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

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18 March 2008

News

Israeli missile wounds 5 in Gaza
Ali Waked and Reuters, YNetNews 3/18/2008
IDF forces fire at group of Islamic Jihad militants in northern town of Beit Lahiya; Palestinians say two civilians among wounded - Israeli forces fired a missile at a group of Islamic Jihad militants in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, wounding five, the Palestinian militant faction said. Palestinian sources said two of the wounded were civilians, one of them mentally-challenged, while the rest were militants in Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, the al-Quds Brigades. An Israeli military spokesman had no immediate comment on Tuesday’s incident in the town of Beit Lahiya, which hospital officials said had left two militants in critical condition. Islamic Jihad last week resumed cross-border rocket salvoes after Israeli troops killed four of its members in the occupied West Bank. Three rockets were fired toward the Negev region on Tuesday, but caused no injuries or damage.

Rabbi stabbed in neck in E. Jerusalem terror attack
Jonathan Lis, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
A Palestinian stabbed a Haredi rabbi in the neck in Arab East Jerusalem on Tuesday, but medical workers said his wounds were light and not life-threatening. A police spokesman confirmed that the attack, near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, was politically motivated. The Zaka emergency service said the rabbi, 49, was walking with a bodyguard in Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where his seminary is located, when he was attacked. The bodyguard gave chase but the attacker escaped, leaving behind a blood-stained knife. According to police, the unidentified assailant stabbed the man once and fled the scene. Security forces are currently searching the area in hopes of capturing the attacker. The man was taken to Hadassah Hospital in West Jerusalem for treatment.

Settlers back on Al Khader lands
Palestine News Network 3/18/2008
Bethlehem / Najib Farrag -- Settlers have returned to Al Khader Village lands and are overtaking even more on the western mountains. All Israeli settlements contravene international law and considered by President Abbas to be a "major impediment to the peace process. "Many other officials have stated that if the Israeli settlement process does not end, there will be no hope for future negotiations or justice. Munir Hussein Mousa was shocked to find yet another settlement unit being built on his land that the Gush Etzion Settlement bloc has already built up against. The new units will attach to the illegal, yet standing, Elizer Settlement built on western Al Khader lands in Bethlehem. The area is teeming with Israeli forces, including soldiers, settlers, sniper towers and military machines. The latest "house" is approximately 100 square meters and is being placed as the nucleus, for an extremist Israeli government member.

Israeli forces raid several West Bank cities
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces raided several West Bank cities on Tuesday morning, apprehending 23 Palestinians, who are allegedly activists. Israeli sources said the army stormed Ramallah and the nearby Al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central West Bank, Bethlehem in the south, Jenin, Qalqilia and Nur Shams refugee camp in the northern West Bank and seized 23 Palestinians. Ma’an’s reporter in Tulkarem quoted Palestinian security sources as saying that 12 Israeli military vehicles stormed Nur Shams refugee camp at 2am and ransacked several homes before arresting four activists, two affiliated to Fatah and two affiliated to Islamic Jihad. In Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces ransacked the home of Fawwaz Khleif, an Islamic Jihad activist the Israelis have been pursuing for 12 years. The invading Israeli forces fired gunshots and sonic bombs at the house. . .

Israeli High Court orders an end to excavations in Silwan
International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The Israeli High Court of Justice and after several months of excavations which caused damages to the constructions and houses of the Palestinian residents of Wadi Hilwa neighborhood Silwan town, in East Jerusalem, ordered on Tuesday a halt to the excavations. The appeals were submitted to the court two months ago and the residents did not stop their nonviolent protests and activities. In a recent statement, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel is ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from Jerusalem by annexing their lands, demolishing their homes and constructing the Annexation Wall. Israel was angered by these statements. Lawyer Sami Ershayyid told the Palestine News Network news website that this order to stop the excavations in Wadi Hilwa is considered a unique legal precedence after nearly 45 days on ongoing deliberations.

Israeli military declares total closure of the occupied Palestinian territories
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The Israeli military establishment declared on Tuesday a total closure of the occupied Palestinian territories, starting from today morning until next Sunday. In the wake of security assessments, the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, had learned, the Israeli military decided to seal off the border crossings with Gaza and the West Bank, Israeli media sources reported. The sources cited underway celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Purim, as well as Israeli fears of a retaliation attack by the Lebanese Hizbullah party for the assassination of senior Hizbullah leader , Emad Mughaniya, several weeks ago. Chief of Israeli police, Dudi Cohen, was reported by Israeli media sources as having conducted enlarged assessment of the situation and ordered deployment of his forces in the various Israeli cities and towns.

Detentions and Threats Sharpen Crisis for West Bank Journalists
Palestine News Network 3/18/2008
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has condemned a series of detentions and threats to journalists in the Palestinian West Bank, which it says are creating a new level of intimidation of journalists and the press in the region. Five journalists were arrested Tuesday by the Jordanian government in Amman for reporting "against a judge," while eight are in Israeli prison. The IFJ is calling for the release of journalists being held in Israeli prisons for their critical reporting. The arrest last week in Bethlehem of journalist Hasan Abdel Jawad, who is also a Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS) board member, brings to 8 journalists detained by Israeli authorities. "This targeting of Palestinian journalists by Israel is completely unacceptable," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Our colleagues should be released and any further threats against journalists trying to do their job should be eliminated.

Hamas ready to accept Yemeni initiative for reconciliation with Fatah
Reuters, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
A top Hamas official said his group was ready to accept a Yemeni bid for reconciliation with Fatah, which voiced willingness to start national dialogue when its Islamist rival agrees to the terms of Yemen’s initiative. "The visit is to meet [Yemeni] President Ali Abdullah Saleh. . . and inform him of the movement’s acceptance of the Yemeni initiative," Hamas deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk told Al Jazeera television upon arrival to the Yemeni capital Sanaa. Abu Marzouk did not say whether the group was willing to accept a long standing Fatah demand that Hamas relinquish its control over the Gaza strip, but Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza that the group will discuss the points of the Yemeni initiative. The initiative calls for the situation in Gaza to return to the way it was before Hamas seized control. . .

Palestinian resistance group escapes Israeli ambush near Jenin
Ali Samoudi, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
A group of Palestinian resistance fighters, on Tuesday at midday, escaped an Israeli army ambush in the village of Zababda, located south of Jenin city in the northern West Bank. Palestinian sources said that at least 20 Israeli armored vehicles stormed the village of Zababda on Tuesday morning, surrounding the local mosque. Israeli military figures claimed that Palestinian resistance fighters were hiding inside. Israeli troops attacked and searched a number of nearby homes before opening fire at the mosque and the nearby Catholic monastery. Damage was reported, but no injures. During the attack, invading troops clashed with local youth who hurled stones at the soldiers. Troops responded with tear gas and live rounds, although no injures have been reported. The operation finished on Tuesday at midday, when troops left the village after kidnapping local Shiekh, Fathi Qatiyah, 35.

At least 12 Palestinians wounded in IAF strike in Gaza
News Agencies, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
At least 12 Palestinians were wounded Tuesday evening in an Israel Air Force strike on the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamza said the four members of his militant group were near a mosque when they were targeted by an IAF aircraft. The militants were wounded in the strike, one of them seriously. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the air strike, saying the men had been involved in rocket attacks on southern Israel. It said one of the men personally fired the rocket that severed the leg of 9-year-old Sderot boy Osher Twito last month. On early Saturday, an IAF strike in Gaza killed three other Islamic Jihad militants which, according to the Shin Bet security service, were involved in the rocket attack that wounded Twito.

Israeli air strike wound five Palestinians in Gaza; resistance retaliates
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- At least five Palestinians, including three members of the Islamic Jihad, were wounded on Tuesday night after an Israeli reconnaissance plane targeted their vehicle in Beit Lahai city, north of Gaza Strip, Palestinian security and medical sources confirmed to the PIC correspondent. According to the sources, the Israeli drone unleashed an air-to-surface missile at a car in which the three Islamic Jihad fighters were traveling, wounding them and two passers by. The sources described the condition of at least two of the wounded Palestinian as "very serious". However, eyewitnesses in the area opined that the shelling was carried out by an Israeli tank stationed at the boarder of the Gaza Strip and not by a drone. In the West Bank, large numbers of IOF troops backed by military vehicles and jeeps ended a military incursion into the village of Zababda , east of Jenin,. . .

Victory in Silwan for nonviolent resistance
Palestine News Network 3/18/2008
Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh - After months of excavations under East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood during which the Israelis have caused a great deal of structural damage, the Israeli High Court has demanded it end. The nonviolent resistance is largely responsible for staying put in the area in a 24-hour per day protest tent, for which they were routinely attacked by Israeli settlers and police. The Israelis are working on the "process of ethnically cleansing process of Jerusalem," as President Abbas recently said through land and identification confiscation, home demolition, and Wall construction. For two months Silwan residents have submitted appeals to the courts, in addition to a never-ending stream of nonviolent actions. Silwan is in the Old City of East Jerusalem and the excavations underneath the area have been devastating to the Al Aqsa Mosque as well.

Farmers in South eke out a living amid war fallout
Rebecca Murray, Inter Press, Daily Star 3/19/2008
Aitaroun residents continue to struggle with repercussion of Israel’s aerial bombardments and cluster-bomb hazards 18 months after conflict -- TYRE: "I think the biggest challenge is to stay in the village," says Ibrahim Sayyed, 28, a municipality accountant from the beleaguered farming town of Aitaroun, less than 2 kilometers from the heavily patrolled Blue Line and Israel beyond. "My father and grandparents told me stories going back to 1948. All this time there has been war," he added. Sayyed is watching the distribution of up to 120 goats to impoverished local dairy farmers in Aitaroun’s dusty town square, a joint effort by the Tyre-based Mine Action Coordination Center in South Lebanon (MACC-SL) and international charity World Vision, to improve agricultural livelihoods for those hit especially hard during the conflict with Israel in 2006. Hassan Issa, a 25-year-old family man, hauls three goats toward his truck parked along the edge of the square.

Israeli settlers start new settlement post near Bethlehem
Najjeb Faraj, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
Villagers of Al Khader, located south-west of Bethlehem city in the southern West Bank revealed on Tuesday that Israeli settlers have started to build a new settlement post on their lands. Mounier Mussa, the land owner where the post is being constructed, stated that, on Monday afternoon he went to his land following reports from neighbors over Isreali settlers beginning construction on his land. When he arrived at the land he said that a group of right wing Israeli settlers from the Gush Etzion settlement, already built on land originally belonging to Al Khader village, had started to build a new post on his land. Mussa stopped the work on his land, argued with the settlers and made them leave. Since his land is in Area C according to the Oslo accords, it is under full control of the Israeli military. He reported the attack to the Israeli military police.

Elderly Palestinian man killed by unknown gunmen near Qalqilia
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
Palestinian sources reported that unknown gunmen opened fire at Abed Al Karem Al Abeet, 75, killing him in the village of Bein-Amein, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia on Tuesday afternoon. Palestinian security sources in the city said that Abeet operates a water well near his village, and that he was gunned down by unknown gunmen. Security forces gave no further details. Medical sources revealed that Abeet sustained multiple wounds and died instantly. Local sources allege Abeet’s son to be a collaborator with the Israeli army, after he was involved in the death of a Palestinian youth during the first Intifada [Uprising]. Abeet’s son was attacked by Palestinian resistance fighters in the early 1990s but escaped, and is now living in an Israeli controlled area. No Palestinian group has yet claimed the attack.

Elderly Palestinian man shot dead in Qalqilia
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Qalqilia – Ma’an – Unidentified gunmen killed a 75-year-old Palestinian man in the West Bank city of Qalqilia on Tuesday afternoon, Palestinian security sources said. The sources said that Abdul-Karim Umar was shot by three masked men traveling in a car with Israeli license plates. The attackers then fled the scene. Umar was from the nearby village of Beit Amin, and was visiting Qalqilia at the time of the shooting. Miqdad Khattab, Qalqilia’s prosecutor, said that the security services do not see a clear motive for the killing at this time. [end]

VIDEO - Rabbi stabbed in Jerusalem
Meital Yasur-Beit Or, YNetNews 3/18/2008
(Video) Less than two weeks after "terror" attack at Mercaz Harav yeshiva, rabbi at Ateret Kohanim yeshiva stabbed in neck in Old City, sustains light-moderate injuries. Nationalistic motives believed to be behind stabbing - VIDEO - An Israeli man has been stabbed in the Old City of Jerusalem, Magen David Adom emergency services paramedics reported Tuesday. The man, 49, was stabbed in the neck and sustained light to moderate injuries. Nationalistic motives are believed to be behind the stabbing. Video: Infolive. tv According to an eyewitness, the man attacked is a rabbi at the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva in the Old City, who was accompanied by a security guard. "An Arab stabbed him in the neck," spokesman for the United Hatzalah of Israel rescue organizationYerach Tucker told Ynet.

Ahrar Al-Jalil claims responsibility for Jerusalem stabbing
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Ahrar Al-Jalil, the militant Palestinian group based inside Israel’s 1949 borders, has claimed responsibility for stabbing an Orthodox rabbi near Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday. The group said in a statement: "Thanks to god our fighters, who are spread in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948, succeeded in stabbing a Jewish rabbi with a knife in his neck near Bab Al-Amud [Damascus Gate] in the occupied old city of Jerusalem. The rabbi is called Yehizkel Greenwood. The operation took place on Tuesday at 9:10am. " The statement added that the attack, named "Mujahid," escaped safely. Ahrar Al-Jalil (literally "The Free People of the Galilee") also calls themselves the "Imad Mighniyya Group," after the Hizbullah military leader who was assassinated in Syria in February.

Palestinian young man stabs extremist rabbi in occupied Jerusalem
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- A Palestinian young man stabbed on Tuesday morning a rabbi working for a Zionist extremist society outside the Damascus Gate in occupied Jerusalem and ran away. Palestinian sources in the city said that the stabbed Israeli settler, 49, is a rabbi in the Ateret Kohanim society which is working on confiscating Palestinian lands in Jerusalem by all means and settling Jews in the holy city to change the demography of the city. Israeli medical sources said that the rabbi stabbed in the neck while he was walking with a bodyguard in Jerusalem and described his wounds as serious. Israeli police presence in Jerusalem has been intensified since Monday morning because of the tension which exists in the city as Jewish extremists tried to attack the family of Alaa Abu Dehim, who carried out the Jerusalem attack more than a week ago.

Israeli forces destroy Palestinian house, car, near Jenin
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces demolished part of a house and blew up a Palestinian civilian car in the West Bank town of Az-Zababda, near the city of Jenin. Palestinian security sources said that more than 15 Israeli military vehicles raided the town in the early morning, surrounding the town’s mosque and catholic church before demolishing sections of a house which owed by Nabil Az-Zuzu, a Palestinian civilian. The invading troops also ransacked home of Sheikh Fathi Qutait, the Imam of the mosque, damaging his furniture. As a result of the incursion, clashes erupted between the Israeli troops and Palestinian young people, who pelted the soldiers with stones, while the soldiers fired back using live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets and teargas canisters. No injuries or arrests have been reported.

Israeli forces seize Palestinian for knife attack on Israeli employer
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces on Tuesday arrested one of two Palestinians who stabbed his Israeli employer three months ago over a work dispute. Ma’an’s correspondent quoted a Palestinian security source as saying that Israeli forces stormed Nur Shams refugee camp east of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank and seized 23-year-old Ahmad An-Najjar. According to our correspondent, immediately after the attack An-Najjar and 20-year-old Anas Abu As-Samin turned themselves over to Palestinian security in Tulkarem saying they had stabbed "to death" their Israeli employer over a work dispute. They were then held in Palestinian custody for two months before being released. The Palestinian security had informed the Israelis they were holding the attackers, but the Israelis did not demand they were handed over.

Israeli settler wounded in Jerusalem old city
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
An Israeli settler was stabbed on Tuesday morning near Damascus gate in Jerusalem’s old city, eyewitnesses said. Witnesses added that the man, reported to be a rabbi, was walking near the gate when an unknown man stabbed him several times in the neck. Israeli medical sources stated that the man sustained moderate wounds and was moved to a nearby Israeli hospital for treatment. Israeli police sources said that an Israeli police officer chased the attacker, but he managed to escape, leaving behind the knife used in the attack. Israeli police sources maintain that the attack was politically motivated. The Israeli army and police subsequently swamped the old city of Jerusalem in an attempt to locate the attacker.

Palestinian security arrest two Hamas affiliates in West Bank
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas said on Tuesday that the Palestinian security services affiliated to the caretaker government in the West Bank seized two Hamas activists on Monday evening. Hamas released a statement saying that the Palestinian security services seized Marwan Makhlouf from the village of Anabta in the Tulkarem district in the northern West Bank and Mahmoud Faris from ’Ein Beit Al-Mai refugee camp in western Nablus in the northern West Bank. [end]

Israeli forces raid Nablus; arrest five
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces raided Nablus in the northern West Bank on Tuesday and ransacked several homes before arresting five Palestinians, Ma’an’s reporter said. Eyewitnesses told our correspondent in Nablus that Israeli forces raided the town of Kafr Qallil south of Nablus as well as Balata and ’Ein Beit Al-Mai refugee camps and several neighborhoods in the old city of Nablus. [end]

PFLP military wing fire projectile
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, claimed responsibility on Tuesday for firing a homemade projectile at an Israeli military airstrip east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. They said in a statement that their fighters launched the projectile and returned unharmed. [end]

The Popular Committees Appeals the release of a detained mother and her infant
International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The Palestinian Popular (Folk) Committees issued on Tuesday a press release appealing [for] the release of a Palestinian mother and her newly born child imprisoned at Hasharon Israeli detention facility. The Committees stated that detainee Fatima Al Ziq, 40, from Al Shujaeyya neighborhood in Gaza City, gave birth to her infant Yousef 40 days ago. Al Ziq was kidnapped by the Israeli army more than eight months ago. The infant is currently needs urgent medical attention. Azmi Shiokhy, Secretary-general of the Committees, stated that another detained child, Ghada Abu Omar, 19 months, the daughter of detainee Khawla Zeitwai, also needs medical attention. There are nearly 110 female detainees, and nearly 300 underage detainees currently imprisoned by Israel. Al Shiokhy voiced an appeal to the International Community, the Red Cross and several human rights groups to intervene and ensure the release of the detained women and children.

Situation of Palestinians on Iraq-Syria border continues to deteriorate
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ReliefWeb 3/18/2008
This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva. The situation of more than 2,700 Palestinians who have been stranded and are living in inhumane conditions in two border camps at the Iraq-Syrian border continues to deteriorate. Over the past22 months, UNHCR has been calling for urgent humanitarian solutions for this group and -- even if only temporary -- relocation elsewhere, preferably in the Arab region. In 2006, Canada accepted 64 Palestinians from Iraq, while Brazil last year received 107. In a more recent development, Chile - itself once a refugee-producing country - offered to receive for resettlement an initial group of 117 Iraq Palestinians. They are expected to depart in April. Sudan has also offered to accept 2,000 Iraq Palestinians, and UNHCR together with Palestinian representatives is finalizing an operations plan that will enable this to take place.

Egyptian police kill Sudanese woman on Israeli border
Associated Press, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Forces shoot woman after she refuses to surrender; another woman with infant arrested, traffickers manage to escape. At least six people killed by Egypt police on border since beginning of year -Egyptian police on Tuesday fatally shot a Sudanese woman and arrested a second one who was with an infant as they tried to cross into Israel, a security official said. The shooting took place a few miles north of the Rafah border crossing point when the slain Sudanese women from the wartorn Darfur refused to surrender to police, the official said. Imad Kharboush, head of el-Arish emergency unit said the unidentified slain woman was shot three times, including once in the head. The police failed to capture the traffickers, whom the women paid about $500 each for shelter and passage from Cairo across Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the Israeli border, the security official said.

Eight detainees receive administrative detention orders
International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The Nafha Society for Defending the Detainees’ Rights and Human Rights, reported on Tuesday that the Israeli Prison Authorities issued orders extending the remand of eight detainees under administrative detention without charges of trial. The society stated that the prosecution did not press any charges against the detainees and that they were sentenced to different imprisonment periods under what is known as "Administrative Detention" which Israel inherited from the British Mandate. The eight detainees are Bahjat Yameen from Qalqilia, sentenced to 6 months, Fursan Bani Fadil, from Nablus, 6 months, Ashraf Shamasna from Jerusalem, 6 months, Yasser Issa from Nablus, 6 months, Fadi Dweikat from Nablus, 6 months, Yousef Al Shomaly from Bethlehem, 4 months, Shihab Mizhir from Bethlehem, 4 months, and Shihab Al Husseiny from Hebron, 4 months.

Caritas Jerusalem: Staying in Touch, Vol 3, No. 4, Oct/Nov/Dec 2008
Caritas, ReliefWeb 3/18/2008
Caritas Jerusalem SOA 9 2006 project ends In mid-November, Caritas Jerusalem completed the SOA 9 2006 project. This project has been an important part of the work that we have undertaken in 2006 and 2007 and we appreciate the support that it received. It was launched in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Holy Land. The impact of the project has been significant. We have reached the following number of beneficiaries in this project: Medical treatment – 5,061 direct beneficiaries Family Support – 22,092 direct beneficiaries assisted Education Assistance – 397 direct beneficiaries helped Cash for Work – 1,131 employment opportunities created This project has been made possible by the generous support of many of our friends from the Caritas family.

"Cemetary" established for Gaza factories closed due to Israeli blockade
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – In a new attempt to call the world’s attention to Israel’s crippling siege on the Gaza Strip, the Popular Committee Against the Siege of the Gaza Strip staged a symbolic protest on Tuesday by establishing a cemetery for the 3,900 factories which have been closed as a result of the ongoing blockade. Each grave was wrapped with Palestinian flag with a paper tombstone with the names of all the factory’s employees. "This is a symbolic activity which may budge the siege," said Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Jamal Al-Khudari who heads the Popular Committee. According to Al-Khudari, 100,000 workers have been left unemployed as a result of the closures. He added that several other projects in the Gaza Strip have ground to a halt because of shortage in raw materials for industry and construction.

Detainee sentenced to two years
International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The Salem Israeli Military Court sentenced on Tuesday detainee Shabeeb Hasan, from Borqa village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, to two years imprisoned and a 2000 NIS fine. The court also extended the remand of detainee Anas Hussein and Hassan Khabbas to 14 additional days and extended the remand of detainees Ruad Rayyan, Mohammad Merey and Abdullah ’Aassy from Qarawa village near the West Bank city of Salfit, until May 20. The court extended the remand of detainees Azzam Hamad and Nassr Ed Deen Kharaz, from Nablus, until May 15. [end]

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories: Safety of medical workers under spotlight in joint campaign
International Committee of the Red Cross, ReliefWeb 3/17/2008
Jerusalem / Tel Aviv (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross, in cooperation with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Palestine Ministry of Health, is launching an awareness campaign in the occupied Palestinian territories to highlight the need to safeguard the work of medical personnel and health facilities. "The campaign reflects a shared concern about the increasing lack of respect for medical services," says Katharina Ritz, the ICRC’s Head of Mission for the occupied territories. "Protecting medical staff and facilities from attack and facilitating the evacuation and treatment of the sick and wounded – no matter who they are – are fundamental requirements under international humanitarian law". This campaign forms part of a series of initiatives in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which includes training sessions,. . .

Occupation forces continue with abuses at ‘Azzun ‘Atma gate
Stop The Wall 3/7/2008
Occupation forces have carried out assaults and blocked workers, farmers and students from passing through the gate in ‘Azzun ‘Atma. The village, located in the Qalqilya district, is surrounded on three sides by the Wall. Occupation soldiers assaulted a number of people in the village of ‘Azzun ‘Atma at the entrance gate to the village. ‘Amr Quzmar and Hasan Jihad, from the nearby village of ‘Azbat Salman, are two of the people who have been assaulted crossing the gate. Also, according to witnesses, soldiers assaulted Ehab Bashaar and Ra’fat Husni ‘Omar, a member of the village council of ‘Azzun ‘Atma. They were hit violently and detained over a period of several hours. No explanations were supplied. Soldiers also blocked a number of female students from going to al-Quds Open University in Qalqilya.

VIDEO - Foreign workers’ plight
Ynetnews, YNetNews 3/18/2008
(Video) The Law of Return gives Jews from the Diaspora the right to return to Israel, the land of their forefather’s, and to live here as citizens. Israel warmly welcomes every immigrant, receiving them with open arms as they arrive at Ben Gurion Airport. But walking around the Central Bus Station in Tel-Aviv, a different reality emerges. The reality experienced by others who came from abroad: Foreign workers - Video courtesy of infolive. tv[end]

Israeli court bans family visits to Sheikh Abul Haija for five years running
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
JENIN, (PIC)-- The Israeli military court has turned down a request by detainee Sheikh Jamal Abul Haija, one of the Hamas leaders in the West Bank, to allow him family visits after being denied that right for five years. The wife, Asmaa Abul Haija, said, after the ruling was passed on Monday, that her husband had filed a complaint against the Israeli prisons authority (IPA). She noted that the court refused to allow her husband to speak during the hearing to respond to the prosecution and intelligence’s allegations, which demanded that the ban on his wife and his daughter Banan, a lawyer, and other adult sons be continued since they were all ex-detainees and the Sheikh still posed "dangers" to the Zionist security despite being behind bars!Asmaa said that the intelligence representative also demanded continued isolation of the Sheikh, who has been in solitary confinement ever since his detention in June 2003.

Palestinian Legislative Council performance worst since 1996, rights group says
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The current crisis in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is a political rather than legal crisis, that will only be resolved through serious dialogue between the Fatah and Hamas, a new report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) in a report released on Tuesday. According to the report, the performance of the Palestinian parliament is worse now than at any time since its creation in 1996. In addition to the ongoing split between Fatah and Hamas, the PLC faces an additional crisis due to the large number of Hamas-affiliated lawmakers imprisoned by Israel, the report said. Those detained legislators appointed surrogates to represent them at PLC meetings. While Hamas, who hold the majority of the seats in the Council, views this maneuver as legal, other parties, including Fatah, boycotted the sessions that were convened through this tactic.

Gaydamak brings portable shelters to Sderot
Elad Rubinstein, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Billionaire arrives in rocket-battered town with trucks carrying five new portable bomb shelters to be placed in various locations across Sderot. ’If there’s demand for more structures, we shall consider it positively,’ Gaydamak pledges. Billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak arrived in the rocket-battered town of Sderot Tuesday with a convoy of trucks carrying five new portable bomb shelters that he has donated to the municipality. Three Qassam rockets landed in the western Negev during Gaydamak’s visit in Sderot, and three mortar shells fired from northern Gaza landed near the Gaza border fence. No injuries or damage were reported in the attacks. Gaydamak, who was greeted by residents chanting "Arcadi the king," told Ynet that the shelters would be placed in various public locations in town, including schools and supermarkets, "So that the residents will truly be protected.

A love story that ended in divorce
Nadav Shragai, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Haggai Huberman loves the settlers, admires their activity and is not ashamed of this. He grew up with them, has lived among them, has written thousands of news reports about them and is now publishing a two-volume book about them. "Against All Odds," published in Hebrew by Midreshet Netzarim, documents the settlement project in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) during the past 40 years. Anyone who is as enthusiastic as Huberman about the settlements will not put this book down. But those who see the settlements as a mistake will also find it very interesting. Huberman describes the settlers’ world and modus operandi "from within," using a high-resolution lens that makes even the clothesline outside the mobile home perfectly clear. The cabinet ministers, Knesset members and army officers who helped this project - Huberman does not omit a single one of them - will also find a great deal to interest them in the book.

Palestine Today 031808
Ghassan Bannoura- Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file || 4 m 0s || 3. 66 MB ||Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Tuesday March 18th, 2008. Unknown gunmen kill a Palestinian man in the West Bank, while an Israeli settler is stabbed in Jerusalem. These stories and more coming up, stay tuned. The News Cast Palestinian sources reported that unknown gunmen opened fire at Abed Al Karem Al Abeet, 75, killing him in the village of Bein-Amein, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia on Tuesday afternoon. Local sources allege Abeet’s son to be a collaborator with the Israeli army, after he was involved in the death of a Palestinian youth during the first Intifada [Uprising]. Abeet’s son was attacked by Palestinian resistance fighters in the early 1990s but escaped, and is now living in an Israeli controlled area.

Uncritical Merkel Gets Red Carpet Treatment in Israel
Ralf Beste, Ralf Neukirch And Christoph Schult, MIFTAH 3/18/2008
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has become Israel’s staunchest ally in Europe. This week, the country has pulled out all the stops to welcome the German leader. Back home, though, many wish Merkel would finally speak up about Israeli excesses in the Gaza Strip. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received no lack of warm welcomes on her trips abroad. The US President invited her to his ranch in Texas, the King of Saudi Arabia presented her with a small model of an oasis, complete with golden camels, and the Emir of Abu Dhabi deeply regretted that she had no time to visit his desert tent. But the red carpet treatment prepared for Merkel during her visit to Israel this week eclipses all previous receptions. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert personally met his guest at Ben Gurion Airport on Sunday -- an honor that until now he has only bestowed on George W.

Peres to Merkel: Economy can further peace process
Aviram Zino, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Israeli president, German chancellor meet at Peres Jerusalem residence, discuss "˜Peace Valley project, new industrial zone to be established in Jenin at German funding. Peres urges unified Western front against Iran - Israeli President Shimon Peres met German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his Jerusalem residence Tuesday. During their meeting, the two leaders discussed the peace process with the Palestinians, as well as the Iranian nuclear threat, among other topics. Peres stated that in order to further the peace process it is essential to enhance the educational system and infrastructure in the Palestinian Authority, as well as to create new jobs within the PA in order to improve the quality of life of its Palestinian residents. Only taking this approach, noted Peres, in lieu of providing weapons or monetary donations to the PA -which only served to. . .

Merkel to Knesset: Germany will always stand by Israel
Shahar Ilan and Anshel Pfeffers, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
German Chancellor Angela Merkel earned a standing ovation at the Knesset on Tuesday after pledging to stand by Israel’s side against any threat, particularly from Iran, and paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. "Especially in this place, I emphasize: Every German government and every chancellor before me was committed to the special responsibility Germany has for Israel’s security," she said. "This historic responsibility is part of my country’s fundamental policy. It means that for me, as a German chancellor, Israel’s security is non-negotiable," she added. The German chancellor took a strong stance against the ongoing Qassam rocket fire at Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip. "I say it in a clear voice - the Qassam fire must stop," Merkel said.

Merkel expresses ’shame’ for Holocaust in speech to Knesset
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 3/19/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday pledged her country’s unwavering support for Israel in a landmark address to Parliament, as she wrapped up a visit 60 years after the Jewish state was founded in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust. " Germany will never abandon Israel but will remain a true friend and partner," said Merkel, the first German head of government to address the Knesset, an honor usually reserved for heads of state. "Germany and Israel are, and will always remain, linked in a special way through the memory of the Holocaust," said Merkel, who on Monday laid a wreath at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem memorial to victims of the Nazi genocide. "The Holocaust fills us Germans with shame," said Merkel, the first German chancellor born after World War II. "I bow before the victims, I bow before the survivors, and before all those who helped them so they could survive.

Israel, Palestinians Resume Suspended Peace Talks
Reuters, MIFTAH 3/18/2008
Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held undisclosed peace talks after a deadly Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip led to their brief suspension and are to meet again on Monday, Israeli officials said. Despite growing tensions over colony expansion on occupied land, Israeli Prime Ehud Olmert said the construction would continue in occupied Jerusalem and in colony blocs the Jewish state wants to keep as part of any deal with the Palestinians. " There will be places where there will be construction, or additions to construction, because these places will remain in Israel’s hands in any future constellation - and this includes, first and foremost, [occupied] Jerusalem, and everyone knows this," Olmert told a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The peace talks, led by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Palestinian prime minister Ahmad Qurei, have shown little sign of progress since they were launched at a peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland in November.

Bassam al-Salhi Secretary-General of the PPP: Israel weakens Abbas through its Settlements Policy
Manar Jibrin, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
Bassam al-Salhi discusses PPP vision for the near future and criticizes all involved parties for failing to work for a genuine peace Al-Salhi justified this as cutting "the way over the obstruction of the political process and our rejection to the submitted for a temporary state. "He added that "we are working on Arab and international recognition and international protection in the Palestinian territories. [Also, we] are struggling to achieve an end to occupation that focuses on the construction of unified movement for the popular resistance without excluding resistance and all of its forms according to the Palestinian reconciliation document. " He indicated that Israel is applying a systematic and regulated process aiming at destroying the bases of a Palestinian independent state. As such, the People’s Party is working to protect the option of two-state solution based on stopping the current negotiations and its mechanisms.

Nazzal: Abbas’s team obstructs national dialogue
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Mohammed Nazzal, the member of the Hamas’s political bureau, has ruled out any internal Palestinian dialogue in the foreseen future due to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas’s team’s insistence on a number of "impossible conditions". Nazzal, in an interview with the PIC, said that Abbas would not change his position until the end of the tenure of the current American president George Bush, which is expected by the start of 2009. The few coming days will prove failure of the settlement process in achieving any accomplishment for the Palestinian people as far as their national rights are concerned, he said and predicted that the coming stage would witness escalation in Palestinian resistance against occupation. The American administration’s demand that Abbas should apply the road map plan meant that it was pushing the PA chief to "political suicide", Nazzal opined, explaining. . .

Hamas warns Israeli settlers of assaulting Abu Dehim family
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
NABLUS, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement in the West Bank warned Israeli settlers of repeating their attack on the family of martyr Alaa Abu Dehim who carried out the Jerusalem attack, highlighting that it will retaliate if anything happens to them. In a statement received by the PIC, Hamas strongly denounced the Israeli intentions to demolish the house of Abu Dehim’s family, adding that the Israeli policy of mass punishment against the Palestinian people will not deter the Palestinians from defending themselves. Hamas underlined that the Zionist ideology of hatred pushes the occupation and its lackeys to commit crimes against the Palestinian people, citing as evidence the massacre of the Ibrahimi mosque in Al-Khalil which was committed by the Israeli fanatic killer Goldstein.  Hamas added that the crimes of the Israeli occupation in Gaza, which claimed the lives of more than 130 Palestinians. . .

Report: Defense Min. official Amos Gilad in Cairo for talks on Gaza
DPA, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad headed a delegation to Cairo on Tuesday, according to the Qatar-based satellite television station Al-Jazeera. According to the report, the Israeli and Egyptian delegations are discussing options to renew negotiations for restoring calm in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Egypt’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman has delayed a planned visit to Israel for the third time because of Israel’s not abiding by commitments to de-escalate the situation in the Gaza Strip, a newspaper report said Tuesday. The Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat daily quoted a senior Egyptian official as saying Suleiman postponed his visit, which was slated for this week, because of "Israel’s continued aggression. "Suleiman oversees Egyptian mediation efforts between Israel and the militant Hamas group.

Egyptian president warns Israel: No occupation lasts forever
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
CAIRO, Egypt ? Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned Israel on Tuesday that no occupation lasts forever and urged the Palestinians to give peace a chance. "Your people’s security cannot be attained by exercising a policy of collective punishment, aggression, siege, walls and building settlements," he said in comments broadcast live on state television in a speech marking the birthday of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. Mubarak added that for their part, the Palestinians needed to unify their ranks and consider their actions for the sake of their suffering children. "Resistance is a legitimate right for any people under occupation, but it should be examined according to the principle of profit and loss. . . Give peace a chance and don’t give excuses to those who want to derail its march," he said.

Erekat: We can’t discuss negotiations while settlement activity is ongoing
Ghassan Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The head of the Negotiations Department in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Sa’ed Erekat, stated on Tuesday that negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel can not continue with ongoing Israeli settlement construction activity in the West Bank. The Palestinian official told Palestinian National Radio that he had informed the Israeli negotiation team that talks between the two sides must be suspended in the face of ongoing Israeli activity in the West Bank, including Jerusalem. The Palestinian-Israeli peace talks were revived last November during the one day Annapolis conference in Maryland USA, based on the Road Map Peace Plan of 2003. The American-sponsored Road Map states clearly that Israeli must stop its settlement activity. Dr Erekat demanded that the international community must put more pressure on Israel over its settlement activity, in addition. . .

Palestinian presidency denies halting peace talks
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian presidency released a statement on Monday denying claims published on Israeli websites that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to halt the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. According to the statement published by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, the Israeli news reports were "baseless and incorrect" and were "aimed at distorting the credibility of the Palestinian president and his commitment to the peace process. " The Israelis intend to renege on their commitments, especially suspending settlement activities, the statement added. [end]

4 days after Israeli massacre, secret meetings between PA and Israeli officials
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli sources revealed that PA and Israeli officials held secret talks just four days after the Israeli occupation committed its latest massacre in Gaza which claimed the lives of more than 130 Palestinians most of them were children and women. The news belied the PA allegations that it suspended negotiations with Israel in protest at the Israeli massacre. Reuters news agency quoted an Israeli official who refused to reveal his name as saying that Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and PA negotiator Ahmed Qurei met in camera only four days after Israel committed its holocaust in Gaza. Reuters said that Saeb Erekat, another PA negotiator, refrained from commenting on the news. Reuters also quoted Israeli officials as saying that a public meeting would be held between PA and Israeli officials on Monday.

Suleiman postpones visit to Israel for third time
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Egypt’s intelligence chief calls off trip to Israel once again, citing Israel’s ’lack of commitment’ to truce in Gaza as main reason for cancellation - Egypt’s Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman has once again postponed his visit to Israel, scheduled for later this week. This is the third time that Suleiman has cancelled his arrival in the country, and a senior Egyptian official told the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that the decision was prompted by Israel’s "lack of commitment to the lull in Gaza. " According to the Arabic paper, Suleiman claims that Israel is violating verbal commitments given during a visit of senior Defense Ministry representative Amos Gilad to Cairo last week. Suleiman referred to the killing of an Islamic Jihad cell by the IDF in Bethlehem last week, despite the relative calm between Israel and the Palestinians. . .

Hamadan: Hamas could never be in a position of begging for a meeting with Abbas
Palestinian Information Center 3/18/2008
BEIRUT, (PIC)-- Osama Hamdan, a member of the Hamas political bureau, categorically denied that Hamas could be in a position of begging for a meeting with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the Arab summit to be held in Damascus, calling for a comprehensive unconditional national dialogue. In a press statement to the Quds Prss, Hamadan stated that the lines of communication are between Hamas and the Arab League. The Hamas leader strongly castigated the statements of Nimer Hammad, the advisor of the PA chief, in which he said that there was no scheduled meeting between Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, unless Hamas backtracked on what it did in Gaza. The Hamas leader said that Hamas does not seek a meeting for the purpose of holding mere meetings, it wants to meet on the basis of unconditional national dialogue.

Abu Rudeineh denounces the continuation of Israeli settlement activities in Palestine
Manar Jibrin, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
In a press release issued on Tuesday, Nabeel Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson of the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, denounced the continuation of the Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, saying that these settlement activities "will abort the American efforts aiming at reviving the peace process. " He added that the policy of settlements, and the statements of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, over continuing settlement construction are rejected and counterproductive. He demanded that US to take a clear stance towards this settlement policy and to give the Arab and international efforts a chance to achieve security, stability and peace in the region. The US backed Road Map peace plan signed by both the Israelis and Palestinians demands the halt of violence, and freezing of settlement construction and expansion.

Palestinian leaders visit Yemen
Al Jazeera 3/18/2008
Two Palestinian delegations representing the Palestine Liberation Organization arrived in Sana’a to discuss the Yemeni initiative for boosting national Palestinian unity. Delegations plan to meet with YemenPresident Ali Abdullah Saleh on Wednesday to continue talks on the Yemeni peace plan. The meetings came as an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip wounded 12 Palestinians, including four members of Islamic Jihad; their car was struck in the northern city of Beit Lahiya. Israeli forces and cross border rocket attacks from Gaza had eased recently as Egypt tries to broker a truce. The delegation consists of Kamal Rafat, secretary general of the Democratic Federation, Azam Al Ahmed, chairman of parliamentary bloc and member of Fatah Shura council and Qays Abdulkareem, member of politburo of the Democratic Front for Liberation Palestine.

Hamas accepts Yemen reconciliation initiative
Reuters, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Hamas, Fatah agree to initiative calling for new Palestinian elections; ’dispute isn’t between Fatah and Hamas, it’s between action factions and Hamas,’ says Abbas aide -Fatah officials said Tuesday they were ready to begin a Palestinian national dialogue if the rivalHamas faction accepts the terms of a Yemeni initiative to end hostilities between them. "The dispute is not between Fatah and Hamas. . . It is between all the national action factions and Hamas. "Hamas has been singled out from the start when it used armed force," senior Abbas aide Azzam al-Ahmed told reporters in Yemen. A top Hamas official said later that his group was ready to accept a Yemeni initiative for reconciliation with the rival Fatah, but did not say if that means it accepts to relinquish its grip over the Gaza strip.

Lebanese newspaper: Israel plans to assassinate senior Hamas leader
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israel is currently planning to assassinate a senior Hamas leader before Egypt succeeds in brokering a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, a reliable Hamas source told the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar daily newspaper on Tuesday. The aim is to force Hamas to accept Israeli stipulations, the source said. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Hamas had received reliable information that Israel plans to assassinate a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip. According to the source, "Israel is focusing on four Hamas men; political leaders Isma’il Haniyeh, Mahmoud Az-Zahhar and military leaders Muhammad Deif and Ahmad Al-Ja’bary. " The source added that Israel has been postponing its response to the Egyptian ceasefire efforts, which Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed on.

Lebanon: Israeli warship entered our territorial waters
Associated Press, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Lebanese army says incident discovered after Italian ship working with UNIFIL identified the Israeli vessel - The Lebanese army says that an Israeli warship has entered Lebanese territorial waters. The army said Monday’s incident was discovered when an Italian ship working with the United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon spotted the Israeli vessel. It isn’t common for Israeli warships to enter Lebanese waters although Israel’s military planes frequently violate Lebanese airspace in the country’s south. The Israeli overflights have drawn ground fire from Lebanese troops on at least two occasions since the end of the 2006 summer war between Israel and Lebanon’s militant Hizbullah group. Lebanon insists entries into its waters or airspace violate the United Nations Security Council resolution that ended the 2006 conflict.

IDF denies claims one of its warships entered Lebanese waters
Jerusalem Post 3/18/2008
The IDF on Tuesday evening denied claims by the Lebanese army that one of its warships had entered Lebanese territorial waters. The Lebanese military said Monday’s incident was discovered when an Italian ship working with the United Nations peace-keepers in Lebanon spotted the vessel. It isn’t common for Israeli warships to enter Lebanese waters although IAF planes frequently penetrate Lebanese airspace in the country’s south. [end]

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the Middle East
European Union, ReliefWeb 3/14/2008
Middle East Peace Process 1. The EU expresses its full support for the Annapolis process and its commitment to support the parties in their negotiations with a view to achieve a two-state solution. A just and sustainable solution to all aspects of the Middle East Peace Process can only be achieved through negotiation. Despite the difficulties that the process has recently experienced, the EU welcomes the intention of the parties to resume their negotiations and looks forward to an early meeting of Quartet principals. 2. The EU is deeply concerned about the recent violence in Gaza and southern Israel, especially the civilian casualties. It condemns in the strongest terms the "terrorist" attack on a seminary in Jerusalem on 6 March and the continued rocket attacks.

McCain rep to Jewish crowd: the Christian right is ’serious problem’
Shmuel Rosner, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Whenever Lawrence Eagleburger, former Secretary of State and the representative of the McCain campaign in a Jewish gathering, was called upon to respond, he was writing a new chapter of the straight-talk book. The location keeps changing, and the speakers might be different as well, but the goal remains the same: courting the Jewish vote. Today, it was in Washington, at the Washington 15 Conference, an event of the United Jewish Communities aimed at young Jewish leadership. And three campaigns sent their representatives to convince these young enthusiastic crowd that Obama/Clinton/McCain is the candidate they should be voting for. For Obama, it was advisor (and former ambassador to Israel) Daniel Kurtzer. For Clinton, it was senior advisor Ann Lewis. McCain dispatched the most senior speaker of the three, former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger.

J’lem: Peres, McCain discuss Iranian threat
Aviram Zino and AP, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Israeli president tells US presidential hopeful ’combination of "terror", nuclear capabilities and irresponsible leadership poses a danger to the entire world’; earlier American tourists scramble to shake McCain’s hand as he arrives at Yad Vashem; senator writes in visitors’ book: I am deeply moved. Never again - "Iran is not solely Israel’s problem. The combination of "terror", nuclear capabilities and irresponsible leadership poses a danger to the entire world," President Shimon Peres told visiting US senator John McCain on Tuesday. " The Arab countries in the region are also fearful of Iran," Peres told the US presidential hopeful at his official residence in Jerusalem. Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina also took part in the meeting, during which McCain expressed his concern over Iran’s funding and training of extremist elements in the Middle East.

Israelis look ahead to post-Bush White House
Reuters, YNetNews 3/18/2008
While it appears that among Israeli citizens Clinton has the upper hand, many Israelis feel that Bush’s pro-Israel shoes are too big for any candidate to fill - Israelis about to lose one of their best friends in the White House are taking a close look at the leading candidates to replace him. US President George W. Bush’s successor will face the challenge of either moving ahead in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process or picking up the pieces of the former’s second-term effort to reach a statehood deal this year. Israelis will get an opportunity to hear what one presidential hopeful, the expected Republican nominee Senator John McCain, has to say on their home turf on Tuesday. Israeli media speculated that Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would also visit Israel in the coming weeks.

McCain to Peres: My concern over Iranian threat has increased
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
U. S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain met with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Tuesday, and expressed his fears regarding the threat posed by Iran. "Iran is funding, training, and aiding extremist groups," McCain told Peres. "My concern over this issue has increased following my current tour of the Middle East. "He added that he was worried by Iran’s negative effect on the region. McCain is in the midst of a week-long tour of Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Britain and France. He described the trip as a fact-finding, mission, not a campaign photo opportunity. Peres told McCain during their meeting that the Iranian threat is not limited to Israel, saying "a combination of ’terror’, nuclear capability and irresponsible leadership creates a threat to the entire world. . . "

Shifting Towards Israel?
Oakland Ross, MIFTAH 3/18/2008
A United Nations panel voted overwhelmingly this month to condemn Israel for a recent armed incursion in the Gaza Strip that claimed more than 120 lives, many of them civilian. Thirty-three member countries of the 47-seat UN Human Rights Council endorsed the resolution, which accused Israel of war crimes in its ongoing battles against Palestinian militants in Gaza. Those in favour of censuring the Jewish state included China, India and Russia. Thirteen countries abstained, among them seven European governments. But one nation stood alone against the denunciation of Israel, and that country was not the United States – Israel’s leading foreign supporter – or even Israel itself, for neither country has a seat on the human rights body. Instead, the lone dissenter was Canada. " We’re very happy that we see things in a similar way," Carmela Shamir, deputy director of the North America division at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview last week.

Szrdrab of the EU visits Charity organizations in Hebron
International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
The political advisor of the European Union, Maya Szrdrab, visited on Tuesday several headquarters of Charitable Organizations in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The organizations are slated to shut down after Israel issued ordered to close them. Szrdrab was accompanied by members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) and delegates of the Young Muslim Men Association and the Islamic Charitable Society in the city. She visited schools belonging to the two societies and several orphanages, stores and shops that were attacked by the Israeli army and sustained considerable damages and losses. The delegates of the charitable organizations informed Szrdrab on the consequences of the Israeli attacks and the disastrous consequences which will occur if Israel implements its orders to close the charitable societies especially since thousands of needy students and orphans will be affected by these orders.

Report: Explosives, mines found near Egypt-Gaza border
AFP, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Egyptian security forces find 1100lbs of explosives near border, locate second mine stash nearby. Weapons nabbed shortly before being smuggled into Strip, says Egyptian police - The Egyptian police uncovered 1100lbs of explosives and 40 landmines in the last two days, a source in the Egyptian security forces reported Tuesday. The caches were found in two separate locations near the Egypt-Gaza border and were meant, according to the source, to find their way into Gaza Strip. Some 10 days ago, the Egyptian security forces reported uncovering six tunnels used to smuggle weapons into the Strip, and destroyed them. The tunnels, according to an Associated Press report, were dug under the Egyptian-Gaza border, along agricultural land and several townships. In mid February, a 440lbs cache of TNT explosives was uncovered by Egyptian security forces near the Gaza border.

An unwelcome welcome
Yehuda Lankri, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Maariv recently wrote about "disappointment in the Foreign Ministry" concerning the new U. S. ambassador to Israel, James Cunningham, whose appointment is described by Israeli "diplomatic sources" as a weak and strange choice of "a diplomatic bureaucrat" who lacks understanding of, and diplomatic background in, the Middle East. Both in form and essence, the reservations of the sources in Jerusalem are curious and even obnoxious. The statements do not further the relationship between the U. S. and Israel, and they tarnish the diplomatic protocol concerning the appointment of ambassadors. It is doubtful whether any "official sources" would welcome an intended Israeli ambassador by challenging his or her suitability or professional ability. One might also suppose that there are countries where a responsible newspaper would not squander. . .

Palestinian-Israeli conflict reaches Facebook website
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center 3/18/2008
Due to complaints from Israeli settlers over the selection of geographical location, the American based Facebook website will now allow a choice between stating one’s home in either Israel or Palestine. The settlers formed a group on Facebook named "its Israel not Palestine", which rapidly grew to include some 13,000 members accusing the American service of having a political agenda. In response, Facebook administrators have allowed then to choose between Palestine or Israel as their location. Communications manager at Facebook, Brandi Barker, stated that settlers living in settlement blocks in the West Bank can now choose their country as Palestine or Israel, as they prefer. Palestinian subscribers of Facebook formed a group, named ’its Palestine not Israel’, which also attracted considerable attention, gaining some 4300 members.

VIDEO - News / Militants who killed 2 Israeli hikers grant rare interview
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for March 18, 2008. In this edition:The Palestinian militants who killed two Israeli hikers near Hebron grant a rare interview. Angela Merkel delivers a historic Knesset address in German. A Palestinian stabs and lightly hurts an ultra-Orthodox rabbi in East Jerusalem. U. S. presidential hopeful John McCain arrives in Israel for a two day visit. [end]

Arab Knesset member slams Israeli police for indifference to extremists’ assault on Jabal Al-Mukabbir
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset Talab As-Sani’, chair of the United Arab List on Monday held the Israeli police responsible for the extremists’ aggression on the home of Ala’ Abu Dhaim, the man who opened fire in Israeli school in Jerusalem. As-Sani’ said in a statement that the Israeli police new in advance of the extremists’ intention to try to demolish the house, yet police exerted no efforts to stop them. "Had the assault been conducted by Arab citizens against a Jewish house, the police would have behaved differently, and their hands would have been very quick to pull the triggers and hit dozens," the statement added. As-Sani’ called on the Israeli minister of public security Avi Dichter to learn from the experience and make sure it is not repeated. He also demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Jailed Barghouti mulls running for Palestinian presidency
Avi Issacharoff, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Jailed Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti said Monday that he is considering running for the Palestinian Authority presidency in the next elections that are expected to take place in 2009 or 2010. "When the date of the elections is decided, I will make my decision," Barghouti said in a message he passed on to his attorney. Barghouti’s comments came only a few hours after a poll showed that the Israel Defense Forces attacks in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have boosted the popularity of the Islamist group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh among Palestinians in that territory and in the West Bank. The survey by the West Bank-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that if new presidential elections were held, Haniyeh would receive 47 percent of the vote compared with 46 percent for President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah faction.

MK Haim Oron to become next Meretz chairman after primaries win
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
MK Haim Oron is poised to become Meretz’s next party chairman, after gaining more than 50 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s party primaries with nearly 100 percent of the votes counted. Oron’s rivals, MKs Ran Cohen and Zahava Gal-On, each garnered 22 percent of the vote. Some 70 percent of Meretz’s 15,000 members turned out at 132 polling stations nationwide, in order to choose a replacement for current party chairman MK Yossi Beilin. "I spoke with Ran and with Zahava and both of them congratulated me on my victory," said Oron. The incoming Meretz chairman said he would be open to leading his party into Prime Minister Ehud Olmer’s coalition government. "If I get an offer I will consider it and we will discuss it," he said, adding however that "given the way the government is performing currently and since its inauguration I see no room to join it.

MK Oron voted new Meretz chairman
Attila Somfalvi, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Oron to replace Beilin after easily beating out MKs Cohen, Gal-On in chairmanship race. Beilin says will remain politically active -Knesset Member Chaim Oron won Meretz’s internal elections Tuesday night and will replace Yossi Beilin as the leftist party’s chairman. Oron won 54. 5% of the votes, while fellow MKs Ran Cohen and Zahava Gal-On gained 27. 1% and 18. 1% of the votes, respectively. A second election round will not be necessary as the winner gained more than 50% of the votes. Oron will attempt to retrieve some of the party’s influence, which has been waning over the past 15 years. "I have received the authorityand responsibility to make Meretz more powerful and influential," he said in his victory speech, "we stand before a difficult chapter in the life of the party. " Earlier on Tuesday Cohen filed a complaint with the dovish party’s election. . .

Chief Rabbi Amar: We have done Ethiopian Jewry a grievous wrong
Tani Goldstein, YNetNews 3/18/2008
Chief rabbis, Knesset Internal Affairs committee hold meeting concerning 8,000 members of Falash Mura still in Ethiopia. Rabbi Amar proposes amending the law, allowing them to make aliyah - Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar said Monday during a joint meeting with the Knessets Internal Affairs and Environment Committee that "the State of Israel, the Chief Rabbinate included, has done Ethiopias Jews a grievous wrong. "We are all culpable, and we are all to blame for not bringing Ethiopias Jewry home with the rest of the Jewish people," said Rabbi Amar, following a heated debate concerning governmental policy towards Ethiopian immigrants. "No amount of heartfelt words can change that fact. " According to data presented to the committee, over 8,000 members of Ethiopias Falash Mura, the descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity to escape discrimination. . .

Female thieves gang nabbed in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 3/18/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian general intelligence service affiliated to the Hamas-led de facto government in the Gaza Strip seized a gang of female thieves on Tuesday. The three women are accused of stealing briefcases belonging to female schoolteachers. According to the de facto interior ministry, the gang are from the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. All three have admitted to the robberies. [end]

Jerusalem: the East Side Story premieres tonight
Palestine News Network 3/18/2008
The highly acclaimed film director and human rights activist Mohammed Alatar will be in London for the premiere of his new film "Jerusalem: the East Side Story" tonight in London’s Curzon Soho Studio. Alatar said earlier that he did not make the film so that "people would like it because there is nothing to like about occupation. "He hopes that the film will bring attention to the continually unfolding horror in the city at the hands of the Israelis. Mohammed Alatar’s previous film "The Iron Wall" was hailed around the world for its depiction of the fate of Palestine since 1948 until today, under the policies of exclusion and dispossession of successive Israeli governments. The evening will be introduced by Victoria Brittain, to a sold out venue, which will include MPs, members of the House of Lords, the Palestinian representative to the UK Prof.

An outside view of the inside of Bethlehem
Palestine News Network 3/18/2008
"Militant’s death unites Bethlehem - Stalled peace process fuels support for Hizbollah" - PNN is running this piece published in the Observer regarding the life and death of Mohammad Shehada, assassinated by Israeli Special Forces on Wednesday along with four other former members of the armed resistance. It indicates some of the perspective of the outside on the targeted assassinations of four popular figures active in local politics, and illustrates what the outside thinks of our insides. Holy Land Trust’s Sami Awad was interviewed. -- The Observer /London: Toni O’Loughlin -- Outside Betlehem’s Nativity Church, Christians yesterday queued not to celebrate the birth they believe happened here but to mourn a death -- that of a Palestinian militant with close links to neighbouring Lebanon’s Islamic militia, Hizbollah.

Israeli historian on Sadat’s gamble
Saeed Taji Farouky in London, Al Jazeera 3/11/2008
In 1989, Benny Morris, the founder of Israel’s New Historian movement, published The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, questioning the traditional Israeli view of the Middle East’s longest conflict. In April, Morris will publish his latest book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, about the creation of the state of Israel. Al Jazeera met with him at London’s Jewish Book Week, held in late February, to discuss the impact of the 1973 Yom Kippur War on Arab unity. Al Jazeera: Why did Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat launch the war of 1973? Morris: Sadat gambled correctly; he wanted to dislodge the logjam. He wasn’t going to get Sinai back unless he did something hard and he decided a war would do it and he was right It broke the logjam, he got Sinai back within nine years. So his calculation was correct. How did the war affect the philosophy of Pan-Arabism? . . .

Olmert: No reason for panic
Zeev Klein, Globes Online 3/18/2008
"If there isn’t another collapse in the world, Israel’s economy will continue to grow. " Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that the Israeli economy will continue to grow despite the global economic crisis. In intergnal overnment discussions he said, "If there isn’t another collapse in the world, Israel’s economy will continue to grow. We can weather what has already happened. If there isn’t another collapse, Israel’s economic stability will persist. " In his first public comment about the crisis, Olmert told "Globes", "What has happened so far is liable to affect Israel’s exports, and it’s necessary to examine these effects. In any event, there is no reason for panic. "Olmert added his full backing for Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer and the measures that he took last week in intervening in the foreign exchange market.

EcoTraders brings greenhouse gas emissions trading to Israel
Ora Coren TheMarker, Ha’aretz 3/18/2008
Seven years ago, when Adi Dishon sat in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem library and gathered material for a seminar project, she had no idea the project would evolve into a career and a company that would be established in 2003. Today, EcoTraders, which Dishon founded along with former Environment Ministry Director General Roni Kumar, is an internationally-known company operating in the niche of greenhouse gas trading, a new market that is growing at a double-digit rate with an annual turnover of tens of billions of euros. Roughly two weeks ago, following prolonged negotiations, the British fund Trading Emissions PLC, which deals in emissions trading with a $300 million annual turnover, decided to invest in the company as a strategic partner. Dishon (CEO) and Kumar’s (chairman) EcoTraders is now worth several million dollars.

Shekel-dollar rate again dips below 3.40
Efrat Perez-Harpaz, Globes Online 3/18/2008
The exchange rate fell ahead of an expected steep rate cut by the Fed. Despite this week’s global market turmoil and the Bank of Israel intervention in trading at the end of last week, the shekel continues to strengthen against the dollar. The representative shekel-dollar exchange rate fell 1. 34% to NIS 3. 38/$ today, the shekel-euro exchange rate fell 1. 19% to NIS 5. 337/€, and the shekel-pound exchange rate fell 0. 71% to NIS 6. 823/₤. In inter-bank trading after the setting of the representative rate, the shekel has weakened slightly against both the dollar and the euro, and is currently traded at 3. 386/$ and 1. 5774/€. The dollar has fallen in value against most major currencies, with the euro reaching its strongest level since that currency was launched, as the euro strengthened 1. 46% to $1.

Rabintex wins US Army ambulance deal
Efrat Peretz-Harpaz, Globes Online 3/18/2008
Burtek won a $27 million tender, which could expand to $94 million. Rabintex Industries Ltd. (TASE: RABN ) US subsidiary Burtek Inc. has won a $27 million tender to supply 920 ambulances to the US Army. Deliveries will be made during 2008. The contract is part of a non-binding three-year agreement worth $94 million. This is the first time that Burtek will be a direct supplier to the US Army; until now it has operated as a subcontractor. [end]

24 NGOs urge US and UK to address Iraqi refugee crisis
Various undersigned, ReliefWeb 3/17/2008
A coalition of US and British NGOs sent the following letter to President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki: Dear Sirs, On the 5th anniversary of the start of allied action in Iraq, we write to express our deep concern that so little has been done by your governments to address the desperate plight of Iraqis who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the on-going conflict. The movement of refugees is on a scale not seen in the Middle East since 1948, and although more international attention has focused on the issue in the last 12 months, far too little has been done to tackle the displacement crisis. Iraqi refugees are a traumatized population. Conflict, violence and persecution has driven many from their homes and many have witnessed the death of family and friends What savings they had to support themselves are rapidly

Al-Hajj’s Guantanamo cartoon banned
Al Jazeera 3/18/2008
The US army has banned the publication of four cartoons drawn by Sami al-Hajj, the Al Jazeera cameraman held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to his lawyer. The pieces, called Sketches of My Nightmare, include a drawing depicting al-Hajj, who has been on hunger strike for eight months, as a skeleton being force fed by US guards. The drawings were submitted to the military censor but they would not permit their release. However, detailed descriptions of the sketches were allowed through the censorship process and Lewis Peake, a political cartoonist, was able to recreate one entitled Scream for Freedom. Al Hajj described the way he sees himself being force fed in theso-called "Torture Chair" - the restraint chair into which they are strapped twice a day to have a 110cm tube forcibly inserted into one nostril so that liquid food can be administered. The tube is pulled out after each feeding and the prisoner is left in the chair for up to two hours so he can be force fed again if he vomits.

US tight-lipped on reports of meeting with Shiites
Hussein Abdallah, Daily Star 3/19/2008
BEIRUT: The US Embassy on Tuesday refused to either confirm or deny information published in Lebanese newspaper Ad-Diyar on Tuesday about an alleged meeting Monday night between US Charge D’affaires Michel Sison and a number of independent Shiite politicians at the mission in Awkar. "The US charge d’affaires meets with Lebanese frequently," embassy sources told The Daily Star on Tuesday. The newspaper had said the meeting included former Energy and Water Minister Mohammad Abdel-Hamid Beydoun, Khalil Khalil, who is the son of late MP Kazem Khalil, Ministry of Social Affairs Director Neamat Kanaan and others. The meeting was aimed at discussing the possibility of reshuffling the current Lebanese Cabinet in a bid to replace the five resigned Shiite ministers, according to Ad-Diyar. The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, is missing seven ministers after six opposition. . .

Khomeini’s grandchild breaks her silence
Omid Memarian, Asia Times 3/19/2008
BERKELEY, California - If your grandfather was the founder of the first IslamicRepublic of Iran in 1979, you would probably expect to have a very comfortablelife in the land of ayatollahs, where Mahmud Ahmadinejad is president andRuhollah Khomeini’s successor has absolute power. But you would be wrong. " No recreation is available to us. Arrests are the order of the day. Studentsare secretly arrested and imprisoned in droves," the granddaughter of Khomeini,Zahra Eshraghi, told Inter Press Service in a telephone interview from Tehran. In 1979, Eshraghi’s grandfather sent shock waves around theworld by leading the last great revolution of the 20th century. Nearly 30 yearslater, she feels that Iran is in peril. " The whole country is under pressured silence, begging to ask questions, but,unfortunately, no one in the regime is protesting," she said. "It may take manyyears for a person to destroy a country, but [hardliners] have managed toaccomplish this in a just a few. "


Articles


Stalemate is increasing Hamas’ popularity
Rami G. Khouri, Daily Star 3/19/2008
      The likelihood of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks making real progress this year is very slim, but that does not keep the parties from meeting and making hopeful statements. US President George W. Bush’s planned trip to Israel in May looms for many as a critical moment when any progress toward a permanent peace accord will have to be clear.
     Events on the ground suggest that Washington will continue to go through the motions of mediating a peace accord, without necessarily exercising its full political clout in an evenhanded manner to help bring one about. This was suggested by its recent performance in the tripartite committee established at Annapolis to monitor implementation of the "road map" to peace, particularly the compliance of Israelis and Palestinians with specific political and security conditions.
     The committee held its first meeting in Jerusalem last week, chaired by American General William Fraser, who was immediately insulted by the Israeli decision to send a mid-level Defense Ministry official, Amos Gilad, while the Palestinians sent Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The Americans are playing their critical arbiter’s role in a very low-key manner that borders on nonchalance, guaranteeing failure.

Farmers struggle to stay on their land

Rebecca Murray, Electronic Lebanon, Electronic Intifada 3/18/2008
      TYRE, Lebanon, 17 March (IPS) - "I think the biggest challenge is to stay in the village," says Ibrahim Sayyed, a 28-year-old municipality accountant from the beleaguered farming town of Aitaroun, situated barely a mile from the heavily patrolled Blue Line and Israel beyond.
     "My father and grandparents told me stories going back to 1948. All this time there has been war."
     Sayyed is watching the distribution of up to 120 goats to impoverished local dairy farmers in Aitaroun’s dusty town square, a joint effort by the Tyre-based Mine Action Coordination Centre in South Lebanon (MACC-SL) and international charity World Vision, to improve agricultural livelihoods for those hit especially hard during the conflict with Israel in 2006.
     Hassan Issa, a bearded 25-year-old family man, hauls three goats towards his truck parked along the edge of the square. He lost two-thirds of his 250-strong herd during the conflict, and an additional 40 to unexploded cluster munitions scattered in the fields. Issa himself fell victim to an exploding sub-munition just over a year ago, losing his hearing in one ear, and scarring the side of his head, torso and leg.

Rendering the PA Irrelevant

Ghassan Khatib, MIFTAH 3/18/2008
      Although the calm in Gaza did not last for more than a few days it marks a very significant development in the ongoing power struggle between Israel, Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
     Israel has always avoided giving any impression that Hamas could be a counterpart for anything, whether peace or war. Hamas, in turn, has been willing to take all the necessary steps in order to appear, in the eyes of the Palestinian public and maybe the Arab public at large, as the only Palestinian party that is either fighting the atrocities of the occupation or representing the Palestinian side in any ceasefire.
     The Palestinian Authority, for its part, worries about the possible development of any kind of interaction between Israel and Hamas, because that will affect not only its credibility, but also the legitimacy of the PA as the leadership of the Palestinian people and thus the proper counterpart in any arrangement with Israel.

Hizbullah’s valor is best served by discretion for now

Marc J Sirois, Daily Star 3/19/2008
      These are not easy days for Hizbullah and its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Subjected to heavy and conflicting pressures from both inside and outside Lebanon, it and he have several crucial decisions to take in the coming days, weeks and months. How these are handled will have an enormous impact on the fate of the entire country - and so on the organization’s ability to pursue its political, social and strategic goals.
     This weekend, it will have been 40 days since the assassination in Damascus of Imad Mughniyeh, a man reputed to have been the brains behind Hizbullah’s martial endeavors for a quarter-century. The Israeli government, which the resistance accuses of having orchestrated the hit, has issued some not very convincing denials - and vowed both publicly and privately that there will be hell to pay for any revenge attack, which it expects to ake place about 40 days after Mughniyeh’s death, traditionally a period of mourning. Through various organs, the Israelis have threatened to do even more damage to South Lebanon than they did during the summer 2006 war, and/or to attack Syria as well.

Take off the Masks

Gadi Gvaryahu, MIFTAH 3/18/2008
      One cannot but recall that Jewish murderers who massacred others with a machinegun at the Cave of the Patriarchs and in the Islamic College in Hebron.
     One cannot but recall the funeral held for “Baruch (Goldstein) the man” at his magnificent gravesite and the park around it. And this is what one of the important rabbis of Religious Zionism said in his eulogy for the killer from Hebron: “He is a martyr killed by gentiles for being a Jew, and therefore he joins the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.” One cannot but recall the honor bestowed upon his relatives. So take off the masks.
     One cannot but recall the Jew who entered the Islamic college in Hebron armed with a machinegun and murdered three students. He was sentenced to life in prison and later pardoned by the president. Today he is known as a rabbi and publishes articles. And we have not forgotten the Jewish murderer who killed seven Arab laborers at the Gan Havradim junction in 1990. So take off the masks.