Palestine/Israel News and Information Links January 7-9 2003
Major portions of this document are sourced from from Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel - Other sources include Information Clearing House.

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January 9 2004

Histadrut spies on its own workers
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
The Histadrut labor federation hired private investigators to follow its own workers, according to information disclosed in an audit committee meeting this week. The Histadrut hired the Modi’in Ezrahi private investigation firm to carry out the work. Participants at the audit committee meeting said that the investigations were ordered after certain workers were suspected of having their time cards stamped by others, and did not actually report for work.

World Food Programme
United Nations 1/9/2004
[excerpt] – Palestinian Territories — (a) In the last two weeks of December there was a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, aerial attacks in Gaza and serious incursions in the West Bank and southern Gaza. The situation was particularly severe in Nablus, where many sections of the city remained under curfew for three weeks to this date. Closure of the city entrances has also been strict, formidably hampering movement. It is reported that the Israeli incursion into the city resulted in the killing of 19 Palestinians, the total destruction of five Palestinian homes, and the partial destruction of 60 homes rendering 20 families homeless. Another 20 families are displaced because their buildings are under the danger of total collapse. This has urged the WFP to prop up its operations in the city, as many affected families are in dire need for emergency assistance. Also, the situation has put limitations on WFP activities and have a stressful impact on the working conditions of staff.

Israel to bring in austerity measures
Financial Times 1/9/2004
The Israeli parliament was expected on Wednesday night to pass the 2004 state budget, which includes austerity measures and spending cuts aimed at dragging the economy out of three years of recession and high budget deficits. Benjamin Netanyahu, the finance minister, has staked his political future on a package of reforms and restructuring that have caused protests, demonstrations and widespread industrial action.

Palestinians may seek single state :

Ahmed Qureia, the Palestinian prime minister, warned yesterday that he would seek a single state of Jews and Arabs if Ariel Sharon unilaterally annexed parts of the West Bank and imposed borders on Palestine.,2763,1119435,00.html

See Also:

One Person, One Vote,

One State: – A One-state solution:

The Case for Binationalism

U.S. human rights report set to slam separation wall :

The U.S. State Department is expected to strongly criticize the West Bank separation fence in its annual human rights report, due for publication in March.

Israel Fears Isolation, Sanctions Over Fence : Slam the Court, Advisers Urge :

Bracing for a ruling against its separation fence by the World Court ˜ which could pave the way for South Africa-style international sanctions ˜ Israel and its allies here are considering a campaign to discredit the court as a biased organ of the United Nations.

And the twins died :

One died in the arms of her grandmother, the other was carried in the arms of her aunt, while their mother was lying in an ambulance, freezing, trembling, exhausted and humiliated after what she had gone through at the IDF checkpoint near her village.

Israeli hunt for suspect kills 19 :

In a three-week occupation of the biggest Palestinian city the Israeli army has killed 19 people, wrecked buildings and confined tens of thousands to their homes in a futile search for the leader of “the heart of the terror networks”.,2763,1119104,00.html

Israel to Request Billions from the U.S. to Actualize Unilateral Separation Plan :

A “senior Jerusalem source‰ quoted by Israel Radio this morning stated Israel will be seeking billions of dollars in U.S. assistance to actualize Prime Minister Ariel Sharon‚s unilateral separation plan to cut ties with the PA.
Israel Fears Isolation, Sanctions Over Fence
Forward 1/9/2004
Slam the Court, Advisers Urge — WASHINGTON ÷ Bracing for a ruling against its separation fence by the World Court ÷ which could pave the way for South Africa-style international sanctions ÷ Israel and its allies here are considering a campaign to discredit the court as a biased organ of the United Nations. The proposed campaign is highly controversial even among Israel’s top strategists, who acknowledge that it could alienate moderates and liberals who view the court with respect. Nonetheless, the move is seen by some senior advisers as an inevitable last step if the court rejects Israel’s arguments and rules the fence a violation of international law, something most observers consider all but certain.
Jenin wakes to latest Israeli raid
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
The Israeli army has raided the northern West Bank town of Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp. Several dozen jeeps and Israeli armoured vehicles entered the area before dawn on Friday and troops have imposed a curfew on the camp, Palestinian security sources said. An Israeli army spokesman told AFP the operation was aimed at capturing suspected Palestinian resistance fighters.
Israel torments Palestinian town
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
The Israeli army has destroyed the basic water and electricity infrastructure of a small Palestinian town in north Hebron, leaving parts of it in huge piles of rubble. Speaking from the town on Thursday,’s correspondent said the destructive effects of the latest Israeli incursion were visible everywhere. “The main power transformer was badly damaged and so was the townâs water grid, leaving the townâs 15,000 inhabitants without electricity or water….Bait Umar is bound by three Jewish settlements – Karmi Tsur, Itzion and Ifrat – all inhabited by ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers.,2763,1119104,00.html
19 left dead in failed hunt for master bomber
The Guardian 1/9/2004
In a three-week occupation of the biggest Palestinian city the Israeli army has killed 19 people, wrecked dozens of buildings and confined tens of thousands to their homes in a futile search for the leader of “the heart of the terror networks”. Before Christmas soldiers flooded Nablus and the neighbouring refugee camp of Balata in pursuit of the leaders of al-Aqsa martyrs brigades responsible for organising dozens of suicide bombings. Top of their list was Naif Sharekh, the brigades commander in the city.

IDF arrests 15 Palestinians in Jenin area operations
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Israel Defense Forces troops swept into the West Bank city of Jenin early Friday morning, arresting at least 15 Palestinians and trading gunfire with militants, witnesses said. The IDF said its troops were conducting routine patrols in the city, and said that it had arrested six militants there….Among those detained were Attar Abu Remeli, a local leader from Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party and two militants from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a Fatah-affiliated militia.
Occupation authorities to confiscate 1,549 dunums of Beitonia lands
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2004
Ramallah – Zionist occupation authorities have issued orders for the confiscation of 1,549 dunums of lands in the town of Beitonia to the west of Ramallah city for the sake of building the separation fence. A responsible source in the Beitonia municipality said that the Zionist notification was handed to the Palestinian liaison office in Ramallah last Monday, which in turn delivered it to the municipality.
Inhabitants of Silwad detained in their village for third day
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2004
Ramallah – Zionist terrorist forces are closing all entrances to the town of Silwad to the northeast of Ramallah city for the third day running blocking traffic in and out of the village practically detaining its 8,000 inhabitants in their own homes. Silwad municipality sources said that the occupation troops blocked even patients from heading to Ramallah hospitals for necessary periodical treatment.
IDF moving sections of separation fence westward
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
The Israel Defense Forces are continuing to make changes in the portion of the separation fence that has already been built in order to remove Palestinian villages from the area between the fence and the Green Line….Two weeks ago, Haaretz’s Ze’ev Schiff reported two changes in the fence’s route: the paving of a new road south of Qalqilyah, from Alfei Menashe to Nirit, to eliminate the need to close the fence’s gates east of the West Bank city, and moving the fence east of Baka al-Sharkiyeh to the west of the village, so that it will now run on the Green Line, between Baka al-Sharkiyeh and Baka al-Garbiyeh. Now two other major changes, moving the fence west of the villages of Hirbat Jabar and Azzoun, have been approved.
Zionist forces arrest three Palestinians in El-Bireh
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2004
El-Bireh – Zionist occupation forces arrested three Palestinian citizens at dawn yesterday in the West Bank city of El-Bireh claiming one of them was a wanted activist. Local sources said that the Zionist forces stormed one of the buildings in downtown and arrested three citizens including Emad Saleh Al-Refai, 31, who is affiliated with the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah Movement.
IDF war game to simulate escalation on Palestinian front
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Members of the Israel Defense Forces’ General Staff will soon take part in a war game based on the assumption that the Palestinian front is likely to heat up in the coming months. The exercise will be strictly a thought experiment, involving no movement of troops on the ground. The goal is to consider diplomatic, political and public relations responses to a Palestinian escalation, should one occur after January 20, the eighth anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s election as chairman of the Palestinian Authority.
News Briefs: Al-Aqsa leader survives IOF assassination attempt, 15 arrested in Jenin, village attacked near Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 1/9/2004
Leader of Al-Aqsa Matyrs brigades in Jenin survives from an assassination attempt: The army conducted an assassination attempt against Zakaria Al-Zubeidi, leader of Al-Aqsa Brigades, the attack occurred in Jenin refuge camp when the military ambushed him and shot towards him. / Troops invade Jenin and arrest fifteen Palestinians: Army invaded Jenin this dawn and arrested fourteen Palestinians, in a new militray attack over that area. / The military attacks a village near Hebron: Yesterday afternoon, the army arrested five Palestinians and caused damages to a number of houses in a village north Hebron. Residents in the village said that the attacks, which have been conducted by several military vehicles and huge number of forces, continued for more than three hours, during which, houses were attacked and searched and at least five Palestinians arrested.
Soldier claims driver with Arab accent attempted to kidnap him near Rosh Pina
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
A soldier said yesterday that a driver with an Arabic accent attacked him and then attempted to kidnap him while he was hitchhiking in the north of the country. The soldier said he had left a military training area near Tel Hatzor and was hitchhiking on Highway 90 in the area of Kibbutz Ayelet Hashahar when a vehicle stopped and offered him a ride. The soldier declined upon detecting the driver’s Arabic accent. The driver then attacked him, and attempted to pull him into the vehicle, he said.
Zionist authorities restrict travel of foreigners to Gaza and West Bank
Palestinian Information Center 1/9/2004
Occupied Jerusalem – The Zionist government has imposed new restrictions on the travel of foreigners to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip areas. Palestinian sources said that foreigners arriving at the Ben Gurion airport or other crossings into the Hebrew state were given instructions not to enter the West Bank or the Gaza Strip without prior permission. They said that the foreigners were asked to apply for such visits and wait five days before receiving an approval in writing.
Hoss launches legal aid group Fund will assist Palestinians
Daily Star 1/9/2004
Former [Lebanese] Prime Minister Salim Hoss announced on Thursday that the Fund of Legal Aid to Palestinians, established for the purpose of aiding victims of Israeli aggression in Palestinian territories, has commenced its operation. Hoss spoke during a press conference held at the headquarters of the Press Federation, in the presence of its president, Mohammed Baalbaki, members of the Fundâs board of trustees, and former Telecommunications Minister Issam Neaman. The former prime minister is the president of the Fund.
Prominent Bay Area activist imprisoned in Israel for protesting “apartheid wall”
San Francisco Bay Guardian 1/9/2004
As the Bay Guardian went to press Jan. 6, Bay Area activist Kate Raphael was serving her sixth day in an Israeli jail. The Israeli government is seeking to deport Raphael for participating in a Dec. 31 march against the construction of a 400-mile-long barrier, dubbed a “security fence” by the Israeli government and an “apartheid wall” by activists who argue that it effectively annexes more Palestinian territory into Israel.
J’lem sources: PMO officials leaked news of Israel-Libya talks
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Sources in Jerusalem said on Friday that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office apparently leaked details of secret contacts between Israel and Libya in a deliberate effort to sabotage attempts to establish diplomatic ties between the two nations. The initiative to explore prospects for forging ties with Libya was being pursued by Israel’s Foreign Ministry despite opposition from some Sharon aides, one Israeli official said. Meanwhile, In Paris on Friday, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abderrhmane Chalgam denied any talks had taken place with Israel.
J’lem official dismisses Qureia’s remarks on one-state solution
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
An adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday dismissed statements by Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia that raised the possibility of a single Arab-Jewish state in Israel and the Palestinian territories, in the event that no progress is made by the two sides. The Israeli official, Zalman Shoval, called the remarks by Qureia, also known as Abu Ala, an “empty threat.” “Mr. Abu Ala has threatened to call for a bi-national state, but he may just as well call for a Palestinian state on the moon,” Shoval said. “This is an empty threat that Israel is obviously not going to think seriously about.”
Hamas would weigh `temporary peace’
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Hamas would agree to a “temporary peace” with Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state “on the basis of the 1967 borders,” the evacuation of the settlements and the resettlement of all the Palestinian refugees inside Israel, movement leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said Wednesday night. “The rest of the land, within Israel, we will leave to history,” he added, speaking to the German news agency, DPA. However, Yassin added, “this does not mean recognition of the State of Israel, but rather a cessation of the violence for a number of years.”
United States leaving Syrian track to Israel’s discretion
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
The United States does not intend to push for or sponsor any resumption of Syrian-Israeli talks, but will not object should Israel choose to take up Syrian President Bashar Assad’s offer to resume negotiations, senior American officials told Jerusalem this week. The officials expressed skepticism about Assad’s intentions, arguing that had he been serious, he would have used diplomatic back channels rather than calling for new talks in a newspaper interview.
‘Bi-national talk a threat to Israel’
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya’s suggestion that the Palestinians could call for a bi-national state should current negotiations fail is a threat to the very existence of Israel, an Israeli official has said. “This is nothing less that a threat to put an end to the state of Israel as a Jewish state, and we categorically reject it,” the high-ranking official told AFP on Firday on condition of anonymity.
UN envoy urges Israel to exploit Syrian peace moves
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
The United Nations’ Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, has urged Israel to respond to overtures by Syrian President Bashar Assad on the renewal of peace talks, Army Radio reported Friday. Speaking in an interview to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Larsen said that based his own conversations with Assad, he believes that the Syrian leader is honest in his intentions, and that Israel must take advantage of this. He reiterated the UN stance that Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights is not a legitimate one.
Israeli PM faces pressure to resume talks with Syria
Daily Star 1/9/2004
2 Cabinet ministers, UN Mideast envoy push PM to mull Assadâs offer — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was under pressure Thursday from two of his senior Cabinet ministers and the UNâs Middle East envoy to open talks with Syria. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Sharon to go back on his refusal to resume peace negotiations with Syria. “Bearing in mind Syriaâs very precarious position, itâs in our interest to exploit recent overtures for contactsä with Syria, the former premier told public radio.
Sharon sets conditions for talks with Syria
Middle East Online 1/9/2004
JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon responded to growing calls for resuming peace talks with Syria by insisting Damascus stop supporting armed militant groups, sources in his office said Friday. “We want peace … but the Syrians must stop supporting terror, end aid to Hezbollah and close down the headquarters of the terrorist organisations in Damascus,” he told a US congressional delegation on Thursday.
Separation wall causes security fears in Amman
Daily Star 1/9/2004
AMMAN: Worried Israelâs construction of a controversial separation barrier in the West Bank will endanger its national security, Jordan said Thursday it will seek the dismantling of the wall when it takes its argument before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) later this month. Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher – whose country ruled the West Bank from 1950 until 1967 when it lost it to Israel during the 1967 war – said Jordanâs arguments would help the court take a ãsound judgementä on the legal consequences of the barrier when it starts hearings on the issue on Feb. 23.
Yassin: No new truce without Israeli guarantees
Middle East Online 1/9/2004
DUBAI – Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin said in remarks published Friday that his movement would not agree to a new truce that is not be respected by Israel and that it would not cease attacks on Israeli civilians as long as the Jewish state targets Palestinian civilians. “Hamas will not commit the same mistake in agreeing on a new truce with Israel which will not be respected by the latter,” Yassin told Saudi magazine Al-Majallah, published in London.
Analysis / Making threats, cultivating an image
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Two prominent Palestinians, Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) and Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, gave expression last night to the prevalent mood that the frozen peace process has created among the Palestinian public. Qureia’s words in favor of establishing a single binational state echo statements that have recently been made in the Palestinian media by political activists and academics. Many Palestinians have come to understand that for Israel, the threat of a binational state is the greatest threat of all.
Palestinian PM’s ‘one state’ call
BBC 1/9/2004
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei says he will push for a single Arab-Jewish state if Israel carries through a threat to draw up its own borders. “We will go for a one-state solution… there’s no other solution,” he told news agencies on Thursday. Israel has promised to take unilateral steps to redefine borders if the Palestinians fail to end violence.
Likud MK: Hamas statement on temporary peace is ‘tactical’
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Likud MK Yuval Steinitz, the chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Comittee, said Friday that a Hamas statement that it could accept a temporary peace with Israel was “interesting,” Israel Radio reported. But, Steinitz added, until Hamas halts its terror activities, the statement is merely “a tactical declaration.” Steinitz responded to a Wednesday night statement by Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, saying that the movement would agree to a “temporary peace” with Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state “on the basis of the 1967 borders,” the evacuation of the settlements and the resettlement of all the Palestinian refugees inside Israel.
Palestinians say see EU as their ‘ally of choice’
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
DUBLIN – Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath described the European Union as “the ally of choice” on Friday and urged Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen to do all he could to rekindle a peace process when he visits the Middle East next week.Cowen said inaction in the region was “simply not an option” during Ireland’s six-month presidency of the EU, which started on January 1.
Mid-East awash with diplomatic moves
BBC 1/9/2004
The Middle East is awash with diplomatic initiatives. Libya is talking to Israel. Egypt is talking to Iran. Turkey is passing messages from Israel to Syria. In fact, almost the only people who are not talking to each other are Israel and the Palestinians. This is big picture diplomacy. The discussions are not about this settlement or that road, but about and between states not on speaking terms for a generation.
Video: “Israel may try to negotiate whille holding on to the Golan Heights”
BBC 1/9/2004
The BBC’s Linden Kemkaran — “It’s thought that Israel may try to negotiate whille holding on to the Golan Heights”
Israel to take all Ethiopian Jews
BBC 1/9/2004
The Israeli Government are to speed up the moving of the remaining 18,000 Ethiopian Jews to the Middle East. However, the emigration of the Falasha Mura community would not start next week as had earlier been reported, says Israel’s foreign ministry.Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom admitted at the end of a two-day Ethiopia visit, that the issue was a complex one.
Sharon to skip party consent over disengagement plan
Daily Star 1/9/2004
Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza — Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians on Thursday, a militant in a West Bank city center and a man standing at a window of his house in a Gaza refugee camp overlooking a Jewish settlement, witnesses said. Meanwhile, press reports appeared saying Israelâs prime minister plans to bypass his own partyâs hawkish central committee with his unilateral ãdisengagementä plan to remove some settlements from the Palestinian territories.

Report: Iran renews flow of weapons via Syria to Hezbollah
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
After a break of nearly a full year, Iran has resumed supplying Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon with weapons and supplies transported via Syria, according to a report Thursday evening on Channel 1 news. According to the report, Syria dispatched a number of planes to Iran last week posing as humanitarian aid transports for Iranian earthquake victims..When the flights returned to Syria, they were filled with weaponry which was unloaded in Damascus and transferred to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. Details of the weapons transfer became known to the United States, which demanded an explanation from Syria.
Iran: Syria did not use aid planes to send arms to Hezbollah
Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
Iran on Friday rejected as “baseless and a sheer lie” claims by Israeli security sources that Syrian planes that flew earthquake relief aid to Iran had returned with weapons for Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi called the accusation a “baseless and a sheer lie.” “After the Israelis observed the… world’s solidarity with the Iranian nation they became angry and they’re continuing their policy based on lies and cheating by fabricating such news,” he told Reuters.
World Bank: Lebanon has Îgiven upâ on Paris II
Daily Star 1/9/2004
ÎStatus quoâ 2004 budget faulted — The World Bank said in its third quarter 2003 report that the recent ratification by the Cabinet of a ãstatus quo budget for 2004 signifies that the authorities have given up, at least for the time being, pursuing their strategy presented at Paris II.ä The report, released earlier this week by the international body, also criticized developments relating to the countryâs fiscal affairs and privatization program since the ÎParis IIâ donorsâ conference, which have fallen short of initial expectations.
Muslim Brotherhood leader dies
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
The death of Ma’moun al-Hodeiby, head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, risks igniting a generational battle for the leadership of the influential Islamist organsiation. Al-Hodeiby, the Brotherhood’s sixth “supreme guide”, died at the age of 83 following an unspecified illness. Known for his strong personality and organisational abilities, he only took over in November 2002 on the death of his predecessor, Mustafa Mashhur.

Lebanon Scrambles to Avert a U.S. Invasion of Bekaa
An Nahar 1/9/2004
Lebanon is exploring political and security avenues to cope with thinly veiled U.S threats to land special American army units in the Bekaa valley on a ‘hunt and kill’ mission against Hizbullah’s ‘terrorists,’ An Nahar reported on Friday. The report coincided with fresh Israeli media claims that Syria was upgrading its military support of Hizbullah in the Bekaa and south Lebanon in open defiance of the Bush administration demand all kinds of assistance to ‘terrorist’ groups be promptly discontinued.
France backs EU-Libya relations
BBC 1/9/2004
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has called for “progressive” normalisation of EU ties with Libya. His call came after Libya agreed to pay a $170m settlement to families bereaved by a 1989 bombing of a French plane. The BBC’s Peter Biles says the deal should be seen amid other recent overtures to the West by Tripoli.
BBC suspends talk show over alleged anti-Arab comments
BBC 1/9/2004
LONDON – The British Broadcasting Corp. said Friday it had taken a long-running daytime talk show off the air while it investigates allegedly anti-Arab comments that its host wrote in a newspaper. In a column published this week in the tabloid Sunday Express, Robert Kilroy-Silk, 61, host of the BBC television’s “Kilroy” program, said that few Arab countries “make much contribution to the welfare of the rest of the world.” The column also referred to Arabs as “suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors.”
Arab League reforms slow in coming
Daily Star 1/9/2004
Some officials want more input from the private sector in decision-making — The secretariat-general of the Arab League wants more private sector involvement in the 22-member union, which is currently dominated by government officials who make key economic decisions, a senior Arab League official said Tuesday.
Guantanamo Britons: New release hopes
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
Seven of the nine Britons held by the US at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba could soon be returned. Fresh hopes for their early release were rekindled after a US diplomat was reported in newspapers as saying the suspects being held without trial could be repatriated if Britain is able to ‘manage’ them after their return. “We are prepared to arrange their transfer home for detention or prosecution or other actions depending on individual circumstances,” US ambassador at Large for War Crimes Pierre-Richard Prosper told a small US Embassy briefing.
The media, nuclear power, and failed peace: An interview with David Hirst
By Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2004
Listen to the interview or read the transcript — “It seems to me clear that a great many Israelis, ideally, would like to see an Arab-free West Bank and Gaza. The statistics seem to show that. But of course, the question is how to implement this,” David Hirst explains in this interview with EI. David Hirst worked as The Guardian’s Middle East correspondent from 1967 to 2001, and authored the classic book The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East, which was published in its third edition in 2003 with a new 120 page foreword. From Beirut, Hirst spoke with EI on the bias of the American media towards Israel in its coverage of the conflict, the implications of Israel’s nuclear aresenal, and how Israel is more of a strategic liability than asset for the U.S.

Syria And Turkey Defy The United States
By Patrick Seale, Al-Hayat 1/9/2004
This week’s visit to Turkey by Syria’s young leader, President Bashar Al Assad, is of considerable geo-strategic significance. It has taken place in close coordination with Syria’s ally Iran, whose foreign minister, Kamal Kharazzi, was in Damascus on the eve of the visit, while Turkey’s foreign minister Abdullah Gul is expected in Tehran on Saturday.
Refugee Issue Is Right at the Core of the Palestine Conflict
By Karma Nabulsi, Palestine Chronicle 1/9/2004
LONDON – This year is the 250th anniversary of Jean-Jacques Rousseauâs legendary Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality. In its dedicatory epistle to the Republic of Geneva, Rousseau, citizen of that virtuous city, described the democratic vision he claimed was inspired by it: ãI should have wished to be born in a country where the sovereign and the people could have had only one and the same interest, so that all the motions of the machine might only tend to the common happiness; since this is impossible unless the people and the sovereign are the same person, it follows that I should have wished to have been born under a democratic government.ä
Jerusalem’s rejectionists
Editorial, Ha’aretz 1/9/2004
As though in spite of himself, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz admitted on Wednesday that there was no choice but “to examine” the signals emanating from Syria about the renewal of negotiations with Israel. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is apparently even less willing than Mofaz to display receptiveness to the possible new winds from Damascus. The Israeli nation could not “cope” with two peace processes simultaneously, the prime minister asserted on Wednesday, as though engaging in peace were some sort of edict or punishment. And the deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert, stated in an interview yesterday, that peace with Syria didn’t have a high place on the national order of priorities. The recoil of these three key policy makers from seriously discussing and intelligently responding to a possible change that is taking place on the Syrian front is flagrantly unimaginative in the light of a more receptive reaction by others in the government. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has for some time urged a positive response, at the rhetorical level at least, to the Syrian feelers. The evaluation of the heads of the army, and especially the director of Military Intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash, is that the new tone coming out of Damascus attests to substantive and meaningful changes in the political approach there following the American victory in Iraq and the security developments throughout the entire region in its wake.
A diaspora divided
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
Shock waves from the continuing carnage in the Middle East are increasingly dividing the Jewish diaspora, and the rifts are becoming ugly. has uncovered evidence of an anti-Semitic hate mail campaign against Jewish peace activists in London, which involves rabbis and at least one respected Israeli literary figure. Diaspora Jewish communities have traditionally rallied round Israel in times of crisis. But faced with an occupation that seems to have no end, and a perceived increase in anti-Semitism accompanying it, discontent among British Jewry is rife.
56% of Israelis oppose handing back Golan to Syria
Middle East Online 1/9/2004
JERUSALEM – A majority of Israelis oppose handing back the occupied Golan Heights to Syria, according to an opinion published Friday, as pressure grows on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to resume peace negotiations with Damascus. To the question “Are you for or against handing over the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace?”, 56 percent of respondents answered “no,” while 36 percent supported the idea and eight percent did not express an opinion.
Libya signs for UTA crash payout
Al-Jazeera 1/9/2004
Libya has signed a $170-million compensation deal with the families of victims of the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger, paving the way for the normalization of Franco-Libyan relations. The deal was signed on Friday by Abdu Salam, director of the al-Qadhafi Foundation, a charity that negotiated for Tripoli, Guillaume Denoix de Saint-Marc, a spokesman for some of the families, Francis Szpiner, attorney for the French victims’ rights group SOS Attentats, and a representative of the Caisse des Depots et Consignations, a state-owned financial agency.
Through film, group seeks to put Îhuman face on warâ
Daily Star 1/9/2004
Would-be documentarians seek funds to complete project about Iraqi exileâs return home — BEIRUT: They came together from a common desire to spread a message – a very different one than was being reported by the US media – to make films, and to use the medium of film to spread their message. Nine US-based activists, all students and professors, and the majority Arab-Americans, got together in June and formed a collective called InCounter Productions. InCounterâs first venture was Iraq, and the groupâs first film is called About Baghdad.
Huge Movement of Troops Is Underway
Washington Post 1/9/2004
The Pentagon has begun a shift of troops into and out of Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan that promises to be the most challenging movement of U.S. forces in more than half a century, military officials announced yesterday….[a spokesman] also acknowledged, in response to a question, that the rotation could offer an opportunity for greater U.S. offensive action, as incoming forces overlap with those due to exit, swelling the total number of U.S. troops in the country.
Interview with Sari Nusseibeh
By Linda Benedikt, Media Monitors Network 1/9/2004
“Israelis do not believe in my rights as a Palestinian. That is not the reason why they signed any documents. They did it out of pure and cold bloodied calculation. They believe that by making peace they can preserve themselves. And if we, as a result, are getting a state or an empire, they could not care less.” — Professor Sari Nusseibeh (born 1949), is President of the Jerusalem Al-Quds University and the PLO representative in the city. Nusseibeh, who read philosophy at Christ Church College in Oxford and received his PhD in medieval Islamic philosophy from Harvard, does not only publicly disagree with Israeli politics but also with the Palestinian leadership particularly Yassir Arafat. Together with the Israeli Ami Ayalon, he founded the grass root movement ãThe Peopleâs Voiceä in order to make both people agree to what their leadership obviously cannot: Peace. Sari Nusseibeh is married to Lucy Austin, daughter of J.L. Austin, and lives in Jerusalem.
Did Israeli General Moshe Dayan Order the Attack on the USS Liberty?
By William Hughes, Media Monitors Network 1/9/2004
Almost four decades after Israelâs premeditated attack on the USS Liberty, on June 8, 1967, an agency of the federal government is going to give the controversy some air time. The State Department is sponsoring a conference entitled, ã The United States, the Middle East, and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.ä It will be held on Jan. 12-13, 2004, in Washington, DC.
Mofaz to Syria: remove Hizbullah from borders
Jerusalem Post 1/9/2004
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has reportedly sent a message to the Syrian government via a visiting American diplomat, Channel 2 reported Friday night. According to the report, Mofaz wrote the Syrians that Israel would not start negotiations with Damascus as long as Hizbullah is arrayed along Israel’s northern border, and the offices of terrorist groups in Syria remain open.
Israel Fumes Over Bi-National State Solution
Islam Online 1/9/2004
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, January 9 ( & News Agencies) – Israel lambasted Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei Friday, January 9, charging that the Premierâs talk of a bi-national state if negotiations fail is a direct threat to the very existence of the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Israeli troops continued their sweep of the West Bank for what it calls ãsuspected militantsä, arresting several Palestinians, including an official in Jenin of Yasser Arafat’s ruling Fatah party, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP)….”This is nothing less that a threat to put an end to the state of Israel as a Jewish state, and we categorically reject it,” a high-ranking official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Powell defends Sharon’s barrier
Washington Times 1/9/2004
The Bush administration yesterday dismissed a Palestinian threat to pursue a shared state with Israel if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon goes ahead with a security barrier that would cut off parts of the West Bank. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell defended Mr. Sharon, saying the barrier is only a contingency plan in the event that the Palestinians fail to become a “reliable partner.”
Edward Said puts the Palestinian narrative of struggle in a global context in ãCulture and Resistanceä
By Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada 1/9/2004
What distinguishes the late Edward Said from the numerous other writers and commentators of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is his ability to place it within the global context of struggles towards social justice. Not a historian by profession, but rather Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, Said was acutely aware of how cultural exchange is necessary for understanding between two or more conflicting parties, and that understanding is necessary when trying to accomplish peace.

January 8 2004
The Truth is Out There, Somewhere
By Antonia Zerbisias, Palestine Monitor/Toronto Star 1/8/2004
It is disturbingly easy to lose track of those who have fallen over the past few weeks in Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank and, reportedly, the breeding ground for most of the suicide bombers who have terrorized Israelis.
A search of various databases turns up mind-boggling headlines that change every day, and sometimes every hour. “Three Palestinian militants killed by Israeli patrols during West Bank sweep’’ read one yesterday, which followed another “Israeli troops kill Palestinian teenager in West Bank’’ the day before and another “Five Palestinians killed in clashes”
on Monday.
On the Jarbawi Initiative
By Muhannad Abdul-Hamid, Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
Dr. Ali Jarbawi has suggested issuing a Palestinian warning to counter the warning that Sharon launched during the Herlzlyia Conference. (TJT, January 2, 2004) Jarbawi’s warning can be summarized in the following:
1- If the Israelis want the two-state solution, they should completely halt settlement and building of the apartheid wall in preparation to end the occupation and establish the sovereign independent state within the 1967 borders and find solution to the issue of refugees, basing on international legitimacy.
Eyewitness in Rafah: Devastation continues
Rafah Today 1/8/2004
Breaking news: the weather is very cold now. It is raining and the people are leaving their houses in Hay Al Salam becuse of shooting from Isareli watching towers. Today they killed 47 yeras old man “Mahmoud Al Kurd” in Rafah Refugee Camp, leaving a dozen children who he cared after. Still Israeli incursions continues. The Israeli Army attached one of the houses in West Rafah that belonged to Jaber Abu Shosha and two other houses were demolished in the south of Rafah Refugee Camp.
Losing hope is easy
Editorial, Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
In Nablus a war has been going on without too much attention from the world community. An Israeli military campaign has been taking place in the city for three weeks concentrated mainly in the historic old city. The destruction caused so far from the Israeli military onslaught to the archeological sites and historical buildings is irreparable. Yet, we have not heard a word, not even from UNESCO, regarding this barbaric and brutal destruction of history and culture. When the Taliban wanted to destroy a couple of historical stone structures in Afghanistan, the entire world intervened to prevent their destruction. But as Israel is destroying historical sites, some of them over 1000 years old, in Nablus, there is a frightening world silence.
In Gemmayzeh, a pied piper named Nicole brings the crowd along on a trip aboard her magic swirling ship
Daily Star 1/8/2004
Chicago jazz musician says she is just a flute player (never a Îflautistâ), but to some her music means so much more — The song begins low, the tempo slow, the notes mere breaths of sound. They are evenly pitched, and held for several beats. Then the rhythm hitches, and jumps off track, as the time signature goes weird and the chords begin walking strange changes to the bridge.
Breaking the code
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Exactly two years ago, when Said Kashua was 26, his first book, “Dancing Arabs” (Modan Press), a collection of short stories, became a best-seller. It was on Israeli best-seller lists for nearly three months and international success followed soon after. The book was translated into Italian, German, French and Dutch and an English translation is due to appear in the United States in a few months….Yes, I passed some tough admissions exams,” he says, “but I’ve always harbored the suspicion that I was nonetheless accepted because of statistics, as the token Arab.” Several stories in “Dancing Arabs” describe his experiences trying to fit in as an Arab in a Jewish dormitory.
High Hurdles for Palestinian Athletes On Road to Olympics
Washington Post 1/8/2004
Raad Awisat clambered out of the swimming pool on a biting night this week and immediately broke out in goose bumps. His 25-yard-long pool is sheathed in low-hanging plastic sheeting to retain heat during the winter. But the low-tech barrier has proved no better at keeping in warmth than it is at keeping out the icy rain that drips through cracks in the tin roof. Raad, 16, is one of two athletes who will represent the Palestinians this year at the Olympic Games in Athens.
Relative Ease of Closure, Escalation in Military Attacks
International Middle East Media Center 1/8/2004
The Palestinian Council for Peace and Justice issued Wednesday its monthly report concerning the army activities inside the Palestinian territories during December 2003. The report claims that 56 residents were killed, including 11 children. According to the research findings, 12 residents were assassinated, 634 were wounded to various degrees, and 709 were arrested. As well, 609 homes and 141 industrial buildings were damaged to various degrees, 278 vehicles were destroyed, and 10,781 trees were uprooted.
Nablus in the last 20 days
International Solidarity Movement 1/8/2004
1) Nablus in the last twenty days _ Zeid in Nablus: Operation stagnant water began on the 16th December before this time the Israeli Army had been coming in to Balata or Askar every 3 or 4 days provoking trouble and playing their game of shooting at the children.But after the 16th the operation was intensified with about 500 troops backed up by 30 tanks and many jeeps surrounding Balata Camp. The troops started house to house searches using dogs, while others used explosives to blow holes from one house to the next. /2) The truth is out there, somewhere – Letter, Toronto Star: It is disturbingly easy to lose track of those who have fallen over the past few weeks in Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank and, reportedly, the breeding ground for most of the suicide bombers who have terrorized Israelis. / 3) Support the refuseniks: ….Sign the Petition for the immediate release of the 5 conscientious objectors at
Israel's Îcampaign of misinformationâ allowed for Nablus siege which ended yesterday leaving 18 dead
Palestine Monitor 1/8/2004
Thursday January, 8, 2004 Mahmoud Aloul, the Governor of Nablus and Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi President of Palestinian Medical Relief, gave a joint press conference along with Palestinian Ministry Forensic Doctor, Sameer Abu Zarour in the temporary premises of the governorate in Nablus….The governor Mahmoud Aloul explained how efforts to contact both embassies and press offices had been unsuccessful during this campaign of great escalation on Sharonâs behalf which resulted in 18 Palestinian deaths and over 250 injured.
Masked men assault Arabiya correspondent in Gaza
Electronic Intifada /PCHR 1/8/2004
PCHR strongly condemns the attack this afternoon on Seif al-Din Shahin, Gaza correspondent for the al-Arabiya satellite channel.A group of unidentified individuals attacked Shahin apparently because of their opposition to recent press reports made by Shahin.PCHR considers this violent action an attack on the freedom of the press, of opinion, of expression and the freedom to impart and receive information.PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Attorney General to conduct a full and fair investigation into the incident and to bring those found responsible to justice in accordance with the rule of law.
Police intimidation against Indymedia Israel violates Internet Freedom of Speech
Alternative Information Center 1/8/2004
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) states in a letter to the Attorney General of Israel: ‘’The investigation against Indymedia Israel has turned into intimidation, harming Freedom of Speech on the Internet.’’ Police investigators are attempting to throw responsibility on Indymedia Israelâs operators, for publications appearing in the ãopen publishing zoneä of the website. This is done illegally and against the recommendations of a professional committee of the Israel Ministry of Justice.
Two-state Mideast solution only way forward-Powell
Reuters 1/8/2004
WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday dismissed Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie’s suggestion the Palestinians may seek equal rights with Israelis in one state if Israel absorbs some West Bank areas. At a news conference, Powell reiterated the U.S. view that a two-state solution is the only way forward in the Middle East and said the sole way to achieve that was for Qurie to crack down on Palestinian militants. Powell said his point man on the Middle East, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, was going to Egypt next week in part to try to get the Egyptian government to pressure Qurie to start dismantling Palestinian groups that attack Israel.
Ranking officials implicated in embezzlement
Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
Unnamed ranking and senior Palestinian officials seem to be implicated in embezzlement and forgery of official documents in the Ministry of Transportation when it was headed by former Minister Ali Qawasmi, according to information revealed December 31. The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) discussed in a regular session held in both Ramallah and Gaza via video conferencing a file of alleged embezzlement in the Ministry of Transportation that may have cost the Palestinian treasury between $17 to $18 million, according to information revealed by the PLCâs Economic Committee and its chairman Azmi Shuabi. [If unable to access this page, go to: then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]
Parliament rejects Budget Committeeâs report
Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) unanimously rejected on January 3 a report prepared by its Budget committee that has recommended rejecting the Palestinian Authorityâs 2004 budget. The PLC held a special session to discuss the Budget Committeeâs response to the budget. However, while Budget Committee Chairman Saadi Kurunz was reading the report from Gaza to lawmakers meeting simultaneously in both Gaza and Ramallah via video conferencing, lawmakers, including members of the committee, in Ramallah voiced protest to some of what came in the report. [If unable to access this page, go to: then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]
Indictment of Appel over Greek island affair expected this month
Globes 1/8/2004
The indictment is for attempting to bribe Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Industry Trade and Labor Ehud Olmert. — An indictment against businessman David Appel in the Greek island affair is expected this month. The indictment is for attempting to bribe Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Industry Trade and Labor Ehud Olmert.
Palestinian Economy in Brief
Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
PCBS says 9.7 million Palestinians worldwide at end of 2003: The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said that there were 9.7 million Palestinians worldwide, including 3.7 million in the Palestinian areas (2.3 million or 63.3% in the West Bank and 1.4 million or 36.7% in the Gaza Strip) and one million inside Israel….. / Saudi aid for Palestinians: The Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People handed over ambulances and fire-extinguishing vehicles, buses, devices and medical supplies to Palestinian ambassador to the Kingdom Mustafa Hashim Al-Sheikh Deeb….. / JDECO condemns mob attack on its Ramallah offices: The Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO) strongly condemned in a statement to the press and in a meeting with President Yasser Arafat mob attack on its Ramallah premises that took place on January 1….. [If unable to access this page, go to: then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]
Diary of an art competition (under occupation)
Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
When a country and its people are not free, how do its artists respond? — Three years ago, with support from the family foundation that my parents set up in 1994, we launched an ambitious and wide-ranging programme of support for the arts and sciences in Palestine. The foundationâs aims were principally focused on education and culture, but from the start we were working beneath a daunting and ominous shadow: the realities of the continuing Israeli occupation, and the potential violence of Palestinian resistance to it.[If unable to access this page, go to: then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]
Cancer treatment center inaugurated in Gaza
Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
Preparations to finish the first Palestinian health project in Gaza, that is funded by the Kingdom of Saudi of Arabia in the amount of $5.2 million, in which the funds will be channeled through the Saudi committee for the relief of the Palestinian people that is headed by the Minister of Interior, Prince Naief Ben Abed Al-Aziz, is about to be finished soon. [If unable to access this page, go to: then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]
Northern Gaza’s sewage problem
Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
Palestinian engineers and technicians stressed recently on the importance to take courageous and urgent steps to overcome the disastrous effects of the sanitary sewage basins in Northern Gaza. The Palestinian engineering team presented a full description about the temporary and urgent projects that are being implemented to solve this existing health environmental problem for years, besides to receive the over flow of the water that is being flooded from the basins to avoid flash floods on the Palestinian residents. [If unable to access this page, go to: then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]

Libyan Stagnation a Big Factor in Qaddafi Surprise
New York Times 1/8/2004
TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 7 ÷ Since Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi proclaimed last month that Libya would rid itself of outlawed weapons, praise has been pouring in from world capitals, the Libyan press reports every day. Telegrams and phone calls from heads of state congratulate the “great leader” of Libya’s revolution for his visionary decision, a potentially transforming step for a state that made itself a pariah in the 1980's, blazing a path of terrorism across Europe.

Miami federal court has ‘secret docket’ to keep some cases hidden from public 1/8/2004
“In recent months, it has become evident that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida maintains a dual, separate docket of public and non-public cases” — A secret docketing system hiding some sensitive Miami federal court cases from public view has been exposed and is being challenged in two higher courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court….Mohamed Kamel Bellahouel, 34, of Deerfield Beach, was arrested for a violating his student visa a month after the terror attacks. Although he sought his release in the District Court and appealed to the 11th Circuit, no public record of his case existed until his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Westminster Notes (The Golan Heights)
By Sir Cyril Townsend, Daily Star 1/8/2004
All too few people now recall that 139 Arab villages flourished on the Golan Heights before the six-day war of 1967, and of those 131 were systematically destroyed by the ruthless Israeli army. — It would be agreeable to be able to report that significant coverage was given in the British media to Israel’s plans to double the number of Jewish settlers living on the Golan Heights. Not so. It was only briefly mentioned in the serious papers, and yet again one had the impression that for most newspapers Syria does not appear on the radar screen, and does not exist in the minds of their readers. While at least the outlines of the Arab-Israel dispute are known to most people in Britain – and there is a problem over the endless repetition of bad news –
the fact that Israel is still occupying a large chunk of Syrian territory is not generally known in Britain.
And the twins died
By Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The twin girls died one after the other. The first to die was the one who was born first, at the checkpoint. Several hours later came the death of her sister, who was born a few minutes after they finally left the checkpoint, and who managed to reach the hospital alive. One lived for less than an hour, the other for less than a day. The death certificate lists their ages as one day old and zero. One died in the arms of her grandmother, the other was carried in the arms of her aunt, while their mother was lying in an ambulance, freezing, trembling, exhausted and humiliated after what she had gone through at the IDF checkpoint near her village. This past Sunday, the two bespectacled soldiers at the checkpoint at the entrance to Deir Balut direct us with unusual politeness to the path through the fields that leads to the village. The asphalt road to the village is regularly closed off with cement blocks and barbed wire, despite the fact that there is a manned checkpoint at the other end. Why is travel forbidden on the main road, and allowed only on the rocky path? Only in order to subject the 4,000 residents of this attractive village to further mistreatment, and to pacify the settlers in the area, residents of Paduel, Alei Zahav and Beit Aryeh, who whiz past on the well-paved Jewish roads.
Approximately 75 percent of Palestinians live below poverty line
By Muhammad Kuraizam, Jerusalem Times 1/8/2004
Many Palestinians are currently wondering if they are destined to live in poverty for the rest of their lives. The answer may be Îyesâ. Throughout Palestineâs history, every occupier has tried to weaken the Palestinians morally and financially and make them reliant on its economy. The question now, however, is the one of whether occupation alone is responsible for poverty in Palestine. Some believe there are other factors, such as meager natural assets, incompetent management, and the spread of corruption. This report will examine the causes and solutions of poverty in Palestine.
[If unable to access this page, go to: – then enter or paste this address: – Ed.]
A fine piece of work
By Rogel Alpher, Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
I am part of the first year that was born into the occupation, in 1967. I did my basic training in 1985, before the first intifada, at Dotan camp near Jenin in the West Bank. It was an abridged basic training, with most of the new recruits not being part of the creme de la creme of the army’s IQ tests. Our group was comprised of what’s known derisively as jobnikim – non-combat soldiers with cushy jobs – cooks, drivers, intelligence soldiers. Still, many of them very much enjoyed holding the M-16 rifle they were issued. They held it even before they fired their first shot. Before they knew how to use it. What they especially enjoyed was the feeling it gave them on the bus trip via Baka al-Garbiyeh. They opened the windows, aimed the weapon at passersby on the streets, and shot at them. Not that the rifles were loaded. But the soldiers made noises of “boom boom” and “tu-tu-tu-tu-tu,” and were deeply satisfied at the hurt looks on their targets’ faces. They promised to come back soon and empty whole magazines into the Israeli Arab village. They doubled over with laughter and patted one another on the shoulder.

Israel: Ya’alon: we may have to attack Syria again:

Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon warned that recent Syrian overtures towards Israel, Turkey and the US ˆ made under duress ˆ mean nothing, and that the IDF may have to strike at Syria again.

Sounding the Alarm About Israel’s Demographic Crisis :

When Arnon Soffer first issued his warning in the 1980s ˜ that Arabs would outnumber Jews in Israel and the occupied territories by around 2010 ˜ he was widely dismissed as a crackpot Jeremiah. Now the Israeli public and its leaders appear to have caught up with him.
Palestinian killed in Gaza invasion
Al-Jazeera 1/8/2004
Israeli soldiers have shot dead a Palestinian in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, hours after another three Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank. Ibrahim al-Kurd, 46, was killed when occupation troops opened fire after briefly raiding the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood near the border with Egypt early on Thursday, according to a Palestinian security official….Also on Wednesday morning, Israeli forces, backed by more than 20 military vehicles, launched a new invasion of Jenin’s refugee camp, Aljazeera’s correspondent reported. The forces sealed off the camp and launched search operations into many houses there, witnesses told Aljazeera.
One Palestinian Civilian Killed and Two Houses Demolished by IOF in Rafah
International Press Center 1/8/2004
RAFAH, Palestine, January 8, 2004 (IPC + WAFA)—Israeli occupying forces (IOF) shot dead early on Thursday a Palestinian civilian and demolished two houses in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. Mahmoud Ibrahim Alkurd 43, was shot dead with a live bullet in his head after his house had come under Israeli heavy fire, local hospital sources said….In the meantime, IOF demolished on Thursday two Palestinian houses situated at the Palestinian-Egyptian borders, just south of Rafah city, by using explosive devices, the sources added.
Israeli Killing Spree Raises Palestinian Death Toll to 12 in Week
Palestine Media Center 1/8/2004
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday shot dead four Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — two of them at close range and one after his leg was badly bitten by a police dog, raising the Palestinian death toll in the past week to twelve — while detaining at least 24 activists in the last twenty-four hours, including the correspondent of the Lebanese satellite TV station Almanar….Since mid-December, IOF have stepped up their aggression throughout the northern West Bank, focusing heavily on the city of Nablus and its adjacent Balata refugee camp. IOF soldiers have killed fourteen Palestinians in the city over the past three weeks.
Amid international silence, Israel keeps up the killing of Palestinian civilians
Palestinian Information Center 1/8/2004
Occupied Jerusalem – Amid international silence and American acquiescence, the Israeli occupation army continued to murder innocent Palestinian civilians on a daily basis under the rubric of fighting ãterror and violence.ä Palestinian medical sources as well as human rights groups operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have complained that the killing of innocent civilians by trigger happy Israeli soldiers are assuming a stunning frequency.
Number killed in terror attacks down 50% in 2003
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The number of terror attacks in 2003 dropped by 50 percent and the number of people killed in attacks dropped by 30 percent compared with the previous year, according to statistics published Thursday by the defense establishment. In 2003, 213 Israelis were killed in terror attacks, 50 of them members of the security forces, compared with 451 Israelis who were killed in 2002.
PA document: Hamas, Islamic Jihad timed bombings to derail peace process
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
“The suicide bombings are a key element in the arena of the struggle between the Israelis and Palestinians,” says a report by a Palestinian security service on the suicide bombings, “and an analysis of the circumstances of the timing and execution of the vast majority of the bombings, particularly the major ones conducted by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad, makes clear the timing was much more a purely political matter than a practical military one.” The authors of the report assume that the Hamas and Islamic Jihad are well-connected inside the Palestinian Authority with agents and elements who provide information based on knowledge of political developments….
Occupation forces damage farmlands
Palestinian Information Center 1/8/2004
Gaza – Zionist occupation troops last night advanced into north of Al-Matahin (flour mills) company to the south of Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza Strip and damaged Palestinian farmlands. The terrorist forces destroyed the lands of Abu Holi and other areas cultivated with palm trees and Guava.
Arrest campaign in Ramallah district
Palestinian Information Center 1/8/2004
Ramallah – The Zionist army launched at dawn yesterday a large-scale arrest campaign in the West Bank twin cities of Ramallah and El-Bireh. A Zionist army force stormed the Balu suburb to the north of El-Bireh and forced all inhabitants out of their houses in the cold weather including women and children, inhabitants reported.
Daily Situation Report in the OPT – Acrobat format
Palestine Media Center 1/8/2004
Daily Situation Report by Palestinian Monitoring Group – 08:00 06 January 2004 ö 08:00 07 January 2004 – detailed accounting of closures, curfews, demolitions and other daily operations conducted by the IDF in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

MKs to intervene at roadblocks
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
Meretz MK Roman Bronfman said Wednesday he has established an “MK intervention force” to monitor IDF activities at roadblocks in the territories, with the aim of “preventing human rights violations.” He said he initiated the move following an incident this week in which a road from Kalkilya to Mas’ha was blocked for an “entire day,” keeping hundreds of people waiting until he arrived on the scene after receiving complaints.
Ben Artzi allowed to face conscientious objection committee
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The JAG command decided Thursday to accept a military court recommendation that pacifist Yonatan Ben Artzi be allowed to appear once again before the IDF conscientious objection committee. Ben Artzi, the nephew by marriage of Finance Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, spent nearly two years battling to convince the army he is a pacifist, and was finally recognized as such by a Jaffa military court in November. Nevertheless, his conscientious objector status couldn’t stop the court convicting him for refusing to obey the order to enlist as a conscript.
Waiting to See the Sun: The Third Part
International Press Center 1/8/2004
The Palestinian female political prisoners’ portfolio continues with its third part, still talking about the prisoners of Nablus governorate, who were subjected to arbitrary and oppressive sentences and were thrown behind bars and dark walls, unable to see the sun. Samar Bader, a high school student, and one of the female Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. She was born on August 22, 1984 and was arrested on June 16, 2003 from her house in Al Quds Street in Nablus City. On September 2, 2003 the Israeli court sentenced her to 17 months in actual prison.
B’Tselem lists rules for IDF at checkpoints
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The human rights group B’Tselem this week began handing out a “personal card” to Israel Defense Forces soldiers stationed at checkpoints with an appeal by popular singer Yuval Banai calling on them to respect the human rights of the Palestinians. The card includes a list of rules of behavior, which the group says is based on IDF standing orders. The soldiers are told not to try to “educate” the Palestinians with various punishments, like delaying them at the checkpoints unnecessarily.
PCHR Condemns Attack Against Al-Arabiya Gaza Correspondent
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 1/8/2004
PCHR strongly condemns the attack this afternoon on Seif al-Din Shahin, Gaza correspondent for the al-Arabiya satellite channel.A group of unidentified individuals attacked Shahin apparently because of their opposition to recent press reports made by Shahin.PCHR considers this violent action an attack on the freedom of the press, of opinion, of expression and the freedom to impart and receive information.PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Attorney General to conduct a full and fair investigation into the incident and to bring those found responsible to justice in accordance with the rule of law.
Israel violates the rights of Palestinian women prisoners
Arabic News 1/8/2004
Palestinian women prisoners in the Israeli al-Ramla prison are being exposed to tough repressive acts, and live under very difficult humanitarian conditions, as they called on the Palestinian government and the Palestinian prisoner’s rights group to help them bring their plight to the international community. In two separate messages addressed to the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinian prisoner group in al-Khalil, the women prisoners said that they were exposed to torture, repression, isolation and other maltreatment.
IDF refuseniks begin their jail sentences
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The five conscientious objectors sentenced to 12-month jail terms by the Jaffa Military Court on Sunday began their sentences at the Prison 6 military facility in Atlit yesterday. The five – Haggai Matar, Matan Kaminer, Shimri Zameret, Adam Maor and Noam Bahat – arrived at the prison gates accompanied by family and friends.
Shechla: Israel is Committing War Crimes Against Palestinian People
International Press Center 1/8/2004
GAZA, Palestine, January 8, 2004 (IPC Exclusive)— The coordinator of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) and the Housing & Land Rights Network in the Middle East, Mr. Joseph Shechla, said that the Israeli government is committing war crimes against the Palestinian people….The coordinator of the HIC, which includes 400 international organizations and individuals as members, pointed out that Israel regularly discriminates between the Palestinians behind the “Green Line”, explaining that the idea of establishing Israel on a “Jewish state” basis and its connection with the international Zionist Agency asserts the danger of this discrimination.
IDF presses Sharon for talks with Syria
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The Israel Defense Forces is pressing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz not to ignore the proposal by Syrian President Bashar Assad to resume peace negotiations. The top echelon of the army believes Israel should not appear to be saying no to a peace proposal and should respond positively, putting Assad to the test even if it appears that the Syrian proposal is for tactical reasons, as Damascus tries to mitigate heavy U.S. pressure on Syria.

Rumsfeld May Send U.S. Commandos to Hunt Down Bekaa ‘Terrorists’
An Nahar 1/8/2004
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is reportedly contemplating the dispatch of special U.S. troops to east Lebanon’s Bekaa valley to “track down and arrest terrorists there.” But Lebanon said Thursday the Bush administration aught not act on deliberately fabricated reports. “Those who plant such fantasies in the mind of the U.S. administration are actually scheming to sabotage any chance of a positive dialogue between the United States and Lebanon,” Lebanon’s Information Minister Michel Samaha said in an interview published by the London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper.
U.S. human rights report set to slam separation fence
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The U.S. State Department is expected to strongly criticize the West Bank separation fence in its annual human rights report, due for publication in March. The U.S. administration has already informed Israel that the issue of the fence will take up a significant part of the chapter on Israel and the territories. U.S. questions on the barrier have focused on the discrepancies between Israeli promises that the fence will not burden the lives of the Palestinians living near it and the facts on the ground. The Americans believe that the function of the fence is problematic and infringes on the freedom of movement of residents of nearby villages.
Al-Qaddafi son: Israel is not a threat
Al-Jazeera 1/8/2004
Saif al-Islam, the son of Libya’s leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, has denied recent news reports about his meeting a member of the Israeli Knesset on the sidelines of an international parliamentary conference in Athens. He has said, however, that Libya no longer considers Israel a security threat nor is his country in a confrontation with Israel. In an exclusive interview with on Thursday, Saif al-Islam described the recent news reports as malicious rumours being spread by “some Arab countries” to spite Libya because of his country’s latest political successes (in breaking its international isolation).
Jerusalem and Tripoli play down reports of contacts
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Both Israel and Libya played down reports yesterday of contacts between the two countries. “There is no need to rush into diplomatic relations with Libya,” Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday to reporters at the Knesset. “After all,” Sharon continued, “we know the personality of [Libyan President Muammar] Gadhafi. Where are we running to? I heard that President [George] Bush is not lifting the sanctions on Libya until [concrete] measure are taken.”

Palestinian PM says two-state solution in danger
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said on Thursday Palestinians would seek a bi-national state and demand the same rights as Israelis if Israel carried out its threat to absorb chunks of the West Bank. Qureia’s comments, in an interview with Reuters, underscored the Palestinians’ sense of desperation in the face of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral plan to impose a boundary stripping them of some land they want for a state if peacemaking stays frozen.

Jordan will tell ICJ Israeli security barrier must come down: Moasher
ReliefWeb 1/8/2004
AMMAN, Jan 8 (AFP) – Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher said Thursday that Amman will submit to the world court legal arguments against the security barrier Israel is building across the West Bank, at the end of the month. “We will submit the International Court of Justice (ICJ) a legal dossier by the end of January against the separation wall,” Moasher told a group of foreign reporters in Amman, including AFP.
Shaath Urges EU to Spearhead ÎTwo Initiativesâ
Palestine Media Center 1/8/2004
De Villepin Accepts Invitation to Visit Palestinian Territory, Meet Arafat — Ahead of an upcoming visit to the region by a top US Middle East envoy, and following the Palestinian PMâs announcement Monday that contacts with Israel have stopped, Saudi Arabia announced possible European-Arab action to revive the ãroadmapä peace plan while the Palestine National Authority (PNA) urged the EU to spearhead ãtwo initiativesä in the Palestinian öIsraeli conflict during the preoccupation of the US Administration with the elections campaign.

Steinitz: No pulling out of the Golan
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
There is no possibility of pulling out of the Golan Heights, and anyone who talks of returning that strategic area to the Syrians is endangering the security of the State of Israel, MK Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said Thursday. Speaking on Israel Radio, Steinitz said that even former Labor Prime Minster Yitzhak Rabin held the view that the Golan Heights was crucial to the security of the nation.
Yesha chief calls Kurtzer a `Jewboy’
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The director general of the Yesha Council, Adi Mintz, has told the Shas party organ that “in the American Embassy there is a Jewboy – and I’m not ashamed of using that word – who gets lists from Peace Now and runs with them to the State Department.”Yesha is the Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza….”(U.S. Ambassador Daniel) Kurtzer doesn’t deny that he is a Peace Now person. He’s a galut (Diaspora) Jew who came to us and he participates in leftist conferences where he makes speeches rejecting the legitimacy of the settlements in Yesha and he intervenes bluntly in domestic politics. This is not the behavior of a diplomat. He is harming the independence and strength of the state of Israel.”

Yassin says ready for temporary peace
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin is prepared to accept a temporary peace with Israel and a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital, reports Israel Radio. He told a Gaza-based German journalist that he is ready to leave the rest of his territorial demands to posterity.
Palestinians Lack a Strategy to Foil Sharonâs Designs
Arab News 1/8/2004
RAMALLAH, 8 January 2004 ÷ Israelâs unilateral plan to absorb chunks of the occupied West Bank if peacemaking stays frozen leaves Palestinians little chance of salvaging their dream of a viable state. They look stymied by Israelâs building of a barrier that takes in West Bank settlements and their own failure to get a truce from Palestinian militants ÷ key to a US-backed peace plan. ãWe have no real options because the US is totally behind Israel. All we can do is wait until Americans and Israelis elect new leaders,ä a senior Palestinian official said resignedly.
Pentagon Presses for U.S. Operation in Lebanon
Middle East Newsline 1/8/2004
WASHINGTON [MENL] — The U.S. Defense Department is said to be mulling a proposal to expand special operations forces and send them to destroy insurgency strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border. U.S. defense sources said the proposal is being examined by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They said the plan calls for a multi-pronged attack on insurgency strongholds in such countries as Lebanon and Somalia.
Turkish PM to Israel: Assad serious about renewing talks
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Syrian President Bashar Assad is serious about renewing peace talks with Israel, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told Israel’s ambassador to Ankara, Pini Avivi, in a lengthy meeting Thursday to discuss the Syrian leader’s visit this week to Turkey.”Syrian President Bashar Assad said he is serious in his intention to renew peace talks with Israel, and intends taking all the necessary steps to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East,” Erdogan told Avivi. Erdogan, who also offered to mediate between Israel and Syria, said he believed Assad’s statements were serious and were not being issued for public relations purposes.

Background / A new Mideast? Is Israel missing its chance?
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Until recently, Israeli officials routinely spoke of the “bad neighborhood,” local shorthand for a Middle East implacably hostile to the very presence of a Jewish state in its midst. The term, with its uniquely Israeli air of bitter humor, its posture of fatalistic comfort on the brink of apocalypse, encompassed such realities as the Eastern Front – Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeni and his heirs….As an Israel wary of trusting its traditional blood enemies, faces a new, post-Saddam Middle East, could the real risk be that of squandering unfamiliar opportunities for peace?
Shaâth Holds a European Trip to Break the Peace Process Impasse
International Press Center 1/8/2004
GAZA, Palestine, January 8 , 2004 (IPC+ Agencies)— Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Nabil Shaâth held Wednesday talks with his German counterpart, Youshka Fischer in Bonn, focused on ways to push forward the stalled peace process. The talks shed the lighton the latest developments in the situation of the Middle East in the shadow of the unleashing Israeli military offensive against the Palestinian people and discussed deliberated possibilitiesto break the impasse shrouded the peace process.
Israel to take all Ethiopia Jews
Al-Jazeera 1/8/2004
Israel has said it plans to start moving the remaining 18,000 Ethiopians of Jewish origin to Israel from next week. “We would like to bring all Falashas to Israel beginning next week. We believe they should live in Israel,” Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters on Thursday at the end of a two-day visit. He was referring to the Falasha Mura or members of Ethiopia’s small Jewish community. Thousands moved to Israel in 1984, fleeing hunger and political turmoil, and in 1991 at the end of Ethiopia’s civil war.

Shalom in Ethiopia: Falash Mura should be brought to Israel
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Wednesday that the government’s decision to bring the Falash Mura to Israel from Ethiopia must be implemented. Shalom, currently on a state visit to Ethiopia, added, however, that one could not ignore the fact that their immigration would be “complicated and complex, with economic ramifications for which the finance minister will have to find a response.” As revealed by Haaretz Wednesday, the cost of bringing over the Falash Mura is far less than estimated by immigration and Finance Ministry officials.

High Court upholds outpost evacuation order
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
The High Court of Justice Thursday approved the removal of one of the two caravans in the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yitzhar in Samaria, Israel Radio reports. A panel of three judges, headed by High Court President Aharon Barak, rejected a petition by the Movement for Israel and settler Aviad Visoli against the removal.

Livnat raps Hendel over call to arms
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
Education Minister Limor Livnat reprimanded her deputy-minister Zvi Hendel on Thusrday over a letter sent by the Tkuma party calling for pupils to take part in a demonstration to be held next week….Deputy-Minister for Education Zvi Hendel (National Unity) defended his call to pupils and teachers at State Religious Schools to take part in a demonstration next week against the removal of settlements.

Sharon will not bring disengagement plan before party for approval 1/8/2004
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not bring his plan to dismantle some settlements and impose a boundary on Palestinians before the hawkish central committee of his Likud Party, an Israeli newspaper reported Thursday. Sharon has said previously that he would pursue his “disengagement plan” if peace talks do not bear fruit in the coming months.However, many Likud officials consider the dismantling any of the roughly 150 Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and withdrawal from any land there as anathema to their dream of a Greater Israel.

Hanegbi: administrative detention for criminals
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
Internal Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi proposed the use of administrative detention against Israeli underworld figures, reports Army Radio Thursday. Hanegbi said the use of the tool ö usually reserved for Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities ö should be undertaken with great care and only where intelligence indicates that their freedom of movement endangers public safety.
Showdown Looms for Sharon in Party Fight
Forward 1/9/2004
JERUSALEM ÷ Prime Minister Sharon traded verbal blows this week with the apparatus of his ruling Likud party, with disputes ranging from pure ideology to naked power in the background. The stage has now been set for a dramatic showdown next month that could have a profound effect on both. The party’s top decision-making authority, the Likud convention, is to vote in February on a slew of proposals that would impose total central discipline on all party members, from the prime minister on down.
Pretend budget
By Zvi Lavi, Globes 1/8/2004
The budget has passed. Everybody happy? There’s no reason to be. — The NIS 255 billion budget passed with the expected majority, but it is not the last word, after all the aggravation and money invested in the coalition to avoid the wrong vote. Within a month or two, we’ll see a new budget, as if the budget passed last night was just a bluff….”The price of democracy,” was the answer on the tip of Rivlin’s tongue. Price? Definitely. Democracy? Hardly. A suitable phrase has not yet been coined in the political science lexicons for the parliamentary saga of the budget debate….A lesser-known detail is that the budget reserve is also a codeword that conceals the budgets for the Mossad and General Security Service.
Finance Minister: No automatic rise in women’s retirement age
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday denied that there will be an automatic rise in the retirement age for women, despite a change in the pension bill Wednesday, whereby the age at which women may begin receiving a state pension was set at 64, up from 60. Netanyahu told Army Radio that the retirement age for women would be discussed by a public committee.
Foreign worker numbers down 37% in two years
Globes 1/8/2004
The number of legal foreign construction workers has been cut 70% to only 13,300. — The number of legal foreign workers in Israel fell from 89,300 in January 2003 to 64,400 in November 2003, a 28% decrease. The number of legal foreign workers has dropped by 37%, amounting to 32,000 workers, in less than two years, according to Central Bureau of Statistics figures compiled from employersâ reports to the National Insurance Institute.
Average wage drops by NIS 253
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The average post-tax monthly salary in October 2003 fell by NIS 253 on the previous month’s figure, to NIS 6,822….Figures published yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that there were 2.3 million salaried workers in Israel in October, almost exactly the same figure as in the previous three months.
IMI, Rafael drop out of US civilian aircraft protection tender
Globes 1/8/2004
Contracts worth $7-10 billion are at stake in the tender. — Rafael (Israel Armament Development Company) will present a prototype of anti ground-to-air missile system for passenger aircraft by the end of the year, even though the US administration has barred Israeli companies from this estimated $7-10 billion market. The US Department of Homeland Security yesterday chose three US companies for the final stage of the tender for systems to protect commercial airliners against missile attacks….Rafael regard the selection as only a temporary setback.
Taro buys $18m New Jersey distribution center
Globes 1/8/2004
In conjunction with buying the 29,000-sq.m. facility, Taro Pharmaceutical Industries expects to receive financial incentives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. — Taro Pharmaceutical Industries (Nasdaq: TARO) announced today that its US affiliate had expanded its distribution capacity with the purchase of a distribution center in South Brunswick, New Jersey, for $18 million.
What Will Ahmad Do? Peaceful Soap Opera Gripped Palestinians
Miftah/Christian Science Monitor 1/8/2004
JERUSALEM – Ahmad is fighting the tidal pull of violence, but the Palestinian high school student is slipping. He skips classes, breaks up with his girlfriend, and nurses the angry belief that the only way to end Israel’s presence in the Palestinian territories is to fight. At the cafe where Ahmad works part-time, the regulars fret about him, especially after he fails his exams. Will Ahmad resist the conflict’s call? Or is there another way? For 13 weeks last summer, thousands of young Palestinians hung on these questions, scrolling through radio static twice a week to find stations playing “Home Is Our Home,” the soap opera about Ahmad and his friends and family.
New reality TV dazzles Arab youth
Al-Jazeera 1/8/2004
A new reality TV programme, “Star Academy,” in which female and male Arab teenagers live together for a talent contest is proving a big hit among the young in the Middle East, despite sharp criticism from conservative circles. The show, a copy of a French programme of the same name and launched last month by the private Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), groups 16 young people selected from around the Arab world.
50,000 disappointed Russian immigrants to Israel return home
Palestinian Information Center 1/8/2004
Occupied Jerusalem – More than 50,000 Russian immigrants to Israel have returned home to Russia, having been disappointed by the quality of life in Israel, the Israeli Hebrew newspaper Yedeot Ahranot reported Thursday. The paper indicated that the collective exodus to motherland Russia was part of a trend stemming from the immigrantsâ inability to integrate into the Israeli society.
Omar El Sherif refuses to sell his lifeâs secrets for millions of dollars
Al-Bawaba 1/8/2004
Internationally well-known Egyptian actor Omar El Sherif has turned down an offer by one of the satellite television channels to hold a personal interview with in him to talk about his lifeâs journey from the beginning up until today….The latest remarks made by El Sherif during an interview to Times magazine has caused for the rise of a storm of anger among Arab Muslims….According to the London based Elaph, the remarks that caused the storm of anger were Omar’s revealing that he has two grandchildren, one Jewish and the other a Muslim….Omar’s comments came with his new movie, which is about love between an old Muslim and a young Jew.
Editor of Haaretz Hanoch Marmari steps down
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Hanoch Marmari has informed publisher Amos Schocken of his decision to resign. The move comes after disagreements that arose between Marmari and Schocken. Marmari is expected to leave the position in the coming months. The resignation of Marmari, who has been editor of the newspaper for the last 13 years, comes in the wake of Schocken’s decision to move the business department of the newspaper to the building that houses the Schocken-owned Web site for economic affairs, TheMarker, which is across the street from the newspaper’s offices on Schocken Street in Tel Aviv.

100,000 Palestinians sign ‘new’ peace plan
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
A Palestinian peace group has collected 100,000 signatures endorsed a plan which would create a democracy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and form an independent Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. The People’s Campaign for Peace and Democracy (HASHD) “Destination Map” has been signed by 150,000 Israelis. [The “Destination Map” is the ‘peace plan’ developed by Sari Nusseibeh and Ami Ayalon. See People’s Campaign for Peace And Democracy – Ed.]
US delegation seeks Israeli homeland security technology
Globes 1/8/2004
Aish HaTorah is sponsoring a visit to Israel by a delegation of US businesspeople, administration officials, and Congressional leaders. — Next week, Israeli companies will have an excellent opportunity to encounter big bucks in homeland security. Aish HaTorah is sponsoring a visit to Israel by a delegation of 50 US businesspeople, administration officials, and Congressional leaders. Aish HaTorah is a voluntary organization of American Jews for promoting religious education that also promotes business ties between Israeli companies and US government concerns.
EU anti-Semitism conference back on
Jerusalem Post 1/8/2004
The on-again, off again European Union seminar on anti-Semitism is on again, after European Commission President Romano Prodi received assurances from Diaspora Jewish leaders that they don’t deem the commission anti-Semitic. At a European Commission meeting Wednesday in Brussels, Prodi repeated that he was “surprised and shocked” by a letter to Monday’s Financial Times signed by World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman and the President of the European Jewish Congress, Cobi Benatoff.
Jordan hails air marshals
Al-Jazeera 1/8/2004
Amid global fretting over whether armed air marshals should be placed on commercial aircraft, the top executive at an airline which has done so for decades – Royal Jordanian (RJ) – has come out with high praise for the practice. “We have had armed agents aboard our aircraft since 1970 and the experience has been extremely positive, despite the budget constraints it places on us,” its president and chief executive officer, Samir Majali, told AFP.

Jordan says to train Iraqi diplomats
Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
AMMAN – Jordan said on Thursday it would start training dozens of junior Iraqi diplomats as soon as the United States prepares to hand over power in Baghdad. U.S. ally Jordan is already training hundreds of Iraqi army officers and police recruits as the U.S. occupation forces try to build up neighboring Iraq’s institutions ahead of transferring power before an end of June deadline.
Mubarak, De Villepin discuss the Iraqi, Palestinian files
Arabic News 1/8/2004
Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak will discuss today with the French Foreign minister Dominique de Villepin latest developments in the Iraqi and Palestinian files, and the Egyptian efforts in this regard. De Villepin arrived yesterday in Sharm Esh Sheikh, Egypt, which overlooks the Red Sea, accompanying families of the French victims who were killed in the plane crash off the coast of the city, in order to take part in the eulogy ceremony of the victims. De Villepin will represent his government in two masses that will be held for the victims. The French ambassador to Egypt, Jan Claude Koseryan, said that one of the two masses will be held on land, and the second at sea near the crash.,1280,-3600618,00.html
Saudis Fire Charity Head Over Terrorism
The Guardian 1/8/2004
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – The chief of a Saudi charity that has been accused of terror links has been fired, Saudi officials said. The officials said that Akeel al-Akeel of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was sacked and replaced by his deputy, Dabbas al-Dabbasy. The officials, speaking Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh al-Sheik issued the decision to dismiss al-Akeel, but they did not say when he was sacked or why.
Lebanese chafe under Syria’s quiet occupation
Christian Science Monitor 1/8/2004
BEIRUT, LEBANON ö In a small boarding house in the west end of town, Waleed, a tourist from Damascus, returns in high spirits after a day of sightseeing. He got into two museums free of charge by just flashing his Syrian license. “They always let me in because they like Syrians here,” he says. “Lebanese and Syrians have a special relationship: We’re like brothers.” But privately, many Lebanese speak of Syria’s continued military presence here not as brotherly but as a relationship marked by Syrian dominance and geopolitical strategy. And while Damascus expressed hopes for better ties with Washington upon the arrival of the new US ambassador Monday, the occupation of Lebanon remains a sticking point.
U.S. to Host Conference on USS Liberty
Miftah 1/8/2004
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department will cast a spotlight next week on the 1967 Israeli attack on the U.S. spy ship Liberty where 34 American servicemen were killed. Israeli, Arab, British and Canadian diplomats have been invited to attend a conference Monday and Tuesday at the department’s Henderson auditorium. A. Jay Cristol, a former U.S. bankruptcy court judge who has written about the incident, will be a featured speaker….David Saterfield, a deputy assistant secretary of state, will deliver the keynote address.,12271,1118425,00.html
US ‘endangering world economy’
The Guardian 1/8/2004
The International Monetary Fund last night warned that the gaping US budget deficit, ballooning trade imbalance and falling dollar were posing a serious threat to the health of the global economy. It sounded the alarm in a critical report on US fiscal policy, which rounds on the Bush administration’s crowd-pleasing tax cuts last year. The US is facing a record-breaking budget deficit, expected to exceed $400bn (£222bn) this year and the IMF urged Washington to get its house in order by raising taxes and cutting spending.,2763,1118367,00.html
The hope of Shatila
By Karma Nabulsi, The Guardian 1/8/2004
The Geneva accord won’t bring peace because it signs away the rights of Palestinian refugees — This year is the 250th anniversary of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s legendary Discourse on the Origins and Foundations of Inequality. In its dedicatory epistle to the Republic of Geneva, Rousseau, citizen of that virtuous city, described the democratic vision he claimed was inspired by it: “I should have wished to be born in a country where the sovereign and the people could have had only one and the same interest, so that all the motions of the machine might only tend to the common happiness; since this is impossible unless the people and the sovereign are the same person, it follows that I should have wished to have been born under a democratic government.”
Is that Naomi?
By Yossi Sarid, Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
The Likud Central Committee was considered until this week to be the “seismograph” of the “nationalist camp.” The volume of its applause signals who among the Likud leaders is more popular than whom. But this week, even this reliable seismograph broke down and became a useless instrument. It broke down because it registered a peak response to the appearance of MK Naomi Blumenthal, who is almost certainly not about to inherit the position of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Blumenthal is a warm and pleasant woman, but I don’
t know the secret of her popularity. I think I do know the secret of the thunderous applause that shook the foundations of the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv on Monday.
Commissioner-Generalâs address to the Second International Academic Conference
By Peter Hansen, Miftah 1/8/2004
Ladies and Gentlemen — It gives me great pleasure to address such a distinguished gathering at this conference. One of the remarkable characteristics of the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the past decade is the grass-roots mobilization of the common people, academia, non-governmental organizations and institutions of civil society focused on conflict resolution, reconciliation and reaching out to the other. Though this phenomenon has been eclipsed by the official representatives of the parties to the conflict and their versions of political developments, this Îgrass-rootsâ track has complemented, and at times, competed with the official one. While they are traditionally referred to as “track two” initiatives, in the Israeli-Palestinian context they merit far greater attention and recognition especially because “track one”
could not sufficiently underscore and realize the aspirations of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians. Your presence here today further contributes to the momentum for peace in the Middle East.
The IDF prefers the settlers
By Aviad Kleinberg, Ha’aretz 1/8/2004
Is it permissible to open fire only on a gathering of Palestinians, or also on a mixed gathering of Palestinians and Jews? And what about a gathering of Jews? And leftists, do they count as Jews because of their origin or as Palestinians because of their opinions? — Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon has accepted the conclusions of the Israel Defense Forces in-house examination of the incident of the shooting of an Israeli demonstrator at Maskha last month. Ya’
alon has refrained from taking steps against the officers and soldiers who were involved in this incident. The rules of engagement in the sector will be reexamined. It is not true, then, that there is no learning of lessons in the IDF. If in the past the blame would roll its way down to the sentry, now it is dispersed entirely in the pure, clear air of the IDF. No one is to blame. Not the shooter, not the company commander who was in charge, not the brigade commander who approved, not the commander of the sector; the soldiers who prevented the swift evacuation of the wounded man are not guilty, nor are the settlers who danced, nor, of course, is the sentry. We have learned the lesson.
‘The Family Never Lived Here’
By George Bisharat, Palestine Chronicle/San Francisco Chronicle 1/8/2004
Last May 14, the 55th anniversary of the Palestinian “Nakba” (”Catastrophe”), when one people gained a homeland and another lost theirs, I was thinking of a home in Jerusalem.
It was the residence occupied by Golda Meir, author of the famous remark that “the Palestinian people do not exist” when she was Israel’s foreign minister. It was also the family home built in 1926 by my grandfather, Hanna Ibrahim Bisharat, “Papa” to all of us.
A Very Special Relationship
By Amos Elon, Miftah 1/8/2004
The alliance between the US and Israel, which has been tighter than ever under the Bush administration, is often thought to have started under President Johnson following the 1967 war. Johnson was pleased with Israel’s success in defeating two Soviet clients, Syria and Egypt, in only six days and he proceeded to grant Israel unprecedented political, economic, and military support. The closing of the Suez Canal, which forced Soviet supplies to North Vietnam to take the long route around Africa, was another bonus in Johnson’
s eyes.
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 01-07 January 2004
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 1/8/2004
10 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 4 children, killed by Israeli forces / 2 of the victims were killed in an extra-judicial assassination / 1 of the victims was run over by an Israeli settler vehicle / Israeli forces conducted a series of incursions into Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip / Houses were raided and a number of Palestinians were arrested / 28 houses in Rafah, Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah were destroyed / More than 150 donums[1] of agricultural land were razed in the Gaza Strip / 120 donums of agricultural land were confiscated in Deir al-Balah for Israeli settlement activities / Construction of the ãseparation wallä in the West Bank continued / Indiscriminate shelling of Palestinian residential areas continued and a number of Palestinian civilians were injured / Israeli occupying forces have continued to impose a total siege on the OPTs
Netanyahu supports resuming peace talks with Syria
Middle East Online 1/8/2004
JERUSALEM – Hardline Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged his government Thursday to resume peace negotiations with Syria, arguing that the Jewish state was in a strong position to obtain concessions. “Bearing in mind Syria’s very precarious position, it’s in our interest to exploit recent overtures for contacts” with Syria, the influential former premier told public radio. He explained that US pressure on Damascus in the aftermath of the war in Iraq provided an unprecedented opportunity to reach an agreement “without withdrawing from the Golan” Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed 14 years later.

January 7 2004
Syrian VP: Israel tries to undermine Iraq’s national unity
Al-Bawaba 1/7/2004
“[T]he most dangerous thing for Iraq is the goal of some foreign powers, particularly Israel, to undermine the national unity which constitutes the passage for the realization of Iraqi aspirations.”— Syrian Vice-President Abdul Halim Khaddam on Wednesday met a delegation of the Iraqi al-Jabbour tribe. Khaddam reviewed with the delegation the latest developments in Iraq, SANA reported. The Vice-President told reporters after the meeting that “Iraqi brothers talk with one logic and direction·this is an indicator to the depth of their national feelings.”
Assad’s Turkey visit yields benefits
Middle East Online 1/7/2004
ANKARA – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s historic visit to Turkey has crowned a spectacular rapprochement between the two former foes and might lead to important international gains for the two neighbours in a troubled region, observers said on Wednesday. There was obvious pleasure on both sides of the Turkish-Syrian border over the outcome of the talks between Assad, the first Syrian president to come to Turkey, and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
Palestinian arrested and executed by Israeli troops
Palestine Monitor 1/7/2004
One of the two Palestinians killed by Israeli troops during another invasion of Nablus early this morning was arrested and summarily executed, according to a witness, suggesting yet another war crime by Israeli occupying forces….Al Khasass is the man believed to have been executed, while Atari was shot trying to escape capture. 37 year-old Qadri Alassi, who lives near the garden in which the two menâs bodies were found, claims to have heard an exchange of fire, during which it is believed Atari was killed. He then heard Israeli soldiers interrogating Al Khasass, who was heard shouting, ãI donât know! I donât know!ä before a heavy burst of shooting from his Israeli captors.
Israel Kills Three Palestinians In West Bank
Islam Online 1/7/2004
NABLUS, West Bank, January 7 ( & News Agencies) – Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinians in the West Bank late Tuesday, January 6, as a new report revealed that none of the Israeli soldiers indicted for killing innocent Palestinians has been jailed since the beginning of Intifada. In Tulkarem, some ten Israeli jeeps thrust into the refugee camp drawing clashes with resistance fighters, Palestinian security officials told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Zionist forces withdraw from Shoka village leaving behind vast destruction
Palestinian Information Center 1/7/2004
Rafah – Zionist terrorist forces yesterday withdrew from the village of Shoka to the east of Rafah city in the southern tip of the Gaza Strip after two days of wreaking havoc in the peaceful town. The occupation troops demolished four houses and partially destroyed two others while inflicting damage on three other houses rendering 30 individuals homeless.
IOF Kills Three Palestinians, Kidnaps Three Children and Arrests Scores in oPt
International Press Center 1/7/2004
NABLUS, Palestine, January 7, 2004 (IPC + WAFA) – – After giving the Palestinian people a false feeling of redeployment, the Israeli occupying forces re-invaded the city of Nablus again and killed two citizens there, and a third in Tulkarem, a thing that came coincident with a large scale arrest campaign all over the Palestinian territories and kidnapping of three children by the occupying forces north of Gaza….The witnesses added that both citizens were executed inside a house in Rafidia neighborhood in the city, after a large force of Israeli soldiers stormed the house, and that the citizens were unarmed….As well, the Israeli soldiers launched a massive arrest campaign around the city of Nablus, Balata and Al Ein refugee camps, according to WAFA news agency.
Three Palestinians killed in West Bank
Middle East Online 1/7/2004
NABLUS, West Bank – Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians overnight in the West Bank including a member of the radical Islamic movement Hamas, Palestinian security officials said Wednesday. Hisham Khrewesh, 20, was killed during a shootout in the Tulkarem refugee camp between Israeli troops and armed militants that broke out when around 10 Israeli jeeps moved into the area, they said.
Swedish activist released, Budrus village declared ‘closed military zone
International Solidarity Movement 1/7/2004
1. Frederick Batzler Released: Frederick Batzler, a Swedish activist volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement, was released today after seven days incarceration. / Budrus Update – Village Now Declared Closed Military Zone: The Israeli army has declared the entire village of Budrus (West Ramallah) to be a closed military zone.

West Bank villagers believe they can win battle against the “wall”
ReliefWeb 1/7/2004
BUDRUS, West Bank Jan 7 (AFP) – Armed with little more than loudhailers, residents of this West Bank village are braving curfews, rubber bullets and teargas on a daily basis in a battle to save their farmland from being swallowed up by Israel’s separation barrier. Mohammad Mussa and his neighbour Shukri Awad have been spearheading the protests since New Year’s Eve at the site on the edge of their village where bulldozers have begun levelling the ground ahead of construction work on a new segment of the barrier.,2763,1117573,00.html
It’s because they fear us, say teenage refuseniks jailed by Israeli army
The Guardian 1/7/2004
Haggai Matar never expected that his sentence would be so harsh. But as the teenage refusenik reports to a military prison today, he says he will draw comfort from the judges’ description of him as a threat to the survival of Israel. Mr Matar is one of five young men starting one-year sentences at No 6 military prison near Haifa. They all refused to serve because they object to the occupation.

Ya’alon: we may have to attack Syria again
Jerusalem Post 1/7/2004
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon warned that recent Syrian overtures towards Israel, Turkey and the US ö made under duress ö mean nothing, and that the IDF may have to strike at Syria again if it does not curtail assistance, finding and refuge to terrorist organizations.
Libyan-Israeli contacts to forge ties
Middle East Online 1/7/2004
Israel surveys safer neighbourhood as diplomatic ties open with Libya whose deputy FM denies reports. — Israel is reaping the benefits of the diplomatic fall-out of the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Baghdad, with Libya the latest Arab country apparently keen to open a new chapter in relations. Diplomatic sources said Wednesday that talks took place last month in Paris between Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom’s chief political advisor and a senior Libyan foreign ministry official with a view to forging diplomatic ties.
Libya denies reports about secret talks with Israel
Al-Bawaba 1/7/2004
A senior Libyan official denied reports out of Israel that high-level, secret talks had recently been held over the prospect of forging diplomatic ties. “Libyan authorities have looked into these reports and found nothing to them,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hassuna Shawsh told the state news agency JANA. Shawsh added “whoever is circulating these reports should provide proof by stating the date and place of these meetings, as well as the people involved.
In possible breakthrough, Israelis and Libyans reportedly hold secret meetings
San Francisco Chronicle 1/7/2004
In a sign of a possible thaw between longtime Mideast enemies, Israeli and Libyan officials reportedly held secret contacts in Europe last month, and an Israeli legislator said he met several months ago with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son. The reports come as Gadhafi tries to remake his image after years as an international pariah. Both countries played down the reports.
Report: Top Hamas leaders hold talks with Jewish-American following Egyptian mediation
Al-Bawaba 1/7/2004
A reliable Egyptian source has disclosed that American Jews have recently held contacts with the Hamas movement’s leadership in the Gaza Strip, the London-based A Sharq al Awsat reported Wednesday. According to the source, “US Professor Steve Cohen had met with Dr. Mahmoud a Zahar and Ismail Haniyyeh – two prominent leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.” Prof. Cohen is a representative of a well-known Jewish institute in the United States.;$sessionid$2LJXDU5ENWKMFQFIQM

Assad given weapons ultimatum
The Telegraph 1/7/2004
America and Britain rebuffed President Bashar Assad of Syria yesterday, telling him bluntly that Damascus must give up its weapons of mass destruction or face ostracism – even if neighbouring Israel keeps its nuclear arms. “Israel is in a unique position as the only state whose very existence is threatened,” said a senior British Government source yesterday. “There is no point in asking for a WMD-free Middle East while there are countries parading missiles with a sign up the side saying Death to Israel.”
Detained, Bludgeoned and Electrocuted into a Coma
Information Clearing House 1/7/2004
7 January 2003: (ICH) Sadiq Zoman Abrahim, 55 years old, was detained this past August in Kirkuk by US Soldiers during a home raid which produced no weapons. He was taken to the police office in Kirkuk, questioned by the Americans there, then transferred to Kirkuk Airport Detention Center….It is documented by both the hospital and Iraqi Red Crescent in Tikrit (who took the photos of Mr. Abrahim), that the Americans dropped the comatose man off with the aforementioned information….The doctors at the hospital in Tikrit, after performing diagnostic tests, informed the family that Mr. Abrahim had suffered massive head trauma, electrocution, and other beatings on his arms.
Syria’s state banking monopoly comes to end
Middle East Online 1/7/2004
DAMASCUS – Two private banks opened for business this week in Damascus, marking the end of more than 40 years of state monopoly of the Syrian banking sector. The Syria and Overseas Bank (BSOM) was officially inaugurated Wednesday by Syrian Finance Minister Mohammad al-Hussein and bank board chairman Rateb Shallah. The European Bank of the Middle East-Saudi-Fransi opened its doors to clients Sunday, a branch official said.
AL chief: Middle East states have right to take defensive measures against Israeli nuclear arsenal
Al-Bawaba 1/7/2004
Syria possesses no weapons of mass destruction but it and other Middle East states have the right to take defensive measures against Israel’s nuclear arsenal, Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League stated Wednesday. Speaking to the Dubai-based Al Arabiya television, Moussa attacked the US, noting Washington was making a big mistake by accusing Damascus of WMD development without proof.
Arab and Jew: Being young in a troubled land
By Melissa, Electronic Intifada 1/7/2004
Khaled is 19 years old but he comes across as being much older. He is very tall and slim but his face exudes experience and wisdom. Despite his quiet demeanour, he displays confidence and independence that was learned from growing up in a difficult situation. Khaled is great at dealing with people; he can be soft and kind to children but at the same time strong against those trying to take advantage of him. He usually gets what he wants and is respected across the city from people of all walks of life because he respects everyone and knows how to talk to people. I have met few with a better understanding of life than Khaled. He understands and accepts the bad as much as the good in life and really understands how the world works.

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