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

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3 March 2008


Israeli forces kill seven more Palestinians before withdrawing from Jabalia camp; 115 killed since Wednesday
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip on Monday morning after a five-day incursion that left 115 Palestinians dead. Before withdrawing the Israeli military killed seven more Palestinians in Jabalia refugee camp during four separate raids on Monday. The attacks also left dozens dead and massive destruction of Palestinian houses. Ma’an’s reporter said that Israeli warplanes and naval squadrons killed seven activists, six of whom were affiliated to Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades and one affiliated to the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the An-Nasser Salah Addin Brigades. Palestinian medical sources confirmed the deaths of three Hamas fighters in Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip. The sources named two of the victims as 20-year-old Ibrahim Al-Masri, from Ash-Shati refugee camp, and Darweesh Miqdad, from Nusairat refugee camp, whose age was not given.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza kill four fighters, bomb PLC’s office and foundry
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- A series of Israeli air raids on Gaza killed at dawn Monday four Palestinian resistance fighters and destroyed a PLC office in Khan Younis and a foundry in Rafah, both in southern Gaza. Palestinian medical sources announced the death of two Qassam fighters and injury of others in two Israeli air raids on western Gaza and a police station in the Nuseirat refugee camp. Two other Palestinian fighters affiliated with the Brigades of Martyrs were also proclaimed dead in Israeli air strikes that led as well to the injury of many others east of Shujaia. The Israeli warplanes also bombed out the office of the Hamas parliamentary bloc in Khan Younis and an iron foundry in Rafah without any casualties being reported so far. In the context of Israeli air raids on Gaza, Palestinian security sources told the PIC reporter that the Israeli warplanes fired at a late hour Sunday...

Israel ends Gaza carnage - for now
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 3/4/2008
GAZA CITY: Israel vowed on Monday to keep hitting Gaza even as troops pulled out of the Hamas-run territory after clashes that killed at least 120 Palestinians and dealt a major blow to Middle East peace talks. "We are not prepared to show any tolerance, period. And we will respond. Our reaction is not limited to a specific operation or day," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a meeting of his Kadima party in Occupied Jerusalem." The operation will not end before we achieve our goals and our first goal is a significant reduction of Qassam and Grad rocket fire against Israeli civilians," he said, referring to two types of rockets used by Gaza-based militants. In northern Gaza, residents ventured from their homes to pick through the rubble after the deadliest Israeli military blitz on the territory in years." My whole life I have never seen massacres like this," cried Aisha Abid Rabah,...

IOF troops kidnap 80 Palestinians during their Jabalia incursion
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
JABALIA, (PIC)-- The IOF invasion troops have kidnapped 80 Palestinians during their incursion into Jabalia and northern Gaza over the past five days, the prisoners’ studies center said. Director of the center Ra’fat Hamdona said in a statement on Monday that one of the released detainees said that they were "terrorized to death". He added that Israeli intelligence agents tried to recruit them. Hamdona underlined that all those rounded up were unarmed citizens and that they were kidnapped from their homes. He asked the Red Cross and other legal and human rights organizations to follow up the issue of those kidnapped and to demand their release. For his part, Mahmoud Abu Hasira, the spokesman for the oldest serving prisoners, said that the IOF soldiers arrested tens of citizens during their onslaught on northern Gaza.

B’Tselem: half of Gaza dead were unarmed civilians
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – At least half the Palestinians killed in Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip were unarmed civilians, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reported on Monday. According to B’Tselem’s figures, of 106 people killed between 27 February and the afternoon of 3 March, at least 54 did not take part in the fighting. Twenty-five were minors. In addition, at least forty-six minors were wounded. The report contradicts the Israeli chief of staff’s contention that 90% of those killed were armed fighters. The Palestinian Health Ministry put the number of dead at 115 by Monday morning. In response to an announcement that the Israeli military is mulling the legality of shelling civilian areas, B’Tselem admonished the government "that attacks on legitimate military targets are prohibited if they are likely to cause disproportionate harm to civilians, or to breach the duty to take caution not to harm civilians.

Dozens injured as Israeli soldiers fire on demonstrations around Bethlehem and Hebron
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Bethlehem – Hebron – Ma’an – Dozens of Palestinians have been injured in towns across the southern West Bank after Israeli troops cracked down on demonstrations against the Israeli mass killings in Gaza. In Bethlehem, students marched to the Israeli separation wall near Rachael’s Tomb. Young Palestinians pelted Israeli military vehicles with stones and empty bottles. The soldiers fired live ammunition, tear gas and sound grenades. Ten people were injured, witnesses said. Israeli soldiers shot 16-year-old Nabil Nayif Al-’Eisawi in the chest. Sources at Beit Jala government hospital described his injury as "critical." The rest were injured moderately and slightly. Hebron In the Hebron district in the southern West Bank, about 20 Palestinians have been injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire in various place, reporters said on Monday.

Oxfam warns of "dire consequences" of renewed Gaza invasion
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The UK-based aid agency Oxfam International warned on Monday of the "dire humanitarian consequences" of a possible escalation of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip." Oxfam is deeply concerned about the high number of civilians killed in the current Israeli military incursion. A large scale military attack on the densely populated Gaza Strip will worsen already unacceptable levels of civilian casualties," said the agency. Last week, the group said, an Oxfam funded mobile clinic, pharmacy and office of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) were destroyed by an Israeli airstrike." The destruction of this health facility comes at a time when humanitarian needs are rapidly increasing as the Gaza blockade continues and essential services, including water and sanitation, are close to break down," Oxfam said.

PM: Israel reserves right to act freely in Gaza Strip
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will stress to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at their scheduled meeting in Jerusalem tomorrow evening that Israel reserves the right to act freely in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups. Olmert will also tell Rice that Israel is interested in continuing negotiations with moderate elements in the Palestinian Authority. In Olmert’s view, Israeli military activity in Gaza in the past few days has got the message across that Hamas needs to rethink its strategy. "Israel will not consent to the equation that Hamas wants to dictate in the Gaza Strip through the targeting of Ashkelon. We will be the ones to create the equation, not Hamas," he said at yesterday’s weekly cabinet meeting. That was also the main message to emerge from a consultation Olmert held yesterday with the defense and foreign ministers, IDF...

Olmert: Gaza operation not a one-time thing
Amnon Meranda, YNetNews 3/3/2008
Prime minister goes before Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, speaks of Gaza op, home front resilience and peace process - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday, where he briefed the ministers about Operation Warm Winter, taking place in the Gaza Strip." (The operation) was not a one-time thing," said Olmert. "Everything is possible - aerial and ground raids, special operations - everything is up for discussion. What we’ll do, how we do it, when and why - they (Hamas) will feel it"¦ we’ll proceed according to our goals," he added. Olmert also addressed the ongoing Qassam and Grad rocket fire on Sderot, Ashkelon and the western Negev communities. "The situation in Gaza clearly requires a different approach than the one we have been taking in the last few months..."

GMT Olmert warns of more fighting soon
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian 3/3/2008
The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, warned today that more fighting in Gaza was imminent and admitted one of his goals was now to "weaken" the Islamist movement Hamas. Israeli troops and tanks pulled out of Gaza before dawn today after five days of intense combat which left at least 106 Palestinians and three Israelis dead and brought stinging criticism from many in the international community, including the UN. New evidence from Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem, which has researchers on the ground, said at least half the Palestinian dead "did not take part in the hostilities". Despite the heavy loss of life to both militants and civilians, the Hamas movement claimed a "victory". Militants continued firing rockets from Gaza into Israel, many towards the nearby town of Sderot but also some of a longer range towards the much larger city of Ashkelon 11 miles to the north.

Hanna: Israeli crimes against Gaza are abominable, committed in broad light
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Dr. Attalla Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia and a well-known Palestinian patriot, stated that what is happening in Gaza is an abominable crime committed in broad daylight before the eyes and ears of the entire world, pointing out that the tragic scene of murdered children and whining mothers is a cry to the world to break its silence towards these heinous Israeli massacres." It is not enough to denounce what is happening; what is required is an Arab serious move to stop this brutal aggression which led to a big tragedy and disaster in Gaza," Hanna said in a statement received by the PIC. The Archbishop described the Israeli atrocities in Gaza as a "grave violation of all moral and human values, adding that Israel has been accustomed to commit crimes since it occupied the Palestinian land.

UNICEF statement on situation in Gaza
United Nations Children''s Fund, ReliefWeb 3/1/2008
AMMAN, 1 March 2008 - UNICEF is deeply troubled that the current escalation of the conflict in Gaza is hurting a large number of children. Since the beginning of the current round of violence on Wednesday, 17 children from Gaza have been killed and over 200 injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has recently expressed deep concern at the loss of civilian life in Southern Israel and Gaza in the latest escalation of violence and called for maximum restraint. The Convention on the Rights of the Child puts an emphasis on the need to take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict. In addition to being its direct casualties, the terrifying impact of this conflict affects all children. Children constitute more than half the population of Gaza and are bearing the brunt of the crisis.

Al Mezan sends letters to the UN SG, High Commissioner for Human Rights and Diplomatic Missions on the human rights situation in the Gaza Strip
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, ReliefWeb 3/2/2008
Today, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights send letters to the United Nations’ Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Louise Arbour and the diplomatic missions to the Palestinian National Authority. The letters addressed the Israeli gross human rights violations in Gaza. Al Mezan urged them to take urgent action to protect civilians after the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Killed 96; including 25 Children and six women, and injured over 200 in Gaza in four days. It warned from exacerbating civilians’ suffering under continued unlawful collective punishment. In the letters, Al Mezan directed attention to the IOF’s military action in Gaza since Wednesday 27 February 2008, which has left one Palestinian killed and more than two injured every hour – over one fourth of whom were children.

Protests across the West Bank as the Occupation continues assault on Gaza
Stop The Wall 3/2/2008
Over the past days, Palestinians in the West Bank have reacted to the Occupation’s massacre in Gaza with outrage with protests and street clashes between youth and soldiers. On Saturday, around 250 people marched through downtown Ramallah in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Sunday afternoon saw a similar protest, although the number of demonstrators increased to over 500. The protests were co-organized by the national and Islamic forces along with civil society organizations. The marches transcended party lines, with Fateh, Hamas, PFLP and DFLP symbols all present among the Palestinian flags. People expressed their disgust with Occupation killings in Gaza and the failure of the international community to act. At the Sunday demonstration, protestors also openly voiced their anger at the PA, targeting the minister of information who has stated that the launching of Qassem rockets caused the siege of Gaza.

Israeli military murders 2 young Palestinians taking part in non-violent demonstrations in the West Bank
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 3/3/2008
Ramallah, 03/03/2008. Mahmoud Al Masalmah, 14, was shot in the heart Sunday in Beit Awoua village, near Hebron. Muhammad Shreitih, 19, was shot in the head today in Al-Mazra’a Al-Qibliya village, near Ramallah. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative declared: "œthese two young boys were participating in non-violent demonstrations to protest the Israeli killings in Gaza. And Israeli soldiers killed them! This is murder."  Dr. Barghouthi explained that the Israeli military used high velocity bullets against non-violent demonstrators in several occasion yesterday and today, killing two and injuring dozens. The demonstrations were non-violent Palestinian reactions to the extremely violent Israeli military attacks on Gaza which killed more than 110 and injured more than 300.

Settler kills Palestinian teen near Ramallah
Aviram Zino, YNetNews 3/3/2008
Israeli citizen fires at 17-year-old youth near settlement of Talmon as Palestinians riot, hurl stones near community. Settler tells police investigators he fired after dozens of Palestinians approached him; initial IDF probe says action warranted. IDF, Border Guard officers and 11 Palestinians injured in riots in Qalqilya, Nablus - A 30-year-old resident of the settlement of Neriya shot a 17-year-old Palestinian to death Monday near the West Bank settlement of Talmon. According to the settler, he had encountered rioting Palestinians and was afraid they would lynch him. The settler was released from police custody under conditions later in the day. An initial IDF inquiry into the shooting incident revealed that the settler’s actions were warranted. The inquiry is led by Colonel Amir Abulafia, commander of the Binyamin Brigade.

Palestinian student killed as protesters confront Israeli troops near Ramallah
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Bethlehem - Ramallah – Ma’an – A Palestinian student was killed on Monday morning after Israeli forces opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in the West Bank against the Israeli mass killings in the Gaza Strip 19-year-old Muhammad Shreitih was killed at the student rally in the village of Al-Mazra’a Al-Qibliya, near the city of Ramallah. Palestinians across the West Bank took to the streets for a second day on Monday, confronting Israeli troops and expressing solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Relatives of the deceased told Ma’an that students marched to the Israeli settlements near the village. Clashes erupted between the students and Israeli soldiers near the Talmon settlement. Shretih, a student in his third year of secondary school, was shot in the head and died on the way to Khalid Hospital in Ramallah.

IOF troops kill Palestinian teen in Ramallah, amidst large protest demos
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- IOF soldiers on Monday shot dead a Palestinian teenager north of Ramallah during a demonstration protesting the IOF genocide in the Gaza Strip as similar marches swept the West Bank. Local sources said that students of the Mazra Al-Gharbia village organized a protest march that headed towards a nearby settlement but were met with live bullets on the part of IOF soldiers and guards of that settlement. The demonstrators threw stones at the soldiers and the IOF retaliated by firing bullets that hit and killed Mohammed Saleh Shreiteh, 18. All shops in Ramallah city closed down after the incident in mourning the death of Shreiteh and the Gaza martyrs. Similar demonstrations were organized in Al-Khalil city and its refugee camps and villages on Monday and Sunday night during which clashes were reported between the stone throwing Palestinians and the heavily armed IOF troops.

Demonstrations for Gaza continue in Ramallah
Stop The Wall 3/3/2008
This afternoon, more demonstrations occurred in the Ramallah area to protest the Occupation’s ongoing crimes in Gaza. Around 200 young students from al-Bireh secondary school, mostly girls, marched through central Ramallah in solidarity with the people of Gaza. This marks the third consecutive day of Ramallah protests against the siege. Shopkeepers in Ramallah have also attempted to implement a strike, but have been blocked by the PA. Today, three students were arrested by PA police for encouraging storeowners to continue the strike. The police also forced owners to reopen their shops. People have recalled that during the first intifada Occupation soldiers played this role, breaking up general strikes in an attempt weaken Palestinian unity. Outside Ramallah, in al-Mazra’ al-Sharqiya, Mohammed Saleh Shreteh was shot and killed during a demonstration. Mohammed was 18 and in his last year of school.

ISRAEL-OPT: Gaza medical system at breaking point - aid workers
Wissam Nassar/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 3/4/2008
Five days of intense Israeli military activity in Gaza has left at least 115 Palestinians dead and over 300 wounded - JERUSALEM/GAZA, 3 March 2008 (IRIN) - Hospitals in the Gaza Strip were struggling to cope with the influx of wounded after five days of intense Israeli military activity, including a ground incursion and repeated air strikes, which has left at least 115 Palestinians dead and over 300 wounded, according to medical sources in the territory. The Israeli military said the operation was meant to halt rocket attacks on southern Israel, and that about 90 percent of those killed were militants. However, human rights groups and medical officials said at least a third of the dead were women and children. The UN Children"™s Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement: "Children constitute more than half the population of Gaza and are bearing the brunt of the crisis..."

Hamas claims Gaza ’victory’ as troops pull back
Reuters, The Independent 3/3/2008
Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza Strip today after a US appeal to end days of fighting that killed more than 100 Palestinians and rescue peace talks. The Hamas Islamists who control the coastal enclave declared "victory" and vowed to continue firing rockets into Israel, launching one into the main southern city of Ashkelon shortly after the troops withdrew. One person was wounded." The invaders fled and the army of Jews was defeated," said a Hamas chant that rang out from loudspeakers in Gaza City, where several thousand supporters of the group took to the streets in celebration and took festive photographs with gunmen. Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the five-day-long operation had run its course and the "dozens of deaths among the Hamas terrorists" would serve as a deterrent to further rocket fire. A senior Israeli government official said there would be a "two-day interval" for a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

IDF troops leave Gaza
Globes correspondent, Globes Online 3/3/2008
Military sources: This was a localized operation and more will follow. Galei Zahal (IDF Army) radio reports that the "Red Dawn" alert warning of a rocket attack was sounded Sderot a short while ago, following the end of the IDF’s operations in the Gaza strip. Givati infantry troops and tanks, which had been operating in the region over the last few days, returned to Israel this morning, although military sources stressed that this was a localized operation and that further operations would follow in the near future. Five Hamas fighters were killed in nine separate attacks by the Israel Air Force last night. The IDF said the strikes targeted weapons storage dumps, one of which was close to the offices of Prime Minister Isamil Haniyeh, who was not at the site at the time. Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said last night that Hamas bore responsibility for the escalation in the Gaza Strip and it would pay the price.

VIDEO - IDF operation in Gaza ends, soldiers leaving Strip
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 3/3/2008
(Video) First stage of Operation Warm Winter comes to an end, as infantry and armor forces begin to pull out of northern Gaza Strip. ’The troops faced the missions they were tasked with courageously,’ military source tells Ynet. Meanwhile, IAF continues to strike in Gaza; Palestinians report two gunmen killed - VIDEO - Infantry and armor forces began pulling out of the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday night, after operating in the area since the weekend, bringing the first stage of Operation Warm Winter to an end. Video courtesy of infolive. tv The Israel Air Force continued to strike in the Strip overnight, however, with Palestinian sources reporting of two gunmen killed." The soldiers faced the missions they were tasked with courageously," a military source told Ynet shortly after the forces left the Palestinian territory.

’We thought you wanted peace,’ says father of slain Gaza sisters
Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
A day after the Asliyeh sisters, Samah, 13, and Salwa, 18, were killed in an Israel Air Force bombing, their grandfather, Mohammed, was hospitalized Sunday. His blood pressure rose and his sons were afraid he would collapse. The horrifying images of the girls’ charred bodies were broadcast over and over Saturday on Al Jazeera, and Mohammed found himself the unwilling center of Arab and Palestinian media attention. TV cameras were rolling when he and his wife, the girls’ grandmother, reached the smoke-filled room, minutes after the blast, and were pushed back by the men inside to keep them from seeing the terrible sight. A mourners’ tent was set up near the family’s home in the Tel al-Zaatar neighborhood. The guests’ condolences, spoken through a microphone, can be heard over the phone, as well as distant blasts from the ongoing battles between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen.

Palestinian man critically injured by Israeli fire near Qalqilia
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Qalqilia – Ma’an – Israeli forces shot a young Palestinian man in the neck during an incursion near the northern West Bank town of Qalqilia on Sunday evening. Palestinian medical sources said 20-year-old Khadir Masalha was critically injured in the town of Hajja.. Local sources in Hajja said that more than ten Israeli military vehicles invaded the town firing on Palestinian houses before imposing a curfew on both Hajja and neighboring Al-Fundoq. Earlier, Israeli sources said that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near Al-Fundoq, east of Qalqilia. Also in the northern West Bank, the military wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility for opening fire at the Israeli settlement of Al-Qarnain near the Palestinian town of Azzun as well as a military installation in the town

Palestinian killed in IAF strike on rocket squad in northern Gaza
Amos Harel Avi Issacharoff Mijal Grinberg and Yuval Azoulays, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
An Israel Air Force missile struck a group of Palestinian militants firing rockets from the north Gaza town of Beit Hanun late Monday, killing one man, Palestinian officials said. A second strike in the same area caused no casualties, they said. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed both strikes, saying the first hit a rocket squad and the second struck a donkey cart loaded with rockets. Earlier Monday, an Egyptian helicopter on Monday accidentally violated the airspace of the Gaza Strip. IAF warplanes were dispatched toward the invading aircraft, and escorted it back to Egypt when it emerged that the violation was unintentional. An IDF spokesperson said that the IAF pilots contacted and cooperated with their Egyptian counterpart until the helicopter returned to Egypt.

Four Palestinians arrested after attacking police officers in E. Jerusalem
Jonathan Lis and Yuval Azoulays, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Four Palestinians were arrested Monday evening after attacking two Israeli traffic police officers in their police car in East Jerusalem. The two officers managed to get away after being under attack for a full minute. The police officers arrived at the scene earlier to maintain order at a demonstration staged by some 100 Palestinian youths, which had turned violent. The police officers had apparently failed to coordinate their arrival with their superiors, despite the fact that there had been several stone throwing incidents in the area in recent days in which Israeli troops and civilians had been hurt. Since Sunday, many demonstrations have been held in protest of the fighting in Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces has launched a series of strikes against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip since Wednesday, in efforts to...

Three Palestinian children injured by Israeli shelling in northern Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Three Palestinian children have been injured after Israeli artillery fired on the northern Gaza Strip village of Beit Hanoun. Muawiya Hassanain, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry said the Israeli military launched a missile at an open area in Beit Hanoun. The children were evacuated to a hospital. [end]

Assault on Gaza: Day of grief and defiance
Donald Macintyre in Jabalya, northern Gaza, The Independent 3/3/2008
Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, rejected international calls yesterday to end the "excessive" and "disproportionate" military operation in Gaza which has claimed the lives of 101 Palestinians – including many children and other civilians –since WednesdayThe UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called on Israel to halt the air and ground attacks which on Saturday alone claimed the lives of at least 54 Palestinians in the most lethal single day of violence since the beginning of the second intifada more than seven years ago. The Slovenian EU presidency – while condemning the rocket attacks from Gaza which Israel says it is trying to stop – condemned the "recent disproportionate use of force by the Israel Defence Forces against the Palestinian population of Gaza, noted the death of "innocent children" and said that such acts of "collective

VIDEO - Rocket hits Ashkelon house; Qassams land in Sderot
Tani Goldstein, YNetNews 3/3/2008
(Video) Another day of rocket fire begins with Grad, Qassam rockets launched from Gaza. Two rockets strike Ashkelon, one hitting seven-story building, second landing in playground; 28 people evacuated to hospital, most suffering from shock - VIDEO - IDF pulls out from Gaza, but rocket fire continues: Three Grad rockets were fired at Ashkelon on Monday morning, one hitting a seven-story building and the second landing in a playground. Video courtesy of infolive. tv Twenty-eight people were evacuated to the Barzilai Medical Center in the city, most of them suffering from shock. Two people sustained light wounds. The apartment hit by the rocket belongs to a senior officer serving in the Gaza Division, Ynet has learned. The officer, who took part in Operation Warm Winter in Gaza, heard about his house being hit by a Grad rocket, and returned to Ashkelon to observe the damage.

Lebanon war lessons implemented as Ashkelon comes under fire
Ruth Sinai and Yuval Azoulays, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
The missile fire on Ashkelon is giving the army’s Home Front Command an opportunity to implement the lessons of the Second Lebanon War. On Sunday the HFC added five sirens to the alarm system to ensure the Color Red alert, which warns of rocket fire from Gaza, can be heard throughout the city. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai on Sunday ordered the immediate renovation of about 120 public bomb shelters in Ashkelon. O fficials said additional sirens will be installed if necessary. The cost of the added shelters, estimated at about NIS 3 million, will be borne by the Ministry of Defense and work carried out by contractors hired by the ministry is expected to start within a few weeks. Soldiers and community counselors were dispatched to the city Sunday to instruct teachers what to do during missile attacks, as Ashkelon’s schools are not reinforced against missile fire.

Mayor of Sderot slightly injured by Palestinian projectile
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The mayor of Israeli town of Sderot, Eli Moya, was lightly injured when a Palestinian homemade projectile landed in the town on Sunday night. The source said that Moyal, who is a member of the Likud party, was injured as a homemade projectile launched from the Gaza Strip landed near his house. The source affirmed that the Palestinian activists continued to launch their projectiles despite the Israeli incursion in the Gaza Strip. Fifteen other Israelis went into shock as a result of the homemade projectile in Sderot. Several Palestinian factions claimed responsibility for launching homemade projectiles at Sderot on Sunday evening. [end]

DFLP’s military wing: two projectiles fired at Sderot
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the National Resistance Brigades, claimed responsibility on Monday for launching two homemade projectiles at the Israeli town of Sderot, north of Gaza. The Brigades said in a statement that the shelling came in retaliation for ongoing Israeli attacks on civilians in the northern Gaza Strip. National Resistance Brigades Spokesperson Abu Salim said he views the Israeli withdrawal from Jabalia to be a triumph of the Palestinian resistance. He added that Palestinian resistance has to take advantage of this victory and settle internal Palestinian affairs. [end]

Palestinian military groups respond to Israeli mass killings with more attacks
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility on Monday for shooting two Israeli soldiers near Kissufeim. They said in a statement that the operation came as part of a series of responses to the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. Separately, Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility on Monday for launching a homemade projectile at the Israeli town of Sderot in the western Negev [end]

Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades claim clash with Israeli forces in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades claimed responsibility on Monday morning for launching a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at Israeli troops at Al-Kashif Mountain east of Jabalia, in the northern Gaza Strip, before clashing with the Israeli forces. The Brigades vowed to continue resistance against Israel in retaliation for the Israeli massacres of Palestinians. [end]

Israeli forces seize 14 Palestinians in the West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Israeli seized 14 Palestinians after storming several West Bank cities forces on Monday morning. Israeli sources said the Israeli army apprehended 14 Palestinian activists from West Bank cities. [end]

Gazans fearful of further attacks
Al Jazeera 3/3/2008
Gaza’s residents remain wary of further Israeli attacks, with air raids continuing even as Israeli troops withdrew after a campaign that killed 120 Palestinians over six days. The last Israeli tanks pulled out of Gaza on Monday, ahead of a two-day visit by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, who is promoting US-backed peace talks. Rice’s stated mission is to revive peace talks that were re-launched with great fanfare at a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, in November. A senior Israeli official said there would be a "two-day interval" for Rice’s visit, though northern Gaza was hit by two air raids late on Monday. [end]

Barak, legal team to mull artillery use on civilian areas in Gaza
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is considering the use of artillery against populated areas of the Gaza Strip from which Qassam and Katyusha rockets are fired at Israeli communities. Barak will meet with other officials on Monday in order to examine the legal aspects of artillery and air attacks against populated areas of Gaza. Among those participating in the meeting will be Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit, the Defense Ministry’s legal advisor and officials from the Foreign Ministry. "Artillery fire is another tool that will be used by the defense establishment to reduce the rocket fire against Israel," a security source predicted on Sunday. The source described this as "another step before embarking on a major operation" in Gaza.

’Even the youngest kids know things have changed’
Or Kashti, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
Sixth-grade teacher Giselle Ayida drives home to Sderot from Harel Elementary School in Ashkelon with greater than usual speed - and stress - these days. In quieter times, the trip took her about 25 minutes, but nowadays, Ayida says she usually makes it in less than 20. She wants to get back to her two children, who go to Sderot schools, as quickly as possible. Ayida has a lot of experience dealing with Qassam rockets and anxiety. On her way to school yesterday, she was mainly thinking about how to greet her students, what she should say to them after the Grad missile attack on the city last weekend. "It was important to me that I hug them and tell them that they’re not alone," Ayida said at the end of the school day. "I think they were a little more relaxed as a result of my experience in Sderot.

IDF: Keep up the pressure on Hamas
Amos Harel Avi Issacharoff and Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
The IDF senior command yesterday recommended keeping up the intensive military pressure on Hamas. Anticipating the likelihood that such approval will be granted by the country’s political leadership, the army has moved additional reinforcements to the area. A dozen Palestinians died in the Gaza Strip yesterday, some in fighting with the IDF and others as a result of injuries suffered on Saturday. Four IDF soldiers were lightly injured yesterday. Some 40 rockets were fired against Israel, including two Grad-type missiles, which struck the city of Ashkelon. Three Israeli civilians were lightly injured. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said yesterday that the IDF operations in the Gaza Strip in recent days has sent Hamas a clear message that "Israel will not agree to the equation the organization would like to dictate by firing on Ashkelon.

Torture coalition demands investigation into death of PA detainee
Report, United Against Torture Coalition, Electronic Intifada 3/3/2008
Torture coalition demands investigation into death of PA detainee Majd al-Barghouti died on 22 February, while he was being illegally detained by the General Intelligence Service (GIS) of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah. The forensic medical report, ordered by the Palestinian Attorney General, calls the sudden death "natural" and lists the cause of death as heart failure, due to an abnormally enlarged heart. Although the report states that there were no signs of violence on any part of the body, it notes that there were dark colored marks on his arms, right knee and right thigh, "which were not related to the cause of death." There is evidence "including photographs" indicating that prior to his death, Sheikh Majid ’Abdul ’Aziz Mustafa al-Barghouti, 44 years old, was subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Police slam IDF probe into killing of West Bank teen by settler
Yuval Azoulay and Jonathan Liss, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Police on Monday expressed reservations over an Israel Defense Forces preliminary investigation into the killing of a Palestinian teen by a West Bank settler, which determined that he acted appropriately. The Neriah resident told IDF investigators he had opened fire on the Palestinian youth with his personal weapon near the West Bank city of Ramallah, after a group of some 30 protesters surrounded him during his morning walk. He was arrested after the incident and told investigators that he had begun shooting out of fear that the protesters would try to lynch him. According to the preliminary probe, the man encountered the group while walking a side street in the Talmonim settlement. When the group began hurling rocks at him, the settler said, he opened fire into the air to deter them.

DCI condemns killing of 7 children in 3 separate incidents in Gaza
Defence for Children International/Palestine Section, ReliefWeb 2/28/2008
DCI/PS condemns the military attacks launched on Gaza on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 February, which led to the death of seven children and the injury of eight others in three separate incidents. Repeated Israeli shelling operations and air strikes took place in many parts of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and Thursday. According to DCI investigations, at around 18:10 on Wednesday 27 February, Israeli forces launched several surface-to-surface missiles towards a group of children who were playing football in the Atwam area, in the north of the Gaza Strip, after a group of Palestinian resistance fighters launched home-made rockets from an adjacent area. Israel’s strike killed Mohammad Hamada, 13, and Bilal Hijazi, 14. Another five children were injured, one of whom is in critical condition. In another incident on the same day, Mohammad Al Burai, 6 months old, was killed by a piece...

U.S. calls for end to violence; Arab world protests Gaza deaths
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
The United States yesterday called for an end to clashes between Israel and the Palestinians as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed plans to visit the region this week." The violence needs to stop and the talks [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] need to resume," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. A State Department spokesman said Rice’s plans to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during her visit "remain intact," adding: "we’re encouraging Israel to exercise caution to avoid the loss of innocent life." A statement released by the Slovenian presidency of the European Union condemned "the recent disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces against the Palestinian population in Gaza." At the same time the statement condemned the continued firing of rockets into Israeli territory by Gaza militants and called for its immediate end.

Jumblatt condemns Israeli assault on Gaza Strip
Maher Zeineddine, Daily Star 3/4/2008
BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader MP Walid Jumblatt on Monday condemned the "Israeli killing machine" for killing "unarmed Palestinian people" in the Gaza Strip "Such massacres should justly be called a holocaust as described by Palestinian President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]," he told the PSP’s Al-Anbaa magazine. The events in Gaza, Jumblatt continued, were reminiscent of "the holocaust in Qana, the siege of Beirut and the bombing of Sidon in 1982." Jumblatt expressed his rejection of the US support for Israel in its aggression against Palestinians, which he said "undermined all modest attempts toward a settlement that would put an end to the conflict." In response to accusations that he and his March 14 Forces coalition allies were in need of US warships to prop them up, he said the USS Cole deployed off Lebanon’s coast on Thursday had no effect on the regional political balance.

Ami Ayalon to call for cease-fire talks with Hamas
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
Minister Ami Ayalon is planning to propose that Israel initiate indirect negotiations with Hamas, with Egyptian mediation, to bring about a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Ayalon, a minister without portfolio and a leading figure in the Labor Party, will raise the idea during a meeting of the security-political cabinet on Wednesday. Behind closed doors, Ayalon has emphasized that "if we are talking with Hamas about [captive IDF soldier] Gilad Shalit, then why should we not talk about a cease-fire?" Ayalon has expressed this view in talks with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. All three are opposed, at this stage, to any negotiations with Hamas over a cease-fire, insisting that Hamas would only use the hiatus in the fighting to reorganize its forces and acquire more arms, in anticipation of another round of hostilities.

Tiny protesters lament Gaza bloodshed
Tamara Qiblawi Special to The Daily Star, Daily Star 3/4/2008
BEIRUT: Several hundred schoolchildren took part in a Hizbullah-organized demonstration outside UN headquarters in the Lebanese capital on Monday to protest against Israel’s deadly offensive in Gaza. Twenty schools participated in the rally, organizers said. The children presented a letter to a UN representative calling on the world body to take action. The pupils held aloft pictures of Hizbullah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, and of some of the children killed in Gaza during Israeli land and air strikes over the weekend. "Where are children’s rights? " asked one banner carried by the demonstrators, some of whom wore Palestinian-style checkered headscarves." USA and Israel, the same face of terror," read another. The demonstration came after more than 100 people,including dozens of women and children, died in Israeli military raids since last Wednesday.

US and Arab states clash at UN Security Council
Anne Penketh, The Independent 3/3/2008
America and Arab states will lock horns again today in the UN Security Council as Libya seeks an immediate ceasefire and a formal condemnation of the escalation of violence in Gaza. The 15-member council agreed yesterday on the terms of a statement read to the press, after a five-hour emergency session. But the US delegation managed to tone down the language and it failed to match the unusually strong denunciation issued by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who condemned the "disproportionate and excessive use of force" by Israel "that has killed and injured so many civilians, including children". He also condemned Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns as "acts of terrorism" and called for an end to the attacks by both sides. Libya has now circulated a draft resolution which is due to be discussed by the council members today and would constitute their first formal response if adopted.

Israel warns it will be back as Gaza incursion is finally ended
Donald Macintyre in Jabaliya, The Independent 3/3/2008
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, made it clear last night after Israeli ground forces withdrew from Gaza that a 48-hour incursion which claimed more than 100 Palestinian lives was not a "one-time event" and operations against Hamas would continue. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, who has broken off negotiations with Israel in protest at the offensive, yesterday offered to mediate a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. There was no immediate Israeli reaction to the offer. But Mr Olmert, who says he still wants negotiations with Mr Abbas’s authority in Ramallah to continue, told the Knesset’s foreign affairs committee that continued military "weakening" of Hamas would strengthen the negotiating process by bolstering the moderate Palestinian leadership as well as curbing rocket fire. Mr Olmert’s pledge to sustain military pressure on Hamas came as the Israeli human rights

Zahalka: ’Israel killing as many as possible’
SHEERA CLAIRE FRENKEL, Jerusalem Post 3/3/2008
Israel’s leaders are conspiring to hide the truth from its own citizens, MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) charged on Sunday, as Arab lawmakers joined protests against the current IDF operations in the Gaza Strip. Why does Israel lack an effective apparatus to combat anti-Israel rhetoric If the Israeli government wanted to, they could reach a cease-fire agreement with the Palestinians right now. The Israelis are hiding, even from their own people, the options that are on the table, so they can make it seem as through they have no choice but to kill dozens of Palestinians," said Zahalka, who has maintained ties to Palestinian leaders in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "There have been offers of a cease-fire, with several Arab states in the region mediating. Israel could stop the rocket fire right now, as long as it stops its own operations.

White House blames Hamas for sparking violence in south Israel
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
The White House on Monday blamed the Palestinian militant group Hamas for sparking recent fighting between Israel and the Palestinians that has killed dozens and posed an obstacle to peace talks." The number one thing that has to happen is that Hamas has got to stop targeting Israeli citizens with rockets. It must stop," Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, told reporters traveling with the president back to Washington. Johndroe added: "The Palestinians have a choice to make... It’s a choice between terrorism or a choice between a political solution that leads to a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel." The days of fighting has killed dozens and led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to call off peace talks just as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice headed to the region for a week-long trip aimed at boosting the efforts for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

Zahhar: Resistance would retaliate strongly to any aggression
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- MP Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, the prominent Hamas leader, on Monday emphasized that the Palestinian resistance would strongly retaliate to any future IOF incursion into the Gaza Strip. Zahhar, addressing a Hamas-organized march in Gaza city to celebrate failure of IOF incursion, said that the raid failed by all standards. He explained that the incursion failed to achieve its target in halting firing of resistance missiles. He asked the IOF soldiers, who entered Gaza in the incursion that lasted for five days and left 116 Palestinians killed mostly civilians, to speak to the media on what they saw and experienced in face of the Qassam fighters. Zahhar, a father of two martyrs, said that calm would not be given for free, adding that the price for calm is regaining rights, lands and prisoners. He underscored that the captured IOF soldier Gilad Shalit would not be freed unless Israel agreed to all conditions.

Hamas asks international organizations to protect Palestinian civilians
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Monday asked the international and legal organizations concerned with human rights to adopt clear stands against the Zionist brutal massacres in the Gaza Strip. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press statement, "We ask the Red Cross, international organizations and human rights societies to adopt real measures to protect Palestinian civilians against the murder and war crimes committed (by IOF troops) round the clock in Gaza Streets." He expressed utter dismay at those organizations’ acts regarding those massacres, explaining that those organizations worked in "slow motion". He said that such delay in action had led to the death of many citizens whose lives could have been spared if swifter action was taken. Those organizations have to clarify their positions and to expose the Zionist crimes in the Gaza Strip or else they would not be spared the responsibility, Abu Zuhri underlined.

FIO in Europe condemns Israel’s holocaust in Gaza, says carnage must stop
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- The Federation of the Islamic Organizations in Europe has condemned on Monday the Israeli threats of carrying out another holocaust in Gaza Strip, urging the international community to immediately stop the carnage in Gaza. In a statement it issued over the Israeli ugly crimes in Gaza, the FIO called the international community not to remain silent vis-à-vis the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian civilians, stressing that the world should immediately break the unjust siege on Gaza in order to allow medicine and foodstuff pass into it. The PIC obtained a copy of the statement. The FIO also invited the international community and human rights and legal organizations to "criminalize" the Israeli practices against the Palestinian civilians, especially children and women among other civilians. It also described the Israeli military escalation in Gaza as "dangerous...

Bellicose Israeli politicians urge more mass killings of Palestinians
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israel must carpet bomb the Gaza Strip as the Russians did to the Chechen capital, Grozny, Israeli MK Yisrael Katz said on Monday." All the buildings near which projectiles have been launched should be destroyed to the ground since there is no solution for the projectiles’ problem," said Katz, who is a member of the right-wing Likud party. According to Katz, the Israeli air forces should drop leaflets from the air ordering the residents of Gaza Strip to leave their homes, and then the warplanes should destroy every building near where the projectiles are launched. "They could flee to the Sinai," he said, referring to Palestinians who would be displaced by his plan. MK Uri Yehuda Ariel from the rightist Mafdal party, meanwhile, urged the Israeli government and Israeli settlers to react harshly towards demonstrators in the West Bank.

Zahhar: Israel failed to achieve goals in Gaza invasion
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
[Ma’anImages] Gaza – Ma’an - The massive Israeli incursion in the Gaza Strip failed thanks to the Palestinian resistance groups which countered Israeli attacks against children, women and the elderly, senior Hamas leader Mahomoud Zahhar said in a press conference in Gaza City on Monday. Speaking following a Hamas-organized demonstration, he said, "The Israeli operation came to an end before reaching the desired end of stopping homemade projectiles being launched from Gaza at Israeli towns." Hundreds of Hamas members participated in a rally in Gaza City in support of the Palestinian military organizations that confronted the five-day Israeli invasion in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Zahhar also warned Israel of any attempts to assassinate Hamas leaders affirming that the movement will implement its "resistance programs" without alteration.

Obama says United States should not meet with Hamas
Reuters, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday backed the Bush administration’s policy of shunning contact with the Islamic militants of Hamas in its Middle East peace diplomacy. The Illinois senator has said he would break with President George W. Bush’s stance of declining to talk to some other international adversaries but that stance does not apply to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is committed to the destruction of Israel. Obama has said in the past he would be willing to meet with leaders with whom the Bush administration strongly disagrees, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuban leader Raul Castro. Obama, hoping to win his party’s nomination to face likely Republican nominee Sen. John McCain in the November presidential election, said his willingness to meet with foes "does not include Hamas.

Barak admits goal of military operation is to topple Hamas
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli war minister Ehud Barak acknowledged for the first time that the goal of military operations against Gaza is to overthrow the rule of Hamas and bring back PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and his security apparatuses to control Gaza. In an interview with the Hebrew radio, Barak threatened to target political leaders of Hamas especially premier Ismail Haneyya and revealed that Israel conducted international diplomatic contacts with many leaders of the world to justify its crimes against the Palestinian people. In another context, Israeli media outlets said on Sunday evening that Eli Moyal, the mayor of Israeli Sderot settlement was injured and taken to hospital during a rocket attack carried out by the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in retaliation to the Israeli massacres committed against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

On the path to bitter disappointment
Uzi Benziman, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
It was hard not to be confused yesterday by the reports and statements concerning the aims of the Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained on Israel Radio that the operation is meant "at the end of the day" to stop the Qassam rocket attacks, but in and of itself it will not end the shooting. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was even more unequivocal: During the cabinet meeting he stated, "Israel has no intention to end the fighting against terror," and that "over the coming days we will hold security discussions... in order to weigh the ways in which our security forces will operate and how to continue with this." Haaretz’s main headline yesterday declared that the purpose of the operation is to bring an end to the rocket attacks on Ashkelon, while Ma’ariv’s read: "In the crosshairs - the Hamas heads."

Hamas: Zionist defeat in Jabalia heralds failure of ground offensive
Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Monday asserted that the retreat of the IOF troops from Jabalia earlier today heralded the failure of any possible IOF ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told a press conference in Gaza city that the Zionist defeat east of Jabalia in face of the resistance fighters indicated that any future IOF offensive would end in absolute failure. He said that the IOF command was trying to make up for its defeat through escalating air strikes that result in "bloody massacres on civilians including women and children". "The massacres will boost our determination to confront aggression and to protect the Palestinian people," he underlined, adding that Israeli premier Ehud Olmert should study the lesson of his soldiers’ defeat before the Qassam Brigades.

PM: Peace talks to continue, but so will strikes against Hamas
Barak Ravid, and news agencies, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that despite the Palestinian Authority’s declared suspension of peace talks over the weekend, negotiations with the Palestinian Authority would continue. At the same time, Olmert said, Israeli forces would continue to strike hard at Hamas. Speaking after the IDF’s early morning withdrawal from the Gaza Strip on Monday, Olmert said that Israel would take further military action against militants firing rockets. "We are in the midst of a combat action. What happened in recent days was not a one-time event," an Israeli official quoted Olmert as telling the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "The objective is reducing the rocket fire and weakening Hamas," Olmert said. The Israeli pullout ended a five-day-long offensive in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed.

Abbas: I’m ready to negotiate a truce between Israel, Hamas
DPA, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he was ready to mediate a truce between Israel and the Islamic Hamas movement, after five days of fierce fighting in the Gaza Strip and intensified rocket attacks from the Strip into southern Israel." President Abbas renewed his readiness to work for a full and mutual calm with Israel to spare our people and to avoid suffering," a statement carried on the official Palestinian Wafa news agency said. Abbas called on Israel "to accept this initiative." The Palestinian leader froze peace talks with Israel in the wake of the latest round of violence, which left more than 100 Palestinians and two Israel Defense Forces soldiers dead , and began last Wednesday, when Israel killed five Hamas militants it said were planning an attack.

Gaza fighting sidelines Israeli-Palestinian peace bid
Ilene R. Prusher, The Christian Science Monitor, ReliefWeb 3/3/2008
JERUSALEM - With violence surging and diplomacy retreating, the Israelis and Palestinians were lurching dangerously close Sunday to returning to an active state of war. The weekend’s rising toll of deaths and injuries comes on the eve of a visit to the region by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is expected to arrive here Tuesday as part of the Bush administration’s efforts to push into fast forward a peace process that has been moving, at best, in slow motion. The escalation is coming from both sides in the conflict, though each blames the other for ratcheting up the violence. Israel says that Hamas has gone too far by shooting longer-range Katyusha missiles at the coastal city of Ashkelon and peppering other southern towns with Qassam rockets.

Abbas ready for ceasefire with Israel
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is prepared to call a comprehensive ceasefire with Israel "in order to avoid more suffering and more victims amongst the Palestinian people." In a statement published on the website of the official Palestinian news agency Abbas also said he would also work to reopen the Gaza Strip’s border crossings and attempt "to avoid massacres in the West Bank as well as keeping the area stable and secure." Abbas called on the Israeli government to consider on his initiative. He also applauded the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and welcomed support from Arab and other countries. [end]

AUDIO - ’I think he will go back to negotiations’
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian 3/3/2008
Middle east correspondent Rory McCarthy looks at the future of the peace process after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, freezes all contact with Israel. [end]

Egypt admits wounded Gazans for medical care
Yusri Mohamed, ReliefWeb 3/2/2008
ISMAILIA, Egypt, March 2 (Reuters) - Egypt unsealed a sensitive border crossing on Sunday to let Palestinians wounded in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip cross into Egypt for medical care. Israeli forces killed 61 people, nearly half of them civilians, in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Saturday, the bloodiest single day for Palestinians since the 1980s. Two Israeli soldiers were also killed fighting Gaza militants. Egyptian security sources at the Rafah border crossing --largely closed since the Hamas Islamist group seized control of Gaza last June -- said at least 40 wounded Palestinian civilians crossed into Egypt on Sunday. Ambulances waited at the border to take more wounded. "It is inconceivable for Egypt not to extend a hand of aid and assistance to its Palestinian brothers, especially the wounded among them, who have been falling...

Secretary-General describes ’deeply alarming escalation of violence’ in Gaza, southern Israel, terrible civilian death toll, as he briefs Security Council
United Nations Security Council, ReliefWeb 3/1/2008
Palestine Observer Pleads with Council to Uphold International Law; Israel Reiterates Determination to Protect Citizens from Hamas’ Terror Attacks - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an emergency meeting of the Security Council this evening that, since last Wednesday, there had been a ’deeply alarming escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel, and a terrible civilian death toll’, and the scenes from Gaza today had been ’particularly disturbing’. He said that, according to press reports, some 117 rockets, including 26 today, had been fired from Gaza at southern Israel, killing one Israeli civilian in Sederot and injuring five others in Ashkelon, including women and children. Reports and Israeli Government sources had said that rockets fired at Ashkelon were not home-made Qassams, but of advanced Katyusha-like design, allegedly smuggled into Gaza when the border with Egypt had been breached.

UNRWA opens new school at Nahr al-Bared
Michael Bluhm, Daily Star 3/4/2008
BEIRUT: The Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli marked the opening on Monday of a prefabricated school for students from families who have returned to the battle-scarred camp, almost exactly six months after the end of the conflict that destroyed it. About 1,700 students from grades one through 12 will attend the three-floor school, located in the part of Nahr al-Bared less damaged during the three-month conflict and known as the "new camp," said Hoda Samra Souaiby, public information officer for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that works with Palestinian refugees. The identical classrooms feature whiteboards and ceiling fans, and students observed the launch ceremony morning through barred windows. UNRWA also purchased and assembled two similar prefabricated schools in the nearby Beddawi refugee camp for another 6,000 students evacuated from Nahr al-Bared, Souaiby added.

Arab ex-MK Azmi Bishara meets Syrian President in Damascus
Jack Khoury, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Former Arab MK Azmi Bishara on Monday met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. The Syrian news agency SANA reported that the two discussed "the catastrophic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the ongoing Israeli carnage of the Palestinian people." Officials in Bishara’s Balad party said that he will appear Monday night as a panelist on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV channel, and offer his analysis of recent events on the Palestinian and Lebanese fronts. Bishara is considered a favorite of Arab talk shows, and has appeared many times on the channel. Bishara, a fiery nationalist Arab lawmaker, left Israel about a year ago after Israeli media outlets speculated that a police investigation could lead to charges against him that include providing enemy with information at a time of war, visiting an enemy country and bringing money illegally into the state of Israel.

Statement by Bureau of Palestinian Rights Committee on situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory
United Nations General Assembly, ReliefWeb 2/29/2008
The following statement was issued today by the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is seriously disturbed by the escalation of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the Gaza Strip. During the past two days alone, 31 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, including eight children and one infant. Also, an Israeli in Sderot was killed by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, while overshadowed by the crisis in Gaza, Israeli military incursions into Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank continue unabated resulting in casualties and arrests. The military attacks on populated areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by the Israeli...

UNRWA & EC improve student employability at Damascus training centre
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in, ReliefWeb 2/29/2008
Rasha Dessouki, dressed in a white lab coat, is transferring water from a pipette to a beaker for a class at the Damascus Training Centre. "My mother has been encouraging me to study pharmacy since I was a little girl," states this twenty-year-old. "I’ve always wanted to study how to give medicine to people, but I knew that the program at the Damascus Training Centre was very competitive, so I didn’t think I could get in." Thanks to the European Commission funded Vocational Education and Employment project, which doubled the number of spots available for aspiring pharmacists at the Centre, Rasha obtained a place on the two-year programme. After she graduates she hopes to open her own pharmacy near her home in Sbeineh camp. A visit to a classroom down the hallway finds a workshop space where Ghassan Hindi is cutting out a pattern for a pair of trousers on white tissue paper.

Vilnai: Renovate Ashkelon shelters
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai yesterday ordered the immediate renovation of about 120 public bomb shelters in Ashkelon. The directive is a response to the recent escalation of fighting in Gaza and the firing of Katyusha and Grad rockets in the South. The cost of the renovations, estimated at about NIS 3 million, will be borne by the Ministry of Defense. The work will be carried out by contractors hired by the ministry and is expected to start within a few weeks. All of the public shelters in Ashkelon were opened yesterday for people who find themselves outside and without other options during a rocket attack. The Home Front Command, in cooperation with the Association of the Deaf in Israel, yesterday began distributing about 160 paging devices to hearing-impaired Asheklon residents that will notify them of a Color Red alert. (Yuval Azoulay)

Israel buys Logol pills against radiation
Shahar Ilan, Ha’aretz 3/4/2008
Local defense establishment officials reported yesterday that Israel has recently purchased a new supply of Logol pills against nuclear radiation. The initiative to purchase more pills was reported by officials during a visit by a delegation of MKs to the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, near Dimona. However, the defense establishment is still mulling whether to redistribute the pills to communities near the nuclear reactor at present. The pills were first experimentally distributed in 2004 to residents of Arad and Yavneh, but were met with strong opposition from the mayors of the towns. Dr. Dan Berkovits, from the research center, told the guests yesterday that an electrical particle accelerator will be activated March 10, and is supposed to take over all the functions of the current Soreq reactor, including nuclear medicine and aviation.

VIDEO - Hamas vows to compensate Gazans hurt in IDF operation
Ali Waked, YNetNews 3/3/2008
(Video) IDF’s Operation Warm Winter leaves 110 Palestinians dead, great damage, but organization insists it defeated Israeli army. Thousands attend victory marches in Gaza; Hamas’ al-Zahar promises to rebuild houses damaged in airstrikes, says kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit won’t be released before Israel frees Palestinian prisoners - VIDEO - Despite the 110 Palestinians killed in the IDF’s Operation Warm Winter and the great damage - Hamas insists it won the battle: Thousands of Palestinians marched in Gaza on Monday afternoon in rallies organized by Hamas, carrying the movement’s green flags. Hamas rally in Gaza (Video courtesy of infolive. tv During the rallies, Hamas leaders praised the "great victory" against the IDF in the Israeli army’s first operation in the town of Jabalya.

Hamas calls for restoration of Palestinian national unity
Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian de facto government led by Hamas in the Gaza Strip called on Sunday for an immediate un-conditional Palestinian national agreement, the formation of a unity government as well as an emergency session of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) attended by all parties. The spokesperson of the Interior Ministry affiliated to the de facto government, Tahir An-Nunu, said at a press conference in Gaza City that all Palestinian detainees held by rival Palestinian factions should be released, and that all Palestinians should be allowed to organize rallies in the West Bank showing solidarity with Gaza Strip. Both Hamas and the Fatah-controlled government in the West Bank have detained members of opposing factions. The Palestinian Authority has also cracked down on Hamas-organized demonstrations.

Shas calls for emergency gov’t in face of escalating Gaza violence
Shahar Ilan Barak Ravid and, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai on Monday called for the formation of an emergency government due to the escalating rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. A senior official in the Military Intelligence said Monday that militants in the Gaza Strip fired 20 Iranian-made Grad-type rockets at southern Israel over the course of the Israel Defense Forces offensive in recent days. Eleven Qassam rockets also struck the western Negev on Monday. Speaking at a Shas Party meeting, Yishai said "this is a battle for existence. The northern front [Iran and Hezbollah] is not calming down. The diplomatic option is not realistic and is not being considered. I will act to bring about the formation of an emergency national government in order to deal with the problems facing all of us, in a practical way.

From suicide bomber to peacenik, Shifa al-Qudsi ’thought only of revenge’
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Six years ago, Shifa al-Qudsi was plotting to strap on explosives under a maternity dress and blow herself up among Israelis. Now she says she wants to meet them. Just released from prison at age 30, the former hairdresser insists she has no regrets, but says times have changed." I hope to join a peace group," she says." I am ready to talk to Israelis, to get closer." Her transformation mirrors broader changes in Palestinian society in the West Bank, where enthusiasm for an armed uprising against Israel has given way to conflict fatigue and even some soul-searching over the use of violence. Al-Qudsi’s story also provides a glimpse of the motives of a suicide bomber and how easy it was at one time for militants to recruit young Palestinians - mostly men but also a few women - for 131 bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis.

New petition against Katsav plea deal filed with High Court
Aviram Zino, YNetNews 3/3/2008
Movement for Quality Government, Israel Women’s Network appeal court against former president’s plea bargain, ask a special 11-judge panel rule on matter. Significance of case warrants new hearing, say appellants -The Movement for Quality Government in Israel, along with the Israel Women’s Network filed a new petition against former President Moshe Katsav’s plea bargain Monday. The petition, filed with the High Court, calls for a new hearing to review the validity of the plea, requesting an 11-judge panel decide on the matter. A three-judge High Court panel decided to grant Katsav’s plea bargain just last week. The plea - under which the former president agreed to plead guilty to the relatively minor offenses of incident acts, using coercive measures and badgering witnesses - was endorsed by a narrow majority of three versus two.

Proclaiming shame without pity
Ze''ev Segal, Ha’aretz 3/3/2008
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court President Amnon Cohen yesterday appointed a panel of three judges well-versed in criminal law to hear the indictment against former president Moshe Katsav and the plea bargain that is an inseparable part of it. At the hearing, which is scheduled for March 26, Katsav is slated to admit to committing a nonconsensual indecent act involving the application of pressure, an offense punishable by a maximum of seven years in prison; sexual harassment, punishable by a maximum of two years; and intimidating a witness, punishable by a maximum of three years. According to the plea bargain, the prosecution will request a suspended sentence only rather than a prison term or community service - which was the sentence received by minister Haim Ramon, whose offense pales in comparison to those in the Katsav case.

Nuclear Research Center to update reactor
Lilach Weissman, Globes Online 3/3/2008
Israel is the first country to replace a reactor with a particle accelerator. A particle accelerator is due to replace the reactor at the Soreq Nuclear Research Center. Soreq director Dr. Shaul Horev told members of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee visiting the site yesterday that a laser particle accelerator facility was now under construction. This will be the first electrically driven laser particle accelerator in the world. The Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) believe that when the particle accelerator is completed in eight years, it will be able to replace functions currently undertaken by Soreq’s nuclear reactor, and could enable it to be closed down. The Soreq nuclear reactor is mainly used for medical research and space research. It also tests satellites’ resistance to radiation.

IEC to hire more Arab employees
Lior Baron, Globes Online 3/3/2008
The IEC board also decided to employ Arabs at the company’s telephone call center. Israel Electric Corporation’s (IEC) board of directors has ordered the company’s management to take steps to encourage the employment of Arabs at the company and to promote them. Sources inform ’’Globes’’ that the proportion of Arabs in the hiring process will be equal to the Arab’s proportion of the general population - 20%. The IEC board also decided to employ Arabs at the company’s 103 telephone call center. [end]

IAI in talks on $1.5b deal
Yael Gross Englander and Globes'' correspondent, Globes Online 3/3/2008
The talks with India’s Ministry of Defense include use of Israeli satellites. Sources inform ’’Globes’’ that Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) is in talks on a $1. 5 billion deal with India’s Ministry of Defense to set up a defense system using innovative long-range missiles with a range of more than 100 kilometers. The deal also includes radar systems made by IAI subsidiary Elta Systems Ltd. , unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and possibly IAI-built satellites as well. A few months ago, India’s Supreme Procurement Council approved the deal, and IAI CEO Yitzhak Nissan is now in negotiations over the details. IAI has longstanding collaborations with various Indian companies and agencies. Last month, IAI launched its TechSAR all-weather, high-resolution radar satellite using an Indian launcher in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation.


A Dark Overcast Warm Winter
Dr. Bernard Sabella, MIFTAH 3/3/2008
      The weather here in Jerusalem and Gaza is overcast with many a dark cloud. It mirrors what is felt inside by so many Palestinians whose loved ones have been killed or injured by Israel’s army “Warm Winter” campaign against Gaza. The 110 Palestinians killed so far since Wednesday February 27th include at least ten children, the youngest a few months old, and an equal number of women. “Warm Winter” continues and it has put all of us Palestinians in a state of shock.
     Amidst the rubble of homes, devastated families and destroyed public buildings in Gaza, faith in the peace process has altogether disappeared. What is called the peace process feels so distant from the preoccupations of people in their every day pursuits. Complete control by the Israeli military of the population, the crossing points, the checkpoints, the resources, the siege on Gaza and the separation wall are all reminders that Israel does not have a peace vision but a security vision. To Palestinians what is happening in Gaza nowadays goes to prove that for Israel everything has a security/military response. The same principle applies to the entire Middle East. Political maneuvering for the sake of advancing peace prospects is undertaken by some in the Israeli body politic in order to portray Israel as a peace seeking country. If there is no Israeli military supremacy then there could be no peace. Both politicians and Israeli military believe in the same principle. Israel ’s position and predicament may be reflected accurately by Abraham Lincoln’s quote:“you can fool some of the people all the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.”

More Time to Transform Jerusalem

Hasan Afif El-Hasan, MIFTAH 3/3/2008
      Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated recently that the status of Jerusalem will not be negotiated with the Palestinians at this time. Right wing Israelis are against conceding any part of the Old City or any suburb of Jerusalem municipality to the Palestinians. The ultra-orthodox right wing party in Olmert government threatens to leave the governing coalition if the question of Jerusalem comes up for discussion with the Palestinians and that is why Olmert will not discuss it now. This has been the same rationale that successive Israeli governments have always cited whenever they were pressed to stop settlement expansion. And if Israel says no negotiations on the future of Jerusalem, the Palestinians cannot do anything about it.
     The Palestinians’ concession to keep Jerusalem out of the Oslo interim agreement in 1993 gave Israel the time to alter its status quo prior to any possible permanent status talks. Israel since Oslo has expanded the boundaries of the City, confiscated more Arab lands and constructed new settlements. Schemes have been devised to take over private Arab and Church properties inside and outside the Old City, and large settlements have been built on its outskirts. Some of these are Har Homa (Jabal Ghaneim), Gilo, Piscat Ze’ev, Atarot, Ramot settlement. Jewish settlers evicted Palestinian residents from their quarters in the Old City and took over St. John’s Hospice and other church and Islamic endowment (wakf) properties. The Israeli government dug Hasmonean Tunnel under al-Aqsa Mosque compound endangering the structure of the Islamic shrine.

Israel keeping true to its racist words

Rami Almeghari, Electronic Intifada 3/2/2008
      Following Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s Friday warning that the Gaza Strip faces "a holocaust" if homemade rocket fire continues, Vilnai’s aides rushed to downplay the remarks, claiming the minister did not mean a holocaust exactly.
     However, the following day, the Israeli army, through ground forces and helicopters in the sky, killed 61 Palestinians in Gaza, at least ten of them children. Since Wednesday, 26 March, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 77 Palestinians in Gaza and injured approximately 130, including children who won’t live to see their first birthday.
     Vilnai’s racist declarations against the Palestinian people are certainly not the first from a high-ranking official in the allegedly democratic state of Israel.
     Last Thursday, 28 February, Israeli cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit said that the solution to the rocket fire would be for Israel to "hit everything that moves with weapons and ammunition." Earlier in the month, during a cabinet session Sheetrit stated that "exactly what I think the [Israeli army] should do [is] decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it."

Disengagement and the Frontiers of Zionism

Darryl Li, International Solidarity Movement 3/2/2008
      In mid-January, when Israel further tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip, it hurriedly assured the world that a "œhumanitarian crisis" would not be allowed to occur. Case in point: Days after the intensified siege prompted Hamas to breach the Gaza-Egypt border and Palestinians to pour into Egypt in search of supplies, Israel announced plans to send in thousands of animal vaccines to prevent possible outbreaks of avian flu and other epidemics due to livestock and birds entering Gaza from Egypt.[1] Medicines for human beings, on the other hand, are among the supplies that are barely trickling in to Gaza now that the border has been resealed
     More than an act of enlightened self-interest — or, more bluntly, a recognition that "œthe virus doesn"™t stop at the checkpoint"[2] — the reported animal vaccine shipment is a clue to how Israel is reconfiguring its control over the Gaza Strip. The story of the recent restrictions, when told at all to the outside world, has been conveyed largely through statistics: 90 percent of private industries in Gaza have shut down, 80 percent of the population receives food aid, all construction sites are idle and unemployment has broken all previous records.[3]...

The time for worldwide boycott is now

Omar Barghouti, Electronic Intifada 3/2/2008
      On Friday, 29 February 2008, Israel’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai threatened Palestinians in Gaza with a "holocaust," telling Israeli Army Radio: "The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, [the Palestinians] will bring upon themselves a bigger holocaust because we will use all our might to defend ourselves."
     This date will go down in history as the beginning of a new phase in the colonial conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, whereby a senior Israeli leader, a "leftist" for that matter, has publicly revealed the genocidal plans Israel is considering to implement against Palestinians under its military occupation, if they do not cease to resist its dictates. It will also mark the first time since World War II that any state has relentlessly -- and on live TV -- terrorized a civilian population with acts of slow, or low-intensity, genocide, with one of its senior government officials overtly inciting to a full-blown "holocaust," while the world stood by, watching in utter apathy, or in glee, as in the case of leading western leaders.

Israeli Army Vets Speak Out

Eyal Press, Middle East Online 3/2/2008
      Breaking the Silence’, a group of Israeli combat veterans who bear witness to the moral cost of the Palestinian occupation, have a touring photo and video exhibit in the United States. The exhibit captures the mundane inhumanity of a decades-long occupation - especially its subtle and horrifying effect on the occupier.
     Critics of the State of Israel are often faulted for failing to appreciate the dangers that country faces and for ignoring the burdens that those who risk their lives to defend it bear. But even Israel’s staunchest backers would likely hesitate before leveling these charges at the men and women whose photographs and video testimonials were recently on display at The Rotunda, an arts center on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The exhibit, which on March 1 will open at the Harvard University Hillel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, catalogs the daily routine of life in the West Bank city of Hebron, as seen through the eyes of Israeli soldiers who’ve been dispatched to serve in an occupation now in its forty-first year.

An Interview with Ali Jarbawi - Israel will not Succeed in Imposing a Settlement

Bitterlemons, MIFTAH 3/3/2008
      bitterlemons: The Palestinian Authority has trumpeted its achievement in imposing law and order in Nablus and convincing people to lay down their arms. Do you think this is a significant achievement?
     Jarbawi: It is a significant domestic achievement for the Palestinians and for their own security and stability. The Israelis have tried hard to turn the West Bank into cantons, divided from each other. The plan was to sever each canton and let it control itself. What was happening in Nablus represented a success for this Israeli plan and its objective to erode any central Palestinian authority.
     Having the Palestinian police deployed in Nablus and calm on the streets, shows that the central authority in the West Bank is in control. It also shows that the West Bank is an integral territory and the Israeli policy of trying to carve it into cantons, in spite of the roadblocks and obstacles, is not working. If the PA is allowed, it can function and function successfully.

For God’s sake, Dissolve the Palestinian Authority now

Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem, Palestinian Information Center 3/3/2008
      As Zionist Jewish supremacists continue to emulate their Nazi mentors, by carrying out pornographic mass killings of stateless and helpless Palestinians, the so-called Palestinian "national" Authority (PA) is still basking in its impotence and morbid illusions about "peace talks" with Israel.
     This is   despite the present Israeli blitzkrieg in the Gaza Strip and the equally murderous  policy of narrowing Palestinian horizons in the West Bank where we are told ad nauseam  by a scandalously mendacious western media that "Abbas is in control".
     On Saturday, 1 March, the PA leader himself  rightly called  Israel’s hideous  crimes in Gaza  " virtual holocaust" and "œNazi-like atrocities."  He has also ordered the suspension of  "peace talks" with Israel until the "aggression is over".
     Well, does Abbas really  think that after the aggression is over, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak and the rest of Judeo-Nazi elite would  suddenly and  miraculously be  transformed into doves of peace?

Colonial realities

Nimer Sultany, Electronic Intifada 3/3/2008
      Once again Israel defies an impotent international community which offers nothing but timid calls for ceasefire on "both sides." And once again Palestinian suffering and death tolls continue to break records in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.
     Perhaps it is easy to dismiss this suffering by blaming the victims and resorting to ready cliches. Indeed, Israeli propagandists go out of their way to repeat the sound bite: we withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and since then the Palestinians have been firing rockets on our southern towns. This sound bite might fly in the western media; after all it resonates with a simplistic world view that ignites stereotypes which have been in the making for centuries, producing demonic and degrading representations of Muslims and Arabs. It becomes easy to describe the Palestinians in this context as the carriers of incomprehensible and irrational rage. This kind of representation has intensified since September 2001 with the "rediscovery" of Israel, and its supreme court, as a western lighthouse amid the darkness of the Middle East.

Israeli Missiles Silence Baby’s Laughter in Gaza

Sami Abu Salem, MIFTAH 3/3/2008
      The innocent laughter of six-month-old baby Mohammed al-Bor’i stopped forever on Wednesday night when shrapnel from an Israeli missile and rubble struck the infant in the head, minutes after he enjoyed his last meal.
     "The baby sucked milk, he was playing with his mother; I was reading a book when a rocket hit the Ministry of Interior," said Nasser al-Bor’i, the baby’s father.
     With the first missile, the electricity was cut and darkness filled the ill-fated house. Stones and pieces of the asbestos ceiling fell onto the head of the laughing child. The explosions continued as two other missiles hit the building.
     "I looked for my baby in the darkness between the rubble; I did not know where he was. When he cried once I followed the direction of his voice," Nasser al-Bor’i said. "My hands touched my baby who was breathing hard; I felt warm liquid on my two hands and realized that he was wounded."