreads, brown-gold on either side. We open the balloons of bread, and Fathiya’s 13-year-old daughter Noura offers round a little box of greenish powder that we sprinkle into the moist interior.
     This is the Palestinian great snack, good for mind and body: the bread is baraka, the same as the word for ’blessing’, and the powder is za’atar, a mixture of ground thyme, marjoram, salt and toasted sesame seeds. Neighbours have gathered, enticed by the smell, and everyone smiles as we sample that basic pleasure: new warm bread.
     We are in Gaza City’s Beach camp, one of the world’s oldest and most crowded refugee camps; so it’s strange to be taking part in a foodie idyll straight from the pages of Claudia Roden. The feeling only grows when at last the pressure cooker is opened, revealing a glorious mess of beans inside: Palestinian foules. Into these Fathiya stirs dried mulukhiya (a spinach-like leaf, called Jew’s mallow in England), salt, chilli and crushed garlic.

Condition of Riad Hamad’s Body Contrary to Suicide

Kurt Nimmo, Infowars 4/22/2008
      On the Alex Jones Show today, Dr. Ibrahim Dremali, Director of the Islamic Center of Greater Austin, described the condition of Riad Hamad Esolh’s body after he allegedly committed suicide by trussing himself in duct tape and throwing himself in the Colorado River in Austin, also known as Lady Bird Lake.
     Islamic law requires the deceased be washed prior to burial and this was what Mr. Dremali did less than 24 hours after Mr. Hamad was pulled from the Colorado River and after an autopsy, although it appears Hamad’s family did not give permission for an autopsy. Normally, according to Dr. Dremali, the “police contact Islamic Center before they do anything” and they did not do this in the case of Mr. Hamad. Dremali described to Alex Jones the condition of Hamad’s body. It appeared as if he had been “attacked by an animal in the jungle,” Dremali said. Hamad was cut from the shoulder to the stomach; his arms were cut and his face was bruised and the rear of his skull was bashed in. Dremali said Hamad’s brain was missing. Alex speculated Hamad’s brain was missing because he may have been shot in the head.

The Military Option

Uri Avnery, MIFTAH 4/28/2008
      WAR WITH Syria? Peace with Syria?
     A big military operation against Hamas in the Gaza strip? A cease-fire with Hamas?
     Our media discuss these questions dispassionately, as if they were equivalent options. Like a person in a showroom making a choice between two cars. This one is good, and so is the other one. So which should one buy?
     And nobody cries out: War is the height of stupidity!
     CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ, the renowned military theorist, famously said that war is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means. Meaning: war is there to serve policy and is useless when it does not.
     What policies did the wars in the last hundred years serve?
     Ninety-four years ago, World War I broke out. The immediate cause was the assassination of the Austrian heir apparent by a Serbian student. In Sarajevo they showed me how it happened: after a first attempt on the main street had failed, the assassins had already given up hope when one of them came across the victim again, by sheer accident, and killed him. After this almost accidental killing many millions of human beings lost their lives in the following four years.

Our Defense Forces, our war crimes, our terrorism

Bradley Burston, Ha’aretz 4/29/2008
      I want to apologize for the unforgivable.
     It is time for us to stop "understanding" why so many we kill so many Palestinian civilians. It is time for us to stop explaining away the deaths we excuse as the unfortunate and incidental by-product of a terrible war.
     If it had been only an isolated incident, a tragic aberration, I would have kept my peace, said nothing, just moved on.
     But the same crime, the same - let’s call it by its real name - atrocity, has been committed time and again, under the same circumstances, for the same reasons, with the same indefensible result.
     Someone in an IDF uniform, in a position of responsibility, gave an order. We will probably never know who. Nor will we know who loaded the shell into the tank gun, who sighted the target, who gave the order to fire, who carried it out.

Israel’s 60th: The Marketing Wars

Linda Mamoun, MIFTAH 4/28/2008
      Two weeks before Israel’s 60th anniversary the House and Senate voted unanimously to pass resolutions honoring "the founding of the modern State of Israel" and "reaffirming the bonds of close friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel." Before the House vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in on the deliberations saying, "I urge our colleagues to speak with one voice, and support this resolution recognizing the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel. In doing so, we not only commend Israel, we also bring luster to this House by associating ourselves with that great state of Israel." To further commemorate Israel’s anniversary, Pelosi reserved time throughout the month of June for a weekly series of floor speeches.
     Israel Independence Day has been celebrated within Jewish communities in the United States since Israel was founded. Traditionally the celebrations were organized by synagogues or Hebrew schools. Children would sing Ha’Tikvah, the Israeli national anthem, and read scriptures on the Promised Land. But these days the anniversaries are geared toward the broader public, making headlines in places where there are large Jewish communities, but also in areas where one would be hard-pressed to find a single person identifying as Jewish. Not only are the anniversaries endorsed by celebrities and political committees (this year’s "National Committee" includes former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the three presidential frontrunners, and all living secretaries of state), but the organizers offer a dizzying array of festivities, requiring careful planning by those hoping to partake in all the revelry.

It’s not just about Manners

Akiva Eldar, MIFTAH 4/28/2008
      In less than four weeks, Air Force One will once again land at Ben-Gurion International Airport. When George W. Bush, the 43rd American president, concludes his Independence Day visit, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will bid him farewell at the airport. If nothing particularly surprising happens at the very last moment, his plane will once again skip over Damascus. This time, too, Bush will support the boycott against Hamas.
     This week, the 39th president of the United States took off from Ben-Gurion at the end of a diplomatic work visit to the Middle East. Not a single senior official waved good-bye to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Jimmy Carter, who was instrumental in bringing about the peace with Egypt and the 1979 Camp David Accords, climbed up the ramp of the plane, cries of derision from Israeli politicians echoing in his ears. On the day of his departure, the front page of the daily Yedioth Ahronoth published the picture of 3-year-old Amir Arad from Kibbutz Gevim, who was wounded by Qassam fragments. Next to it, in large letters, was the headline: "Carter, look him in the eye." The paper took the view that he violated the boycott against Hamas and tried to persuade the movement’s leader, Khaled Meshal, to put an end to the rocket fire on Gevim, Sderot and Kerem Shalom.

Al-Nakba: Nothing to Celebrate

William A. Cook, MIFTAH 4/28/2008
      The voice of your brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground."
     May 14th, 2008, marks the anniversary of two momentous events, the “Declaration of Independence” of the new born state of Israel and the calamitous day of infamy, the al Nakba (The Catastrophe), which marks both the massacre in their homes of Palestinian people or their mournful march into exile. Ironically, like the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, this date carries the mark of the Almighty, brothers in blood, enemies in intent.
     Listen to Cain as he walks beside his brother along the path of death: “There is no judgment and no judge and no world to come! No reward will be given to the righteous nor any account given of the wicked.” Such is the belief of those who would declare their independence of any responsibility for their brother, accept any blame for their deception as they accompany him to his death, or bear any guilt for the wickedness they inflict. Without judgment for behavior determined as good or bad, without reward for acts of love or compassion, without retribution for evil and wickedness against his brother, Cain is free to do what he wills to do. Ultimate freedom, a declaration indeed of independence.

Interview: Boycotting Israel at the Arab American University in Jenin

Aaron Lakoff, International Middle East Media Center News 4/28/2008
      Ashraf is from Tulkarem, Palestine. He graduated from the Arab American University in Jenin (www.aauj.edu) in the summer of 2007 with a degree in computer information technology. With the student group Green Resistance at his university, he organized a successful boycott campaign which saw Israeli products banned from the campus.
     Ashraf is from Tulkarem, Palestine. He graduated from the Arab American University in Jenin (www.aauj.edu) in the summer of 2007 with a degree in computer information technology. With the student group Green Resistance at his university, he organized a successful boycott campaign which saw Israeli products banned from the campus.
     In this interview, Ashraf talks about boycotts as a highly effective tool of non-violent resistance against the occupation, and also reflects on the campaign as part of an international campaign of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. -- See also: Download the recorded version of this interview and e Arab American University in Jen

The World must Step in

MIFTAH, MIFTAH 4/28/2008
      This morning, seven residents of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun were killed in Israeli shelling. The tank shell directly hit a home in the Azbat Abed Rabbo quarter of the town, taking the lives of an entire family. Khadra Abu Muteq was killed along with her four children: one year old Musaab Abu Muteq, Hana’ Abu Muteq, 3, Saleh Abu Muteq 4, and Rudeineh Abu Muteq, 6. One teen, 17-year old Ayoub Atallah was also killed by the shelling and his friend Mutassem Sweilem injured as they were walking to school. Nine others were injured in the attack, several of them in serious condition.
     An Al Quds Brigades activist, 23-year old Ibrahim Hajouh, the apparent target of the attack, also died in the Israeli shelling after Israeli forces invaded Beit Hanoun at dawn today. Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in the violent clashes that ensued.
     The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy MIFTAH is appalled by today’s events and by Israel’s apparent disregard for the sanctity of human life. MIFTAH not only strongly condemns the attack, which is a flagrant violation of humanitarian law and human rights, but demands that the international community intervene to halt the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians. The silence of the international community and the United Nations has allowed Israel to believe it can act with impunity in the name of its security even when this means the killing of innocent women and children.

As the blockade continues, life in paralysis hits Gaza; Al Mezan calls for international intervention

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, ReliefWeb 4/23/2008
      The Israeli blockade of Gaza has caused paralysis to most public institutions and private enterprises. This includes the education, health, employment, agriculture, trade, transportation sectors in the Gaza Strip. Paralysis also hit the government, non-government and private institutions. UNRWA’s operations have also started to be affected. The blockade poses serious threats on the provision of humanitarian supplies; on which Gaza’s population depends completely to sustain their livelihood.
     Al Mezan monitoring shows a gradual aggravation of the fuel crisis, and of its effects which began to inflict upon all aspects of life; raising concerns that the crisis brings about graver implications on the livelihood and welfare of the civilian population. This crisis comes at a time when Gaza already suffers from a severe shortage in different supplies and lacks any reserves that can sustain its population, which is the result of years of Israeli closure.

''Who is safer now that Khadra Abu Moatiq and her 4 young children are dead?''

Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 4/28/2008
      Ramallah, 28-04-08: "A sickening tragedy" was how Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the PNI described the killing of a mother and her 4 children in an Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip this morning.The deaths have brought the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military since Annapolis to 418, including 59 children.
     Khadra Abu Moatiq and her children Musab (1), Hana’ (3), Saleh (4), and Rudaina (6) were killed when an Israeli military artillery shell tore through their home near Beit Hanoun.Two other Palestinians were also killed in the attack, including 17 year-old Ayoub Atallah.
     "The killing of innocent women and children in their homes is one of the most shocking consequences of the siege and attacks on the Gaza Strip, which the Israeli government is carrying out under the pretext of security," said Dr Barghouthi. "But tell me who is safer now that Khadra Abu Moatiq and her 4 young children are dead?"