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

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21 April 2008


Israeli military kills three Palestinians in Beit Lahia
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/22/2008
On Monday evening, an Israeli ground-to-ground missile and concurrent ground invasion resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. The Israeli military reported killing one Palestinian with a tank-fired missile, and two Palestinians in an invasion of northern Gaza by the Gavati unit of the Israeli military. According to Israeli sources, the three who were killed were near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The Israeli military reported that it targeted a group of men who were "too close" to the border fence. The Islamic Jihad reported that it had sent several fighters to engage the Israeli army at the Erez crossing, but did not identify if those killed were the fighters or not. Medical sources have not yet identified the victims.

Meshal offers 10-year truce for Palestinian state on ’67 borders
Barak Ravid and News Agencies, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal on Monday said Hamas would accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip along Israel’s pre-1967 borders, and would grant Israel a 10-year hudna, or truce, as an implicit proof of recognition if Israel withdraws from those areas. Meshal’s comments were one of the clearest outlines Hamas has given for what it would do if Israel withdrew from the territories it captured in the 1967 Six Day War. He suggested Hamas would accept Israel’s existence alongside a Palestinian state on the rest of the lands Israel has held since 1948. However, Meshal told reporters in Damascus that Hamas would not formally recognize Israel. "We agree to a [Palestinian] state on pre-67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital with genuine sovereignty without settlements but without recognizing Israel," Meshaal said.

More Palestinian patients being denied entry to Israel
Meital Yasur-Beit Or, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Figures presented by Physicians for Human Rights from early April indicate Shin Bet rejected entry requests of 12 grievously ill cancer patients from Gaza - The Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) organization asserted on Monday that there has been a significant rise in the number of rejections issued to Palestinian applicants seeking entry into Israel on medical grounds. The group said that since early April Shin Bet authorities have been rejecting a significantly larger number of permits for Gazans seeking treatment in Israeli medical facilities. Figures presented by the organization point to 12 cancer patients in serious condition who have been waiting to undergo lifesaving procedures in Israel, but who have so far been barred from crossing the border. Among the dozen are five women, some of whom are battling breast cancer, and two men diagnosed with malignant brain tumors.

No new fuel delivered to Gaza’s power plant on Monday
Marian Houk, Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Jerusalem - Ma’an - No new quantities of fuel were delivered today to the Gaza power plant, Mojahed Salama, head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Gas and Petroleum Authority, said on Monday afternoon. Mr. Salama noted that the Gaza power plant has just enough fuel to operate Monday and Tuesday – but after that, he said, it will have to be shut down, for lack of fuel. He said that he had been informed yesterday by Dor Alon, the private Israeli company that has the exclusive mandate to provide all types of fuel to Gaza, that the fuel could not be delivered on Monday due to the security situation at, and nearby, the crossing. However, Mr. Salama said, he had not been told that Dor Alon was reevaluating its role in delivering fuel to Gaza. Mr. Salama added that he was told that if the problems can be resolved by the end of today, there might be a fuel delivery on Tuesday.

Israeli military kills one Palestinian and kidnaps 27 in Beit Hanoun
Ghassan Bannoura & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
The Israeli army killed one Palestinian resistance fighter, injured four others and kidnapped at least 27 civilians during an invasion targeting the northern part of the Gaza strip on Monday morning. On Monday at dawn Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded the town of Beit Hanoun, located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, troops searched and ransacked homes before kidnapping 27 civilians from the same family, local sources reported. The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, said that Ikremah Abu Odah, 22, was one of the brigades fighters who was killed, and four other civilians were injured when an Israeli unmanned plane fired missiles at a group of resistance fighters who were trying to stop the army from invading. Witnesses said that troops left Beit Hanoun on Monday late morning.

The Hamas-run health ministry tries to prevent collapse of its services
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
The Palestinian health ministry of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza has been reportedly fighting to keep up providing services for the 1. 5 million residents of Gaza Strip as the Israeli closure of the region continues unabated. In a recent report, the ministry said that it has been making relentless contacts with various concerned bodies worldwide for survival amidst the crippling Israeli closure of the coastal territory. Out of such contacts, a cooperation between the ministry and a number of foreign health institutions have been achieved. The Relief of Palestine’s Children Foundation, will be offering medication in various diseases to the Gaza-European hospital, the report pointed out. Other medical crews from foreign countries are due to arrive in Gaza by July , in order to help local hospitals undergo a number of critical surgeries. The Human Land foundation in Gaza has recently supplied Gaza’s hospitals with five dialysis machines for cases of kidney failure.

Palestinian injured as clashes with israeli soldiers erupted in Azzun near Qalqilia
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Qalqilia – Ma’an – A Palestinian man was injured on Sunday evening in clashes with Israeli forces that invaded the village of Azzun east of Qalqilia in the northern West Bank. Palestinian medical sources said 20-year-old Usama Shahada sustained moderate wounds when a rubber-coated metal bullet hit him in the head. Dr Yasser Radwan, director of Azzun medical centre said the Israeli soldiers ransacked the centre, saying they were searching for ’wanted’ Palestinians. He added that the soldiers had denied ambulance access to the injured man. [end]

Israel to compensate family of British filmmaker killed by IDF
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Five years after British filmmaker James Miller was fatally shot by Israel Defense Forces troops in the Gaza Strip, Israel is poised to pay the family some NIS 12 million in compensation. In return, the British government will close the case and rescind its intention to ask that the soldiers involved in the incident be extradited. According to a governmental source, serious progress has recently been made between the Miller family and Israeli authorities. The Millers had persistently asked for a sum of over 3 million pounds sterling but recently agreed to settle for half. In the wake of deliberations involving the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, Finance Ministry and the IDF, Israeli authorities decided to accept the Millers’ proposal. Besides talks with the family, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also held negotiations on the matter with the British government.

Wa’ed society: Israel intends to make serious changes in visit programs in jails
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Wa’ed society for detainees and ex-detainees revealed Monday that the Israeli prisons authority intends to make very serious changes in prison visit programs, which were frozen for ten months, by introducing a video conferencing system through which families and prisoners could communicate with each other. In a press release received by the PIC, Adullah Qandil, the Wa’ed spokesman, stated that this measure is a dangerous precedent in history added to the record of Israel’s crimes and violations against Palestinian men and women imprisoned in Israeli jails, ignoring all international norms and charters which guarantee prisoners’ right to be visited. Qandil called in this regard on the Red Cross and the international community to assume their responsibilities towards this Israeli violation of human rights because it is inconsistent with the Geneva convention and international humanitarian laws.

Internationally banned flachettes still being used
Palestine News Network 4/21/2008
PNN - The Israeli organization B’Tselem reports that the killing of Fadal Shana’a of the Reuters News Agency was carried out by a projectile fragmentation, otherwise known as a flachette. Israeli forces are reportedly still using this internationally banned weapon after years, with original reports of its widespread use coming from medical sources in during the year 2003 in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya Refugee Camp. This is clear from the investigation by B’Tselem, and the results of autopsies, as published in the media. B’Tselem has demanded that the Israeli Attorney General issue military orders to immediately stop the use of this internationally banned weapon in the Gaza Strip and to initiate criminal investigations into the circumstances of the incident. Reports indicate that at least 18 Palestinians have been killed by flachettes in the Gaza Strip in seven years.

Palestinian administrative detainees appeal to PLC to activate their file
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
NABLUS, (PIC)-- The Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails called in a letter to the PLC for activating their issue with international forums, the Hague tribunal and human rights organizations in order to end the arbitrary measures taken against them in Israeli courts. In the letter, a copy of which was received by the PIC, the detainees called for activating the file of administrative detention through conducting a legal study in cooperation with local and international committees, pointing out the Israeli judge issues his rulings based on an unknown secret file fabricated by the Israeli intelligence. The detainees also called for exposing the Israeli practices towards their families and relatives who are not allowed to attend their trials, explaining that when trials are held in the Negev desert area, prisoners’ families are not allowed in at the pretext that they. . .

Gaza police violently disperse peaceful assembly
Report, Al Mezan, Electronic Intifada 4/21/2008
A police force violently dispersed a march in Rafah, Gaza organized by the Fatah Movement, honoring Palestinian and Arab Prisoners Day. Fatah announced that the march would start after Friday prayers. According to eyewitnesses, members of the police assaulted demonstrators. Al Mezan field investigations show that on 17 April 2008, Fatah announced a solidarity march to honor Palestinian and Arab prisoners held by Israel to marj Prisoners Day. The march was supposed to take place after Friday prayers, starting from al-Awda Mosque in central Rafah town. At approximately 12:45pm on 19 April 2008, the police deployed forces in the town before the prayer ended. They stopped Emad al-Ajrami, a cameraman of the Media Group, prevented him from filming and confiscated his video camera. The police informed al-Ajrami that he could collect his camera from the public investigation office at Rafah police station.

Palestinian special-needs children appeal to the world to end siege on Gaza
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- A large number of Palestinian children with special needs participated Sunday in a massive march to appeal to the world’s children and human rights organizations to help them to lift the unjust Israeli siege on them, carrying banners reading, "let me live like the rest of the world’s children" and "world without mercy or conscience. " The march, which was organized by the education ministry in Gaza, headed to the headquarters of the world health organization, where Palestinian children handed an appeal letter to Dr. Mahmoud Dahir, the director of WHO’s office. In the same context, the popular committee against the siege warned of an imminent collapse of the health system in Gaza as a result of tightening the Israeli siege and slashing fuel quantities allowed into the Strip, which would lead to a multiple disaster.

Boy lightly injured by Qassam in south
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Rocket lands in western Negev kibbutz; four-year-old child sitting in car sustains light wounds from shrapnel, vehicle and nearby building sustain damage. Qassam fired several minutes earlier hits open area; no injuries or damage reported - A four-year-old boy, Amir Arad, was lightly injured by shrapnel Monday after a Qassam rocket landed in Kibbutz Gevim in the western Negev. Ilan Arad, the boy’s father, told Ynet, "We had just returned from the north and the boy was sitting at the back seat of the car. As we arrived at the community we heard the Color Red (alert system), and the Qassam landed in our backyard. "The shrapnel infiltrated the car near the fuel tank and hit the boy’s shoulder. He was evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment. " His mother Lior said that the family decided to leave the community after a Qassam rocket landed in the area last Thursday.

Palestinian man killed by Israeli airstike in Rafah
Saed Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
On Sunday night, Israeli forces launched an airstrike on a vehicle driving on the street in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The victim was identified as Nur Ad-Dabari. Several bystanders were also injured in the attack. Ad-Dabari’s death brings the number of casualties since Friday to seven. All seven casualties were Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli military, the airstrike in Rafah was an attempted assassination of Ra’ad al-Atar, a leader with the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. [end]

2 dead in Israeli air strikes on Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian activist affiliated to Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades was killed on Monday morning when Israeli helicopters targeted a group of fighters in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. The dead fighter was named as 22-year-old ’Ikrima Abu ’Uda. The Al-Qassam Brigades announced that a group of their fighters clashed with an undercover Israeli force and fired a homemade shell at them in the early hours of the morning. Separately, the military wing affiliated to Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades said their fighters countered a group of Israeli troops who penetrated into Al-Qarara in the Gaza Strip on Sunday evening. Also on Sunday evening, a Palestinian man Nur Ad-Dabari was killed in an Israeli air strike on a car in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Several bystanders were also injured in the attack.

Two Palestinian factions claim attack on Israeli force in southern Gaza
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Kamal Udwan Brigades, a military group within Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades and the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, themilitary wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility on Sunday evening for firing an anti-tank missile at an Israeli force east of Al-Qarara in the southern Gaza Strip. The military groups said in a statement that their fighters then opened fire on the Israeli soldiers. The statement added that the operation came to affirm the continuation of resistance. [end]

Fatah’s military wing claim attack on Israeli military jeep in Qalqilia
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Qalqilia – Ma’an – The military wing affiliated to Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility on Monday morning for launching an explosive device at an Israeli military jeep in southern Qalqilia in the northern West Bank. They said in a statement that the attack was in retaliation for Israeli crimes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. [end]

Islamic Jihad’s military wing fires two projectiles at Ashkelon
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The military wing of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Quds Brigades, claimed responsibility on Monday morning for launching two homemade projectiles at the Israeli town of Ashkelon. They said in a statement that the shelling was in retaliation for Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. [end]

IDF commander axed for not confronting militants in fuel depot attack
Yuval Azoulay, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Israel Defense Forces chief Gabi Ashkenazi dismissed the commander of the 9th armor battalion from his post Monday over his failure to confront Gaza militants during their attack on the Nahal Oz fuel depot, which led to the murder of two Israeli civilians. According to an internal IDF investigation, the battalion was stationed only 150 meters away from the fuel depot, and yet the commander did not order his soldiers to confront the militants. In the end, it was Givati soldiers who moved in to confront the militants, however they managed to escape back into the Gaza Strip after a gun battle erupted in the area. Most of them were later killed in counter attacks by air and land forces.

Qassam injures 3 Palestinians in Gaza
Ali Waked, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Rocket hits Beit Hanoun home, lightly wounding three people; Palestinians claim IDF shell fired at house -Qassam attacks hit Palestinians as well. A rocket landed Monday in a Palestinian house in the Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, lightly injuring three people. The rocket is believed to have been fired toward southern Israel, accidentally landing within Palestinian territory. Sources in Gaza claimed that a shell fired from an IDF tank caused the injuries. This is not the first incident in which Gazan civilians are hurt by rockets fired by Palestinian gunmen. About two weeks ago, a Palestinian farmer waskilled and another person was injured after being hit by a Qassam rocket not far from the border fence. At first, the Palestinians claimed that the two were hurt by IDF artillery fire, but residents in the area told The Associated Press. . .

IDF kills 3 Palestinians in Gaza
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 4/21/2008
IAF aircraft fires at group of three gunmen not far from border fence in northern Gaza, killing on of them; Givati force enters Strip, kills two others - The Israel Air Force attacked a group of gunmen spotted near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday evening. The Israel Defense Forces reported that one of the gunmen was killed and that a Givati force which entered the Strip shortly afterwards killed the other two. The strike took place north of the town of Beit Lahiya, several meters away from the border fence. An IDF force spotted four armed people moving suspiciously about 300 meters (984. 25 feet) away from the fence. An aircraft fired at them, hitting one of them.

Unknown gunmen detonate a bomb near a hotel in Gaza
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
Palestinian local sources reported that a group of unknown gunmen detonated a home-made bomb near the Al Dera Tourist hotel west of Gaza city on Monday morning. The hotel is known as the place where all foreign journalists stay. Witnesses said that the home-made bomb exploded near the hotel. Ambulance cars and firefighting brigades rushed to the scene. Damage to the hotel was reported, but no injures. No Palestinian group has calmed responsibility of the attack. [end]

Eight killed in Israeli raids across Gaza Strip
Middle East Online 4/21/2008
GAZA CITY - At least eight Palestinians were killed Sunday after Israeli forces launched air strikes across the Gaza Strip, a day after Hamas militants detonated explosives-laden vehicles at a border crossing. Two more Palestinians were killed and three wounded during a raid late Sunday in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza strip, bringing the total number of dead to eight, according to medical sources and witnesses. They were killed in an air-to-ground missile strike, the sources said. An Israeli military source confirmed the attack, saying it was aimed at a "group of armed men. " But Palestinian medical sources said one of the dead was a civilian. Six Palestinian fighters, all members of Hamas, the Islamist movement that violently seized Gaza last year and that refuses to recognise Israel’s right to exist, were killed in air raids early Sunday.

Palestine Today 042108
Ghassan Bannoura - Audio Dept, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
Click on Link to download or play MP3 file|| 3 m 0s || 2. 75 MB || Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre, www. imemc. org, for Monday April 21st, 2008. The army invades northern Gaza, killing one Palestinian and kidnapping 27. While in the West Bank Israeli troops close Hebron Old city, these stories and more coming up stay tuned. The News Cast The Israeli army killed one Palestinian resistance fighter, injured four others and kidnapped at least 27 civilians during an invasion targeting the northern part of the Gaza strip on Monday. On Monday at dawn Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded the town of Beit Hannon, located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, troops searched and ransacked homes then kidnapped 27 civilians from one family, local sources reported.

IDF officer to compensate infiltrator he assaulted
Hanan Greenberg, YNetNews 4/22/2008
In precedential ruling, military court orders major convicted of assaulting asylum seeker from Ghana to pay him NIS 1,500 in damages. ’I got a double punishment: I was beaten and I am in jail,’ refugee tells Ynet - The Southern Command Military Court ordered an IDF officer in the rank of major to pay an African infiltrator he assaulted NIS 1,500 ($430) in damages, a precedential ruling in the army. However, the court rejected the prosecution’s demand to have the officer demoted, but recommended that his promotion be suspended. In response to the officer’s sentence the infiltrator, John Good Yaboa, told Ynet, "I am waiting to be released from prison and to get the compensation. I got a double punishment - I was beaten and I am in jail. "Yaboa expressed contentment at the officer being brought to justice: "He claimed he was trying to. . .

Rights group: Israel allows fewer Gaza cancer patients to enter
Haaretz Service, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) on Monday said the Shin Bet security service has recently tightened its policy of issuing permits to cancer patients from Gaza seeking treatment in Israel, Army Radio reported. The human rights organization said that the Shin Bet ignored all 12 requests that were submitted over the past two weeks. Ruhama Marton, the president of PHR, told Army Radio that the "Shin Bet is delaying its answer to the extent that it’s the same as not answering at all. What is at issue here is a matter of life and death: for cancer patients, a four-week waiting period equals death. " In response, a Shin Bet spokesperson said that the security service has recently detected a growing tendency of Palestinians to falsify medical documents in order to exploit Israel’s issuing of entry permits on humanitarian grounds.

Tadamun: Killers of Reuters cameraman should stand trial
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
NABLUS, (PIC)-- The international institution for human rights (Tadamun) has denounced the series of Israeli occupation forces’ crimes against Palestinian journalists the latest incident of which was those troops’ murder of Reuters cameraman in Gaza Fadel Shana. Tadamun in a press release on Monday charged that the murder is part of the occupation government’s crimes against Palestinian journalists despite the fact that the journalists were following all required safety measures and wearing badges pointing to their identity. The institution noted that 12 Palestinian journalists were killed since eruption of the Aqsa Intifada in late 2000 other than dozens of recorded assaults on them. It called for the formation of a neutral, independent investigative committee to look into the killing of Shana and to bring to account the Israeli soldiers who caused his death.

Israeli military court sentence Salfit man to 7 years
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Nablus – Ma’an – The Israeli military court at Ofer on Monday sentenced a 22-year-old Palestinian man from Salfit in the northern West Bank to seven years imprisonment. Nabil As-Soos’ family said he has been in Israeli custody for two years. The same court sentenced Muthanna Al-Malookh from Qaraqat Bani Zaid in Ramallah district in the central West Bank to six years and three months. He has been in detention for 30 months. His father also served 12 years in Israeli custody. [end]

South braces for infiltration from Gaza
Shmulik Hadad, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Infiltration attempt over weekend leads to tightening of restrictions on Gaza-vicinity communities, residents instructed to refrain from approaching border fence. Defense officials concerned terrorists may use smuggling tunnels to bypass IDF - Residents of Israeli communities neighboring on the Gaza border have long since grown used to daily barrages of mortar shells and Qassam rockets, but the infiltration attempt at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Passover Eve served as a vivid reminder of how close to home the terror threat looms. Defense officials have issued revised security protocols for Gaza-vicinity communities, recommending residents steer clear of border fences and isolated areas. The Sedot HaNegev Regional Council has also stationed security detail around local synagogues, fearing a terror attack.

Minor explosion near Ad-Dira Hotel on Gaza beach
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – An explosion on Sunday night near the Ad-Dira Hotel on the beach near Gaza City caused some damage to nearby buildings, but no casualties were reported. Sources in the hotel said they did not believe the hotel was being targeted as the explosive device was detonated in an open area near the hotel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a statement saying a preliminary investigation indicated that at approximately 4:30 on Monday morning, an explosion was heard in western Gaza City on the beach. The southern wall of the hotel fence was damaged and some windows in the hotel were broken. The motive or perpetrators behind the explosion are not known. However the director of Gaza Police, Tawfiq Jaber, stated that the police are carrying out an investigation. He said the hotel is a tourist establishment frequented by internationals, journalists, and Gaza residents.

Carter: Include Hamas in peace bid
Al Jazeera 4/21/2008
Carter saidpeace efforts had ’regressed’ since the US-hosted Annapolis conference Jimmy Carter, the former US president, has called for Hamas to be included in peace negotiations, saying they are willing to "live as a neighbour next door in peace" with Israel if Palestinians approve a deal. Carter said on Monday that Hamas leaders told him they would accept a negotiated peace agreement, if voted for by the Palestinian people. His comments, delivered in an address to the Israel Council on Foreign Relations and a subsequent news conference at the King David Hotel in West Jerusalem, came after he met several Hamas leaders, including Khaled Meshaal, the group’s exiled political bureau chief, in Syria last week. Carter said Hamas leaders had told him they would accept a peace agreement negotiated by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president whose Fatah faction controls the West Bank, if Palestinians approved the deal in a vote.

Haneyya: Carter is not a mediator
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government, on Monday stressed that former American president Jimmy Carter was not an intermediary but underlined that his visit was politically important because it dealt with the Palestinian de facto conditions. He explained in a press release that Carter got acquainted with the true situation in the region especially Hamas’s positions. The premier hoped that recent moves in the region including his Movement’s meetings with Carter and Egyptian leadership would lead to tangible results particularly regarding breaking the siege and halting the IOF aggressions on Gaza and the West Bank. Commenting on Carter’s announcement that Hamas had agreed to a plebiscite on any political agreement between the PA and Israel, Haneyya said that the formula, which Hamas accepted, was the same one included in the national concord document approved by majority of Palestinian factions.

Carter: Hamas willing to let Israel ’live in peace’
Joseph Krauss, Daily Star 4/22/2008
Agence France Presse - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Former US President Jimmy Carter said on Monday that the Hamas movement told him it would recognize Israel’s right to live in peace if a deal is reached and approved by a Palestinian vote. Carter made the comments following two meetings in Damascus with exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal that angered Israel and the United States, which consider the movement a terror group despite its victory in 2006 elections. "They said that they would accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor, next door, in peace," Carter told the Israeli Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Hamas would agree to such a peace deal, yet to be negotiated, provided it is "submitted to Palestinians for their overall approval even though Hamas might disagree with some terms of the agreement," Carter said.

Mishaal: Hamas accepts a state on 1967 borders without recognizing occupation
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Head of Hamas’s political bureau Khaled Mishaal has affirmed on Monday that his Movement was amenable to establishing a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital but without recognizing the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Mishaal’s remarks were made in a press conference he held in the Syrian capital Damascus where he also emphasized the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland in occupied Palestine. He also explained that his Movement has "politely" turned down a request by former US president Jimmy Carter to announce a unilateral ceasefire for 30 days, underlining that the Palestinian rocket attacks on IOF positions and on the Israeli settlements around the Gaza Strip were "reaction rather than an action". He noted that Hamas had declared a unilateral ceasefire more than once in the past, but the Israeli occupation government had never respected or reciprocated those steps.

Hamas: We will pursue new strategy after all diplomatic means failed
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement stated that it decided to follow a new strategy involving armed attacks until the siege on Gaza is completely lifted after it exhausted all diplomatic and peaceful means and contacted all parties to no avail. Hamas explained that its new strategy is based on attacking the Israeli occupation everywhere inside the occupied Palestinian lands to force it to lift the siege. Hammad Al-Raqab, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, warned that the Palestinian resistance will never allow the Israelis to live in safety and in tranquility wherever they are on the Palestinian occupied lands until the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem live a decent life like the other peoples around this globe. Raqab also warned that even if breaking the siege would ignite a war in the whole region the Palestinian people will not remain idle and die alone.

Hamas says accepts Palestinian statehood
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Group leader Mashaal says his organization accepts establishment of Palestinian state within 1967 borders, but will not recognize Jewish state. Masshal adds Hamas will grant Israel a 10-year truce if it retreats to pre-1967 lands, promises to deliver another letter from kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit - Hamas accepts the establishment of a Palestinian state on within the 1967 borders but would not recognize the Jewish state, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said on Monday. Mashaal added that Hamas would grantIsrael a 10-year "hudna," or truce, as an implicit proof of recognition if Israel withdraws from the land the Palestinians claims. Carter’s Words ’Hamas willing to accept Israel as neighbor’/News agencies (Video) Former US president says in Jerusalem speech Hamas heads told him they are willing to accept peace deal brokered by Abbas. . .

Israel awaits Hamas cease-fire proposal via Egypt, as Carter wraps up trip
Amos Harel and Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Senior government officials perceive a change in Hamas positions in recent days, at least concerning attempts to achieve a lull in fighting in the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, Israel has not yet committed itself officially to a cease-fire and is waiting for a detailed proposal to be delivered via Egypt. Israeli sources credit the turnabout in Hamas’ position to the economic and military pressure put on Gaza. Hamas appears to be willing to accept a cease-fire that applies only to Gaza, and not the West Bank. Despite Hamas attempts to create a major incident at Kerem Shalom last Saturday, the IDF has made do with a limited reaction in Gaza, in part to prevent escalation during the holiday, but possibly also due to renewed Egyptian mediation. Former U. S. president Jimmy Carter said yesterday that Hamas is prepared to accept Israel’s right to live in peace.

Carter in Jerusalem: the policy of excluding Hamas from the peace process is not working
Ghassan Bannoura, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
On Monday, former US President Jimmy Carter addressed the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, and then held a press conference at the King David Hotel in West JerusalemThe main focus of Carter’s speech at the press conference was regarding his meeting with Hamas movement officials last week in Syria and Egypt. Carter said that Hamas leaders had told him that the movement is willing to agree on a peace deal with Israel if such a deal is negotiated by Mahmoud Abbas, and if the Palestinian Nation accepts this deal by voting on it. "It means that Hamas will not undermine Abbas’ efforts to negotiate an agreement and Hamas will accept an agreement if the Palestinians support it in a free vote," Carter said. The former US President condemmed the Palestinian home-made shells fired by the Palestinian resistance at nearby Israeli areas, adding that he told Hamas that they are using terrorist methods, referring to the home-made Qassam shell fire.

Masri: Policy of isolating Hamas proved its failure
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The US-Israeli policy of isolating Hamas has proven its failure as expressed in former president Jimmy Carter’s speech on Monday, MP Mushir Al-Masri, secretary of Hamas’s parliamentary bloc, said. He said that Carter’s speech on Monday that capped his tour in the region reflected an understanding of Hamas’s central role in the Palestinian arena and the region at large in addition to the realization that attempts to isolate and exclude Hamas had failed. Masri said that Hamas’s meetings with political figures constituted a stab to the American administration’s policy that tries to isolate his Movement. He added that such meetings break the isolation wall, which Israel and the US are trying to impose on Hamas.

PNI: Opening Created by Carter’s Initiative Must Be Seized Upon
Palestinian National Initiative, Palestine Monitor 4/21/2008
Ramallah, 21-04-08:Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, today welcomed the efforts of former US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter to transform the current political dynamic in the region. "Jimmy Carter is true to his commitment to peace, and has taken brave steps to create a breakthrough towards a political solution based on an independent Palestinian state on all the territories occupied in 1967," he said. "The Annapolis peace process has utterly failed. Instead of taking decisive steps towards peace, Israel has responded by expanding settlements, and deepening its Apartheid system and its inhumane siege on the Gaza Strip, once again rejecting the principles of peace on the basis of two states," he continued. "Military aggression, the expansion of settlements and collective punishment play no part in a true peace process," added Dr.

Islamic Jihad refuses Carter’s proposals
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – The Islamic Jihad movement on Monday reiterated their rejection of any referendum related to "inalienable Palestinian principles," as has been proposed by former US president Jimmy Carter. The movement’s senior leader Sheikh Khalid Al-Batsh said that such declarations reflect "Arab weakness" and that "the international community is siding with Israel. "He said the movement refused any form of appeasement or a referendum as put forward by Carter. "Negotiations reflect the international attitudes and at this stage, given the current attitudes, the results of those negotiations will be completely pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian. So, the time is not ripe for talking about a referendum which will ask the Palestinian people about negotiations. We view such a referendum as a the start of giving up the right of repatriation and the right to any part of Jerusalem," Al-Batsh explained.

Haniyeh’s aide: Truce with Israel very near
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Hamas leader’s political advisor tells al-Hayat Egyptian-mediated deal between group and Israel imminent -An Egyptian-mediate truce between Hamas and Israel is "very near," Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s political advisor Ahmed Yousef said. In an interview to London-based newspaper al-Hayat published Monday, Yousef said: "We have presented a number of questions to the Israelis and are awaiting answers. " Yousef also stressed that Hamas was determined to maintain its good relations with Egypt and would not allow its security to be undermined. According to al-Hayat, Hamas’ leaders in Damascus have sent former US President Jimmy Carter a document detailing their comments on his proposal for a truce between the group and Israel.

Carter: Assad says 85% of conflicts with Israel resolved
Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Syrian President Bashar Assad is "eager" to restart negotiations with Israel over the Golan Heights and believes that 85 percent of the differences between the two countries have already been resolved, former U. S. president Jimmy Carter said on Monday in Jerusalem. Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem following talks with officials in Syria and Egypt, Carter said: "In all my conversations with President Assad, whom I’ve known since he was a college student, I was impressed with [his] eagerness to complete the agreement on the Golan Heights. "According to Carter, Assad said that, "the only major difference in starting good-faith talks was that Israel insisted that there will be no public acknowledgment that the talks were going on when Syria insisted that the talks would not be a secret. " The former U. S. president also relayed that Assad believes "85 percent of the differences. . . "

Missing soldier’s photo delivered to Assad
Roni Sofer, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Former US President Jimmy Carter gives Syrian leader picture of Guy Hever, who disappeared 11 years ago in Golan Heights. ’The Syrian president did not respond, apart from thanking Carter,’ Hever’s mother tells Ynet, ’yet I see this as a good sign’ - A photo of missing IDF soldierGuy Hever was delivered toSyrian President Bashar Assad by former US President Jimmy Carter as the two leaders met in Damascus last week. Carter received the photo from Guy’s mother, Rina, who has been waiting for nearly 11 years now for a sign of life from her son. Along with the picture, Carter was also given a document prepared by the family, detailing the events which took place since Hever disappeared from his Golan Heights base in the summer of 1997, including a list of meetings held with international officials in a bid to probe the circumstances of the mysterious disappearance.

’Effort’ made on Syria-Israel talks
Al Jazeera 4/21/2008
Syria’s president has confirmed exchanging messages with Israel through an unnamed third party, saying that both sides are exploring the possibility of resuming peace negotiations. Commenting on reports of indirect contact with Israel on Sunday, Bashar al-Assad said mediators were already working to re-launch negotiations but did not identify the third party involved in the process. "There are efforts being made in this direction and they are not new," the official Sana news agency quoted him as saying at a meeting with ruling Baath party officials on Sunday. "The Israeli side knows full well what Syria would or would not accept. " Last week an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, quoted Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, as saying that Israel and Syria have been exchanging. . .

VIDEO - News / Carter blames the U.S. for blocking peace with Syria
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 news roundup for April 21, 2008. In this edition: Former U. S. President Jimmy Carter blames Washington for standing in the way of peace with Syria. A four-year-old boy is lightly injured by a Qassam rocket in Kibbutz Gevim. It was revealed that a message from Israel on a possible summit in Cairo went unanswered by Hamas. [end]

Tibi: Carter suggested we tell Americans about discrimination
Sharon Roffe-Ofir, YNetNews 4/21/2008
MK to present cases of Israeli discrimination against Arab sector in America’s major media outlets following advice from former US president. ’Carter said that the American public was unaware of the situation,’ he tells Ynet - Advice from former president. Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al ) plans to turn to the United States’ major media outlets in order to present the situation of the Arab population inIsrael to the American public. Tibi decided to take this move following advice he received during a meeting with former US President Jimmy Carter on Monday. The conversation between the two concluded Carter’s series of meetings in Israel. Carter and Tibi met at a Jerusalem hotel, and one of the issues they discussed was what the MK described as the Israeli discrimination against the Arab sector. "Carter said that the American public was unaware of the situation, and suggested that I work to make the matter known among the global public opinion," Tibi told Ynet.

Syrian minister: Turkey mediating between Israel, Syria
Roee Nahmias, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Syrian spokeswoman to BBC: Though Olmert, Assad not meeting personally, Turkey acting as mediator for peace negotiations -Syrian Expatriate Affairs Minister Buthaina Shaaban said Monday that Turkey was the third party mediating in negotiations betweenIsrael and Syria. Speaking during an interview for the BBC network conducted in Arabic, Shaaban announced that though there has not yet been a meeting between the two countries’ leaders, there have been steps taken by a "friendly third party mediator - Turkey. "Prime MinisterEhud Olmert and Syrian PresidentBashar Assad recently admitted that there have been negotiations between the two sides, mediated by a third party. Shaaban, considered an official spokesperson for the Syrian government, added that "Assad said he would update the Syrian people in the event of progress. . . "

VIDEO - Carter: Hamas willing to accept Israel as neighbor
News agencies, YNetNews 4/21/2008
(Video) Former US president says in Jerusalem speech Hamas heads told him they are willing to accept peace deal brokered by Abbas that will include return to 1967 borders; reassures Israel captive Gilad Shalit in very good condition -VIDEO- Former US President Jimmy Carter on Monday said Hamas is prepared to accept the right of Israel to "live as a neighbor next door in peace. "His comments came after he met last week with the top Hamas leaders in Syria. Carter also said Hamas won’t undermine Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ efforts to reach a peace deal with Israel. He said Hamas is ready to accept a Palestinian state the West Bank and Gaza. Video:Infolive. tv Carter made the comments during a speech in Jerusalem on Monday during an event hosted by the Israeli Council of Foreign Relations.

Shas MKs slam their party head’s push to meet Meshal
Mazal Mualem, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Shas chair Eli Yishai came in for criticism Monday from colleagues in his party, who said it was strange that the party leader should be calling on Israel to stop its virtual negotiations with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and on the other hand has said he is willing to meet with Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal. The sources within Shas were referring to Yishai’s request to former U. S. president Jimmy Carter, to help arrange a meeting with Meshal for the purpose of expediting the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Yishai, who is also deputy prime minister and minister of industry, trade and employment, is on the right flank of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s cabinet, but was the only senior member of the government who agreed to meet with Carter.

Egyptian foreign minister says comments about Hamas were ''misinterpreted''
Ma’an News Agency 4/21/2008
Gaza – Ma’an – Egyptian diplomatic sources denied on Monday that foreign minister Ahmad Abu Al-Ghait said that Hamas’ participation in a Palestinian national unity government could impede the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) political efforts to reach a compromise with Israel. The comments are alleged to have been made during Al-Ghait’s last visit to Washington. The Egyptian diplomat said in a statement that what Abu Al-Ghait said while visiting the US foreign relations Council has been misinterpreted. "A member of the council asked Abu Al-Ghait about whether Palestinian unity was necessary for a peace settlement with Israel. His answer was that the PA and Israel have been attempting to hold negotiations aimed at reaching agreement before the end of 2008, but Hamas opposed those attempts and conducted skirmishes with the Israelis," the Egyptian diplomatic source explained.

Barak: Hamas could not be eliminated
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli war minister Ehud Barak has acknowledged that it was difficult to eliminate the Hamas Movement or to end its control on the Gaza Strip and replace it with a puppet regime as evident in previous experiences in other countries. He told the Hebrew radio on Sunday that Israel was unable to realize its dream, as well as that of the US and the European countries, to wipe out Hamas. He explained that the previous experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq where the US toppled regimes and installed others had proven their failure. A former chief of the Israeli foreign intelligence opined that there was no other option but to open dialogue with Hamas. He said that Hamas is a de facto situation that should be dealt with if Israel wished to forge a future agreement with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and to avoid any military confrontation with the Movement.

Hamas’s members of parliament demand an Arab intervention
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
The Hamas party’s members of parliament demanded on Monday an Arab intervention for lifting the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. The MPs, headed by Ahmad Bahar, deputy-speaker of the Hamas-dominated parliament, spoke in a press conference at the Gaza hospital of aL-Shifa. Ahmad Bahar told reporters that the ambulances have stopped working for the past few weeks, due to shortage of fuel supplies in the coastal region, as Israel continues to deny shipments of fuel to Gaza. " where is the Arab states’ action amidst such a suffering, the Palestinian people in Gaza have endured over the past 10 months", Bahar wondered. He held Israel responsible for what is going on the ground, describing the people’s conditions as ’slow death’ , wondering as to how internationally-sponsored peace agreements, signed by consecutive Palestinian governments,. . .

News in Brief
Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
A Hamas spokesman says the Islamic militant group will carry out harsher attacks on Israeli crossings - worse than recent ones that killed five Israelis. The militant, Abu Jandal, told a newspaper linked to Hamas yesterday that previous attacks on Gaza-Israel crossings were just practice. Abu Jandal described the recent attacks as a walk in the park and said upcoming attacks would be harsher. The Hamas threats came as former U. S. President Jimmy Carter was saying Hamas would be prepared to live next to Israel in peace in the framework of a Palestinian state. (AP) Palestinian officials say they hope to raise $1. 5 billion from foreign investors at a conference next month in the West Bank. They say they’ve invited more than 1,000 foreign investors. Officials said yesterday that 300 participants have already confirmed their attendance.

PLC to prepare draft bill for prosecuting Israeli war criminals
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
GAZA, (PIC)-- The PLC announced Monday that it conducting extensive discussions and meetings with specialists and experts in international law as a prelude to preparing a draft bill of the Palestinian committee to prosecute Israeli war criminals. In a conference entitled "civilians’ rights in time of war" organized by the Islamic university in Gaza, Dr. Ahmed Bahr, the acting speaker of the PLC, stated that the draft bill is aimed at documenting and preparing complete files of all atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinian citizens and other files of organized crimes perpetrated by Israeli leaders.   Dr. Bahr underlined that in light of these files, perpetrators of crimes against the Palestinian people would be prosecuted before international courts, pointing out that the PLC would work hard on establishing an international tribunal designed for prosecuting Israeli war criminals.

Murrah: Fatah pushes Palestinians in Lebanon into local, regional conflicts
Palestinian Information Center 4/21/2008
BEIRUT, (PIC)-- The information officer in Hamas’s office in Lebanon Ashraf Murrah has categorically accused on Monday an "influential" group in Fatah faction and the PLO in Lebanon of pushing the Palestinian refugees into local and regional conflicts. In an interview with the Quds Press, Murrah disclosed that the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon were exposed to organized regional and local attacks, including involving the Palestinian weapons in Lebanon in local and regional conflicts. "Certain Lebanese parties would like to believe that Damascus was using the Palestinian weapons in destabilizing Lebanon’s security, and in hitting the Lebanese government", Murrah pointed out. Citing the huge destruction inflicted on the Nahr Al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon last year, Murrah asserted that certain parties affiliated with the pro-settlement team in Fatah faction and. . .

Israel mulls Gaza crossing curbs
Al Jazeera 4/21/2008
Israel is planning to tighten controls even further over goods allowed into the Gaza Strip, Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, reports. After a series of Hamas attacks on border crossings, some of the crossings will remain shut on Monday, and may remain so for several days, the paper reported. On Saturday morning, Israeli forces foiled a Hamas attempt to carry out a combined "hit and grab" attack against the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, aimed at killing and capturing soldiers. Three Hamas fighters were killed, and 13 Israeli soldiers were wounded. The Kerem Shalom crossing, which is used to transfer humanitarian cargo into the Gaza Strip, is likely to remain closed on Monday for an evaluation of the security arrangements, Haaretz said. There was still no decision by Sunday evening on whether to open the Sufa crossing.

President of Yemen calls for increased pressure on Israel
Rami Almeghari & Agencies, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
In a statement on Monday, the Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to halt its actions and siege on the Palestinian people in Gaza. During a meeting with Palestinian intelligence chief, Toufic Al-Tirawi, in the Yemeni capital of San’a, the Yemeni president voiced his country’s utter support to the Palestinian people’s right to establish a homeland on the national Palestinian soil. Tirawi, from his part, expressed estimation to the positions of president Saleh towards the Palestinian cause, praising latest Yemeni efforts to fill in the gab between the rival parties of Fateh and Hamas. Last month, Fateh and Hamas, agreed in San’a to a Yemeni-brokered reconciliation deal. The initiative has yet to be implemented on the ground as Israel continues closure of the coastal territory.

Venezuela’s Chavez sought ImageSat stake
Shmulik Shelah, Globes Online 4/21/2008
The "Miami Herald" claimed that the Venezuelan president wanted to invest at a company value of $500 million. The "Miami Herald" reports that Venezuela President Hugo Chavez offered $100-150 million to acquire 20-30% in ImageSat International NV, which owns the Eros A and Eros B reconnaissance satellites. The paper cites documents in a civil complaint filed in the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York in July 2007. The paper claims that Israel launched the Eros B reportedly to spy on Iran’s nuclear program. The complaint was filed by shareholders and the founders and investors of ImageSat. ImageSat was founded in 2000 as a joint venture of IAI and a group of private investors. The company leases its high-resolution satellites for commercial use. IAI owns 42% of the company and Elbit Systems owns 12%.

Dubai called on to boycott Leviev stores over Israeli settlements
Press release, Adalah-NY, Electronic Intifada 4/19/2008
New York human rights activists, and representatives of the West Bank Palestinian villages of Bil’in and Jayyous called on the government and the people of the United Arab Emirates to boycott the jewelry stores of Israeli billionaire and diamond magnate Lev Leviev over his companies’ construction of Israeli settlements. According to a flurry of recent media reports, Leviev is opening jewelry stores in Dubai during 2008. "We call on the government and people of the United Arab Emirates to join the growing international campaign to boycott Lev Leviev’s companies due to their construction of Israeli colonial settlements, and their human rights violations in Angola," declared Daniel Lang-Levitsky of Jews Against the Occupation-NYC. "A major Israeli violator of Palestinian rights and international law should not be opening jewelry stores in Dubai," added Adalah-NY spokesperson Issa Ayoub. Adalah-NY has organized eight boycott protests outside Leviev’s new Madison Avenue jewelry store over the last five months.

PRCS President thanks IFRC for its support to Palestinians
Palestine Red Crescent Society - PRCS, ReliefWeb 4/17/2008
Mr. Younis Al Khatib, PRCS President, addressed words of thanks to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for the support it provides to Palestinians at these dire times brought about by Israeli occupation practices, and mainly during the financial embargo imposed on the PNA about two years ago which has had terrible consequences on Palestinians. Mr. Al Khatib’s words came at the end of a meeting held on the 10th of April with the Secretary General of IFRC, Mr. Markku Niscala at PRCS Headquarters in Al Bireh. During the meeting, Mr. Al Khatib affirmed that the respect of human dignity, one of the fundamental principles of the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent, cannot be achieved so long as occupation continues to choke Palestinians. He added that doing away with this occupation would mean freedom not only for Palestinians,. . .

VIDEO - Evangelicals visit for Israel’s 60th, call the sound of the mosque ’evil’
Haaretz Staff and Channel 10, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
Haaretz. com/Channel 10 daily feature for April 21, 2008. Last week, 3,000 evangelical Christian worshippers and preachers from around the United States visited Israel in a trip celebrating 60 years of independence. The trip was led by Joel Rosenberg, the son of a Jewish man and a Christian woman, who found Jesus at a young age and became a famous preacher. Evangelical Christianity boasts tens of millions of believers across the United States who are often credited with getting George W. Bush into the White House to lead the war against evil in the world. They give millions of dollars to the Israeli right and believe that only the Republican Party can save the planet. [end]

Press statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
John Dugard, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the, Palestine Monitor 4/21/2008
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard, issue the following statement today:GENEVA- -The blood-letting in Gaza, and to a lesser extent, the West Bank continues. On Wednesday 16 April, around 20 Palestinians were killed in Israeli military operations. The majority of those killed were civilians and five were children. On the same day three Israeli soldiers were killed. How long is this madness to continue without serious international intervention? It has become clear to many responsible persons with experience of the conflict, both in Israel and elsewhere, that only direct negotiations or talks between the real parties involved - Israel and Hamas - can stop the killings. Israel’s unwillingness to talk to Hamas is understandable, given Hamas’ hostility to the State of Israel.

Israeli firm in Russia-India pipeline talks
Lior Baron, Globes Online 4/21/2008
"The Times of India": A deal will perhaps also raise hackles of pro-Arab political elements at home. "The Times of India" reports, "Top Oil Ministry officials and senior executives of state-owned refiners who look after crude procurement and shipping operations for their companies held talks with representatives of Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company Ltd. , originally an Israel-Iran joint venture that operates a two-way crude and petroproducts pipeline to provide a land bridge between the Mediterranean and Red Seas. "The paper says, "India is gazing at Israel for a passage to energy security in the age of high oil prices, a move that will give Asia’s fastest growing economy easy access to the abundant Russian, Caucasian and Central Asian crude as an alternative to volatile West Asian supplies but will perhaps also raise hackles of pro-Arab political elements at home. "

Hague talks stress peril of non-state actors obtaining chemical weapons
Alix Rijckaert, Daily Star 4/22/2008
Agence France Presse - THE HAGUE: The nightmare scenario of a mass-scale chemical attack by extremists and the panic which would ensue has created a new role for the body set up to rid the world of chemical weapons. Diplomats at the 10-day Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) review conference in The Hague over the weekend adopted a new target deadline of 2012 for 183 member states to destroy their stockpiles. But while 12 countries have yet to sign up to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention treaty or the mission’s amended goals - including North Korea, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Syria - they also gave the OPCW an expanded mandate. The new mission statement highlights the "increased danger of the use of chemical weapons by terrorists or other non-state actors" facing the international community.

Signs of credit crunch for Israel real estate projects
Michal Margalit, Globes Online 4/21/2008
Smaller developers are experiencing higher equity demands by banks. Real estate agencies note that, in the past two months, banks have "turned off the credit tap" for commercial customers in the real estate market and that the number of buyers of income-producing properties has declined. Real estate experts predict a slowdown in the industry as a result of the banks’ actions. Real estate agents say that, as a result of the credit crunch, small developers lack the equity to compete against large ones. A source at theERA Israel real estate agency said, "Before the present situation, banks demanded 25% equity; they’re now demanding 45%. Previously, a customer with $1 million could get $3 million from a bank to buy a $4 million property. Today, a customer with $1 million can buy a property for $2 million.

Employers cheating a third of workers of Shabbat overtime
Haim Bior, Ha’aretz 4/22/2008
In "Alice in Wonderland" the Red Queen says: You must run as fast as you can to stay in the same place. Apparently that is true for a lot of workers in Israel. About 327,000 workers, 15% of all salaried employees in Israel, work on their day of rest, according to a study conducted by the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry’s Research and Economics Administration. The ministry and the Histadrut labor federation say that 30% of these workers are not paid the higher wage to which they are entitled for such work. Nearly 60% of all salary earners who work on their day of rest say they are allowed no alternative day off, as required by law. A small minority, 9%, reported that they received alternative days of rest, but not regularly. The percentage of workers employed on days of rest is higher in the private-business sector (20%) than the civil sector (14%).

Man strips in protest of bread sale during Passover
Avi Cohen, YNetNews 4/22/2008
Young man dressed as yeshiva student undresses at non-kosher supermarket chain, remaining only with sock covering his private parts. ’The shame is not mine,’ he tells Ynet - A 27-year-old man, claiming to be a yeshiva student, decided to launch an unusual protest against a court ruling allowing stores and restaurants to sell leavened food during the holiday of Passover. The man, dressed as a haredi, arrived Monday afternoon at a store belonging to the non-kosher Tiv Taam supermarket chain in the city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv. Upon his arrival, he undressed and remained with only a sock covering his private parts. The man explained that he could not be prosecuted for an indecent act in public, because according to the court’s interpretation of the leavened food law, a supermarket is not considered a public place.

Lebanon’s Zahle tense after deadly shooting
Middle East Online 4/21/2008
The Lebanese town of Zahle observed an official day of mourning amid tension on Monday, with political leaders trading blame after two activists were shot dead at the opening of a Phalange party headquarters. Funerals for Nasri al-Maruni and Salim Assi, whose son was among three people wounded in the Sunday evening attack, are planned for Tuesday. Both Assi and al-Maruni were supporters of the Christian Phalange party, a member of Lebanon’s ruling coalition. Police named a suspect in the shooting as Joseph Zouki and said they had launched a manhunt for him. He is thought to be a supporter of Zahle MP Elie Skaff, a Christian who backs the opposition. Security sources in Zahle said that they were also looking for Zouki’s brother, Toni, who they suspect was with him at the time of the shooting. A security official on Monday said Walid Zouki, a relative of Joseph, had turned himself in to the police.

Rizk hopes barter will ’expedite’ Hariri inquiry
Michael Bluhm, Daily Star 4/22/2008
BEIRUT: Justice Minister Charles Rizk has proposed that the head of the UN commission investigating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination begin on June 15 his planned role as prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in exchange for the government approving the extension of the investigation commission’s mandate, Rizk told The Daily Star on Monday. "We are prepared to ask for an extension of the commission, but in return we ask [UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon] to appoint him prosecutor," Rizk said. Rizk wrote a letter to Prime Minister Fouad Siniora last week asking the premier to put the two items on the Cabinet’s agenda, after commission chief and Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare asked Rizk last month to have the government request an extension beyond June 15 for the commission. The minister said his move was motivated only by a desire to speed. . .

US warplanes bomb Baghdad’s Sadr City
Middle East Online 4/21/2008
BAGHDAD - US warplanes dropped bombs overnight in the east Baghdad district of Sadr City where Shiite militiamen are battling security forces, residents said on Monday, as the American military reported another five people killed in the embattled township. Residents said low flying jets dropped bombs in sectors 22 and 24 of Sadr City, stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr, around midnight (2100 GMT Sunday). About two hours later, according to witnesses, helicopters fired missiles at four targets in Sadr City, where hundreds of people have died since Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on militias across Iraq in late March. The US military has not immediately confirmed overnight air strikes but said four people were killed Sunday afternoon in Sadr City by Hellfire missiles fired from drones when they were readying to fire off rockets.

Rice fails to clinch firm Arab commitments on Iraq
Middle East Online 4/21/2008
The United States met Sunni-led Arab allies on Monday to try to persuade them to back Iraq’s Shiite leadership but failed to clinch any concrete commitments on debt relief or diplomatic presence. Speaking after the meeting in Bahrain with counterparts from eight Arab countries and Iraq, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the talks covered relieving Iraq of billions of dollars in debt and sending ambassadors to the war-torn nation, but she did not report any decision on either score. "I do believe it’s a process which will move forward," she told reporters after the meeting with the Arab diplomats, which came one day after she made a surprise visit to Baghdad. "A number of countries around the table talked about their desire to have permanent representatives" in Baghdad, she said. "The terms of debt relief have long been known. . . "

Room for two: US, Iran in the Middle East
Trita Parsi, Asia Times 4/21/2008
WASHINGTON - By negotiating a Shi’ite truce, Tehran embarrassed Washington last week and arguably proved itself to be a more potent stabilizer of southern Iraq. - Iran’s role in Iraq came as a sharp reminder that the George W Bushadministration’s accusations of Iranian mischief notwithstanding, Iranianinfluence in Iraq is both undeniable and multifaceted. As Washington starts tocome to terms with this reality, the Middle East inches closer to its moment oftruth: Is the United States ready to share the region with Iran? As the risk of a US-Iran war is deemed to have dropped in the past few months,in spite of the resignation of Admiral William Fallon and Bush’s designation ofIran as the United States’ number one threat, a modicum of optimism for US-Iranrelations in 2009 has emerged. The poisonous atmosphere between the Bush and PresidentMahmud Ahmadinejad administrations

Russian shipment for Iranian nuclear plant blocked
Associated Press, YNetNews 4/21/2008
Azerbaijan halts shipment of equipment intended for Bushehr nuclear power plant, demanding more information for fear of violating UN sanctions - Azerbaijan halted a Russian shipment of equipment intended for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, demanding more information for fear of violating United Nations sanctions, officials said Monday. The Russian state-run company Atomstroiexport said one or two trucks carrying the equipment were stopped two weeks ago at the town of Astara, on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. Agency spokeswoman Irina Yesipova said officials were holding talks with both Azerbaijan and Iran. There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials. Iran is paying Russia more than $1 billion to build the light-water reactor. Construction has been held up in recent months by disputes between Tehran and Moscow over payments and a schedule for shipping nuclear fuel.


EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group’s plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia
Report, Electronic Intifada 4/21/2008
      A pro-Israel pressure group is orchestrating a secret, long-term campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged.
     A series of emails by members and associates of the pro-Israel group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), provided to The Electronic Intifada (EI), indicate the group is engaged in what one activist termed a "war" on Wikipedia.
     A 13 March action alert signed by Gilead Ini, a "Senior Research Analyst" at CAMERA, calls for "volunteers who can work as ’editors’ to ensure" that Israel-related articles on Wikipedia are "free of bias and error, and include necessary facts and context." However, subsequent communications indicate that the group not only wanted to keep the effort secret from the media, the public, and Wikipedia administrators, but that the material they intended to introduce included discredited claims that could smear Palestinians and Muslims and conceal Israel’s true history.

Popular Conference: preserving collective identity

Noura Erakat and Monadel Herzallah, Electronic Intifada 4/21/2008
      Especially since the advent of the Palestinian-Israeli "peace process," Palestinian-Arab identity has been severely and systematically fragmented. Like the bantustanization of Palestinian lands, Palestinian national identity has been bantustanized by a series of laws, processes and events. Today there are the Palestinians within Israel, those within the occupied territories, those in refugee camps, those in the global diaspora, and most recently those in the West Bank have become distinct from those in the Gaza Strip. Making Palestinian identity whole necessitates articulating a single narrative that addresses the whole and not just several of its parts.
     Aware that the existing Palestinian leadership, as comprised by the Palestinian Authority, is not interested in articulating this narrative but instead would like to consolidate the power that it can over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Palestinians in the United States and throughout the global diaspora have taken it upon themselves to develop this narrative. Palestinians in France, Britain, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Holland have started similar grassroots and independent initiatives.

The US Democracy Gap in the Arab World

Rami G. Khouri, Middle East Online 4/21/2008
      BEIRUT - One of the paradoxes of the complex relationship between the Arab World and the United States relates to the rhetoric and reality of democratic values. The George W. Bush administration has made democracy promotion a central pillar of its foreign policy in the Middle East at the level of rhetoric, but in practice it pays little heed to behaving democratically in its interaction with the Arab people.
     If democracy means the rule of the people, ideally a country’s domestic and foreign policies should reflect the majority sentiments of its citizens. The Arab world lacks credible democratic systems. Existing institutions like parliaments are controlled in a manner that sees them reflecting the will of small powerful elites who dominate the country, rather than accurately expressing public sentiment. This control has been overcome to a large extent in recent years by good public opinion polls, conducted by local Arab groups as well as established international firms.

Returning to Palestine

Aaron Lakoff, International Middle East Media Center News 4/21/2008
      What’s in a year? What’s in 60?
     Three years can be a long time, or a little blip in history. It has been three years since I was first in Palestine, and now I am back. Years are a funny thing here. Many can go by, and nothing can change. Take, as an example, one of the large billboards outside of Jerusalem right now, which proudly announces this year as the 60 year anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel. And then, of course, the other side of that, the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba ("catastrophe"). 60 years of displacement, 60 years of refugees, 60 years of useless keys and tears shed, and how much has really changed?
     Well, quite a lot has changed actually. And it has hit me sooner than expected, even after being in Palestine for only a few days. 2008 will no doubt be a historic and tumultuous year in Israel and Palestine. Beyond the 60-year observations on both sides, there is pressure from many sides to make 2008 the year of the Palestinian state, or a "two-state solution". The slogan "2 states in 2008" has been repeated many times. There is a strong will to see this happen before the next Palestinian presidential elections, or perhaps more importantly, before George W. Bush leaves office later this year.