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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.

VTJP Archives | Newslinks Archives  
14 April 2008

News

Fuel-starved Gaza facing blackouts
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Gaza Strip will be blacked out within a few hours after Gaza’s only power plant shuts down due to Israeli fuel cuts, Palestinian officials in Gaza said on Monday. Mahmoud Al-Khizindar, the deputy president of the federation of gas stations in Gaza, told Ma’an that no fuel has been delivered to Gaza since Palestinian fighters attacked the Nahal Oz fuel terminal, killing two Israeli workers last Wednesday. Israeli attacks in Gaza also killed seven Palestinians that day. Al-Khizindar explained that just 45,000 liters were transferred to the power station on Sunday. This amount of fuel will last only a few more hours, he said. Israeli officials say that the closure of the fuel terminal will continue. Gaza has suffered an interrupted electricity supply over nine months as Israel has gradually reduced shipents of fuel and other vital comodities.

Israeli forces storm home of former Palestinian minister near Hebron
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Hebron – Ma’an – Israeli forces stormed home of imprisoned former Palestinian minister and Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Nayif Rajoub in the southern West Bank town of Dura, west of Hebron, on Monday, witnesses said. Rajoub’s family said heavily-armed Israeli soldiers surrounded the house at 1am, throwing stones at the windows, smashing several of them. Rajoub’s wife, Umm Hudhayfa, told Ma’an that the soldiers forced the family into the street and ransacked the house. The soldiers confiscated green Hamas flags, 1,500 Jordanian Dinars, 3,000 NIS, and her children’s savings. Rajoub, the former minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, was detained by Israel in June 2006, and has been imprisoned ever since. He was elected in the Hebron district in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Israel kills seven, mostly civilian teenagers, in Gaza invasion
Report, Al Mezan, Electronic Intifada 4/14/2008
At approximately 4am 11 April 2008, a special unit of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) penetrated on foot into the Gaza Strip. The force mobilized at the Gaza border and moved one kilometer into northeastern al-Bureij refugee camp, where it broke into a number of houses and took positions atop them. This force was backed by many tanks, military vehicles, and drones. IOF tanks opened fire indiscriminately in the area and bulldozed fields planted with olive trees. At approximately 1pm, IOF opened fire at a group of children, who are residents of the nearby area. As a result, 13-year-old Riyad Sherif al-Owais was killed and five other children were injured. In all, seven people were killed in this incursion. At approximately 2:20pm later that day, IOF fired an artillery shell at a group of children and teenagers who gathered to watch the incursion.

Barak: Diesel intended for Gaza power station, not cars
Ali Waked, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Barak orders diesel shipment for power station, not cars. Meanwhile Gaza universities claim students unable to attend classes due to lack of fuel - Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered on Monday the renewal of diesel shipments to Gaza’s power station on. Only the minimal amount required to maintain the station’s operations will be transferred. In addition to this, Israel will also allow shipments of cooking gas into the Strip. At this point petrol and diesel fuels used for transportation needs will not be supplied. The transfer will only commence on Wednesday due to security coordination efforts. Barak’s decision follows a request issued by Egyptian leaders. According to the new agreement, which was ratified by the High Court of Justice several weeks ago, the Palestinians will receive 581,000 gallons of diesel for the power station.

IAF strike kills DFLP militant in northern Gaza
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
An Israeli aircraft hit a vehicle in a missile strike in northern Gaza late Monday, killing a person getting out of the car, witnesses and health officials said. The witnesses said the man was apparently the target of the Israeli strike. He was identified as Ibrahim Abu Olba, 42, from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry said he died of his wounds in a Gaza hospital. Three bystanders were also hurt, he said. The DFLP has claimed responsibility for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel. The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that it carried out the strike targeting Abu Olba, who it said had been involved in a string of attacks against Israel and was planning more. Israel often targets suspected militants with airstrikes, often targeting rocket squads or their commanders.

Islamic charity in Hebron fears closure
Shabtai Gold/IRIN, IRIN - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 4/14/2008
HEBRON, 14 April 2008 (IRIN) - A Palestinian charity in the West Bank city of Hebron is concerned it will be shut by the Israeli military and forced to close its orphanages and schools, employees at the institution told IRIN. The Israeli military has ordered the closure of buildings rented by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS), saying it is working for Hamas. "At first we thought maybe they were just taking the business side of the charity, but now, after we appealed to the Israeli high court, our lawyer realised the orders mean they really want to close everything, including the schools and orphanages," said Rashid Rashid from the ICS. Some 240 boys and girls aged 5-18 live at the orphanages, while thousands of other children, many of whom have lost at least one parent, receive schooling, food and clothing from the charity.

Palestinian security forces arrest 21 Hamas supporters in the West Bank, Hamas says
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The Hamas movement claimed that Fatah-allied Palestinian security forces seized 21 Hamas supporters in the West Bank on Monday. Twelve of the arrestees were from Bethlehem. The rest where from Jenin, Qalqilia, Salfit, Tulkarem and Hebron, Hamas said. [end]

Gaza children get foreign treatment at home
Reuters, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Australian surgeon who operated on Palestinian children says his 10-day mission ’overwhelming’ - JABALYA CAMP, Gaza Strip -An Australian surgeon operated on Monday on Palestinian children in need of care unavailable in the Gaza Strip or not readily attainable elsewhere due to Israeli restrictions on the Hamas ruled area. Dr. Paddy Dewan, an Australian sent to the Gaza Strip by the Kind Cuts for Kids Foundation, said patients requiring specialist treatment and local doctors and nurses in need of advanced training lent urgency to a 10-day mission he described as "overwhelming". "I am teaching nurses and doctors how to look after those patients. They are fast learners," Dewan told Reuters inside the surgery room with two Palestinian assistant doctors. In one life-saving operation, Dewan removed a blockage that was stopping a two-day-old Palestinian baby from ingesting.

Two houses in Marda village searched by Israeli Army, 14 year old boy detained for six hours, beaten
International Womens’ Peace Service 4/14/2008
Human Rights Report No. 343 - Date of incident: 14. 04. 2008 - Place: Marda, Salfit District - Witness/es: Family members/IWPS team members - Description of Incident: Around 4 O’clock in the afternoon of Monday April the 14th 2008 the Israeli Army entered the village of Marda with several jeeps. They set up a checkpoint in the centre of the village and searched two family houses, detaining a 14 year old boy from one of the houses. According to the mother of the first house, six children aging between 4 and 16 were alone at home, and to frightened to open when several soldiers were banging at the door. The mother of the house, who was visiting relatives living near by, was notified by the neighbours and came to open the door from the outside. The soldiers then immediately stormed into the house, searching the house and taking the children to the roof for about 1 ½ hours.

Elderly man beaten at Huwara Checkpoint
Palestine News Network 4/14/2008
Nablus / Amin Abu Wardeh -- Israeli checkpoints are one of the most trying parts of living under occupation. There are hundreds throughout the West Bank preventing freedom of movement. Yesterday at noon a soldier occupying one of the checkpoints in Nablus attacked an 80 year old Palestinian man. It was Huwara Checkpoint in Nablus. The sun was high and the elderly man suffering from fatigue while waiting in the long line to pass. Others who were also waiting allowing him to go ahead of them and as he tried to move through an Israeli soldier began to severely beat the man. He was knocked to the ground and the soldier continued to hurl insults. Several in the crowd of people rushed to try to help the man and attack the soldier. They were unable to reach the soldier as several others rushed in as well. The others apologized and let the man pass.

Gisha calls for resumption of fuel supplies to Gaza
Gisha, ReliefWeb 4/13/2008
Gaza’s Power Plant may have to reduce production as early as Tuesday if industrial diesel supply is not resumed Sunday, April 13, 2008 - Gisha-Legal Center for Freedom of Movement appealed today to Israel’s Defense Minister to restore fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip via Nahal Oz, the only crossing through which Israel permits Gaza residents to purchase fuel. Nahal Oz has been closed since Wednesday, following an attack in which militants from Gaza killed two Israeli civilians working at the crossing. Gisha warned in a letter that Gaza’s power plant was exhausting its usable reserves and might have to reduce production as early as Tuesday, if supply is not restored. While Israel mostly allowed supply through Nahal Oz until last week, since October 2007, it has drastically restricted the quantity permitted to enter Gaza.

Gaza Strip ’facing blackout’
Al Jazeera 4/13/2008
The Gaza Strip’s only power station may have to shut down in two or three days if Israel continues to prevent fuel supplies from entering the territory, the plant’s director said. Israel halted deliveries last Thursday after Palestinian fighters attacked a fuel depot on near the Nahal Oz crossing between Israel and Gaza. The power plant’s fuel reserves were already low as Israel has been restricting fuel supples, saying it was hoping the move would force Palestinian fighters to end rocket attacks on Israel. "We receive fuel usually on a daily basis, but since last week we have received very little fuel," Rafiq Maliha, director of the Gaza power station company, told Al Jazeera. "If the fuel supply is not resumed as usual we have to shut down the power plant in a couple of days.

’Crucial’ for peace to include Hamas and Syria, Carter says
Joseph Krauss, Daily Star 4/15/2008
Agence France Presse - LOD, Israel: Former US President Jimmy Carter said on Monday that Syria and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas must be involved in any future peace deal, during a controversial visit to the region. "I think it’s absolutely crucial that in a final dreamed-about and prayed-for peace agreement for this region that Hamas be involved and that Syria be involved," he said at a conference near Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. Carter has drawn fire from US and Israeli officials over reports that he plans to meet with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal while in the Syrian capital later this week. "I’ll be meeting with all the factions of the Palestinians which is also controversial, I know," Carter said. Israel, the US and the EU consider Hamas - which won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 and has ruled the Gaza Strip since seizing power there in June - a terror outfit.

Qassam rockets are a crime, says Carter
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 4/14/2008
On backdrop of his forthcoming meeting with Hamas’ Mashaal in Damascus, former US president visits rocket-stricken Israeli town. In earlier meeting with Meretz MK Beilin, he says will work to secure kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit’s release - On the backdrop of his forthcoming controversial meeting with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, former US President Jimmy Carter visited the rocket-battered Israeli town of Sderot on Monday. During the visit, Carter said that the rocket fire directed at the southern city was a crime and that he would work to secure a ceasefire. The former president visited a number of sites in the city and met with the staff of the Sapir College, which recently sustained a fatal hit. During his visit to the local police station, Carter was presented with the remnants of hundreds of rockets fired at Sderot.

Carter offers to act as ’communicator’ between Hamas, U.S., Israel
Fadi Eyadat Reuters, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
Former U. S. President Jimmy Carter, defending a contentious plan to meet the leader of Hamas, said Monday he hoped to become a conduit between the militant group and Washington and even Israel. "Isolating Hamas is counterproductive," Carter said. Hamas rules Gaza but is ostracized by Israel, the U. S. and Europe as a terror group. "I think it is absolutely crucial that in the final and dreamed-about andprayed-for peace agreement for this region that Hamas be involved and Syria will be involved," Carter told a business conference outside Tel Aviv. "I can’t say that they will be amenable to any suggestions, but at least after I meet with them I can go back and relay what they say, as just acommunicator, to the leaders of the United States," he said.

VIDEO - Ex-U.S. President Carter answers questions from Haaretz Editor-in-Chief
Haaretz Staff, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for April 14, 2008. Former U. S. President Jimmy Carter fields questions from Haaretz Editor-in-Chief David Landau during an international Internet conference hosted by TheMarker. Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, brokered a peace treaty in 1979 between Israel and Egypt - the first such deal between Israel and an Arab neighbor. Carter is currently on a visit to the region that will also take him to the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. [end]

Jimmy Carter plans to meet a fuel-short Hamas
Joshua Mitnick, The Christian Science Monitor, ReliefWeb 4/14/2008
The former president arrived in Israel Sunday as Palestinians in Gaza continued to cope with an Israeli-imposed fuel blockade. - TEL AVIV - Israel blocked fuel supplies from entering Gaza for a fourth day Sunday, exacerbating a new energy shortage in the blighted coastal territory during a spike in cross-border fighting that has left at least 14 Palestinians dead. And as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met again Sunday, for the second time in less than a week, President Jimmy Carter arrived in the region in an effort to try a new approach: engage Hamas diplomatically. The former president has been boycotted by Mr. Olmert and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni for arranging a meeting with Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal in Syria, but a series of public appearances in Israel both before and after the Hamas meeting marks a gambit of public diplomacy with Islamic militants that could avoid a new Gaza flare-up.

Barghouthi: Former US president Jimmy Carter will see that Israel has chosen Apartheid over Peace
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 4/14/2008
Ramallah, 14/07/2008. Former US president Jimmy Carter, who arrived yesterday in Jerusalem, will visit the Middle East for a week, including the occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, declared that "Jimmy Carter is welcomed in the region by all the Palestinians. The Israeli occupation of Palestine has now evolved into a full-fledged Apartheid against all Palestinians. We trust Mr Carter to continue to courageously report the truth. " Dr. Barghouthi added that real peace negotiations need to involve all parties, and welcomed Jimmy Carter’s decision to meet with everyone without exception. Dr. Barghouthi concluded that "Israel has made the tragic choice of refusing peace in favor of Apartheid. Internationally respected figures like Jimmy Carter are needed to help explain to the Israeli public the folly of their leadership.

Pardoned Palestinian fighters return to PA custody after five-day protest
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Jenin – Ma’an – Forty-five Palestinian fighters returned to the custody of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the northern West Bank city of Jenin on Monday five days after leaving in protest of what they view as the PA’s failure to fulfill the terms of an amnesty agreement. Zakariyya Zubaidi, a senior leader of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah, said that the fighters agreed to return to the security headquarters after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to improve living conditions for the activists and their families. The men were among hundreds of resistance fighters, mainly from Fatah-affiliated factions, who agreed to hand over their weapons, renounce armed struggle, and spend three months in PA custody in exchange for amnesty from Israel. Senior Fatah leader ’Aamir As-Sa’di said that Fatah’s leadership in Jenin reported to the Palestinian leaders. . .

One million litres of fuel withheld in Gaza: UN
Agence France-Presse, ReliefWeb 4/14/2008
JERUSALEM, April 14, 2008 (AFP) - Gaza’s main fuel distributor is holding back one million litres of fuel, UN figures showed on Monday a day after Israel claimed Hamas was stage-managing a crisis in the Palestinian territory. However, a UN official who requested anonymity said that the current stocks of fuel and industrial gasoline stored in Gaza are sufficient for only several days. "The general petroleum association refuses to distribute in protest of the lack of supply of fuel by Israel," he said. The Palestinian General Petroleum Corporation is responsible for the distribution of fuel across the Hamas-run territory, where the union of petrol station owners went on strike several days ago in protest at the fuel cuts. Israel shut the Nahal Oz crossing and fuel terminal on Wednesday after a raid by Palestinian gunmen killed two Israeli employees and shattered a month-long lull in violence.

Mauritania mulls ending Israel ties
Al Jazeera 4/14/2008
Mauritania, one of three Arab League countries with diplomatic relations with Israel, has said it will review its relations with the Jewish state. President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi has come under mounting domestic political pressure to sever ties, following a recent gun attack and protests in support of the Palestinian people. Mauritania followed Egypt and Jordan in establishing full diplomatic ties with Israel in 1999. Full recognition of Israel, established by Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, president of Mauritania from 1984 to 2005, continued despite a peaceful coup in 2005 and a change of government. Embassy attack A gun attack on the Israeli embassy in Mauritania on January 31 left one French woman and two French-Mauritanians injured. No Israelis were hurt in the incident. The attack, claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, heightened fears of increased activity by al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the North-West African country and spurred protests against the government’s relations with Israel.

Hamas applauds Mauritania for reconsidering relations with Israel
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas applauded on Monday a reported decision by the president of Mauritania to reconsider his country’s diplomatic relations with Israel. Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum called the move "courageous," and "a step in the right direction. "Barhoum said he hopes Mauritania, and all Arab and Islamic nations, will follow through and sever relations with Israel completely. Barhoum called for the creation of an Arab-Islamic coalition with the power to support the Palestinian cause against a US axis that supports Israel and its crimes against the Palestinian people. Mauritania, Egypt and Jordan, are the only members of the Arab league that have normalized relations with Israel. Mauritania recognized Israel in 1999.

PA unveils plan to build 30,000 low cost homes in West Bank
The Associated Press, Ha’aretz 4/14/2008
The Palestinian Authority has unveiled a plan to build 30,000 affordable apartments in the West Bank and offer $500 million in long-term mortgages. Officials say the Palestinians need 65,000 new homes today, and demand is growing by 11,000 a year. Long-term loans are rare in the Palestinian territories. The housing plan was presented at a news conference Monday. The mortgage money is coming from the U. S. , Britain and the Palestinian government. New construction in seven or eight suburbs of West Bank cities is expected to create thousands of jobs. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the news conference and said such projects will help persuade Palestinians that they are on the way to a better future

Senior Al-Aqsa Brigades leader survives assassination attempt in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – An Israeli reconnaissance plane bombed the home of Khalid Hijazi, a senior leader in the armed wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City on Sunday evening, injuring seven bystanders. Hijazi himself survived the assassination attempt. Muawiyah Hassanain, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian Health Ministry said that seven injured Palestinians arrived at Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after the attack. Witnesses said the Israeli reconnaissance plane fired a missile at the third story of the house, causing massive material damage. [end]

PFLP’s military wing fire projectile at Kerem Shalom crossing
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
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 for firing a homemade projectile at the Gaza Strip’s Kerem Shalom crossing point. They said in a statement that the shelling came in retaliation for ongoing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. [end]

Islamic Jihad fighters ’clash’ with Israeli soldiers in Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility on Monday for fighting with Israeli troops in the Juhor Ad-Dik area, near Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. The Al-Quds Brigades said that they detonated an anti-personnel landmine during the battle. [end]

Israeli forces seize three Palestinians in Tulkarem
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Tulkarem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized three Palestinians in the West Bank city of Tulkarem after house-to-house searches on Monday, witnesses said. One of the detainees was affiliated to Islamic Jihad and another to Hamas. The affiliation of the third could not be ascertained. [end]

Abu Zuhri: Attempt on Muhaissen’s life due to his crimes against the resistance
Palestinian Information Center 4/14/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, stated Sunday that the attempt to assassinate Jamal Muhaissen, the governor of Nablus, in the city, northern West Bank, is a natural result of his crimes against the Palestinian resistance. In a press statement received by the PIC, Dr. Abu Zuhri underlined that Muhaissen is notorious for his track record of working against the Palestinian resistance fighters either through arrests, weapon confiscations or collaborating with the Israeli occupation against them. "We have warned many times that the crimes of the PA in Ramallah would only be counterproductive and the resistance in the Wes Bank would not yield to the crimes committed against it," the spokesman said. Palestinian eyewitnesses reported that unknown Palestinian fighters attacked amid gunfire at noon Sunday the convoy of Muhaissen in the Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus,. . .

Palestinians: IAF killed gunman in Beit Lahiya
Ali Waked and AP, YNetNews 4/15/2008
Sources say Israeli aircraft opened fire at DFLP commander while he was riding his bicycle in Beit Lahiya -An Israeli missile strike in northern Gaza killed a senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine late Monday, witnesses and health officials said. Ibrahim Abu Olba, 42, commander of the DFLP’s armed branch, was fired at by Israeli aircraft while riding his bicycle in Beit Lahiya, said Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry said, adding that three bystanders were hurt. The DFLP has claimed responsibility for some of the recent rocket attacks on Israel. The Israeli military confirmed that it carried out the strike targeting Abu Olba, who it said had been involved in a string of attacks against Israel and was planning more. Seven Palestinians were wounded Sunday night during an Israeli. . .

Egypt re-opens Gaza crossing border to hospitalize Palestinians
Deutsche Presse Agentur, ReliefWeb 4/14/2008
Cairo_(dpa) _ Egyptian authorities reopened Monday the Rafah crossing border to allow injured Palestinians to receive treatment in hospitals in Egypt, security and medical sources said. Ambulances carried some 22 wounded Palestinians to hospitals in Cairo, sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. Earlier, authorities opened up the Rafah border terminal for one day, allowing some 350 Egyptians who were stranded in Gaza after visiting their Palestinian relatives to re-enter Egypt. Cross-border movement was prevented after Cairo closed the last breach in its border with the Gaza Strip on February 3, ending free movement for Palestinians through a hole blown in the border wall by Palestinian gunmen. For 12 days, at least 350,000 Palestinians flooded Egypt’s border towns to stock up on supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade of the territory imposed in response to rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli border towns.

Family appeals for allowing them to visit their son in solitary confinement
Palestinian Information Center 4/14/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The family of prisoner Mahmoud Issa from the Anata town in occupied Jerusalem appealed to human rights organizations to help them to see their son imprisoned for 15 years and isolated in solitary confinement since seven years. In a telephone conversation with the Nafha society for the defence of human rights, Issa’s mother called on advocates of human rights to help her get a permit to visit her son even for one time before she passes away. Prisoner Issa, 40, was kidnapped 15 years ago in the summer of 1993, and the IOA issued three life sentences against him in addition to a 45-year prison term. The IOA renews his detention in solitary confinement year after year and issued a sentence against him depriving him from seeing his family during his prison term.

IWPS calls for the immediate release of Musa Abu Maria
International Womens’ Peace Service 4/14/2008
Haris, 14. 04. 2008 - The International Women’s Peace Service is deeply concerned about the arrest of Mousa Abu Maria on Friday 11th April, 2008 in the village of Beit Ommar, West Bank, Occupied Territories. His lawyers have informed us about the conditions surrounding his arrest and said that, although there is currently no evidence to put him on trial, he may soon be placed in administrative detention. International Human Rights Workers and Peace Activists participating in the IWPS program have known Mousa for many years as a community leader who full heartedly supports and organizes peaceful, non violent protests in cooperation with international and Israelis activists to resist the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The International Women’s Peace Service calls all involved Israeli authorities and especially on the Attorney General of Israel, Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit,

PLC member speaks out from Israeli prison
Palestine News Network 4/14/2008
Nablus / PNN - Palestinian Legislative Council member and political prisoner, Jamal Tirawi, said that 17 April will be the day that no one forgets the prisoners. "Our messages will be heard clearing from behind bars. " The deputy wrote a letter delivered through his lawyer calling for the people to "unite and move away from selfish and personal interests which are a waste of time. " He called on President Abbas and all Palestinian leaders and people to keep the issue of prisoners in their minds. In one form of resistance, Tirawi said, "The prisoners are boycotting the products and commodities in the Cantina in protest against rising prices. "The Cantina is the prison store where many people buy food to supplement the inadequate meals they are given, and also to buy personal products such as toothpaste and soap.

Saraya Al Quds defends Al Bureij Refugee Camp, central Gaza Strip
Palestine News Network 4/14/2008
Gaza / PNN -- Israeli forces continue to incur into the central Gaza Strip’s Al Bureij Refugee Camp. It has been going on for days, with some a quick in and out, or a circling of the camp. While other times it means have tank shelling and missile fire from warplanes. Several Palestinians have been killed and many more injured over the past week. The armed resistance continues to combat the Israelis in close proximity to the camp on the eastern boundary of the Strip. Saraya Al Quds, the armed resistance wing of Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility on Monday for detonating an anti-personnel explosive as Israeli forces moved near the refugee camp. In a statement issued today, Saraya Al Quds wrote that after the explosive was detonated, the armed resistance group opened fire towards Israeli forces.

RCA, UNRWA ink agreement to rehabilitate Palestinian refugee camp in Syria
Government of the United Arab Emirates, ReliefWeb 4/13/2008
The Red Crescent Authority (RCA) and United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), signed Thursday an agreement to rehabilitate ’al-Nayrab camp’ for Palestinian refugees in Syria. As per this agreement, the RCA will finance the project at cost Dh18 million, while UNRWA will supervise the execution phases of the project, which includes construction of 140 residential units to house 670, 000 refugees, besides building well-equipped health centre to serve 18, 000 refugees. Saleh Mohammed Al Mulla, Deputy Secretary General for Relief and Projects Affairs signed on the RCA side, while Ambassador Peter Ford, commissioner-general of UNRWA signed on behalf of UNRWA. Ford hailed the humanitarian role shouldered by the UAE in international arena in general and Palestine in particular, citing the UAE efforts in rehabilitation of Jenin camp in West Bank, construction. . .

UNRWA inaugurates new temporary housing near Nahr el Bared Camp in Northern Lebanon
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in, ReliefWeb 4/11/2008
GAZA, 11th April 2008 : The Deputy Commissioner General of UNRWA, Mr Filippo Grandi, has inaugurated new housing for over a hundred families near the Nahr el Bared Camp in North Lebanon, which was destroyed by fighting last year. This will bring the total number of temporary shelters UNRWA has built in the Adjacent Area to Nahr el Bared to 570, providing 440 families with housing. The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) has generously donated funds for the construction of temporary housing for refugees from Nahr el Bared and at a Press Conference in Tripoli today the EC representative, Ambassador Patrick Laurent, announced a further donation of 6,4 million euros to the Nahr el Bared Emergency Appeal. ’Our emergency work for millions of refugees has never been so urgent or important’, said Grandi today.

’US will connect Israel to missile warning system’
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/15/2008
JERUSALEM:The United States has agreed to connect Israel to its ballistic missile early warning system to warn of any missile attack from Iran, a senior Israeli defense official said on Monday. "Israel asked the US to connect to its ballistic missile early warning system as part of its efforts to defend itself from missile attacks, first of all from Iran," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "The US has agreed to the request," he said. Israel first benefited from the worldwide radar system, which was built in the 1950s, during the 1991 Gulf War when Iraq fired dozens of missiles at the Jewish state. It was put in action again during the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. Israel claims that Iran’s controversial nuclear program and its recent ballistic missile test firing are aimed at developing an atomic weapon, a claim denied by Tehran.

Livni uses Qatar visit to encourage Arab opposition to Iranian nuclear program
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/15/2008
DOHA: Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed Monday that she had lobbied for support against Iran’s nuclear program from Arab leaders in Qatar but dismissed as "speculation" reports that she sought help to win freedom for a captured Israeli soldier. "Iran represents the extremists in the region and this is a threat and challenge to the entire region," Livni told reporters in Doha when asked if she had sought support against Iran’s nuclear work. Livni charged Iran tries to undermine other regimes, works with "radical" Shiite elements such as Hizbullah and supports Hamas, a "terrorist organization" controlling Gaza "by weapons, training and money. ""It’s in the mutual interest of the region" to join hands against the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which is "the example of a rogue state," she said. Livni, who addressed a democracy forum, held talks earlier on Monday with Qatar’s. . .

Qatar’s emir tells Livni Israel should lift blockade on Gaza
Barak Ravid , and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
DOHA - Qatar’s prime minister, Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani, on Monday urged Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to end Israel’s "crippling blockade of Gaza due to the difficult humanitarian situation. "Meeting Livni at the 8th annual Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade, Sheikh al-Thani also called for the acceleration of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on a final-status arrangement. In her address, Livni declared that Gaza militant groups’ ongoing conflict with Israel is frustrating Palestinian ambitions for statehood. "The situation in the Gaza Strip is not just Israel’s problem - Gaza is becoming an obstacle to the establishment of a Palestinian state," Livni said in a keynote address. Although Israel fully withdrew all its forces from the Gaza Strip, "dismantled all settlements. . .

Livni holds landmark talks with Omani FM
Middle East Online 4/14/2008
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held talks with her Omani counterpart in Qatar Monday in what Israel hailed as the first such public meeting, but Oman’s chief diplomat ruled out an immediate reopening of Israel’s trade office in Muscat. Livni also met Qatar’s emir and prime minister, an aide said. Oman’s minister for foreign affairs Yusef bin Alawi bin Abdullah said he did not agree with Israeli views on the peace process and there was no question of reopening the Israeli office until agreement is reached on a Palestinian state. Livni, who is paying a rare visit to a Gulf Arab state, gave bin Alawi "an update on the negotiations with the Palestinians" during the meeting in the Qatari capital Doha, another aide said. The aide, who did not want to be named, said "the second objective of the meeting was to discuss the role of the Arab world in the peace process.

Livni in Qatar: Gaza an obstacle to Palestinian state
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Foreign affairs minister confronts ’apartheid’ claim made by Israeli Arab MK at Doha Forum: ’The fact that you are the Knesset deputy speaker is proof we are a democracy. ’ Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip not Israel’s problem, she says, but rather an impediment to Palestinian efforts to secure nation - "The greatest conflict today is between the moderates and the extremists. This is the challenge faced by the entire region. Gaza is not Israel’s problem, Gaza is an obstacle to the establishment of a Palestinian state," said Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni on Monday in her address before the ’Doha Forum’ in Qatar. "We must abandon the outdated perception that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root-cause of extremism and understand that our ability to resolve the conflict depends on the ability of extremists to prevent us from doing so. . . "

Livni speaks at Qatar conference
Al Jazeera 4/14/2008
Israel’s foreign minister has become the most senior Israeli official to visit the Gulf state of Qatar, speaking at Doha’s annual democracy forum. Tzipi Livini said at the conference on Monday that Arabs need not wait for Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians before normalising diplomatic ties. She said that both Arabs and Israelis were "members of the same camp", facing threats from groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. She also said she hoped "other Arab states will follow the example of Qatar" in maintaining ties with Israel. Qatar has low-level trade relations with Israel, but no formal diplomatic ties. High-level meeting Livni arrived in Doha on Sunday, where she was due to meet Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar’s emir, and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem. . .

Report: Israel proposes truce in Gaza
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/14/2008
London-based al-Hayat newspaper quotes Palestinian sources as saying that senior Egyptian officials delivered to Hamas, Islamic Jihad an Israel offer for calm in Strip, including halting Qassam rocket fire for period of six to 12 months. According to report, Hamas agreed to deal while rest of factions rejected it - Israel has submitted a new offer for a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip in return for a flexible stance on the crossings issue, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Monday. According to the report, Israel delivered the proposal to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad through senior Egyptian officials. The offer includes a demand that the Palestinian factions halt the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip for a period of six to 12 months.

Israel proposes Gaza ceasefire, including "flexibility" on border crossings
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Egypt has delivered an Israeli proposal for a short-term ceasefire to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on Monday. Israel is demanding a six month to one year halt on all shelling of Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip. In exchange, Israel would show flexibility about opening Gaza’s border crossings, including the Rafah crossing into Egypt. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida’s Palestinian sources said that Israel rejected a ceasefire in the West Bank because the territory is divided, according to the Oslo accords, into areas A, B, and C, resulting in mixed Palestinian and Israeli control. Furthermore, the Israelis refuse to withdraw from the areas they reoccupied during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. Hamas has reportedly accepted the idea of a ceasefire in Gaza.

Israel ’ready’ for Gaza truce if Egypt signs on
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/15/2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that Israel is ready to reach a truce with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip but through Egyptian mediation, a government spokesman said. Abbas made his comments at a Cabinet meeting in Ramallah the day after his second meeting in a week with Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. "The meeting [with Olmert] focused on a truce, the means of applying it and imposing security," said Palestinian government spokesman Riyad al-Malki. Abbas spoke "about Israeli conditions and claimed that Olmert showed he was ready for a truce with the Egyptians as intermediary," Malki said. Israel’s conditions for a Gaza truce included "a halt to all rocket attacks, respect for the truce by all [Palestinian] factions and an end to contraband" between Gaza and Egypt, he added.

Abbas, Olmert in second meeting in week
Middle East Online 4/14/2008
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Jerusalem on Sunday for talks which were announced only at the last minute less than a week after the two last met. Olmert and Abbas met one-on-one on Sunday afternoon at the premier’s residence to continue their discussions towards a peace agreement which the two hope to ink before US President George W. Bush leaves office in January 2009. They last met on Monday for the first time in more than seven weeks after Abbas suspended contacts following a massive Israeli blitz on the Gaza Strip in late February that killed upwards of 130 Palestinians. The two agreed last week to meet secretly before Abbas heads to Moscow and then to Washington, where he will meet Bush, an Israeli official said. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the meeting would "focus on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and ways of pushing the peace process forward.

Abbas to visit Jordan, Russia and US in push for Gaza ceasefire
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will begin a tour of Jordan, Russia, and the United States on Monday. In the US, Abbas is scheduled to meet US President George W. Bush. The trip, Abbas’ office says, is aimed at drumming up international support for a ceasefire between Israel and armed Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip. Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Abbas then fired a Hamas-Fatah unity government and appointed a caretaker cabinet that holds power in the West Bank. Abbas resumed formal peace negotiations with Israel last November. [end]

Abbas pledges to work towards Gaza ceasefire
Ma’an News Agency 4/14/2008
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority (PA) is now engaged in a massive diplomatic effort to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip in order to stop the shedding of Palestinian blood and lift the Israeli siege, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday. "We are endeavoring to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip through our Egyptian brothers, and we hope the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip will prioritize public interests and stop everything for the sake of reaching a ceasefire which will lay the grounds for a new stage," Abbas told TV and the PA’s official news agency WAFA. Abbas was speaking after a meeting of his cabinet in the West Bank city of Ramallah. With regard to his upcoming international tour, Abbas said, "It will include a visit to Russia and the USA, and we will hold talks with the Russians in particular regarding the Moscow conference and the peace process.

Abbas meets Olmert before seeking foreign support
Adam Entous, ReliefWeb 4/13/2008
JERUSALEM, April 13 (Reuters)- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a hastily arranged meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of a tour that will take him to Moscow and Washington. There was little sign of movement in the peace negotiations the two leaders began under the auspices of President George W. Bush, who will meet Abbas at the White House around April 24 before himself visiting Israel early next month. Officials said the Abbas-Olmert meeting, their second in less than a week, was arranged in haste to allow discussion before Abbas begins his tour. An aide to Abbas, Saeb Erekat, told reporters afterwards that the two had reviewed the state of negotiations. Abbas also urged Olmert to cooperate with Egyptian efforts to consolidate a shaky truce in the Gaza Strip between Israeli forces and Islamist militants from Hamas.

European campaign appeals to Mubarak to open Rafah crossing
Palestinian Information Center 4/14/2008
BRUSSELS, (PIC)-- The European campaign to lift the siege issued Sunday an urgent appeal to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his government to take an instant decision befitting Egypt’s ethical and humanitarian responsibilities and obligations towards their neighbors in the Gaza Strip and open the Rafah border crossing. The campaign pointed out that Israel, of course, is not exempted from its obligations under the provisions of international humanitarian law. The campaign said that the tragedy of the suffocating siege on one and a half million people in Gaza entails direct intervention by Egypt which could practically end this suffering just when it opens the Rafah border crossing and allows in humanitarian needs and fuel to the Strip. The campaign added that the intransigence of the IOA and its persistence in ignoring ongoing calls for lifting the siege and ending the severe. . .

Bahr invites Europeans to visit Gaza to see Palestinians dying slowly
Palestinian Information Center 4/14/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Dr. Ahmed Bahr, the acting speaker of the PLC, invited Monday in a press conference held outside the UN headquarters in Gaza the European officials to visit Gaza to see the slow death being experienced by one and a half million Palestinian citizens there, adding that what is happening against Gaza is contrary to all international conventions and laws. Dr. Bahr added that the Europeans, who talks about human rights, are invited to Gaza to take a firm stand against the suffocating Israeli siege which have claimed the lives of 133 Palestinian patients. In another context, Izzat Al-Rashq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, called on the Egyptian leadership to activate what had been said by its president Hosni Mubarak that "he would not allow the Palestinian people in Gaza to starve" because the life in Gaza is getting worse and returned to its primitive form after everything almost ran out.

118th IPU Assembly to consider humanitarian situation in conflict areas, particularly in Gaza
Inter-Parliamentary Union, ReliefWeb 4/14/2008
The 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) decided today to add a new item to its agenda entitled: The role of parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union in ensuring an immediate halt to the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in conflict areas, and its environmental dimension, in facilitating the Palestinians’ right to self-determination - particularly by ending the blockade in Gaza - and in accelerating the creation of a Palestinian State through viable peace processes. The item was proposed by the delegation of South Africa with the cooperation of Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In a separate development, the Assembly also decided to prepare a presidential declaration on the urgent need to release all election results in Zimbabwe. The Assembly considers it important to adopt such a declaration, given that the results of the Zimbabwe elections of 29 March 2008 remain outstanding two weeks later.

Montreal activists disrupt Israeli anniversary event
Press release, Tadamon, Electronic Intifada 4/14/2008
Protesters successfully disrupted a lunch-in sponsored by the Quebec-Israel Committee, marking "60 years of relationship" between Canada and Israel. After effectively evading hotel security and the Montreal police, social justice activists burst into the appointed conference room, abruptly bringing to a halt the pro-apartheid discourse of Israel’s ambassador to Canada. Visibly stunned by the protests, Israel’s ambassador stood silent as protesters chanted: "Fight the power, turn the tide! End Israeli apartheid!" Throughout the disruption, over 12,000 pieces of brightly colored protest-confetti were showered across the conference room and throughout the hallways of the Queen Elizabeth hotel, carrying a simple message: "Sixty years of Israeli apartheid, 60 years of Palestinian dispossession; boycott Israel!" Wednesday’s action marked the 60th anniversary of the massacre at Deir Yassin.

Israel and U.S. sign nuclear cooperation agreement
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
Israel and the United States signed an agreement several days ago to step up cooperation in the field of nuclear safety. The new agreement broadens and upgrades previous accords between the two countries in this field, which were signed over the past two decades. It will enable the Israel Atomic Energy Commission to access most of the latest nuclear safety data, procedures and technology available in the U. S. The agreement was signed by the director of the Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Shaul Horev, and the chairman of the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Dr. Dale Klein. Horev also met in the U. S. with his American counterpart, Thomas D’Agostino, who is the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Even though the agreement is essentially technical in nature, it has much greater significance, as many countries, including the U.

Al-Jazeera agrees to discuss coverage with Israel
Yoav Stern, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
The Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera has agreed to discuss its coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict with Israel, after Israel decided to embargo the media outlet, claiming its reports were biased. The chief executive of the Arab-language station agreed to the request by Deputy Foreign Minister Majali Wahabi (Kadima), who complained in a letter that the station ignored the plight of Israeli residents of the Western Negev, who have been the target of Qassam rocket attacks from Gaza for years. Last month, an official directive issued in Jerusalem ordered Israeli officials not to grant interviews to Al-Jazeera, citing the station’s anti-Israel bias. Foreign Ministry officials said they were pleased with the network’s willingness to discuss coverage of Israel. Meanwhile, the network omitted any reference to yesterday’s meeting at the Qatar conference between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa.

At Doha Forum, MK Tibi listed as ’Palestinian’
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 4/15/2008
Israeli-Arab Knesset Member registered at Qatar conference as representative of ’Palestine’ along with PA officials. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Majalli Whbee says he will take matter to Ethics Committee. Tibi defends listing, says invitations to conference were for ’individuals, not nations’ - Does the Israeli Knesset’s deputy speaker represent Palestine? He does at the Doha Forum in Qatar. MK Ahmad Tibi, chairman of the United Arab List - Ta’al party in the Knesset, is listed as a Palestinian official in the conference registry. In all, 537 dignitaries are in attendance at Doha. The Israeli delegation includes 23 representatives, led by Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni. Palestine is represented by six people - and is led by Tibi. In a separate column the occupation of each participant is also specified, Tibi’s says ’Israeli Knesset, Arab.

VIDEO - Report: Syria bracing for Israeli attack
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/14/2008
(Video) Qatari newspaper al-Watan reports of Syrian preparations against Israeli strike during coming summer; says Israel looking to May, June as possible window for attack - VIDEO - Is Syria preparing for war? Qatar’s al-Watan newspaper reported Monday that political and media sources in Damascus expressed concerns that war may breakout between Israel and Syria before long - Video courtesy of infolive. tv - According to the report, the nationwide emergency drill held by Damascus in response to a similar drill held by Israel last week, is one of the preemptive steps taken by Syria, which is supposedly responding to reports of Israel holding strategy meeting with the US in an attempt to devise an attack on both Syria and Iran. Israel, claimed the report, is eyeing the period between the end of May to mid June as a possible window of attack; and the proof, as a senior Syrian official told al-Watan, is in the fact that the Israeli drill covering the Golan Heights was closely monitored by a high-ranking American general.

Friends of captive soldiers to hold Passover seder outside PM’s home
Ahiya Raved, YNetNews 4/14/2008
’The fact that Udi, Eldad and Gilad will not be home for the second consecutive seder proves that the issue of the captives’ release is not high on the prime minister’s priority list,’ organizer says - Friends of kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit announced their intention to hold the Passover Eve meal in front of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s official residence in Jerusalem. One of the event’s planners said that several dozen people would be present at the seder. Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas-affiliated Palestinian terrorists who attacked Israeli troops outside the Gaza border on June 26, 2006. Regev and Goldwasser were captured by

Poll: 82% of American Christians support Israel
Yitzhak Benhorin, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Survey conducted in honor of 60th anniversary finds 65% of American Christians’ presidential vote will be affected by candidates’ Middle East stance - WASHINGTON -A new survey conducted by a Washington DC-based evangelical organization among American Christians has found that 82% of them believe they have a moral obligation to support the Jews and Israel. The poll, conducted among Catholics and Protestants alike, tested their stance on Jerusalem’s future and ways to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. The subjects were asked whether they thought a country created in the West bank and Gaza would be democratic and peaceful, or a terrorist state. Thirty-two percent thought it would become a terrorist state, 24% thought it would be democratic and peaceful, and 44% said they didn’t know.

Shin Bet reaches out to English, Arabic world with new web sites
Yossi Melman and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 4/14/2008
The Shin Bet security service launched English and Arabic Web sites on Monday, which include statements from the head of the agency, history of the Shin Bet, along with video footage of airstrikes, arrest raids, VIP security squads and live-fire training. The agency says that since the sites were launched Monday morning, they have already reported tens of thousands of page visits from Israel and around the world. The content of the English and Arabic Web sites are nearly identical to that of the Hebrew one, and follows a highly publicized recruiting drive aimed at attracting topflight computer programmers to its tech division. In another move toward openness, the Shin Bet recently allowed four employees to blog about their life and work at the agency. -- See also: Shin Bet English and Shin Bet Arabic

PNN and other Palestinian journalists continue call for media truce
Palestine News Network 4/14/2008
Fadi Abu Sa’ada -Al Aqsa TV broadcast an animated video in which Hamas was represented by a lion closely resembling Disney’s Lion King. The Fateh fighters were depicted as vicious rats descending on Gaza with weapons provided by the US and Israel. Needless to say, the movie ends with the Hamas lion triumphing over the Gaza rats. It is this kind of rethoric, which both Fateh and Hamas are guilty of, that a group of Palestinian journalists want to call a halt to. In the past few weeks, a number of independent journalists in the West Bank have cautiously started using the term "truce" in the context of the media war between the Palestinian parties. Surprisingly, the idea came out of the Arab Summit in Damascus which most commentators have derided for its lack of concrete results. But for Palestinian journalists across sectarian lines it was an opportunity to meet. . .

Double agent enabled Israel’s capture of top-ranked Soviet spy Klingberg
Yossi Melman, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
A Soviet spy-turned-double agent led to the 1983 arrest of Professor Avraham Marcus Klingberg, the highest-ranking Soviet spy ever caught by Israel, the military censor revealed yesterday. In lifting its gag order on the matter, which had been in effect for years, the censor declined to comment on the circumstances that led to its decision. Klingberg, who was the deputy head of the top-secret Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona, immigrated to Israel in 1949. Before immigrating to Israel, he had served and been wounded as a soldier in the Red Army during World War II. Klingberg initially told his Israeli interrogators that he began working as a Soviet spy in 1957, after being blackmailed by a Soviet operative, but Israeli intelligence believes he was already a Soviet agent when he moved to Israel.

Great majority of Israelis against any sharing of Jerusalem - survey
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/15/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: More than two-thirds of Israelis are opposed to any peace deal that would give the Palestinians sovereignty over Occupied East Jerusalem and the holy sites of its Old City, a poll has found. Seventy-one percent said they opposed handing over to Palestinians the Old City and its Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Jews also revere as the Temple Mount, the poll conducted for the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Studies found. Twenty one percent said they were in favor of dividing Jerusalem to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, while the rest expressed no opinion. In addition, 67 percent said they opposed handing over even Palestinian residential neighborhoods of Occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured with the rest of the West Bank in the 1967 war. The status of Jerusalem has been one of the major stumbling blocks in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process,. . .

Court: No state funds for Sderot homes under Qassam threat
Tomer Zarchin, Ha’aretz 4/14/2008
The High Court on Monday rejected a petition by Sderot residents demanding that their homes be safeguarded by the state from Qassam rocket attacks. The court also rejected the request by the rocket-weary Negev town’s residents for financial compensation for people who had already protected their homes by personally funding the work. High Court justices ruled that the issue of safeguarding homes was to be settled by the government, as well as defining it was one that touched on the most essential and basic human rights [therefore outside the usual jurisdiction of the High Court? - Ed. ]. The ruling stated that, "Even if it appears that it would have been better had a government policy been formulated long ago with regard to safeguarding Sderot, at this moment a government decision has been reached, and the given space for maneuver should be left in the hands of the government as an authority. . . "

Finance Minister attacks Irish model initiative
Shay Niv, Globes Online 4/14/2008
Ronnie Bar-On: The proposal is not about change, but a coup. Minister of Finance Ronnie Bar-On this morning sharply criticized an initiative to adopt the Irish model in Israel being promoted by Manufacturers Association president Shraga Brosh and Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini. At a "Forbes" conference marking Israel’s 60th anniversary, Bar-On said, "Right at the height of activity, and despite the great number of challenges facing the Israeli economy and society, there are now growing calls to the reduce the power of the Ministry of Finance and to create alternatives, undermine the authority of the budget, and challenge the fiscal policy we’ve created. " Bar-On added, "I’ve been hearing calls lately aimed at the method of government in Israel, to adopt the Irish model. Reports say that there are proposals for establishing by legislation a social-economic council in which three. . .

High Court upholds Peres’ okay to cut jail terms in youth’s murder
Tomer Zarchin and Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 4/14/2008
The High Court Monday upheld a decision approved by President Shimon Peres to reduce the sentences of the killers of a teenager murdered in 1983, prompting the youth’s family to charge that the state had betrayed them in favor of the murderers. The youth, Danny Katz, then 14 years old, was killed by five Israeli Arabs in Haifa. His murderers were arrested and after several remands and a very lengthy trial they were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 27 years. However, the High Court ruled recently that the sentence of his murderers would be reduced from 45 to 30 years in jail. The decision, which was then approved by President Shimon Peres, sparked an appeal by the family, which asked the court to let the original sentences stand. "In the state of Israel today, murderers, rapists and terrorists have rights, but victims have none.

VIDEO - Hearing on sale of bread during Passover becomes debate on Jewish identity
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for April 14, 2008. A Knesset hearing on the sale of bread during Passover turns into a debate on Jewish identity. Beitar Jerusalem’s season hangs in balance after fans’ behavior cuts a soccer game short. Former U. S. President Jimmy Carter visits the southern town of Sderot. [end]

London Palestine Film Festival opens 18 April
Announcement, London Palestine Film Festival, Electronic Intifada 4/14/2008
The London Palestine Film Festival opens on 18 April and runs for two weeks at the Barbican Cinema (18-24 April) and SOAS, Russell Square (25 April 25th - 1 May), with another extraordinary selection of documentary, fiction, art, and experimental work by artists from around the world. Still the largest of its kind, this year the Festival program includes more than 50 works related to the question of Palestine by artists from across the globe working in every genre of film and video production. As the Festival falls on the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, several special sessions have been programmed to address questions of oral history and memory in cinema, as well as of refugee rights and the ongoing struggles of Israel’s Palestinian population. These include the opening session, featuring a short (45 minute) screening of oral history documentation projects from Israel and Lebanon, followed by a panel discussion on methods, challenges, and goals of oral history video work on the Palestinian Nakba.

Right-wing? I call it Zionist
Lily Galili, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
We met in order to find out whether an immigrant photographer sees Israel differently from a veteran photographer - its landscapes, its people, the light and the color of the new country. The question is valid, as many of the hundreds of photographs that David Rabkin displays on his Internet site are devoted to this country. . . Rabkin’s goals are identical to those of Moshe Feiglin, the leader of the right-wing Jewish Leadership Movement, now a part of the Likud, with which Rabkin identifies. Feiglin’s book was Rabkin’s entry ticket into Israeliness and since then he has been there. However, Feiglin’s Jewish Leadership is just one circle of belonging. There is also the Ma’of group of Russian-speaking intellectuals from the radical right; there is a group of bloggers that numbers among its members Larissa Trimbobler, Yigal Amir’s wife and the mother of his child; there is the Jabotinsky Circle,

Shas Rabbi Yosef to Sabbath council: Stay mum on AM:PM row
Nati Toker, Ha’aretz 4/14/2008
In the latest move in a debate among ultra-Orthodox sages, Shas party spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef has ordered the rabbinical council for Sabbath observance affairs to maintain media silence over an ongoing dispute with the AM:PM convenience stores, whose policy of keeping stores open on the Shabbat has sparked a campaign for a broad ultra-Orthodox consumer boycott. Local ultra-Orthodox boycotts have targeted AM:PM stores, and many influential rabbis, notably the Gur Rebbe and Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Elyashiv, are believed to be preparing to call for a much wider campaign involving one of Israel’s major retail chains. Rabbi Yosef is among a number of rabbis who have refused to sign a blanket boycott campaign against firms owned or controlled by David Wiessman, who controls AM:PM’s parent company, Dor Alon, as well as the extensive Blue Square group of retail supermarkets and other concerns.

Rabbi Metzger: Abuse stems from distortion of Kabbalah
Neta Sela, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Chief rabbi addresses child abuse affair in Jerusalem, says ’this is horrifying proof of what unsupervised Kabbalah studies can lead to’ - The disastrous results of unsupervised Kabbalah studies have reportedly led to a series of child abuse cases, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said Saturday. Speaking during a Great Shabbat (the Shabbat which immediately precedes Passover) sermon in Jerusalem, Rabbi Metzger noted that Kabbalah studies by those who have yet to fully internalize the six books of the Mishnah and have yet to turn 40 years old have not been prohibited for nothing. Even then, he said, this must only be done under the guidance of a famous rabbi with superior knowledge in mysticism. "If, as a result of studying practical Kabbalah, this person’s mind has been disrupted, and if it is true that this ’rabbi’. . . "

Secular and Zionist - Interview with Aharon Barak
Ari Shavit, Ha’aretz 4/14/2008
It is alleged against you that you are a secular person who promoted secular causes in court and did not show sufficient sensitivity toward the religious beliefs and traditionalist sensibilities of a large proportion of Israel’s citizens. I am a secular person. I do not believe that God exists. In my view the Holocaust is irreconcilable with the existence of God. Like Haim Cohn, I do not think that God created man, but that man created God. At the same time, I consider myself a Jew, and not only because my mother and father were Jews. I am a Jew in the national sense, a secular Jew. It is clear to me that if we are to live here together, secular with religious, we must compromise. I am ready to compromise. I do not demand my hundred percent. I proposed a compromise on the issue of Bar-Ilan Street [in Jersualem].

Interview - Palestinian housing project planned for W.Bank, Gaza
Wafa Amr, ReliefWeb 4/13/2008
RAMALLAH, West Bank, April 13 (Reuters)- The Palestine Investment Fund plans to build 30,000 homes for low-income families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a $1. 5 billion endeavour supported by foreign backers to meet growing demand. "It is expected to help solve the housing problem in the Palestinian territories," Mohammad Mustafa, CEO of the independent fund, told Reuters in an interview. Mustafa, a former World Bank official, said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and international peace envoy Tony Blair would attend a ceremony on Monday establishing the $500 million al-Amal Mortgage Finance Company to support the project. He said the U. S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and Palestine Bank would sign a memorandum of understanding to set up the firm.

Understanding reached on transporting Egyptian gas
Lior Baron, Globes Online 4/14/2008
The commercial flow of natural gas is scheduled to begin by early May. Substantial progress has been made in the negotiations on an agreement for the transportation of natural gas from Egypt. Sources inform ’’Globes’’ that East Mediterranean Gas Co. Ltd. (EMG) and Israel Natural Gas Lines Company Ltd. have reached understandings on the commercial terms for the natural gas transportation. Unless there is a last-minute change, the board of Natural Gas Lines Company, headed by chairman Ohad Marani, will approve the agreement at its upcoming meeting. The commercial flow of natural gas is scheduled to begin by early May. EMG and Natural Gas Lines Company are due to sign a 15-20 year contract and settle all issues relating to the carrying of natural gas to Israeli customers. As "Globes" reported, the signing of an agreement was delayed because of last-minute disagreements when Natural. . .

Despite terror warnings, Israelis expected to flock Sinai over Passover
Zohar Blumenkrantz, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
Over 50,000 Israelis are expected to cross the border into Sinai and Egypt this coming Passover holiday despite warnings by the security establishment, the Airports Authority reported Monday. Security officials have recently advised Israelis to stay away from the Sinai peninsula after Hamas militants breached Israel’s border with Gaza in Januray, allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to stream into Egypt unchecked. Ben-Gurion Airport will also handle heavy traffic over the holiday season, with over half a million people due to pass through its gates - a rise of 25 percent compared to the same time last year. Almost 2000 flights and over 120 thousand visitors are expected to head south to Eilat over the Pesach holiday, which begins on Wednesday and ends April 29.

Israelis quaking as credit crisis reaches E. Europe property scene
TheMarker Correspondents and Staff, Raz Smolsky and Michael Rochvarger, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
The many Israelis who stampeded the Eastern European real estate market during the boom years are now feeling the ground quaking beneath their feet, as local banks turn tougher on lending money for projects. "About four years ago, there was a gold rush. The market was like the Wild West," says David Flusberg, an American Jew who co-founded the Israeli real estate company Adama Holding. Nobody knows exactly how many Israelis actually have invested in the roaring Eastern European real estate sector, though industry sources believe there are thousands of them. Flusberg, for one, believes that many were not strongly tied to the business community - not "serious businessmen," as he puts it. They had heard about the fantastic opportunities in the region and were willing to take a risk. The Israelis operate mainly in Romania, which has become a magnet for investors from all over. . .

Fires roar through Israel
Ynet, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Heat wave causes fires throughout Israel; hundreds of hikers evacuated by fire dept. , rescue forces - The intense heat wave extending throughout Israel brought with it a number of fires that spread through the areas of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. No injuries were reported. A fire department spokesman told Ynet that 300 hikers had to be evacuated after a fire broke out in the Carmela forest near Beit Shemesh. The fire department continued to work towards extinguishing the fire after the hikers had been removed from the area unharmed. Earlier another blaze erupted in the farms of a kibbutz close to Beit Shemesh, and burned to the ground a structure made of asbestos. Firefighters extinguished the fire and the Environment Ministry continued to handle the case, due to the environmental damage known to be caused by asbestos.

Fischer: Economy needs independent Bank of Israel
Shay Niv, Globes Online 4/14/2008
"Foreign investors take the independence of the central bank into account when making investment decisions. " "The job of the Ministry of Finance is not easy nowadays because of the pressures to make various measures that do not conform to economic policy. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Finance has not capitulated to this hyperactivity," said Governor of the Bank of IsraelProf. Stanley Fischer at the "Forbes" conference marking Israel’s 60th anniversary today. His comments were directed at Manufacturers Association president Shraga Brosh and Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini, who propose the establishment of a social-economic council. Fischer has already been a target of Brosh and Eini, who recently tried to abolish the Bank of Israel’s exclusive authority in setting interest rate policy. Fischer stressed the importance of the independence of the Bank of Israel.

Hizbullah says kidnapped Mugniyah’s body
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/14/2008
Senior group official reveals Lebanese MPs identified assassinated commander’s body and took it to Beirut following order from Nasrallah - Two months after the Damascus explosion which killed top Hizbulla commander Imad Mugniyah, a senior organization member has revealed that Lebanese parliament members removed the body from Syria to Lebanon, following an order from Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. According to the group member, only after the body arrived in the Beirut, Nasrallah informed Syrian President Bashar Assad that Mugniyah was assassinated in the Syrian capital. In an interview with the Syrian newspaper al-Hakikah, quoted by Iran’s Fars News Agency, the senior Hizbullah man recounted the Damascus assassination. "Mugniyah was one of the first people to leave the Iranian cultural center in Damascus’ Kfar Suseh neighborhood. . . "

US urges Iraq’s neighbors to halt flow of weapons
Agence France Presse - AFP, Daily Star 4/15/2008
DAMASCUS: Washington called Monday on Iraq’s neighbors at a regional security meeting to halt the flow of terrorists and weapons to the country, the US Embassy said. "We hope that this meeting will result in a strong commitment by all parties to stop the flow of both terrorists and the weapons they use across Iraq’s borders and throughout the region," it said in a statement. The US, represented by its charge d’affaires in Damascus, Michael Corbin, participated in the two-day regional security meeting as an observer. "Terrorist facilitation networks operating throughout the region continue to be a significant threat to the stability of Iraq, and by extension, the entire region," the statement said. "The influx of foreign-made weapons used by and seized from the criminal militia elements involved in fighting Iraqi Security Forces, which was thrown into stark relief during the. . .

US troops plan to stay put in Sadr City
Middle East Online 4/14/2008
US and Iraqi forces plan to stay put in a southern sector of Baghdad’s Sadr City where they are battling militiamen rather than push deeper into the Shiite bastion, a top US general said on Monday. There are "no plans to go beyond where we are," said Major General Jeffery Hammond, commander of US forces in Baghdad. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh on Sunday said that the operations launched more than a week ago would carry on until the sprawling district in eastern Baghdad is entirely cleared of Shiite gunmen. "We will continue until we secure Sadr City. We will not come out, we will not give up until the people of Sadr City have a normal life," Dabbagh said. The security forces will "do what they have to do to secure the area. I can’t tell you how many days or how many months but they will not come out until they have secured Sadr City.

US and Iran holding ’secret’ talks on nuclear programme
Anne Penketh, The Independent 4/14/2008
Iran and the United States have been engaged in secret "back channel" discussions for the past five years on Iran’s nuclear programme and the broader relationship between the two sworn enemies, The Independent can reveal. One of the participants, former senior US diplomat Thomas Pickering, explained that a group of former American diplomats and experts had been meeting with Iranian academics and policy advisers "in a lot of different places, although not in the US or Iran". "Some of the Iranians were connected to official institutions inside Iran," he said in a telephone interview from Washington. The group was organised by the UN Association of the USA, a pro-UN organisation. Its work was facilitated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a government-funded think-tank chaired by the former chief UN weapons inspector for Iraq, Rolf Ekeus.

For the women of Iraq, the war is just beginning
Terri Judd in Basra, The Independent 4/14/2008
The women of Basra have disappeared. Three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, women’s secular freedoms - once the envy of women across the Middle East - have been snatched away because militant Islam is rising across the country. Across Iraq, a bloody and relentless oppression of women has taken hold. Many women had their heads shaved for refusing to wear a scarf or have been stoned in the street for wearing make-up. Others have been kidnapped and murdered for crimes that are being labelled simply as "inappropriate behaviour". The insurrection against the fragile and barely functioning state has left the country prey to extremists whose notion of freedom does not extend to women. In the British-occupied south, where Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army retains a stranglehold, women insist the situation is at its worst.

Senate to discuss Syrian-N. Korean nuke ties next week
Amos Harel and Shmuel Rosner, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
The American administration intends to give the Senate Intelligence Committee an account of the nuclear ties between North Korea and Syria for the first time on April 22. Senior IDF officers have warned, however, that the release of any information containing details of the Israeli Air Force strike in Syria last September could increase tension between Israel and Syria. The meeting is expected to be held behind closed doors at Israel’s insistence, but the Americans did not promise not to brief journalists afterward. Media reports in the United States could alter the gag order Israel has imposed on Israeli media coverage of the IAF’s strike in Syria. Washington sources told Haaretz yesterday that the administration and North Korea are making headway in their talks about what to call Pyongyang’s supply of nuclear technology to Syria.


Articles


Area C strikes fear into the heart of Palestinians as homes are destroyed
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian 4/15/2008
      Israelis defend rules that reject 94% of non-Jewish building applications.
     In the end it came down to a single-page letter, written in Hebrew and Arabic and hand-delivered by an Israeli army officer who knocked at the front door. The letter spelt the imminent destruction of the whitewashed three-storey home and small, tree-lined garden that Bassam Suleiman spent so long saving for and then built with his family a decade ago.
     It was a final demolition order, with instructions to evacuate the house within three days.
     If Suleiman was in any doubt about the Israeli military’s intentions he had only to look outside his back door where large piles of rubble and broken concrete mark the remains of the seven of his neighbours’ houses that were demolished in the same way last year.
     "How would you feel when you’ve spent 20 years finishing your life’s project?" said Suleiman, 38, a teacher. He began moving his furniture out after the letter, from the civil administration of Judea and Samaria, the defence ministry department responsible for the Israeli-occupied West Bank, came on January 31. Now there are just a couple of plastic chairs in his front room and in the hallway the carpets are rolled up and ready to be moved. Clothes are piled on the floor and the shelves are empty, save for a stack of documents charting the story of the impending demolition. His brother, Husam, has already left the ground floor flat but the new washing machine and fridge stand still wrapped in plastic. Suleiman, his wife and two children wait for the bulldozers.

Who lost? The people of Israel

Meron Benvenisti, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
      The debate over who won, Peace Now or Gush Emunim, is taking place as if it were a soccer game, and most people agree that at this stage it’s a tie - 1:1. Peace Now won and managed to impose an agenda that represents "near consensus" - support for splitting the territory into two nation states. Gush Emunim won the campaign on establishing settlements, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to establish a viable Palestinian state.
     The focus of the dispute is the significance of this tie on the future, with the assumption being that the "settlements" and "two nation states" are indeed the fateful issues that will shape Israel’s future, and that the ideological confrontation between these diametrically opposed worldviews remains relevant in spite of the fact that more than a generation has passed since it was shaped, in the late ’70s. Both camps are interested in sharpening the issues in dispute in order to stress the importance of their activities, but it is also possible to distinguish, behind the rhetoric, a common denominator, which transforms this ideological flurry into an internal debate, a restricted one, a Jewish-Zionist one.

Manifest Destiny?

Uri Avnery, MIFTAH 4/14/2008
      NEXT MONTH, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary. The government is working feverishly to make this day into an occasion of joy and jubilation. While serious problems are crying out for funds, some 40 million dollars have been allocated to this aim.
     Bur the nation is in no mood for celebrations. It is gloomy.
     From all directions the government is blamed for this gloom. "They have no agenda" is the refrain, "Their only concern is their own survival." (The word "agenda", with its English pronunciation, is now fashionable in Israeli political circles, pushing aside a perfectly adequate Hebrew word.) It is hard not to blame the government. Ehud Olmert speechifies endlessly, at least one speech per day, today at an industrialists’ convention, tomorrow at a kindergarten, saying absolutely nothing. There is no national agenda, nor an economic agenda, nor a social agenda, nor a cultural agenda. Nothing.
     When he came to power, he presented something that sounded like an agenda: "Hitkansut", an untranslatable word that can be rendered as"contracting", "converging", "ingathering". That was supposed to be a historic operation: Israel would give up a large part of the occupied territories, dismantle the settlements east of the "Separation" Wall and annex the settlements between the Green Line and the Wall.

Our debt to Jimmy Carter

Editorial, Ha’aretz 4/15/2008
      The government of Israel is boycotting Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, during his visit here this week. Ehud Olmert, who has not managed to achieve any peace agreement during his public life, and who even tried to undermine negotiations in the past, "could not find the time" to meet the American president who is a signatory to the peace agreement with Egypt. President Shimon Peres agreed to meet Carter, but made sure that he let it be known that he reprimanded his guest for wishing to meet with Khaled Meshal, as if the achievements of the Carter Center fall short of those of the Peres Center for Peace. Carter, who himself said he set out to achieve peace between Israel and Egypt from the day he assumed office, worked incessantly toward that goal and two years after becoming president succeeded - was declared persona non grata by Israel.
     The boycott will not be remembered as a glorious moment in this government’s history. Jimmy Carter has dedicated his life to humanitarian missions, to peace, to promoting democratic elections, and to better understanding between enemies throughout the world. Recently, he was involved in organizing the democratic elections in Nepal, following which a government will be set up that will include Maoist guerrillas who have laid down their arms. But Israelis have not liked him since he wrote the book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid."

What is wrong with Egypt?

Khalid Amayreh in Jerusalem, Palestinian Information Center 4/14/2008
      Not since the downfall of the British puppet King Faruq in 1952 has the Egyptian national will been so shamefully subservient to a foreign power, namely the United States, whose politics and policies are tightly controlled by Zionist Jews.
     Today, Egypt, which could have become an African or Middle Eastern economic tiger is facing a hard time feeding its nearly 80 million citizens. Last month, several people were killed while standing in long queues waiting their turn to buy bread, the main staple for most Egyptians.
     Economically, inflation has reached an all time high, with Egyptian civil servants barely able to make ends meet. Some, probably many, Egyptians are forced to "eke out" some extra pounds to remain afloat, mainly through bribery and other forms of corruption.
     This bleak reality has forced thousands of skilled and highly-educated Egyptians to leave the country in order to seek a dignified life abroad, mainly in oil-rich Arab countries or in the West.
     Fifty years ago, Egypt and South Korea were more or less at the same socio-economic level. However, while the latter succeeded in becoming an industrial and economic giant, the former is still languishing in poverty, perennially awaiting grain shipments from abroad, especially from the US.

Gaza fuel cuts paralyze education, health and transport sectors

Report, PCHR, Electronic Intifada 4/14/2008
      The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is extremely worried about the continued Israeli ban on fuel supplies required for civilian life in the Gaza Strip. The stoppage in fuel supplies has paralyzed 50 percent of the educational sector as half the students in all educational levels are unable to reach their schools and universities. In addition, educational sector employees have been unable to reach their work. Furthermore, the transportation sector has nearly stopped functioning throughout the Gaza Strip. As a result, all basic functions of civilian life have come to a near standstill, including drinking water delivery, sewage water disposal, and garbage collection. In addition, healthcare facilities registered a 25 percent drop in clients due to the transportation crisis. Furthermore, hundreds of healthcare professionals are unable to reach their work places.
     On 9 April 2008, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stopped the flow of the heavily reduced fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip. As a result, the humanitarian situation hit hard by continuous collective punishment since 15 June 2006, deteriorated even further.

A Yank in Palestine: On the Curb

Katherine Mukhar, MIFTAH 4/14/2008
      Piled into a Land Rover, three of us (me, my friend and his driver) began our trek from Jericho to Ramallah over one of the most hazardous roads I have ever been on. It reminded me of what it would be like to drive on the edge of the Grand Canyon…but on terribly pot-holed, extremely narrow roads. I learned that this road was the only way Palestinians were allowed to take in order to travel between Jericho and Ramallah. All roads, even those in the middle of Palestine, are controlled by Israel; we had no choice except to take the dangerous, winding road. I learned that many die on the road and I could easily see why. I tried not to think about what would happen if we came face-to-face with another vehicle coming in the opposite direction. Snaking through the steep mountains, going higher and higher, I took one look down and gasped.
     My friend laughed. “I do this all the time. Don’t worry. We haven’t had an accident… yet.”
     That ‘yet’ concerned me.
     My friend urged his driver to move more rapidly along the winding road. When I protested, he explained it was even more dangerous to remain on the road for too long of a time because the Israelis would often lead air strikes against Palestinians taking the road, claiming the people they had killed were suspected terrorists.